28 January 2015

The Two Criminals

"One of the criminals who was suspended kept up a railing at Him, saying, Are You not the Christ the Messiah? Rescue Yourself and us from death! But the other one reproved him, saying, Do you not even fear God, seeing you yourself are under the same sentence of condemnation and suffering the same penalty? And we indeed suffer it justly, receiving the due reward of our actions; but this Man has done nothing out of the way nothing strange or eccentric or perverse or unreasonable. Then he said to Jesus, Lord, remember me when You come in Your kingly glory! And He answered him, Truly I tell you, today you shall be with Me in Paradise." ~Luke 23:39-43
The two criminals hung upon crosses with Jesus show, so starkly, how we can each respond to hard stuff in our lives. One railed and ranted against God, angry and accusatory. The other one had a heart soft enough to recognize the justice of the situation, and to turn toward God.

How will I respond to junk in my life? When my kids don't listen? When my husband forgets something? When I'm inconvenienced? Is my heart hardened to where I rant and rail? Or do I turn to my God and plead with Him, instead?

Lord, thank You. For doing what You did. For living as You lived. For teaching as You taught. Thank You for giving everything, so I could claim a connection to Heaven, and You can be with me. You are worthy, You are faithful, You never weary or grow faint in pursuing a relationship with me, with all of Your children. You will never fail, Your words never cease. You always seek after the lost, give strength to the powerless and power to the weak. And I praise You, God. I praise You for all that You are, and all that You have done. I want to remember these things, always, and to turn to you in praise whenever things get tough/annoying/frustrating/whatever. Life happens. I'm so glad that You have conquered all, and that I can lay claim upon Your sacrifice, because You offer it freely to anyone who turns to You. Thank You. So much. In Jesus' name, amen.