Tag Archives: Cross

A Beautiful Sacrifice

Over at dVerse Poets Pub, Mary challenges to write about beauty. With Good Friday and Easter on the horizon, I decided to write about the most beautiful sacrifice in all of history.

A Beautiful Sacrifice

It is an ugly scene

A naked man with bloody hands and feet
hangs upon an instrument of torture
sharp thorns jammed into his forehead
blood dripping down his face
sweat covering his body

He weeps
not for himself, but for the mockers
spitting at him
taunting and jeering
casting lots for his clothing
knowing not what they do

He cries out in agony yet
intercedes for those who hate him
prays they be forgiven, that we be forgiven
He atones, redeems, sets free
loves in a way we cannot fully comprehend

It is a beautiful scene
It is a beautiful sacrifice of love

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Ash and Sackcloth

Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. It is somber holiday when we are called to consider our sinful nature and our need for a savior. As a result, it tends not to be the most popular of holidays, and yet it is an important one. For only when one understands their sinful nature, their own wretchedness, can one truly see the need for the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus as their savior.

Many churches have services on Ash Wednesday, including my church—Community of Faith—and the focus is on repentance. As part of the service, the pastor or priest places a cross of ash on the forehead of the worshippers.

Ash and Sackcloth

To repent in ash and sackcloth
Is a concept we scarce understand
To revel in our pleasure and sin
Is a right we fully demand

Yet repent is what God commands us
Deep down we know that we should
Still we cling to our sinful behavior
Thinking obedience will hinder our good

Disobedience displays a lack of trust
That God yearns for our perfect peace
If we repent in ash and sackcloth
Only then will our wretchedness cease

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Comprehending His Power Is My Power

We are just about to finish up my first full year of Bible Study Fellowship, and as a group leader, in the study of Matthew. The experience has been richer than I could have ever imagined. I am so blessed to have been invited to be a group leader even though I had very little BSF experience.

The final two lessons cover the second half of Matthew 27 and Matthew 28, Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. The lessons coincided with Holy Week and Easter, and what an amazing blessing that was! I’ve heard the Holy Week and Easter stories many times. I’ve attended Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter church services for years. And yet this year, going deeper into those stories through the BSF study, I saw a great truth that I had never seen before in quite the way I did this year.

Throughout this year the Lord has been speaking to me through this study about how in His humanity He faced the same temptations and trials that I do. He resisted the temptations and overcame the trials with the same tools I have at my disposal: prayer, scripture, and the Holy Spirit. But it wasn’t until we got to the crucifixion and resurrection that it really sunk in.

As Jesus faced the cross in the garden of Gethsemane, He prayed earnestly, to the point of sweating blood, for the strength to see His mission through. When I face difficult trials, I can do the same. I have direct access to the Father in prayer because of what Jesus did for me.

But more importantly, I have the power of the Holy Spirit living in me. After His resurrection, Jesus said to His disciples: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. . . . And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18, 20. The authority He had, and still has, was sufficient to allow Him to lay down His life on the cross for our sake, and to take it up again at the resurrection and thereby defeat death, our greatest foe. Now that’s power! And He will always be with me so that I have that power at my disposal when I face temptations and trials.

If Jesus can overcome death by the power that enabled His resurrection, then by that same power overcoming sin is well within the realm of possibility for me. His power over death is my power over sin.

I feel like Paul’s prayer for the believers in Ephesus and for all believers has been answered in me:

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. Ephesians 1:18-21.

I’ve known for a long time that I have the power of the Holy Spirit living in me, but somehow the enormity of that power that raised Christ from the dead never quite hit me like it has in the past two weeks. This power will not only convict me of my sin and lead me to repentance, but when exerted in the authority of Christ it can and will enable me to overcome the temptation to sin that I face on a daily basis. I am a conqueror of sin because Christ lives in me and His power is my power!

As if to reinforce this message, just this week I bought the new Mercy Me CD titled “Welcome to the New.” There is a great song on this CD titled “Flawless.” It starts like this:

There’s got to be more
Than going back and forth
From doing right to doing wrong
‘Cause we were taught that’s who we are
Come on get in line right behind me
You along with everybody
Thinking there’s worth in what you do.

Then Like a hero who takes the stage when
We’re on the edge of our seats saying it’s too late
Well let me introduce you to amazing grace

And then the chorus reminds me that:

No matter the pain
Still the truth is
The cross has made,
The cross has made you flawless.

No matter what they say
Or what you think you are
The day you called His name
He made you flawless.

In the eyes of God I am flawless because He sees Christ’s perfection when He looks at me. Knowing that, and knowing the power He provides, I don’t have to go back and forth from doing right to doing wrong because that’s no longer who I am. If I embrace His amazing grace and His resurrection power, each day He changes me and enables me to be more of who He’s called me to be.

And here’s the video of Mercy Me singing this awesome song. I hope it blesses you as much as it has me, and encourages you to hold tightly to His grace and power, because the cross has made you flawless, too.

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The Cross – A Cinquain

I’ve been struggling to post very often lately, and starting this week I’m taking on another responsibility as a Bible study small group leader. It occurred to me that I could embrace my love of short-form poetry and thereby continue to post with some regularity. And so here is a cinquain for today.

The Cross

The cross
around my neck
Instrument of mercy
The solution to my dismay
My hope

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It Is Finished – An Elfje

Black
the sky
when He died
redeemed my lost soul.
Atonement.

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Irony – An Elfje

Rugged
the cross
instrument of death
brought me eternal life
irony

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Which Thief? – A Poem

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?

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Upon the Cross – A Ghazal in Two Versions

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

 

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My Beautiful – A Ghazal

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).

My 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

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The Cross – A Poem

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.

The Cross

Love bled and
died   for   you
for me, for all
You   ask   me
why  He   died
why   would
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
important for
you   and   me
Redemption
Mercy    Grace
the   character
of   our  God
is      Love
He    couldn’t
do  anything
less   than   lay
down   His
holy life to
reconcile
us with Him

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