A Lesson from the Cross We Don’t Always Think About

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Easter weekend always brings a sense of spring, good weather, celebration, family, and food. Alright, these days sometimes the weather is not all the greatest around. But Easter brings up thoughts of chocolate, hard boiled and dyed eggs, leg of lamb and family gatherings.

In the Christian church the focus is on Jesus, the cross, His sacrifice, His rising, and His love. In a time of celebration, the church has been lifting up Jesus every year for centuries for His acceptance of an experience that has gone down in history as one of the most profound acts of sacrificial love ever known to humankind.

I have been so contemplative recently, as I meditated on the cross and what Jesus endured that day on Calvary’s mountain. I let my mind wander to the scene in the garden when Jesus prayed, sweat and cried, with blood, and anguish. He knew He was going to be crucified. Did He want this? Who would? We know He did not in his words, “Father please take this cup from me.” Following those words were the bravest surrender that humankind has ever known. He said, “but if it be Your will Father…”

This whole scene brought me to the point of this message. Jesus was completely willing to move head on right into one of the most graphic death scenes one could ever imagine. His problem loomed before Him. His choices were completely His to make. He could have called upon the angels and He could have been saved from the fate that awaited Him. Instead, He chose to not side-step the issue, but to face it, embrace the lesson, the experience, and the outcome. With trust and faith, Jesus carried the cross He would soon die upon down a road that most would never have chosen to take. No one saved Him from this fate, not even Himself. Beaten down and torn from whipping and lashing, He still moved forward and faced what He had prayed to not have to do.

My point? As humans, it seems like most of us would do anything to avoid pain. Usually we turn to something that comforts us; a habit or diversion from the issue. We turn to food, money, shopping, drugs, alcohol, sex, and the list goes on. We like to do anything that will take the sting out of what we see ahead of us. Instead of facing it head on, we seek to dull our senses, take on the wound, and forsake the healing or “rising”. We forget that pain is a part of life. We forget the lesson from the cross that pain comes before the rising and there is no shortcut, and nothing that can dull our senses enough to change this truth.

How many of us can think back and know for sure had we faced our issues head on without trying to divert from the problem, we would have come through with healing to our hearts and the rising would have come afterward? The honest truth is the only way to our personal rising is to face every problem, every pain, and every situation, head on with dignity. Our words should be, “If it be Your will Father…”  The reality is without facing and walking through the painful part, there is no healing. We want to not “feel”. Since when did feeling become so hard? It’s not pleasant for sure, but the rewards are great.

I thought about the death of my own son. My mind went back in time to the days, nights, and lonely moments in my own garden of anguish. For me, there was no sudden healing, no escape, no shortcut. I did not deaden my pain with alcohol, drugs, food, or anything else. Honestly, there would be nothing that could help me or make me feel any better. There was no side stepping the pain. It just “was”, and sometimes still “is”. When others want to know how I survived the loss of my 20 year old son, my answer always has to be, “I faced it head on with God and God alone”. It was the only way I knew I could survive with some form of wholeness left in tact.

As I continued to meditate this week, I thought of Mary, the mother of Jesus. In days gone by, I wondered how she survived watching her son die. Now I know. She was right there, front and center. She faced the pain head on and when it was over, she privately processed the pain. There was no side stepping, and no numbing the feeling or senses. Only she could have been chosen for the part she played in the most dramatic death scene one could imagine. She survived afterward, and so did I. Was life the same? Of course not, it had dramatically changed forever.

The lesson is there, in the message of the cross. Facing our greatest fears and greatest pain with dignity, faith, and determination is the only way to heal from anything. There is no side stepping this truth. The outcome might not be known to us. We have to take the steps down the road, just as Jesus did toward Calvary. We have to carry our load, but ironically it’s the only way our load can ever be taken from us or off of us. The burden is lighter when we understand there is a reason. The task is endurable when we remember the pain always has to be endured before we rise. No exception. Its truth.

Loving you from here,

Dr. Rev Jenine Marie Howry

Here Is Your Weekly Wisdom!

WeeklyWisdomLogoJoy comes through mourning~~

I know you have been through grievous times. We all have been through one thing or another at certain times in life. Gods strength has shined brightly through you coming up out of those hard moments when life seems so uncertain. There is a joy that follows the end of the grief process. Freedom and release from the worry and concern of difficult heart wrenching issues can bring such joy after the storm has lifted. Remember always that joy is promised to follow your grief and moments of mourning. God is good on His promises , always!

Affirm: I will remember, and reach for joy, when mourning comes upon me. I know that the design God has given humanity is based upon His promises. Through Christ, His promises are even more free. I will walk in liberty after all grief and pain are over because Jesus understood the pain I have felt. His example has shown me ultimate joy after the most horrible pain to imagine….death on the cross. I will arise because He is arisen!

 

Loving you from here,

Dr. Jenine Marie Howry

832-484-8306

Scapegoat Mentality

pexels-photo-1054422.jpegBack in Biblical times there was a sacrificial animal called the “scapegoat”. When the Levite priests did ceremony to cleanse the people of sins, the sins were symbolically placed into the animal and then it was sent out into the wilderness. It ran off carrying the sins of the people with it.

In modern days, the scapegoat is a person who ends up taking the punishment for the wrongdoings or the sins of others. This hardly seems fair, but it happens all of the time, especially in families. One would think this would be the last place this would happen but it does, and usually behind closed doors. It also happens in places of business, in schools, and other places. I believe I have even watched this happen online as well.

Wherever people gather, there is a tendency to be someone around who has to press down others in order to feel better about themselves. The pressed down one is usually the lonely one who bears the pain that has been placed upon them. It’s a sad situation, and very heartbreaking.

If we were to look at humanity as one that we need to find balance within, this push and shove really does not make a lot of sense. There is only an illusion of one who gets to be the winner of the game and the one who is pressed down. Truthfully, in an unbalanced situation like this, neither of them win.

Fear, creates scapegoats. Someone begins to think or believe they are powerful and out of their fear that they are not, they need someone to press down to relieve that fear. The hard thing is nothing is ever truly relieved so the actions might keep going on. Usually the ones who are the most empathetic are the ones who end up being walked upon. They find themselves pushed down in the pecking order at their jobs. They have no voice because their own fear causes them to stop speaking up for themselves.

When Jesus went to the cross, He took upon Himself the punishment of everyone’s sin and then He left this world carrying our burdens. This grace is meant to release us from the sting of sin and death. We have no bondage in the eyes of God and there is none who is greater than the other.

Do you ever find yourself wishing that people would just see the value in themselves so they don’t feel the need to emotionally, physically, or mentally batter others to try to help them create the illusion they are greater? I pray for this revelation for people all of the time. Every time I hear a broken heart, feel one, or know of one, I know that somewhere out there is a person who is using that brokenness for their freedom. It really should not be so.

If we find ourselves being pressed down or taken advantage of, maybe it is time to create balance and speak the truth and walk away from those who would have them be their scapegoat. There is no one on earth that deserves to take a beating for someone else’s attempt at finding some form of power. Jesus took that beating and we are all free. We don’t need to have faith in the truth to make it true but it does help to have it. It’s still true none the less. It’s history.

I had to dig deep for this one because the idea of the scapegoat is more than someone being a bully over someone else. It is a condition where shame and deep feelings of inadequacy happen over periods of time. I’ve witnessed someone taking a beating for someone else. It’s almost just as painful to be the witness.

Tonight I have a deep sadness in my spirit as I think of those I have known who have been stuck taking the rap for others. They have been beaten down, locked up, emotionally broken, spiritually stricken and soulfully scarred. I can close my eyes and almost feel the painfulness of this type of condition.

If only, if only, there can be a balancing of humanity that makes this impossible to ever happen. It was meant to create the needed balance when Jesus died on the cross. We were meant to find ourselves in the bonds of oneness, in a holy union, sharing the power of the blood He shed on the cross for us all.

Can we ever find that place Jesus prayed for us to find? Can we balance the human scales in life and see one another as equal and not as someone we must be on top of, win over, press down, or beat at the race?

This blog post has a bit of a sadness to it. I apologize for that reality. I can’t help but close my eyes, though, and dream of what it would be like if everyone would just understand. We never make it anywhere without one another. Being on the top of others is only an illusion and eventually that prideful heart will have to fall. So, the beater never prospers and the one who presses down never really hits the top before they fall to the pit.

It’s the one’s who have taken the beating who will arise. It might not be today, or even tomorrow, but it will happen. When it does, their light will shine as brightly as the morning sunshine. At that moment they will realize it has all been an illusion for them as well and that God has always cupped His hands, holding them in place for the moment they understand just how beautiful they have always been.

Loving you from here

Dr. Jenine Marie Howry

 

 

Nail It! What Are You Resurrecting?

iStock_000003036203XSmall-300x199As we approach Resurrection Sunday our thoughts are upon the cross and the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus. His laying down of His life has to be the most profound event in all of history. For centuries the cross has been a symbol of salvation, freedom from illness, sinfulness, trauma, and our past. The moment each of us become aware of Jesus’ act upon the cross, and what that act has done for us, we are brought into His freedom from sin and death.

At the moment we accepted Christ, we began our journey of regeneration and unspeakable joy. At the same time we also discover that we don’t feel as free as we thought we would be. Life does not suddenly become a bowl of cherries. Why? This is because our old sinful nature still is affected by the experiences we had before we accepted Christ. The stored memories, the emotional trauma, the times we made such big mistakes come looming up at us in the darkness and take the dazzle out of the light. We are in the process of being transformed but we are not there yet.

Until those things are set free they lay in a tomb waiting to understand the resurrection to new life. We carry those things around with us and our lives become driven by them until they are nailed to the cross with Jesus. Those things need to experience death on the cross in order for those parts of us they affect to be resurrected into His new life.

We know those things intimately because we have lived with them in our lives. They come out at the most inappropriate times, in memories, through arguments, and others might point them out to us. Our emotions are triggered by the scars they created.

For the sake of transformation, I beg of you, don’t ignore them! Bring them out and vent them to the resurrected and ascended Lord; your Savior. Then nail them to the cross to die in the spiritual power of Jesus’ death.If they come up again, speak to them, “‘You’ have been nailed to the cross with Jesus! Bad memory, emotional trauma, horrible mistake, you can NO longer be a part of my life. Jesus has already set me free from sin and death!” Let the Lord resurrect the parts of you they affected into new life in Him.

Continued Prayer for You. Name It, and Nail It! 

Dear Father, in the authority and the name of Jesus, I nail___________ to the cross to die and never return. Now my emotions, my mind, my body, and my life, are set free from its affects from now on and through the rest of my life. __________ you can no longer return to haunt me, the devil can not tempt me, and the issue it caused can no longer hinder me. I thank You Jesus, for loving me, for dying for me, and for living, that I might live with You! amen.

May the Lord bless you in your new found freedom in Christ Jesus!

Pastor Jenine Marie Howry

800-421-1765

http://jeninemarie.com