Good Friday: Easter 2018

Good Friday 2018.jpg

Photograph by Donna Harris

Today is Good Friday when we have the privilege of fixing our gaze on the giver of life, our Redeemer, the one who has rescued us from ourselves. He came, God-incarnate, to save us to the extreme, as man to die our death. Herein is love to the utmost. For God so loved the world he gave. “Herein is love; when I cannot rise to him he draws near on wings of grace, to raise me to himself.”

In a world of created changeable things, only God alone remains unshaken, unchanging. Only God alone remains true to his promise, for what he says, he will do.  He struck the head of evil. He has not left us here without grace. The cross still stands. The grave is still empty.

Where do we begin to offer our gratitude, love, and praise in response to what Jesus did for us on the cross? We refer to today as, Good Friday yet we cannot fully fathom nor comprehend the immense goodness of His love for us.

Good Friday 2018 2

Photograph by Donna Harris

While on the cross, Jesus cried out for God to forgive us as He took all of our sins upon himself. He became sin for us, that in him, we might become the righteousness of God.  (2 Cor. 5:21). The vast goodness of this day is that we are fully forgiven because Christ was fully forsaken. Open your heart to see Him as Savior, to believe quickly…receiving His grace and a living hope just as He promised the robber hanging on a criminal’s cross next to him.

He came to rescue us, to give us life by giving up His. “It is finished,” he cried. The old has passed away and the new has come. There’s nothing more to be done, concerning our salvation, once and for all, perfectly and fully, we have been reconciled to God.

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Photograph by Donna Harris

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“It’s Friday — Sunday is near” Watercolor painting by Donna Harris

 

Quotes to think about:

I’ve never understood why people call the day that Jesus died “Good Friday.” What was good about it? It looks like a tragedy to me. You’re right, up to a point: If all we had to celebrate was that final Friday when Jesus was put to death, there certainly wouldn’t be anything good about it. In that case, the term “Good Friday” would be a mockery. Instead, that final Friday would be the greatest tragedy in the history of the human race. Satan would have won, and any hope the human race might have had for the future would be ended.

But that Friday was not the end! Two days later, the tomb was empty, and Jesus was alive! And that’s why we can call it “Good Friday” … because on a day that first seemed tragic, something incredibly good happened … Christ gave his life for our salvation. [1]

Many of us, as we learn to know Christ in his sufferings, can only begin to have the moral imagination, the faith, to truly recognize that it was our sins that caused his death and necessitated the utter and absolute separation from his Father. Those of us who have been brought to the end of ourselves through life’s difficulties, personal failure and providential discipline can appropriate, by faith and repentance, the full measure of Christ’s redeeming grace. [2]

Still & quiet & bow slow & see Him now…
By His love — you are held,
By His mercy — you are washed clean,
By His relentless grace — you are saved.
And by His wounds — you are healed. [3]

[1] Billy Graham | [2] Adrienne Shore | [3] Ann VosKamp

 

Monday of Holy Week: Easter 2018

Near to God

A sculpture displayed at Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens, Gastonia, NC  Photograph by Donna Harris

Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. James 4:8

Dear Lord Jesus,

Just yesterday I was waving a palm branch high over my head…melodies we raised. I felt overwhelmed with the reality of your love and my soul was flooded with the bitter sweetness of you giving yourself…an extreme sacrifice for us. You took the judgment we deserve to give us the grace we could never earn.

For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians 5:21

I pray now that we would not forget the yesterday of holding a branch of praise and singing hosanna’s to the King. Please help us to want more of you. Show us what it means to “draw near to you.”

Help us to love you for no other reason but for your own sake.

Still each morning and noon and in evening,
I will trust my Lord and bless his name.
Never seeking the gain but the Giver,
So I love him for nothing but for his own sake.*

Please do not hide your face from us when we forget the yesterday of waving the palm branch, worshipping you with abandon. Our lives can easily becomes an “all-about-me” existence. Help us to draw near to you and to make this day, all-about-you. Please God, constantly reveal the chasm of our separation from our unrepentant heart. Please fill us with hunger pangs to feast on your word. I pray to want nothing more than to draw near to you.

Grant us grace to slow our pace and quiet our hearts, that we might survey the wonders of your cross and greatness of your love.

Amen

Monday Holy Week 2018 1

“Draw Near” — Watercolor painting by Donna Harris Art of a sculpture displayed at Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens, Gastonia, NC

  • “For His on Sake” by Nathan Partain. Redeemer Presbyterian Church, Indianapolis, IN

 

He is Risen | Sunday Respite | 40 Gifts of Lent 2014

He is Risen 1

Photograph by Donna Harris of Lake Wylie, Charlotte, NC

He is Risen| Sunday Respite | 40 Gifts of Lent

COME! And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price. Revelation 22:17

The resurrection of Jesus changes everything! His death is the death of death, and His resurrection is the resurrection of all things. He died for our sins and is raised for our justification. Oh, the wonder, marvel and gratitude that fills our hearts today. We are forgiven, we are beloved, and we are His!

He is Risen 4

Photograph by Donna Harris of a fountain in Charleston, SC

He is Risen

Photograph by Donna Harris 

About 40 Gifts of Lent

I am anticipating the arrival of Easter and celebrating the most amazingly good gift I’ve ever received. I want to focus my heart on the fulfilled expectation of Christ’s first coming and the glorious expectation of His second coming. To continue reading, please go here: 40 Gifts of Lent

#LentChallenge
Jumping Tandem
Sandra Heska King - Still Saturday

Hosanna! | Sunday Respite | 40 Gifts of Lent 2014

Palm Sunday

Hosanna!| Sunday Respite | 40 Gifts of Lent 

All glory laud and honor
To thee, Redeemer King
To whom the lips of children
Made sweet hosanna ring!
~”All Glory Laud and Honor”

They cried “Hosanna” (a shout of adoration in the New Testament, but also found in the Old Testament Hebrew to mean “help” or “save, I pray” in Psalm 118:25). They threw their cloaks down and, as the donkey’s feet trod across the palm branches, only Jesus knew the full weight of what they were saying – what their cry of “save us” was really asking.

For now, to know Him better, the best we can muster is to look behind and ahead based on what His Word tells us – like we are looking at His face in a dimly lit, memory-filled mirror. And yet, we can be assured – just like He was thousands of years ago as He rode to Jerusalem to take part in the events that would utterly change the course of history – when we cry “Hosanna! Save us!”, He will.

When our hearts betray us like the crowds eventually betrayed our Lord – He still saves.

Hosanna in the highest! Salvation belongs to our God.

–Quoted in part from: She Reads Truth, Hosanna, Posted on Apr 13, 2014 by Raechel Myers in #SheReadsTruthLent.  

I am anticipating the arrival of Easter and celebrating the most amazingly good gift I’ve ever received. I want to focus my heart on the fulfilled expectation of Christ’s first coming and the glorious expectation of His second coming. To continue reading, please go here: 40 Gifts of Lent

#LentChallenge

This is Love | Sunday Respite | 40 Gifts of Lent 2014

This is Love Sunday Respite

This is Love| Sunday Respite | 40 Gifts of Lent 

In humility, we rejoice that His lovingkindness never fails – while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

“…but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8

This is Love

Jumping Tandem

About 40 Gifts of Lent

I am anticipating the arrival of Easter and celebrating the most amazingly good gift I’ve ever received. I want to focus my heart on the fulfilled expectation of Christ’s first coming and the glorious expectation of His second coming. To continue reading, please go here: 40 Gifts of Lent 

#LentChallenge

Surprised to Be Loved |Sunday Respite | 40 Gifts of Lent 2014

From the Sky to the Sea

Surprised to Be Loved | Sunday Respite | 40 Gifts of Lent 

But me he caught—reached all the way
from sky to sea; he pulled me out
Of that ocean of hate, that enemy chaos,
the void in which I was drowning.
They hit me when I was down,
but God stuck by me.
He stood me up on a wide-open field;
I stood there saved—surprised to be loved!
Psalm 18:16 – 19 (The Message)

Sunday Respite 3

Jumping Tandem

Scripture and Snapshot

About 40 Gifts of Lent

I am anticipating the arrival of Easter and celebrating the most amazingly good gift I’ve ever received. I want to focus my heart on the fulfilled expectation of Christ’s first coming and the glorious expectation of His second coming. To continue reading, please go here: 40 Gifts of Lent 

#LentChallenge

Receive This Peace |Sunday Respite | 40 Gifts of Lent 2014

Receive This Peace

Receive This Peace | Sunday Respite | 40 Gifts of Lent 

I leave my peace with you.

I give my peace to you.

I do not give it to you as the world does.

Do not let your hearts be troubled.

And do not be afraid.

John 14:27 (NIrV)

Through Christ, we have peace. Through Christ we can be deeply joyful. Through Christ we can have unshakable faith. I want the kind of peace that He gives, not the kind the world gives. I want the kind of joy that he gives, not the world’s joy. I want the kind of faith that can only he can give.

Jumping Tandem

Scripture and Snapshot

About 40 Gifts of Lent

I am anticipating the arrival of Easter and celebrating the most amazingly good gift I’ve ever received. I want to focus my heart on the fulfilled expectation of Christ’s first coming and the glorious expectation of His second coming. To continue reading, please go here: 40 Gifts of Lent 

#LentChallenge