Good Friday 2018 – A Meditation

bc-comic-strip-good-fridayIt’s not just a fuzzy sentiment; Jesus said it Himself:

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd gives His life for the sheep.” (John 10:11 NKJV)

Jesus really was our “scapegoat;” a concept the Father wrote into the Law itself:

Aaron shall lay both his hands on the head of the live goat, confess over it all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions, concerning all their sins, putting them on the head of the goat, and shall send it away into the wilderness by the hand of a suitable man.  The goat shall bear on itself all their iniquities to an uninhabited land; and he shall release the goat in the wilderness. (Leviticus 16:21-22 NKJV)

Seven Hundred years before Jesus was laid in a manger in Bethlehem, the prophet, Isaiah, makes it clear that Jesus was slated to die FOR us:

Surely He has borne our griefs
And carried our sorrows;
Yet we esteemed Him stricken,
Smitten by God, and afflicted.
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.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
We have turned, every one, to his own way;
And the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. (
Isaiah 53:4-6 NKJV)

 The Apostle Peter wraps up his discussion of Christ’s suffering with these words:

who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed. For you were like sheep going astray, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls. (1 Peter 2:24-25)

I deserved eternal punishment as a consequence for my sin – Christ suffered a brutal death and infinite suffering on that Cross  – “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” – so I could be forgiven and declared righteous!  Yes it is a VERY Good Friday!  For me and for everyone who has believed in His name! (John 1:12)

Word of Grace Fellowship Prayer – March 19, 2018

Father, I commit Word of Grace Fellowship to you and ask that you will help us to glorify you in all that we do, that we will be a church that will clearly love you and not love the things in and of this world, that you will give us Christ-centered, close relationships with one another, that you will mend and restore any broken relationships and friendships.

I pray that our building will look and feel like a refuge to our community, that you will give us flexibility, that you will empower leaders within the church and that you will help us to be clear in our communication and have sensitive spirits.  I ask that you help us to organize the building well and efficiently, that new visitors and attenders will feel welcome and at home in our new facility, that your Word will always be preached with truth and grace in our new church home and that the Holy Spirit will revive our hearts so that we can have the “living water” flowing through us as Jesus said in John 7:38.

I pray that you will encourage our missionaries and give them wisdom, that there will be open doors and open hearts in the surrounding neighborhoods.  I commit the elders to you and pray that you will speak through them and that their plans will be your plans, I pray that the men of our church will become mighty spiritual leaders, that our women will clearly believe and see their worth in Christ and stand firm as women of God, that the teens will stand firm in an ungodly culture and see the treasure of loving Christ, that our children will grow up to love, honor, and serve the Lord,

I pray that you will protect our building from evil, both spiritual and physical, that our building will be mechanically sound and that you will allow it to run efficiently, that you will help us to be creative in reaching the lost and that you will use us to share the gospel boldly!

I pray that we will all love to study and accurately teach your truth, that you will keep our pastors and congregation healthy, and that you will give us wisdom as we minister to people who are hurting and in need.  Thank you, Father.

I pray all of this in the strong, precious and holy name of Jesus.  AMEN

{This prayer was composed by R. Wilson from a bullet prayer list that was put out before the move; and edited to its current format after the last moving truck drove the 3.3 miles to our new church home  – I, Pastor Scott, think it’s a prayer that should be on all of our hearts!)

Faith and Weak Eyes! ~March 13, 2018

Below is an old poem that describes the refining process of gold in a furnace.  As I read it again this week, the one line jumped out and hit me between the eyes!

“As we saw the fire, but not the Master’s hand.”  It reminds me of Peter out on the water, taking his eyes off Jesus and sinking in the waves or of the good seed that was choked out by the thorns – the worries of the world.  And I have to ask myself, is my God bigger than my circumstances?  The answer is a resounding “yes!” that is indeed what I believe – Lord, help my unbelief!

He sat by the fire of seven-fold heat,

As He watched by the precious ore.

And closer He bent with a searching gaze

As He heated it more and more.

He knew He had ore that could stand the test

And He wanted the finest gold,

To mold as a crown for the King to wear,

Set with gems of price untold.

So He laid our gold in the burning fire,

Though we fain would have said Him, “Nay.”

And He watched the dross that we had not seen,

As it melted and passed away.

And the gold grew brighter, and yet more bright

And our eyes were so dim with tears,

As we saw the fire, not the Master’s hand,

And questioned with anxious fear.

Yet our gold shone out with a richer glow,

As it mirrored a Form above

That bent o’er the fire, though unseen by us

With a look of infinite love.

Can we think that it pleases His loving heart

To cause a moment of pain?

Ah, no, but He saw through the present cross

The bliss of eternal gain.

So He waited there with a watchful eye,

With a love that is strong and sure,

And His gold did not suffer a bit more heat

Than was needed to make it pure!

Source Unknown, but, perhaps, informed by passages like 1 Peter 1:6-9  “In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith—the salvation of your souls.”

Kindness – March 9, 2018

I recently spoke on Kindness in Awana.  I used the story, in 2 Samuel 10, of David’s kindness to servants who were given time to grow back their beards.  Today I visited a shut in who gave me a clipping {reprinted below} from  “Bits and Pieces – Feb 1989”   I figure God’s trying to tell me something or, maybe,  He wants me to tell you all something 🙂  And it’s simply that a little kindness goes a long way….

Mamie Adams always went to a branch post office in her town because the postal employees there were friendly. She went there to buy stamps just before Christmas one year and the lines were particularly long. Someone pointed out that there was no need to wait in line because there was a stamp machine in the lobby. “I know,” said Mamie, ‘but the machine won’t ask me about my arthritis.”  

Pray for me as I pray for you!!

Pastor Scott