In the Direction of the Cross

“When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem.”  Luke 9:51

Right now we Lutherans are in the midst of Lent, a time when we remember Christ’s journey to the cross.  It’s apparent that Jesus knew exactly where his trip to Jerusalem would take him, because in the same chapter he tells his disciples:

“The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.”  Luke 9:22

Yet, He was determined.  Why?  He knew it was His Father’s will, and He knew His sacrifice was necessary to save us from our sins, once and for all.  The suffering, the rejection, the pain was insignificant in light of the benefit to the world.  It’s embarrassing to think of how I often I am annoyed at the prospect of sacrificing for somebody else, even when all I am sacrificing is my own convenience or time!  This is not Christ-like, and not what is expected of us as true followers:

“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”  Luke 9:23

Lent is a time to ponder the way of the cross.  The way Christ took and the way we’re called to walk as well.

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The Mind of Christ

“….complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord of one mind.”  2 Philippians 2:2

In this letter to the church in Philippi, a church Paul obviously loves, he tells them that nothing would please him more than knowing they are in agreement, or having the same mind.  Then he goes on to tell them exactly whose mind they are to have– not their own but Christ’s!

“Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.  And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.”  Philippians 2:5-8

The mind of Christ means having a humble spirit, willing to sacrifice for others.  Paul explains further that being of one mind with Christ means they will:

“Do nothing out of rivalry or conceit” Philippians 2:3

“look…to the interests of others.”  Philippians 2:4

“in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”  Philippians 2:3

Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we were all in our right mind (Christ’s)?

Image result for images of the mind of christ

 

A Sacrificial Change

“…Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.”  Philippians 2:5-6

We think of the sacrifice Jesus made by dying on the cross, but do we even remember His first sacrifice?  God Himself gave up the glory of heaven to be incarnated as a helpless human baby.  What a humiliating change!  You might compare it to one of us becoming an ant, or a worm.  Yet He made that change for us. It reminds me of this beautiful hymn:

What Wondrous Love Is This
By: American Folk Hymn

What wondrous love is this, O my soul, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this, O my soul!
What wondrous love is this
That caused the Lord of bliss
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul, for my soul,
To bear the dreadful curse for my soul!

When I was sinking down, sinking down, sinking down,
When I was sinking down, sinking down,
When I was sinking down
Beneath God’s righteous frown,
Christ laid aside His crown for my soul for my soul,
Christ laid aside His crown for my soul.

To God and to the Lamb I will sing, I will sing;
To God and to the Lamb I will sing;
To God and to the Lamb,
Who is the great I AM,
While millions join the theme, I will sing, I will sing,
While millions join the theme, I will sing.

And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on;
And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing on.
And when from death I’m free
I’ll sing His love for me,
And through eternity I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on,
And through eternity I’ll sing on.

Remember the resurrection could not have happened without the incarnation.  They are chapters of the same story — the story that changed us from being dead in our sins to alive in Christ.

Thanksgiving Day Prayer

When we sit down to dinner today, and look over the array of tasty dishes offered, many of will give thanks for our many blessings. Before you do that, I want you to read what I am thankful for.

Dear Heavenly Father,

I am thankful that you have given me the gift of your precious and only Son to sacrifice for me on the cross, the debt He did not owe
I am thankful for your supplying the air I breathe and the wonderful world I live in
I am thankful that I live in a country where I can say loud and proud I am a Christian and not have to worry about being persecuted for saying it
I am thankful for the food You have provided me to eat
I am thankful for the home that You have provided that I live in
I am thankful for the clothes that You have provided that give me warmth and modesty
I am thankful for the wonderful, caring and loving husband You have provided me
I am thankful for the family I have been given by You
I am thankful for the children I am blessed with, provided by You

I guess when it comes down to it, God, I am thankful that You have chosen me as your adopted daughter and provided for me all those things that I am unable to provide for myself without Your help.

So in a nutshell, God, I am thankful for You most of all.

I pray all these things in the name of your precious Son, Jesus Christ. Amen.

My thanks go to the One who gave and continues to give us everything He has.

God Loves You And So Do I

Michele

Interactive Study Blog – Hebrews Chapter 10

For thousands of years, the priests of the temples sacrificed animals to atone for our sins. I cannot imagine how many animals were killed, but because they were not the perfect sacrifice, it never provided the perfect atonement necessary for us. We received the perfect sacrifice from Jesus Christ on the cross. The prior sacrifices were a constant reminder of our sinful nature and that we would never receive the complete atonement we craved. It took our Great High Priest, Jesus Christ, to provide the necessary perfect sacrifice. The moment He did the first covenant was abolished, and the new covenant, the atonement of our sins through the blood of Christ, was installed.

What a wonderful gist He gave us.

God Loves You And So Do I

Michele Edgel

Interactive Study Blog – Hebrews Chapters 8 & 9

Okay so this time I am doing 2 chapters because they seem to need it.

In chapter 8 we are told Jesus was the perfect sacrifice and how because of his crucifixion we no longer have to sacrifice for our sins as per the old covenant. In Exodus (25:40) God tells us that there will be a new covenant coming. When Jesus came and was crucified, that is the new covenant. A perfect sacrifice for an imperfect world.

Chapter 9 goes into the rules of the old covenant in more detail. Now if you have ever read Leviticus (it took me 2 months) the rules and penalties for sin were pretty hard to keep track of.

I can tell you one thing for certain, if I had to sacrifice an animal every time I sinned – there would be no animals left on the planet.

Now God was gracious enough to give us a new covenant, but we didn’t follow the old one. I guess it is a good thing that with the new one we do nothing to receive His salvation.

Well these are my thoughts on these 2 chapters, what do you think? Leave a comment, let me know.

Remember

God Loves You And So Do I

Michele Edgel