Into Your Hands

“Jesus called out with a loud voice, ‘Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.’

When he had said this he breathed his last.” Luke 23:46

cross-sunset-sunrise-hill-70847.jpeg

The verse we read in Luke 23:46 as part of the Easter story is also referenced in Psalm 31:5. Several sources I came across while researching indicated that the phrase “into your hands I commit my spirit” was how the Jewish people ended their evening prayers.

I would imagine that like other Jewish children, Jesus was taught this prayer as a young child. It was a familiar practice that was an act of trust. To commit something of value to another is not a small thing.  By definition commit means to entrust something to someone; it also means to put into a place for safekeeping. (Merriman Webster).

By committing their spirit to God each evening they were submitting their soul for safekeeping.  What a beautiful picture of complete submission to the will of the father. We know that Jesus had prayed on the Mount of Olives asking for this cup to be taken from him but he surrendered by concluding his prayer with “not my will but thine be done” (Luke 22:42). This too would line up with committing his spirit to Father God.

Then, we have the account in Mark 15:34 of Jesus crying out asking God “why have you forsaken me?” According to Mark, this was at 3 O’clock.  Luke’s account begins at noon, followed by three hours of darkness and then right before Jesus says, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit” Luke mentions that it is 3 O’clock.  This would imply that only moments after asking why God had forsaken him, Jesus then acknowledges that he is committing his spirit to the father.

In his darkest hour, burdened by the weight of my sin and the sins of the whole world, sins that had not yet been committed, sins that God in his holiness could not look upon, Jesus felt the crushing despair of complete and utter abandonment.  But yet, he still trusted that his spirit would be safe with the father.

His loud proclamation of “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit” tells us all we need to know about God’s faithfulness.  It tells us that a daily practice of committing our spirit (soul) to him is how we develop trust in him, it is how we surrender to his will, not ours, and it is how we can face our own mortality with confidence.  When the time comes, just as Jesus did, we can breathe our last breath knowing that we will be united with our Father eternally.

Maybe you are facing insurmountable trials that are shaking your very foundation.  Maybe you feel that God has turned his back on you and your world has gone dark. Maybe you are crushed under the weight of despair.  I urge you to remember that if you are a born again believer you have hope and even when it seems that all is lost, you can confidently say, “Father, into your hand I commit my spirit.” You can trust him with the safekeeping of your soul.

If you have not accepted Jesus as your Savior I can’t think of a better time than during the Easter season.

“All I have seen teaches me to trust the creator for all I have not seen”

Ralph Waldo Emmerson

Committing with Grace,

Teresa

Advertisements

Advent II – Love

I am linking up With All Manner of Inspiration for Sacro Speco (sacred space).

Today is the second Sunday of Advent.  Churches and Homes around the world will light the candle of Love.  This is the season of anticipation of the arrival of the Christ child.  Of course this is symbolic as we know he came long ago.  For believers this also represents the anticipation of his second coming.

Love takes us to Bethlehem where we find the Christ child in a manger.  Today, I share an advent devotional with you that I wrote for the Fern Creek Baptist Church Advent Devotional Booklet a few years ago.  It has been edited with some additions.

100_2223.christmas.verse

Love Him, Love Others

There is a song that I remember singing in high school choir.

 Love Came Down at Christmas, Love all love divine,  Love came down at Christmas and I know, I know that love is mine.

It is a beautiful song, but it is more than just words.  It is truth.  Truth about unconditional love.  The love God gave us in the gift of his son.  He came to us via a manger.  He was new life that offered new life to us via the cross.  

He was fully God and fully man.  He knew no sin.  Yet, he lived among us, walked among us and showed us how to love.  His life started humbly encased by pieces of wood.  His life on earth ended in humiliation nailed to two pieces of wood.

The story doesn’t end with his death.  He rose again on the third day and now he is at the right hand of the father.  Part of the celebration of Advent is anticipating his return to redeem his children. It will be victorious and he will be crowned the King of Kings! We will reign with him forever and ever.

How can we respond to the gift of the Christ child?  The answer is found in the gospel of John Chapter 13.  Jesus says, as I have loved you, so you must love one another.

Sounds simple and easy. On a good day.  The reality is not always that simple.  Think about it.  He died on a cross for us; He gave the ultimate sacrifice – His life.  If we’re honest, that’s not really how we want to love others; not with our life.

We want love to be flowers and candy and nicely written sentiments; we want to give hugs and have good times, but we don’t want to be bothered to stretch beyond the niceties.   Deep abiding love is so much more.  It is unconditional, self-sacrificing, forgiving.  It puts others first.  It means loving with our life.  Maybe not literally with our life, like Jesus did, but sacrificially, with our time and resources.

How do we live a life that honors God by loving others?  We can’t on our own. The first step in loving others as he has commanded is to love Him. We love Him because He first loved us.  He pursued us and lavished his love on us in the gift of the blood of Christ shed for our salvation.  When we accept His love and cherish it we are so full that love spills over into the lives of others.  We are not capable of unconditional, sacrificial love on our own.  But with Christ all things are possible.  

As you are Celebrating the Christ of the manger, during this Christmas Season, remember the love on the cross. Ask Jesus to help you show his love to others.  The best gift you can give someone, is to love them unconditionally, to love them with your life. As Christ has loved you.

Loving because of grace,

Teresa

Joy Came Down At Christmas

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him,                          so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”                    Romans 15:13

The joy of Christmas is set against the bitter cold of no room at the inn.  It is reflected in the brightness of the star that shone into the starkness of the stable only to become a mere reflection compared to the great love that was lying in the manger.

Joy catches the light of the Savior’s love and penetrates deep into our soul to fill us with unspeakable majesty.  We cannot fathom it, but even in our deepest despair it is there as the foundation on which all our hope is built, pointing the way to eternity.

An eternity made possible by the darkest hour in all of history, when the love born in the stable was hung on a cross and joy sliced through the sorrow of our sin and brought freedom to our souls.

Joy and sorrow have always resided on opposite sides of the same coin.  You cannot have one without the other.  Joy remembered makes sorrow bearable and sorrow reflected in the pool of joy rides on wings of hope and restores our faith.

Even when the world doesn’t see joy, there is comfort in knowing that it is all around us in the presence of the one who came so long ago for the very purpose of bringing us the gift of joy.  That is why we can shout from the depths of our souls: “Joy to the World”.

scan0050.2

Joy in Grace,

Sadie

31:30 – Cross Light

“The cross sheds light for souls who stumble in darkness.” –Sadie

Are you afraid of the Light?

As a young child I was afraid of the dark, so my parents found a nightlight that said “What time I am afraid, I will trust in thee.”  (Psalm 56:3).  I would lie in bed at night repeating that verse to calm my fears.  It helped me learn to trust instead of be afraid of the dark.

I love light.  To this day, if I am home alone at night there will be light.  And during the daylight I love to open the curtains and let light flood the room.  Sunlight gives me a renewed sense of hope and lifts my gloomy moods.  For me sunlight is like a promise from God.

Once during a worrisome time I was setting by the window praying.  As I finished my prayer a shaft of sunlight broke through caressing my cheek.  It was as if I’d been touched by God and he was saying all is well.  Many times God has used sunlight to remind me that he is near.  It’s one of the ways we communicate with each other.  I like to think of it as a love letter from God.

As wonderful as those experiences are, sadly there are many times spiritually when I stay in the dark.  I know I need the light, but I stay in the shadows ignoring the truth.  It may be fear of what God is asking me to do, or rebellion over a sin that needs to be confessed.  Spiritual darkness creates a rift between me and God.  It zaps my strength and hurts my witness. I find myself much like Adam and Eve trying to hide from God.  The more I hide the more I become afraid of the light and what it will reveal.  Living in the dark is a miserable existence.  The only way out is confession and repentance.

Thankfully, I have a loving savior who doesn’t give up on me.  He tenderly woos me back to the light.  He reminds me that I belong to him and once again I stand at the foot of the cross where he shines his light of truth into my heart and lovingly restores me.  I stand in his embrace, cross light flooding my soul, and wonder that I was ever afraid of the light.

“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord.”  Ephesians 5: 8-10

Standing in Grace,

Sadie

Moments of Beauty

What do Impellizzeri’s Pizza, Petit Fours, Honeycrisp Apples and Roses have in Common?  (Answer below)

Impellizzeri's Pizza - Best of Louisville
Petit Fours & Chocolate Chewies from The Fresh Market
Honeycrisp Apples from The Fresh Market
Estelle Roses, Hydrangeas & Baby's Breath from The Fresh Market

Today was about feeding the soul (and the stomach).   Usually weekends are reserved for errands and housework.  Today was about rest and beauty.

We decided to go to Impellizzeri’s Pizza – we had heard good things and so even though it is a tad expensive compared to other Pizza places, we decided to check it out.  It did not disappoint.  The crust was just the right combination of thickness and crispness and flavor.  the sauce was rich and thick and I asked for extra.  The toppings were just right. It was filling and we have leftovers for lunch.

On the way to  Impellizzeri’s   we saw second, larger  location of one of our favorite stores: The Fresh Market so we decided to stop in on the way back home.  I wish I had taken pictures of some of their decor and displays – maybe another time.  The Fresh Market is a little more expensive than other stores we shop, but once in awhile I like to treat us by shopping there.

Today was about the flowers, chocolate and apples.  I came home and did some flower arranging:

Home from Market
Cutting the Roses - sometimes you have to suffer before true beauty can bloom!
Hydrangeas in the bedroom
Roses, Baby's Breath and Honeycrisp apples "staged" on my writing table

Not a bad way to spend a Saturday Afternoon!  See the orange glass cross on the wall?  That is a beautiful gift from my friend Sue, who is in my Writing group at church.  She gave that to me last weekend. She designed it with symbols and colors that reflect who I am. (orange is my happy color; StoneLeaf is the name for lots of projects in the works)  The cross has been a great inspiration to make time for beauty in my life.  Life is too short to do laundry all the time.  (I did manage to do three loads today – in between the moments of beauty).  That’s how we should live life – insert the work in between the moments of beauty.

stoneLeaf Cross - designed and created by my friend, Sue

I hope you have a week full of beautiful momets!

Go in Grace,

Sadie