It was a Good Friday, it was a Holy Friday

Good Friday.  Why do we call it good?  From all appearances, that day looked like anything but good.

The Passion of Christ

A false arrest in the wee hours of the morning.  Friends who ran in fear.  One denies he even knew Him.  One betrays Him for a pittance.

Accusations that fly in the face where slaps and spit follow.  Soldiers who had any compassion trained out of them, beating Him to near death.

Mocking words that contradict all He ever said.  A crowd jeering, crying out for death.  Religious leaders leading the rabble-rousers.  Political leaders afraid to do what is right.

A heavy, splintered cross laid on a back where the flesh was already torn away.  Crown of thorns piercing the brow with its poison.  A long and hard Via Dolorosa.  Golgotha in view.

Sound of nails in flesh and sinew.  Thud of crosses in deep holes.  Cries of pain and agony that only the crucified know.

A few lone followers, women and John, deep in the throes of grief and grasping for some understanding behind all this suffering and finality to a ministry that flourished only a week ago.

Alone. Forsaken. Separated.   Darkness. Earthquake. Storm. Death.

Sin exposed to the judgment of a Holy God.

Nothing of this day looked good.  This was a day gone horribly wrong.

Or was it?

“The King of the Jews” was written in three languages, a foretaste of the Gospel preached to all nations.

A thief on another cross entered into Paradise, giving us hope that salvation is still offered at the very last hour for those who believe.

Two secret disciples, Joseph of Arametha and Nicodemus, come out of hiding to do the right thing and acknowledge the One who came from God.

Forgiveness offered from a heart only understood by a loving Heavenly Father.

Words spoken from parched and bleeding lips that shout the victory battle cry, “It is finished!”

A veil torn in two so that all people will know they are welcomed into The Presence.

The penalty paid in full, judgment recompensed.

A Redeemer revealed

Blood of The Lamb poured out to take away the sin of the world.

The Plan, laid foundationally eons before by Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, brought to completion.

And I see it.  And it is good!

Remembering the cross of Christ I recall my sins and His suffering.  My debt and His payment.  My hopelessness and His free gift.  My searching and His seeking love.  My past and now my future.

Jesus paid it all.  All to Him I owe. 
Sin had left a crimson stain.  He washed it white as snow.

Good Friday.  It was a good day – for me and for the world.

And remember, Sunday is on the way.

Reposted from 2013

Sunday grace

I’m a small girl, swinging my legs back and forth under the pew at the big church. My mother and father are on either side of me.  Familiar faces surround me.  The organ plays strong and the piano accompanies as the leader at the front sings,

I surrender all.  I surrender all.  All to Jesus I surrender, I surrender all.

And my tender child-heart surrendered what I knew of myself to Jesus. I didn’t understand theology and complicated doctrines. I only understood that Jesus loved me, for the Bible told me so.

I grew older.  My feet touched the floor as I sat up straight and listened to the sermon.  Again, I heard the invitation, “Surrender.  All.”  I left my comfortable place on the pew and went forward to kneel at the altar.  I wept and surrendered.  I thought it was my all.

It seems I’ve surrendered a lot to the Father’s entreating, and each time I think it is everything.

It is the gentle way of our Lord to call for another surrender and another as He reveals my heart to me and says, “Do you love me more than these?”

I don’t always understand the ways of the Spirit.  He is mysterious.  He is patient and persistent.  He is full of grace.  He is tenacious and unrelenting, unwilling to let me stay the way I am when there is so much more.  There is abundant life in Him, fullness of joy, and He wants that for me.  He invites to me to come further still into the place of His perfect will. That requires my surrender.

I want that too. The full-to-overflowing life where I abide in Jesus and His words abide in me and communion is sweet. The place where He walks with me and talks with me and tells me I am His own. Ah, the joys we’ll share.

But sometimes this alludes me. I am caught up with the cares of life, busy schedules, lots to do and time feels fleeting. I think I have to do it all and that it all depends on me, and what would happen if I lost control?

I hear it once more, the call to surrender.
Turn loose.
Quiet frantic thoughts.
Fear not.
Follow Me.
Be still.

Once more, I bow to His will and relinquish.

I consider the life Jesus lived in complete submission to the Father’s will. The way to the cross would be horrendous, yet He walked it with purpose and acceptance. He yielded, even as He took His final breath, “Father, into Your hands I comment my spirit.” 

And so today, I surrender again.  I surrender all that is in my hand and all my hand reaches for, all my heart’s longings, all my hopes and dreams, my today and my tomorrow.  I surrender all.

Tomorrow I will do it again.

Summer time and VBS

Since it is the week of VBS at Little Flock, my thoughts and prayers are there with the children and the volunteers. I cannot be part of it this year, but I am praying for them.

Here is a repost of my VBS experience a number of years ago.

Having been raised in a Christian home, Vacation Bible School, aka VBS, was as normal as hot weather and watermelon in the summer time.

At VBS I was surrounded by other children who may or may not have been churched as regularly as I was.  We invited our friends and our neighbors to come.  VBS was fun, lots of fun.  It was not like grown-up church on Sundays.  It was absolutely geared for the small fry intellect.

There were penny wars between the girls and the boys.  March Madness had nothing on the excitement of this battle of the sexes.  Each group tried to bring the most pennies and the best offering for the week.  We probably robbed piggy banks, searched under couch cushions, and begged for money from mom and dad or any other relative in sight.

I learned to say the pledge allegiance to the Christian Flag and the Bible.  They took their place in my memory right along with the pledge to the American flag.

The songs were kid songs, lively and rhythmic.  We could sing to the top of our voices, move and groove, make motions with our hands, and no one thought it was out of place for the church house.

But the Bible stories were the best.   My childhood memories are of flannel graph figures being put on a flannel board.  The figures depicted the Bible stories very visually and non-abstract so a child like me could understand that Jesus loved me and wanted to be my friend.

One year my craft was making a miniature flannel graph board and story figures.  After the week of VBS, I set up my board in the garage of our house and told the stories to the neighborhood children and anyone who would listen.

It was only natural that when I grew too old for VBS, I became one of the workers, one of the assorted volunteers needed to bring all the pieces together.  I’ve taught classes, worked with the music, and directed VBS.  I give my time so other children could have the same wonderful experiences I had.

The last couple of years at Little Flock, I’ve taught second graders, a bouncy, energetic group of boys and girls who are like little birds waiting to be fed the Gospel.  It has been such a privilege to share the stories of Jesus with these little ones.

In the months that followed the week of VBS, I have joyfully watched as some of the children in my class walked forward and publicly affirmed their faith in Jesus as their savior.  And I have witnessed the baptisms that followed.

I am so aware that the parents, Sunday School teachers, and those who weekly train and nurture this young lives are planting the seeds of salvation.  My part was small, just one week long.  But I rejoice that I had a small part in watering those seeds during a week of VBS.

Tomorrow, Vacation Bible School begins.  I anticipate hot weather, tired legs and feet, and a weary-to-the-bone exhaustion at week’s end.  If you ask me on Friday if it was worth it, I will say, “Yes, eternally worth it.”

Vacation Bible School will be held at churches all over the country sometime during the summer.  Take your children.  Be part of the volunteer team.  Make a difference in the lives of children.  Do it for the kingdom’s sake.

Got a helmet?


Flipping through a book awhile back I saw it in a picture, a plaque on the wall, and I recreated in a very rough art form.

“Life is tough.  Get a helmet.”



It tells me what I already know.  This is no easy road we travel.  Acknowledge it.  Make up my mind.  This is how it is going to be.  No one gets off without an injury, a disappointment, a struggle.

Ask anyone to tell you his story and you’ll hear it.  Family dysfunction affecting this generation and the next.  Divorce that divides children between parents.  Job loss that creates financial struggles that create arguments that create more stress.  Health issues not easily diagnosed and even harder to treat.  Death that steals a loved one before we said our last good-byes.  The unthinkable event that changes a future.

Life happens to us.  The question then is what are we going to do with it.  Are we just to give in, to endure it in misery?  Or is there a better way?

Wisdom says as a woman thinks in her heart, so is she.  Science is proving this to be true.

Wisdom says to dwell on the true, honorable, right, pure, lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

I can change my thought process and change my life.  I can enjoy my journey even though life is hard.

The tough places along the way cause me to develop endurance, teach me compassion, tender my heart to be more understanding, help me love better, forgive quicker, and encourage more.

The final week of our Bible study focuses on the Helmet of Salvation.  It is the protection of our minds that can change our thinking and let us live our lives in a positive victorious way.

Learning to think God’s thoughts is the key. And that means we have to know what His thoughts are on any given subject.  The only way to do that is to look in His Word.

It isn’t enough to take someone else’s word for it.  We must read the Bible ourselves and allow the Holy Spirit to speak to us, to teach us so that we know – We Know! – what God says.

Don’t allow someone else to tell you who you are.  Don’t believe that you have to measure up to an air-brushed standard.  Don’t let your past overshadow your future.  Don’t listen to the enemy of your soul whose native language is Lies.

God calls us chosen, holy, blameless, adopted, redeemed and forgiven in Christ.  He lavishes us with grace and seals us with the Holy Spirit.

God offers life, a hope and a future, immeasurable blessings, personal relationship with Him, and an eternity in Heaven.  Who wouldn’t be glad about that?

I can choose to dwell on negative thoughts, the sadness, the darkness, the bleakness of the world.  Or I can be thankful, count my blessings, remember all God’s promises in Christ Jesus, receive the life He offers, and be joyful.

O Lord, my Lord, the strength of my salvation, you have covered my head in the day of battle.  Psalm 140:7 ESV

Life is tough.  It will always be.  Wear your helmet.


Drawing from ShareAVerse



What’s your story?

Day 22 of 40 days to Resurrection day

Today’s suggestion:

Tell your salvation story to your children as you talk about the meaning of this season.

what's your story

God was very clear to Israel in His Passover instructions.  Details are important to Him.

Tucked into the directions, He repeated the command again and again to pass along their faith to the children and grandchildren.

It is just as important for us as it was for the Hebrews coming out of Egypt.  If the next generation is to know the God of glory, His Son who came to save, and the Holy Spirit who will come and live in us, then we must tell the story.

I often heard my mother and dad telling me how they came to know Jesus as Savior.  While they are both basking in the joys of Heaven now, their stories remain with me.

My friend, Robin, visits today to ask “What’s your story?”

“There is nothing like a good story, especially when you’re young.  Think about curling up next to mom or dad and listening to them read your favorite book.  My favorite childhood book was The Pokey Little Puppy.  I am sure my mompokey little puppy had it memorized by the time I was five. 

Now the tables are turned and I am experiencing the joy of reading to my daughters. There are few things better in life than snuggling up with my sweet girls sharing a story.   Each girl has her favorite book, favorite place to sit, and favorite doll or blanket to snuggle with. 

Recently Madeline started asking me to tell her stories about her Great-granny Grace.  The two never met since my grandmother passed away several years before Madeline was born.  But her legacy lives on every time I tell about sweet Granny Grace.  I know I am passing on generational stories to my daughters. 

But what else am I passing on?  What legacy am I leaving them?  What stories of my life are important enough to tell?  What mistakes do I want to warn them to avoid based on my personal experience?  What moment of pure joy do I want to relive in front of them? What are the most important experiences in my life?

I have learned the more I tell them about me, the more they want to know.   Perhaps it makes my life more tangible for them.  They hear about my childhood and realize I was once a little girl just like them.   

Telling them the story of my salvation opened up so many more doors.  They see that I had the same questions they have.  How can I know God is real when I cannot see Him?  Why does He love me so much?  Will He really forgive me when I mess up? 

Having these conversations with my girls shows them that God is real.  It let’s them see that we all struggle with faith and knowing God’s voice sometimes.  It gives them opportunity to talk about their own journey of faith.

Do your children know your salvation story?  Or your nieces and nephews?  Have you heard how your own parents came to experience saving grace?  What about your grandparents? 

Is there a better time than now to tell your story or to learn about those around you? 

As we are preparing our hearts for resurrection day, take some time to share your story.  If you have already, tell it again.  It should be your favorite story of all.”

Robin blogs at IGetUpTooEarly.
Revised and re-posted from March 2014

You’re invited

Advent.  The coming.  Looking forward to.

At this season of Christmas we look for the One who was promised.

But on the other side of the coin is an invitation for you and me to come.

He is seeking us.  It’s why He came.

To rescue us, to redeem us, to pay our debt, to claim us as His very own people.

Oh yes, He comes.  He came.  He will come again.

He issues the invitation now for each of us to come to Him.  Just as you are.

Willingly bow to His lordship over your life.

One day at His coming again, the edict will be mandatory

and every knee will bow and every tongue will confess Him

Lord of lord and King of kings and none will stand upright in His presence.

It’s our choice, our choosing Him who first chose us.

Won’t you hear His voice and respond to His invitation?

christmas party

You are cordially invited to a Christmas party,

A birthday celebration in honor of Jesus Christ.

Date:  Traditionally December 25, but every day can be Christmas because He’s always near.

Time:  Today is the day of salvation.  Please don’t wait too long or you will miss out on all the fun.

Place:  Your heart.  He’ll meet you there.  Listen for His knock.

Attire:  Come as you are.  Grubbies are OK.  He will be giving you a robe of righteousness in exchange.

Refreshments Provided:  Living water and the Bread of Life like nothing you’ve ever tasted! 

Tickets:  Admission is free.  He has already paid the price.  You would not have been able to afford it anyway.  But you must accept His invitation.

Gift Suggestions:  He already has everything.  But what He really wants is you.

What to expect:  Joy, Peace, Truth, Life, Love, and lots of other gifts He is providing for those who accept and come.

R.S.V.P is Very Important!

Please respond soon.  This is the event of a lifetime.  You don’t want to miss it

If you would like to receive the gift of salvation this Christmas, to know Jesus Christ as your own personal Savior, go here now.  

And please let me know of your decision.  I would like to pray for you.