Redemption’s Cost*

REDEMPTION'S COSTUnimaginable glory laid aside,
Human flesh and vulnerability donned,
The Creator among His creation.
Submission to earthly parents.
Leaving when the time came.

Appearing to be baptized of John.
Driven into the wilderness.
40 days of fasting.
Tempted throughout –
“If you are the Son of God, do.”
“Worship me and I will give.”
Responding with the Word.

Father’s business,
Saying only His words,
Doing only His works.
Rejection by those He came to save.
Name calling:
Glutton
Drunkard
Friend of tax collectors and other sinners.
Character questioned.
Threatened with death.

Wrestling in Gethsemane,
Capillaries bursting under the strain.
Wrestling with what had to be done to redeem us –
“If it is possible, let this cup pass”
Yielding,
“Your will, not Mine.”

Knowing completely all that would happen,
But face set as a flint.
Stepping forward.
The kiss of betrayal.

Fake trial.
Outcome long determined.
Mockings.
Scourging.
Crown of thorns.
Beaten beyond recognition.
Face disfigured.
Body marred more than any other man.

Pain wracked,
Bloodied,
Carrying His cross up Golgotha’s hill.
Simon of Cyrene conscripted.
The nails.
The agony of breathing.
The mocking taunts of those who passed by:
“Save yourself.”
“Come down from the cross if you are the Son of God.”
The mocking of the justly condemned thief,
“Save yourself and us.”

The anguish of feeling forsaken.
Letting go of the relationship with the one who bore Him –
“Woman, behold your son.”
“Behold your mother.”

Praying for forgiveness for the mockers,
For those crucifying Him.
The thirst.
Then,
“It is finished.”
And the releasing, the yielding of His spirit.
Completion.

 

Redemption was free…for the redeemed.
Costly,
Beyond any human’s ability to pay, for the Redeemer.

*Originally published on fitlyspoken.

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Mind bent. Spirit worships.

Mind bent.Soul worships.It bends my mind.
A response congruent with the truth of Isaiah 55:8-9:
His thoughts are not mine.
Neither are His ways.
And both are higher than mine.

It bends my mind.
This truth that the creating Word,
the sustaining-all-things-by-His power Word,
willingly divested Himself of His glory.
Wrapped Himself in flesh.
Allowed Himself to be mocked and scorned.
Battered beyond recognition.
To redeem us.
To redeem me.

It bends my mind, this truth.
But my spirit,
my spirit accepts
what my mind cannot comprehend.
And
prostrates,
and worships.

Beloved. You.

You are beloved (1)

Whatever the name on your birth certificate. Whatever names others have called you. Your truest name is, “Beloved.”

Consider the kind of extravagant love the Father has lavished on us—He calls us children of God! It’s true; we are His beloved children. And in the same way the world didn’t recognize Him, the world does not recognize us either” (1 John 3:1, VOICE).

“This is the embodiment of true love: not that we have loved God first, but that He loved us and sent His unique Son on a special mission to become an atoning sacrifice for our sins” (1 John 4:10, VOICE).

The Apostle John, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, testified, “We know how much God loves us because we have felt his love and because we believe him when he tells us that he loves us dearly. God is love, and anyone who lives in love is living with God and God is living in him. And as we live with Christ, our love grows more perfect and complete; so we will not be ashamed and embarrassed at the day of judgment, but can face him with confidence and joy because he loves us and we love him too” (1 John 4:16-17, TLB).

May we believe God when He tells us that He loves us dearly. Remember, He is not a man that he should lie. Let His word stabilize your emotions and banish all doubt suggested by your circumstances. As stated in this note in the VOICE translation related to 1 John 3:1-2,

“When we feel like we are not good enough to be loved by God, we should remember that God’s love is greater than our doubts. We must silence the sounds of condemnation so we can hear the voice of God’s loving assurance and remember that He has selected us to be part of His family.”

My loved ones, we have been adopted into God’s family; and we are officially His children now. The full picture of our destiny is not yet clear, but we know this much: when Jesus appears, we will be like Him because we will see Him just as He is” (1 John 3:2) 

Beloved. That is who you are.

The Love of Advent

Love

For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
(Isaiah 9:6, NKJV)

“For God so [greatly] loved and dearly prized the world, that He [even] gave His [One and] only begotten Son, so that whoever believes and trusts in Him [as Savior] shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16, AMP)

Today is the last day of Advent 2017. Tomorrow we celebrate the birth of our Savior. There was no other way to redeem us so He, the Word through whom all things were made and are sustained, He became flesh for us. May this truth constantly boggle our minds, bend our knees, and so fill our hearts with gratitude, that our lips and lives overflow with praise and worship.

May your Christmas be filled with wonder.

The Joy of Advent: Day 18

Joy (3)

“But let all who take refuge and put their trust in You rejoice,
Let them ever sing for joy;
Because You cover and shelter them,
Let those who love Your name be joyful and exult in You.
For You, O Lord, bless the righteous man [the one who is in right standing with You];
You surround him with favor as with a shield.” (Psalm 5:11-12, AMP)

Prayer

Abba Father, You are our refuge. We chose to trust You, trustworthy God, and today we sing for joy at Your goodness and amazing, incomprehensible love. You cover and shelter us, Father. Your very name is a strong tower into which we run and are safe. We exult in You!


Other posts in the Advent 2017 series can be found here.

 

 

The Joy of Advent: Day 17

Joy (2)

In the first verse of his song, “Count your many blessings,” published in 1897, Johnson Oatman, Jr., tells us,

“When upon life’s billows you are tempest-tossed,
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost,
Count your many blessings, name them one by one,
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.”

“Count your many blessings, name them one by one
And it will surprise you what the Lord has done.”

This is a wonderful, life changing practice, as Ann Voskamp demonstrated aptly in her book, “One Thousand Gifts.” This Advent season we reflect on the truth that, of all the blessings God has given us,  nothing compares to this, “… while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:5, NIV, emphasis added). Our redemption was all His doing, and His doing only.

For it is by grace [God’s remarkable compassion and favor drawing you to Christ] that you have been saved [actually delivered from judgment and given eternal life] through faith. And this [salvation] is not of yourselves [not through your own effort], but it is the [undeserved, gracious] gift of God; not as a result of [your] works [nor your attempts to keep the Law] , so that no one will [be able to] boast or take credit in any way [for his salvation]. (Ephesians 2:8-9, AMP).

Prayer

Father, this Advent season, let us hear and read and experience this truth as if hearing and reading about and experiencing Your amazing love for the first time. Noel.

 


Other posts in the Advent 2017 series can be found here.

Advent: Week 1 – Hope

 

AdventWeek 1_ Hope

Introduction and Day 1

Today is the first day of the 2017 Advent Season. What is Advent? Advent is a season of preparation for Christmas and extends over a period of four weeks. As stated by  Rev. Dr. Mark D. Roberts, “Christians prepare for celebrating the birth of Jesus by remembering the longing of the Jews for a Messiah. In Advent, we’re reminded of how much we ourselves also need a Savior, and we look forward to our Savior’s second coming even as we prepare to celebrate his first coming at Christmas. The word ‘Advent’ comes from the Latin word adventus, which means ‘coming’ or ‘visit.’ In the season with this name, we keep in mind both ‘advents’ of Christ, the first in Bethlehem and the second yet to come.”

Prepare. My Christmas tree is decorated. Candles stand like sentinels next to angels and a Nativity scene on the fireplace mantle. Wreaths are on the front door and above the fireplace.  Several presents have been purchased. It is safe to say that my preparations for Christmas have begun. But more than I attend to the details of my tangible and visible preparations, it is critical that I give the most attention to the  preparation of my heart.

Four themes are emphasized during Advent: Hope. Peace. Joy. Love.  In keeping with the Advent calendar, hope is my focus this week, primarily through the lens of Scripture.

What is Hope? According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, hope includes, “desire accompanied by expectation of or belief in fulfillment,” “someone or something on which hopes are centered,” and “something desired or hoped for.”

Someone or something on which hopes are centered.”

“For You are my hope, Eternal One:
You, Lord, have been the source of my confidence since I was young.
(Psalm 71:5, VOICE)

“And again, Isaiah says: ‘There shall be a root of Jesse; And He who shall rise to reign over the Gentiles, in Him the Gentiles shall hope.'” (Romans 15:12, NKJV)

Prayer for Hope