Is there anything more beautiful?

I love to imagine what Jesus looks like. I love to think of Him in different aspects; envision Him doing and being what the Bible says about Him.

For example, I love C.S. Lewis’ imagery of Jesus as Aslan – the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. (Revelation 5:5) Fierce. Dominating. Forcefully putting His paw down and roaring so loudly that He shakes everything around Him. As I see Him as the Lion of Judah, I feel protected. Safe. I sense my enemies trembling at His presence. I see them running as He roars.

I love to think of Him riding on His white horse at the Second Coming. (Revelation 19:11-16) Bold. Strong. Courageous. The Conquering King. Thundering from heaven with fire blazing from His eyes as His hair flows in the wind. Leading the charge to silence the enemy once and for all. Defeating him by His word. (wow. I faint right there.)

I love to think of Him seated at the right hand of Abba Father. (Colossians 1 and 3) The position of honor. The position of authority. Magnificent, He is the radiance of the glory of God. Holding creation together. And as He overlooks all of creation, we see His heart as He intercedes for us. Pleading our case, asking Abba Father to move and work on our behalf.

I love to think of Jesus preparing a place for me. (John 14:1-3) Creating a room for me. Making a place for me at the table. Anticipating my arrival. Excitedly expecting me to join Him. To see the sheer, unreserved joy on His face as I finally see Him face-to-face. As I leap into His arms and encounter brilliant beauty that I could never have imagined. As He takes me to see Abba Father. To watch me finally experience all that I was created for.

To think of Jesus in these ways draws me into His magnificence and splendor. Opens my eyes to how incredibly exquisite He is. I catch glimpses of His breathtaking beauty.

But of all the things I imagine – all the ways I picture Him – there is nothing more beautiful to me than the crucified Jesus. (John 19) The gruesome Jesus. The one with flesh hanging off His bones. Blood running down His face. Streaming down His body. Hair matted with dirt and blood. Bruised. Whipped and beaten Jesus. Grimacing in pain. Crying out to God in agony. With spit on His face. A hole in His side. Nail pierced feet and hands.

I love this image of Jesus more than any other because it is in this, that Jesus set me free. Paying a price to redeem me from an utterly hopeless situation. Buying me from slavery. Releasing me from a prison I was powerless to escape. I am no longer a slave. I am no longer bound. Limited. Restricted.

Because He willingly suffered and died for me, allowing Himself to be savagely beaten, abused, ridiculed, humiliated and tortured, I am healed – spirit, soul and body. My blinded eyes opened. My oppressed heart set free. My wounds healed, whole. Missing parts restored. I am made new. No scars. Just as if I had never been damaged. Broken. Enslaved. Imprisoned.

In agony, He carried the weight of my crushing sin. Wiping away my past. Eliminating my depravity. Wickedness. Choosing to forget. Choosing to release. Choosing to look at me with love.

His brutal death defeated a foe that I was no match for. Completely disarming my enemy. Destroying his works. Stepping on his neck. Breaking his hold. Conquering for me. Giving me victory.

The cross He carried bridged the chasm between Abba and me. I am no long separated from Him. No longer an orphan. Adopted by Him. An heir with full benefits and privileges.

And it is through the magnificent gore of the cross that I can see the beauty of Him now. Because I have seen Him crucified, I can see Him as the Lion of Judah. I see Him riding His white horse. Seated next to Abba Father. Feel Him making intercession for me. Know that He is preparing my place. Eagerly anticipating my arrival.

Nothing is more beautiful to me than Jesus crucified because it opens my eyes to see everything He is.

 

 

 

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Sometimes I say stuff

Sometimes I say stuff – remember I’m a talker – but I have no idea what I’m saying. I heard someone somewhere say it and it sounded reasonable, so I repeat it. I read a snippet about it and it looked good to me, so I share it. Or it’s something “they” say – and you know they are always right – so I say it too.

As a result, I’ve found myself saying and sharing information that I really know nothing about. Or I say things without realizing what it means. And sometimes – it’s not good. Like the time I told my husband that I parked out in “BFE” and he nearly fainted. Needless to say, I don’t use that term any more. (don’t judge – I didn’t know)

Another one of those words is ‘karma’. Sounds like an interesting concept. A good idea. A word that can just easily be tossed out and it sounds right. A harmless word. And it’s trendy – all the cool kids say it.

However, I’ve gotten a little smarter since the BFE incident. So I did a little research because I wanted to understand what I was actually saying. And this is what I learned.

Karma is a spiritual concept found in the Buddhist and Hindu religions and is based upon the belief in reincarnation. The law of karma states that every thought, word or action – whether good or bad – will count in determining how an individual will be born in their next life on earth. It is the idea that how you live your life will determine your quality of life after reincarnation. So an individual with bad karma could be born many different times into a lower human status or even into lower forms of animals (which is why they are vegetarians because you can’t risk eating Uncle Elmer). An individual with good karma will “upgrade” their status in their next life. In Hinduism you have the ability to eventually upgrade to the Brahmin class and be released.

Karma is believed to be the invisible power that balances the universe – giving people what they deserve because their past actions create their present state and their present actions will create their future. Through karma, you create the world into which you are born.

In essence, karma teaches that individuals are in control of their salvation, which is their release from the cycle of birth and rebirth.

I’m no theologian, but none of this seems Biblical to me.

This belief abolishes grace by eliminating the possibility of forgiveness. It says I deserve the good things that come to me because I earned them, therefore denying the blessings of Abba and His goodness to humanity. It says that every bad thing that happens to me is my fault, denying the influence of a sin fallen world and an enemy who is out to steal, kill and destroy. It teaches the philosophy of past lives and more lives to come contradicting the truth that man only dies once.

There are those who believe the idea of karma is found in the Bible in Galatians 5:6-7 Don’t be misled—you cannot mock the justice of God. You will always harvest what you plant. Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit.

However, the enemy’s lie of karma is nothing like God’s Law of Sowing and Reaping. The Bible tells us receiving the benefits of godly choices takes place in this life, not in some future life. The Bible also teaches there are negative consequences for choices that are contrary to God’s principles. In addition, the sowing done on earth will affect the reaping in eternity – either in heaven or hell.

So, with that in mind – I won’t be using the word karma. I can’t talk about something that I don’t believe in. And I can’t promote anything that is contrary to the Word of God.

Now, to figure out what “oh for pete’s’ sake” means.