Meditating on the Cross of Christ

the-crossHave you ever wondered why Christians put so much significance on the cross? How can a symbol of horrific cruelty be the sign of unending love?? How can the wood on which our beloved Saviour was crucified be so worthy as to be the centre of our faith? 

This symbol of extreme pain and suffering tells a deeper truth than what was displayed merely on the outside upon Golgoltha’s hill over 2000 years ago. You see, the cross is right at the middle of the old and new testament; and  as the events of our Lord’s crucifixion took place during Passover, it was a sign of moving from one to another (from old to new).

The cross is made of 2 pieces of wood, one vertical and one horizontal. This signifies: the height, depth and width of God’s love that is freely given from past to future generations, to those who will accept it!  

And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ,  and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” (Ephesians.3:17b-19)

Jesus likened His crucifixion to what Moses used when he took a snake and hung it on a pole, to heal the Israelites that were bitten by poisonous snakes due to their disobedience (John.3:14; Numbers.21). How can this be? The cross was a method of death reserved for the worst of sinners/ thieves and murderers. Yet the Purest and Holiest took all our our sins, all our shame and all our curse and carried them upon Himself! The Bible says, He who knew no sin became sin for us, that we may become the righteousness of God!!! (2nd Corinthians.5:21) 

The cross signified all that is evil, all that is sinful and cruel, and JESUS became all of that for us! Isaiah in his 53rd Chapter describes the pain Christ had to endure: 

   He was despised and rejected by mankind,
    a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
 he was despised, and we held him in low esteem. 

Surely he took up our pain
    and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
    stricken by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
    and by his wounds we are healed.  

The cross was so horrible that you would cover your face from it, there was nothing good to display upon it. Yet, just as the Israelites had to look upon the snake (signifying the curse of sin) on the pole to be healed, we have to look at the Son of God (who became sin and curse for us) to be healed and set free from the poisonous bondage of sin and curse. 

There are 2 reasons why we have to look at the cross: 

  1. When we look at the cross, we come face to face with our true human condition just as in a mirror. We see the wickedness of our heart, our sins, our shame and our curse. We realise that we need a Saviour. 
  2. On the same cross we find The Answer to the above problems. For He, who is displayed right before our eyes is the ONE who took all of them away and bought our freedom and healing with His precious blood!!

14 having cancelled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; He has taken it away, nailing it to the cross. 15 And having disarmed the powers and authorities, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.  (Colossians.2:14-15) How beautiful!!!

Now this sign of evil, sin and curse has become a sign of indescribable, unending, unchanging and unshakeable LOVE!!! God has truly made “beauty out of the ashes”, “Out of the eater, something to eat; out of the strong, something sweet.” (Isaiah.61:3; Judges.14:14)

And that’s why we glory in the cross –

THE CROSS OF CHRIST, the image of INDESCRIBABLE LOVE! 

“May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” – Galatians.6:14

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes” – Romans.1:16a

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing,but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written: “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise; the intelligence of the intelligent I will frustrate.” ” – 1 Corinthians.1:18

                                           

Advertisements

Wandering child

running20away20-20little20girlShe is but a curious child, adopted from a painful past to a glorious present. Although most kids have a vague memory of their childhood, she vividly remembers every detail of the stench from which she was rescued. Yes she was born into the lowliest and most horrible place called sin. This shanty town offered her the momentary comfort of shelter in the shack she called home. It offered her friendship in the secrecy of gossips that turned to bite her with their stings and bad habits that were norm in its streets. She was hurt but it was the only place she knew.

Across the river she gazed every morning to the skyscraping towers and sparkling streets of the city, yet she never understood what happened or even how to get there. One beautiful morning as she gazed towards that city as usual, her mother summoned her in. There she found an old rich man with a wide smile upon her entrance. This girl suffered slavery in her own home, her mum was willing to essentially sell her. As she looked between the eyes of this old man and her mum for clues as to what’s happening, she could but only see silence. Finally, the old man opened his mouth and with a surprisingly gentle voice that she never heard before all her life he said, “my child, you will come to stay with me. I have paid the full price.” As he uttered these words, she looked at her mum who was holding the bag of money and refusing to look back to this child or say a word. This child never understood what was happening but she knew well enough in her heart that going with this old man was the best decision she would ever make in her entire life. She stood and as he stretched out his hand, she lifted hers to hold them. 

Now many years have passed and the morning view has changed. Now she woke up every morning and as she looked across the river to where she came from, she was grateful for this kind old man. Yet one warm afternoon, she missed her past, she missed the momentary happiness and what seemed freedom that  her town called sin offered her. She wandered off from the gates of mercy and paths of grace and righteousness towards the isle of temptation that lead to her past. The sky was getting dark, the path grew more ugly, when she suddenly had a flash back of the day when she was rescued from that town called sin and the kindness of the old man who loved her as his own. How he must be weeping over her disappearance? Has he withheld any good thing from her? Has she lacked anything? None. She was just curious child dipping her feet to the fire of her past. 

It didn’t take long for this wandering child to realise that she better get back home. She didn’t stop to think whether her father will let her in, she knew his kindness and love well enough. She run back, back to her place of safety and peace. 

“For my feet were close to slipping….
You spoke to my heart in time….
You have promised, and I do believe….
You won’t forget this wandering child….” – Bethany Dillon (So Close) 

“So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!” – 1 Corinthians.10:12

“In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” – Romans.6:11

“For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.” – Colossians.3:3

“Since you died with Christ to the elemental spiritual forces of this world, why, as though you still belonged to the world, do you submit to its rules” – Colossians.2:20

The crossroads

Everything has a beginning and an end, at least so it seems. One thing starts and once you took forever to adapt, it’s finally time to move on. Another thing starts, with its own highs and lows, but then again that comes to an end as well. Life seems to be a cycle of many events that start and end. And through this process, you meet various kinds of people and learn a lot of things that may help you deal with the next cycle better. I realised that these many cycles are not mutually exclusive, but actually a narrative of one event that is unique just for you. The narrator is God. I have also realised that there is one Strand that connects as these ‘circles’; He is Jesus. I am reminded of this verse in Hebrews.13:8 (the first English Bible verse I learnt by heart as a child): “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever.”

So as I approach the end of one chapter in my life and look with hope and faith in my Father for the future, I find rest and “peace that passes all understanding”. Because, wherever I am, there He will also be, blessed be His name. Amen! 

Happy birthday Jesus

As we enter this season of joy and gladness, the happiness Christmas brings with it is just something we all look forward to. Nevertheless, in most cases that joy doesn’t even last past boxing day. Now Christmas is more commonly associated with materialism; the new iphone, ipad, new kitchen cabinet or jewellery etc. Real joy however, passes the stuff boxed in pretty wrapping papers, the nicely cooked turkey and of course Christmas pudding. That joy sees us through the hurdles and struggles, the joys and laughters of each day and the hope that one day we will see Him again. That joy, is the joy of our Saviour’s birth, the Divine’s love to lay aside His majesty to dwell in the midst of His people. The Joy of CHRIST’s birth 🙂 

10 Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” – Luke.2:10-12

Dreams

Its amazing how God has given us the mind to think, dream and imagine. I have always been fascinated by this concept. It is indeed wonderful to dream, to dream of big, inconceivable and different things from your current situations. Dreams can be so close to our mind that we think they are almost happening yet so intangible when we reach our hands to touch them. 

With our imaginations, we can create new things, ideas and future. Yet how often as humans we have felt our dreams have been shattered. How often we give up on those dreams as our waiting lamps go dim, our eyes filled with fear as we see our hope going slim! 

Dreams can be wonderful, but also heart breaking, when we try to compare them with reality. So where do we draw the line as to how much we can dream? I guess, God has given us these thing freely and I think the best thing to do is to dream and let God decide which one He sees best fit.  Aligning them with God’s Word can help. 

As I pondered upon this, I read an email that I receive every week called “Word of the week” written by Zac Poonen. This week was titled “All-knowing, Almighty Power of Our God and Father”. I thought it was very fitting for this topic, especially the extract below…

Revelation.1:8 – “In verse 8, God refers to Himself as the Alpha and the Omega, the Almighty and ever-existing God. He was there right at the beginning, when nothing existed. He will be there right at the end of time. There is nothing that can ever take place anywhere at any time that is going to take God by surprise. Our Father not only knows the end from the beginning, being the Almighty God, He controls everything as well. Therefore we need have no fear whatsoever concerning the future.” – Zac Poonen

I believe that Father God has the best plan for us and we can trust Him wholly because He is our Almighty Father who has the whole world in His hands. 🙂 

Listening to GOD’s voice

And he said, “Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord.” And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper. And when Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his cloak and went out and stood at the entrance of the cave. And behold, there came a voice to him and said, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” – 1Kings.19:11-13

Most of the time I find myself wondering, “How can I hear God’s voice? How can I be sure?” etc. There were moments when I heard God’s voice and they were so clear I knew they were from Him, but it wasn’t all the time. I want God to speak to me all the time, well rather I want to hear God’s voice all the time (because God is always wanting to speak to us.

I have discovered that there are a number of things that stop us from hearing God’s voice. 

1. Unrepentant heart and wanting to take control of your life

2. Restless mind – often I find myself having a number of thoughts running in my mind all at the same time that I find it hard to fit God in the equation

3. Busy lives – we are so busy running our little lives that there is no time for God. That’s why Elijah had to go to the mountain to hear from God. Perhaps God is whispering but the noisy chaos of life is hindering us from listening. 

I really admire my Muslim friends, in their dedication for prayer. They give the most busiest and most uncomfortable hours of the day to God. I wonder how many of us Christians do that. 

May God help us to be more attentive to His word, just like Samuel. Amen! 

 

May Day

Well this is slightly late but I thought its a great song about May Day – International Worker’s Day. Always remembering why we do the work that we do, helps us to keep going and give it all that we have. It is encouraging to know and be confident that God will bless the works of our hands, as we seek to honour Him even in the small things.

“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might” – Ecclessiastes.9:10

“Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established” – Proverbs.16:3

Crucified Man

This amazing song by Graham Kendrick summarizes very well the events of Good Friday and our place in it. ❤

My favourite part of the song is: 

“I believe as they beat on His beautiful face
He turned a torturer’s chair to an altar of grace
Where the worst we can do met the best that God does
Where unspeakable hate met the gaze
Of unstoppable love
At the crux of it all there He hangs
I’ve placed my hope in a crucified Man”

All Glory to Him

Romans 11 33-36

 

Reading this passage gave me an absolute confidence in the God that we serve. No matter what the situation is, we can be rest assured that all things are from Him, through Him and for Him, so if not anything else, for the sake of the glory of His name, He will guide us and supply all our needs. Above all, since we are His children, His love for us is deeper than the sea and higher than the sky above. 🙂

 

In God we trust

These few days I had been challenged to think about where I really put my trust. Struggling with some uni work meant that I could really do with some help, I was entitled to it, it was my right! Yet it wasn’t happening, which lead me to frustration and complaining. Then the Lord reminded me of a couple of verses in my very moment of despair: 

“Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.” – Psalm.20:7

Blessed are those whose help is the God of Jacob,
    whose hope is in the Lord their God.

He is the Maker of heaven and earth,
    the sea, and everything in them –
    he remains faithful for ever.” – Psalm.146:5-6

It was really comforting to remember that my Heavenly Father has the whole world in His hands, and His help is way better than any earthly hands can offer. That’s enough for me. 

A friend of mine also reminded me of this famous quote – “In God we trust.”