It is springtime and flowers are blooming everywhere in the mountainous area where I live. Everywhere I look, there are multitudes of indigenous flowers blooming prolifically and they are all gorgeous and vibrant, adding color to a landscape that through wintertime, was bleak and barren.
Now, there is one flower that does not grow indigenous in this area and that is the tulip flower. It is a beautiful flower and while I see tulips blooming in the neighbor’s yard, tulips, while hearty flowers, must be planted first before we begin to see them growing in our own yard.
Recently, someone gave me a bouquet of tulips. The bouquet was beautiful. The tropical-colored buds were gorgeous in their own right, but then two days later the buds opened up and I had the unexpected pleasure of seeing the inside of a tulip. I was amazed. It was extraordinarily beautiful. Each petal had the exact design of intricate shapes and colors. I was fascinated to no end.
Now that I have seen the inside of a tulip, I enjoy them more than I ever have in the past.
Friends, have you ever seen the inside of a tulip? If not, please treat yourself to one of God’s great visual miracles on this planet.
Like tulips, friendships are beautiful on the outside. You spend time with your friends. You enjoy each other’s company. I call this surface friendship. It’s all wonderful. We all need each other to survive. But, have you ever taken time to see the inside of your friend? Beyond the initial, outward attraction, which some call chemical attraction, have you ever thought about what it is about your friend that makes you like them so much? I would bet that if you ever opened up to your friend and if your friend ever opened up to you, you would discover something about them and they would discover something about you that is so wonderful that you would be drawn closer to each other in ways you could never imagine.
There is nothing wrong with surface friendship. After all, we live in a world where sometimes survival means being with others merely for comfort and camaraderie. A community coming together to help each other in times of need is a basic survival technique that we desperately need to keep planted in society. In times of trouble, the people in the community ban together as friends.
But, have you ever thought about going deeper with the person you call your friend? Have you ever thought about discovering and uncovering that which makes your friend who they are? What makes them tick? What are their likes and dislikes? What do you have in common? Oh, what about discovering what makes the two of you different? I believe that when friends open up to each other, they are in for a world of marvelous discoveries about each other and this discovery will tie the friendship together in ways that are extraordinarily wonderful.
Our #1 Friend
We have a friend in Jesus. He is our #1 friend and I believe that if we open up our hearts and let Jesus see us for who we are (sharing the good and the bad), and if we look into the heart of Jesus, we will discover a friend with unlimited, unconditional love.
Jesus is the best friend a person can have on earth and into eternity. He is the perfect model of what friendship is all about because He loves us without limits. He gave everything, including His life for us so that we could have freedom from sin and a life of eternity with the Almighty God, the King of all Nations.
How much of you does your earthly friend ask of you? In contrast, Jesus (our Heavenly friend) doesn’t ask much of you. In fact, all He asks is that you believe in Him. And, truly, that’s not much.
Believe in Jesus and you will discover a world of beauty.
The bible says:
“No one has greater love than this, that someone would lay down his life for his friends.”
John 15:13 (Holman Christian Standard Bible)
Include your friend Jesus among those you call your best friends and you will be surrounded by good, caring friends who will carry you, with joy, through the life you deserve.
The bible says:
“Oil and incense bring joy to the heart, and the sweetness of a friend is better than self-counsel.”
Proverbs 27:9 (Holman Christian Standard Bible)
I think Cicero, the famous Roman statesman, also said it well:
Nature loves nothing solitary, and always reaches out to something as a support, which ever in the sweetest friend is most delightful.
Take delight in the beauty of friendships and cherish your friends forever.
Today's Worship Video: What a Friend I've Found
Words and Music: by Martin Smith
Copyright: 1996 Curious? Music UK
He has risen!
In my blog post about Good Friday, I spoke about the sacrifice of Jesus Christ who died on a cross so that our sins could be forgiven. But, there is more to this true story. Jesus rose again on the following Sunday and we call this day Resurrection Sunday. Some people also call this day Easter and reference the Easter bunny and other such pagan rituals that should be discussed separate from this blog post.
In any event, the resurrection of Jesus Christ is a critical part of the story about how Jesus died for our sins. His death was important because his death was the living sacrifice that was needed in order for our sins to be reconciled. However, Jesus’ resurrection, following his death is critical because as the story goes, Jesus made many promises that his death would not be the end. He promised he would come back to life.
Now Jesus was going up to Jerusalem. On the way, he took the Twelve aside and said to them, “We are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles to be mocked and flogged and crucified. On the third day he will be raised to life!
He then began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and after three days rise again.
Matthew 28 tells the story of how on the third day after His death (Sunday), an angel from heaven came down from heaven and opened the tomb. When Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb, they found it empty. The angel told them that Jesus had risen, just as He said he would.
They went and saw the place where Jesus laid and were happily amazed. So they hurried away to go tell Jesus' disciples. And then suddenly Jesus, himself met with them and said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
Resurrection Sunday… He Rose!
Because Jesus came back to life as he promised, we can believe this and all of the promises he made to us. Jesus’ resurrection changed many doubters into believers. By raising Jesus, God showed the world that they would ultimately answer to Him for all sins.
Jesus kept his promise then and he will keep his promise now.
1 John 1:9
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
Today's Video: Amazing Song About the Resurrection!
Death is a dark and gloomy thought, yet every year on the day we lovingly call Good Friday, Christians celebrate the death of Jesus Christ.
As sad as this day was, it was the most important day in history for people who were filled with sin. On what would ordinarily be a gloomy day by human standards, this was a day our sins were washed away with one single act – the sacrifice of the living Jesus Christ. His life for our sins was an exchange that made a way for sinful people to be forgiven.
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.
Why was Jesus chosen to be a sacrifice for our sins?
Plain and simple, God cannot look upon sin and He could not look upon people who sin. Back in the days before Christ’s death, whenever we sinned, in order to be forgiven, we had to offer up to God a living sacrifice – a life that was unblemished – a life that was clean and pure. As God cannot look upon sin, Jesus, who was sinless was the only life on earth pure enough to be offered up as a sacrifice to God. His death reconciled our sins.
Today, we are not required to offer a life for a sacrifice. Because, after His death on Good Friday, when Jesus rose again on Easter Sunday, the Lord Jesus Christ became the way in which we could be forgiven of our sins. Today, we simply ask the Lord for forgiveness, and when we are truly repentant, our sins are forgiven. It is as simple as that.
Today’s Video is About a Story of True Love
The story of why Jesus died for us is a story of love, for Jesus loved us so much that he gave His life for us. He suffered for us so that we may have a way to a true and meaningful life.
Today’s video is about the suffering of Jesus Christ as He traveled to Calvary where He died on a cross for us. He did this because He loved us so much.
Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
Title: Via Dolorosa
Composed by: Niles Borop and Billy Sprague
Published by: Meadow Green Music and Word Music, 2018
Jesus died on a cross for our sins.
Bible Verses About Good Friday
It is my hope that the following Bible verses will help you delve deeper into the true meaning of Good Friday as it relates to sin, sacrifice, and forgiveness of sin.