As I was pondering the majesty of Jesus and the miracle of His life, death, and resurrection, a little poem came to mind. I jotted it down to share with you. I pray it gives you a renewed revelation of what Jesus did for you and who you are because of the cross! …Based upon Isaiah 53
Jesus, born innocent. From heaven to earth He came.
I, born guilty. With hands and feet blood-stained.
Jesus, without sin. Talked and pointed to God.
I, a sinner. Mocked and ran from God.
Jesus, full of love. Bore my sin for me.
I, needing love. Finally came to Him on bended knee.
Jesus became a man of sorrows. Taking up the cross.
I received the joy of salvation. No longer am I lost.
Jesus paid my ransom. The price of my captivity.
I gained my freedom. His blood became my liberty.
Jesus was pierced, crushed, and chastised.
I became restored, healed, and baptized…
By His Love.
Jesus poured out, so I can be filled up.
Jesus sweat blood, so my tears can be wiped away.
Jesus wore a crown of thorns, so I can inherit the kingdom of heaven.
Jesus cried, “It is finished!”, so I can find peace and rest.
Jesus died, so I can live!
Jesus rose, so I can have the victory!
By: Michelle Halloran
53 Who has believed our message
and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?
2 He grew up before him like a tender shoot,
and like a root out of dry ground.
He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.
3 He was despised and rejected by mankind,
a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
4 Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed and afflicted,
yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
8 By oppression[a] and judgment he was taken away.
Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
for the transgression of my people he was punished.[b]
9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
nor was any deceit in his mouth.
10 Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,
and though the Lord makes[c] his life an offering for sin,
he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.
11 After he has suffered,
he will see the light of life[d] and be satisfied[e];
by his knowledge[f] my righteous servant will justify many,
and he will bear their iniquities.
12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great,[g]
and he will divide the spoils with the strong,[h]
because he poured out his life unto death,
and was numbered with the transgressors.
For he bore the sin of many,
and made intercession for the transgressors.
Tis the season for masks, costumes, wigs, and face paint. Dressing up as someone else is loads of fun! My boys have totes full of costumes they have worn throughout the years. Pretending to be anything from a professional football player, a super hero, a storybook character, a pirate, or a clown.
They love parading around in these costumes and taking on the persona of their character for the night. Their voice changes an octave or two. Their walk and other mannerisms change. They begin saying things they don’t normally say. “Ahoy, me hartys!” But when all the paint is washed off and they exchange their costumes for their pajamas, they are just my little boys again waiting to be tucked into bed.
Yet, seeing my youngest dressed up like Spiderman shooting fake webs from his wrist makes me wonder…
How many of us don costumes of our own making and never take them off? I’m talking about the exterior front we put up to make others think of us in a particular way.
For example, I used to be the biggest people pleaser. I wanted everyone to like me. So I walked around with a perpetual smile plastered on my face, always laughing at everyone’s jokes (even when they were not funny), and telling everyone what they wanted to hear whether I really thought that way or not. I had become very good at adapting to my various environments. I was a very talented actor.
Do you happen to know the Greek word for ‘actor?’ It’s hypocrite. And that’s exactly what I was.
I’d like to share with you a poem I wrote called “Slave to the Masquerade.” Can you relate???
The suit of many layers suits me just fine. It protects me from my neighbors as a shield to hide behind.
You see, I lose myself amidst these layers forgetting what lies underneath. I’m the master of all players – you never see the real me.
Of course, sometimes I get a little hot and find the suit a bit restricting. But as long as I never get caught you’ll like the person I’m depicting.
And sometimes the suit gets cumbersome; I accept it as a burden I must carry. And other times it just makes me numb to the pain so dreadfully scary.
Therefore, rather than shedding this suit and freeing myself from the load. I’ll continue walking in this repute down this dark and lonely road.
By: Michelle Halloran
Do you care how others perceive you?
Perhaps you want everyone to think you have it all together when underneath you are falling apart. Or that you are Mr. Tough Guy when fear consumes you. Maybe you want to be Little Miss Know-it-all so you can finally get that promotion you think you so deserve. Or that you are Mr. GQ Cool when it’s really your mom that still dresses you.
“Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” –1 Samuel 16:7
Try as we may, we cannot fool God. And we can only fool others for so long. The world is craving authenticity. It is sick and tired of fake people! Fake people are lonely people. Not only that, but keeping up a facade is exhausting. Do you want to know why it’s so exhausting?
It’s because hypocrisy puts you in direct opposition
of who God created you to be!
This is the enemy’s tactic that we must uncover in our lives! We must unmask the lies of the enemy and see him for who he really is! Satan is the ultimate masquerader.
Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. –2 Corinthians 11:14
It’s Satan who tells us, ‘You’re okay, you’re a good person.’ This is called self-righteousness and it undermines the importance of the cross.
God created us in need of a Savior. We cannot earn salvation by being good on our own merit. You know why? Because our human nature is not good! The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants (Galatians 5:17). Self-righteousness wants to hide the sinful nature within and pretend everything is okay.
But to admit we need the cross lifts a huge weight from our shoulders. It means we can stop trying to create an appearance of goodness to impress those around us.
Jesus spoke of this in a parable found in Luke 18:10-13:
“Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee, and the other a tax-gatherer. The Pharisee stood and was praying thus to himself, ‘God, I thank Thee that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax-gatherer. I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.’
But the tax-gatherer, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’
Yes, we may pretend to be great, but we are not all that. The truth is, we are all sinners in need of a Savior. But God demonstrates His own love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Jesus Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). It’s by grace we have been saved through faith; and not of ourselves. It is the gift of God, not as a result of works so no one should boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Praise God! We cannot earn salvation or favor with God. It is a gift freely given. When we come to Jesus, our old self is crucified with Him that our body of sin might be done away with. That we should no longer be slaves to sin; for he who has died is freed from sin (Romans 6:6-7).
So no longer are we slaves to the masquerade!
There is freedom in being who God created us to be!
“Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor… And if one can overpower him who is alone, two can resist him. A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart.”
Three strands of cord are brought together
Each of a different color.
They wrap around until they are one
Soul sister and soul brother.
And then three more strands unite
With a bond not quickly separated.
Link by link and knot to knot,
A pattern is created.
I take a step back to see the big picture
And much to my surprise;
A fisherman’s net has been formed
Right before my very eyes!
As deep calls unto deep
We walk upon the water.
The voice of God says, “Let down your nets.
Trust me for I am your Father.”
With faith we hear and obey
Our hearts burning from within.
Each strand of the net has been called
To be a fisher of men.
“…from now on you will be fishers of men… they left everything and followed Him.” –Luke 5:1-11
“And Jesus said to them, ‘Follow Me, and I will make you become fishers of men. Immediately they left their nets and followed Him.” –Mark 1:17
Lord, let me see through the eyes of a child.
Restore unto me the wonder of the universe, the excitement of the simple things, and the intense passion for life.
Let me love with fervor, stand in innocence, and laugh often with joy unspeakable.
Lord, let me trust You as a good Father.
Restore unto me the faith of a child, the abandonment of worry, and the reliance of Your strength.
Let me partake of Your perfect love, rest in Your arms, and obey Your every command.
Matthew 18:3-4 – “Truly I say to you, unless you are converted and become like children, you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever then humbles himself as this child, he is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven…”