The Ironies of the Cross

Streams in the desert

Our God works in mysterious ways. He reminds us of this in the book of Isaiah, that His ways are not our ways, nor are His thoughts our thoughts.  The bible is a book stacked with irony and full of mystery.  The first irony I want to look at today is of the cross.

It is where we see evil intention being transformed into divine salvation.

God interrupted the evil schemes of man and Satan when He resurrected Christ from the dead. For we read in the book of Acts that death could not hold Him.  God, in His divine justice, overruled all wicked intentions and used their very acts of disobedience to bring life and salvation to the entire world, for anyone who would receive.

The second irony we see is that resurrection comes THROUGH crucifixion. The cross represents death, pain and suffering.  It is out of this death that LIFE appears.  To personalize this truth, we realize that our own death to self must occur so that we can encounter HIS glorious life and vanquish all evil in our being.  Jesus so eloquently tells us in the book of John, “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels–a plentiful harvest of new lives. Those who love their life in this world will lose it. Those who care nothing for their life in this world will keep it for eternity.  Anyone who wants to be my disciple must follow me, because my servants must be where I am. And the Father will honor anyone who serves me.” John 12:24-26 NLT

Inside of Jesus’ words is the startling truth that if we desire to save our life we will lose it. However, when we choose to lose our life for His sake, we are then able to find true life- This is good news!

It is on the cross that Jesus once and for all defeated Satan. Paul reminds us in Colossians that we have been made alive with Christ, the anointed One, because He disarmed the powers and authorities and triumphed over them all by the cross.  Col. 2:13-15

Again, we see that out of death, our enemy has been defeated and we can now enter into the abundant life that Jesus calls us to.

My friend, are you truly living today? Are you focusing on the goodness of God despite your current situations?  If not, I want to encourage you to enter into the fullness of God’s goodness.  God will sometimes confront us with deep pain and suffering because He desires to reveal His goodness to us.    We experience the goodness of God only through the revelation of His glory, which is His unique nature and essence.   God displays Himself as supremely good in the midst of the most intense evil and suffering experienced on this earth – the cross of Calvary.

I have a quote hanging in my office that reads, “If I don’t see the cross and what Jesus did for me, then I can NEVER be truly free.”

God has overturned all human pain because He experienced it for us. He displayed His goodness by suffering on our behalf.

And so I leave you with this…..Make pain your friend! Cause any and all pain in your life to catapult you into the arms of a loving Father who created you and has a divine purpose for you here on this earth and for all eternity.  Memorize Jeremiah 29:11 and meditate on its truths and goodness.  Allow pain to bring you to a place of complete dependence on the One who formed you in your mother’s womb (Psalm 139)

Whatever you do, don’t try and escape from your pain, but be with it. Because the attempt to escape from pain only creates more pain.” – Asian Proverb

It is through our pain and suffering that we experience lasting joy and encounter His beautiful glory.  Romans 8:17

http://www.powerofhislove.com

L. Roitsch 5/2017

Mercy and Love

River

One day, a simple man of God, named Moses, made a humble request of his God. Picture this with me……Moses wants to know, encounter and experience God, so he asks Him to reveal Himself.  Moses is desiring to understand and connect with his God.  In the book of Exodus we see this amazing transaction.

As the Creator God, Elohim, passes in front of Moses, He makes a powerful declaration of who He is. The great I AM speaks…..”I am merciful, I am gracious, I am long-suffering and I am full of goodness and truth. I am merciful and keep mercy….and I forgive all iniquity, transgression and sin.”

I have paraphrased Exodus 34:6-7.

God has just shown Moses, and us, five beautifully tender aspects of Himself. God is merciful, compassionate/gracious, steadfast in love, tenaciously faithful, and forgiving. Through these, God wants us to experience and know Him. All through time, God has revealed Himself this way and the people of Israel, against all odds, did indeed experience Him thus way.  And today, this is how you and I can enter in and have an encounter with the great I AM.  Through this revelation and encounter with God, He grows us from the inside out.  This is the unthinkable concept of grace!

Over and over, God describes Himself as having steadfast love for His people. Despite their unfaithfulness and failings, He reminds them of His unconditional love or covenant love extended to them.  God always deals with His people, His creation, through the revelation of His name and nature.

You see my friend….God doesn’t just have love, HE IS love! God is His own reference point – I love that!

God’s faithfulness has never been dependent on our worthiness or readiness. He is faithful to His name and nature first and foremost. Since you and I can never keep our own right standing with God (righteousness), we constantly enter into and proclaim that HE is our righteousness, through the shed blood of Christ. He is our expression of love and faithfulness. His mercy is ours and we partake of His merciful nature. Remember, in Exodus that was the first attribute He declared to Moses – His mercy.

When you and I cry out for God’s mercy, it will always get answered because God cannot deny or ignore His very nature or essence.

In Ezekiel, God is speaking through the prophet and telling Israel He has had enough of their unfaithfulness and idolatry. In reading the entire text, you can see that He is fed-up with His people and reminds them of His anger towards them and their despicable behavior. The great I AM is in the processing of scattering them among all other people groups and nations as result of their rebellion.  However, in the next instance we see God relenting, and having a very merciful moment. God makes a very tender statement – “I am not doing this for your sake, house of Israel, but for the sake of my holy name” (Ezekiel 36:22).  

This, my friend, is restoration and divine justice. This is how a merciful God responds to His children.

Divine Love is not determined by the worthiness of its object, but by the total generosity towards its subject.

This is good news – by His grace I am saved!

“Long ago the LORD said to Israel: “I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.” Jeremiah 31:3

http://www.powerofhislove.com

Bill & Lisa Roitsch – ministers of transformation