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Pilgrimage to Easter

Time In Between: The Love of God

♫ But it’s the time in between/ That brings me to my knees/
Knowing You came for me/

And all that I can’t be/ I’m amazed, so amazed/
And I thank You for the time in between ♫

There is so much you and I could never be. Still, God sent His Son Jesus Christ to take on all of our punishment… punishment we deserve. We are sinners, and sin brings death. It brings death and separation from God. Even while we were enemies of God, He sent His Son to take our place and invites us to have a right relationship with Him through Christ’s death and resurrection. How will we respond to this awesome, humbling truth?

May we meditate on these truths today.

Colossians 1.20

“Through the Son, then, God decided to bring the whole universe back to himself. God made peace through his Son’s blood on the cross and so brought back to himself all things, both on earth and in heaven (GNT).”

“[A]ll the broken and dislocated pieces of the universe—people and things, animals and atoms—get properly fixed and fit together in vibrant harmonies, all because of his death, his blood that poured down from the cross (The Message).”

2 Corinthians 5.19

“For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation (NLT).”

John 3.16

“For God expressed His love for the world in this way: He gave His only Son so that whoever believes in Him will not face everlasting destruction, but will have everlasting life (The Voice).”

Categories
Pilgrimage to Easter

Gloomy Black Friday

From 11.23.12

Black Friday looked very gloomy, but it is how God brought salvation to all men!

Luke 23.44-24.2
John 19:33-42
Mark 15.33-16.8

I noticed a lot of good things in today’s passages. Some key added insights to what happened on black Friday and the Sunday when He rose again.

Joseph and Nicodemus took Jesus’ body off the cross, wrapped him in linen, and carried him to the tomb. It took boldness for Joseph (a quiet follower of Jesus with political ties) to go before Pilate asking if he could take Jesus’ body. 

A few days later…
The women, prepared spices to prepare Jesus’ body. When they arrived at the tomb, Jesus was not there. When told by the guard that He rose, the guard instructed them to go tell Jesus’ disciples…. But, Peter is mentioned by name. Peter needed to know, and have his faith rebuilt.

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Pilgrimage to Easter Scriptures Examined

Isaiah 53:4a – Allowing Him to Carry Your Burdens

In the Interlinear Bible, we find these words from Isaiah 53:4a (if you click the highlighted word, it will take you to its meaning in the original language).

Surely our griefs He Himself bore, And our sorrows He carried;

My paraphrase based on the definitions:

In fact our afflictions (grief, illnesses, and sicknesses)
He Himself carried (to be swept away). And our mental
and physical pain He willingly made His burden.

The words used for “bore” and “carried” are two very different terms.

  • Nasa’ is the word used for “bore”, which means:
    1. to take, take away, carry off, forgive
      1. to cause one to bear (iniquity)
  • Cabal is the word used for “carried” a few words later. It is defined as: “to make oneself a burden, drag oneself along”.

All of our burdens carried for us.
Every. Single. One.

We need to acknowledge what has been done on our behalf. This is what Jesus has done for us through the cross. God has sent His Son Jesus Christ to die on the cross for every weight and sin we have been weighed down by and has kept us from seeking God. We each have turned to our own way. He came for us. That’s how big God’s love for us is.

The greatest act of love has already been accomplished. It was accomplished the moment Jesus said “it is finished” and the veil was torn through His death on the cross… The veil reveals that wall that separated us from God – is gone. Our debt has been paid in full through the blood of Jesus Christ.

God shows His power.
We are His, and are dearly loved by the Father!

He longs for us to give Him our every burden to carry. He longs for us to just ask: “Lord, please help me.” We don’t have to carry the heavy loads we have been carrying. He wants to help us. We have been given full access to our Creator. He longs to help us and give us the Peace only He can give

Won’t we give Him our burdens? It begins with prayer. Talk with God about what’s going on and the struggles you are facing.

Reflection Activities:

  1. Meditate on these few, but significant words of this Scripture.
    But he ·took [bore] our suffering on him and ·felt our pain for us [carried our sorrows/sickness].
  2. What is weighing down your heart?
  3. Are you willingly talking to your Savior Jesus about it, and let Him lead?
Categories
Pilgrimage to Easter

Intentional Pilgrimage

I titled this section “Pilgrimage to Easter”, because that is precisely what it is. Often times, I am not prepared for Easter. My spirit is far from prepared for the glory of Easter and all that it encompasses. Lent, for me, is a pilgrimage. It is a gradual approach to Easter, that requires diligence that God deserves – to ensure I am ready for Easter.

During the course of the next several weeks, I will post in this specific category. It may regarding Lent itself, or involve sharing my Lent reading plan… It will be about this pilgrimage to “Jerusalem”.

For those who desire to go on a similar walk, consider joining me. It is about setting our eyes on this pilgrimage. It is about seeking God intentionally.

Lent needs to be a deliberate act to be intentional in seeking God’s face, pursuing things that draw us nearer to Him and removing things that hinder His voice. Not just for a season, but for good…

As we seek intentional living, we are reminded how Jesus is intentional in saving and loving us regardless of how foolish we may have acted.

Psalm 84:5 says:

“What joy for those whose strength comes
from the LORD, who have set their minds
on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem.”

Reflection Questions:

  1. Are you participating in the season of preparing your spirit for Easter?
  2. Are you ready for the joy that awaits you?
  3. Are you ready for the spiritual growth and excitement that awaits your spirit?

Hebrews 12:2

 “… [L]ooking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of
our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured
the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”

Categories
Pilgrimage to Easter

Thoughts on Ash Wednesday

I went onto my Twitter page. Tons of things trending concerning Ashe Wednesday. Lots of “selfies” of others participating in Ash Wednesday. Even without the “selfies”, there are lots of updates and comments that are meant to be left between you and God. I guess, it just “surprised” me how many posted what they were doing. If it is an act for God alone, why post it? If it is for God alone, why act in such a way? The whole ideal behind Lent is self-denial, to seek God all the more in our daily lives.

Motives:
If participating in something like Lent and you feel the compelling need to share what you are giving up or doing, you should probably check the motives of your spirit – to discern why you are participating.

One question and concern to ask is, “Are we making a show of it?” If we are, our motives may not be right. I am not anti-Lent or anything, but the motives of our spirit must be the deciding factor in participating in something like Ash Wednesday or Lent in general.It is about what we can spiritually gain by what we “lose”. Here are some tips:

  • Give up the need to post it on social media.
  • Keep it between you and God.
  • What are your motives? Check them. Talk it over with God.

“If a Christian decides to observe Ash Wednesday and/or Lent, it is important to have a biblical perspective. Jesus warned us against making a show of our fasting: “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen” (Matthew 6:16-18). We must not allow spiritual discipline to become spiritual pride.” – Got Questions