God’s Gift of Grace For Every Failure. John 21:15-19

John 21:15-19 New American Standard Bible

The Love Question

15 Now when they had finished breakfast, Jesus *said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you [a]love Me more than these?” He *said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I [b]love You.” He *said to him, “Tend My lambs.” 16 He *said to him again, a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you [c]love Me?” He *said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I [d]love You.” He *said to him, “Shepherd My sheep.” 17 He *said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you [e]love Me?” Peter was [f]hurt because He said to him the third time, “Do you [g]love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I [h]love You.” Jesus *said to him, “Tend My sheep.

Our Times Are in His Hand

18 Truly, truly I tell you, when you were younger, you used to put on your belt and walk wherever you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will put your belt on you, and bring you where you do not want to go.” 19 Now He said this, indicating by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when He had said this, He *said to him, “Follow Me!”

The Word of God for the Children of God.

Adeste Fideles! Laeti Triumphantes! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.

The Gift of Failure

“You’ve got to crack a few eggs to make an omelet. Sometimes you’re the eggs; a baker’s dozen, But dang it, I’ll be the finest of all omelets one day. 

Failure is a fact.

Repeated Failure is a fact.

Recovery from repeated failures – not so much a fact but a condition for living.

We could sugar coat it and dress it up as something out of my control but that won’t tell the whole story.

We fail and we repeatedly fail.

Sometimes privately, but most times our failures are cannon fodder for the public eye, a place for others to publicly point their fingers and opinions in our general directions – at every opportunity I remember I am embarrassed about it and the thought of repeatedly coming back empty handed makes me nauseous.

Failure is an inevitable part of life that everyone experiences at some point.

It is a natural occurrence that shapes our character develops our resilience, and teaches us valuable lessons that can eventually, by God’s Grace, lead to success.

Many people see failure as the end of their journey, but in reality, it is just the beginning of a new one.

Failure is an opportunity to learn, grow, and become better.

By embracing failure, we open ourselves to new experiences, perspectives, and opportunities that would otherwise be unavailable.

Failure is not a measure of our worth as a person.

We are not defined by our failures but by how we respond to them.

The fear of failure can prevent people from pursuing their dreams, trying new things, and taking risks, risking humiliation and public defeat and reputations.

But it’s important to remember that failure is necessary for success.

Even When We Do Everything Right, We Can Still And Do Fail

Despite our very best efforts and intentions, we may still experience repeated failures of various and diverse degrees and measures and resultant setbacks.

This can be a brutal reality, the more times we fail, the harder we fail, and the harder we fall but we must understand success is not always within our control.

Many believe success results only from remembering what our parents taught us, their discipline, hard work, determination, and making the right decisions.

While these qualities are essential, they do not guarantee success.

No matter how well-prepared or competent we are, sometimes things don’t work out as planned.

Whether due to internal or external factors, wrong timing, or bad luck, bad calls by the umpires, failure can occur even when we have done everything “right.”

By learning that failure does not define us, by embracing this perspective and focusing on the process rather than the outcome, we can develop a healthier relationship with failure and be more “God” resilient in the face of setbacks.

Doing so can increase our chances of success, success being not letting failure win, and experience greater fulfillment in our personal and professional lives.

Peter’s Very Public “Catastrophic” Failure in the Courtyard

Luke 22:61-62 New American Standard Bible

61 And then the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had told him, “Before a rooster crows today, you will deny Me three times.” 62 And he went out and wept bitterly.

These verses are right after Peter has denied that he knew him the third time, and thus fulfilled the prophesy earlier in the evening.  

The Peter that we see here is a very different Peter than we see Peter become later in the scriptures.  

This Luke 22:61-62 Peter’s world is shattered, and what he has trusted in for so long seems to be lost.  

He did so many things, he said so many strong, brave, bold and courageous things because he trusted in Jesus as the Christ, but now that seems to be gone, he’s in a severe state of spiritual crisis–not sure what to do, or how to stop it.  

God’s Gift of Grace For Every Failure

Luke 24:28-35 English Standard Version

28 So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther, 29 but they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” So he went in to stay with them. 30 When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. 31 And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight. 32 They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?” 33 And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, 34  saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” 35 Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.

The New Testament mentions twice that the risen Christ appeared to Peter: once in this passage from Luke 24 :34 and again in 1 Corinthians 15:5.

Why would the poster boy for failure Peter, of all people, receive such special treatment from the writers of the New Testament Canon?

After all, not long before this event on the Road to Emmaus, Peter had quite severely failed himself, his friends, his family, his Master in His darkest hour.

Just before Jesus was arrested, He told Peter that a trial lay ahead:

“Simon, Simon, behold, Satan demanded to have you, that he might sift you like wheat, but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail.” Peter responded, rather audaciously, “Lord, I am ready to go with you both to prison and to death.”

But Jesus knew Peter’s heart: “I tell you, Peter, the rooster will not crow this day, until you deny three times that you know me” (Luke 22:31-34).

As it turned out, Peter heart and soul were not as ready to face prison and death as he had boasted, blustered and falsely allowed himself, everyone else around him within ear shot, to have imagined – quite a public display of false bravado.

We all know now, as did Jesus that very day, that Peter would, did indeed go on to very publicly and very loudly deny his Lord three times in the courtyard.

And afterward, when Peter recalled what Jesus had predicted and realized what he had done, he was suddenly reduced to tears (Matthew 26:75; Luke 22:62).

So why does the New Testament emphasize that the risen Lord Jesus appeared specifically to the afore named Peter – why are our eyes, ears and souls here?

Certainly not because Peter deserved it more than anybody else.

But it’s fair to wonder if Jesus appeared to Peter because in these make or break moments, the resurrected Jesus knew Peter needed it more than anybody else.

Peter knew that he had blown it completely—and yet while Peter had denied Jesus, Jesus didn’t deny Peter.

What mercy, what goodness, what kindness, what grace, what compassion, what forgiveness, what Grace that Jesus still chose to go to the cross for His flawed disciple and then specially chose to make a special appearance to him!

We have stumbled. We have been deniers, deserters, swaggerer’s.

We know that we do not deserve for God to specifically, especially, come to us.

And yet as we go to God’s word and as we open our lives to its truth, it’s almost as though Jesus comes, sits right down beside us, and says, “I’m here. I LOVE you, I want to speak to you. I want to assure and reassure you. I want to forgive you. I want you to be able to forgive yourself and I want to send you out in My power.”

John 21:15-19 English Standard Version

Jesus and Peter

15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John,  do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep. 18 Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were young, you used to dress yourself and walk wherever you wanted, but when you are old, you will stretch out your hands, and another will dress you and carry you where you do not want to go.” 19 (This he said to show by what kind of death he was to glorify God.) And after saying this he said to him, “Follow me.”

Peter knew he had failed Jesus.

No one had to tell him twice.

But the resurrected Jesus used that catastrophic failure to help Peter grow.

How can Jesus use failure for our spiritual growth?

Failure in whatever measure or degree is never fatal in the eyes of Jesus.

God’s Gift of Failure teaches us that we have an answer – we need a Savior.

God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit are the only answer!

From the inconceivable depths of his failure, Peter suddenly, repeatedly and quietly heard the word “love” from the lips of the resurrected Jesus again.

Jesus was not testing him but reaffirming His unconventional, everlasting love for Peter by gently and repeatedly asking him to reaffirm his own love for Jesus.

Peter also learned the answer to the most important question on his mind – that Jesus had cast him aside, not forsaken him, and had not given up on him.

Jesus came directly to him and called him to lead again.

Jesus offered Peter an opportunity to lead by dying to himself.

Jesus even predicted that in his death Peter would glorify God.

Peter had wandered, so Jesus had to get him back on track.

As Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, He calls all of the shots in our lives.

Failure of whatever degree and measure mankind can generate, can bring us back to the Lord, who finds us and gives us another opportunity to follow him.

From behind our own eyes, behind our own thoughts and application of justice, from behind our own reluctance to forgive as Jesus did, Peter didn’t deserve one ounce of the compassion he received from Jesus—and honestly, neither do we.

Our failures show us time and time again that we are immeasurably far from being .0000000000000000000000000000000001% worthy of God’s grace.

But in His mercy, He is pleased to give it anyway—and then give some more.

He is just that kind of Best Forever Friend. (Proverbs 17:17, 18:24, 27:17)

He is just that kind of God. (Isaiah 53:5)

He is just that kind of Savior. (Romans 5:7-10)

And you and me, like Peter, get to be His beloved disciple.

Acts 10:34-43 English Standard Version

Gentiles Hear the Good News

34 So Peter opened his mouth and said: “Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, 35 but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. 36 As for the word that he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all), 37 you yourselves know what happened throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed: 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. 39 And we are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree, 40 but God raised him on the third day and made him to appear, 41 not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. 42 And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. 43 To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

Later though, after Christ has been resurrected and returned, Peter transforms, and instead of just being an advocate, believer in, and supporter of Christ’s teachings, he starts becoming more like him… taking on his characteristics.  

To be clear, I’m not trying to knock Peter at all.  

He was an amazing man, and stronger than I will likely ever be.

I think his story is highly instructive and valuable because it shows us so much growth, and it is a transition that I think maybe we all have to make in our lives.

We have to move beyond just praising God and believing that God can do anything, to believing that WE

“can do all things through Christ which strengthens” us (Philippians 4:13).  

That’s a tough transition.  

Although we have a lot of pride to believe we know which way things should go, having confidence and a steadfast and immovable faith in ourselves is different than, and mostly opposite to, our pride–especially when we have to be humble enough to kick failure to the curb, to listen to God’s plan instead of our own plan.

Peter learned God was always going to be there for him even when he wasn’t always going to be physically present.  

He learned that he could be powerful and lead and help and work to feed God’s sheep, even without his Lord and mentor beside him.  

He still worshipped and praised God, but now he worked and loved and spread the gospel further, not just as a follower, but as a leader of others.  

Today, let’s try working on that same transition.  

Let’s realize how powerful we can be, echelons beyond our failures, as we work to forgive ourselves, love and have mercy upon ourselves, to do the Lord’s will.  

Let’s stop ourselves every now and then from knocking ourselves to the ground, talk to God, discern what He wants to do for us, by us, to help us feed his sheep.  

Let’s not deny our beliefs out of fear of failure or shame.  

Let’s not deny ourselves access to the Gift of God’s Grace and His Favor.

Let’s stand up for God, and share our hope and blessings with others.

Let’s walk for awhile, sit for a while longer with the resurrected Jesus.

Listen to His Words. (Hebrews 4:12)

Digest His Words. (Psalm 34:8)

Receive the Gift of the Holy Spirit that we may recall the works of the Lord!

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

Psalm 34 The Message

34 I bless God every chance I get;
my lungs expand with his praise.

I live and breathe God;
if things aren’t going well, hear this and be happy:

Join me in spreading the news;
together let’s get the word out.

God met me more than halfway,
he freed me from my anxious fears.

Look at him; give him your warmest smile.
Never hide your feelings from him.

When I was desperate, I called out,
and God got me out of a tight spot.

God’s angel sets up a circle
of protection around us while we pray.

Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see—
    how good God is.
Blessed are you who run to him.

Worship God if you want the best;
worship opens doors to all his goodness.

10 Young lions on the prowl get hungry,
but God-seekers are full of God.

11 Come, children, listen closely;
I’ll give you a lesson in God worship.

12 Who out there has a lust for life?
Can’t wait each day to come upon beauty?

13 Guard your tongue from profanity,
and no more lying through your teeth.

14 Turn your back on sin; do something good.
Embrace peace—don’t let it get away!

15 God keeps an eye on his friends,
his ears pick up every moan and groan.

16 God won’t put up with rebels;
he’ll cull them from the pack.

17 Is anyone crying for help? God is listening,
ready to rescue you.

18 If your heart is broken, you’ll find God right there;
if you’re kicked in the gut, he’ll help you catch your breath.

19 Disciples so often get into trouble;
still, God is there every time.

20 He’s your bodyguard, shielding every bone;
not even a finger gets broken.

21 The wicked commit slow suicide;
they waste their lives hating the good.

22 God pays for each slave’s freedom;
no one who runs to him loses out.

Lord, forgive me when I fail, and help me to learn that even my failure can be used for your glory. Keep me focused on you, and help me to serve you faithfully. In Jesus,

Adeste Fideles! Laeti Triumphantes! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.


Will My God Ever Give Up On Me As I Have Given Up on Him? Luke 22:54-62

Luke 22:54-62 Amplified Bible

Peter’s Denials

54 Then they seized Him, and led Him away and brought Him to the [elegant] house of the [Jewish] [a]high priest. And Peter was following at a [safe] distance. 55 After they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat among them. 56 And a servant-girl, seeing him as he sat in the firelight and looking intently at him, said, “This man was with Him too.” 57 But Peter denied it, saying, “Woman, I do not know Him!” 58 A little later someone else saw him and said, “You are one of them too.” But Peter said, “Man, I am not!” 59 After about an hour had passed, another man began to insist, “This man was with Him, for he is a Galilean too.” 60 But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” Immediately, while he was still speaking, a rooster crowed. 61 The Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had told him,  “Before a rooster crows today, you will deny Me three times.” 62 And he went out and wept bitterly [deeply grieved and distressed].

The Word of God for the Children of God.

Adeste Fidelis! Laeti Triumphantes! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.

I remember a secular song popular many years ago called “River”.

To this day, lines from that rather somber Joni Mitchell song stick with me.

She sang, “I’m always hard to handle. I’m selfish and I’m sad. Now I’ve gone and lost the best baby that I ever had.”

The words came to mind again this week while reading a post from a Christian who said, “I still struggle with being angry, ungrateful, and cranky.”

I added her words to what several people have written recently about Apostle Peter in today’s discourse from Luke 22.

As much effort as Peter made to assure and then reassure Jesus and the other disciples to never give up on Jesus – no matter the circumstances – He failed.

He failed in the worst way possible.

He failed himself.

He failed his friends and fellow disciples.

He failed his mother and his father

He failed to uphold every single thing he held to about his faith in God.

He failed his sworn and covenanted oath to God.

He failed his Messiah – denying him thrice times and very publicly.

When his Messiah needed and required him to be there for Him, as Messiah had predicted, before the cock crowed three times, Peter was nowhere declaring his his utmost confidence and faith in his Messiah nor his willingness to even die.

How much worse could it possibly get in that moment?

Then that fateful glance in the courtyard where Peter’s and Jesus’ eyes met after Peter thrice times emotionally, very publicly refuted his association with Jesus.

61 The Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had told him, “Before a rooster crows today, you will deny Me three times.” 62 And he went out and wept bitterly [deeply grieved and distressed].

They have preached this passage, taken a long look at this passage, been very self-introspective of this text as it was preached to them – and they CRIED TOO!

We can probably, without much effort, safely guess what emotions were going on in Peter’s much anguished heart and soul: “Will God Now Give Up On Me?!?”

They cried, proclaimed – “I was not there when my Savior needed me most!”

They cried and declared – “I got so very tired, so very much worn out by it all!”

The cried and declared – “I feel like I have simply given up on God, My Savior!”

They have likewise asked of themselves, “Will God ever give up on me?” 

Gravely worried because they think they have already and repeatedly done the one single thing that’s “finally too much for God to take,” they are feeling fear.

Many Will Worry About Keeping God’s Love

Now, their concerns aren’t just about their repeated failures toward conquering their anger, their fears, their broken promises, their ingratitude, or crankiness.

Some are worried about other things like unrelenting unswerving doubts, their waning and waxing faith, a fresh sin committed, or a repeated sin committed.

But, this lingering question comes rushing back to many people at different times, at too many inopportune times

Does God give up on us as we all too often give up on Him?

A significant question with what they believe has severe eternal implications.

I can safely confess here that despite what I staunchly believe is a steadfast and immovable faith – a “Superman Faith” if you will, I’ve certainly had that fear. 

Have you?

At times, I’ve wondered if I have let God down too much or too severely or made that “one too big a mistake” with the severest of eternal implications possible.

It hurts my spirit.

It puts a giant strain, an immovable millstone upon my heart and upon my soul.

I will simply never have the necessary knowledge nor the required wisdom nor any of the maximum allowable strength to even begin to move it or remove it.

Responding to the Lord’s “Once In a Lifetime” Look

Luke 22:61-62 Amplified Bible

61 The Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the word of the Lord, how He had told him, “Before a rooster crows today, you will deny Me three times.” 62 And he went out and wept bitterly [deeply grieved and distressed].

Two captivating stories are happening at the same time.

Inside the high priest’s court Jesus reveals his true identity as the Messiah.

Outside near the fire in the courtyard Peter denies his Lord three times.

Then the climax brings the two story lines crashing together.

Jesus’ eyes look directly at Peter’s eyes and quite literally changes everything.

Peter surrendered to the paralyzing fear of his faith’s ability at standing alone.

But fortunately Jesus enabled Peter to break out of the cage of conformity.

The rooster’s crow activated the alarm of Peter’s conscience.

Immediately he repented.

In extreme sorrow, Peter wept bitterly.

Do We Lose God When We Are Selfish and Sad?

As in Joni Mitchell’s sobering song, do we lose the best loved one we’ve ever had – our God and our Savior – when we are selfish and/or broken or sad? 


Absolutely Not!

It’s a guarantee that after we receive Jesus Christ as Savior, we still won’t be perfect! 

And God knows that! 

Instead, we all have a lot of “cleaning up” to do even at that point. 

But, that is something only God can do in your life.

Yes, you and I must cooperate, we must be and remain willing participants.

The way we do that is to believe Him that He loves us and has changed us.

That He IS always and forever changing us.

And, in addition, you and I must learn, and re-learn, how to receive His love.

With regards to Peter and His coming to terms with his catastrophic failures;

Later in the Upper Room he reaffirmed his love for Jesus by being there and not running away, fleeing from His presence, when Jesus appeared to the disciples.

Still later, doubts intact, Peter is recommissioned as the Lord’s representative.

John 21:15-17 Amplified Bible

The Love Motivation

15 So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these [others do—with total commitment and devotion]?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I [a]love You [with a deep, personal affection, as for a close friend].” Jesus said to him, “Feed My lambs.” 16  Again He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me [with total commitment and devotion]?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You [with a deep, personal affection, as for a close friend].” Jesus said to him, “Shepherd My sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me [with a deep, personal affection for Me, as for a close friend]?” Peter was grieved that He asked him the third time, “Do you [really] [b]love Me [with a deep, personal affection, as for a close friend]?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know everything; You know that I love You [with a deep, personal affection, as for a close friend].” Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep.

In John 21 we find that Jesus refused to let Peter cover up his unresolved past.

Three times the Resurrected Jesus asked Peter how much he loved his Lord.

And Peter asserted repeatedly, “Lord, you know that I love you.”

Jesus then empowered Peter, gave divine approval and permission, God’s own blessings, to just put his past behind him and walk confidently into his future.

Jesus’ aim is to come to us, bless us, reassure us, reconcile with and rehabilitate us whenever we feel the full weight of our millstones, when we fall from grace.

And our conscience can halt us before we yield to temptation.

But even when if we inevitably slip back into sin, God wants to restore us.

God does not stand behind home plate like an umpire at a baseball game with a great cloud of witnesses present waiting to signal and then shout, “You’re out!”

Instead, He comes to us on our lakeshores, draws us to Himself with kindness.

For us this means responding to the raucous alarm of our conscience, removing ourselves from the moment and place of temptation, repenting of our sin, give God permission to take our millstone, to reaffirming our loyalty to Jesus Christ.

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

Psalm 13 The Message

13 1-2 Long enough, God—
    you’ve ignored me long enough.
I’ve looked at the back of your head
    long enough. Long enough
I’ve carried this ton of trouble,
    lived with a stomach full of pain.
Long enough my arrogant enemies
    have looked down their noses at me.

3-4 Take a good look at me, God, my God;
    I want to look life in the eye,
So no enemy can get the best of me
    or laugh when I fall on my face.

5-6 I’ve thrown myself headlong into your arms—
    I’m celebrating your rescue.
I’m singing at the top of my lungs,
    I’m so full of answered prayers.

Psalm 139:23-24 The Message

23-24 Investigate my life, O God,
    find out everything about me;
Cross-examine and test me,
    get a clear picture of what I’m about;
See for yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong—
    then guide me on the road to eternal life.

Lord, we read Your text from Luke’s Gospel and we know that your convicting look is filled with thy convincing, affirming grace. Thank you for your transforming power!

Adeste Fidelis! Laeti Triumphantes! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.


Are The Disciples Asking Themselves: How Can We Know and Can We Trust God Will Keep Us in His Perfect Peace? John 20:19-23, Isaiah 26:1-4

John 20:19-23 Amplified Bible

Jesus among His Disciples

19 So when it was evening on that same day, the first day of the week, though the disciples were [meeting] behind barred doors for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them, and said, “[a]Peace to you.” 20 After He said this, He showed them His hands and His side. When the disciples saw the Lord, they were filled with great joy. 21 Then Jesus said to them again, “Peace to you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you [as My representatives].” 22 And when He said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of anyone they are forgiven [because of their faith]; if you retain the sins of anyone, they are retained [and remain unforgiven because of their unbelief].”

The Word of God for the Children of God.

Adeste Fidelis! Laeti Triumphantes! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.

In those moments of the death and resurrection, behind those barred doors of the Upper Room, can we even begin to imagine those disciples’ state of mind?

Many of Jesus’ followers had scattered for fear of their lives, and his closest disciples were hiding behind closed doors in fear of the religious authorities.

Their much beloved Rabbi (“Teacher”) had been crucified and then buried.

They had walked with Him for three long years and witnessed much, they had believed in him as the Messiah (the “Anointed One”), their promised deliverer.

Now, “cast off” doubts came rushing in – had it all been “too good to be true”?

Sure, they had just heard Mary’s highly excited message that Jesus had risen.

Peter and John had run to see the now-empty tomb, but that wasn’t even close to being the same thing as what Mary had experienced – seeing “Jesus IS alive!”

Was Mary mistaken?

Was it all “wishful thinking?”

Standing at the tomb in the dark, in her indescribable, immeasurable grief, had she only imagined seeing Jesus, through tear stained eyes, in an empty garden?

Did she see only what her impossibly desperate state of mind needed, wanted, to see, that she might find the only means of coping with the unbelievability?

Had others taken the body?

And Mary could not “handle the gravity” nor implications of, that possibility?

Where was her Rabbi that believed in her when no one else had dared to believe?

Bad news can be so easily believable!

Good news can seem so easily unbelievable!

Crucified and buried men don’t roll away unmovable stones, walk out of graves!

Were they being asked to believe: “impossible” witness and testimony of Mary?

Jesus didn’t keep his disciples waiting long.

That evening, “Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you!’”

He stood before them, and then He spoke these words to them.

He showed them his wounds.

He greeted them with a familiar blessing, “Peace Be With You.”

Jesus gave them the peace and presence they had been missing.

And they were overjoyed.

Things had not been the way they were supposed to be, but now they were!

Today we too celebrate that God is with us!

God’s Peace is With Us!

Christ has risen!

He is alive, and he lives in us! Hallelujah!

Peace is possible!

But, how can we know such a magnitude of God’s Peace through Christ is real?

I cannot claim any similar experience as those disciples in the Upper Room.

I do not know if anyone outside of those disciples in the Upper Room can claim the Resurrected Jesus just appeared to them in their homes or anywhere else?

So we read the post resurrection texts from the Gospels of Luke and John and because I believe in the Word of God for His Children, I “accept” their efforts.

But still, there are the questions being asked by everyone of this moment such a sequence of events are wholly, miraculously unique to the Christian experience.

How about our giving God, through Christ Jesus the benefits, prayers of doubts?

How about our confidence in the Word of God regarding “God’s Perfect Peace?”

How about our confidence in ourselves such a magnitude of Peace is achievable?

You know, actually believing more in the promises of God than the promises of our enemies rust laden promises which we grow fat on, we obsessively feed on?

How Can We Know God Will Keep Us in Perfect Peace?

Isaiah 26:1-4 Amplified Bible

Song of Trust in God’s Protection

26 In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah:

“We have a strong city;
He sets up salvation as walls and ramparts.

“Open the gates, that the righteous nation may enter,
The one that [a]remains faithful and trustworthy.

“You will keep in [b]perfect and constant peace the one whose mind is steadfast [that is, committed and focused on You—in both [c]inclination and character],
Because he trusts and takes refuge in You [with hope and confident expectation].

“Trust [confidently] in the Lord forever [He is your fortress, your shield, your banner],
For the Lord God is an everlasting Rock [the Rock of Ages].

Peace is possible even in our stressful, troubled world.

In Isaiah 26:3, the Bible promises that God and God alone “will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.”

Here’s what it means to do that, so you can experience peace in any situation.

What Does ‘He Will Keep in Perfect Peace’ Mean?

Everyone who chooses to keep their minds steadfast because they trust in God can count on experiencing perfect peace while they do so, according to this verse.

That means you can enjoy a state of perfect peace as long as you focus your mind from beyond your circumstances to God, and trust him to help you no matter what.

As a result of choosing to trust God, you welcome God’s peace into your mind.

Some people chase after peace of mind from worldly achievements, such as through the wanton pursuit health and wealth and wellness.

Good circumstances may help you enjoy a temporary feeling of peace.

However, only God can actually provide complete and lasting peace.

God, who alone is perfect, is the only reliable source of peace.

Thankfully, God is willing to give that perfect peace to everyone who decides to trust him to provide it.

Trusting God involves being at peace with God through Jesus Christ since Jesus made it possible for all humanity to have relationships with God. 

Ephesians 2:14 says about Jesus: “For he himself is our peace” and Ephesians 2:17-18 points out that, “He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.”

When we have that close connection to God, we can experience peace even during the most challenging circumstances, because “We know that all things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).

John Gills Commentary puts it this way:

“this peace is true, real, and solid; in which sense the word “perfect” is used, in opposition to a false and imaginary one; and it will end in perfect peace in heaven: moreover, the word “perfect” is not in the Hebrew text, it is there “peace, peace”; which is doubled to denote the certainty of it, the enjoyment of it, and the constancy and continuance of it; and as expressive of all sorts of peace, which God grants unto his people, and keeps for them, and them in; as peace with God and peace with men, peace outward and peace inward, peace here and peace hereafter; and particularly it denotes the abundance of peace that believers will have in the kingdom of Christ in the latter day.”

What Is the Context and Background of Isaiah 26:3?

Isaiah 26:3 is part of a song of praise in which the biblical prophet Isaiah celebrates God’s trustworthiness to provide all that people need, including their ultimate need: salvation.

Isaiah sings about how Israel will be judged for their sins yet also restored by God, in his mercy. Isaiah predicts that God will save people from their sins.

Although people may sometimes be faithless toward God, God will always be faithful to his people, Isaiah emphasizes.

God is willing to redeem and restore, and his perfect peace enters the souls of all who decide they have worn out their trust in the world to just trust in Him.

So, Isaiah urges readers to trust in God.

He writes that it is “because they trust” in God that God “will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast”.

The very next verse after Isaiah 26:3 emphasizes trust: “Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal” (Isaiah 26:4).

How Can We Be Sure That We Will Be Kept in Perfect Peace?

We can be sure that God will keep us in perfect peace.

The Holy Spirit will renew our minds whenever we ask for help doing what’s necessary to be at peace: focusing on God and trusting him. 

Romans 12:2 urges us all:

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is – his pleasing and perfect will.”

The Spirit will help us access the perfect peace that God offers us.

Jesus promises in John 14:26-27:

“But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.”

Peace is one of the nine “fruit of the Spirit” listed in Galatians 5:22-23.

As you invite the Holy Spirit to renew your mind, you can count on the Spirit’s help to do what Isaiah 26:3 calls you to do: trust in God with a steadfast mind.

A powerful way to pursue peace is to pursue wonder because experiencing wonder expands your awareness of God’s work in your life, and that gives you the assurance you need to trust God and be at peace.

And it can be a wonderful way for anyone to seek the perfect peace that only comes from God.

Here’s how it works:

Visualize Jesus on the cross, visualize the specific things that are troubling you.

Then see yourself walking toward Jesus and laying those things down at the foot of the cross for him to take care of for you.

Through a brief prayer, ask Jesus for help with every specific thing you’ve left there for him.

Entrust it all to his care.

See yourself walk away afterward, with your mind and heart open to receiving peace from Jesus.

Prayer ushers peace into your heart and mind,

according to Philippians 4:6-7, which says:

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

Characteristics of God’s Perfect Peace

We can be confident that the perfect peace God gives us will last.

The temporary peace of mind we may find from good circumstances in our lives can relieve some stress and anxiety for a while.

However, the peace that God gives isn’t limited to certain times or tied to specific circumstances.

The perfect peace of God is much more than simply the absence of stress and anxiety; it’s a deep and abiding knowledge of being loved and cared for by God no matter what.

Although that peace is beyond our understanding, it will guard our hearts and minds, promises Philippians 4:7: “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Psalm 139 describes how near God’s Spirit is to us at all times and in all places.

Verses 7-10 point out:

“Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.”

We can be sure that we’re never out of the Holy Spirit’s reach.

So, we’re always able to access the perfect peace that God offers us through his Spirit.

After celebrating God’s sovereignty over all circumstances in life, the psalmist ends with a plea for God to renews his mind:

“Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

That can be our prayer in any situation.

When we pray to experience God’s peace through a steadfast mind that is focused on him, we can count on that happening.

The Holy Spirit will strengthen our faith by renewing our minds, and peace will come to us as a result.

“Since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” Romans 5:1 explains.

When you follow the advice of Isaiah 26:3, you can be confident that you’ll experience perfect peace from God.

Simply pray and ask the Holy Spirit to renew your mind whenever you need help centering your focus on God.

The Spirit may direct your attention to a wondrous sign of God’s work in your life, or simply quiet your mind.

In the process, perfect peace will flow into your soul!

Perhaps that is why John added the words of John 20:22 to this narrative:

John 20:22 Amplified Bible

22 And when He said this, He breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.

Words of Purpose!

The first words Jesus spoke to his frightened disciples after his resurrection were words of reassurance: “Peace be with you!”

Then he quickly gave them a renewed sense of purpose: “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”

With those words, Jesus was passing his mission on to his followers.

Perhaps you’ve seen a relay race in which one runner comes up behind the next and passes off the baton.

That’s what Jesus was doing here.

He was passing off the baton to his followers and saying, “Go! Finish the race!

Carry on the mission I began!

I ran the first leg; now you run the next.

Just as God the Father sent me into the world, now I am sending you into the world! Go!” (See John 17:18.)

18 Just as You commissioned and sent Me into the world, I also have commissioned  and sent them (believers) into the world.

Later, Jesus would remind his disciples again of that mission:

“Go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20).

With whom can you and I share this good news of God’s Ultimate Peace today?

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

Dear Lord, Help me daily to remember you are indeed Lord of my life. You have the right to rule all that I think, believe and do. When I allow my mind to run to places that destroy my peace, remind me these are unauthorized thoughts. You do not want me to dwell on thoughts and emotions that contribute to unreasonable fears. I know my mind will remain in perfect peace as I fix my thoughts on you; so Lord Jesus, let your peace rule in my heart. Remind me of the peace I have in the shadow of Your Cross and in your family, and I pray the Holy Spirit to teach me how to be thankful for those circumstances that cause me to run to you, focus on you, and abide in you. I never need to live with fearful, anxious thoughts. Truth is, you alone are in control!

Adeste Fidelis! Laeti Triumphantes! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.


Will The Cross Open Wide Our Eyes Too? The Centurion’s Unexpected Confession: His Declaration Of Jesus’ Innocence. Luke 23:44-49

Luke 23:44-49 Amplified Bible

44 It was now about the sixth hour (noon), and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour (3:00 p.m.), 45 because the sun was [a]obscured; and the veil [of the Holy of Holies] of the temple was [b]torn in two [from top to bottom]. 46 And Jesus, crying out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into Your hands I commit My spirit!” Having said this, He breathed His last. 47 Now when the centurion saw what had taken place, he began praising and honoring God, saying, “Certainly this Man was innocent.” 48 All the crowds who had gathered for this spectacle, when they saw what had happened, began to return [to their homes], beating their breasts [as a sign of mourning or repentance]. 49 And all His acquaintances and the women who had accompanied Him from Galilee were standing at a distance, watching these things.

The Word of God for the Children of God.

Adeste Fidelis! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.

It was to become the Greatest Injustice in the History of Mankind.

As Prophesied by Jesus Himself three times to His Disciples.

Betrayed, Falsely Accused, a Bevy of False Witness testified against him.

A Kangaroo Court held in the darkest of street corners, behind locked doors.

By His own people who once declared the triumph of his life and ministry.

Pilate Himself declared his innocence, tried everything to release him alive.

But Jesus’ own people would have none of it – Crucify! Crucify! Crucify!

Beaten and Scourged and Humiliated to almost beyond recognition.

Forced to carry his own means of death.

Both Hands and Both Feet Nailed to the Cross in the most painful of ways.

Raised up for all the great gathered crowds to bear their ugliest witness to.

Ceaseless, Unrelenting Mockery and Scorn shouted and heard far and wide.

Finally, more quieted and Hushed Words are uttered and heard but by a few.

“I am Thirsty.”

“Father, Forgive them for they know not what they do.”

“It is Finished.”

“Father, into Your hands I Commend My Spirit.”

And finally, all the words come to their ends, Jesus is dead …

But into this moment when all else is suddenly hushed …

But the hushed flow of words continues from unexpected sources …

Luke 23:47 Amplified Bible

47 Now when the centurion saw what had taken place, he began praising and honoring God, saying, “Certainly this Man was innocent.”

Who else had heard these words spoken by the Centurion, the man with the authority to command and lead others to do his bidding, the man under the even greater authority of Pilate, under ultimate authority of his Emperor.

Yes, who else heard these hushed words of the Centurion …

Luke 23:48 Amplified Bible

48 All the crowds who had gathered for this spectacle, when they saw what had happened, began to return [to their homes], beating their breasts [as a sign of mourning or repentance].

The Word of God for His Children was undoubtedly rare and and far rarer still were the Words of God for His Children to remain hush, unspoken in those days.

Now, it is two thousand some odd number of years later and we “hear” again.

Through the Word of God for His Children and Song we remembered the scene.

Good Friday has passed us by, we have returned to the comfort of our homes.

To quietly await the quiet and hushed arrival of the sunrise on Easter Morning.

In that between time, on that day of whatever comes rushing to your mind – perhaps the final rush of housework, shopping and meal preparation for the final assembly of family and friends and perhaps even your neighbors too …

Question: What happens in your heart when you think of Jesus on the cross?

Probably not too much because like most you are waiting for the Preacher to lead the morning worship and Preach their messages on Sunday morning.

A day meant for personal reflection, perhaps family devotionals is what …?

Perhaps, if you are like me and perhaps a few others who went home “beating their breasts in hushed acts of confession and reflection and repentance, it is a time of inviting the Holy Spirit to intercede into your all too hushed moments.

I guess it is too hard to spend any extra time with God (Matthew 6:6-7) to try to imagine the indescribable, immeasurable depths of injustice on Good Friday.

His suffering is especially hard to imagine during this season of the year when we are still perhaps remembering his Advent and thinking about his birth too.

Our hearts are filled with emotion – the joy, and triumph and the Glory of God, the single greatest act of God’s love and God’s Justice of all time. (John 3:16-17)

The hearts of those who witnessed the Lord’s suffering were filled with all sorts of emotions, too.

Like the Centurion’s, Does The Cross Opens Our Eyes?

Luke 23:47 Amplified Bible

47 Now when the centurion saw what had taken place, he began praising and honoring God, saying, “Certainly this Man was innocent.”

The seasoned Roman officer handling the execution praised God and knew this man Jesus was not guilty of any crime.

The crowd went home with deep sorrow.

John and Jesus’ mother Mary and a few others stood by the Cross …

John 19:25-27 Amplified Bible

25 So the soldiers did these things.

But standing by the cross of Jesus were His mother, His mother’s sister [[a]Salome], [b]Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 So Jesus, seeing His mother, and the [c]disciple whom He loved (esteemed) standing near, said to His mother, “[Dear] woman, look, [here is] your son!” 27 Then He said to the disciple (John), “Look! [here is] your mother [protect and provide for her]!” From that hour the disciple took her into his own home.

Most of Jesus’ friends went home in repentance or watched from a distance.

We have all of these “reactions from the ground as they look up at the Cross.”

What are we to make of them still today – in these 21st century times, seasons?

We have not understood, indeed we cannot understand the implications of the the harshness, yet also the beauty of cross unless it has changed us personally.

After Jesus “breathed his last” (Luke 23:46), Luke records for us the reactions of those who witnessed the crucifixion.

“All the crowds that had assembled for this spectacle, when they saw what had taken place, returned home beating their breasts” (v 48).

Yes, there was sadness, but once the spectacle was over, they left to get on with their lives.

Verse 49 then informs us “all his acquaintances … stood at a distance watching” —and we can barely even imagine what was running through all of their minds.

But the most striking and the most personal reaction that Luke captures is that of the Roman centurion, who, seeing what had happened, “praised God, saying, ‘Certainly this man was innocent!’”—or, as the NIV renders it, “Surely this was a righteous man.”

Here, amid the darkness of hypocritical religious leaders, cynical rulers, and callous passersby, the hushed whispers of lingerers, is a tiny glimmer of light.

Perhaps the very last person we would expect to see the truth—a man with no previous connection to Jesus, no background in Old Testament studies, and no predisposition to the things of God, just utterly obeying his Roman bosses—not only grasped what he looked at, but he immediately responded personally to it.

He saw

“what had taken place”—the words of Jesus, the darkness overhead, the manner of His death—and realized, 

Here is no ordinary man. Here is a man who is different from every other man. Here is a man who is entirely innocent, wholly righteous. 

Indeed, the Gospel narrative of Mark adds that the centurion confessed that the man on the cross was undoubtedly none other but “the Son of God” (Mark 15:39).

With his incredible and trained eye for detail, Luke places a clear emphasis on giving his readers a “from the ground up” seeing what took place on the cross.

He probably hoped that some readers would remember that when Jesus had read from the scroll of Isaiah earlier in His ministry, He had said, “The Spirit of the Lord … has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor … to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind” (Luke 4:18).

Indeed, a great theme found throughout the Gospel of Luke is that of darkness being invaded by light—the confusion and hardness of the people’s hearts and their minds being subsequently invaded by the liberating power of God’s truth.

1 Corinthians 1:18-25 Amplified Bible

The Wisdom of God

18 For the message of the cross is foolishness [absurd and illogical] to those who are perishing and spiritually dead [because they reject it], but to us who are being saved [by God’s grace] it is [the manifestation of] the power of God. 19 For it is written and forever remains written,

“I will destroy the wisdom of the wise [the philosophy of the philosophers],
And the cleverness of the clever [who do not know Me] I will nullify.”

20 Where is the wise man (philosopher)? Where is the scribe (scholar)? Where is the debater (logician, orator) of this age? Has God not exposed the foolishness of this world’s wisdom? 21 For since the world through all its [earthly] wisdom failed to recognize God, God in His wisdom was well-pleased through the [a] foolishness of the message preached [regarding salvation] to save those who believe [in Christ and welcome Him as Savior]. 22 For Jews demand signs (attesting miracles), and Greeks pursue [worldly] wisdom and philosophy, 23  but we preach Christ crucified, [a message which is] to Jews a stumbling block [that provokes their opposition], and to Gentiles foolishness [just utter nonsense], 24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks (Gentiles), Christ is the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25  [This is] because the foolishness of God [is not foolishness at all and] is wiser than men [far beyond human comprehension], and the weakness of God is stronger than men [far beyond the limits of human effort].

Any attempt to articulate Christianity that denies the absolute centrality of the wisdom of God and the wisdom of the Cross can never lead to saving faith.

And while we do not always understand how the Spirit moves in leading men and women to be born again, our message must always and ever be the same:

“But We Preach Christ crucified” (1 Corinthians 1:23).

It is beholding the cross that brings life for anyone who responds to the man who hung there by confessing who He is and praising God for His saving work.

Unless and until the “goodness” of the cross is personal to us, it is essentially to be considered as utterly useless for us.

So, when was the last time you simply looked UP at your Savior on the cross and just walked away?

Or, when was the last time you looked DOWN at your Savior on the cross and up, just walked away into whatever else is about to rush into your hushed mind?

So, when was the last time you simply looked UP at your Savior on the cross and spent the intervening time waiting for the Easter moment and just praised God?

Which one best describes your reaction?

Don’t you find it even minimally amazing that probably the least commendable, the most hushed, the least exemplary response was that from Jesus’ friends?

In these intervening times and seasons, let’s not be just observers of the cross, but rather a people deeply sorrowed by our sins which took Jesus to OUR cross.

However, in our sorrow, let’s make sure we don’t let grief consume us.

Instead, let’s praise God for his grace and the salvation he has provided for us.

Then, rather than walking away, having been hushed by the moment, going into hiding like the fearful friends of Jesus (John 20:19),

Let’s maybe share the confession of the Centurion, and the grace of God with;

O’ Come All Ye Faithful …

Adeste Fidelis …

O’ Come Let Us Adore Him …

Venite Adoremus …

Joyful and Triumphant …

Laeti Triumphantes,

To the King of the Angels …

Regem Angelorum …

To Christ the Lord!



In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

Psalm 24 The Message

24 1-2 God claims Earth and everything in it,
    God claims World and all who live on it.
He built it on Ocean foundations,
    laid it out on River girders.

3-4 Who can climb Mount God?
    Who can scale the holy north-face?
Only the clean-handed,
    only the pure-hearted;
Men who won’t cheat,
    women who won’t seduce.

5-6 God is at their side;
    with God’s help they make it.
This, Jacob, is what happens
    to God-seekers, God-questers.

Wake up, you sleepyhead city!
Wake up, you sleepyhead people!
    King-Glory is ready to enter.

Who is this King-Glory?
    God, armed
    and battle-ready.

Wake up, you sleepyhead city!
Wake up, you sleepyhead people!
    King-Glory is ready to enter.

10 Who is this King-Glory?
    he is King-Glory.

Holy and Almighty God, Author of my Life, Perfecter of my Faith, my heart breaks that Jesus had to die as a sacrifice for sin … especially my sin. However, I praise you for your plan of grace, for your desire to provide mercy at the expense of your own heartbreak, and for your overwhelming love for people like me. In Jesus’ name.

Adeste Fidelis! Venite Adoremus! Laeti Triumphantes, Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.


Where the Hurt and Healing Collide, There is A Wounded Healer’s Heart. There is a Savior: Jesus! Isaiah 53:1-6

Isaiah 53:1-6 Amplified Bible

The Suffering Servant

53 Who has believed [confidently trusted in, relied on, and adhered to] our message [of salvation]?
And to whom [if not us] has the arm and infinite power of the Lord been revealed?

For He [the Servant of God] grew up before Him like a tender shoot (plant),
And like a root out of dry ground;
He has no stately form or majestic splendor
That we would look at Him,
Nor [handsome] appearance that we would [a]be attracted to Him.

He was despised and rejected by men,
A Man of sorrows and pain and acquainted with grief;
And like One from whom men hide their faces
He was despised, and we did not appreciate His worth or esteem Him.

But [in fact] He has borne our griefs,
And He has carried our sorrows and pains;
Yet we [ignorantly] assumed that He was stricken,
Struck down by God and degraded and humiliated [by Him].

But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our wickedness [our sin, our injustice, our wrongdoing];
The punishment [required] for our well-being fell on Him,
And by His stripes (wounds) we are healed.

All of us like sheep have gone astray,
We have turned, each one, to his own way;
But the Lord has caused the wickedness of us all [our sin, our injustice, our wrongdoing]
To fall on Him [instead of us].

The Word of God for the Children of God.

Adeste Fidelis! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.

Someone Familiar With Our Suffering

“You can’t truly know people unless you walk a mile in their shoes,” we sometimes say.

Two thousand ago, a man named Jesus walked into humanity’s full view, in our shoes, and showed that he genuinely knew the full range of human experience.

The Word of God for His Children often reminds them that Jesus was one of us.

The Word of God comes right out of God’s mouth to reveal to human kind He experienced joy and suffering and sorrow, feasting and hunger, the fruits of hard work and the setbacks of humiliation, injustice, poverty, life and death.

He also knew the grief of losing a close friend, which led him to weep (John 11:32-35).

In addition, Jesus was sometimes discouraged by the spiritual numbness of his disciples (Matthew 16:8-12), and weary from hot, dusty travel (John 4:6).

He became angry when people mistreated God and others (Matthew 21:12-13), he also took children in his arms, taught and blessed them (Matthew 19:13-14).

Countless times we read of him healing the sick and destitute, individually and by the village full, approaching the unapproachable, touching the untouchable.

In the account of his crucifixion, as Isaiah foretold, Jesus even experienced total rejection, complete betrayal and unimaginable physical and spiritual suffering.

The reality: Our salvation wasn’t won in the beauty and safety of a royal palace.

Jesus pioneered our salvation through the experience of human living in this world.

He faced all the temptations and struggles we meet daily—and yet he never sinned (Hebrews 4:15).

There is not one single human heart who can claim it has never been wounded.

There is not one single human heart which can claim it has not ever suffered.

His words from the cross “I am thirsty” (John 19:28) assure us that he willingly and obediently dealt with all human experiences as he worked to defeat sin.

For humanity, there must eventually, gradually, subtly, suddenly, come the realization that there is a very real place in God’s divine order – where all our hurting, our woundedness, our suffering, our brokenness, sin, come together.

From Genesis to Revelation, The Word of God reveals to all of God’s children Jesus is our ultimate example of the type of heart we need to turn to, we need to surrender to, because by his crucifixion, He is our healer, our wounded healer.

And we see this heart, the heart of Jesus, not only from His life but also in the death He died for us, not only by the death He died for us, but by the witness of the EMPTY tomb, the angels’ words, by His resurrection and by His Ascension.

A Wounded Healer’s Heart

Jesus is a Wounded Healer

He experienced our wounds by coming in flesh so He could feel what we feel.

“But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5. NKJV.

Are You A Wounded Healer?

Am I A Wounded Healer?

You and I may not even know there is a name for it; you are too busy doing what needs to be done.

You and I have almost certainly, surely been gravely wounded, hurt, maybe too even abused, maybe even bullied, maybe even betrayed, maybe even humiliated.

Somehow, by some means, in too many ways, we are all wounded throughout our lives, physically, emotionally, psychologically; some of us have been hurt in more ways than we can remember – the measure of trauma is too inconceivable.

Wounded Healer is one who, although they have been wounded time and time again; discern they learn to take those experiences and use them to help others, to minister like Jesus, during their time of loss, tragedy, grief, pain or illness.

Even from hospital beds, with bodies wracked by severe illnesses, like Jesus, they realize that though they are suffering, have suffered in their bodies, they have also learned, by prayer, witness and their testimony of the work of their Savior Jesus in their lives, they can now benefit all others from that suffering.

Now they have become a Wounded Healer.

God isn’t causing their pain but He can use their pain to get your attention and help you and me and others grow, teach the many of compassion and grace.

By their example, you and I can learn how we too can share all our Savior Jesus Christ, minister to others in the middle of our own pain and it helps them heal!

Hebrews 13:1-2 Amplified Bible

The Changeless Christ

13 Let love of your fellow believers continue. Do not neglect to extend hospitality to strangers [especially among the family of believers—being friendly, cordial, and gracious, sharing the comforts of your home and doing your part generously], for by this some have entertained angels without knowing it.

When this passage in Hebrews was anonymously written, people were expected to show generous hospitality to travelers and strangers who might otherwise have nowhere else to stay as they went from village to village and town to town.

The context of this advice urges believers in God to show love and care for one another as well for others who may be in need, such as strangers, travelers.

This advice echoes the words of Jesus in Matthew 25:31-46, where Rabbi Jesus teaches us all that caring for the needs of others is like doing the same for him.

This passage in Hebrews also invites us to consider that a stranger or visitor we encounter might be an angel—that is, a messenger from God (also Genesis 18).

The point is that we should treat anyone we meet as being so valuable and fully worthy of our time that they might be sent from God, and that showing love and care and compassion to them would be like doing the same for the Lord himself.

This can be hard to imagine, especially if hospitality is not so common anymore in our culture and we need to be ever so much more wary of “stranger danger.”

But here the Spirit of God is challenging us simply to treat others well, showing love and kindness to everyone, no matter who they are.

In other words, we are called, even from the midst of our suffering, to love and care for others just as our Lord, Savior Jesus Christ has done for us at Calvary.

Angels of Mercy who will probably not have a set of initials after their name, they won’t ever claim to know it all, and they won’t ever have all the answers.  

But they know how to listen, they know how to care, whose families will show up with a casserole, a care package, or sit with you through the night if need be.

Sometimes they say nothing at all.

They do not have to because they have been there.

They were wounded, they know.

Silence is golden, a hug is infinitely better than words.

Where Our Hurt and Our Healing Collides

Isaiah 53:3-5 Amplified Bible

He was despised and rejected by men,
A Man of sorrows and pain and acquainted with grief;
And like One from whom men hide their faces
He was despised, and we did not appreciate His worth or esteem Him.

But [in fact] He has borne our griefs,
And He has carried our sorrows and pains;
Yet we [ignorantly] assumed that He was stricken,
Struck down by God and degraded and humiliated [by Him].

But He was wounded for our transgressions,
He was crushed for our wickedness [our sin, our injustice, our wrongdoing];
The punishment [required] for our well-being fell on Him,
And by His stripes (wounds) we are healed.

Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is all of mankind’s Wounded Healer

He experienced our wounds by coming in flesh so He could feel what we feel.

“But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5. NKJV.

If you have damaged emotions and physical and emotional scars, ABBA God the Father and Jesus His Son and God the Holy Spirit, are able to take care of those.

For God so loved the World that God sent His Son into the World that we should be saved – NOT CONDEMNED for our sins as we all so very righteously deserve.

Jesus gave His life at Calvary and rose again so that we could have eternal life AND be healers on this earth.

We cannot have open wounds and be a healer, we must have those taken care of.

Our resurrected Jesus is the only One who can overcome and heal our hurts so we can then recognize His Sovereignty and become the blessing God intended.

Maybe from your ailing’s you have never thought you had anything to offer.

My friend, I am certain you do.

If the Lord has forgiven you and restored you, pray for opportunities to give others hope and a light at the end of their tunnel.

Pray for the wisdom of God’s testimony and Jesus’ witness at Calvary above all, it is not an easy road to walk the road of suffering, but there are great rewards.

Are there areas in your life where you have opportunity to be a Wounded Healer?

I would love to hear about them!

Has someone else been a Wounded Healer to you?

Feel free to share Jesus Christ, your thoughts and encourage others here today.

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

Gracious God,

on this day we gather to remember the suffering death of Jesus.

He was despised and rejected,

oppressed and afflicted,

yet he was prepared to be wounded for our transgressions.
We come overwhelmed by the depth of Jesus’ love for us,

and his commitment to defeat evil,

even when that meant his own suffering and his own death.

In his willingness to make us righteous, he poured himself out to death, even death on a cross, and so, in response to such love and sacrifice, we commit all of ourselves as his disciples to overcome evil with Your good, our suffering with Your wholeness, with love and compassion, acceptance and mercy for all, meeting oppression with Your justice. Thank you, Jesus, for being willing to enter the grit and grime of our humanity to save us. There has never been a greater sacrifice! Let that be our Witness and let that we our sure and certain Testimony unto the world. Jesus’ name, we pray. 

Adeste Fidelis! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.


I Have a Testimony! Why Is the Approaching ‘Lamb of God’ So Significant to Me? John 1:29-34

John 1:29-34 Amplified Bible

29 The next day he saw Jesus coming to him and said, “Look! The Lamb of God [a]who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is He on behalf of whom I said, ‘After me comes a Man who has a higher rank than I and has priority over me, for He existed before me.’ 31 [b]I did not recognize Him [as the Messiah]; but I came baptizing [c]in water so that He would be [publicly] revealed to Israel.” 32 John gave [further] evidence [testifying officially for the record, with validity and relevance], saying, “I have seen the [d]Spirit descending as a dove out of heaven, and He remained upon Him. 33 I did not recognize Him [as the Messiah], but He who sent me to baptize [e]in water said to me, ‘He upon whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this One is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 I myself have [actually] seen [that happen], and my testimony is that this is the Son of God!”

The Word of God for the Children of God.

Adeste Fidelis! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.

The Preacher, with an inviting tone, filled the air with, “Who wants to testify about the goodness of the Lord?”

Testimonies of the goodness of God are a sure and certain motivation for the saints of God to keep going forward when the struggles in life weighed heavy.

John the Baptist had a sure, certain testimony about the goodness of God.

John 1:29-34 declares God has invaded the world in the person of Jesus Christ.

John 1:29-34 gives every Christian a sure and certain model testimony that we can draw powerful inspiration from, to learn to give about our own life journey.

First, John the Baptist knew instantaneously that in the salvation business, his ministry was decisively limited, only the perfect Lamb of God can take away sin.

Second, John the Baptist surely and certainly accepted the role of second chair.

He declared without hesitation that he absolutely was not the main thing.

John the Baptist unequivocally said, “A man who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.”

He was a humble servant to Jesus.

Third, John the Baptist gave a testimony of what he saw and experienced.

Without hesitation, the story John the Baptist told throughout his ministry is this: “I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.”

On this day before Palm Sunday, we too will have a powerful and inspiring testimony: tell your family and friends the story of Jesus, the Lamb of God!

That is our Witness!

That is our Testimony

That is our Coming Story!


Why Is the ‘Lamb of God’ So Significant To Us?

The Bible talks about the “Lamb of God” and often features imagery about lambs.

Spiritually, the Lamb of God is incredibly significant because it expresses the core of our faith.

In these our most contemporary of times, two thousand years after the words of John were first spoken and resoundingly declared, our learning why the Lamb of God is so significant can inspire us too with awe, to deepen our trust in Jesus. 

Who is the Lamb of God?

The phrase “Lamb of God” is a name given to Jesus in the Bible.

The Bible first mentions the Lamb of God in John 1:29, John sees Jesus and declares, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”.

John the Baptist continues to testify about Jesus and concludes in John 1:34: “I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.”

Whenever the Lamb of God appears in the Bible, it refers to Jesus. 

What Does the “Lamb of God” Mean?

Jesus as the Lamb of God expresses significant theological and symbolic meaning.

It highlights the sacrificial nature of Jesus’ mission as the world’s Savior.

Just as lambs – gentle animals who symbolize purity – were offered as sacrifices in the Old Testament to atone for sins, Jesus served as a sacrifice to atone for the sins of humanity.

The phrase “Lamb of God” refers to Jesus as the perfect and ultimate sacrifice provided by God for the single perfect atonement of all the sins of his people. 

Why Is the “Lamb of God” So Significant?

Relating to Jesus as the Lamb of God shows us the heart of why our faith is important.

It is only by trusting Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins we can connect with a holy God.

Otherwise, we would perish. 

John 3:16 celebrates the love behind this core sacrifice: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

John 3:17 declares God’s intent behind this core sacrifice: “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge and condemn the world [that is, to initiate the final judgment of the world], but that the world might be saved through Him.”

It’s important for us to trust Jesus’ work as the Lamb of God in order for us to be able to enjoy relationships with God and grow in holiness and gentleness.

Apostle Paul wrote, “For our sake he [God] made him [Jesus] to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).

Sacrifice is necessary because, as Hebrews 9:22 says, “In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.”

The entire sacrificial system established by God in the Old Testament prepares the way for Jesus coming to save the world as the Lamb of God.

In that system, lambs were often sacrificed in temples as offerings to God to atone for people’s sins.

A lamb was sacrificed for the sins of the people every morning and evening in Jerusalem (Exodus 29:38-42).

These sacrifices foreshadowed the perfect sacrifice of Christ on the cross that would happen later.

Interestingly, Jesus died on the cross at the same time the evening sacrifice was being made in the temple.

The Jews at that time were familiar with the Old Testament prophets Jeremiah and Isaiah, who foretold the coming of someone who would be led “like a lamb to the slaughter” (Jeremiah 11:19 and Isaiah 53:7). 

Isaiah 53:5-6 prophesies about how Jesus’ suffering and sacrifice will redeem people: “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace [Isaiah 26:1-3] was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.

We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.”

This person was none other than Jesus, the Lamb of God.

God instructed the Israelites to sacrifice a lamb for the Passover feast (Exodus 12:1-30).

The innocent lamb represented purity, and its sacrifice was a symbol of repentance and submission to God’s will.

Similarly, Jesus’ sacrificial death on the cross at Calvary to save humanity from sin shows he is the Lamb of God who makes the ultimate sacrifice necessary to ultimately and finally connect woefully sinful humanity to a perfectly holy God.

In fact, the slaying of the Passover lamb and applying its blood to the doorposts of the houses powerfully depicts Jesus’ atoning work on the cross.

If we trust Jesus as our Savior, we are spiritually covered by his blood, which protects us from spiritual death.

Romans 8:1-4 explains how Jesus’ physical sacrifice has made spiritual freedom possible for people:

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in the flesh, in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.”

Since humanity had sinned in the flesh (physically), and our holy God can’t be corrupted by sin, through Calvary, God made a way for our sins to be atoned for physically so we would no longer be separated from Him because of our sins.

Jesus’ work as the Lamb of God made it possible for all people to enjoy loving relationships with God, despite sin.

1 Peter 1:18-19 celebrates that redemptive work: “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect.”

Jesus has provided all we need to be forgiven forever for all of our sins, and he serves as our advocate for everything we need.

The entire chapter of Hebrews 10 describes the importance of Jesus’ work as the Lamb of God who takes away our sins.

As Hebrews 10:10 proclaims: “… we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”

Now, there is no need to sacrifice animals like lambs to God in a temple, because Jesus has provided an everlasting sacrifice on our behalf so we can enjoy relationships with God.

The chapter goes on to encourage us to persevere in our faith with confidence because of Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice for us:

“Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.”

Not only does the Bible look back to Jesus’ crucifixion as the Lamb of God, but it also looks forward to Jesus as the Lamb of God in heaven. 

Revelation 5:6 describes Jesus in heaven as “a Lamb, looking as if it had been slain.”

This image reinforces the sacrificial nature of Jesus’ mission and emphasizes the victory he achieved through his sacrifice.

A few verses later in Revelation 5:11-13,

the Bible reveals all created beings in heaven and earth – angels, people, and other creatures – worshiping Jesus for his work as the Lamb of God:

“Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. In a loud voice they were saying: ‘Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!’ Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, saying: ‘To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!’”

This passage shows the importance of our own selves learning, appreciating, the indescribable wonder of God’s work and responding to it with gratitude.

Revelation 7:9 shows Jesus in heaven as the Lamb of God, with a huge amount of people whose souls had been redeemed thanks to his sacrifice on earth:

“After this I looked, and there before me was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, tribe, people, and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb. They were wearing white robes and were holding palm branches in their hands.”

An angel explains to the apostle John in Revelation 17:14 that Jesus, the Lamb of God, will defeat evil and reign victorious over the universe:

“They will wage war against the Lamb, but the Lamb will triumph over them because he is Lord of lords and King of kings – and with him will be his called, chosen and faithful followers.”

Significance of Jesus as the Lamb of God Conclusion

The Lamb of God refers to Jesus as the perfect and ultimate sacrifice for sin.

The significance of the Lamb of God speaks to the core message of Christianity:

that through Jesus’ sacrifice at Calvary, we can be reconciled to God and receive forgiveness for our sins.

The Lamb of God is undeniably significant and central unto the Christian faith!

Because it emphasizes Jesus’ sacrificial mission and symbolizes his innocence, purity, and victory over sin and death.

As we approach tomorrow, the umpteenth time of our “holding up our palm branches, shouting our Hosannas” celebrating Jesus’ arrival into Jerusalem;

As we reflect on the meaning of the Lamb of God, may we be inspired to the utmost by the great love God has for us, the price that Jesus paid to redeem us.

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

Loving Heavenly Father, thank You for sending Jesus as the true Lamb of God Who has taken away all my sins. I am so thankful that Jesus died on the Cross for me, becoming the only perfect substitute for my sins. In Jesus’ name I pray, AMEN.

Adeste Fidelis! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.


A Ransom Paid in Full: Reflecting, Understanding, the Justice of God. Matthew 20:24-28

Matthew 20:24-28 Amplified Bible

24 And when the [other] ten heard this, they were resentful and angry with the two brothers. 25 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles have absolute power and lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them [tyrannizing them]. 26 It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, 27 and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your [willing and humble] slave; 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many [paying the price to set them free from the penalty of sin].”

The Word of God for the Children of God.

Adeste Fidelis! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.

Background: He Who Has Ears, Let Them Hear …

Matthew 20:17-19Amplified Bible

Death, Resurrection Foretold

17 As Jesus was going up to Jerusalem, He took the twelve [disciples] aside, and along the way He said to them, 18 “Listen carefully: we are going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and scribes (Sanhedrin, Jewish High Court), and they will [judicially] condemn Him and sentence Him to death,  19 and will hand Him over to the Gentiles (Roman authorities) to be mocked and scourged and crucified, and He will be raised [to life] on the third day.”

On the journey to Jerusalem Jesus predicts that his death will take place there.

Jesus takes his disciples aside to report to them that it will include wholesale betrayal, humiliation and condemnation by the religious leaders of his people.

Those who should be welcoming him as the promised Messiah will instead sentence him to suffering and death, thoughtlessly handing him over to to a brutal time and season of mocking, flogging, and crucifixion by the Romans.

Then Jesus also shockingly predicted that he would rise again three days after!

But it seems that after hearing the predictions about Jesus’ suffering and death, the disciples somehow tuned out.

It’s as if they missed hearing the promise that “on the third day” he would be “raised to life!”

When the time came and Jesus died on a cross, the disciples were a despondent group of followers wondering about the suddenness what had just happened.

As predicted, in the Garden of Gethsemane they scattered in fear, at the arrival of the Temple Authorities unjustly leaving the burial, preparations to others. (See Matthew 26:56; 27:45-28:10.)

In this critical moment, there was no expectation of Jesus’ coming to life again!

In our own day and age, considering the number of years which have come, and passed us by since those events transpired, is our own “hearing” any different?

As we again, for the umpteenth time approach Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, as we again come to the umpteenth recitation and those sermons of Palm Sunday, as we again try to come to realization of what we know is to come, has already transpired, has already been written and narrated – why is any of this relevant?

We have not heard with our own ears the actual voice of Jesus as the disciples.

We could not immediately begin the process of giving it our fullest attention.

We could not be stunned in the same way as the disciples were upon hearing it.

We could not be apathetic or excited or wondering or stunned or any of that.

We did not talk, or walk, hear or listen to and with Jesus in that moment – in a more contemporary colloquial sense of the moment – “walk and chew gum and do everything else (preparing ourselves for the Passover) all at the same time.

Nowadays, we do not all concern ourselves to prepare to celebrate the Passover.

We are not looking for donkeys or mules or horses to ride to be paraded about.

We are not looking for “Upper Rooms” – Just sanctuaries inside our churches.

No Gardens of Gethsemane …

It is doubtful to the utmost we are worried about our running away naked in the middle of the night with thoughts of running away, betraying our own Savior.

Jesus will not be arrested again.

He will not be betrayed, mocked and humiliated in such a horrible way again.

We will not have to subject ourselves to the sight, witnessing him dying again.

All these things have already come to pass and by faith we believe and accept it.

Now, what experiences do we have to substitute for those of what the disciples witnessed first hand, experienced to the utmost first hand, threatened by too?

We hear pandemic, dire economic warnings or a doctor’s frightening diagnosis, and we’ll soon forget Jesus’ words: “I am with you always” (Matthew 28:20).

We experience ridicule or rejection and forget that God’s Word warns that we may be called to share in Christ’s sufferings (John 15:18-20; Romans 8:17).

Facing them throughout the year is hard enough, but how much of that effort includes an intense time of self examination, reflection upon the Cross itself?

Facing them mutually, letting God work, let’s remember Jesus was raised to life.

We know what happened then to Jesus – three days later, as promised, he arose!

Our belief in the Resurrection of our Savior is core central to our Christian faith.

Yes! We absolutely love and live for and utmost sacrificially serve a risen Savior!

But the lingering question, the utmost intense question we probably devote so precious little of our time to study, reflecting upon: what relevance is the Cross?

A Personal Reflection: Why the Cross?

24-28 When the ten others heard about this, they lost their tempers, thoroughly disgusted with the two brothers. So Jesus got them together to settle things down. He said, “You’ve observed how godless rulers throw their weight around, how quickly a little power goes to their heads. It’s not going to be that way with you. Whoever wants to be great must become a servant. Whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave. That is what the Son of Man has done: He came to serve, not be served—and then to give away his life in exchange for the many who are held hostage.”

Why does Jesus take his disciples aside to shock, awe them with his prophecy?

Why are such momentous words and such miraculous history transforming events still to be read and found, studied and prayed over and celebrated too?

Why is such a detailed, embarrassing account of the failure of the disciples?

Why do we celebrate ourselves being re-subjected to these terrible moments?

To give us another opportunity to run away from Jesus, recoil from them, him?

To mostly learn and then relearn to repeatedly avoid re-living the indescribable intensity of those moments, to make them our own as God repeatedly call us to?

Why the ugliness of the Cross … to learn, to relearn to hug its wondrous beauty?

Why such an intense concentration, centralized focus on the Cross at Calvary?

Why such an ugly, not so gentle, intentional, purposeful, graphic reminder?

Why didn’t God simply say, “Look, everyone, I know you have sinned against Me, but I am going to pardon you right now. It’s okay. I forgive all of you!”

God didn’t do that because it doesn’t work with His nature and character.

The justice of God requires obedience and sacrifice.

He could not accept us into fellowship with Himself unless we paid the penalty—or someone paid it on our behalf.

Romans 3:25 tells us, “For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past” (NLT).

The cross demonstrates the ultimate expression of the justice of God.

At the cross of Calvary, the love and justice of God met.

Yes, God had to satisfy His justice.

The Scriptures say, “The person who sins is the one who will die” (Ezekiel 18:20 NLT), “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23 NLT), and “without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness” (Hebrews 9:22 NLT).

God was saying, “My righteous requirements must be met.

But I love humanity beyond their ability to acknowledge, fully measure and comprehend, and there is no way they can do it on their own.

So, I must, and I WILL help them.”

Therefore, He sent His only begotten Son Jesus to bridge the gap. (John 3:16-17)

This is why Jesus Christ is the only way to God.

People like to say that all roads lead to God.

People also like to say that the road to hell is paved with our good intentions.

It really concerns me when I hear Christians parrot statements to that effect.

There is only one path.

There is only one way.

If that were not true, then why did Jesus have to die?

If all roads lead to God, then why did Jesus go through the indescribable anguish, the immeasurable humiliation, torture, and pain of the cross?

Matthew 20:26-28 Amplified Bible

26 It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, 27 and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your [willing and humble] slave; 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a ransom for many [paying the price to set them free from the penalty of sin].”

The primary reason Jesus came to this earth was to save us, to die for our sins.

Paid in Full

Jesus’ mission was a matter of “search and rescue.”

He came to seek and save those who were lost (Luke 19:10).

He not come to be served but to serve, give his life as a ransom for many.

Mark 10:42-45 Amplified Bible

42 Calling them to Himself, Jesus said to them, “You know that those who are recognized as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them; and their powerful men exercise authority over them [tyrannizing them]. 43 But this is not how it is among you; instead, whoever wishes to become great among you must be your servant, 44 and whoever wishes to be first and most important among you must be slave of all. 45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life as a [a]ransom for many.”

He fulfilled that mission by giving his life at Calvary “as a ransom for many.”

As Jesus hung on the cross and spoke the words “It is finished” (John 19:30), he was announcing that his mission was now accomplished.

Because he was obedient and faithful to His Father, offered his perfect life as the sacrifice for sin, God was pleased to welcome home all his lost children!



The brief sentence “It is finished” translates from just a single word teleō in the original Greek text.

The same word was used by shopkeepers to announce that someone’s bill was finally paid.

When the final payment was made on a purchased item, the merchant would say “Tetelestai” (“It is finished”) – in other words, the debt was paid in full.

When I made the last payment on the first car I ever bought, I remember how good it felt to see the bank teller stamp “Paid in Full” on my loan documents.

Never again would another payment be required!

As Jesus said “It is finished” on the cross, he was assuring us that his mission was complete.

He had paid in full all the costs required for our sin.

And when we faithfully focus our lives, when we centralize our lives now place our full faith-filled trust in him, our debt for sin is forever wiped off the books!

On that Hill far away, stood an Old Rugged Cross, the emblem of suffering and shame. And on that old cross Jesus suffered and died to pardon and sanctify me.

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

Loving Lord, I praise and thank You for Jesus, my Mighty Savior and Servant King. Lord, today I pour out my life as an offering to You. I pray that I would serve You wholeheartedly and my service would bless those around me and be a witness to bring many to the knowledge of salvation in Jesus. O God, thank you that Jesus has bought salvation for me! He has done everything needed for me to know you, love you, and serve you now and forever! Amen. Thank You that Jesus gave His life as a ransom for me and for all who would believe in His name. In Jesus’ name, AMEN.

Adeste Fidelis! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.


God’s Justice In Jesus: The Greatness of Grace Is Reflected in Our Salvation from Sin. Romans 3:21-26

Romans 3:21-26 Amplified Bible

Justification by Faith

21 But now the righteousness of God has been clearly revealed [independently and completely] apart from the Law, though it is [actually] confirmed by the Law and the [words and writings of the] Prophets. 22 This righteousness of God comes through faith in Jesus Christ for all those [Jew or Gentile] who believe [and trust in Him and acknowledge Him as God’s Son]. There is no distinction, 23 since all have sinned and continually fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are being justified [declared free of the guilt of sin, made acceptable to God, and granted eternal life] as a gift by His [precious, undeserved] [a]grace, through the redemption [the payment for our sin] which is [provided] in Christ Jesus,  25  whom God displayed publicly [before the eyes of the world] as a [life-giving] [b]sacrifice of atonement and reconciliation (propitiation) by His blood [to be received] through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness [which demands punishment for sin], because in His forbearance [His deliberate restraint] He passed over the sins previously committed [before Jesus’ crucifixion]. 26 It was to demonstrate His righteousness at the present time, so that He would be just and the One who justifies those who have faith in Jesus [and rely confidently on Him as Savior].

The Word of God for the Children of God.

Adeste Fidelis! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.

God’s Justice In Our Savior Jesus

There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace.—  Romans 3:22-24

So there is no difference.

You, me, people all around the world, family members, coworkers, and all our neighbors—together, we “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”

None of us is in this alone.

Paul’s intent, though, is not to clarify that sin has a lot of company.

He is setting the stage for what Jesus came to do.

God’s goal from the beginning, when sin first entered the picture, was not just to judge us; nor was it just to rescue us from eternal punishment.

God’s goal has always been to get us back with him.

But for that to happen, there needs to be a sacrifice, which we can’t provide.

And there is no difference: whenever we live, whoever we are and wherever we live, we all need Jesus to be that one and only sacrifice of atonement for us.

Sometimes we lose sight of why God had things go this way.

A philosopher once suggested that it’s really not a big deal; God ultimately has to forgive us because that’s his job as God.

But God wants us to understand that Jesus’ sacrifice is not just some neat and ultra dramatic, ultra manipulative “love gesture.”

It is a big deal because as God, his job is also to be just.

The difference is that God gives us His only Son Jesus—because his goal is not his job.

God’s goal is us.

2 Peter 3:8-9 Amplified Bible

Nevertheless, do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years is like one day. The Lord does not delay [as though He were unable to act] and is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is [extraordinarily] patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

God’s Goal: We Should Know Him as He Knows Us.

If you have ever felt depressed, ashamed, condemned, forgotten, or alone, or forsaken or abandoned or homeless, then you understand what sin feels like.

In our fallen world, sin is intricately woven into the fabric of what it means to be human, and even without a theological definition, all of us can recognize it.

We recognize the sorrow and emptiness of sin every day.

Sin is not just about ‘doing bad things’:

sin corrupts who we are created to be and separates us from the relationship with God we are designed to know and love.

The Painful Roots of Sin.

Romans 3:22-23 Amplified Bible

22 This righteousness of God comes through faith in Jesus Christ for all those [Jew or Gentile] who believe [and trust in Him and acknowledge Him as God’s Son]. There is no distinction, 23 since all have sinned and continually fall short of the glory of God,

The truth is that we are all born sinful – each and every one of us – and within our own power we have no means to escape our sin.

We can never ‘be good enough’ to shake the curse of sin.

As Paul writes in Romans 3, there is not a single person who is righteous on their own, nor can anyone even say that they are ‘a good person’ (Romans 3:11-12).

Nothing we can think, do, or say will free us from sin. 

This seems harsh, but any parent knows what this looks like.

No child has to be taught how to lie.

No child needs to be taught selfishness, greed, or anger.

Left to our own devices, we all come by these emotions naturally and must be diligently taught how to avoid them.

This is the nature of sin at work within us.

The Glory of God

Fortunately, this is not where things must end!

Sin entangles itself into every aspect of who we are, leading to hopelessness, until we understand that there is a way to be cleansed of it.

This is the good news!

We do not have to live in the shame and pain of sin! 

Leading up to this assertion of sin, Paul wrote “our unrighteousness” serves a purpose, as it “serves to show the righteousness of God” (Romans 3:5).

Our sinful nature is not who we are designed to be, nor is it where we are designed to stay.

The fact we cannot make ourselves ‘good’ only serves as proof that God alone is good, that through Him, we can have everything that sin holds us away from!

Sin reveals a sharp contrast between the love of God and the evil of the world.

In accepting His grace and forgiveness we see His truth and beauty tear down the lies of sin.

Redemption in Christ Jesus

Romans 3:24 Amplified Bible

24 and are being justified [declared free of the guilt of sin, made acceptable to God, and granted eternal life] as a gift by His [precious, undeserved] [a]grace, through the redemption [the payment for our sin] which is [provided] in Christ Jesus,

It sounds silly, but when I see the word ‘redemption’, I often think of …coupons.

Whether you find them online, in a mailer, or even if you still bust out the scissors and clip them from the newspaper, all coupons state what it is to be redeemed, and where this redeeming can take place. 

When you ‘redeem’ an item with a coupon, you pay less (or sometimes nothing) for that particular product.

The important thing is that the price and value of the product have not changed.

The retail price is still the retail price.

But when you walk to the checkout counter and hand over that coupon, you do not pay that price because it has already been paid for you.

The coupon is a gift that just needs to be acted upon.

The entirety of scripture is filled with accounts of God’s redemptive work among us, a redemption that we cannot ever possibly earn enough to pay for ourselves.

Not even close!

Our redemption is a gift of God’s grace alone.

Our eternal worth in Christ is not something we could ever afford to pay, but the price is already paid through Christ’s redemption on the cross.

It is for us to simply accept this redemption of our souls.

When we learn to embrace and proclaim this truth, we find the freedom we cannot even imagine any other way.  

Justified by God

Even once we have accepted His infinite grace, can we truly be justified before God?

We may often ask ourselves this question, as many have asked it for generations before us.

Throughout scripture we see the question written ‘in between the lines.’

In Ecclesiastes 3:16, King Solomon clearly states the difficulty in finding justice in the world, saying “in the place of justice, even there was wickedness, and in the place of righteousness, even there was wickedness”. 

We humans regularly fail to define and determine justice.

True justice is found only in and only from God.

The justice he offers us through his redemption is completely unmerited and unrestrained by anything we consider ‘just’.

The good news of the gospel is that we who are guilty before him can be justified, the price of redemption has been paid, and God’s justice satisfied.

The Gift of Grace

Earlier in Romans 3, Paul drives home the fact that we are all sinners deserving of God’s wrath, but he doesn’t end the discussion there!

He continues on into verse 24 with the truth that we are justified through the gift of grace!

Paul, in his letter to Titus echoes this thought, as he writes, “being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life” (Titus 3:7).

Through this gift of God’s grace, we are justified, made clean, made Holy, and given the opportunity to share this grace with those around us.

Our freedom in Christ springs from the fact His grace is free, His justification is final, and His redemption is complete.

Through His holiness alone, through His righteousness alone, we are each free to live for Him, unhindered by shame and guilt, strengthened by the power of the Holy Spirit, and equipped to do what only He can do in and through us.

The Greatness of God’s Grace Is Reflected in Our Salvation from Sin.

To God, and God alone, be the glory for His matchless, infinite grace!

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

Heavenly Father, thank You that You are a righteous God and that You chose to redeem mankind by means of the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Thank You that I have been imputed with righteous – even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ and that all who trust in Him for salvation will also be declared righteous, through time and into eternity. Heavenly Father, your justice is real, because you have given your Son, Jesus, to die in my place, paying the price for my sin. Thank you that through the sacrifice of Christ I may know freedom from my sins, to live in your love alone as my Father in heaven. in Jesus name, AMEN

Adeste Fidelis! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.


The Compelling Truth: What is the Importance of Family Devotions? Deuteronomy 6:4-9

Deuteronomy 6:4-9 Amplified Bible

“Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one [the only God]! You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and mind and with all your soul and with all your strength [your entire being]. These words, which I am commanding you today, shall be [written] on your heart and mind. You shall teach them diligently to your [a]children [impressing God’s precepts on their minds and penetrating their hearts with His truths] and shall speak of them when you sit in your house and when you walk on the road and when you lie down and when you get up. And you shall bind them as a sign on your hand (forearm), and they shall be used as [b]bands (frontals, frontlets) on your forehead. You shall write them on the [c]doorposts of your house and on your gates.

The Word of God for the Children of God.

Adeste Fidelis! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia! Amen.

Parents, Grandparents and God’s Children of all ages and walks of and among life, what first comes to our mind when we meditate about “family devotions”?

Does it include regular times set apart for your family read Scripture? Prayer? Worship in song? Formal Bible instruction with age-appropriate resources?

Yes, all these things and quite a few things more characterize family devotions.

And all serve to glorify and honor God and too will definitely come to benefit our children and our families as we instruct them in what is most important.

I don’t think there’s a mandate to be found in sacred Scripture that is more solemn than this one. That we are to teach our children the truth of God’s Word is a sacred, holy responsibility that God gives to His people. And it’s not something that is to be done only one day a week in Sunday school. We can’t abdicate the responsibility to the church. The primary responsibility for the education of children according to Scripture is the family, the parents.

(R. C. Sproul, “The Most Solemn Mandate in the Bible for Parents,” ligonier.org)

God instructed the nation of Israel in Deuteronomy 6:6–9,

“And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.”

This ancient passage of text makes it abundantly clear that God’s forever intent is for parents to teach their children and each other about God and His ways.

God’s Word should be at the forefront of our lives and the center of our homes.

Thousands of years later, Apostle Paul echoes the importance of these words.

Ephesians 6:4 says, “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” One way we teach our children this truth is by coming together as a family to be in God’s Word and praying together.

The wisest of the wise King Solomon: Proverbs 22:6 gives this wisdom: “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”

As parents who love God and who deeply believe and cherish Him, we want to help our, and future generations of children also come to love and believe Him.

Deliberately, Intentionally, Purposefully, our setting aside time for our family devotions each day will show our children that God is the very center of our lives, and spending time with Him is our priority, and we desire to do His will.

We want to show them that it’s okay, God can be the center of their lives, too.

We also want them to be taught, see how God guides them through life in their community, schools, family, and decisions – so they may teach their children.

To raise them up with critically important biblical values that they may one day, as might be needed, to emphasize these values before school board authorities.

Advocate, Communicate, Educate, the highest values of acceptance and sanctity of all life which God indelibly places upon everyone – without any exceptions.

Living, Loving, Moving, Being enveloped in the Word feeds us with everything we need from advice, to wisdom, to morals and ethics and unto His salvation.

It sets us up with a rock solid, sure and certain and steadfast and immovable foundation, a place for all to turn to in times of trials, tribulations, and praise.

Family devotions are a wonderful time for discussions with your children.

As you and your family read through God’s Word together, you can discuss the ways in which it is inescapably relevant to their lives.

For example, some of your discussions might include the ways in which God’s character applies to our understanding of our morals, attitudes and behaviors.

Be sure to not only discuss troublesome behaviors, but positive ones as well.

Your discussions might also include questions about how and why the world works the way it does.

You might just find yourselves talking about your relationships with others and all the ways in which God’s character and His commands help transform those.

These discussions can help your children see that God’s Word is “living and active” (Hebrews 4:12) and “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16b–17).

Family devotions help create a firm foundation for your children’s spiritual growth.

In diligently and prudently practicing the spiritual disciplines of reading and studying God’s Word of fellowship and praying together, you help train your children to incorporate and carry these “God” practices with them through life.

You’re also helping them to learn the immeasurable dimensions, the infinite applications of the truth of God’s Word and to come to know, love, Him better.

When we dive into God’s Word, we are teaching our children that God loves and cares about them and us relentlessly.

When we come together to God to pray, to seek Him, we are showing our children we have access to a God who is holy, loving, able to meet our needs.

Our family devotions will likely challenge our faith and contribute infinitely to our spiritual growth as well.

Family devotions also help us meaningfully connect with our children in the midst of a sometimes hectic world.

Taking time to pause to focus on God together is the sweet intimacy of Christian fellowship.

A family time that is deliberately, intentionally, personally, purposely set apart can also serve as a time to honor God and each other, to relate with one another.

As we share our joys and our concerns, our struggles and trials, prayer requests or discuss how God’s Word applies to our lives, we are sharing God in our lives.

Dedicating this time to focus on your children and on God can help strengthen your relationships with your child.

Family devotions do not have to be elaborate.

You can keep them as simple as reading through a passage that pertains to issues you might be facing in your family, to reading through a certain book of the Bible, or purchasing age-appropriate devotional books.

You can include time for worshiping with music if you desire.

Psalm 139:23-24 Amplified Bible

Search me [thoroughly], O God, and know my heart;
Test me and know my anxious thoughts;
And see if there is any wicked or hurtful way in me,
And lead me in the everlasting way.

There is no set time-length that family devotions have to last, but you can be assured that you will soon find this experience to be a joyful time together.

At the conclusion of your time together, pray for God’s goodness in your family, any requests of friends and family, and for His abundant guidance in your lives.

Psalm 139:1-18 Amplified Bible

God’s Omnipresence and Omniscience.

To the Chief Musician. A Psalm of David.

139 O Lord, you have searched me [thoroughly] and have known me.

You know when I sit down and when I rise up [my entire life, everything I do];
You understand my thought from afar.

You scrutinize my path and my lying down,
And You are intimately acquainted with all my ways.

Even before there is a word on my tongue [still unspoken],
Behold, O Lord, You know it all.

You have enclosed me behind and before,
And [You have] placed Your hand upon me.

Such [infinite] knowledge is too wonderful for me;
It is too high [above me], I cannot reach it.

Where can I go from Your Spirit?
Or where can I flee from Your presence?

If I ascend to heaven, You are there;
If I make my bed in Sheol (the nether world, the place of the dead), behold, You are there.

If I take the wings of the dawn,
If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea,
Even there Your hand will lead me,
And Your right hand will take hold of me.

If I say, “Surely the darkness will cover me,
And the night will be the only light around me,”

Even the darkness is not dark to You and conceals nothing from You,
But the night shines as bright as the day;
Darkness and light are alike to You.

For You formed my innermost parts;
You knit me [together] in my mother’s womb.

I will give thanks and praise to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was being formed in secret,
And intricately and skillfully formed [as if embroidered with many colors] in the depths of the earth.

Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were appointed for me,
When as yet there was not one of them [even taking shape].

How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God!
How vast is the sum of them!
If I could count them, they would outnumber the sand.
When I awake, I am still with You.

Remember to always praise God for His answers to your prayers, too.

Create an environment that is calm, loving, and memorable, one that your children will want to foster, nurture, impress, upon the lives of their children.

“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen” (2 Peter 3:18).

Family devotions are a crucial means of declaring, living out family priorities.

By turning to God’s Word and prayer together every day (or most days, at least), we model the uncompromising centrality of these practices in our Christian life.

These daily times together will also prove an important means of our building closeness within our family…

Our devotions call us to a family experience each day.

Hebrews 6:19-20 Amplified Bible

19 This hope [this confident assurance] we have as an anchor of the soul [it cannot slip and it cannot break down under whatever pressure bears upon it]—a safe and steadfast hope that enters within the veil [of the heavenly temple, that most Holy Place in which the very presence of God dwells],20 where Jesus has entered [in advance] as a forerunner for us, having become a High Priest forever according to the order of [a]Melchizedek.

Our time away with God, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and each other gives expression to this “confident assurance” we have all an anchor for our souls.

We each have our own hopes and dreams we desire to see lived in each other.

And while few of them are remarkably miraculous on their own, it is their gradual and steadfast accumulation which will add up to something special.

And then there is the benefit of building a habit that adds structure and stability to the family’s shared life.

As we have emphasized family devotions, we will gradually find out it becomes a kind of disciplined, organizing structure to the God life we all share together…

Through disciplined family devotions we model our own discipline of personal devotions, for the two closely, inextricably, inescapably, resemble one another.

By relating to the Lord as a family, we teach how to relate to him as individuals.

Growing up in a prayer-filled home is a beautiful and powerful thing.

Parents can pray over their children from the moment they are conceived through adulthood.

Children can learn alongside their parents how to pray to the Lord themselves.

Siblings can pray for and with one another as they resolve conflict and build strong relationships.

Extended family can cover loved ones in prayer through both joyful and challenging seasons.

Families can pray together more often than just before dinner, and it can be a life-changing and spiritually transformative experience that not only brings family members closer to God, but blessedly, ultimately closer to one another! 

It is the kind of disciplined habit, perhaps like eating and praying together, and attending church together, that anchors family to the centrality of Jesus Christ.

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

“Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:16-17

Lord, I pray that the message of Christ and his sacrifice is the root of gratitude in my and my family’s heart. That His gracious gift leads me and my family into thankful living, setting a timeless example for the rest of my family and their children. That they will have their own truly abiding relationship with Jesus one day, and that You would grow gratitude in their hearts out of the acceptance of Jesus as their Savior. Lead us to do everything in the name of Jesus and give thanks to You through Him.

Adeste Fidelis! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.


Tune My Ears, God! I Will Choose to Listen and Believe the Voice of Truth. John 10:1-5

John 10:1-5 Amplified Bible

Parable of the Good Shepherd

10 “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, he who does not enter by the door into the sheepfold, but climbs up from some other place [on the stone wall], that one is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep [the protector and provider]. The [a]doorkeeper opens [the gate] for this man, and the sheep hear his voice and pay attention to it. And [knowing that they listen] he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out [to pasture]. When he has brought all his own sheep outside, he walks on ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice and recognize his call. They will never follow a stranger, but will run away from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.”

The Word of God for the Children of God.

Adeste Fidelis! Venite Adoremus! Dominum.

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia! Alleluia! Amen.

Whose Voice Are We Following?

Internet, iPad, iPod—the “I”s certainly have it today!

At home and at work we call on Siri, we talk into our phones, we sit or stand or lie down in our living rooms or dining rooms, of kitchens or even bathrooms.

We will talk into our television remotes and search for a particular favorite channel or programming station, for whatever it is they call entertainment.

We call out to some voice identified only as Siri and ask her or tell her to call up some random search parameter – a recipe, or a song or list of vacation spots or whatever happens to land into our wandering randomized thought processes.

And in an instant a disconnected computer voice from our phones or Alexa chimes in with “okay, this is what I found…!” and we are on our way to read whatever information was “found” in less time it took to type this sentence.

At the beach, in the department store, on the college campus, everywhere people have “earbuds” wireless listening devices planted deep in their ears.

While both technology and music are gifts of God, I hope we also take time to listen to the springtime chatter of robins or to the hoot cry of a Barn Owl.

What we hear and what and who we listen to makes a difference in our lives.

What information we hear, and who we hear it from, will end up profoundly influencing our thought processes and will inevitably guide our actions, into how we respond to a particular life altering, life transforming circumstance.

How we make decisions, how we judge what is morally and ethically right and wrong, how we interpret whether what we see and hear is truth or a deception.

People will tell us anything to sell their products and increase their profits and their bank accounts, to sell us a bill of goods which ultimately has little value.

Do you read or listen to, or hear the lyrics of the songs your children listen to?

Do you take any quality time with your children to discuss their song choices?

Together, do you come to a place where you can share your thoughts with them, they can share their thoughts with you – come unto an “acceptable boundary?”

Do you know what they are hearing and how it impacts what both of you have both come to be known as “morally and ethically right versus wrong” truth?

Jesus is the good shepherd.

Jesus is the Way and the Truth and the Life. (John 14:6)

He laid down his life for us on the Good Friday cross.

If we are to follow Jesus and avoid impostors, we must recognize his voice clearly and quickly in every situation we encounter.

To do that, we ought to be considering counseling others away from technology and spending more time studying, hearing, listening, to his Word in the Bible.

Spending quality devotional time with the children (whatever their ages are).

Talking about current events, their impacts on what is understood to be true.

There are words spoken through whatever social media medium which are worded with the intent of moving their version of truth into our forefronts.

“Words of someone else’s truth” specifically spoken, specifically manipulated, of what someone else desperately wants us to unequivocally believe as gospel.

Differentiating between the voice of someone else’s truth and God’s truth?

What possible difference could it make, what possible influence could it have to one life knowing what the difference is between the world’s truth and God’s?

Love Letter to my Ears, “Whose Truth Guides Us?”

John 10:1-5 The Message

He Calls His Sheep by Name

10 1-5 “Let me set this before you as plainly as I can. If a person climbs over or through the fence of a sheep pen instead of going through the gate, you know he’s up to no good—a sheep rustler! The shepherd walks right up to the gate. The gatekeeper opens the gate to him and the sheep recognize his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he gets them all out, he leads them and they follow because they are familiar with his voice. They won’t follow a stranger’s voice but will scatter because they aren’t used to the sound of it.”

When I became a new Christian, hearing and knowing God’s voice and differentiating from the world were the things I struggled the most with.

How could I know whether I was hearing from God when I didn’t know His voice?

How could I be sure the Lord was speaking to me while reading Scripture, listening to a sermon, or going to Sunday school or a Bible study lesson?

I was so afraid of missing God’s instructions, warning, and encouragement that I often found myself paralyzed by raging questions of faith, my truth and doubt.

Sorting through what I had “known and believed” was truth and what the Word of God, the often complicated “Parable” teachings of Jesus and Paul was tough.

Unraveling and un-weaving of the mess I made of my own interpretation of the word truth along the long, winding and hardened concourse of my life – was a complex time of hardcore self introspection, challenging my life against God’s.

As I began studying the Bible, I learned how God’s voice matched the Scriptures.

Thus, if I wanted to know what God had to say on a particular topic, I had to devote considerable time to studying, to know what the Bible said on that topic.

If I heard a voice and was unsure whether or not that voice was the Lord’s, the Bible through Holy Spirit, would work with me to confirm whether it was Him.

I have learned the hard and soft way God’s voice will never contradict the Bible.

If the voice you’re hearing is encouraging you to take Scripture out of context to make it fit your situation, the voice is not of God and the truth is not of God too.

We can grow, we can mature to learn and discern God’s voice by studying the Holy Scriptures, praying, and asking and pleading with our Savior to teach us.

God invites us (not forces us) to ask and answer the question on all our minds:

In this time when our available resources are stretched nigh to invisibility;

Isaiah 55:1-5 The Message

Buy Without Money

55 1-5 “Hey there! All who are thirsty,
    come to the water!
Are you penniless?
    Come anyway—buy and eat!
Come, buy your drinks, buy wine and milk.
    Buy without money—everything’s free!
Why do you spend your money on junk food,
    your hard-earned cash on cotton candy?
Listen to me, listen well: Eat only the best,
    fill yourself with only the finest.
Pay attention, come close now,
    listen carefully to my life-giving, life-nourishing words.
I’m making a lasting covenant commitment with you,
    the same that I made with David: sure, solid, enduring love.
I set him up as a witness to the nations,
    made him a prince and leader of the nations,
And now I’m doing it to you:
    You’ll summon nations you’ve never heard of,
and nations who’ve never heard of you
    will come running to you
Because of me, your God,
    because The Holy of Israel has honored you.”

Jesus, the good shepherd, says, “Listen, listen to me … that you may live.”

Those who have ears, let them truthfully hear and let them truthfully live!

In the name of God, the Father and God the Son and God the Holy Spirit,

Let us Pray,

Precious Holy Spirit, I come to you today asking for guidance. I feel lost and overwhelmed, and I need your help in finding my way. Please open my eyes and heart to the direction you want me to take. Help me to make wise decisions that will lead me closer to your path for my life. Give me the strength and courage to persevere when times are difficult. Lead me with your truth and love, so that I may live a life that brings glory to your name. Thank you for your guidance and protection. Amen.

Adeste Fidelis! Venite Adoremus! Dominum

Gloria! In Excelsis Deo! Alleluia, Alleluia, Alleluia, Amen.