Tuesday, March 31, 2015

By The Blood Of The Lamb: A Story for Passover

     Intense forceful wind swept the floor of the desert hurling bits of sand that stung our faces. Yet, with feet feeling of lead, we trudged toward the sea of tents.

     The encampment seemed deserted, but muffled voices filtered through the walls of each tent. Clearly, the brief sandstorm had forced the inhabitants to remain sheltered.

     Determined to reach the odd rectangular-shaped structure in the midst of the camp, we wove our way through crude walkways while our shadows, splashed against the tents, made known our presence. By the time we reached our destination, whipping sand had given way to searing heat and Nahshon, son of Amminadab, leader of the children of Judah blocked our way.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Love, A Many Splendored Thing

Snowflakes floated silently from the dark night sky while two lovers strolled, hand in hand, down the moonlit street. Reaching the door, their hearts wrenched knowing one would enter and one must leave. A good-bye kiss and adoring embrace made them yearn for another and then another. Through rose-colored glasses, they viewed life and dreamed of the day they would never part.

Ah love, in the beginning of a relationship, it saturates our whole body and we feel as though we’re walking three feet off the ground. Every waking moment is consumed with thoughts of our beloved and our nighttime dreams enhance passion.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

How Long, O Lord?

2015 started off well, but seven days into this New Year, extreme violence hit.

In our shrinking world of high technology, the massacre in Paris almost feels like it happened here. Through the media, we see the faces of those Parisians who had their loved ones mercilessly cut down and our hearts are touched. From a distance, we groan with righteous indignation and mourn with them, because we know how it feels to have senseless acts of violence perpetrated against us. We remember the horror of 9/11, the Boston Marathon bombing, and others that fuel an ever-present fear of terrorism. Still, even without foreign influence, our country has seen escalating violence. Anger spewing out in riots, looting, and destruction over court verdicts and vicious, irrational school shootings. It’s as if violence stepped from the movie screen and made its home in our everyday life.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

What Can I Give?

“What can I give Him?” For days, these words have been roaming around in my head along with the rest of the line, “give Him my heart.” They were driving me crazy, because I couldn’t remember from where they came, so I had to do some research.

What I found surprised me. These words are in the last stanza of a poem written by Christina Georgina Rossetti, born December 5, 1830. Historians are not sure when Miss Rossetti penned them, but believe it was before 1872.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Wonder of The Incarnation

The countdown continues and we find ourselves rushing toward our Christmas Day finale. But, has the busyness of Christmas kept you from truly experiencing the wonder of the Incarnation – Emmanuel – God with us?

I know it’s difficult with all the shopping, baking, cleaning, and decorating, to stay focused on this amazing truth. So, let’s take a few minutes, right now, to reflect on this glorious wonder.

Incarnation, it’s such a complex word. Nevertheless, it speaks of the moment God, who is Spirit, stepped from eternity into time, into our world, becoming one of us in the person of Jesus Christ. He did this to pay the death penalty for humanity’s sin, because of His great love.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Spirit of Christmas

It’s December and the spirit of Christmas is everywhere. This is the time of year when people are concerned about being “naughty or nice” and they try live out the one portion of scripture that no one seems to oppose, peace, good will toward men.

Lately, I have been reading Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis. If you have ever read this Christian classic, then you know Lewis talks about a knowledge that is inherent. I believe it came as the result of sin. Our first parents, Adam and Eve, disobediently ate of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and their eyes were opened. Where they once knew only God and purity, they instantly had an understanding of good and evil, right and wrong. Now everyone born from Adam is born with a sin nature and this knowledge. (Rom. 5:12).

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Our Greatest and Priceless Gift

The race is on! We’re streaking toward the finish line of December 25th and I’m already starting to panic. My calendar is full, the hours left are short, and I’m not quite sure I will make it.

I started out really well, with plenty of time to spare. My daughter and I braved the howling storm and sea of people on “Black Friday”. We were among the midnight crazies at Walmart, doing the all-night shopping thing. Infused with caffeine and adrenalin, we sped from one end of the store to the other and got some decent deals. However, what seemed to be suitable gift ideas in the excitement and haste of early dawn, once home, turned out to be not-so-wise choices.

For one special item, I stood in a three-hour line that snaked through several aisles. While I waited, I had an opportunity to observe the people around me. Each person was cordial, courteous, pleasant, and helpful, but completely absorbed in their own shopping needs. They came from all walks of life with many different interests. Some more affluent than others, but all were doing the very same thing. In the wee hours of the morning, when Christmas bargains were uppermost in our minds, I pondered the question, “Can they tell I’m a Christian; that for me Christmas means much more than glitz, glitter, and gifts?”

Sadly, I knew they couldn’t. My fellow shoppers had no idea I personally knew the Baby born in Bethlehem, Who grew up to die on a cross for my sin and theirs, rising from death three days later and is alive forevermore. They were oblivious to the fact that at least one stood there among them who possessed eternal life and walked the narrow way, while they wander aimlessly down the broad. A thought flashed through my mind, “Should I engage someone in conversation about Jesus and the real meaning of Christmas?” Then just as quickly, the girl behind me asked a question and the thought was gone; never to return.

Thinking back to that night, I grieve, knowing the majority of people I encountered would probably say they believe in God or that God exists. They might even say they know the Christmas story about the Baby born in a manger. But, they have no real knowledge of who He is, nor do they desire it. They merrily go about their Christmas shopping in a joyous stupor, enveloped in the “giving” spirit and tradition.

Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas as much as anyone. I love the decorations, get-togethers, gift-giving and receiving, music, merriment, and laughter. But, there is a sadness for me when I see how many people do not recognize that Jesus, Immanuel, was and is God, come in the flesh. He dwelt among us for a time and then became our sacrifice, dying for our sin. Jesus was born to be the Greatest Gift of all. He is the “…eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us” (I John 1:2) giving us a chance to believe and receive this “… gift of God, which is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.” For, “…God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom. 6:23; Rom. 5:8) This Greatest and Priceless Gift is the true meaning of Christmas.

But think about it, if I am sad because of all the people who still walk in darkness and desperately need to see that great light, Jesus is infinitely more. How His heart must break to see the “form of godliness…” their playing at being holy.  In Isaiah 65:2 God proclaims, “All day long I have held out My hands to an obstinate people, who walk in ways not good, pursuing their own imaginations-” (NIV)

Yes, I realize this passage was said to Israel, confirmed and repeated in Rom. 10:21. But, God’s word is for everyone. We all are warned to “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” (Matt. 7:13-14)

So, my challenge for you this Christmas (like you have nothing else to do) is to help someone find The Greatest and Priceless Gift and enter through that narrow gate.