One life, Jesus’ life … has made all the difference. Because of Him, we can have light instead of darkness, hope instead of despair, forgiveness instead of condemnation.
He was born in poverty, not riches. He was born without fame or popularity. He was born to teach us how to give, not grab.
You, too, can make a difference by loving your neighbor and forgiving your enemies.
One of the criminals, a thief, who was crucified with Jesus, said to him, “Jesus, remember me, when you come into your kingdom (Luke 23:42)”. Somehow he knew Jesus’ name and that Jesus had a kingdom!
Was Jesus that famous? Did everyone in Jerusalem know about him? Perhaps it was because of the sign above Jesus that Pilot had ordered placed there. The sign declared, “Jesus, King of the Jews”.
In another gospel, it states that, “And the robbers who were crucified with [Jesus] also reviled him … (Matthew 27:44).” Either the two gospels are inconsistent, or there was a transformation in one of the thieves. He went from reviling Jesus, to, in effect, asking his forgiveness. He realized his sin and that he deserved punishment, whereas Jesus was innocent (Luke 23:39-41).
It is interesting to imagine how “the good thief” came to this conclusion. He may have known something about Jesus before the time of execution. Or, perhaps observing how Jesus bore his own suffering, he realized that Jesus was not just a man, but God also.
The cross of Christ is a paradox. How can something so painful be good, and even holy? Perhaps the more you love others, the more you will suffer. Yes, there will be times of joy, but let’s face it: often, it hurts to love.
Because you cared about others, but often they misunderstood you, or they felt threatened by your love, you suffered. Or, you suffered when you saw your loved one suffering. Or, you see their bad choices, but cannot make them change. Then you must wait and pray and trust that God may change their hearts.
The King is coming in mighty pow’r
We do not know the day nor hour
He’ll ride upon the thund’ring clouds
Midst lightning flashes and angel choirs
No longer will sin darken hearts
All sin away — its curse departs
In shining brilliance, true majesty,
The King is coming — all darkness flee!
Cling to the cross
And trust its might power.
Remember what He did for you
In every minute, hour.
Focus on Him
And keep your eyes above.
Let earthly cares now fall away,
And drink His cup of love.
Take up your cross;
With grace your burdens bear.
Let not your cross bring bitterness —
Have hope, and don’t despair.
Carry your cross,
And one day there will be
A glorious crown, a shining light;
Make love your destiny.
Holy Spirit, carry me –
I cannot walk alone.
Son of God, deliver me
Unto my heav’nly home.
Father God, create in me
Love that for sin atones.
Saints in heaven, pray for me
For graces needed here.
Saints on earth, please do the same
Else I will fall, I fear.
Holy ones, in heav’n, on earth –
Help me love Jesus dear.
The road is long, the way so hard,
With sin and strife replete.
Yet, Jesus does a work in me,
A work He will complete.
Through driest desert and shifting sea,
Through darkest desolation —
Lord, let me gaze on thee.
Through mocking words and misery,
Through strife and consternation —
Lord, may I gaze on thee.
Through times of ease and much delight,
Through times of jubilation —
Lord, keep my gaze on thee.
In laughter, joy, and questioning,
Or worldly obfuscation —
Lord, I will gaze on thee.
Our vision can grow stale and pale,
A shrinking sense of wonder
At all the things that God can do —
Tear unbelief asunder!
As Jesus took a child by hand
And said, let’s imitate them,
Let awe and wonder now increase —
Prepare for His new kingdom!
As children trust unwittingly,
May we ourselves be trusting
In God who ever faithful is
Unlike our human fam’ly.
From trust to fear and back to trust,
Through childhood, middle, and old age,
As we, God’s children, come aware —
Unlearn the lies of bondage!
With failure stamped across my brow,
In mercy I must trust somehow.
With guilt and sorrow so forlorn,
My trust in God must be reborn.
On only Him must I depend,
Else tragedy my soul will rend.
With Jesus I must place my fate,
His righteousness, His justice great.
If on myself I lean too hard,
Perhaps I’ll fall, like house of cards.
In Jesus will I now believe —
My soul to save, my angst relieve.