A New Look at the Cross

Heavenly Father, I praise You for the good service yesterday and the send off we gave our Pastor as he retires. I praise You for giving me a church I can go to and worship You freely and with a solid foundation in Your wisdom, Your word and Your Spirit. I praise You for the time I was able to have with my wife yesterday.

Holy Spirit, help me to continue learn and understand. As a father, I tried my hardest to let my children grow up making their own decisions, attempting to give them as much information to make their decisions. We had rules in our house to create boundaries and guardrails, but we also let them make decisions even if it was not what I would think was the right decision. The pain of that allowance will live with me when Philip decided to grab the rifle from downstairs to go shoot a wood chuck and accidently set off the gun killing himself. I am learning that is how Jesus feels we make hurried unthinking decisions that cause us harm. I can only imagine how sad and hurt Christ is each time a person dies without accepting the gift of salvation and having a relationship with Him.

Holy Spirit, Christ lived fully God and fully Man here on the earth and had to endure the pain of rejection, prejudice, hatred, pride, injustice, and the betrayal of some of his closest friends, when Judas betrayed him with a kiss and Peter by denying that he even knew him. Christ new the cost for our sins and asked the father for another way, but that no matter what he would be obedient to the will of God. This would mean the path to the cross. He would be judged dishonestly, he would be beaten, stripped, whipped, and nailed to a cross as a common criminal, all for demonstrating love.

I barely can function some days with the pain of losing my son. I also live with the knowledge that my daughter and my other son must make decisions every day that will affect them for the rest of their lives. I love them as fiercely as any parent can, but I also know as adults I can’t make them live the way I may think is better. I can only show them love, live as much as I can dedicate to Christ in front of them and pray daily for them. I am very proud of how they have weathered many storms they have already faced in life and the fact that deep down they both know who You are and what is really important in life. Your word says, “Start children off on the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” “My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity.” [Proverbs 22:6; Proverbs 3:1-2] May I learn to do this from You and to pass this on to my children and grandchildren.

Help me to realize that the cross is our new tree of life and the fruit of Your forgiveness is the seed of salvation that if we plant it deep into our lives will grow a new life with You as my God and my redeemer.

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name, Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. (Amen) (Matthew 6:9-13)