when He died
redeemed my lost soul.
Tag Archives: Cross
instrument of death
brought me eternal life
Two thieves were crucified
beside Jesus one dark day
One thief mocked
One thief believed
Which one would I be?
If I was crucified
right by His side
would I mock and jeer?
Which thief would I be?
If my fate was tied
to His upon a cross
would I trust and believe?
Which thief would I be?
Which thief would you be?
Where would you spend eternity?
Last Thursday at dVerse Poets Pub‘s Form For All Samuel Peralta taught us about the ghazal form of poetry. I wrote one for linking up there on Thursday and I liked the form so much I decided to write another. This one has 6 couplets, so it’s still not the ghazal sonnet that Samuel wrote about and gave an example of. My first version also has no set meter, but I decided to do a second version cutting it to have 8 syllables per line, trying for some semblance of meter. I suspect my meter still isn’t perfect, though, as I have a hard time with this concept. I can count syllables, but I know there is more to meter than that. The idea of stressed and non-stressed syllables simply escapes me.
I also didn’t end these with my name in the last line. Anyway, I would be interested to know which version readers think works better and why.
Upon the Cross – Version 1
Bloody and bruised, ringed by thorns
I gaze up to Your lovely face upon the cross
Forgiveness for mockers and spear wielder
to all the same Your grace upon the cross
There I should be, my punishment
Your mercy took my place upon the cross
Running, running fast to the finish line
but You already won the race upon the cross
I’m always two strides behind the lead
but You, for me, kept the pace upon the cross
My guilt and shame by love replaced
so that now there is no trace upon the cross
Upon the Cross – Version 2
Bloody and bruised, brow ringed by thorns
Your lovely face upon the cross
Forgiveness for the mockers
to all Your grace upon the cross
There I should be, my punishment
You took my place upon the cross
Running fast to the finish line
You won the race upon the cross
Always two strides behind the lead
but You keep pace upon the cross
My guilt and shame by love replaced
there is no trace upon the cross
The Form for All lesson over at dVerse Poets Pub today is on the ghazal and Samuel Peralta’s ghazal sonnet. I immediately found it to be a very interesting poetry form and decided to try writing one. Mine is not a sonnet because it is more than 14 lines, and I didn’t pay any attention to meter. The refrain I settled on is “my Beautiful,” which refers both to the fact that Jesus is my Beautiful Savior and that I am His Beautiful child (since my first name is Spanish for beautiful).
In my lost and wandering youth
my soul did flee my Beautiful
During numberless crazy times
I saw only me, my Beautiful
In the darkness of past days
I could nary see my Beautiful
Take this cup of grief from me
I echo Your adamant plea, my Beautiful
With joy I did learn of Your sacrifice
on the cursed tree, my Beautiful
I knew in my heart of hearts
Your grace is the key, my Beautiful
Alive and found by My love
Your soul set free my Beautiful
My greatest desire for all my days
is to glorify thee, my Beautiful
In Your strong and lovely voice
You call me Linda Lee, my Beautiful
Last night I was checking out my newsfeed on Facebook. I was inspired by the status update of a friend who has been posting a thankfulness post every day for November. What she said she was thankful for was the cross. She wrote: “I am grateful that I am not on the cross…though I deserved it, Jesus took my place. I can’t grasp WHY He loves me that much, but I am VERY thankful to Him for paying the price for me!” I’m thankful for the cross, too.
12/2/11 Update: Linked at dVerse Poets Pub for FormForAll – Poetic Devices: Image, Symbol, Metaphor, Allegory.
Love bled and
died for you
for me, for all
You ask me
why He died
this King of
kings, & Lord
of lords love
I don’t know – I don’t understand a love so deep and so wide
Jesus laid down His life, the most holy life worth so much more
more than all the jewels and gold and treasure in all the world
It should have been me on that cross; It should have been you
But why does
not matter to
what is most
you and me
of our God
less than lay
holy life to
us with Him
My favorite verse in all of the Bible is John 14:6. Jesus has just told the disciples that He will be going back to Heaven to prepare a place for them and they know where He is going, and Thomas replies that they don’t know the way. “Jesus told him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one can come to the Father except through me.’” I love this verse because it is so comforting to know that Jesus clearly showed us how to be in relationship with God now and for eternity. I am so thankful for all of the words of Jesus recorded in the Gospels, especially in John. I am thankful that I don’t have to doubt or wonder whether Jesus has prepared a place for me in His Father’s house.
The Way, the Truth, and the Life
Your way to the cross
Made the Way for us
To return to You
Redeemed and restored
Your truth on the cross
Showed the Truth of Your love
For all us sinners
Even the thief
Who was promised Paradise
Your life given on the cross
Gave eternal Life to all
When You took it up again
At the resurrection
If only we believe
We come to the Father
Only through You
You are the Way
Your Way is the Truth
Your Truth gives us Life
The Father welcomes all
Who come in Your name
Here it is Tuesday morning, and I woke up with no post scheduled and no idea what I was going to write about for My Tuesday Three. I began to lament ever having started this Tuesday theme because it would have been easier to just write a short post this morning, or to have written something short yesterday and scheduled it. It’s been a crazy week, between our cat dying, my birthday on Sunday, and movie plans with friends yesterday, I just never found the time to identify My Tuesday Three and figure out how they could be related.
So this morning, after my son and husband left, I decided that instead of trying to write something first thing, I would shower and spend some time in prayer first. As I prayed, I asked God to help me with my post today because I had nothing on my own. His answer? “They are in your blogroll.” After my prayer time, I went to my blogroll and here are the posts I was led to.
The first post I want to showcase is titled “No Other God Can Deliver” by Ben over at Justified Freely. I’ve been reading Ben’s blog for quite some time, and I love his simple format. He begins with a Bible passage and then includes a short 3 – 5 paragraph observation on the passage. This particular post is part of his series going through the book of Daniel, and is based on the outcome of the story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego who were thrown into the fiery furnace at the order of King Nebuchadnezzar, but emerge unharmed. The passage Ben focused on in this post is Daniel 3: 28-30, where the King orders that no one speak against the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego “because there is no other God that can deliver after this sort.”
He found that zeal because he had seen something beyond the realm of possibility. He had seen God deliver and deliver completely. . . . It was one thing for them to come out of the fire alive. It was another thing for them to come out of the fire with no evidence that they had ever been in the fire!
As I read this, I was reminded of how God will see us on judgment day, as if we had never been through the fire, because we will be clothed in Christ’s robe of Righteousness, washed clean of all our sin.
The second post I want to showcase is titled “All His Benefits (Part Two)” by Theresa Moore over at Moore to Ponder. In this post, she shares about the writings of one of her favorite Christian theologians, C. H. Mackintosh, and provides a link to read more of his writings.
He wrote a wonderful piece titled “Forgiveness of sins: What is it?” In this writing he very effectively explores that subject and presents it under three heads: First, the ground on which God forgives sins; secondly, the extent to which He forgives sins; and, thirdly, the style which He forgives sins.
The passage Theresa chose to share from Mackintosh is absolutely wonderful. It clearly and logically makes the argument that Jesus died for all our sins, past, present, and future. Once we are saved by His grace, we cannot lose that salvation simply because we sin yet again, because Jesus is there to forgive that sin as well. In the passage Theresa quotes, Mackintosh answers the concern that our future sin is not yet forgiven:
But I can imagine my reader exclaiming “What! do you mean to say that my future sins were all atoned for?” To this I reply, that all our sins were future when Christ bore them on the cursed tree. The sins of all believers, for the last eighteen centuries, were future when Christ died for them.
The third post I want to showcase is titled “Why would I be nervous when it’s all for God . . .?” by Rea over at bended spoon. Rea has a wonderfully whimsical way of writing and her wonder at how awesome our God is always shows through. In this post, she encourages us to trust in God to be faithful to bless us when what we do is all for Him. She encourages us that there is no reason to be nervous when He is at the center of what we do for others.
If you feel that what you are giving is a big portion that eats your budget, know that the seed could grow into tree that will bear fruits and more seeds and more trees… The blessing will come around to you more than treefold — really fruitful!
So what ties these posts together? It is that Christ is all. Christ, the fourth Man in the fire, was all that Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego needed to be delivered unscathed from the fiery furnace that took the lives of those who were ordered to throw them into it. Christ, who died on the cross, is all we need for the forgiveness of our sins – past, present, and future – so that we may stand pure and unscathed before God at judgment. Christ is all we need to provide us with the courage to not be nervous when all we do is for Him.
Christ was also all that was necessary to bring these three wonderful bloggers into my life so that I might be encouraged by them, and that I might in turn share their offerings with you so that you might be encouraged, too. So that for you, Christ might be all.
This past weekend I was listening to Audio Adrenaline in my car. The CD I was listening to has the song “Beautiful” on it twice, and with several trips to various places I managed to hear that song probably 7 or 8 times. The lyrics of this song took my thoughts in 2 entirely different directions, both of which I want to share today. But first, a video of the song:
The first direction this song took my thoughts was based on the lyrics:
Your name is, beautiful
It drips off of my lips like drops of gold
There are so many beautiful names of Jesus in the Bible. Prince of Peace, Son of God, Spotless Lamb of God, Savior, Lord, Son of Man, Immanuel (which means “God with us”), the Bread of Life, the Light of the World, and more. Each of these beautiful names truly does drip off of my lips like drops of gold. As the name of Jesus is on our lips, we become a blessing to others and to those who do not know Him.
Which brings me to the second direction this song took my thoughts in, based on the lyrics:
When I lift You up they come running
When I sing Your song the world’s turning to You
Just the sound of Your name is a beautiful thing
I love You, I love You, I love You
A couple of years ago I was on the leadership team at my old church. We were talking about ways to increase membership in the church, and someone suggested we turn to a consultant who helped churches with church development and growth based on a program called “ABC’s of Natural Church Development.” This program was based on an extensive survey of churches around the world to determine what made people join churches and stay there. It was a pretty good program that identified the 8 characteristics of growing churches as:
- Empowering Leadership
- Gift-based Ministry
- Passionate Spirituality
- Effective Structures
- Inspiring Worship Service
- Holistic Small Groups
- Need-oriented Evangelism
- Loving Relationships
But as we went though the steps outlined in this program to determine which of these two areas our church was weakest in, I kept thinking that there was something missing, but that it was also more complicated than it needed to be. It seemed to me that 2,000 years ago Jesus told us what was needed for church growth. It was the method He employed and that the apostles employed with great success. After God the Father had spoken from heaven that His name had been glorified and would be again, Jesus said:
“Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.” He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die. John 12:31-33 (NIV).
Jesus drew people to Himself through His willing sacrifice for our sins, through His divine love revealed when He was lifted up on the cross. He did not say it was His great teaching or example that would draw people to Him. He did not say it was effective church structures that would draw people to Him. He did not say it was empowering leadership that would draw people to Him. He did not say it was inspiring worship services that would draw people to Him. He did not even say that it was loving relationships that would draw people to Him.
Now don’t get me wrong. I believe the characteristics set forth in the ABC’s program are important for a church. And men and woman who are in love with Jesus, who are truly sold out on His love and sacrifice, should and will work to exhibit these characteristics in their congregations.
But when it comes to church growth, to adding numbers to the church membership roll and Christian souls to the Kingdom of God, the way to do that is to lift up Jesus. We must lift up His name and His sacrifice on the cross, and by doing so we will draw people to Him. They may not join our particular congregation, but that should not necessarily be our aim. Our aim should be to draw people to Jesus Himself. Once drawn to Him, He will do the work necessary to inspire His believers to gift-based ministry and need-oriented evangelism. He must be the center of all that the church does and teaches. We must do as Paul wrote to the church in Corinth:
Jews demand signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 1 Corinthians 1:22-24 (NIV).
When we lift Him up, they will come running. Let us never forget the power of the name of Jesus Christ and Him crucified to draw people to Him for their own salvation.
Each morning I begin my prayers, “Heavenly Father, I praise You and worship You. You are the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. You are merciful and loving; You are Holy and Just.” Then I think, almost without fail, that those words are never enough to describe who He is to me. Words are never enough to truly reveal the glory and majesty of our Creator.
Moses, Daniel, Isaiah, David, and many more wrote of the wonder of our God in the Old Testament. Their words, inspired by God Himself, make up ¾ of the entire Bible, which is no small book. Still, for all the prophets spoke and wrote of God’s love, mercy, and holiness, the people didn’t completely understand the majesty of God because our languages are insufficient for that task.
I was thinking about this during my prayer time yesterday morning, and the children’s book Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney came to mind. It is a story about Little Nut Brown Hare and his dad Big Nut Brown Hare. Little Nut Brown Hare tells Big Nut Brown Hare how much he loves him: “I love you as high as I can hop!” he says. His father responds, “Well, I love you as high as I can hop,” which is, of course, higher. Throughout the story they try to describe how much they love each other as Little Nut Brown Hare is getting ready to go to bed. Just as he is drifting off to sleep, the little one says with a smile, “I love you to the moon!” After he is off into dreamland, his loving father says, “I love you to the moon . . . and back.”
Then I heard God say, “I love you to the cross . . . and back.” A thousand words and more can’t adequately describe the love of God. But this one picture — of Jesus on the cross, of His bleeding brow ringed with a crown of thorns, of His bleeding side — portrays it so well.
I believe that’s why the Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us. Words alone were not enough to portray His love. He had to come down from Heaven and show us. “This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.” 1 John 3:16 (NIV).
I know I love God, but I also know that He loves me and you more. He loves us to the cross . . . and back.