Today’s fortune cookie says, “A well fed romance nourishes the soul.” As the Bible notes, you reap what you sow. When it comes to romance, what you put into the relationship is what you get out of the relationship. Time is our most important possession, and in a relationship, it is important to invest time to bless the relationship. Let us take this a step further, looking beyond our love relationships and our friendships… let us look at our relationship with God.
In the Bible, we read often of the covenants that God makes with His people. We read of the comparison of our relationship with God as a marriage. We read that we are His Bride. The fortune cookie notes that a nourished soul results from being well fed. The question may be posed—how are you feeding your romance?
Today, consider how you are feeding your relationship with your spouse? How are you feeding your friendships? How are you feeding your relationship with God? Ask the Spirit to help you be more intentional with these relationships. Take special care with your relationship with God, knowing that investing in this relationship – your most important relationship – will overflow to bless your other relationships as well.
“So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” – Psalm 90:12 [ESV]
Good Friday 2017
At about 9am, Jesus was nailed to the Cross.
At noon, darkness fell across the whole land.
At 3pm, Jesus died.
During the six hours that our Savior hung on the Cross, He spoke His last words.
- “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” [Luke 23:34]
Fulfilled Isaiah 53:12“Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”
J.C. Ryle “While the blood of the greatest sacrifice started to flow, the greatest of all high priests started to intercede.”
The tense of the word “said” in this passage indicates that the Lord repeated this appeal. Not only did He pray for forgiveness for His enemies, but He even argued on their behalf. Basically saying let me give you a reason why you should forgive them.
Hebrews 7:25– “Therefore He is able also to save forever those who draw near to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them.”
Isaiah 1:18– “”Come now, let’s settle this,” says the LORD. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.”
Ephesians 1:7– “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace”
- “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” [Luke 23:43]
When we suffer, we are consumed by ourselves and we forget everything else.
Jesus was focused on our forgiveness, our salvation.
He promises salvation to the one thief, who would that very day join Him in Paradise.
The thief only asked to be remembered. Our God provides in abundance. You won’t simply be remembered – you’re coming with Me!
Colossians 1:13-14– “For he has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son, who purchased our freedom and forgave our sins.”
Romans 10:9– “If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”
- “Woman, behold, your son!” / “Behold, your mother!” [John 19:26-27]
Fulfilled Luke 2:35“and a sword will pierce even your own soul– to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”
Mary found out what this truly meant.
John calls himself the disciple Jesus loves
He is the disciple who stays with Mary
He is the disciple who stays at the Cross
He is the disciple who is given responsibility for Mary
- “ELI, ELI, LAMA SABACHTHANI?” – “MY GOD, MY GOD, WHY HAVE YOU FORSAKEN ME?” [Matthew 27:46, Mark 15:34]
Fulfilled Isaiah 53:46 “But the LORD was pleased To crush Him, putting Him to grief; If He would render Himself as a guilt offering, He will see His offspring, He will prolong His days, And the good pleasure of the LORD will prosper in His hand.”
Quoted Psalm 22:1 “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?”
God could not look upon His Son while He bore all sin, as He is holy. At this one moment, Jesus was without the Father.
Because He was alone on the Cross, you NEVER have to be alone.
- “I am thirsty.” [John 19:28]
Fulfilled Psalm 69:21They gave me poison for food, and for my thirst they gave me sour wine to drink.
Hell is a place of thirst (Luke 16). When Jesus died on the Cross for us, He entered the darkness of hell for us and He thirsted.
This is the only time He is focused on His own physical needs
He’s quenching His thirst by drinking the cup God placed before Him (John 18:11– this is the cup God gave Him to drink)
John 4:34– “Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.”
By depleting Himself in death, Jesus would become a bountiful stream of living water
Isaiah 55:1 “Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters; and he who has no money, come, buy and eat!Come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.
John 4:14“But those who drink the water I give will never be thirsty again. It becomes a fresh, bubbling spring within them, giving them eternal life.”
- “It is finished!” [John 19:30]
Servant – I have finished the work you gave me. The task assigned was completed the way the master wanted it to be done and when the master wanted it completed.
Artist – It is finished means the picture is complete
Galatians 4:4-5– “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeemthose who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons.”
Merchant – Debt is paid in full. The purchases made on layaway were paid. When the last payment is made, this was written on the receipt to note that the debt is fully paid.
Hebrews 10:12– “But our High Priest offered himself to God as a single sacrifice for sins, good for all time. Then he sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand.”
Priest – It is perfect– if they examined the sacrificial animal and it was faultless and acceptable for the offering
1 Peter 1:19– “but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.”
- “Father, INTO YOUR HANDS I COMMIT MY SPIRIT.” [Luke 23:46]
The final act of obedience
Prayer that Jewish mothers taught their children to say before bed
Quoted Psalm 31:5 “Into your hand I commit my spirit; you have redeemed me, O LORD, faithful God.”
The Father’s protection àJesus was no longer in the hands of the sinners. He died confidently because He was in the Father’s hands.
The divine plan was not brought to completion according to the human limits of the human body, but according to the Son’s awareness that His mission had come to an end.
He did what only He could do. It was a loving, self-sacrifice.
John 10:18 “No one can take my life from me. I sacrifice it voluntarily. For I have the authority to lay it down when I want to and also to take it up again. For this is what my Father has commanded.”
As I was reading John 20 this morning, I was reminded of the personal relationship I have with Jesus. I was reminded that each of us have a different relationship (or absence thereof) when it comes to Jesus. It all comes down to how we engage with God’s Word and with our Savior. Remember in John 20:20, we find Jesus appears to His disciples and He shows them His hands and side. He shows them His hands and His side. Later Thomas, or Doubting Thomas as many call him, returned. He missed the grand arrival of Jesus, and though the others noted that He came, Thomas would not believe. He said, “Unless I see the nail marks in His hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand in His side, I will not believe” (v. 25 NIV). Thomas desired a personal encounter.
Jesus appears later, this time Thomas was with the others. The Bible says that even though the doors were locked, Jesus came in. He said, “Peace be with you!” Then He directs Himself to Thomas. He says, “Put your finger here; see My hands. Reach out your hand and put it into My side. Stop doubting and believe” (v. 27 NIV). Immediately Thomas responds – “My Lord and my God!” Thomas had a personal encounter with Jesus.
We are often hard on Thomas. Yes, he demanded to have this personal moment with Jesus. He demanded to see Him, to touch the nail marks. He desired to look upon the One Who once bled for Him. He desired to reach his hands out and put his finger where the nails once were. He needed to have this personal encounter. Yes, he doubted. Yes, he needed some evidence. Most of all, He needed to encounter the risen Jesus Christ. He needed it to be personal. Remember, once this happened he immediately exclaimed, “My Lord and my God!” Today, seek out that personal encounter with Jesus. Ask Him to reveal Himself to you in a new way. As you reach out and grasp a hold of Jesus, may you exclaim, “My Lord and my God!”
One of the hardest things is not being so stuck on myself. From the moment we begin life, we are all about self. We look out for ourselves. We want to be fed. We want to be rested. We want to be comfortable. When we learn to talk, we share about ourselves. Self. Self. Self.
When we have conversations, we go from our youthful days of asking questions and trying to learn to enjoying conversations where we talk about our day, our thoughts, our life. We don’t ask questions so much. We don’t fully listen in conversations. Instead we dominate the conversation and only listen to respond.
The Bible tells us to take an interest in others and to want the best for them. This starts with getting to know the heart of a person. Spend time with the person. Listen to them. Build a relationship. Invest in the person. Get to know about the person and be a part of their life. Relationship building is intentional. As you read the Gospel, you will note that Jesus took interest in people. He invested in people. He didn’t look out for His own interests. He sought out the very best for others, all while walking in faithful obedience to the Father. Today, take an interest. Invest. Love others.
“Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.” – Philippians 2:4 [NLT]
It is always important to be mindful of who you are surrounded by because it matters. As a child, we heard it from our parents and we didn’t want to listen. But then we got older and we started to see it play out. We realized that when we hung around certain people, we got in trouble because they liked to find trouble and you were right there along for the ride.
The Bible says that we should “walk with the wise and become wise.” If you spend time with people who are wise, you will glean so much. Just the same, if you “associate with fools” you will “get in trouble.” The foolish will pull you away. The foolish will plant seeds of doubt. The foolish will not encourage you to live in a godly manner.
We are not supposed to separate ourselves from the world; however, we need to be intentional with our relationships. You will become like the people who surround you. Today, look who you spend your time with each day. Are you walking with the wise or associating with fools?
“Walk with the wise and become wise; associate with fools and get in trouble.” – Proverbs 13:20 [NLT]
There are moments in life that certainly cannot be described as calm. Because of my intense energy issues, I invest a lot in an attempt to stay calm. I cannot have a lot of noise and light stimulation due to my diagnosis. I cannot have a lot of sugar or caffeine. Along with the removal of some items, I also have things I do in my life to help remove that extra crazy energy. I drink calming herbal teas like teas with chamomile and tension taming tea. I exercise, taking daily walks and using my Fit Board. I put on calming music. I use candles. Above all, I read God’s Word.
The Psalmist wrote about calming and quieting himself. This means that he slowed down and quieted his mind. As the Psalmist wrote, “My soul waits in silence for my God only” (62:1 NASB). This is something that we have to be intentional with to accomplish. We don’t naturally walk around calmed and quieted. In the age of social media and handheld technology, the world doesn’t really allow us to walk around like this because it’s wild and busy 24/7. As well, even if our minds have not been rewired from the new tech advancements, our minds have wandered for many years prior.
Today, take some time to calm yourself so that you can hear God speak. Find a quiet place to sit with God’s Word. Don’t feel pressured to speak. Open His Word. Read. Allow yourself to sit in silence with God. It is during these moments when we are able to hear the whisper of the One with the still small voice.
“Instead, I have calmed and quieted myself, like a weaned child who no longer cries for its mother’s milk. Yes, like a weaned child is my soul within me.” – Psalm 131:2 [NLT]