While driving to my office yesterday morning, I saw these power poles, but these are not new. I’ve driven this road for 3 1/2 years and they have always been there, but something different happened yesterday. As pole after pole went by, I no longer saw a power pole, but rather, I noticed a cross. ~ I saw Jesus ~ I was humbled as a sinner. ~ I contemplated his death for me. ~ I experienced God’s grace. ~ I heard God’s forgiveness announced.
All of this through a series of power poles that I have seen hundreds and hundreds of times. God is amazing like that – taking everyday things and people to remind you of His grace. And so, as I continued contemplating this picture and morning experience, the following poem got written. To God be the glory!
The cross of Christ is all around me, reminding me of Your grace. Suffered, died and now lives forever, that I may not be disgraced.
Thank you, Father, for these simple signs, reminding me of Your love. For through Jesus Christ my Lord and King, I will live with You above.
The following chalk art was created by my imaginative 6-year-old daughter. It used to adorn the sidewalk in front of our home. Knowing that the lawn sprinklers would soon wash this masterpiece away, I made sure this was digitally preserved. This artwork, from the heart of a 6-year-old, inspired the following poem. To God be the glory!
Through death to Life, You give me hope. Through dark to light. I can now cope. For the cross rises above this broken world and life rises from within. I now have hope and strength for through Jesus Christ eternal life now begins. The sun shines, The flower blooms, Oh Lord my God my final place is not the tomb. And now my heart leaps for joy, I just can not contain it. My face radiates with love, Something that will never quit. So may the cross brightly shine, A hope for the world to see. My sins have been wiped away. That is Your loving decree.
God shall arise, his enemies shall be scattered; and those who hate him shall flee before him!
Psalms 68:1 ESV
When you are in Christ, you are on the winning side. God’s victory and reign is not a yet-to-be-decided type of thing. It has been determined and settled. God has triumphed over the world through the cross and the empty tomb. Jesus’ resurrection means sin, death and the power of Satan have been defeated. And thus, those who oppose God will go by the way of Satan and his minions. They will flee defeated and eventually be judged and condemned. Those who are in Christ are victorious by virtue of Jesus’ love and grace. So stand firm in Christ and rest in the fact that as Christ was raised so you shall be also. Nothing can oppose those take refuge in God our Father. Spread the Good News. Jesus lives. God reigns forever and ever. Amen.
And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” [Mark 15:34 ESV]
Have you considered and reflected on the forsakenness of Christ; those long, horrible hours on the cross? Have you? I mean, it’s one thing to be beaten to within an inch of your life but Jesus was also nailed to a cross after that to suffer an unimaginable agony. And now, on top of that, Jesus is forsaken by God to endue the weight of the sins of the world.
But consider the Psalm that Jesus is quoting from. Yes, this is more than a cry to his abba. It is a cry of hope…FOR YOU. ~ Yet you are holy (vs 3) ~ To you they (our fathers) cried and were rescued (vs 5) And it goes on to talk about his suffering, BUT, ends with praise. God is doing something. Jesus cries out in agony, but, through Psalm 22, proclaims the Gospel in the midst of his agony. ~ For kingship belongs to the Lord, and he rules over the nations. (vs 28)
What is awesome about Jesus’ suffering is that he was not focused on the suffering itself but rather on the victory that is coming. Even though God had forsaken him at that moment, Jesus was still looking forward to his redemption. This is not a desperate cry but rather a cry of salvation…FOR YOU.
In the midst of your suffering, look to your Father in heaven and know that you are NEVER forsaken. Jesus suffered the ultimate forsakenness that you would never have to. This momentary affliction is nothing compared to the glory that is to come through Jesus Christ.
Reflect on THAT and praise HIM always and forever.
The magnitude of what Jesus did for us can not be overstated.
The lengths that Jesus went to can not be measured.
The depths of his love can not be gauged.
The wideness of his grace can not be seen,
The closest we get is this: Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God(think about that for a moment, the form – of – God), did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, BUT
emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant,
being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form,
he humbled himself
by becoming obedient
to the point of death,
even death on a cross.
Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. [Philippians 2:5–11 ESV]
Let that sink in…
Goosebumps yet? No? Then go back and read it again and this time pay attention.
Goosebumps yet? Yes? Then go back and read it again and just abide in this Word.
Staring at this cross on my office wall, this poem/confession started to flow. As I think about what it means to be a church, I can’t help but think that if a church doesn’t have a right understanding of God through Jesus Christ; if they don’t truly know him, then their mission will always be askew.