Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
John 3: 16 (Taken from my Grandmother’s Scofield Bible)
“God’s Plan Is Complete”
“Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me: yet not My will, but always Yours be done.”
Luke 22: 42
“Complete” – To bring to an end!
Have I accepted God’s “completed” work in my life?
“The cross is God’s truth about us, and therefore it is the only power which can make us truthful. When we know the cross we are no longer afraid of the truth.”
“By the cross we know the gravity of sin and the greatness of God’s love towards us.”
A beautiful garden. A perfect garden. And a perfect pair of created beings. This was God’s original plan – His children living in a garden of peace and harmony, joy and beauty. Surrounded every day by the many evidences of a God who loved them with all His being.
But blight entered this dominion of perfection. It was the corrosive acid of sin which brought disobedience. A serpent, called the devil, contended that God was a liar. A pompous ruler who wanted to control the pureness of His children. Furthermore, the serpent scoffed, sin didn’t cause death. What a joke! God was just trying to keep Adam and Eve from ascending into a higher level of intelligence and knowledge.
Didn’t these two individuals want to have the “knowledge of good and evil?” Obviously, they did! For they chose, with their gift of freedom, the power of choice handed to them by a generous and loving Father. The choice to disobey and go the way of their own making rather than God’s.
However, God’s love for His children didn’t stop when they spit in His face and turned their backs on Him. Immediately, God swung into action to bring “oneness” back into the universe. In the embodiment of His One and only Son, He came to earth as a baby. He grew to be a man. And as the Son, Jesus, walked the earth, mingling every day with the hurting, the helpless and the hopeless, He brought to their lives a story so wonderful and so unimaginable that it melted the hearts of many. The Son’s message of a Divine Love so great began to help God’s earthly children understand, even if in a very small way due to their limited, earthly comprehension, that God wanted to bring all of us back home. In fact, this Father whom Jesus told about, ran to meet His wayward children, loving them, embracing them, and best of all, restoring them to their place in His family.
But there was one more thing the Son knew must be laid out before all God’s children. The serpent had made one more claim, that “sin doesn’t cause death.” This charge against God hung out there in space. A lie the Son came to show the entire universe was invented by the devil, himself.
It was a tree called the “knowledge of good and evil” where man fell – but 4,000 years later, it was on a tree on Golgotha’s hill where man was redeemed up by a Son who willingly gave His life for ours. And as William Plumer writes, “The death of Christ was the most dreadful blow ever given to the empire of darkness.”
“Sin doesn’t cause death?” It did cause death – for God’s only Son. And it would have for you and me without a Saviour – a Redeemer – God’s only, begotten Son. In the beautiful words of Matthew Henry: “Come, and see the victories of the cross. Christ’s wounds are thy healings, His agonies thy repose, His conflicts thy conquests, His groans thy songs, His pains thy ease, His shame thy glory, His death thy life, His suffering, thy salvation.”
“In the cross of Christ I see three things:
First, a description of the depth of man’s sin.
Second, the overwhelming love of God.
Third, the only way of salvation.”
Rev. Billy Graham
“We do not call it Bad Friday
although, for the One who lived and died
the torture of that day
there would have been nothing good about it.
It was death by dishonour,
death by a pain so severe
that it filled all the spaces of thinking,
wrenching forth the cry,
‘My God! My God! Why have you forsaken me!’
This One, this Christ who used nature
to describe eternal truths,
who spoke of the cycle of the seasons
with images of grains of wheat,
fields, lilies, sparrows, grapes, figs,
fishes, sheep and flowing water,
this One was too steeped in agony
To remember that even the rarest flower
must die to produce a seeding.
But we who bear the gift
of His life and death and life,
call it Good Friday
and carry with us
the knowledge that in Him
all of our crucifixions
are but resurrections unborn.
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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