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Song of Solomon 4:9-15 – “You have captivated my heart, my sister, my bride; you have captivated my heart with one glance of your eyes,
with one jewel of your necklace. How beautiful is your love, my sister, my bride! How much better is your love than wine, and the fragrance of your oils than any spice! Your lips drip nectar, my bride; honey and milk are under your tongue; the fragrance of your garments is like the fragrance of Lebanon. A garden locked is my sister, my bride, a spring locked, a fountain sealed. Your shoots are an orchard of pomegranates with all choicest fruits, henna with nard, nard and saffron, calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense, myrrh and aloes, with all choice spices— a garden fountain, a well of living water, and flowing streams from Lebanon.

Isiah 53:5- “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him,and by his wounds we are healed. “

Many people think of the crucifixion of Christ as what you see in old paintings and art. A man with a tiny trickle of blood coming from this hands, feet and head- hanging on a sanded and smooth cross. Yet, that is not an accurate picture of the death of Jesus.

The most incredible description of the events of Christ’s humiliation and death that I’ve found are on this website. Be aware though: it’s highly graphic.

For simplicity’s sake, I’ll cut and paste his beating and death. I found 2 good descriptions, and will take a little of each to help explain it.

From the first:

“While most are aware that Jesus was beaten and then crucified, few comprehend the horrific mutilation that occurred to His body both before and during His crucifixion. Jesus’ body was so beaten and battered that He was virtually unrecognizable to the people of His day.

To help clear your mind of the typical picture of a barely-scarred Jesus hanging from a cross, a detailed examination of His execution must be described. While various forms of crucifixion were used, we will describe one possible method.

Before being crucified, Jesus is forced to undergo a severe scourging. To begin the horrible ordeal, He is stripped of His clothing and His hands are bound to a post above His head. A Roman legionnaire steps forward with a flagellum—a short whip with jagged pieces of bone, glass and metal tied into nine strips of leather. This is commonly referred to as a cat-o’-nine-tails.

The heavy whip is brought down without mercy, over and over again, across Jesus’ shoulders, back and legs. At first, the flagellum cuts through the skin only. But as the blows continue, they cut deeper into the flesh, causing blood to ooze from the capillaries and veins. Blood then begins to spurt from smaller arteries in the underlying muscles.

The flagellum begins to produce large, deep bruises, which are then ripped open by succeeding blows. In time, the skin of Jesus’ back is hanging in long ribbons, like spaghetti. The entire area is an unrecognizable bloody mass of torn flesh.

The severe beating is halted when the Roman centurion in charge has determined that Jesus is near death.

Though the Jews had a law that prohibited more than 39 lashes, there is speculation that the Romans would not have made any attempt to obey the statute.

At this point, Jesus is close to being in shock. One can only imagine the agonizing pain pulsing through His nerves. He is then untied from the post and allowed to fall to the ground—soaked in His own blood. The soldier performing the beating notices a great irony in a “simple, unsophisticated Jew” claiming to be a king. A robe is thrown across Jesus’ shoulders, and a stick is placed in His hand, like a scepter. To complete the mockery, flexible branches covered with long thorns are formed into a crown, which is pressed firmly into Jesus’ scalp. Since the scalp is one of the most vascular areas of the body, profuse bleeding begins almost immediately.

The soldiers proceed to mock Jesus and strike Him across the face. They then take His “scepter” and strike Him on the head—the thorns are driven deeper. At last, the soldiers grow weary of their vicious attack and tear off Jesus’ robe. This causes agonizing pain, similar to carelessly removing a surgical bandage, due to His robe having bonded to the clots of blood and serum in His wounds. Significant bleeding takes place once again, as though He were being whipped with the flagellum.

Ironically, in respect of Jewish custom, the Roman soldiers return Jesus’ garments, and then make Him carry a long wooden beam along His back. The condemned “criminal,” along with the Roman soldiers, begins His slow journey to the site of the crucifixion, Golgotha. Jesus struggles to walk erect, but considering the immense weight of the wooden beam and the state of near shock produced by incredible blood loss, He constantly falls. The weight is too much to bear. The beam gouges into the shredded skin and muscles of the shoulders. Jesus tries to rise, but the endurance of His muscles has been exceeded.

Wanting to hasten the crucifixion, the centurion-in-charge selects an onlooker—Simon of Cyrene (Matt. 27:32)—to carry the beam. Jesus follows behind Simon, perhaps slightly relieved, but still bleeding and in near-shock.

And the second continues:

“Jesus’ Crucifixion: Jesus is again stripped of all clothing – not even a loin cloth (contrary to images depicted in artists’ paintings). Simon is ordered to place the cross on the ground and Jesus is quickly thrown backward with His torn shoulders against the wood. The legionnaire feels for the depression at the front of the wrist. He drives a heavy, square, wrought-iron nail through the wrist and deep into the wood. To comment on the shout Jesus must have released is too much to bare.

Quickly, he moves to the other side and repeats the action being careful not to pull the arms too tightly, but to allow some movement. The cross portion is now hoisted to the upright pillar where it fits into a groove near the top.

Jesus left foot is now pressed backward against the right foot, and with both feet extended, toes down, a nail is driven through the arch of each, leaving the knees moderately flexed. The Victim is now crucified. To make matters worse, the Victim is mocked by His executioners as well as some of the religious onlookers in the gathering throng.

As He slowly sags down with more weight on the nails in His wrists, excruciating pain shoots along the fingers and up the arms to explode in the brain – the nails in the wrist are putting pressure on the median nerves. As He pushes Himself upward to avoid the stretching torment, He places His full weight on the nail through His feet. Again there is searing agony of the nail tearing through the nerves between the metatarsal bones of the feet.

At this point, as the arms fatigue, great waves of cramps sweep over the muscles, knotting them in deep, relentless, throbbing pain. With these cramps comes the abiility to push Himself upward. Hanging by His arms, the pectoral muscles are paralyzed and the intercostals muscles are unable to act. Air can be drawn into the lungs, but cannot be exhaled. Jesus fights to raise Himself in order to get even one short breath. Finally carbon dioxide builds up in the lungs and in the blood stream and the cramps partially subside. Spasmodically, He is able to push Himself upward to exhale and bring in the life-giving oxygen. It was undoubtedly during these periods of fighting for air that Jesus uttered the seven short sentences which are recorded.

The Death of Jesus: hours of this limitless pain, cycles of twisting, joint-rending cramps, intermittent partial asphyxiation, searing pain where tissue is torn from His lacerated back as He moves up and down against the rough timber in order to take a breath.

Then another agony begins. A terrible crushing pain deep in the chest as the pericardium slowly fills with serum and begins to compress the heart. It is almost over. The loss of tissue fluids has reached a critical level; the compressed heart is struggling to pump heavy, thick, sluggish blood into the tissues; the tortured lungs are making frantic efforts to gasp in small gulps of air. The markedly dehydrated tissues send their flood of stimuli to the brain.

A sponge soaked in posca, the cheap, sour wine which is the staple drink of the Roman legionnaires, is lifted to His lips. He apparently does not take any of the liquid. The body has reached its limit. This realization brings out His sixth words, possibly little more than a tortured whisper, “It is finished.” His mission of atonement has been completed. Finally, He can allow His body to die. With one last surge of strength, He once again presses His torn feet against the nail, and straightens His legs, takes a deeper breath, and utters His last cry, “Father, into thy hands I commit my spirit.”

We have had our glimpse at what Christ went through – a terrible sight, and more than enough to leave us depressed and despondent.

Remember, this was all done willingly. Christ offered up Himself for the sins of the world – and more particularly for you – that through His sacrifice we might know life.”

Not only did Christ endure the cross for us, but he knew that it was coming.  He knew the scriptures and was familiar with all the text. These verses in Isaiah were written 700 years before Christ’s birth. Yet, Isiah 53 so accurately describes exactly the life and death of Jesus, it’s almost as if it was written after the fact. Yet He willing endured it all for you and I.

Isiah 53 -“Who has believed our message? To whom will the LORD reveal his saving power? 2My servant grew up in the LORD‘s presence like a tender green shoot, sprouting from a root in dry and sterile ground. There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him. 3He was despised and rejected—a man of sorrows, acquainted with bitterest grief. We turned our backs on him and looked the other way when he went by. He was despised, and we did not care.

4Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God for his own sins! 5But he was wounded and crushed for our sins. He was beaten that we might have peace. He was whipped, and we were healed! 6All of us have strayed away like sheep. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the LORD laid on him the guilt and sins of us all.

7He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led as a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth. 8From prison and trial they led him away to his death. But who among the people realized that he was dying for their sins—that he was suffering their punishment? 9He had done no wrong, and he never deceived anyone. But he was buried like a criminal; he was put in a rich man’s grave.

10But it was the LORD‘s good plan to crush him and fill him with grief. Yet when his life is made an offering for sin, he will have a multitude of children, many heirs. He will enjoy a long life, and the LORD‘s plan will prosper in his hands. 11When he sees all that is accomplished by his anguish, he will be satisfied. And because of what he has experienced, my righteous servant will make it possible for many to be counted righteous, for he will bear all their sins. 12I will give him the honors of one who is mighty and great, because he exposed himself to death. He was counted among those who were sinners. He bore the sins of many and interceded for sinners.”

He was “crushed” so that we might live!!!

 

Galatians 5:22-25 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”

Titus 2:3-5 “Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.”

This colorway is lovingly named for the head Mentor in our MOPS program, where I am on the steering team. Wilma has willingly served us “young” ladies for 3 years, and over those 3 years, I’ve come to love and admire her greatly. A couple of weeks ago, she wore this lovely sweater that I knew would be a beautiful colorway. It was periwinkle, with purple and black argyle pattern on it. I decided then that I could honor her by naming this yarn after her and telling the world what a wonderful influence she has been to me.

One of my favorite aspects to MOPS is the fact that we have mentors available. This is my 4th year in MOPS and each year, I’ve been blessed with an amazing mentor. I’ve had opportunities to get to know four older women, and each of these women and all of our mentors embody the command of Titus 2.

Joyce always has a smile and an encouraging word, even despite caring for a sick husband and her own battle with breast cancer. Linda is so gracious and even threw me a surprise baby shower when I was expecting my 2nd baby. Pat is the queen of hospitality. She is always joyful in everything she does. And Wilma- well, her passion for the Lord is evident in everything she does. She serves the Lord and gives to Him out of a willing and obedient heart. And now in my 3rd year on steering, I can honestly say that Wilma has become a “mother of my heart.” She has guided my heart toward the Lord with her words, prayers and actions. I could go on and on about the hearts of our wonderful mentors. Each has been chosen because she displays the characteristics of a Titus 2 woman. And each has served in such an amazing way.

You see, the first part of this verse commands the older women to basically check their behavior. Are they modeling Christ in their lives? If they are not, they can not teach the younger generation. Thankfully, all of the women who have graciously taken on the task of mentoring at MOPS this year (and in the past) have gone above and beyond this call.

The verse then tells the older women to “teach” and “encourage” the younger women to live Godly lives at home. The older women’s times with young children afoot are past. Yet, in mothering themselves (and surviving it) they have grown and gained much wisdom. The mentors are here because they love us, care about us, want to see us flourish in motherhood, and above all- to serve Christ in everything they do.

I think the younger generations of today are missing out by not getting to know our “seasoned” women. Each and every one of these ladies is amazing and wants to bless us in numerous ways. You may or may not have a mentor at your table this year. But each and every one of them still desires to see all of us be fruitful in our lives. So my challenge for you today is to think about this verse. Are you following the commands of God here? If not, who can you turn to who can aid you in your pursuit of the honor of God? Look around today. There are “mentors” available to every young woman. I pray that you may find someone who you can call a “mother of your heart.”

You can learn about a MOPS near you at:  http://www.mops.org/

1 Peter 3:3-4 Let your beauty not be external – the braiding of hair and wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes – but the inner person of the heart, the lasting beauty of a gentle and tranquil spirit, which is precious in God’s sight.”
Tranquil Spirit

I’ve always been a outgoing and energetic person. Maybe to the point of being loud and overbearing at times.  It’s funny because I see these traits coming out in my 3 year old daughter.  She’s just always been loud.  I can tell that these things are just genetic and how God made us.

I grew up in a house where the way we looked to the outside mattered a lot.  It was always important that I represent my family well.  I was dressed nice.  I had my hair fixed and make-up just so.  That my outward appearance reflected well on my family.  As I got older, it also included my behavior.  It was important that what I did reflected well  on the family.

But as I got older, I learned the fallacy in this type of thinking.  I grew up thinking that if I looked one way to the world, then I was okay.  But my heart was never addressed.  I wasn’t taught that it’s what my heart’s motives were that were of utmost importance.  I think it wasn’t really even until I was married that it started to become clear to me what God really wanted of me.

He didn’t desire a thin body with a nicely adorned face.  Rather, he’d prefer a beautiful and tranquil spirit.  I had to learn that these were choices I had to make.  And I could not change myself.  Much like a piece of clay, I had to allow God to shape me and make me into a new vessel.  Now does that  mean that I’m no longer loud and boisterous?    Well, my overall nature hasn’t changed.  I am still outgoing and fun.  But my heart has changed.  No longer do I clamor to be the center of attention.  I’d prefer to take a back seat more often than I used to.  I long to be filled with a sense of calm that would have bored me years ago.  But what pleases me has changed as the Lord has changed my heart. And I hope these are the characteristics that I am training my daughters to aspire to have.  Praise be to God for transformations!!!


Genesis 2:1-3 “Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts. By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.”

Rested

This colorway is one of my “Days of Creation” series.

Day 7!

This day of creation is where God rested.  Much like an artist who finishes a piece of artwork and looks over his work with pleasure, our God rested in His creation.  He was satisfied with the work of His hands.  He stepped back to admire His work. And like a good father also, He was setting an example for His children to follow.  God never NEEDS rest, but He knew we did.  We can get so caught up in our busy lives that we never take time to just “rest”.  God modeled for us what we needed to do.

Taken from the Matthew Henry Concise Commentaryon the Whole Bible:

“After six days, God ceased from all works of creation. In miracles, he has overruled nature, but never changed its settled course, or added to it. God did not rest as one weary, but as one well pleased. Notice the beginning of the kingdom of grace, in the sanctification, or keeping holy, of the sabbath day. The solemn observing of one day in seven as a day of holy rest and holy work, to God’s honour, is the duty of all to whom God has made known his holy sabbaths. At this time none of the human race were in being but our first parents. For them the sabbath was appointed; and clearly for all succeeding generations also. The Christian sabbath, which we observe, is a seventh day, and in it we celebrate the rest of God the Son, and the finishing the work of our redemption.”

Take some time in your life to really “rest”.  It will refresh your body and soul!