We are all the two thieves. We’ve either asked Jesus to remember us or we have mocked Him by not believing Him. The two thieves were a physical example of the two paths to take. A sinner set free by the blood of the Lamb – or a sinner still attached to his/her cross. You can choose to follow Jesus to Paradise or you can choose to stay the way you are. He leaves the decission up to you. But only one road leads to Heaven. Only one way takes you away from death eternal. Jesus is the only way- the choice is up to you.
Tag: always loved
I can smell it, life is returning
I can smell it coming, life is returning.
Walking through the grove of blue spruce trees in our yard I took a deep breath. The past several months of winter, the air burned and smelled like snow; today my senses were filled with warm scent of pine. It was faint, but it was there. Little by little the trees were coming back to life. I know pine trees don’t go fully dormant during the winter like Birch or Poplar, so they are usually the first you notice a difference in during Spring. Yet that doesn’t change the joy of having the trees start to show sign of winter ending.
Yesterday Jesus was killed and buried. Today He was busy preparing for tomorrow. His body lie in a stone tomb, yet His Spirit was working on the Father’s plan. He wasn’t up and walking about yet today, but there was something stirring, life was returning. Lewis would speak of it as the other world or realm and that is how I will speak of it also. We couldn’t see or hear anything happening here on Earth during the middle day of Holy Week weekend, yet in the other world- the one our souls belong to- there was a great awakening of souls who had lied in death for many years awaiting their savior to come and take the keys from the devil and bring them home. Jesus’s death and resurrection was always planned, God didn’t suddenly go, ‘oh no! The world is really bad I need to send someone to save them!’ He knew all along what would happen and was ready for it. Today was a busy day for Jesus, and though his body lay dead in the tomb, life was preparing to return to it.
With Him in the garden
‘Today is my day to sorrow’, thought the tiny flower growing beside a rock. ‘Last night a great trouble came over me as a man, or something more than a man, sat by my side and wept. His tears were so great that when they splashed upon me I felt sick and my roots were weakened. I tried to reach out to the man, but I am just a flower and cannot draw attention to myself like a bird can with her song. He cried and screamed and begged and pleaded, but no peace came to this man. I hoped that He would look at me and I could make Him smile. He left and then returned, even sadder when He came back. All I could do was sit with Him. Then I sensed a resolve in His being and He went to stand once more. He stumbled and His hands landed near me. I tried to be radiant to bring Him comfort, finally He saw me, He smiled very gently, then He rose to His feet. “Thank you my radiant flower.” He said, then He left.
I feel that something great and tragic happened that night. Today I feel as though a friend is calling out for mercy. Today I feel sad. But being a flower, I know that tomorrow will bring new joy and hope.’
Beneath His feet
If I were the sandals beneath His feet.
If I were the sandals beneath His feet, oh the places I would go. I would step into the Temple and hear Him teach the crowd. I would walk along the Jordan and see fish fill a boat. I would come too close for comfort to lepers and not fear their disease. I would see the lame man walk and watch the blind man see. Would I undstand His parables? Would I question who He was? Or would I know just be being near Him that He was God’s only son? I would stand upon a hill top and see the devil face to face. I would hear Jesus refuse to bow to sin. I would be stained by the sweat of donkeys. I would taste the sweet dew of morning on garden grass. I would be made wet by His tears. I would hear Him pray for all of us left. I would stand on a platform and watch a crooked trial. I would be hit by His blood, and strain to hear His defense. I would weep when He said nothing to free Himself. I would be gambled for at the foot of a cross. I would be shaken as the Vail was torn. I would break deep down as I realized He was gone. Then I would be far away from Him. I would be stuck on the feet of a Roman soldier. Then I would spend a long night outside a tomb and be terrified as the big stone rolled away. I would cry for joy as I watched the feet I knew so well and loved so dear walk past me in a glow I could not explain. I would hear from the soldiers later that He had been seen around, appearing before those He loved. Then I would see Him no longer. But I had heard Him say that He would return someday. I long for that day. The day when at His feet I might remain.
If only I were the sandals beneath His feet.
Our hands do so much and they are unique to each person. I don’t just mean because of our hand lines or gen codes. They are unique i what they do. My nana had hands that were often found playing the organ, crocheting or holding a cup of hot tea. My dad’s hands are usually found doing the work I don’t want to do like cleaning the barn, they can also be found gripping a tennis raquet or an old book. Mom’s hands are always working, dishes, laundry, meals and not just for her own household; they are also happy holding a hot cup of tea or a good book, but are happiest in the dirt of the garden or trimming flowers. Poppa’s hands are always covered in dirt from working in his shop or with his welder, that’s when they aren’t hugging his Bible or typing up sermons. My dog’s paws are even unique to him, not many dog toes are found in kayaks and climbing through hay bales. Our hands speak of our personalities, hobbies and jobs. They speak of our passions and what we love and who we love- my hands are often covered in animal hair because they are often touching my dog or horse, so they say, ‘yep, she’s nuts about her fur family.’
Jesus’s hands told His story too, they still do. Hard and calloused from His work as a carpenter and His time tenting during His ministry. Yet gentle enough that a colt would let Him touch him. Strong enough to lift a hammer, soft enough to be pierced by a nail. If Jesus stood before you and held out His hand you would know it was Him instantly because no one else would have His scars. Funny how everyone in Heaven is healed, except Jesus; His wounds remain as a reminder to us of His passion, job, personality, what He loves and who He loves. We are all in His hands.
His prayer for us
“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”
John 17:20-26 NIV
Right before He was arrested and about to be sent to His death, the last thing Jesus did was pray this prayer for us. Not thinking of Himself, right to the final hour, we were who was on His mind.
Oil on my head
Lent day 9
Let a righteous man strike me- that is a kindness; let him rebuke me- that is oil on my head- Psalm 141:8
David was a man after God’s heart. That doesn’t mean he never screwed up, it means that he repented when he did. He was human and made human mistakes, however he truly loved God and wanted to make things right with Him as fast as he could when he sinned. Few true followers of God commit sins on purpose, and when we do sin we try to repent quickly. I like the second half of that verse the best: let him rebuke me-that is oil on my head.
David was a shepherd, so he would have known that oil on the head of the sheep was there to fend off flies. We do this on the bellies of our horses on the farm too. To him being rebuked by a righteous man was the same as having insect repellent placed on his head. It warded off the attacks of evil emotions and desires. He didn’t take being rebuked by someone closer to God than himself as an offense, rather as a kindness. David didn’t shy from a corrective word from the pulpit, he knew that being close to God was greater than his feeling of self importance.
May we all have a spirit that thirsts after righteousness, because we long to know God’s face.
Lent day 2
Even the little concerns
Lent day 2
Today needed a photo, and if I’m honest I’m not sure everyone will get is being said in this one because this understanding of God is something we all struggle with.
God cares. Hang on, don’t roll your eyes, I know we have all heard this term missused and misrepresented. Just (as my new yoga teacher would say) breathe into it for a moment. God cares about you. Every tiny, crazy, dumb problem; every monumental catastrophe, He cares.
My example may sound odd but give me a chance.
You see that guy in the photo below? That’s my horse. He’s been my horse for over a decade. We have had big crazy dreams, big crazy failures and many learning moments. I’ve been worried about him lately. It’s been really cold (though he usually prefers that) and he has been acting odd. Distant. Even a little aggressive. I checked him over and he’s physically fine, so I chalked it up to the cold air and waited. Then it warmed up and nothing changed. Now I’m concerned and on with horse behaivior experts trying to see if something is wrong on the inside. With a little work on a few bad habbits his aggressive attitude faded away, but he was still playing shy with me. It felt like something I should deal with myself, I have trained horses for several years, I should be able to solve this on my own. Yet I was worried about him, and a little sad to see him acting that way toward me who loves him so much. So I prayed. I’ll admit my prayer began along the lines of “sorry to bother you with this God,” because like I said, it didn’t seem like a big thing, just something that was bothering me. Skip to today. I’m out in my yard, my horse comes right up to me, which he hasn’t done for the past several weeks, his ears are pricked but I give him some space and let him do his own thing. His own thing turned out to be following me around the yard, wanting to be close to me even though I had no treats, nuzzling my hair and being his normal self. It was so nice to realize that God wasn’t bothered by my odd, seemingly unimportant request. I know this story was long, and most people probably can’t relate to it, my point here is that no matter how silly your request seems, even if you feel like you should be able to deal with the problem yourself, even if you’re worried that God will see it as too small for his power, He still cares, it’s never too small of a problem for God. We get it into our heads that God likes big flashy miracles, but don’t forget that God was not in the Wind, He was in the whisper. Ask Him. No matter how silly small or unimportant it seems, bring it to God and watch for him to make things better. Like a loving father He’s never ashamed to kiss and bandage our scrapes.
Where is Jesus?
His knees ached as he prayed, he swung back and forth in agony as his soul searched for something, anything. Around him others prayed to their gods and the pain was clear in their mumbled as they searched for the same thing. A woman was kneeling beside him, a book clasped in her hands as she prayed silently, a dim smile spread across her face. He leaned over to her. ‘What god do you pray to?’
She whispered back, ‘I pray to Jesus.’
‘Oh, what is Jesus the god of?’
The woman thought a moment, ‘well, He’s the God of everything. There isn’t anything that He isn’t God over.’
‘Really? Who is He?’
‘He’s the one who died for you. He came to earth from Heaven and was sacrificed for our sins. Then He rose again and took deminion over death. Now we who love Him can join Him in Heaven.’
‘Interesting. How did you get to know Him?’
She began to answer but a rod came down with a crack between them, ‘no talking!’ The guard bellowed, ‘just do your worship and leave.’
The woman went back to her praying, the book clutched against her heart. The man looked around him, some people beat their heads and chests in anguish, some had knives and drew blood from their palms, some merely mumbled to themselves the same things the man had heard them say every time they had come, he looked at the statue of the god he was praying to, it seemed so indiferent to him to his needs, it never died for him, it didn’t care about him. Then he glanced at the woman again, she was smiling, then she laughed softly, she cried but it seemed like a happy cry. He glanced at the guard, the person had moved on. He leaned forward, ‘how do I contact her god? Do I need a sacrifice? She seems to have just come here. He whispered again to the woman.
‘How do I get to know your God?’
She grinned, ‘just talk to Him. Call Him by His name, Jesus, God, even Father.’
She nodded. He began to pray, ‘um…Jesus. Are you there?’ Suddenly a wave sweapt over him. Peace. Fear of the power that surrounded him seized his soul, but the peace chased it away. Then he began to cry as another wave hit him. Love. It was sufficating and beautiful.
The guard rang the bell that said free time to worship was over. The man got up and saw the guard take the book from the woman as he collected all the religious items from the worshipers. He saw her stop herself from reaching after the book. She left. He left. But the feeling of her God didn’t leave him. It followed him as he went to his house. On the road he saw the woman again, he rushed over to her and she startled back from him.
‘Don’t be afraid. But I have to know. Why does it feel like your God is following me?’
She smirked, almost laughed and then said gently, ‘because He loves you.’
‘Yes. He wants you and is with you wherever you go. I don’t have to attend the worship hour in the chamber to be near my God, He is always with me, I go because they keep the Bibles and I love holding His book in my hands.’
The man didn’t know what to say, the woman suddenly whispered, ‘guards coming.’ And dissapeared.
The man returned to his home, sat on his bed and said ‘Jesus. Are you here?’ The peace and love swept over him again and he decided that day that he would aim to get a Bible too during the allotted worship hour, then he could learn more about this God who clearly loved him. Now when he prayed he knew someone was listening and cared about what he had to say, now when he cried he knew someone was there to comfort him. Now he was loved. And had purpose, if that purpose was simply to worship the god called Jesus.
He never saw the woman again, but as he learned about Jesus and gave his life to Him he knew that some day he would meet the woman again in Heaven, and then he would thank her.
Counting on you
Counting on you
We as Christians count on God for so much. We count on Him to be good to us, to forgive us, to love us, to heal us, to help us. But can God count on us for…well…anything?
We don’t think about God counting on us. In fact, we don’t really think that God needs us, do we? We realize that He is God and He can make His plan work no matter what we do or don’t do. But that’s not the point. God doesn’t rely on us, He doesn’t have to, but He does count on us. He counts on us to do His will, to obey His commands, to care for our fellow Christians, to show His love to the lost and broken, He may even have appointed you a position in which you can do these things. He counts on us doing our part. If we never step out our front door, if we never take the chance, if we squelch the voice of God inside of us, aren’t we letting God down. We like to dance around the circle of ‘it’s a partnership, God and I are working together,’ because it makes us think that God is helping us in fulfilling our goals and our dreams, and that is what the outer ring of the circle sometimes looks like- but what about the inner circle, the inner Sanctum if you like, that’s where God is, the place where it’s not our will but His. The place where the fire burns so hot that it hurts sometimes, the place of surrender, are any of us willing to enter that circle? Or do we prefer the edge where it’s safe?
Can God count on us?
Can God say, “I can always count on Lauren to do the right thing?” Or I can always count on Larry, or Lynne, or Tanya, or Carole, or Mark, or Matthew, or whatever your name is, fill in the blank, can God say “him or her, I can always count on”?
I hope so. I hope that we all aim to live within the fire, near the heart of God, so He can count on us.