Daily Devotional – 3/22/18 “When your sound change!”

While Jesus hung on a cross, with nails through his hands and feet, with a crown of thorns on His head, a mocking sign of “King of the Jews,” over His head and a criminal on both sides; He was still concerned about saving those who desired to be saved. You know the story, right? These two criminals initially joined in on the mocking of Jesus but as time went on, one of them changed their sound. His sound went from that of suffering to now of surrendering. While the other mocked, this one criminal comes to Jesus’ defense. He didn’t need it but doesn’t it feel good when someone else can defend your honor? Well, this criminal says in Luke 23:40-42, “Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong. And he was saying, “Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!” In which Jesus replies in Luke 23:43, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.” This was the second of the last things Jesus said on the cross. He’s in pain, He’s been ridiculed and made fun of, nails driven into parts of His body, His clothes divided over dice, given bitter vinegar to drink yet He’s willing to save the one who wants to be saved. Isn’t that good news?

And if I can be honest, many of us have been in the position of this criminal. No, I don’t mean hanging on a cross but we’ve been guilty of a crime yet Jesus is willing, for us. Willing to be mocked, suffer and die; for us. Think about it because we’ve all been at a place where we want to throw in the towel, turn our back on Jesus and give up but as time goes on our voice changes. You may not want to admit it but I am sure there have been times, during your pain, that you’ve cried out to God asking where He is. There have been times when the turmoil of this life almost made you curse God. When things were happening to you, in you and around you that made you feel like Job; tearing off your clothes, shaving your head and sitting in a pile of ashes. But then something happened. Time kept going and your mind changed. As you laid in your bed of burdens, your sound changed. For just like the criminal, you go from a speech of scorn to a sermon of surrender and from pity to that of purpose. For it is when your sound, mind, body and spirit changes that your destination does too because then you can clearly hear Jesus’ saying, “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise.”


Daily Devotional – 3/21/18 “Father, forgive them …”

As Jesus hung on the cross, after being found guilty of caring more about people than they actually cared for themselves, after being beaten for loving folk who lied on Him, after His wrists and legs were nailed for taking the majority of our suffering; through pain He mumbled these words in Luke 23:34, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Understand the magnitude of this verse. Jesus willingly asked His Father to forgive those who, through willful ignorance, would become His executioner. As pain traveled through the nerves within His body, He prayed for forgiveness of those who had forsaken Him. Jesus prayed for forgiveness of those who glorified in His blood being shed. Jesus asked for forgiveness of those who laughed as thorns were pushed through his skin. While they were shooting dice to divide His clothes, Jesus was using the last of the air from His lungs to ask for forgiveness of them. Oh but here we are, staying in the house with folk we will not even pray for. We share the same bed with folk we aren’t willing to forgive. We have the same DNA with folk we haven’t spoken too in years. We even attend the same worship service with folk we talk about in group texts. Father, forgive them.

Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing. Please Father, forgive those who don’t understand the heaviness of not forgiving. Forgive those who spitefully withhold forgiveness. Forgive them Father for still giving power to their abuser by lying with the hurt, pain and replay of the things they did. Forgive them Father for harboring resentment when you’ve given them the strength to release it. Forgive them Father for mishandling their gifts, over and over. Forgive them Father for taking advantage of your blessings even after you keep giving them. Father, forgive them because they didn’t know any better. Beloved, Jesus didn’t pray for their forgiveness because He had time to kill but Jesus did it due to who He is and to fulfill Old Testament prophecy. You, though, your forgiveness of those who don’t even recognize their need to be forgiven isn’t about them but it is because of whose you are and your ability to be obedient to God’s call on your life. Forgive them as your Father has forgiven you.