I post this blog every year at this time of year, so I will do it again! :)
Matthew 27:32-56: 32 As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross. 33 They came to a place called Golgotha (which means The Place of the Skull). 34 There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it.35 When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots. 36 And sitting down, they kept watch over him there. 37 Above his head they placed the written charge against him: THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS. 38 Two robbers were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. 39 Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads 40 and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!”
41 In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. 42 “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the King of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. 43 He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” 44 In the same way the robbers who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him.
The Death of Jesus
45 From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. 46 About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”—which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”
47 When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.”
48 Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a stick, and offered it to Jesus to drink. 49 The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.”
50 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.
51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. 52 The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53 They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus’ resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.
54 When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”
55 Many women were there, watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for his needs. 56 Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons.
Jesus went through torture beyond any of our imaginations. He went through personal humiliation, physical pain, and spiritual anguish. The worst of all was probably the suffering that came in verse 46. He experienced separation from God. That is the ultimate consequence of sin. Separation. Spiritual death. I can’t even imagine what he went through at that moment. The weight of sin for everyone who ever lived, was living, and would live was upon him at that moment. That full amount of God’s wrath was on Jesus. Jesus had never sinned, but God made him to be sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21). God’s Son, the Creator of the universe, was rejected by His creation and isolated from His Father. The separation had to be the worst suffering of all. The wrath of God was satisfied. Because of Jesus’ suffering, we are restored to a right relationship with God if we accept His FREE gift of salvation.
According to John’s account (John 19:30) of Christ’s death, what Jesus said in verse 50 was “It is finished.” These words mark the end of his suffering. It marks the completion of Jesus’ mission to restore us to a right relationship with the Father. At the time Jesus Christ died, the “curtain of the temple” was torn from top to bottom. This symbolizes that the way into God’s presence was now open. Because of what Jesus did, we have permanent access to God for all those who give their lives to Christ.
Just one person’s sin would’ve been enough to put Him on the cross. ”A cross, 3 nails, the weight of my sin, loneliness, pain and sorrow. That was on my Savior’s,”to do list”,for today. I am the cause.”
“It was my sin that held him there. Until it was accomplished. His dying breath has brought me life. I know that it is finished.”
Jesus did all of this out of love. When He was hanging on that cross He was thinking of you. He gave salvation to anyone who comes into contact with His saving and delivering power. He paid the ultimate sacrifice so that we don’t have to be separated from God anymore. We now can have a relationship with Him through Jesus Christ.
“It wasn’t the nails that held Jesus to the cross, it was love.”
I was always a ‘good’ boy!
Loved my mum and dad and always stuck by the rules – never really got into trouble (well maybe just a little) and nearly always did what I was told.
When my parents said to do something I would snap to and do it – from music practise to washing up - I was your boy.
School was always a drag but then I guess I didn’t have that on my own. All of my efforts were put into pleasing my parents and basking in the security that they offered.
I was very fortunate in having a Mum and Dad who loved Jesus and believed strongly in His leadership. As a family we were hauled off to church each week and I knew all the Bible stories and heaps of verses.
Mum prayed with us often and encouraged us to give our lives to Jesus and I guess at an early stage in my life I did just that. Not that it meant any sort of change in my life and in some ways I took Jesus and His amazing work totally for granted.
So here I was growing up on a type of merry-go-round of church, school and youth group and all the while never really thinking that Jesus’ message really meant me.
I was the ‘good’ boy, never really changing, life travelling along OK, meeting kids my own age and generally enjoying life as it was. Getting a job and meeting the girl of dreams just added to my idyllic lifestyle. Just another day in Paradise you could say.
I guess it may have been the Vietnam War and Australia’s decision to conscript 20 year old males into the army that I first had a real change in my life – During my 19th year I had heaps of time to think about what life would be like in the army or even warfare in Vietnam.
It was during this time I had my first real confrontation with God (if I could put it that way). I was concerned about being drafted into the army and I suppose during that time I tried praying – really praying for possibly the very first time in my life. Did it make a change in my life? I doubt it. But I was quietly pleased when the conscription ballot finally fell and I had missed out.
Did I think of God after that – unfortunately No. It wasn’t until we had a couple of children and we were attending an old historic church, cold, drafty and full of ‘old’ people that God worked an amazing miracle in my life.
I was on a roster of welcoming people to church and this particular rota fell on a night service. Grumbling about driving into town on a cold winters night, I felt a fraction better leaving the family at home all warm and cosy. I remember thinking that no-one will be in church on such a cold, wet and windy night – I should stay at home.
And cold, wet and windy it was – the church was pretty much vacant – You could hear the wind whistling through the big old doors as I walked up the steps to do my duty.
As I walked in the wind picked up and blew a piece of old yellowing paper onto the floor at my feet. I picked it up and not thinking anything about it got onto welcoming the very few church members.
As I stood there and the service started – I glanced down at the paper – it was an old Christian tract written 20 years before. As I turned it over in my hand these words leaped out at me – “I will never leave you or forsake you”.
That’s all….That amazing verse in Hebrews had the most awesome effect on me. GOD MEANS ME!!! ME – HE MEANS ME! HE REALLY REALLY MEANS ME.
I couldn’t believe it – The God I had ‘talked’ to for years was actually talking back to me – He was never going to leave me.
Right there and then I asked Him into life – As I stood in that old windy porch clutching onto an old yellow piece of torn paper. GOD MEANS ME!
My life has changed so much since then - God has seen me though some horrible and nasty times – times when I doubt I would have made it except for his great love and patience.
I still sin, I always will until I finally get to glory and I have a new mind and body – but Jesus died to renew by relationship with Him not to condemn me for the past and future sins.
Have you been convicted of your need to have Jesus take control of your life?
We all have our different stories of how we feel about Jesus or what we have done with Him. We all need to make a decision one way or another – either accept Jesus as Lord or reject Him … but hey He will never turn you away.
All you need to do is to pray a prayer just like this:-
If you prayed that prayer, please contact us or another Christian person so that we can pray and encourage you in your Christian walk.
Standing in Judgment
“Now accept the one who is weak in faith, but not for the purpose of passing judgment on his opinions…who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.For not one of us lives for himself, and not one dies for himself; for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ died and lived again, that He might be Lord both of the dead and of the living. But you, why do you judge your brother? Or you again, why do you regard your brother with contempt? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God. For it is written, “As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me, and every tongue shall give praise to God.” So then each one of us will give an account of himself to God. Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this—not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s way…(Romans 14:1, 4, 7-13, NAS).”
“Do not judge so that you will not be judged (Matthew 7:1, NAS).”
It is exceedingly difficult, nay, impossible, for the flesh of mankind to not pass judgment on those who offend and/or irritate us. However, it is through the Spirit of God exclusively that we are supernaturally capable of overcoming such judgment against others. Sufficed to say, there is no one who can honestly say that judgment does not cross their mind and heart from time to time – after all, it is human nature and we dwell temporarily is this earthen vessel.
In order to be successful in this or any area of God’s commands, we must remember that we are no longer of the human race, but of the heavenly race – the Kingdom race. We are but strangers and aliens in the earth sent from heaven to bring heaven down to earth. This is so because we are dead and our only life is Christ. In other words, once in Christ, our earthly origin ceases and our heavenly origin begins.
If you are like I, people irritate you! In our irritation, judgment can easily take hold of our hearts and grow bitter roots. Hebrews 12:15 is clear about bitterness: “See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled.” Operating in a judgmental/critical spirit against others no matter how innocent it may seem, causes bitter roots to spring within our hearts like weeks and they taint not only our walk with God with it takes others down with us.
Because of the nature of the flesh in which we currently remain, it is altogether a necessity to hone in on the Spirit of God within us through our spirit-man. If we do not daily (moment to moment) purposefully tap into Holy Spirit, we will find ourselves in the midst of fleshly judgment. We can defend it all day long but unless we, one, choose to recognize that we have indeed passed critical judgment in our hearts as well as, two, choose to repent of it and lay it at the foot of the cross, things will not change as we would otherwise hope. Pray though we may for God to remove us or the irritant, nothing will change until we allow God to transform us from the inside out and love and accept others as they are.
We are not to regard a brother with contempt. This is why we are urged to go to a brother with whom we have a problem so as to resolve the matter. We are to conclude our conflicts, not simply for our selves, but for the greater good of the Kingdom of God. For this reason, there is to be unity between the brethren and we should seek peace at all times, respecting one another.
One who is rebellious, for instance, will be perpetually faced with people who “force” them to rebel because, from where God stands, He recognizes the need for the weaknesses of rebellion to be exposed so that the individual will choose to deal with it through God’s strength. Otherwise, if they continue in their rebellion, the same old obstacles and irritating people will continuously come in their path; hence, frustration remains.
Likewise, one who is impatient will continually come in contact with people who try their patience. One who is timid in their faith will continuously be put in situations where they need to be bold. One who is confrontational will be put in situations where they need to submit in both humility and silence, and so on.
For me personally, the nature of the flesh in which I dwell is exceedingly confrontational. I have to be diligent with my time tapping into Holy Spirit continuously so as to be able to clearly discern when to confront a situation and when to be silent. In everything we say and do, it is a walk of balance that can only come from personal intimacy with Holy Spirit. There should never be a break in our communion with Yahweh.
Until we begin to view everything in everyday life as for the Kingdom of God instead of for or against us personally, not only will circumstances not change, but they will invariably grow worse. Since everything ultimately originates from God whether it comes from Satan’s hand or wicked men, we must say with humility instead of irritation, “What is it You, Yahweh, are trying to show me that I have not yet seen? Reveal my weaknesses to me so that Your strength may prevail in order for Your Kingdom to be advanced through me in the earth. I trust You and submit to You for Your honor and Your glory. Whatever You desire, I desire. Whatever You love, I love. Whatever You hate, I hate.”
There’s always a lesson. There’s always a God-plan. There’s always hope. There’s always growth that He desires to come forth from us, for us and, most importantly, for His great name’s sake. No situation or scenario is in vain or to hurt us. It isn’t even for punishment’s sake; it is always for the Kingdom of God. May we keep our spiritual eye open to see the bigger picture always and remember that you do not belong to yourself, but to the Lord our Great God. I remind myself of this daily so as to stay on heavenly point instead of veering away from the path of God.
“But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you (Matthew 6:33).”
I hope you’ll come back next week. If you’re interested in reading more, please go to my website and check out my books or my ministry Facebook page.
Peace and blessings,
Alexys V. Wolf
Right after my brain surgery, I was alone while recovering in an assisted living facility in Phoenix, AZ. My life was so uncertain. My dream home in Oregon was sold, my teaching career seemed to be over, I didn’t know where I would live, ifI would ever recover my health, work, or live independently. MY LIFE WAS IN ASHES. Then….
While driving in my car I heard this song. Tears came to my eyes as I realized God had sent me a message of hope.
“Yes I will rise Out of these ashes rise From this trouble I have found And this rubble on the ground I will rise”
When we need it most, our God will faithfully send us word that we are not alone. That with HIS strength… we will rise out of our ashes to new victories. Don’t ever loose hope, hang on…. you have yet to live the best day of your life!
“And provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of His splendor.” Isaiah 63:1 (NIV)
Marching on, marching on,
For Christ count everything but loss!
And to crown Him King, we’ll toil and sing,
’Neath the banner of the cross!
(The Banner of the Cross-Daniel Whittle)
For some reason this song has been stuck in my head since I was a little girl. I’m not sure if we sang it a lot in church when I was a child or if my mom used it as a motivational song for me to get my chores done. Whatever the reason, it is stuck! But, I have always sung the first line as “Toiling on, Toiling on” instead of marching on. It wasn’t until recently that I saw the song printed somewhere that I noticed I had the words wrong! But did I? I believe God had it planted in my head that way because He knew the mission He had set out for me. Motherhood.
Being a mom is wonderful! I love it! Most days…
Here’s the definition for toil:
work extremely hard or incessantly.
“we toiled away”
synonyms: work hard, labor, exert oneself, slave (away), grind away, strive, work one’s fingers to the bone, put one’s nose to the grindstone; More
exhausting physical labor.
“a life of toil”
synonyms: hard work, labor, exertion, slaving, drudgery, effort, industry, ‘blood,sweat, and tears’; More
This really does describe motherhood…but I don’t look at this as discouraging but encouraging! We all toil at something! And I love that my calling is to toil at motherhood but I’ll be honest- some days are just hard! Some weeks are hard! It’s not always how commercials, pinterest and movies make it look. In fact, is it ever? Like so many other things, culture likes to give us this “picture” to live up to in order to sell us something. “If I just had that mixer, I could bake chocolate chip cookies with my kids and giggle as we get flour on our noses.” “If we could just go to Disney together, I know we could have some really great moments that would bring our family closer.” And, “If I just had that mop that makes life easier I can just shake my head and giggle at the milk and jelly that just crashed on the floor.” Sometimes we have those moments and SOMETIMES…nah…I never shake my head and giggle at the spills. But, my joy and happiness in being a mom is not dependent on these things. It’s not dependent on the special moments…though we have plenty. I want my kids to know that. I want to constantly remind myself of that. My joy and happiness comes from my faith, hope, and trust in God, not in the atmosphere I can create in my home to show the world that we are doing it “right”.
I toil on for Christ! I rejoice in the good days and the bad days for Christ! It’s a shocking thing I’m gonna say here. Prepare yourself. My children are not the source of my joy and hope. My children bring me great joy. I love them more than I love myself (except when I get mad because I love myself more than I love them…but that is another post). They are, apart from salvation and my godly husband, my most precious gifts from God. But if I base my joy on them, I will be disappointed. If they base their joy on me they will really be disappointed. My joy is in Him and my only expectation is from Him. “My soul, wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from Him.” Psalm 62:5. I want them to know that. I want to demonstrate that to my children so that they never look for joy and happiness in anything but Christ. Oh, temporary happinesses may come…but the rough days come as well. I pray I will teach my kids to base their hopes, foundations, dreams-everything on Christ alone. He is the only One who never fails! He is the source of hope: Psalm 119:14;Psalm 23…and a million other verses. I want my kids to look to Jesus for everything…not look for happiness in things, people or events. Psalm 16:11
So, I toil on in my calling of motherhood. Not for their benefit and not so I will be mother of the year. I toil, as the song says, to crown Him King beneath the banner of the cross. Everything I do is to honor and glorify Him. My children will benefit from that so much more than the vain things this world says makes a great mom. What makes a great mom, dad, family, or person is Christ and Him being the source and purpose for all that we do.
Sometimes it’s easy and all the world seems right. Sometimes it is toiling. But, with joy I will sing:
Toiling on, Toiling on,
For Christ count everything but loss!
And to crown Him King, we’ll toil and sing,
’Neath the banner of the cross!