Good Friday Reflections


Salvation is to me a flower in bloom, each passing day a new revelation of the beauty within. Pondering the many undeserved gifts God has bestowed through it moves me to tears. For the first 20 years of my life, though, I didn’t understand the emotion that came with Holy Week. I knew that Christ died so that I didn’t have to, and for that I was grateful. But emotional I was not.

God has a funny way of shaping His children. Many times the most difficult seasons in life become the fertile soil in which God plants a seed that bears fruit. These times allow us a deeper understanding of all that He offers through salvation. His sacrifice gives us not only eternal life later, but abundant life now; this is often a revelation only grasped when the temporary things of this world are peeled from our white knuckles.

I certainly don’t mean to cheapen the future hope we have in Christ- we will never ever grasp this side of heaven, and probably not even then, all that God will save us from when our physical bodies pass away. And if that was the entirety of salvation, it would be a gift so wonderful and incredible that no one, not even the best among us, deserves it. But the truth is, God went even beyond this.

As Jesus gave up his spirit on the cross, He purchased for us unhindered access to the Father. The temple curtain- the huge dividing wall that had been erected between God and His people- was torn completely in two. No longer is there a barrier. No longer must we earn our way into His presence.

“For through Him (Christ) we both have access to the Father by one Spirit” (Eph. 2:18).

Not only do we have access, but by some unfathomable downpour of His grace, we that believe have become his sons and daughters! An exceedingly good, all-powerful, and sovereign Father is working proactively on our behalf to bless us today and forever. And this is the part that I’ll never recover from.

His faithfulness stands when others betray us. His comfort goes on when no one understands our pain. His wisdom gives us direction when we would otherwise self-destruct. His gift of freedom releases us from chains of addiction that bind us, and His precious Word frees our minds and souls from the anxiety and despair that threaten to swallow us whole. His salvation has the power to restore our marriage, our children, our bodies, our souls. We have abundantly received His undeserved favor, provision, protection, and peace. Though He needs nothing from us, still He grants us His anointing and the joy of experiencing Him. His great love endures forever, and nothing will ever separate us from it.

In Christ and by His sacrifice on the cross, all of these promises and more are a roaring, “Yes!” The prophet Isaiah sums it up beautifully:

“The punishment that brought us peace [well-being, joy, prosperity, favor, health] was upon him (Christ), and by his wounds we are healed [cured, repaired, mended]” (Isaiah 53:5).

Happy Easter!

What Toddlers, Mules, and Grown-Ups Have in Common

Most dinner conversations at our house revolve around negotiations. Mainly with our oldest. He’s a picky eater, and by picky, I mean he only has about 5 foods that he will eat without complaint, bribery, and/or threats.  My mom loves to remind me that he is almost exactly like I was at his age. I don’t see how I could’ve possibly been this bad, but I digress.

A few nights ago, our conversation at the table went something like this:

Isaac: If I finish my pizza, can I have a Hershey’s Kiss? (who has to talk their kid into finishing pizza??)

Me: Finish your pizza.

Isaac: But if I finish my pizza, can I have a Hershey’s Kiss?

Me: Isaac, finish your pizza.

And then it dawned on me. Our five-pound Maltese is the same way! And so is the camel my kids ride around on in circles at the zoo. Neither one will do a thing you tell them to do without being bribed with a treat or threatened with a whip.

Ever heard the expression, “stubborn as a mule”? Psalms 32:9-10 says, “Be not like a horse or a mule, without understanding, which must be curbed with bit and bridle, or it will not stay near you. Many are the sorrows (pain, grief) of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds the one who trusts in the Lord.”

When you read this entire psalm, you see that promises of forgiveness, protection, deliverance, direction, and steadfast love are given to those who humbly confess their wrongdoing and turn back to doing things God’s way. But look at the result of disobedience in the verses above: sorrow. Pain, grief, and sorrow will come to those who stubbornly continue to dig their heels in and refuse to do what God has told them to do (v. 10).

I’ve seen this plenty of times in my own life. I’ve justified my way out of apologizing to someone because they acted worse. I’ve made idols out of things and people instead of looking to God for my provision and security. I’ve reasoned myself out of obeying certain parts of scripture because I thought it was outdated or didn’t apply to me. I’ve chosen the fun and excitement of the moment over what I knew was right. And in every situation, the word of God proved true; sorrow and pain was the result of disobedience.

What is God telling you to do? What does the Holy Spirit continue to bring to your mind over and over again? Do yourself a huge favor and obey Him. You’ll save yourself a lot of pain if you lean not on your own understanding and, instead, trust His.

He will not fail you.

Waiting on God?

I was on staff at Highpoint Church for several years before I had my boys. One of the tests that all staff members were required to take was an assessment called StrengthsFinder. This test is designed to help you figure out what you’re good at and apply it in your work and personal life. Many on staff’s top strength is Activator. People with this gift love to act; they don’t have time to sit and analyze their decisions, wait for dozens of confirmations, or endlessly debate and discuss. They’re ready to get it done.

I am the opposite of Activator. I can analyze and debate and question until it snows in July. Pair this with a previously-held belief that I should simply wait (read: do nothing) until God fulfills His promise, and the result was… well, nothing.

One morning during my time with God, though, He challenged my thinking. In the passage I was reading, God called Abraham to leave his people and his home country and go to a land that God would show him. When Abraham got there, God gave Abraham two promises: “To your offspring I will give this land” and “I will surely bless you and make your descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky”. Now fast forward a couple of chapters to Genesis 24; Abraham and his wife Sarah had been given their promised son, Isaac, and he was old enough to start looking for Mrs. Right. So, Abraham sent his chief servant back to his home country to find a wife for Isaac and bring her back. Because of God’s promise, Abraham was confident that his servant would have success. After all, his descendants can’t be as numerous as the stars without Isaac getting a wifey.

I don’t know about you, but when God gives me a promise, I am tempted to kick up my feet and wait (again, read: do nothing). I was convinced that true faith would mean believing that God would miraculously drop Isaac’s wife out of the sky. God promised it, right? So why couldn’t ol’ Abraham just sit back, relax, and believe it would happen in its perfect time?

But this is not what Abraham and his servant did at all. First, Abraham makes his servant take an oath that he will go back to Abraham’s home country and get Isaac a wife. He doesn’t simply trust that it will happen; he proactively pursues what he knows to be God’s will. Second, the servant takes 10 camels and all kinds of other expensive gifts to offer the future wife’s family. Does he just assume, because God has promised, that he can show up empty-handed and expect a stranger to come back with him? No way! He prepares by bringing all he can gather to make the journey successful.

In addition to preparing all of the supplies for the trip, he decided to go to the well with his camels at just the time when all of the women from the town would be drawing water. More to choose from, right? When he saw the one he wanted, the word of God says the “servant hurried to meet her.” I sure hope some single men are reading this! He didn’t sit and analyze or wait on her to approach him if “it’s God’s will”, he acted in faith, knowing God would be faithful to fulfill His promise.

So I encourage you to ask yourself- What is it that God has promised me? How can I live everyday believing and acting on what He said?

And just in case you’re wondering…The servant was able to talk that beautiful gal at the well into coming home for Abraham’s son, Isaac. His work of faith was richly rewarded. Yours will be, too. It’s a promise!

2 Thessalonians 1:11 “With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of His calling, and that by His power He may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith.”