It Is Finished

After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, to fulfill the Scripture, said, “I am thirsty.”  A jar full of sour wine was standing there; so they put a sponge full of the sour wine upon a branch of hyssop and brought it up to His mouth. Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished! And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.

John 19:28-30

When translated into Greek, “it is finished” is “Tetelestai”, which literally means “it is finished” or “paid in full”, it was often used on bills of sale, to confirm that the sale was complete and no further payment was required.

For many years, I’ve struggled with accepting that I am truly forgiven and sanctified in Christ. That word, Tetelestai, has been monumental in helping me remember who I am in Christ.

Come June 16th, I am getting this word tattooed. A permanent reminder that I am made new in Christ, and that my debt of sin has been paid in full. Super excited! Such a beautiful reminder.

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Fish Love 🐠 ❤️

So I was talking with one of my super awesome dude friends late last night after we had a fabulous adventure day at Carowinds Season Passholder Preview Night, and he shared a super cool thing. He gave me permission to share it with you all.

There was a Jewish man who once saw a guy eating a fish, and he said:

“Oh, enjoying that meal are you?”

and the man said, “Oh yes! I love fish!”

“You love fish? You love it so much that you killed it, skinned it, cooked it and ate it?”

So much of what we call “love” is fish love. We love something because it gives us gratification or pleasure. We don’t actually care about the well being of the person, place, or thing when we say we “love” it. What we are actually saying is that we love the feeling it gives us. If we really loved the fish, we would care for it, provide for it’s needs, give it a good place to live with fresh clean water and food. And then we would be both satisfying it’s desires and needs as well as our own, because if we really loved it, our satisfaction would be found in the act of providing for it.

You cannot separate love from Jesus. Real, true love, is the desire to provide for, satisfy, and care for the object of our affection regardless of how we feel or what we get in return. Only Jesus can sustain that type of love within us, because He is constantly pouring His selfless love into us from the moment we accept His forgiveness.

This is why so many marriages and relationships fail. We are shown through TV and movies that love is that spark, that “love at first sight” moment followed by romance, sex, and falling “madly in love”, where your passions are so strong you just can’t stay away from one another. And that is not love. That is lust. It’s the love of ourselves, our own gratification, and the feeling of being accepted and adored. Sure, it’s consensual and both parties are equally taking advantage of one another without complaint. But, a few months, a few years down the road, when desires and passions change and fade, and things start to become less like a thrilling rollercoaster ride and more like a long trudging journey uphill, suddenly “the spark is gone”, “I’m just not in love with you anymore”, and heartache, divorce, affairs… Suddenly they start seeking the feeling of “love” again elsewhere, thinking they perhaps married the wrong person, or just that “the love is gone”. No, dears. The lust is gone. The gratification is gone. And since, though you refuse to acknowledge it, you were in it for the thrill of gratification, you aren’t really interested in sticking around for the long haul. You were in it for the fish love. And well, there are plenty of fish in the sea.

Jesus doesn’t love us because we have so much to bring to the table. Actually, we bring absolutely nothing to the table. We come to the table with empty stomachs and dirty hands, hoping for a few crumbs. And Jesus cleans us up, dresses us in His own clean clothes, sits us in the seat of highest honor, and serves us humbly the best of the harvest. He his satisfaction in us is to care for us. Our satisfaction in Him is to serve Him, and our joy in Him is to share His love with everyone we meet. Because why let a lost world sit in rags, begging for crumbs, when we have a Savior who longs to take us under His wing?

Narrowly Practical

Man is becoming as narrowly “practical” as the irrational animals. In lecturing to popular audiences I have repeatedly found it almost impossible to make them understand that I recommend Christianity because I thought its affirmations objectively true. They are simply not interested in the question of truth or falsehood. They only want to know if it will be comforting, or “inspiring,” or socially useful.

-C.S.Lewis

Overwhelmed

I can’t quite explain it, but my heart feels like it’s going to explode.

I’m so overwhelmed right now with the strength of my emotions, both good and bad. The last few days have been roller coasters for me.

My grandparents are in town, and being with them has really brightened the last couple of days. I love my dad’s folks. Especially his mom. When I left my house today to go to work, I was feeling this overflowing love for them, for God, and for people in general. And as I listened to the radio, that grew stronger and stronger until it suddenly flipped from joy to sorrow. And dangerous as it is, I started to just cry as I drove. (I wish I could say I was crying because there are so many beautiful, amazing people who don’t know Christ. And that does really get to me at times, but today it was a selfish sadness.)

Because it made me so, so sad. Because there are people in my life that I just love. Deeply. And it’s killing me. It hurts. So much. People that live far away that I don’t get to see. Love is the most painful thing I’ve ever encountered in my life. Every person I’ve ever truly loved has been unbearably human. And my that I mean, imperfect. And by that I mean normal.
Translation: They’ve all hurt me. And that’s okay. I forgive them. I still love them.

But my heart feels so tired. Sometimes I feel like I’ve spent so much of my life being strong in the face of attacks on my heart that I just don’t want to be strong anymore. I just want to collapse. And give up. To be held close in someones strong arms and told that I don’t have to pretend everything’s okay. Just hold me and let me cry until there are no tears left to be shed. I don’t cry in front of people generally, except my parents. But I want to. I want someone to just take me in that broken state and just love me.

Am I “depressed”? No. Not at all. I’m just worn. I feel tattered and raw.

He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.

~Psalm 147:3

 

But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

~2 Corinthians 12:9

I find these verses both encouraging and also frightening. Because they’re a promise that I will have heartache and pain in my life; but, I will not have to face it alone. It doesn’t make it any less painful, it just makes survival possible. Christ is the one who saw my brokenness and loved me enough to die for me anyway. And I am so grateful for that. (FYI, “greatful” is apparently not a word, I just looked it up. It’s grateful.)

Sometimes I wish I could turn off my heart. Stop loving. Stop caring. Stop aching. But God made me with a soft heart. Easily bruised, but extremely strong. The people who love me do so because of my heart. So, though I often wish I could just remove it, I’m glad I am the way I am.

It’s difficult to keep a soft heart when you get hurt. The tendency is to withdraw. Press on. Soft hearts get easily bruised, yet survive, while hard hearts crack and crack completely.

~Eric Wilson

Until next time.

~TQG

Remedy

On the one hand Death is the triumph of Satan, the punishment of the Fall, and the last enemy. Christ shed tears at the grave of Lazarus and sweated blood in Gethsemane: the Life of Lives that was in Him detested this penal obscenity not less than we do, but more. On the other hand, only he who loses his life will save it. We are baptized into the death of Christ, and it is the remedy for the Fall. Death is, in fact, what some modern people call “ambivalent.” It is Satan’s great weapon and also God’s great weapon: it is holy and unholy; our supreme disgrace and our only hope; the thing Christ came to conquer and the means by which He conquered.

 

~C.S. Lewis

For reflection on Isaiah 25:6-9

He’s Building A Palace

Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.

 

~C.S. Lewis

Show, Don’t Tell

It is right and inevitable that we should be much concerned about the salvation of those we love. But we must be careful not to expect or demand that their salvation should conform to some ready-made pattern of our own. Some Protestant sects have gone very wrong about this. They have a whole program of conversion etc., marked out, the same for everyone, & will not believe that anyone can be saved who doesn’t go through it “just so.” But… God has His own way with each soul. There is no evidence that St. John underwent the same kind of “conversion” as St. Paul. And I’m sure a man can get to Heaven without being accurate about Methuselah’s age. Also, as MacDonald says “the time for saying comes seldom, the time for being is always here.” What we practice, not (save at rare intervals) what we preach, is usually out great contribution to the conversion of others.

 

~C.S. Lewis, March 2, 1955

For reflection on John 13:34-35