I can remember the exact moment John 3:16-17 struck me as more than a nice verse to memorize, but as something that speaks to the fundamental truth of who God is. It was one of those rare moments of clarity we experience through music that changed something deep within me.
Two others also, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. And when they came to the place which is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on the right and one on the left. And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments. And the people stood by, watching; but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!”
Take my life, and let it be
consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my moments and my days;
let them flow in ceaseless praise.
I am a mother to two beautiful children. My son, Lincoln, is almost five, and my daughter, Corrie, is eight months as I write this. My children bring me such joy, but as anyone who has raised a toddler or young child knows, I am often faced with challenging moments. In my time so far as a parent, I have frequently sought the advice of experts in the field of child development and behavior to guide me. One such expert whom I have gleaned much knowledge from is Dr. Becky Kennedy.
The season of Lent is an invitation to embark on a journey of the heart, where the transformative love of God marks the landscape. This journey commences not with the weight of guilt or the echo of condemnation but with the resounding declaration of John 3:16, a verse that captures the essence of our faith – the sacrificial love of our Creator.
When I think of someone in my life who has displayed the love of Christ, I am blessed to be able to say there are many that come to mind. But none so clearly as my grandmother; we called her Granny. Growing up I remember my Granny coming to stay with us occasionally for a week at a time and would be available to help my stay-at-home mother of six with certain household projects and other day-to-day responsibilities. In addition to helping, she would always make sure to spend quality time with us kids, playing card games and board games or watching us play outside.
Jesus and His disciples had been together for almost three years. In their travels, they changed the world. Matthew records that Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and curing every disease and every sickness among the people. (Matthew 4:23) The disciples witnessed miracles and life-altering moments of teaching. They also had many quiet moments with Jesus. In their travels, Jesus and His disciples would experience many wonderful things.
I was sprinting out of the auditorium that had been screening the Passion of the Christ at the church camp my foster family had sent me to as a last-ditch effort to give me some direction. It could have been the pain I saw on Jesus’ face while He carried the cross, or the unbelievable rage people had for Him, or the way He called out to God exclaiming, “why have you forsaken me?” that caused the flight response. But soon I landed myself in a nearby field and screamed as loud as I could so God could hear me.
And they compelled a passer-by, Simon of Cyre′ne, who was coming in from the country, the father of Alexander and Rufus, to carry his cross. And they brought him to the place called Gol′gotha (which means the place of a skull). And they offered him wine mingled with myrrh; but he did not take it. And they crucified him, and divided his garments among them, casting lots for them, to decide what each should take. And it was the third hour, when they crucified him.
All praise to our redeeming Lord,
who joins us by His grace,
and bids us, each to each restored,
together seek His face.
He bids us build each other up;
and, gathered into one,
to our high calling’s glorious hope
we hand in hand go on.