>Good Friday 2011 is a vague memory..but we dare not forget the Cross…and if God is sovereign (and He is), you can not argue this insight (though it’s trendy to try to water this truth down with human “christianized” psychology):
“The most important question of the twenty-first century is: Why did Jesus Christ suffer so much? But we will never see this importance if we fail to go behind the human cause. The ultimate answer tohttp://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=jacksjots-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=158134788X&fc1=000000&IS2=1<1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr the question, Who crucified Jesus? is: God did. It is a staggering thought. Jesus was his Son. And the suffering was unsurpassed. But the whole message of the Bible leads to this conclusion.”
— John Piper
I’ve always disliked the phrase, “God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.” The first phrase is wondrously true; the “for your life” part implies, “Come to Jesus and all will be well.” Yeah, right. “In this world you will suffer persecution” etc.
For the non-Christian God has, from our perspective, a terrible plan…for the repentant, this short-term life will have difficulties of varying degrees.
Trevin Wax offers this insight (from a great book, by the way)
– God’s “wonderful plan” for Christians may include times of suffering and persecution whereby we become more conformed to the image of Christ.
– The better, more biblical place to begin is to affirm that “God has a wonderful plan, period.” Salvation is not primarily about God’s plan for my life, but about God’s renewal of everything. It is only within the vision of the glorious new world that God has promised that we find the strength to cope with the fact that God may have a very difficult plan for our lives!
If you have ever looked at the backside of a quilt or a tapestry, you see that there seems to be no overall design or pattern. The quilt looks strange, without purpose or direction. But once you turn it around, you see how the individual patterns make up something that is beautiful.
Our lives do not always seem wonderful. But rather than trying to see what wonderful plan God has for giving us our best life now, Christians trust that the picture God is painting will be beautiful, so we look to experiencing our best life later. God has a wonderful plan, and because of his grace, we are part of that plan.
>Yeah, it’s Valentine’s Day…but this is more important:
“There is no other solution to the marvelous mysteries of His Incarnation and Sacrificial Death but this: Christ has loved us.
There is not a circumstance of our Lord’s history which is not another form or manifestation of love.
His incarnation is love stooping.
His sympathy is love weeping.
His compassion is love supporting.
His grace is love acting.
His teaching is the voice of love.
His silence is the repose of love.
His patience is the restraint of love.
His obedience is the labor of love.
His suffering is the travail of love.
His cross is the altar of love.
His death is the burnt offering of love.
His resurrection is the triumph of love.
His ascension into heaven is the enthronement of love.
His sitting down at the right hand of God is the intercession of love.
Such is the deep, the vast, the boundless ocean of Christ’s love!”
“When you’re tempted to doubt God’s love for you, stand before the cross and look at the wounded, dying, disfigured Savior, and realize why He is there. I believe His Father would whisper to us, ‘Isn’t this sufficient? I haven’t spared My own Son; I deformed and disfigured and crushed Him — for you. What more could I do to persuade you that I love you?’”
— C. J. Mahaneyhttp://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=jacksjots-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=1590525787&fc1=000000&IS2=1<1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr
“What, after all, is the great secret of loving Christ? It is an inward sense of having received from Him pardon and forgiveness of sins. Those love much who feel much forgiven. He who has come to Christ with his sins, and tasted the blessedness of free and full absolution, he is the man whose heart will be full of love towards his Savior. The more we realize that Christ has suffered for us, and paid our debt to God, and that we are washed and justified through His blood, the more we shall love Him for having loved us, and given Himself for us. Our knowledge of doctrines may be defective. Our ability to defend our views in argument may be small. But we cannot be prevented feeling. And our feeling will be like that of the Apostle Peter – “You, Lord, who know all things, You know my heart; and You know that I love You.”http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=jacksjots-20&o=1&p=8&l=bpl&asins=0310219140&fc1=000000&IS2=1<1=_blank&m=amazon&lc1=0000FF&bc1=000000&bg1=FFFFFF&f=ifr
~ J.C. Ryle
“The cross is central. It is struck into the middle of the world, into the middle of time, into the middle of destiny. The cross is struck into the heart of God.” – Frederick W. Norwood