Home Away from Home

Home Away from Home

As a newlywed, I lived 12 hours from my parents and five from my in-laws. I moved there knowing only my fiancé. My husband and I have moved to three more cities since then. Each time, we’ve known no more than a handful of people. Starting over is hard, especially if you’re an introvert who feels awkward in social situations. I’m just not the kind of person who makes friends easily. My husband’s long, sometimes crazy hours at work can make a new city feel like a place of isolation for me. Each move brought with it the stress of starting over with no family and few friends. In every city, there has been one thing that has made it home. God has always led us to just the right church. Our first church taught the Bible verse by verse. This is exactly what I needed as a new Believer. He taught me that every word of the Bible was valuable and worth reading. The preacher was exceptionally educated and challenged us to think deeply, to dig deeper in the Scriptures-  to know what we believe and why we believe it. He challenged us to walk by faith which is based on knowledge of God’s character. Our second church was a respite from my week of solitude with my precious new baby. It was my two hours of the week to focus on being fed rather than feeding. It was my place to connect with other adults and have fellowship with Believers. Our third church was almost a miracle. We settled into it the very first week we visited. Though we knew no one, we immediately connected...
IT IS FINISHED!  THE PLAN OF REDEMPTION COMPLETE – JOHN 19:28-30

IT IS FINISHED! THE PLAN OF REDEMPTION COMPLETE – JOHN 19:28-30

JOHN 19:28-30 28 Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. 30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. They offered him wine mixed with a sedative to drink. This drink was provided to ease the pain and hasten the death of those being crucified. But Jesus refused the drink for it would numb not only His pain but His mind. Jesus chose to experience the fullness of God’s wrath on our behalf. He willingly felt the sting of death without a sedative. Jesus’ work was too important to allow His mind to be numbed. Because Jesus refused the gall, He knew when His work was complete. Jesus’ declaration of thirst prompted the soldiers to fulfill Psalm 69:21, “They put gall in my food and gave me vinegar for my thirst.” John’s inclusion of the hyssop branch points us back to the Passover when a hyssop branch was used to paint the doorposts with the blood of the lamb so God’s judgment would Passover the house. Hyssop was used by Moses to sprinkle blood on the Law and the people; it was used in cleansing ceremonies described in Leviticus and was spoken of by David in Psalm 51:7 “Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter...
THEY TOOK HIS CLOTHES- JOHN 19:23

THEY TOOK HIS CLOTHES- JOHN 19:23

“When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes…” “…they took his clothes…” It’s too easy for us to overlook these four little words reading past them with little thought to the depth of their meaning. Jesus was publically disrobed and exposed as he hung on the cross. When I thought of the humiliation of being publically exposed, I immediately thought of the people who were taken to concentrations camps during WWII. They too were stripped naked at the hands of their oppressors. The soldiers replaced his head covering with a crown of thorns. On it, must’ve been traces of the oil Mary used to anoint him at Bethany just six days before. As he hung on the cross, in the heat of the day, the blood and sweat flowed mingled down his brow stinging his eyes and covering his face with no ability to wipe it away. That painful, twisted crown reminds me of the twisted virtues of these soldiers who despised Jesus without reason. It reminds me of the painfulness of sin that I can cause others to bear. Jesus was pierced for my transgressions- not only by the sword after his death, but by each painful thorn upon his head. They took the shoes from the feet of the Son of Man who walked the earth. It is estimated that He walked at least 3000 miles of rocky, rugged terrain during his public ministry. He walked through the cold and mud of winter and the scorching summer heat through Galilee, Samaria, and Judea. The soldiers had no idea that they held the shoes that walked on...
THE SIGN ON THE CROSS- JOHN 19:18-22

THE SIGN ON THE CROSS- JOHN 19:18-22

JOHN 19:18-22  18 There they crucified him, and with him, two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle. 19 Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews. 20 Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin, and Greek. 21 The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, “Do not write ‘The King of the Jews,’ but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews.” 22 Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.” The path from the Stone Pavement to Golgatha was intentionally not the most direct route. The condemned were paraded through the city for all to see. This had a two-fold purpose. First, it warned others of the penalty of opposing Roman authority. Secondly, it gave an opportunity for witnesses to come forward in defense of one wrongly convicted. The Roman authorities crucified the condemned outside of the Holy City out of respect for the Jews. But they chose a busy road where many would pass by on their way to or from the city. As was the Roman custom with all crucifixions, the charges of the condemned were proclaimed on a sign, which was nailed to the cross. Pilate ordered that Jesus’ sign read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” This charge was written in Aramaic, Latin, and Greek. Aramaic was the language of religion and morality and was spoken primarily by Jews living in Judea. Latin was the language of Rome, of government, and...
GOD’S SOVEREIGN CHOICE– PILATE’S CONVICTION- JOHN 19:12-16

GOD’S SOVEREIGN CHOICE– PILATE’S CONVICTION- JOHN 19:12-16

God’s plan of redemption stretches back before time. God foreknew man’s sinful desire to elevate self. God planned for the redemption of man and accomplished every detail of that plan because he is in control of the events of history. Daniel 2:21 “He controls the course of world events; he removes kings and sets up other kings. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the scholars.”  It is no accident that Rome controlled Judea or that Pilate was the governor. It isn’t karma that Pilate got what he deserved because of his harsh treatment of the Jews, and it isn’t mere coincidence that Jesus, the Lamb of God, died at Passover. God foretold minute details regarding Jesus’ life and death hundreds of years before his incarnation. God provided the evidence that proved Jesus was the Messiah. John recorded his eyewitness testimony so that we might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing, we may have life in his name (John 20:31). 19:12 From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jewish leaders kept shouting, “If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar.” The Jewish leaders knew Pilate’s weakness and weren’t afraid to go there. They challenged Pilate’s loyalty to Caesar if he released Jesus. Pilate recognized that there was no threat to Caesar, but felt the very real threat to his own position and security. At this point, Pilate must’ve been painfully aware that he was on trial just as much as Jesus was, and that...
COMPROMISING CONVICTIONS– LEARNING FROM PILATE’S FAILURE- JOHN 18:39-19:12

COMPROMISING CONVICTIONS– LEARNING FROM PILATE’S FAILURE- JOHN 18:39-19:12

Pilate declared Jesus innocent, yet he faced an angry mob. He feared the personal repercussions of releasing Jesus. Rather than carry out his duty as a judge, Pilate devised a way to release Jesus without further damaging his image. He’d make it look like Jesus’ release was the Jews’ idea. He offered them an obvious choice. They could have Barabbas, or they could have Jesus. Barabbas’ name means “son of a father.” In a time when names had great meaning, Barabbas was essentially nameless. Barabbas had taken part in an uprising. The Gospel writers describe him as a robber, murderer, and insurrectionist. Barabbas and Jesus were both tried for the same crime; Jesus was found innocent, but Barabbas was condemned. Jesus respected and submitted to authority. Barabbas openly opposed Rome and Caesar by any means necessary. Barabbas represents every member of humanity down through the ages. He was guilty and without defense. Humanity’s sinfulness and rebellion traces back to Adam and Eve’s first sin in the Garden of Eden. Like Satan himself, they like God. Consequently, humanity is born morally fallen, corrupt, inclined to evil, and guilty of sin. Apart from God’s gracious intervention, humanity suppresses the truth about themselves and God’s character and judgment. Apart from Jesus’ sinless substitutionary death, humanity is fallen and justly destined for judgment. Pilate made the crowd an offer they couldn’t refuse- or so he thought. 18:39 … it is your custom for me to release to you one prisoner at the time of the Passover. Do you want me to release ‘the king of the Jews’?” 40 They shouted back, “No, not him! Give...