"I remember the days of old; I meditate on all thy works; I muse on the work of thy hands." - Psalm 143:5

Friday, March 29, 2013

Before and After

 

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My early morning was spent in Isaiah 53, reflecting on the Messiah’s sacrifice for me. A shower of emotions swirled around my spirit, drenching me in their meaning. These were hard words.

Crushed, wounded, pierced, despised, chastisement, oppressed, afflicted, sorrow, grief, cut off, judgment… slaughter.

These are also precious words… these are the words of redemption.

“…because he poured out his soul to death…”

Before Christ my heart was under judgment and faced a death sentence. I was condemned and my soul despised by an enemy opposed to my salvation. My life bore the oppression of chastisement and judgment. My sorrow, my grief, cut me off from hope. I was continually pierced by the reminders of my failures and my sin. Everything in me was slaughtered by it.

“…and was numbered with t he transgressors; yet he bore
the sins of many…”

After Christ, those words change. Condemnation has no hold on me and judgment fails in its attempt to convict. Hope has been handed back to me as a precious balm to heal the wounds of regret. The killing fields of sin have been plowed under by the redemptive force of love. Everything Jesus carried on that day of sorrow, he carried not only for me, but also away from me.

And He did the same for you…

Blessings, Jay

Monday, March 25, 2013

Unrecognizable

 

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My neighbors shouted for me to hurry, to drop what I was doing and follow them. They ran ahead, their excited voices forcibly joining the crowd we were running towards. The last thing I heard clearly was…

He was coming.

The air was filled with dust and anger, and in fear, I almost turned back. Instead, I jostled for position against the mob that lined the street. I flexed my broad shoulders and squeezed my way to the front, not caring about the bruises I gave or received by doing so. I wiped my eyes, trying to free them from the dust assaulting them. I wanted to hush the people around me, gather my bearings and find him in the crowd. I followed their pointed fingers and their jeers to the person walking down the street… he was coming.

My neighbors lied…this couldn’t be him…it was hardly a man. This was a walking, bloody mass of sorrow. Who could do that to such a man like him? It just couldn’t be him!

I followed, weaving through the families, the merchants and soldiers, struggling to keep pace with a man weighed down by a tree. The pointed fingers turned to clenched fists and the anger grew into hatred, cold and brutal, such like I’ve never witnessed before. The grotesqueness of the crowd mirrored this man’s wounds… raw and unforgiving. They eagerly spewed insults and spit with vicious accuracy. I wondered what hurt the man more, these vile words, or the punishment covering his body.

No way would they do this to…HIM! This can’t be him. Could it?

I lost count how many, but a number of times, he fell hard on the street of stones. The blood, the pain and the weight of his burden all conspiring to trip him. The forced march continued only after the soldiers made a man, randomly plucked from the crowd, carry the heavy load.

My Tears became a guttural sob, the tension ramming grief down my throat. I almost turned back, wanting to run away from the figure struggling to walk, even without the tree to carry. The mocking crowd shouted curses mixed with the name of Jesus…trying to blend them into one.

It just couldn’t be him…why would he let them do this to him?

On the mountain of skulls they nailed this battered pulp of a man to a cross. He looked un-human, torn, battered…and finished. He was unrecognizable…until I heard him speak.

“Father forgive them…they know not what they do!”

I was wrong all along…he was recognizable

HE was Jesus.

“My servant grew up in the Lord’s presence like a tender green shoot, like a root in dry ground. There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him. (3) He was despised and rejected—a man of sorrows, acquainted with deepest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way. He was despised, and we did not care. (4) Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows[a] that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins! (5) But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed.”
Isaiah 53:2-5 NLT

 

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Monday, March 18, 2013

Heart2Heart

 

sol front banner I was recently interviewed by my close friend Tom Zahradnik for the Sound of Life radio network. We sat down to talk about my past, forgiving my father and serving together on the board of directors for the Sound of Life.You can listen today to more of my story on the Heart2Heart Podcast... HERE.

H2H_logoHeart 2 Heart is hosted by Tom Michaels Zahradnik, CEO of the Sound of Life. The purpose of this podcast is to share stories of real people dealing with Real Life and Real Change. If you're looking for some great Christian music to listen to, you can listen online or download a free app to listen on the go.

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Tom and his wife Cathleen are founders of Rubicon Ministries, their passion is "Helping People Build God-centered Lives Founded on Biblical Truth." And they're really great people, so go check out their site!

 

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Monday, March 11, 2013

Showoffs

 

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Scars are strange.

A scar is a new patch of skin that grows over a wound. It forms when your body heals after a cut, scrape, sore or burn.

I still brag about one received from trying a jump, on my bike, off a Jerry-rigged ramp in my friend’s backyard when I was 13. I wear it like a badge of honor, a tribute to youth’s, (somewhat stupid), adventurous spirit.

Scars are showoffs.

I have others, those for years I tried to cover up and keep from being seen. I didn’t boast about them or exposed them to anybody. Yet, they revealed themselves, through attitudes, in conversations and the way I saw myself. Scar tissue of the soul is not easy on the eyes.

The scar treatment I needed was forgiveness. Redemption had a curious affect on the history of abuse I suffered at my father’s hand. It covered the wound and healed it beautifully… but it left a scar… a beautiful scar.

The new patch of “skin” that grew, reveals His heart and shows off His great restorative power. I am a new creation, one that knows the wound but not the pain it once caused.

That’s a scar I’m proud to show the world.

“Eight days later, his disciples were again in the room. This time Thomas was with them. Jesus came through the locked doors, stood among them, and said, “Peace to you.” (27) Then he focused his attention on Thomas. “Take your finger and examine my hands. Take your hand and stick it in my side. Don’t be unbelieving. Believe.” John 20:26-27 TM

Jesus had no issue with His scars…he invited touch, examination and opportunity to believe. I want that same heart…I want my scars to point to Jesus.

How about you? Are there wounds you need healing from?
How can I pray for you?

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My pastor and I are doing a sermon series on Total Forgiveness. We’ll soon have a link on our website to listen to all of them. In the meanwhile, If you want to listen to my latest sermon on Forgiveness, just click on the picture.

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Thursday, March 7, 2013

Wonderful Paradox

A note to my son Josh on his 24th Birthday

 

 

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“You know you are truly alive when you’re living among lions.”
― Karen Blixen, Out of Africa

Josh… I’m amazed.

Dads have this wonderful paradox living inside them. On one hand, we strive to help our children grow up, become men and woman of character and then…


You encourage them to walk through the door of adventure.

On the other hand, you have spent years protecting, providing, prodding… praying. The investment of time, energy, tears and love, have changed the man you were. All of this has connected you with God at a level you couldn’t imagine before. You wake up and realize that this is the adventure you were born for.

A father, a coach, a mentor and a friend.

So my son, go live among the lions, be brave and courageous. Love people the same way. Live outrageously confident of the love Father God has for you and the adventure He has prepared.

“Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.” 1 Corinthians 16:13-14 ESV

I love you Josh…Happy Birthday!
Dad

 

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