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

 

Moving from Blessings to Joy and Contentment

 

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Ouch!

I think I’m decent at recognizing some of God’s blessings in my life, but lately I’ve realized I often stop short of consciously taking the time to thank God for them. Do you understand what I’m saying? This is SO simple, but I’ve somehow overlooked this!  I think there is a BIG disconnect here…an important part of the puzzle I’ve been missing and didn’t even realize it.

joy-quotes-pictures-3-f2ad07eeWhen I fail to take the next step of not only being thankful, but addressing that gratefulness to the producer, which is God,  (James 1:17 says, Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and coming down from the Father of lights….) I’m forfeiting the contentment and joy God is trying to give me.  And I’m the only one to blame.

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It’s hard to pour positive things into other people’s lives when there is discontent in my own life. I will go so far as to say it is impossible. I’m a parent and teacher and have been for more than half my life.  I’ve noticed my children and students are much more attentive when I’m happy, positive and enthusiastic.  You just can’t wing it with children!  They see the real deal.

So what happens on the days when I’m just “not feeling it?” They can see right through that! More importantly, God can see right through that. And now that I think of it, probably most everybody can see right through that!  So who am I fooling? No one!

a-contented-heart-is-a-calm-sea-in-the-midst-of-all-storms-quote-1But who wants to just go through the motions of life anyway? Don’t we all long to REALLY live?  I used to ask God to give me a good day, but I haven’t felt right about that prayer at all lately. The very best days are those days, even if they are tough, I really feel God right there helping me! There’s nothing like knowing you are right where God wants you and He is blessing you even when the seas are far from calm.   I’ve come to be satisfied with nothing less. Once you’ve had a taste of that, it’s hard to settle for anything less. And I never want to.

 

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Psalm 34:8 says, O taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him. O fear the LORD, ye his saints: for there is no lack to them that fear him.

 

David said in Psalm 42:1,2, As the deer longs for the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God…

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A longing for God is a good thing, but when I’m always wanting more of other things, it is more properly defined as discontentment.  Too many times I think, “Oh, this is neat, but….” The joy of God’s blessings get easily overlooked because I’m wanting something more and not thanking Him for what I have.  The more I express my thankfulness, the more contented I become.

I need  to always remember only God can satisfy my thirsty  soul…nothing or no one else.  He has made me.  He knows what I need and what is best for me. I need to trust Him to give me His best and not what I think is best.   If He is always Plan A, I’ll never need a Plan B. Let’s not short change ourselves when God does bless us by failing to take the time to thank Him. Godliness with contentment is great gain. (1 Timothy 6:6).

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Keep looking up!

Gaye Hughes

 

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West Virginia