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A Word for this Week” - Pastor Bill Mugnolo

Week of August 15-21, 2022: “A Joyous Good Friday (in August)”: Hebrews 12:2

In recent years, so-called “Christmas in July” celebrations have grown in their popularity. There are radio stations which, for several days, go to an all-Christmas music format. There are Christmas in July store specials, dinner deals, and even displays of wreaths, trees, candy canes, and blow-up Santas.

So, if we can have Christmas in July why can we not then have … Good Friday in August. You might say, “if Christmas in July may seem ‘overblown’ at least it is joyful.” But there actually is much joy in Good Friday. The writer of Hebrews 12:2, part of our appointed second lesson for this past Sunday, speaks of Jesus … “who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame.”

But what kind of joy could there possibly be in Jesus being crucified? From a physical standpoint, crucifixion is one of the most brutal forms of death ever devised by man involving slow death by suffocation. But far worse than this was the suffering in His soul that Jesus went through as He bore all the sins of the world. What could possibly be joyous in any of this?

Well, the joy that was set before Him was knowing that by His death and then His resurrection, He was attaining for us the salvation from all our sins. It was the joy for the sake of others. It was His joy for all of us who would receive this gift of salvation by faith. It is why we call the day, no matter at what time of year that we would celebrate it, Good Friday.

So, as we sing at Christmas, whether we celebrate this occasion in December or July, "Joy to the World, the Lord is Come”. Yes, as the author and perfector of our faith, Jesus brings to us abounding and continual joy all the way up to the day of His return—a day that we will celebrate forever. So, then, have a joyous Good Friday—in August and always.

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Replace today's negative thoughts with God's eternal truths

The world says: "Its impossible." God says: "All things are possible." (Luke 18:27)

The world says "I'm too tired." God says: "I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28-30)

The world says: "Nobody really loves me." God says: "I love you." (John 3:16, 34)

The world says: "I can't go on." God says: "My grace is sufficient." (2 Corinthians 12:9; Psalm 91:15)

The world says: "I can't figure things out." God says: "I will direct your steps." (Proverbs 3:5- 6)

The world says: "I can't do it." God says: "You can do all things." (Philippians 4:13)

The world says: "I'm not able." God says: "I am able." (2 Corinthians 9:8)

The world says: "It's not worth it." God says: "It will be worth it." (Roman 8:28)

The world says: "I can't forgive myself." God says: "I forgive you." (1 John 1:9; Romans 8:1)

The world says: "I can't manage." God says: "I will supply all your needs." (Philippians 4:19)

The world says: "I'm afraid." God says: "I have not given you a spirit of fear." (2 Timothy 1:7)

The world says: "I'm always worried and frustrated." God says: "Cast all your cares on Me." (1 Peter 5:7)

The world says: "I'm not smart enough." God says: "I give you wisdom." (1 Corinthians 1:30)

The world says: "I feel all alone." God says: "I will never leave you or forsake you." (Hebrews 13:5)