Why is This Day Called Good?

What is so good about this day?  This day we call Good Friday is when we remember the greatest injustice in all the history of the world.  A completely innocent man (who also happened to be the Son of God) was interrogated, mocked, spat upon, lied about, beaten, humiliated, and then tortured to death for apparently no good reason.

If we didn’t know better we would think this was a weak man who couldn’t defend himself. This innocent man, Jesus, was there when our universe was formed. He has no beginning and no end. Jesus said, No man taketh it (life) from  me, but I lay it down of myself.  I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it up again.  This commandment have I received of my Father (John 10:18). And that is exactly what He did.

So this most horrible day for Jesus became the best day for the rest of us.  Jesus took the wrath of God for the sin of the whole world on Himself that day. He bought us with His holy blood. He paid the sin debt and redeemed a selfish, sinful world of people so we could be united with Him for eternity. This love is SO hard for me to wrap my mind around.

Jesus left the splendor of heaven and presence of God to come to earth to bridge the gap between our sinful brokenness and separation from God. He has done all the work.  He has done every possible thing.  All He asks is for us to repent of our sin, believe in Him and His work on the cross, and ask Him to take residence in our hearts. I can attest to the peace and joy that follows that act of faith!

As I think of Jesus’ suffering, I’m amazed at how He endured all that suffering and separation from God and didn’t yell, Enough! I don’t deserve this! I’m done! He could have easily called for the angels to release Him or walked away on His own. I know His love kept Him on the cross, but there was also another motivation.

This example is not anywhere close to what Jesus went through, but the most pain I’ve been in is when I gave birth to my children.  I chose not to have pain medicine and there was a few times I caved and said, Okay! Give me something! But the baby was ready to be born and there wasn’t time. Anyway, as I lay there writhing in pain, I wasn’t necessarily thinking about how much I loved my husband or the baby, although I did love them both very much.  I looked into the near future and thought about the joy of holding that precious new life. That thought helped me plow through the pain.

Jesus looked into the future and saw joy! Hebrews 12:2 says, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. He was thinking about the joy!

Because of Jesus’ sacrifice, There is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth. (Luke 15:10) He has made a way for us to have abundant, joy- filled lives, full of faith and hope not only because of what He did on that cross on Good Friday, but because of the resurrection afterwards. He has taken the sting out of death and the grave for us as believers.

“Whenever you feel tempted to ask God, ‘Why did you do this to me?’ look at the cross and ask, Why did you do that for me?”  (Randy Alcorn in 90 Days to God’s Goodness)

So if you are going through a tough time now, look into God’s Word and claim His promises of peace, rest, and joy as you trust in Him. He will never fail you or forsake you.

Yes, it was a horrible Friday around two thousand years ago today, but it was also a glorious day for the millions of believers in the ages to come. What a precious gift Jesus gave the world that day! It is a very Good Friday because Sunday’s coming!!! Happy Resurrection Day!

Keep looking up,

Gaye Hughes

 

The Worst and Best Day!

bestdayeverlogoHow can the same event be the very worst day for one and the very best day for another?  I don’t like to be negative so I will elaborate on the BEST part instead of the worst.  Please bear with me. This story ends well!

The day my best friend/husband left for Heaven was the worst day of my life,  but remembering some facts from God’s Word that day helped me tremendously.

  • He was immediately in Heaven with Jesus. (We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord. 2 Corinthians 5:8)
  • He was no longer in pain. (And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. Revelation 21:4)
  • I would see him again. (King David said this about his baby that died. I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me. 2 Samuel 12:23)

It has been 18 months since David left for Heaven. For the first several months as each “month anniversary” rolled around, I would get really sad reliving the events of that horrible day.

But at some point, instead of dwelling on MY feelings, I began thinking about what that day was like for David, as a Christ follower.

That’s when my whole perspective changed! The best I can understand from reading the Bible, I think these are some things that happened on that first day in Heaven for David.

  • I think David heard Jesus say, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things; enter thou into the joy of thy lord.” (Matthew 25:21)
  • That was the day he was able to see his Savior, the lover of his soul,  face to face!
  • That’s the day all his problems ended…..forever!
  • That’s the day he felt pain for the last time!
  • That’s the last day he felt tired!
  • That’s the last day he needed a clock!
  • That’s the day he was able to look into Jesus’ eyes, fall at His feet, and thank Him for dying for him!
  • That’s the day he got to hug Jesus!
  • That’s the day he saw his father and friends that he had been missing for so long!
  • That’s the day he REALLY worshiped God uninhibited by his sinful nature or the distractions of this world!
  • That’s the day he entered a place that will never know darkness because Jesus Christ is the light!
  • That’s the day he walked on streets of gold and toured his mansion!
  • That’s the day his faith became sight!
  • That’s the day he sang with the angels and other saints! (As a song leader at church he often talked about how wonderful it would be to sing in heaven.)
  • That’s the day he got all his questions answered! (He was an engineer always wondering about something and searching for answers.)
  • That’s the day he become fully satisfied! (I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness. Psalm 17:15)
  • That’s the day he quit reading the Word (Bible) because he was with The Word (Jesus)! (In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John 1:1)
  • That day was precious to God. (Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of His saints. Psalm 116:15)
  • That’s the day he entered his eternal home…the place he was made to dwell forever with God!

If you have had a loved one leave this world and he/she was a new creature in Christ because they had repented of their sins, trusted in Jesus for their salvation, and publically confessed Jesus as Lord of their life, you can be encouraged by this!

Our loved ones leaving this life can be the worst day for us who are left behind, but the very best for them as they are entering Heaven.  It’s not that our loved ones wanted to leave us, but God called them home.  As we think of what they are now enjoying, it eases our pain of missing them. And we can look forward to a wonderfully, exciting, endless day with them if we have trusted Christ as our Savior!

For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. (Romans 8:18)

Keep looking up!

Gaye Hughes

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Unseen but still there!

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Anna April 2016

Isn’t it funny how we have a hard time with things we can’t see? Many people have congratulated me because I’m “going to be” a grandma.  I am already a grandmother.  I sent my daughter, Anna, a Mother’s Day card and told her she is now carrying this little one in her womb, but very shortly she will be carrying him in her arms.  Either way, she is very much the mother of her baby.

We believe in the wind even though we can’t see it… only the effects of it.  We are sustained by oxygen and we sure believe in it even though we can’t see it. Because we can’t see it, doesn’t make it any less real.

likeness_of_godI was saddened this morning to learn that a sweet Christian lady had gone to be with the Lord. I wasn’t sad for her because I know she is in heaven, but I empathize with her husband. When I conveyed this to my pastor he said, Yes, they are precious people. I liked the way he used the present tense because we understand she is more alive now than she ever has been and is even sweeter because she bears the likeness of Christ.

tumblr_ly7sauhKoz1r9ebn2o1_1280After the doctors told my husband he probably had less than a year to live, he thought a lot about the dying process. He wasn’t afraid to die because he placed his trust in the finished work of Jesus Christ…his death, burial, and resurrection and he claimed the promises in God’s Word, the Bible. He had no trouble believing the Bible because he had seen and felt God work in his own life…changing, teaching and leading him as only God could.

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Gaye and David February 2013

However, he was concerned about the suffering he might have to endure before he died.  But he often said he believed leaving this life was as simple as walking through a door or going to sleep. Interestingly enough, he passed in his sleep, just the way he had hoped.  When you’re tired at night, he would say,  you fall asleep and wake up the next morning.  You can’t remember the exact moment you fell asleep, but you know you did. Then you wake up to find it’s morning. I think that is the way it is when a Christian dies. You go to sleep and wake up in glory. Your faith may be good enough to live with, but is it good enough to die with? David’s was.

I have come to believe the only thing that separates us from heaven is a veil. Eternity is not confined by time or space.  I believe there is a wonderful other world just beyond the skies and if we could only see it, we would live SO differently.  We wouldn’t get upset or discouraged about things that don’t really matter.  We would live life more intentionally because we would realize how temporal this life really is. We wouldn’t be so sad when our loved ones left, because we could see how marvelously overjoyed they are now in God’s presence.

hebrews_11_1_by_blossomcloud-d5r58u9But we can’t see. So we must have faith and keep an eternal perspective.  Hebrews 11:1 defines faith.  Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. Without faith, it is impossible to please God. (Hebrews 11:6) Does our unbelief make God sad? I hope not, but it probably does. I say, like the father in Mark 9:24 said, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.

May we be as persuaded by the things we can’t see as we are by the things we can see!

Keep looking up!

Gaye Hughes

 

 

 

Chocolate Bunnies and Jesus

 

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Are you concerned that your children or grandchildren won’t be able to get past all the bunnies, colored eggs, and candy to remember the real reason we celebrate Easter? I used to be! We wanted our children’s first thoughts about Easter every year to be about Jesus’ resurrection and not about candy, eggs or chocolate bunnies.

We didn’t buy our children Easter baskets for this reason, but after we had read the Scriptures about Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection and worshiped on Easter Sunday, Monday morning  we would help ourselves to the candy on the clearance aisle.

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The beautiful flowers the Lord gave me this year! 03-25-16

We enjoyed the baby chicks, bunnies, and colorful eggs in the context of God bringing new life into our lives after a dreary winter.  Two or three weeks before Easter we would hide colored eggs, but avoided doing it on Easter weekend.

One tradition that we especially enjoyed was making Resurrection Biscuits on Sunday morning. They were easy and fun and such a powerful visual of the miraculous resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. You and your  children and grandchildren will enjoy making memories doing this!

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Resurrection Biscuits

The 5 simple ingredients are:

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  •  Canned biscuits
  •  Butter
  •  Cinnamon
  •  Sugar
  • Marshmallows
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Roll out biscuits (which represents the grave clothes that they wrapped Jesus in, and later it represents the tomb)
  3. Spread on butter (which represents the oil)
  4. Sprinkle on the cinnamon and sugar (which represents the spices Jesus’ followers used to prepare His body for burial)
  5. Lay the marshmallow on the biscuit  (The white marshmallow represents Jesus’ pure, sinless body being placed in the tomb.)
  6. Wrap the dough securely around the marshmallow and fold or pinch the edges tightly. (They sealed the tomb so no one could steal Jesus’ body.)
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for the amount of time listed on the biscuit can directions. (12-16 minutes)

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After the biscuits are baked and you open them up, there will be a hole in the center where the marshmallow has dissolved! This represents the empty tomb! This is a simple reminder of the  power Jesus revealed when He resurrected Himself from the grave and conquered death!

The fact that Jesus had the power to raise himself from the dead proves to us He can and will also raise our dead bodies one day! What an awesome promise and what an Almighty God! This removes a lot of the fear and uncertainty of death for the believer.

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Death is swallowed up in victory. O Death, where is thy sting? O Grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, inasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord. (I Corinthians 15:55-58)

 

No other founder of any other religion has ever been resurrected from the dead….ever!  They died and their bodies turned to dust in the grave.  There is historical evidence of Jesus’ bodily resurrection. That body that still held the piercings from his crucifixion, was seen by more than 500 people at one time! (I Corinthians 15:3-6)

Why would Sinless Jesus be willing to lay down His life for sinners who deserved punishment in hell? As puzzling as it is, it is because He loves us! I’ll never understand it.  I’ve been thinking about 2 Corinthians 8:9,

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“For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be rich.” 

Wow! Just wow. He gave us His everything…right down to His own life!…so He could make a way for us to be with Him forever in heaven. I hope you have repented of your sins, made Him Lord of your life and received this incredible gift of eternal life.

In the Message in John 17:24 Jesus prayed to God,

“Father, I want those you gave me to be with me, right where I am, so they can see my glory, the splendor you gave me. Having loved me long before there ever was a world. Righteous Father, the world has never known you, but I have known you, and these disciples know that you sent me on this mission. I have made your very being known to them–Who you are and what you do– and continue to make it known, so that your love for me might be in them exactly as I am in them.”

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May you have a wonderfully blessed Easter as you celebrate our amazing Lord  and Savior Jesus Christ!

All because of Him,

Gaye

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