Leb Blog

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

I Thirst John 19:28


Word #5: I thirst. John 19:28

The Soldier that gave  him a drink
(Written by Liz Rodrigues and brought to life in Dramatic Presentation @ the Orange County Gospel Fellowship 2013) 

I’m not sure what to make of that day.  I have orders and I am to follow them.  There is sign clearly posted for everyone to see; it points to the identity of this man, Jesus, King of the Jews.  I’m not a Jew but is he a King? I’m a Roman soldier; I do what I am told. 
 
We are many; Roman soldiers upholding the law; and yes we are mocking him as well.
This day is not like any other day; darkness hovers over us, we proceed with the orders given us.  The end is drawing near and I hear him call out my God, my God why have you forsaken me?  While foul remarks continue to be hurled at him; I’m not innocent, I too took my turn; He said he was thirsty so I quickly ran and gave him a drink. 
There was some hesitation that I felt.  See I remembered his arrest.  That night when we arrived as the kiss identified him; He was asked if he was Jesus, he replied, I AM.  All I recall was falling backwards to the ground. His identity, his presence, his voice alone, well it sent us all to the ground.  There was no one with him except his scared disciples.
 
I quickly got a reed, put the sponge on the end, dipped it and offered him a drink. 
I try to examine my heart; I think I was afraid?  There was fear; the inside of me trembled,  I mean, I know I’m a soldier, I’m supposed to be brave, but… what if I get close to his bruised face and….well I don’t know what will happen.   
 
It was like a breeze that swept through my body.  The sponge touched his lips and something touched me.  This time I retreated on my own.  I felt dirty.
How odd, how strange to comprehend; it caused me to think; a rejected king? Could I believe this message? What if it’s true?
 
God bless you!~Liz
 

Monday, March 30, 2015

Woman, behold your soon. John 19:26 | My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Mark 15:34

Word #3: Woman, behold you son.  John 19:26
Mary, the mother of Jesus
(Written by Liz Rodrigues and brought to life in Dramatic Presentation @ the Orange County Gospel Fellowship 2013)


My son, Jesus.  I was not prepared when the angle of the Lord came to me. I was startled! More like scared.  He said, Greetings you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.  He said “Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God.  You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.

I asked him, how will this be since I am a virgin.  He said “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.   It happened just like he said.  

Have you ever lost someone; every last moment so precious; clinging to their every word?  He said, Women, behold your son.  Yes, John, the one he loves; we both are in pain.  The agony is more that I can describe. Oh my precious Jesus!

Word #4: My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? 
Mark 15:34

John, the Beloved Disciple
(Written by Liz Rodrigues and brought to life in Dramatic Presentation @
the Orange County Gospel Fellowship 2013)

I’m just a fisherman from Galilee. The Teacher saw me and asked me to follow him, and I did. My eyes have seen things that I never saw before.

Perplexing thoughts flood my mind now. The last day I ate with my Lord he talked about betrayal.  Could God betray him?  I know I feel like I have. 

I should have fought for him.  All the love he has for me and I did not try and defend him. They took him and my hands never helped him.  He asked me to pray and I fell asleep. 
Help me God!

I watched him, Jesus my Lord.  He has been stripped of everything.  

He said, “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.  Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

Yet, I’m not the one being persecuted.  It’s Him and I feel so helpless.  Could God forsake him? I’ve seen him raise the dead; yes Lazarus was dead and he called him to awake as if he was just in a deep slumber. 
Water has become wine, multitudes have been fed with just a few loaves of bread; blind eyes have been opened.  I even saw him walk on water.

He has spoken to me, sometimes in parables and other times very plainly. He said he would protect me, like a shepherd protects the sheep. I keep remembering what he said, “ The reason my Father loves me is that I lay down my life—only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again.”  Has it been his choice to go to the cross?  He’s touched many and breath has been returned to them, yet he seems to be dying right before my eyes.  Who will raise him up again? He said in a little while you will see me no more and then after a while you will see me again.  What does that mean?  I’m scared. In a little while, all I see is him dying.

God bless you!~Liz


www.lizrod.com

Friday, March 27, 2015

I assure you, today you will be with me in Paradise. Luke 23:43

Word #2 I assure you, today you will be with me in Paradise. Luke 23:43
Criminal on the cross
(Written by Liz Rodrigues and brought to life in Dramatic Presentation @
the Orange County Gospel Fellowship 2013)

I’m nailed to a cross; the heat of the sun is beating on me. The pain is unbearable.  The spikes through my hands have ripped my tendons and sinews; my skin is ripped, my bones are crush and blood is dripping from my body.  I take breaths and they seem to be getting more and more shallow.

Yes, I am screaming with every bit of energy I have left; yelling at the top of my bruised lungs.  Does God only hear the righteous? What do I have to lose?  It’s an ongoing monolog. Get us down from here.  I thought you were the Son of God. All those miracles you did.  Do you have one more—now would be a good time!  I don’t have much breath in me left.  Do you see what’s happening here?

Do you hear them? The insults come from many tongues; from me, from the other thief.  I can see he’s is angry too.  We are hanging on a cross just like Jesus!  Can’t you hear us?  Does God answer prayer? 
Then it happened.  This criminal—because that’s what he is.  No different than me!  He begins to dialogue with the “King of the Jews”.  I shout out to him, “Have you not been listening”? I’ve been talking to Jesus this entire miserable time.  He begins to tell me to be quiet.  I’ve been trying to get us to live and he’s telling me to hush.  What has caused this fool to converse with Jesus; just moments before he was spewing insults at him?

His heart; something happened—I don’t know when it occurred since we have not been able to escape the cross.  How did he encounter God?  I’m mean really, I don’t recall him leaving the cross and entering the temple.  Jesus is fixing his gaze on this man.  He is giving him his attention; inclining his ear to him.  I shout, “Jesus he’s no good”!  No better than me!

I heard it.  He asked him; Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom.  What Kingdom; if he was a King would he be hanging on a cross?

Jesus answers him: I assure you, today you will be with me in Paradise.

God bless you!~Liz
www.lizrod.com

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Father, forgive them, for they don't know what they're doing. Luke 23:34

SEVEN LAST WORDS OF CHRIST
Word #1 Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they’re doing. Luke 23:34
Barabbas
(Written by Liz Rodrigues and brought to life in Dramatic Presentation @
the Orange County Gospel Fellowship 2013)

During the Passover it was customary for the Romans to release a prisoner.  I’m not a nice guy.  What were the chances that I would ever see light again?  I am Barabbas.  I hear my name being chanted.  I don’t know why my name is being called.  Can it be that my time has come?  I’m not afraid to die; I take life when I want too.  I am a killer.  

The crowds are moving, so I go along.  It’s him, the one who took my place.  They are hanging him on a tree, nailing him to a cross. 
Through the crowds I can hear him speak.  Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.  What?  Sure they do.  You are going to die.  They have you.  They know very well what the outcome will be.  

Father, what father?  Who is he talking to?  He looks up and he looks down gazing at the crowd.  Does he see me?  I am Barabbas.  Does he know what my name means; Son of the father; is he angry because he’s dying instead of me. 

I know who I am, I’m a killer.  No one likes me; my life lost its purpose a long time ago.  Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they’re doing.  Somehow I think he’s talking to me.  I knew exactly what I was doing.  I chose freedom when it was given to me….yet somehow I still feel like I’m in prison.

God bless you!~Liz
www.lizod.com

Seven Last Words of Christ (Introduction)



The Witnesses from the Crowd

(Written by Liz Rodrigues and brought to life in Dramatic Presentation @
the Orange County Gospel Fellowship 2013)

Everyone remembers last words.  When a friend or a love one dies we often, replay, analyze, scrutinize and study ever phrase; at times even trying to gain comfort from those words; even as life evades those we love. 
We are trying to receive something for ourselves; grab a hold of their love for us one more time.  If somehow we have captured their voice, we replay and listen to it over and over again; paying attention to every syllable. Every letter is treasured; oh and let their fragrance be detected in a room and joy springs up in our hearts.
It’s no different on the day our Lord was crucified.  Emmanuel, God in the flesh; and what did we do?  We celebrated his coming into Jerusalem shouting hosanna, hosanna in the highest.  The crowd watched; stood by in awe, some in wonder and amazement, several in repentance, others in self righteousness could not see their God. Some were partakers in his death, and yet he died for them all; for the one who cleaned his brow and the ones who pierced it. For God so love the world that he died, died for them ALL! That’s the love of God! 

On that day there were many in the crowd.  Please allow me creative liberty to explore the hearts of the witnesses on that day.  Be Inspired! family & friends, The Seven Last Words of Christ.
Listen carefully and the noises of Jerusalem on that day could be heard.  Examine it with your heart and you can hear the sounds of grace and mercy calling out your name.
It’s the sandals of the Lord walking as he reaches the Mount of Olives.  Surrounded by the disciples, he asks them to pray, as he does the same to his Father in Heaven. It’s not the tongues of men you hear, but the sound of exhausted men sleeping. It’s the cry of the Redeemer calling out to the Father and the sound of angels wings and they arrive to minister to the son.   It’s the echo of the kiss that betrays the Master; the sword that’s swung as flesh falls to the ground. It’s the ache of being disowned; innocent blood.  The sound of remorse; a crow testifying and tears dripping down the face of the one who said, he was willing to die.
Ease drop and turn your ear to the Holy City.  It’s the whipping and the piercing of the flesh; the blood splattering to the ground.  Watch him and look carefully for the one crucified will speak to your heart.  We chant vulgarities and “crucify him”.  He gently speaks forgiveness, allowing the work of redemption to commence.
It’s a crowd of spectators; laughing and taunting; some afraid, several broken and in anguish; others seem unaffected or were they?  Some go along with the plan and others try and stop it. The voice of Pilate, finding no basis for a charge. The ridicule and laughter of Herod and his soldiers. Turn your ear again and the chief priests and the teachers of the law are vehemently accusing him.    The sounds of the day, the day our Lord died for you! Listen.
Listen—the coins in the hand in Judas; the coins tainted with blood. It’s the casting of lots rolling on the ground; all for a few pieces of clothing; the hissing from the serpent lurking in broad daylight for a victory that never was; the rumble of an earthquake, the ripping of the curtain and the culmination of the redemptive plan.
It’s a tearing and a ripping; a split and a piercing into the heart of man.  Some will run; try and mend it; put it up again; hide the sin deep in the crevasses of the heart.   

 But as light shines in the hearts of men and expose the darkness that has kept us apart from God; some embrace the mercy and grace that’s flooding their hearts.  It’s a choice. It’s a gift.



This curtain has separated us; it has hid our sins from ourselves; God has always seen us for who we are—it’s the True Light that gives light to every man; He has come into the world!



Look for 7 Perspectives coming soon!

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Committed or Involved?

For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Hebrews 12:2b (NIV)

You ever hear a statement and it causes you to reflect; to think on something totally different than what the statement was intended to mean?

Today my son burst out in a joke as he was getting ready to make breakfast. My ears heard it and my heart grab a hold of it; it was piercing.

As a Christian, are we committed to Christ? Is our involvement in his body, his church sufficient?

In the Book of Hebrews we read that for the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame (Hebrews 12:2b). Joy for who? What part of nails piercing your skin, gasping for breath, bruised and beat until you are unrecognizable; what part of that is joy? There is a satisfaction that's fulfilled when that which you are committed to is complete.

I can't say I fully understand how this marvelous plan of God fully unfolded--I just don't have all that insight. What the Lord had revealed is that he is devoted in the pursuit of me! His steadfast chase and unswerving love for me is evident on the cross. Who is willing to die for a stranger, how about a friend? When we take a closer look he is dying for sinners; for men and women who despise his arrival on earth. Whether we understood his faithfulness or not, we cheered on the expiration of this life.

Engage him and you will sense there is more to this man. Sit and listen and he will cause something to awaken in us. Follow him and he will teach you not only about himself, but we will learn that the secrets of our heart are being exposed.

Worship him and others will ridicule you. Speak of his goodness and every demon in hell will try to silence you. He is the Finder of the lost.

Shun Him, Dismiss Him, Refuse to believe in Him...Yet He is who He says He is.

Commitment of this kind was demonstrated in the form of death. A devoted and loyal Son. Kill him if you must and he will rise again. His death satisfies the penalty against me. His blood purifies and has purchased me. Committed until he sat at the right hand of God. Committed until I see him one day when he calls me home. For the doubter, he'll show his scars. He will rise and sit by the fire with you to encourage us to preserver.

He charges us with a commitment to His Kingdom. To Peter, the Lord charges him with taking care of his sheep (John 21:16). What has he charged you with? Are you committed? Commitment requires death; death to ourselves that we may serve another; to transfer our allegiance to another kingdom! The question is, are we committed or involved? Involvement is good. It allows us to participate but at any time we can escape and return to whatever kingdom lures us. Commitment is dying to myself and engaging in a Kingdom that was made available to me by the King himself. Crucified, died, rose again and is seated at the right hand of God Almighty; he still thinks of me and intercedes on my behalf.


Life can be funny.

A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17:22 (NIV)

Breakfast time. "Mom do you want some eggs and bacon", my son asks. I replied, "sure". "Mom, do you know the difference between commitment and involvement"? There is silence in the room. He replies,"in this breakfast, the chicken is involved, but the pig is committed".

God bless you!~Liz
www.lizrod.com