Why have you forsaken me?

Cross of Christ

We recently heard a wonderful Messianic Jew deliver a message of hope and enlightenment on the Passover Lamb. As a Christian, to miss the Jewishness of Christ, is to miss a great deal of who He was and what He came to do. Whenever I have the opportunity, I want to hear more.

There were a few ‘aha’ moments for me while he spoke. The one I really want to share is the cry of Christ, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46 and Mark 15:34). I have always heard it preached that God could not look at Christ and turned his back on him, because Christ had taken on the sin of the whole world and God could not look upon that sin. After hearing this message however, I believe something completely different.  This is what I got from a Jewish-Christian message.

Christ is the Word, Christ authored the Word, Christ knew the Word, and he knew his audience knew the Word and had certain parts of the Word memorized. It was Jewish tradition to recite memorized texts. One had to only call out a portion of it and everyone knew the whole text. Just as we might say, “don’t drink the kool-aid” and everyone knows the story of Jim Jones and his cult who blindly followed him and drank the poisoned kool-aid and died. Or if you say the first line of most any nursery rhyme, like, “Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall…” or well known scripture like, “For God so loved the world…” and almost everyone could mentally finish out the rest in their heads.

Christ had been beaten and tortured and nailed to the cross. He was in excruciating pain and his life was ebbing away. He was barely able to breathe or talk. His last words were short and truncated sentences. Gasping for the air and the strength to speak he said what he needed to say as briefly as possible.

When Christ uttered the phrase, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” he was quoting Psalm 22 authored by the Old Testament Christ figure, David. David is on the run from Saul and utterly alone and abandoned. We know that David voiced his feelings and thoughts throughout the Psalms. We also know that this is a passage of scripture that Jews memorize and recite. When Christ calls this out, those of his followers around the cross could finish this scripture in their heads.

1 My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
 Why are you so far from saving me,  so far from my cries of anguish?
 2 My God, I cry out by day, but you do not answer,
 by night, but I find no rest.
3 Yet you are enthroned as the Holy One;
 you are the one Israel praises.
4 In you our ancestors put their trust;
 they trusted and you delivered them.
 5 To you they cried out and were saved;
 in you they trusted and were not put to shame.
[God has saved them before. His people trusted Him and God took care of them.]
6 But I am a worm and not a man,
 scorned by everyone, despised by the people.
 7 All who see me mock me;
they hurl insults, shaking their heads.
 8 "He trusts in the Lord," they say,
 "let the Lord rescue him.
 Let him deliver him,  since he delights in him."
[David describes the very things that are happening to Christ.]
9 Yet you brought me out of the womb;
 you made me trust in you, even at my mother’s breast.
 10 From birth I was cast on you;
 from my mother’s womb you have been my God.
[Born of a virgin by the Holy Spirit.]
11 Do not be far from me,
 for trouble is near  and there is no one to help.
12 Many bulls surround me;
 strong bulls of Bashan encircle me.
 13 Roaring lions that tear their prey
 open their mouths wide against me.
 14 I am poured out like water,
 and all my bones are out of joint.
 My heart has turned to wax;  it has melted within me.
 15 My mouth is dried up like a potsherd,
 and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth;
 you lay me in the dust of death.
[Water poured from His side when He was pierced with the spear. His bones were out of joint from the crucifixion but not broken to fulfill prophesy. His tongue was swollen and stuck to the roof of his mouth because of the physical brutality of what crucifixion does to the body.]
16 Dogs surround me,  a pack of villains encircles me;
 they pierce my hands and my feet.
 17 All my bones are on display;
 people stare and gloat over me.
 18 They divide my clothes among them
 and cast lots for my garment.
[Dogs was a common phrase for Gentiles (the Romans).  The soldiers cast lots for his clothes.]
19 But you, Lord, do not be far from me.
 You are my strength; come quickly to help me.
 20 Deliver me from the sword,
 my precious life from the power of the dogs.
 21 Rescue me from the mouth of the lions;
 save me from the horns of the wild oxen.
22 I will declare your name to my people;
 in the assembly I will praise you.
 23 You who fear the Lord, praise him!
 All you descendants of Jacob, honor him!
 Revere him, all you descendants of Israel!
 24 For he has not despised or scorned
 the suffering of the afflicted one;
 he has not hidden his face from him
 but has listened to his cry for help.
[Here is the reminder to His followers. I will praise God. Everyone honor God. God has NOT despised or scorned the suffering of the afflicted one. God has heard His cry.]
25 From you comes the theme of my praise in the great assembly;
 before those who fear you I will fulfill my vows.
 26 The poor will eat and be satisfied;
 those who seek the Lord will praise him—
 may your hearts live forever!
27 All the ends of the earth
 will remember and turn to the Lord,
 and all the families of the nations  will bow down before him,
 28 for dominion belongs to the Lord
 and he rules over the nations.
[Every knee shall bow, every tongue confess...]
29 All the rich of the earth will feast and worship;
 all who go down to the dust will kneel before him—
 those who cannot keep themselves alive.
 30 Posterity will serve him;
 future generations will be told about the Lord.
 31 They will proclaim his righteousness,
 declaring to a people yet unborn:
 He has done it!
[Future generations will be told. He has done it. It is finished. The price has been paid.]

He is not calling out to His Father who abandoned him, he is preaching his last sermon from the cross. He is saying, ‘I am the Christ foretold. This is what must happen to save you. God loves you and always has. Generation after generation will know what God has done here this day.’  God does not abandon us because we sin. He is with us, calling us to Him.

Turn from what you know is wrong, ask forgiveness, and walk toward the One who has loved you since the beginning of time.  Read Psalm 22.  Read it again.  I am.


– Donnalee Blankenship

Renewed and Reborn

(c)2013 Donnalee Blankenship

(c)2013 Donnalee BlankenshipWhen I wake up in the morning I want to feel hungry for life.  Desire is what drives me.  When I go to sleep, I feel I have experienced a small death, so that I can wake up in the morning renewed and reborn.  — Jean-Louis Barrault

Tired of Doing Good

Looking back over the last few years, it seems like many of my problems stem from trying to help somebody else.  I hear the whisper of the old saying, “No good deed goes unpunished.” No appreciation.  No immediate reward.  Today, my whole day has been consumed by doing for other people when I feel the need /obligation to focus more on me and mine.  This “no good deed” saying is so prevalent, I sometimes fight saying it several times a day, especially today.

But it is not God’s attitude, He encourages that I should:

7[] not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. 8For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9Let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we will reap if we do not grow weary. 10So then, while we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, and especially to those who are of the household of the faith.

As I was at wits end, my phone rang and it was one of my best friends.  He had a client that did not have a place to stay for the night and wanted to see if I had any ideas.  Convicted by my selfish attitude through the day, I invited him to stay with us.  He apparently had not eaten well or had the comforts of home recently.  Somewhat resentingly, we served him the largest portion and I pulled out all the things we had been hoarding for a special occasion.  As our guest enjoyed himself, God did a work in me and I ended up having a blessed evening.

Recommitment for tomorrow: Wake up Do good Repeat.

©2014 Brandon L. Blankenship (Source excluded) Alabama Birmingham Hoover Pelham


As to quote:  This famous quip was first quoted in print by Luce’s social secretary Letitia Baldrige in Roman Candle (Houghton Mifflin, Boston, 1956), 129: “When I would entreat her to engage in resolving a specific case, she replied, ‘No good deed goes unpunished, Tish, remember that.'” Oscar Wilde, Billy Wilder, and Andrew W. Mellon have also been cited as sources, but without written evidence.

As to scripture, Scripture taken from Galatians in the New American Standard Bible®, Copyright© 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation may terminate this permission at any time.

Image snippet from www. skreened.com.

Sticks and Stones: Tell a Girl She’s Beautiful

sticks stones

Tell a girl she is beautiful, she will believe it for a moment. Tell a girl she is ugly, she will believe it for a lifetime.  –Anonymous

Sticks and stones will break your bones, but words will never hurt you.

Something mysterious happens in those pre-teen years.  Somewhere between 10 and 14 the whole world turns upside down.  I remember thinking that no one understood me, everyone else was cool, and I was all alone.  Not true, but that’s how I felt.  Don’t most kids go through that?  Everything was so  d e e p  and depressing.  My journals from those days are doom and gloom all the way.  What made it that way?  Why are the middle school years often so dark for so many?

I remember in 7th grade, I had achieved safety patrol status and was stationed on bus patrol with a boy that I thought was quirky and cute.  He was the class clown and well loved by most.  I thought this might be a great opportunity to move up in status and MAYBE I would be someone that he would discover that he liked.  He clowned around as usual and we seemed to get along ok, although nothing earth shattering and romantic ever developed.  But one day I overheard his friends teasing him about spending all that time with me and that he must “love” me and we should be “going together” (the term for becoming boyfriend/girlfriend back in the day).  As he bowed up to defend himself from the teasing, and not knowing (I hope) that I was anywhere nearby, he let out a litany of insults and derogatory comments about me and how he could never–would never ever like someone like me.  This doesn’t even begin to cover all he said, but to give you an idea:

THAT girl?  She has anti-boobs!  Why is she even wearing a bra?  She’s a “crater-chest” (a very sensitive subject to a flat chested, buxom hopeful).  She’s a total dork and will NEVER have a boyfriend.  If she does, she’ll have to wear a bag over her head, ‘cause she us u-g-l-y.  She’ll probably die a spinster, unloved and alone.

….and on and on.

I was broken hearted.  Not because he would never be my boyfriend, but because he crushed my spirit.  He and his friends were the people that I desperately wanted to like me.  He spoke to all the fears that I already had–hating my gangly flat chested body, thinking I was ugly, feeling alone and unloved, wanting a boyfriend like my other friends but not having one.  He and his friends laughed at my expense.  I was the joke.  Do you ever recover from that?  Shortly thereafter, he began talking to me using those phrases.  Putting me down whether his friends were around or not.

Looking back, I see that he was trying to build himself up from an attack by his friends.  After all, aren’t class clowns usually the kids that are hiding a deep hurt or loneliness themselves?   I don’t think I ever completely recovered.  When I have doubts about the way I look, even now his words come back to confirm that I’m not good enough.  When I’m feeling a little lonely, his friends laughing at me echos in my mind..

I’ve moved on.  I know I am loved and I finally grew into a real bra size.  (God does answer prayer.)  My self worth is not set by others.  I am a precious child of God and he gave his one and only son for me.  I am a child of the King and I am loved. Life did not turn out as they predicted. I have an amazing husband who thinks I’m pretty hot and a beautiful daughter with whom I have a great relationship.  I feel blessed, and know that I am.

So I’m looking at my 13 year old daughter and wondering where she is on that topsy turvy scale?  How alone and uncool does she really feel?  Who is the thorn in her side at school?  What words have they said that will remain with her forever?  What is she experiencing now that will impact how she faces life?  And what in the world can I do to help?

We talk often and deliberately work to keep the communication lines open.  She’s in a great school and has great friends.  I already see that her 13 year old life is not like mine was, but she is still a middle schooler.  She still has strong emotions and deep, deep feelings.  I pray that I will not hurt her with my words and that whatever she is going through, she seeks the grace of God to overcome.

I’ll take sticks and stones any day over words.  And I will tell her that she is beautifully and wonderfully made in the image of God.

Superwoman or Superfailure?

I am not good at too many things, but then again, I am good at things others are not.  And, I’m really terrible at things others seem to do effortlessly.

For example, I often hear my friends talk about their meal plans.  What?!  Am I supposed to plan meals?  I am doing well if I get a meal on the table.  Not because I’m so busy, but because I can’t seem to figure out how to plan meals.  The concept seems simple enough.  I write down things we like to eat on the meal calendar.  I make a grocery list and grab a few coupons and feeling proud of myself, head to the store.  That’s where it starts to fall apart.

In the beginning it goes well.  I grab a few items on my list and confidently check them off.  Then I hit a snag and the store either will not have what I am looking for or I just can’t find it.  Standing near the cookie isle, fretting over how to change my plan, I notice that Oreo’s are on sale.  Well, I should add a dessert to the menu plan and after all, they are on sale.  So hurrying to get out of that tempting row, I see that Cheez-Its are on sale, too. We’re out of those.  Gotta grab a few. The guilt is getting stronger.  I only have a few things I need for my plan.  I’ve got just as many things in my buggy that are not in my plan.  Now I just want out of here.  I rationalize that I can grab a pizza and make sandwiches another two nights.  We can do a Yo-Yo night (Your On Your Own) and then I’ll just make another grocery trip later in the week.  Whew!  Now for checkout. Of course we need a price check and my coupons are expired.  I’ve spent more than I wanted even with sale items.  I’m weak. Unorganized. Devoid of will power.  I tuck my tail and head home.

Almost home I get the dreaded call.  Hubby is on his way with a work/client buddy and needs me to throw something together for supper an hour early.  YIKES!  This is when my super powers kick in.  With only moments before they arrive, I screech in the driveway, throw the pseudo-groceries in the fridge and start making the hamburger patties for “Spontaneous Man” to grill.  I start passing around jobs.  Kid1, “Straighten the pillows in the den and stack those newspapers and magazines.”  Kid2, “Grab some Windex and a toilet brush and take care of the guest bathroom.”  Kid3, “Set the table and start handing me things from the pantry.”  Just as the last pillow is plumped and the last paper towel hits the trash, the door opens.  “Hi honey, we’re home!”

potterCatching my breath from my earlier failure and chaotic rush, I try to see what this stranger “sees” while in my home.  It’s not so bad.  Maybe even interesting.  We are serving food from our garden on platters I made in my pottery class.  In sight of our meal is a large scale painting I worked on a few times we had a family painting night.  Draped over the chair is a shawl I knitted. He takes interest in our pallet projects and our homemade pickles and jams. After dinner the girls slip from the table without interrupting and clean the kitchen.  A parenting dream.  We enjoyed learning about our guest’s life and adventures and hopefully made him feel welcome and comfortable. Jelly in hand on his way out the door, he said he felt “right at home” and I wondered what he would have thought if he had arrived earlier.

As I work on editing a video and putting together a brochure before bed, I think that maybe I can give the meal planning another try.  Maybe I shouldn’t be so hard on myself.  I was certainly a total failure at the meal planning, but I pulled a meal together in a pinch and everyone enjoyed themselves.  Eating this Oreo before climbing in the bed, I realize I need to work on that will power thing, too.