Close to Home and Around the Corner

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For the beauty of the earth
For the beauty of the skies
For the love which from our birth
Over and around us lies

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For the beauty of each hour

Of the day and of the night

Hill and vale, and tree and flow’r

Sun and moon, and stars of light

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Lord of all, to thee we raise
This our hymn of grateful praise.
Click here to see another blogger’s lovely sunset shots.
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A Trip To the Cross Does Wondrous Things!

bigstock-Man-kneeling-at-the-Cross-of-J-8053908“Our souls are restless until they find their rest in thee.”  St. Augustine   That rest we all crave is found in the person of Jesus Christ.  “Come to me and I will give you rest- all of you who work so hard beneath a heavy yoke.  Wear my yoke- for it fits perfectly- and let me teach you; for I am gentle and humble, and you shall find rest for your souls’ for I give you only light burdens.”  Matt 11:28-30 LB  There is no heavier burden than that of religion without Jesus as the foundation.  Religion alone is so often the exaltation of man.  O how we have all tried to meet the requirements of being a truly good person.  But here is the Good News.  Christ died on the cross to give us a brand new kind of life under His amazing grace.  It’s called Christianity where the cross bridges the gap between our puny efforts and God’s perfect standards.  The glorious power of the cross is the great universal blotter absorbing our sadness, guilt and all the wrong things we have ever done in view of a righteous God.  A trip to the cross does wondrous things!  O Happy day!  At last there is finally something strong enough to defeat our great enemy, Satan.

At the cross we discover just how grace works.  Humility serves us much better than our everlasting pride.  Forgiveness wears better than the filthy rags of resentment and revenge.  Returning to conscience teaches us that the God who is with us brings light into our darkness.  The blessed Holy Spirit becomes our constant companion, nurturing us and warning us away from temptation and danger.  Have we discovered that what we crave most is actually intimacy and friendship with a loving God who gives us what we don’t deserve?  There is not a moment that passes that we cannot draw near to the One who loves us best, who is reaching out to help us find our way.  What made the cross so powerful?  It was there that God disarmed every evil ruler, every dark influence.  “He took this list of sins and destroyed it by nailing it to Christ’s cross.  In this way God took away Satan’s power to accuse you of sin, and God openly displayed to the whole world Christ’s triumph at the cross…”  Col 2:15 LB

Man-driven religion leaves us with nothing but our own limited resources to live life.  And so every individual ends up carrying his heavy burdens alone.  We use excuses and rationalizations to explain our behavior.  Our feelings and thoughts are not in subjection to scripture.  Christianity shows us a better way.  “Let him have all your worries and cares, for he is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you.” 1 Pet 5:7 LB  In His mercy God has given us the answers.  The Bible offers us supernatural help to heal and renew both mind and emotions as we yield to its superior guidance.  “For whatever God says to us is full of living power…”   Heb 4:12 LB  Under grace the believer’s life is open to an amazing transformation experienced through the power of the cross.  The words of Isaiah 61:3 reveal this remarkable exchange.  We can now receive beauty of character for the ashes of our life, the anointing of the oil of joy for all our sadness and sorrow.  A garment of praise now enfolds us instead of the heavy cloak of depression and despair.  A good exchange don’t you think?

Will you come with me to the cross where we find our soul’s best rest from the burdens and unhappiness we’ve known?  God has provided an unceasing river of grace, flowing to every person who comes to the Savior, Jesus Christ.  “Now all praise to God for his wonderful kindness to us and his favor that he has poured out upon us, because we belong to his dearly loved Son.” Eph 1:6 LB   Christ’s invitation still stands today.  Come to the water all that are thirsty.  Come drink from God’s fountain of life.  It is there that we find the grace to continue on.  It is there that our story becomes a testimony of victory and strength.  It is there we hear Christ’s voice proclaim, “You are accepted in the beloved.”  A trip to the cross does wondrous things!

Click here to read another blogger’s wonderful article on the cross.