Redemption

Why is it Called "Good" Friday?

If while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. (Rom. 5:10)


Before I was a Christian, and even for a while after my conversion, I couldn't figure out why we call it Good Friday. What on earth could be good about the day on which the hands of godless men nailed Jesus to the cross? But as time has progressed, and with it my knowledge of Scripture, I have come to see that it is indeed good Friday - the best Friday in human history.

Jesus did indeed die on what we call Friday - the next to last day of the Jewish week, of which the seventh day was the sabbath. We use essentially the same week, though instead of paying special attention to the seventh day, we give heed to the first day of the week; instead of the sabbath, we celebrate the Lord's Day. But whatever we call the day - Friday in English, el viernes in Spanish, other names in the other languages of the world - on this particular Friday, Good Friday, we turn our minds to the infinite good that took place on another Friday, 2,000 years ago.

Reaching Perfection?

Thou shalt be perfect with the LORD thy God. Deuteronomy 18:13

The artist, Salvador Dali is famous for stating one of my favorite quotes:

"Have no fear of perfection. You'll never reach it."

Image taken from About.com
Indeed, if you look at his art, there was a challenging of the perfect, of the “normal," of the expected. Surreal images were not about depicting something as it occurred in life. Stretched out clocks and manipulated human bodies captured that artistic representation.

If one cannot find his depiction of perfection in his work, the same, however, cannot be said about the existence of excellence there. It is pervasive. Imagination, bravery and human imperfections are all there. And, I believe, that's part of why we identify so strongly with his art. We can relate to

Abused? God has victory for You!

There are many of us out there who have been bullied and abused.

Whether we've been beaten verbally, emotionally, physically and sexually by a family member, have been teased, thrown in lockers or picked last for teams as kids or, worst case scenario - all of the above - it certainly is a challenge to live through that, let alone, overcome it.

Many of us are underdogs, the forgotten, the least likely.

And that is precisely why one of the things that I love most about God is His viewpoint on that status. God's "M.O." is one of championing the underdog, encouraging him/her, and exalting/promoting that individual, not just in spite of the odds, but quite often, because of them.

Discipline Or Regret: Which Pain Do We Embrace?

I don't know who said it, but there is a quote which goes something like:

"You either embrace the pain of discipline or you embrace the pain of regret."


Yes, I know, it's a festive one.

Nevertheless, it is a reality check, especially for those of us in recovery from any particular thing which has seized our pleasure centers, all in an effort to escape pain. We desire pleasure to soothe, numb or obliterate our pain. We believe the lie it will happen. Furthermore, we also believe there can be no good thing which comes from denying our indulgences for it.

Therefore, as we stumble and relapse, we often choose to embrace the pain of regret concerning our addictions and the harmful consequences which can follow.

It's not to shame anyone. Rather, it's, again, to provide the reality check that none of us are immune from relapse and bad decisions. We are all vulnerable.

For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust. Psalms 103:14

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Romans 3:23

It's acknowledged in the first two Twelve Steps:

Grace Brings Context to Our Lives

The Grace of Jesus brings true context to our lives. If you examine your meaning by any other context, you cheapen your worth. Also, relationships viewed through the lenses of Grace take on an unalterable value. Apart from Grace we tend to use people and love things. Grace implores us to use things and love people!

The Word became a human being; we are his address; he resides in us! He captivates our gaze! The glory we see there is not a religious replica; he is the authentic begotten son. The glory (that Adam lost) returns in fullness! Only grace can communicate truth in such complete context! He is the source of our completeness.

Unbreakable Grace

For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. Romans 6:14


For years, I've had a small Jesus statue, depicting thanksgiving to God for the loaves and fishes. This statue has traveled from Portland, Oregon to Dallas, Texas to our current locale of Minnesota. And, over the years and states, it has, unfortunately been broken at least a couple of times. His small hand, holding a broken loaf of bread, has repeatedly been glued back on.

It's irritating, yet also meditative, as it got me thinking about the whole grace thing.

Memories: Ouch!

Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation;
and uphold me with thy free spirit.
Psalm 51:12


Autumn floods me with childhood memories of locusts inhabiting our farm and caterpillars on twigs, kept on mason jars, just waiting to become monarch butterflies.

And, with that flooding, often comes the tinged bittersweet feelings that accompany a childhood innocence of long ago.

I recently caught a funny post on the internet. It read: "Memories: Ouch!"

They say humor is humor because it is unflinching truth. And that certainly was the case with this post.

What is Forgiveness of Sin?

What is forgiveness of sin?

1) To forgive sin, is to take away iniquity.
"Why dost thou not take away mine iniquity?" Job 7:21.
It is a metaphor taken from a man that carries a heavy burden which is ready to sink him, and another comes, and lifts it off, so when the heavy burden of sin is on us, God in pardoning, lifts it off from the conscience, and lays it upon Christ.
He has laid on him the iniquity of us all. Isaiah 53:6.

2) To forgive sin, is to cover it.
Thou hast covered all their sin. Psalm 85:2.
This was typified by the mercy-seat covering the ark, to show God’s covering of sin through Christ. God does not cover sin in the Antinomian sense, so as he sees it not, but he so covers it, that he will not impute it.

3) To forgive sin, is to blot it out.
"I am he that blotteth out thy transgressions." Isaiah 43:25.
The Hebrew word, to blot out, alludes to a creditor who, when his debtor has paid him, blots out the debt, and gives him an acquittance; so when God forgives sin, he blots out the debt, he draws the red lines of Christ’s blood over it, and so crosses the debt-book.

4) To forgive sin is for God to scatter our sins as a cloud.
"I have blotted out as a thick cloud thy transgressions." Isaiah 44:22.
Sin is the cloud, an interposing cloud, which disperses, that the light of his countenance may break forth.

How is Your Spiritual Heart Health?

God has been teaching me His way concerning heart health. The condition of my physical heart mirrored the state of my spiritual heart. Through a physical and spiritual heart catheterization He exposed blockages, which left untreated, would be my certain physical and spiritual demise. He exposed areas of my heart that were still wounded and thus divided. I suspect I am not alone in this process.

According to the parable of the sower, Jesus teaches that It is from our hearts that we gain all spiritual guidance and understanding.

"But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop" Luke 8:15 NIV.

"All valid spiritual direction comes to us through our heart-the seat of true knowing and our "eyes and ears" in the spirit. If we discern the "will of God" it is through our heart. Knowing our true identity and destiny is achieved through our hearts as well." "Living from the Heart Jesus Gave You", pg.67, published by Shepherd's House, Inc. revised version 2000.

As a direct result of these remaining heart blockages, I was no longer able to fully hear, retain, or re-produce a good crop from the word that had been so wonderfully planted in my heart for decades. The ability to correctly discern, know and understand Papa's will or my true identity and destiny as Papa's beloved son were being robbed from me. In this state, my capacity for joy was weakened. Of course my loved ones were profoundly affected by my heart disease as well (which of course there has been profound mercy and the amazing grace of forgiveness).

When your heart has blockages, your core identity becomes at best skewed and can even lose touch with reality. You are less able to live from the new heart Jesus gave you as your birthright. You even can end up not behaving or acting like who you truly are-an adopted child of God. Probably the most devastating part of this condition is being blocked from enjoying Christ in your heart. He-of course, will never leave us or forsake us-but our intimacy with Him can be diminished.

I am being so transparent about this in hopes to impart the courage for you to ask Papa to search your heart and know truth in your inner most parts, as King David did. This is why he was "called a man after God's own heart."

The single goal of heart healing is to

Are you in a prison of hopeless despair?

Too many of us have lived our lives suffering in a silent, shameful prison of hopeless despair. When we tried to hope -- our hopes were always deferred. We were heart sick from all our seeming endless deferred hopes (Proverbs). Hope for us was more of a mirage; one which was continually being pushed into an elusive, uncertain and clouded future.

Thus, our lives became defined by disappointment, disillusionment and shame. And like Rowan and Martin, on the 1970's show Laugh In, we regularly awarded ourselves with "the twisted finger of fate," instead of embracing our true divine destiny in Christ.

These three cousins of hopelessness (disappointment, disillusionment and shame) 'mar' the true image of God. I don't recall whose quote this belongs to; but, it goes something like this: "God created man in his image and likeness. Unfortunately, man has returned the favor. We have shaped God into the 'twisted' and 'wicked' view we have of ourselves." Disappointment, disillusionment and shame diminished us!

Not so in Christ! With him in our hearts, "hope springs eternal."

Such hope never disappoints, disillusions or shames us; for God's love has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit Who has been given to us. Romans 5:5, Amplified (my editorial change - deludes changed to disillusions)

Hope enables us to wait patiently for our redemption.

That is why (hopeful) waiting does not diminish us;

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