Find a quiet place ... listen to the silence ... there is so much activity, so much natural activity ... yet it is so quiet and peaceful.
Look around you ... look at the beauty of Jesus in everything you see.
Listen ... do you hear Jesus whispering to you in the breeze ... acknowledge His presence ... speak to Him.
Allow yourself the freedom and honesty to give to Him all that which troubles you, just let it go ... allow Jesus to take it from you ... He very much wants to do that for you ... just let it go.
Now read this story:
I awoke to hear the jailer turn the key, and push the door. "Get out here!", he shouted, but I stayed there on the floor, frozen in the terror that rose and filled my brain, for I knew what they intended, I could not face the pain.Imagine yourself crucified because of all your sin.
Then soldiers came into the cell and they dragged me to the yard, they threw me down before a cross and brought the whip down hard. "Carry it!", they shouted as I struggled to my feet. I put my shoulder under it, dragged it to the street.
I stumbled through a wall of screams as they drove me through the gate. It seemed that thousands lined the street, their voices filled with hate. Like a wolf pack in the night that moves in for the kill, they closed the gap and followed us as we started up the hill.
It seemed I'd barely reached the top when they grabbed me from behind. They threw the cross down under me and tied the ropes that bind, the arms close to the beam as they nailed the feet and hands, and they raised the cross up in the air and dropped it in it's stand.
Through a whir of pain I saw the cross there next to mine, there where people all around it so I looked to read the sign. It was nailed there up above His head so the world could see the news that the man that seemed so helpless there was the King of all the Jews.
The crowd that stood around His cross made jokes about His name, they shouted, laughed and spat on Him so I joined in the game, I said, "Hail to the King, why don't you get us down from here?" The torture sounded hollow and it echoed in my ears.
He looked at me with eyes that seemed to reach into my heart, they shone a light on all my life, and tore my life apart. There was more that lay behind that gaze than simply blood and clay, but knowing was too much for me, I had to look away.
Then I chanced another look at Him as He was looking down, for the soldiers who'd just crucified us drank there on the ground, and although He spoke them quietly somehow His words came through, He said, "Father, please forgive them, they don't know what they do."
Then as if they'd heard Him speaking, the crowd began to roar, whipped into frenzy by the priests who urged them on some more, but the worse the accusations now, the plainer I could see, the guilt of the accusers not the one there next to me.
Then the man upon the other cross began to curse and swear. His voice was filled with venom as he hurled it through the air, and all the horror that was in him, and had laid his life to waste, he vowed in every syllable he flung in Jesus' face.
Jesus only looked at him, but something rose inside of me and in spite of all that watched us there, it couldn't be denied, because his righteousness and innocence were shining bright and strong. I just couldn't keep my silence, as the cursing still went on, I cried out, "Don't you fear the wrath of God, even at the end, you'll curse us both into the pit is that what you intend. We're only getting what we're due, we've sinned our whole lives long, but don't you talk to Him that way, He's done nothing wrong!"
Then with all my courage, in a voice not quite my own, I asked Him, "Lord remember me when you come into the throne.". He answered me and even then His love was undisguised, He said, "Before the sun has set today, you'll be with me... in Paradise."
Well the shouts and curses did not stop, even when the sunlight ceased, but somehow in the midst of it, my soul had been released. Though the agony continued, it was still too small a price, to be allowed to hear those words, and to die beside the Christ.
Put yourself in the shoes of the thief, awaiting execution because of all you do that is wrong in your eyes, and that which you think is wrong with your life in God's eyes.
Your punishment awaits you...
Now read the story again, this time though imagine you are the thief
Does your soul feel released in the way in which the thief felt even in the midst of all that which was going on around him ?
Now read the story in the Bible: The penitent thief : Luke 23: 40-43.
" Today, you'll be with me, in Paradise. "
What a promise!!!...and do you know what the thief did to obtain such a promise from our Lord...
well almost nothing...
Consider the following:
First he rebuked his sinful companion. (v.40)
He then confessed his own sin, and declared Christ to be sinless. (v.41)
He exhibited a wonderful faith, asking for something he knew he didn't deserve and confessed Christ,
acknowledging Him as Lord. (v 42)
In doing this he was asking Jesus to forgive him and to remember him when He was at His Fathers side.
He received an immediate answer ! (v.43)
This is how we receive eternal life ... This is how we can be sure we will be with Christ in Paradise.
Contemplate this as you feel Christ's' presence with you now and allow your soul to be released.