Good Friday

J. Steven Kight Jr.

After being betrayed by Judas Iscariot, Jesus was arrested. He was taken before the Sanhedrin, and the High Priest where they began to interrogate Him. In Luke 22:67-70, We see some of this dialogue. It reads, “If You are the Christ, tell us’ But He said to them, ‘If I tell you , you will not believe; and if I ask a question, you will not answer. But from now on THE SON OF MAN WILL BE SEATED AT THE RIGHT HAND of the power OF GOD.’ And they all said, ‘Are You the Son of God then?’ And He said to them, ‘Yes, I am.” What happened next is described in the book of Mark. Mark 14:63, “Tearing his clothes, the high priest said, ‘What further need do we have of witnesses?” So what just happened? The high priest asked Jesus if He was the Son of God, and…

View original post 429 more words

Advertisements

Hosanna!

Hosanna in the highest!

J. Steven Kight Jr.

When Jesus entered Jerusalem on what we now call Palm Sunday, He knew that His time was near. Matthew 21:6-9, “So the disciples went and did as Jesus commanded them. They brought the donkey and the colt, laid their clothes on them, and set Him on them. And a very great multitude spread their clothes on the road; others cut down branches from the trees and spread them on the road. Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: ‘Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD! Hosanna in the highest!” (NKJV)

Many of the people believed that Jesus was in fact the Messiah sent by God, and others thought that He was a prophet, however, they believed that He was there to liberate them from Roman control. The fact that He rode in on a white…

View original post 195 more words

Revelation 5:8

This morning while reading my devotional, I was struck with emotion.  Revelation 5:8 reads:

And when he took the scroll, the four living beings and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb.  Each one had a harp, and they held gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. (My emphasis added)

The magnitude of that one phrase overwhelms my heart today.  The prayers of God’s people. My prayers.  Every praise to my Father.  Every plea of anguish.  Every whisper of gratitude.  Every scream of anger and confusion.  Every petition lifted on behalf of my family, my friends, my church, this world.  The prayers of God’s people are there at the end as incense.  Incense is defined as “a gum, spice, or other substance that is burned for the sweet smell it produces”.  Our prayers are a sweet smell in the nostrils of God.  Today.  Tomorrow.  Til the very end times.

We hear about the importance and power of prayer.  In Luke 11:1-13, Jesus teaches us the specifics of prayer.  Yet most people – including believers – will admit to wondering “why bother?” at times.  For today, this isn’t about a deep theological discussion.  Just for today, the comfort of my prayers touching God in such a personal way touches my soul.  The knowledge that the prayers of His people play a part in even the end times draws me closer to Him.  In this moment, I am thankful that my communication with Almighty God is personal and powerful, intimate and important, and according to Revelation 5:8, everlasting.

Sister

Childhood best friends

Sweet little sister

I will protect you

From the monster

I will save you

From the deep waters

We giggle, we play

We grow, we love

We change

Different paths

Different choices

Don’t go down that path

But I still love you

We are still friends

Mistakes made

Separately, together

No, no, don’t go further down

Don’t throw it all away

But to whom am I speaking?

To you?

To me?

So easy to judge

When my sin is hidden

I thought you left me

Left us all

But maybe

I left you

And now dark secrets

And a thousand miles

And many years

Separate us

You seek forgiveness

Can I trust you?

I need forgiveness

For failing you

As your big sister

As God’s child

As your friend

Fear

Struggle

I look back at the old me:

The thinner me,

The filthy-on-the-inside me,

And I don’t want to be her (do I want to be her?).

I don’t miss the way she was (oh, how I miss the way she looked!).

So I keep running away from her,

Protecting myself from her with food and fat.

I see my picture and ugh, I look like that?!

I can’t bear to see what I’ve become!

Different now?  Yes.

Better now? Yes.

All on the inside, all on the inside.

Yet I am unhealthy, inside and out.

Eating my emotions. Sabotaging my health.

Not afraid to die, except for the pain.

Not wanting to die … but is this not a slow form of suicide?

Take another bite.  (Not worth the fight.)

Feeling disgusted.  Feeling defeated.

How ridiculous this must seem, in a world of pain.

No one to blame but myself.

Why can’t I just get this right?

Why do I care so much (but you ARE beautiful … lies, lies!)?

He thinks I’m beautiful (how? why?).

God beautifully wove me, right?

So tired of the struggle.

So tired of the fight.

Not giving up … but can’t seem to find …

Victory tonight.

Peace

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines peace as, “a state of calm and quiet; freedom from disturbing thoughts and emotions” (2004).

Philippians 4:6-7 reads, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything.  Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand.  His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus” (New Living Translation).

“In peace I will lie down and sleep, for You alone, O LORD, will keep me safe” (Psalm 4:8, NLT).

In the midst of my life, God gives me peace.  It’s not a pat on the head, “oh, everything will be okay” kind of peace.  It is the deep down in the fibers of my being trust that God, the Creator of the universe, knows better than we do … than I do.  It is knowing and believing that He is taking the filth that Satan has smeared all over the world and turning it around for good.  Even when I can’t see it.  Even when it hurts too much to bear.  He bears it for me.

Every situation – no matter how huge or tiny – is in His hands.  He loves me, and that is why I have peace.

To Be, Or Not To Be … Transparent.

It seems that lately, more of my friends and acquaintances are sharing their problems with me.  As a psychology/counseling major, this is something that actually makes me feel good; I am happy that others feel safe coming to me to bare their souls, or sometimes just to vent.  Part of me wishes that I had some profound, godly, wonderful advice to give that would help my friends to say, “Yes! That is just what I needed!”  Most often times, though, I am just as perplexed as they are.  Sometimes I just listen, nod, and offer to pray for them (this is not a bad thing, mind you).  And sometimes I feel myself holding back the words that might just help the most … “I understand what you are going through, and this is why.”

Why are we so guarded with our own lives?  I’m not talking about airing your world on social media for everyone to see.  I’m talking about one-on-one, someone needs help, I truly DO understand the situation, but God forbid I allow my vulnerability to show.  Is it a desire to appear perfect?  Is it a mistrust of others?  Is it really just none of your business what I’ve been through?

First and foremost, God has forgiven my past through the blood and mercy of Jesus Christ.  I AM a new creation in Him!  And if you have given your life to Jesus, then YOU are too!  Romans 8:1 (NASB) tells us, “Therefore there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”  Our pasts no longer have reign over us.  If anyone judges us based on our pasts, remember that they are not our final Judge … that would be God, and God has forgiven our sins.

Even so, it can be extremely difficult to rip the band-aid off that old wound, even if that means helping someone who is currently going through that experience.  We never like to portray ourselves in a negative light.  Yet the Bible paints a different picture.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God (2 Corinthians 1:3-4, NASB).

Our purpose in life is to glorify God.  God makes all things new – including our messes.  He takes that ugly past and allows it to be used to help someone else.  Maybe it’s to help someone else to break free of that bondage.  Maybe it’s just to let someone know, “Hey! You’re not the only one!”  After all, isn’t that what we really need to hear?  You. Are. Not. Alone.

What about the present?  God doesn’t just use our past experiences to help others; He uses our day-to-day lives.  We are careful to keep our happy faces on when we are around others.  While it is absolutely great to be uplifting and positive, we … Ineed to let people in, so that God can once again let people know they are not the only ones.  The Christian walk isn’t all sunshine and roses.  We still struggle.  Christ struggled all the way to Golgotha and up on to the cross!  Should we expect no pain?  Christ never wavered; He kept His eyes on God.  We are to do the same.  Friend, there truly is a peace in Him that allows me to go through trials in a way I never could when I walked without Him.  There is faith.  There is hope.  To the unbeliever, it may sound crazy – but I know in my heart that even if a bad situation turns out for the worst, it is not the end of the world because this life is just a blip in eternity.  There will come a day with no more tears, no more suffering, and eternal joy in heaven. Matthew 10:28 (NASB) reads, “Do not fear those who kill the body but are unable to kill the soul; but rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”  The trials of this world are temporary; in the end, Jesus is Lord forever … and I love Him.

I do not need to fear transparency.  God has called me … and all of us … to it.  Yes, there must be discretion.  However, when it comes to ministering to others, some of the best counseling comes from letting our guard down a bit and really showing people they are not alone in their struggles.  My husband preached this morning and admitted to our church that yes, pastors’ lives are messed up too!  Satan isn’t just attacking you … he has his sights set on all of us.  As Christians, we all have a common enemy – but praise God, we all have a common Savior too!

Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. For if either of them falls, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls when there is not another to lift him up. Furthermore, if two lie down together they keep warm, but how can one be warm alone? And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.  (Ecclesiastes 4:9-12, NASB)

So to be honest, I struggle.  I struggle with depression.  I struggle financially.  I struggle with not only using food for comfort, but hiding behind being overweight as a barrier to protect myself from being the woman I was in my past.  I struggle with being a wife and a mother and trying to do it all right.  I struggle with witnessing to others about my faith.  I struggle with standing up for what is right when those around me are knee-deep in tearing others down.  I am human.  How about you?