Fridays with Phil

Life, family and unshakeable faith


Good Friday

Keep Calm and Carry On

What do you know about the man who carried Jesus’ cross?

History tells us his name was Simon. Presumably, he was a man just like you and me.

“A man named Simon, who was from Cyrene, was coming in from the country just then, and they forced him to carry Jesus’ cross.” (Mark 15:21)

By the time Simon was asked to carry the cross, Jesus had already suffered through scourging with whips made of leather and sharp bone. It’s no surprise that He was weak and physically unable to carry on.

Easter, then, is not only a story about triumph and victory, but also for those who at times find themselves too weak or too helpless to carry their own burdens.

It is for those of us who have been given more than we feel we can endure.

Do you know what that’s like?  The feeling of absolute powerlessness? To feel overwhelmed by what you are required to carry? Jesus does.

His body gave out.  He could not take another step in His own strength.  He literally sweated blood.

When you feel like you can’t take another step, or bear another thing, think on this: Jesus has been there and knows how you feel.

“He understands our weaknesses, for He faced all of the same temptations we do, yet He did not sin.” (Hebrews 4:15)

Whatever it is that we have to carry at this time: illness, weakness, pain, trials, temptation, Jesus will help you carry it.

Jesus came into this world to identify with the human race, to experience all that we experience.  He understands you. He knows what it is like not to be able to go on, and He will be there to give you strength in your time of need.

He could have saved Himself, just as He could have prevented Himself from being there in the first place.

He was there, not because He was the victim of circumstances beyond His control, but because He chose to lay down His life for the sake of the world. In fact, He was quoted as saying to the disciples:

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep… No one can take my life from Me. I lay down My life voluntarily.” (John 10:11, 17-18)

Jesus wanted to save you so He didn’t save Himself.

He was willing to die so that you can live and be reconciled to God.  That was a price He was willing to pay.

It has been said before: “it wasn’t the nails that bound Him to that tree; His love for you held Him there.

Remember God, victorious, this Easter and also remember God who knew suffering.  He was alone in His agony so that you would not be alone in yours.

I am posting this earlier in the week so that I didn’t miss the opportunity to extend an invite to you, your family and friends to get along to a Church for Good Friday & Easter Sunday services.

If you are looking for somewhere to attend, here is a link to service locations and times around the world of the Church I call home:


Why this couldn’t wait until tomorrow

The Bible tells us that love is from God. Love is the primary characteristic of God. More than that, God is love.

God’s love is a non-discriminating, sacrificial, unconditional love.

John 3:16 says, For God so loved the world (everyone) that he gave his one and only Son (Jesus), that whoever (that’s you and I) believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (life now and even if we die).

What does this mean? It means that God sent Jesus, His only Son, to die for you and I, so that when it comes time for us to face our own death, we have an answer in the Saviour, Jesus.

It’s the greatest love story ever told. Everything that Jesus endured was all for you and it was all for me. Love was the reason, the motivation, and it’s the answer to it all.

If something is only as valuable as how much someone will pay for it, consider this: Jesus gave all He had for us.

Whatever the highest height or the lowest low we experience, our value as a human being is not found in what we do, our position in life, or the challenges we face, but it is found in His love for us.

Jesus died for you and I before we ever knew Him, before we called Him friend. He loved us in our sin, through our sin, and exchanged our sin for His life.  Because we are created in His likeness, God made us with the capacity for love, both to give and receive it.

Why this couldn’t wait until tomorrow is because I want to encourage some of my readers who are going through some really difficult times. Some who are literally facing the reality of their own transition from this world to the next.

Today, I encourage you to find time this Easter to consider Jesus as your answer to death and its sting, its power, its fear. It’s only as we have dealt with the reality of our own frailty and impending death that we can freely live and live freely.

And for the record, 10 out of every 10 people in this world will die!  The question is not “when will I die?” or “will I die?” but “what will be my new address when I die?”  I have chosen life, heaven, and eternity in God’s presence. I have chosen Jesus to be my Saviour.

If you’re in Newcastle, Australia and you don’t have a church to call home, I invite you to join me tomorrow at Hillsong Newcastle, 10am, 669 Hunter Street.

For everyone else, why not find a church this weekend and consider the love that Jesus has and its relevance to you.


Here is a link to some services around the world:

Please share this with your friends, let’s together get the message of love out there this Easter!

Cross = Love On the streets of Newcastle
Cross = Love
On the streets of Newcastle



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