Three Nails

It is often said that bad things come in threes.Nails

Yet we see in scripture that the number three represents completeness.

Are there not three facets of the Holy Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost? Three parts to the Tabernacle: the court, the Holy Place, and the Holy of Holies?

Jonah was in the whale for three days. Jesus was in the tomb for three days.

The number resonates all through the Word of God. How then can we see the number three as a bad omen?

Yet, as I pondered this, it came to methe image of three nails. The vision stayed with me for weeks. Yet I could not put together what exactly God was saying. What was the significance of those three nails?

Three nails pierced the hands and feet of Jesus as he hung upon the cross. Three nails were used to crucify our Savior.

Slowly, my vision cleared. My eyes were opened, as again, I read the story of the crucifixion.

As the first nail bit into the flesh of Jesus’ palm, as the crowd taunted and jeered, He spoke this prayer:

“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” Luke 23:34

He looked past the hammer, beyond the hand, and into the heart that was yet unclean. A heart that needed Him, for was not this His mission, to bring the lost to the Father. He forgave, and in so doing, He showed us our need and His redeeming love.

The second nail pierced through his other hand, and with the agony of the searing pain, he cried out:

“My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Mark 15:34

Here was the climax of Jesus’ life. All He had worked for unfolded in that desperate hour. On the cross of Calvary, Jesus not only bore our sins, but He became our sin. He experienced the full meaning of what it was to be human: completely and utterly separated from God. For where sin is, God cannot be. The gulf stretched before Jesus, and He was alone.

The final nail was driven into His feet, those precious feet where the tears of Mary had washed away the stains of His journey. It was in that final hour that the third prayer was lifted toward heaven:

“Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.” Luke 23:46

Through the torment of His distress, Jesus surrendered to the will of God. He trusted the Father despite His circumstances. The Savior demonstrated to us all, that even in the midst of our trials, we are to have faith in the Lord. God is our salvation. God turned and reached across the void and took hold of Jesus.

“It is finished!” John 19:30

The Bride Price was paid. Yet, God had more to give. Three days later, within a dark and dismal tomb, life returned to Jesus. Death could not hold Him, even as death has no power over us!

But how can we conquer death?

Each point, each prayer, must pierce us, even to our very souls. We must be crucified with Christ.

There were three crosses on that first Good Friday. Two thieves hanging beside Jesus: one to the right and one to the left.

On one side, the thief blasphemed, taunting Jesus:

“If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.” Luke 23:39

The other thief rebuked the first:

“We receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.”

Here, as we all must do, he acknowledged his sin. He perceived his own guilt and the terrible gulf before him. So he surrendered to God, and spoke with a humble and honest heart:

“Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” Luke 23:41-42

As the thief confessed his belief that Jesus is the One who saves, Jesus looked at him with those loving eyes and spoke these words:

“Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” Luke 23:43

Today, we have a choice to make. We can either be as the first thief, and deny Christ; or we can be as the second thief, admit our fault and ask for God’s forgiveness.

Jesus showed us the waywith three nails and three prayers.

So what can three nails accomplish?

They can bridge the gulf between death and life. Save the lost. Transform hearts. Open minds. Free a captive soul.

Three nails and three prayers. The choice is yours.

“Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve….But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15

~ Susan

 

Reference: Robert C. Crosby, D.Min. “The One Jesus Loves”

 

 

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Three Nails

It is often said that bad things come in threes.Nails

Yet we see in scripture that the number three represents completeness.

Are there not three facets of the Holy Trinity: Father, Son, and Holy Ghost? Three parts to the Tabernacle: the court, the Holy Place, and the Holy of Holies?

Jonah was in the whale for three days. Jesus was in the tomb for three days.

The number resonates all through the Word of God. How then can we see the number three as a bad omen?

Yet, as I pondered this, it came to me – the image of three nails. The vision stayed with me for weeks. Yet I could not put together what exactly God was saying. What was the significance of those three nails?

Three nails pierced the hands and feet of Jesus as he hung upon the cross. Three nails were used to crucify our Savior.

Slowly, my vision cleared. My eyes were opened, as again, I read the story of the crucifixion.

As the first nail bit into the flesh of Jesus’ palm, as the crowd taunted and jeered, He spoke this prayer:

“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they do.” Luke 23:34

He looked past the hammer, beyond the hand, and into the heart that was yet unclean. A heart that needed Him, for was not this His mission, to bring the lost to the Father. He forgave, and in so doing, He showed us our need and His redeeming love.

The second nail pierced through his other hand, and with the agony of the searing pain, he cried out:

“My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Mark 15:34

Here was the climax of Jesus’ life. All He had worked for unfolded in that desperate hour. On the cross of Calvary, Jesus not only bore our sins, but He became our sin. He experienced the full meaning of what it was to be human: completely, and utterly, separated from God. For where sin is God cannot be. The gulf stretched before Jesus, and He was alone.

The final nail was driven into His feet, those precious feet where the tears of Mary had washed away the stains of His journey. It was in that final hour that the third prayer was lifted toward heaven:

“Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit.” Luke 23:46

Through the torment of His distress, Jesus surrendered to the will of God. He trusted the Father despite His circumstances. The Savior demonstrated to us all, that even in the midst of our trials, we are to have faith in the Lord. God is our salvation. God turned and reached across the void and took hold of Jesus.

“It is finished!” John 19:30

The Bride Price was paid. Yet, God had more to give. Three days later, within a dark and dismal tomb, life returned to Jesus. Death could not hold Him, even as death has no power over us!

But how can we conquer death?

Each point, each prayer, must pierce us, even to our very souls. We must be crucified with Christ.

There were three crosses on that first Good Friday. Two thieves hanging beside Jesus: one to the right and one to the left.

On one side, the thief blasphemed, taunting Jesus:

“If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.” Luke 23:39

The other thief rebuked the first:

“We receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.”

Here, as we all must do, he acknowledged his sin. He perceived his own guilt and the terrible gulf before him. So he surrendered to God, and spoke with a humble and honest heart:

“Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” Luke 23:41-42

As the thief confessed his belief that Jesus is the One who saves, Jesus looked at him with those loving eyes and spoke these words:

“Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.” Luke 23:43

Today, we have a choice to make. We can either be as the first thief, and deny Christ; or we can be as the second thief, admit our fault and ask for God’s forgiveness.

Jesus showed us the way – with three nails and three prayers.

So what can three nails accomplish?

They can bridge the gulf between death and life. Save the lost. Transform hearts. Open minds. Free a captive soul.

Three nails and three prayers. The choice is yours.

“Choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve….But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Joshua 24:15

~ Susan

 

Reference: Robert C. Crosby, D.Min. “The One Jesus Loves”

 

 

Take My Hand

The Hand of Jesus

“Then little children were brought to Him that He might put His hands on them and pray, but the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” And He laid His hands on them and departed from there.” Matthew 19: 13-15

This Sunday, our pastor told a joke and it went something like this:

 

Once there was a man who, while walking along a road, fell into a ditch.

A Pharisee came by and seeing the man, said, “My son, you are unclean.” And he walked to the other side, leaving the man in the ditch.

Next, a Presbyterian came along the road and said, “You were predestined to fall into that ditch.” He walked on by.

Then a Methodist was traveling down the street, and noticed the man in the ditch. He walked over to the fellow and, with pity, looked down at him. “Praise God in the bad times. I will pray for you brother.” And he continued on down the road.

A Charismatic followed soon after, and said, “Brother, just believe you are out of the ditch and it will be so.” And he walked on by.

A fundamentalist journeyed along the road, and seeing the man, said to him, “You deserve to be in that ditch.” And he, too, continued on.

And so the list continued, until Jesus walked over to the ditch. With love, He reached out to the man and said, “Come, take my hand.”

And He lifted the man out of the ditch.

(No disrespect intended to any denominational group)

 

All kidding aside, it left me with this thought: how complicated we make faith. As we try to figure out why difficulties happen, or what we did to deserve them, Jesus has His hand extended to us. He is willing to help us out of our present situation. May we always see His helping hand through the mire of man-made dogma.

Jesus offers Grace. All we need do is take hold of it.

~ Susan

Judge Not?

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“Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” ~ Mathew 7:1-2

Are we to judge? Are we not called upon daily to make judgments? Do we not have to decide what is sinful and what is right? How else would we know which path to take, or which people to spend time with? We have to make judgments in order to make right decisions.

We can know a person by the fruit that they produce (Mathew 7:16) for even a child is known by his actions, by whether his conduct is pure and right. (Proverbs 20:11)

What then did Jesus mean when He said, “Do not judge?” Are we to never make judgments or form opinions? Of course not.

We must look further than the first few words of Mathew 7. For it does not say that we should never judge, but that we must remember that when making judgments of others we are setting the standard by which we too will be judged, so judge fairly.

We must all be accountable for our actions. A society would quickly crumble into anarchy without judgment and the law. Judgment must be made before forgiveness can be enacted. So without judgement there would be no mercy, no grace, no forgiveness.

Forming opinions should not be done harshly or in haste, without allowance to circumstances. Our judgments should not be based on our fears, hurts, past experiences, but on the facts alone.

“‘Do not pervert justice; do not show partiality to the poor or favoritism to the great, but judge your neighbor fairly.” ~ Leviticus 19:15

“Stop judging by mere appearances, and make a right judgment.”       ~ John 7:24

It is said that you cannot judge someone else unless you have walked a mile in his shoes, but even then, you do not have his feet, so your vantage point is askew. Truly no one can judge the actions of another, for we cannot fully understand his motives.

“As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.”  ~ Romans 14:1-4

It seems to me that we are all walking a difficult path in this world. We are all making a journey on our own road, the one appointed to us by God. We walk in the light that is given to us, and that Light is only for our next step. How then can we clearly see our brother’s path whose light shines only before his feet? There is no way we can rightly view his journey from our vantage point even as they cannot see ours.

So when you make judgments or form opinions on how someone else is doing, be careful, for God gives us this warning: that with whatever measure, with whatever standard we hold up to someone else, that too is the standard that God will hold us to. So if you desire your Heavenly Father to judge you with mercy and love, then we ought to also judge our brethren with the same measure.

“Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written,

“As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me,

and every tongue shall confess to God.”

So then each of us will give an account of himself to God. Therefore let us not pass judgment on one another any longer, but rather decide never to put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.”   ~ Romans 14:10-13

~ Susan