Saturday, June 12, 2010

skimming through an old favorite...

While doing a bit of research to help E with a lesson, I decided to skim through a book I haven't read in a while that I love...

This awesome! It's such a simple read, but sometimes, that's really all we need. A simple reminder of what Christ did for us. For ALL of us, what He CHOSE to do.

Anyway, before I start crying like a baby, I wanted to share an excerpt
from the beginning of the book:

We are at our best when we are giving. In fact, we are most like God when we are giving.  Have you ever wondered why God gives us so much? We could exist on far less. He could have left the world flat and gray; we wouldn't have known the difference. But He didn't.

He splashed orange in the sunrise
and cast the sky in blue.
And if you love to see geese as they gather,
chances are you'll see that too.

Did He have to make the squirrel's tail furry?
Was He obliged to make the birds sing?
And the funny way that chickens scurry
or the majesty of thunder when it rings?

Why give a flower fragrance? Why give food its taste?
Could it be
He loves to see
that look upon your face?

If we give gifts to show our love, how much more would He? If we-speckled with foibles and greed-love to give gifts, how much more does God, pure and perfect God, enjoy giving gifts to us? God's gifts shed light on God's heart, God's good and generous heart...Every gift reveals God's love...but no gift reveals His love more than the gifts of the cross. They came, not wrapped in paper, but in passion.  Not placed around a tree, but a cross.
And not covered with ribbons, but sprinkled with blood.
The gifts of the cross.
Much has been said about the gift of the cross itself, but what of the other gifts? What of the nails, the crown of thorns? The garments taken by the soldiers. The garments given for the burial. Have you taken the time to open these gifts?
He didn't have to give them you know.  The only act, the only required act for our salvation was the shedding of blood, yet He did much more.  So much more. 
Search the scene of the cross, and what do you find?
A wine soaked sponge.
A sign.
Two crosses beside Christ.
Divine gifts intended to stir that moment, that split second when your face will brighten, your eyes will widen, and God will hear you whisper, "You did this for me?"

The diadem of pain
which sliced your gentle face,
three spikes piercing flesh and wood
to hold You in Your place.

The need for blood I understand.
Your sacrifice I embrace.
But the bitter sponge, the cutting spear,
the spit upon your face?
Did it have to be a cross?
Did not a kinder death exist
Than six hours hanging between life and death,
all spurred by a betrayer's kiss?

"Oh , Father," you pose,
heart-stilled at what could be,
"I'm sorry to ask, but I long to know,
did you do this for me?"

...Unwrap and examine these gifts of grace as if for the first time.  And as you touch them-as you feel the timber of the cross and trace the braid of the crown and finger the point of the spike-pause and listen. Perchance you will hear Him whisper:

"I did it just for you."

Again, this book is great. Each chapter outlines some very specific things that happened that day that we tend to forget about.  Here is part of the chapter outline...

"I will bear your dark side"-God's Promise in the Soldiers' Spit
"I loved you enough to become one of you"- God's Promise in the Crown of Thorns
"I forgive you"-God's Promise in the Nails
"I will speak to you in your language"-God's Promise through the Sign
"I will let you choose"-God's Promise through the two crosses
"I will not abandon you"-God's Promise in the Path
"I will give you My robe"-God's Promise in the Garment
"I invite you into My presence"-God's Promise through the Torn Flesh
"I understand your pain"-God's Promise in the Wine-Soaked Sponge
"I have redeemed you and I will keep you"-God's Promise in the Blood and Water
"I will love you forever"-God's Promise in the Cross
"I can turn your tragedy into triumph"-God's promise in the Burial Clothing
"I have won the victory"-God's Promise in the Empty Tomb

I know that my Redeemer lives. And I am so thankful for the blessings He's given me so far. :)

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