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Posts Tagged ‘guilt’

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This Saturday morning in Dallas, Texas, dawned partly cloudy. A pleasant spring day stretched before me as I bowed my head and poured out my praise for the joy-filled celebration sure to come in the morning—Easter Sunday morning!

But my thoughts braked and turned back to that Saturday morning over 2,000 years ago. Have you ever thought how the disciples must’ve waked up feeling that day? Perhaps they hadn’t slept much the previous night. Perhaps Mary didn’t sleep at all. Remembering all those years—the baby, that day coming from the temple, the wedding miracle—and the…the brutal tragedy…the pain…the loss—

Could be you’re right there with them this morning—a grief, a loss, a pain you don’t have the strength to handle.

Perhaps these men who’d been with Jesus every day for over three years, didn’t know what to do with the unspeakable emptiness, guilt, and fear this morning brought. Maybe they grabbed their nets and headed for the boats like the walking dead. Dreams crushed, hearts mangled, and the pictures of their crucified Messiah splattered across their minds’ eyes.

Nothing to live for, I’m sure the evil one whispered to each of them in his first-person-singular with a Jewish hiss. Less we rush by this twenty-four hour span of time, think about their despair, and remember they didn’t understand the rest of the story. They didn’t have a Bible to pick up and find comfort and understanding from the Words of God.

Remember the time—the day after you’ve watched a loved one laid in the grave. And consider how you felt. And you know the rest of the story. They didn’t…or their wounded minds wouldn’t allow them to connect the dots.

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I’m sure their Saturday was a blur of depression beyond our ability to conceive. So why should we ponder the disciples’ Saturday? So when our times of unbelievable tragedy and grief visit our days, and they will, we can raise our eyes and remember:

“The Lord’s lovingkindnesses indeed never cease, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, says my soul, therefore, I have hope in Him. The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the person who seeks Him…For the Lord will not reject forever, for if He causes grief, then He will have compassion according to His abundant lovingkindness” (Lamentations 3:22-26, 31-32 NAS).

If only they’d understood, but they didn’t have the whole story.

We do! But I’m afraid we rush right over the times of tragedy in our lives, racing to get to the good parts. Failing to understand learning takes place during hard times, the painful moments, when our hearts are humbled. We are always in a hurry…seeking comfort rather than sitting silent and learning from the pain.

Saturday night I’m sure they all tossed and turned, probably nightmares of the crucifixion stormed their dreams.

But what a difference a day makes! As the joy of Jesus’ resurrection exploded their sorrow, they rushed to the empty tomb! Weeping! Remembering! Rejoicing!

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Would that the next time you’re consumed and overcome with grief you’d remember. Remember that one day, in a moment, in the twinkling of eye, you’ll stand face to face with King Jesus—see the love in His eyes and the splendor of His glory will explode all the sorrows you’ve ever known.

Have a blessed Easter. An Easter to remember how much God loves you—enough to die just for you!

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Christmas 2012 is over. The decorations cleaned and stored for next year, and the residue of the season swept into the vacuum, the trash or the washing machine. Table cloths, dish towels, and napkins, however need a deeper cleansing. A time and place for them to linger, in a sink filled with hot water and Oxi-Clean in order to remove the stains inflicted by holiday festivities.

If you’re like me, you’ve incurred a few stains and discolorations during the holidays too. The stain and depression of remembering those not with you at the table or around the tree. The stain of disappointments and failures. Unfulfilled expectations—relationships gone awry. The stain of guilt and fear of what has been and what’s to come.

So what’s next? Do we rush into the New Year, counting the days ‘til Valentine’s Day, worrying over the state of our nation, our family, our world? Or do we project clear to Easter—Resurrection Sunday and Spring, attempting to sweep the stains and discolorations under the carpet of life and just keep on keeping on?

The sun peeked through my window this morning and I found my mind skipping along the precipice of depression. A sadness burrowed deep in my soul. ‘Til I heard the Spirit speak to my heart, whispering words I have typed throughout the holidays. Born to Die.

Yes, we have just celebrated the miracle of the virgin birth of God’s Lamb in that manger in Bethlehem. But that baby, that Lamb was born to die. And the Spirit whispered again—linger here.

Linger at the Cross. Don’t rush to the empty tomb—linger at the foot of the Calvary.

But I don’t like to linger anywhere, much less at the Cross. I’m depressed already. It’s a hard place. It’s ugly. It’s uncomfortable. I see so much suffering on the tube and on the net every day. And I’ve grown tired and desensitized to blood and suffering. I am war weary—at home and across the world.

The Spirit said “all the more reason you  must learn to linger at the Cross and contemplate the Lamb, born to die so that you  might live with His joy, His peace, and His love.”

That old hymn played through the corridors of my mind … “There’s power, power, wonder working power. In the blood of the Lamb.” Then another melody stirred. “There is a fountain, filled with blood, drawn from Immanuel’s veins. And sinners plunged beneath that flood, lose all their guilty stains…”

I thought about those linens soaking in the sink. In the power of Oxi-Clean. All their stains and discolorations disappearing. A rapid cycle through the washing machine wouldn’t remove the smudges—they needed soaking. They needed to linger in the power of a stain remover.

The Spirit took my face and turned my eyes to the miraculous power of the blood of Jesus. The power that His blood has to remove all the stains sin has ground into the pages of my life. I needed to linger and soak in that fountain of my Lord’s powerful blood this morning. Every morning and remember the Cross.

The journey through life on earth is messy. The filth of rebellious choices, a prideful heart, and selfish actions and the what-ifs had clung to my blemished soul, seeped to the surface and needed a good soaking—a daily soaking in the deluge that still flows from the Cross.

I invite you to join me. Stop awhile and ponder the Cross, the power of the blood shed there, and the love of a Savior—born to die—for you and me. Linger there. Experience the depression and weariness vaporize in the power and sovereignty of the blood of the Lamb—our Savior, our Lord and soon coming King.

Behold the Lamb!

“And I saw between the throne (with the four living creatures) and the elders a Lamb standing, as if slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God, sent out into all the earth. And He came, and He took (the book) out of the right hand of Him who sat on the throne…and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb…and they sang a new song, saying, ‘Worthy art Thou to take the book and to break its seals; for Thou wast slain, and didst purchase for God with Thy blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. And Thou hast made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth” (Revelation 5:10 NAS).

 

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