Pruning Roses

12 Oct

 

I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.        John 15:1-2 (KJV)

Yesterday I was cutting back the rose hips on my beautiful rose bushes.  The remaining roses filled the air with the most magnificent scent.  I knew that if I wanted more roses to fill the bush that I needed to cut away the rose hips so that the bush could concentrate on producing new buds.  Failing to prune away the rose hips would stunt the bush.  The bush works hard to keep the roses full and fragrant.  When the petals fall away, it still is working hard to keep the dying rose hips healthy and doesn’t focus on bringing out new buds.

How often do we continue to focus on the dying parts of our lives?  We have dying relationships or old hurts and wounds that we allow to stay in our life, not purging them away or working past them.  As they continue to fill our mind and take up our time, they keep us from pursuing new relationships and dreaming new dreams.

We allow things to rise and fall in our memories that pull us into depression or anger and detract us from finding the true joy that God has planned for us.  Forgiveness is only the beginning of the process, once we forgive we must let the memories and emotions go, we must prune them away.

Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.    Colossians 3:12-14 (KJV)

God never intended for us to be caught up in the “old us” and not renew ourselves to walk in His perfect love and joy.  God knew that we would face trials and tribulations and even made note that those would help build us and make us even stronger, but we had to let them go.  Not easy, but the rewards are wonderful.

My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.    James 1:2-4 (KJV)

Lord, let me stand before You, open to Your full pruning.  Cut away the old me, the pain, the hurts, the cutting words and the broken promises that has left me unable to receive all that You have for me.  Help me to flower forth with a sweet fragrance for others to enjoy.  Let that fragrance encourage others to want to be pruned and molded by Your mighty hands.  Amen.

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The Day The Angels Cried – Repost

11 Sep

Twin Towers 9-11-2001

 

“And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: [30] And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. [31] And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.”           Mark 12:29-31

September 11th, 2001 will be one of those dates that no one will forget. It has engraved its importance upon our spirits and hangs heavy in our memory. September 11th, 2001 was the day the angels cried.

No one will forget the horror of the airplanes bursting through the tower walls of the world trade center, or the empty helplessness of watching the men and women falling the 80 to 90 stories to the ground. We felt hope as we watched the fire, police and rescue personnel head into the chaos and devastation when the towers swallowed them up.

When we saw the 110-story towers implode and disintegrate into powdery dust, dust made from concrete and glass, snowing down in a suffocating blizzard, we were there. Who the dust covered people were wasn’t important. The race, creed or color of the person wasn’t important. They were life – that was important. They were family – brothers and sisters who’s names we may never know, who’s stories we may never hear, but they were family – tied to us by the horror of the breach of freedom we so generously share.

America. A country so tender that we sat for hours glued to a TV screen and prayed, encouraged and cheered when rescue workers freed baby Jessica McClure from an abandoned well. A country so generous that we open our arms to the thousands of immigrants who cross our borders every year – providing them food, shelter, medical care and education. A country so strong that after wars and conflicts, we have been able to return home and raise our families with humility and a sense of forgiveness and peace. A blessed country, graciously blessing others. A country betrayed.

America. The tenderness and generosity grievously stunned by such a horrific act. America. Attacked strategically to destroy our economy and military intelligence – but rising up to recognize that in the moments of tragedy only one thing mattered – life and the preservation of it.

Helplessly scattered across the nation, we reached out with truckloads of food, clothing and medical supplies. We donated money from our household budgets to send to the Red Cross and Salvation Army who tended the victims and the rescue workers. We stood hours in line to give blood to send to the hospitals near ground zero. We mourn the deaths, rejoice with the miracles, encourage the jobless – and we pray. When we could do no more, we sat and watched the live news, for hours, days, weeks, and prayed; even still – we pray.

The probability of life in the wreckage is no longer. The fires that have burned in the stories of the crushed building for weeks send eerie symbolism of the bowels of Hell. Satan came down to destroy a country built on the premise of the Bible and dedicated to God, but he failed. What Satan has done to destroy America, God has turned around and created a new and wonderful understanding of what America is. God brought back to us the very foundations that this country was birthed on. God united the people and told the world that we are ONE. One people, one race, one color, one family – one AMERICA.

We will never forget the thousands entombed in the death of that majestic building – just as we have never forgotten the sailors entombed in the USS Arizona. In time we will forgive the misguided souls that did this – but we will never forget. Life will go on with some changes, but nothing that we, as individuals and as a nation, cannot overcome.

Since that day, the American people have been a little quieter; introspective. Mothers and fathers hold their children a little closer, holding their hands when they’re in public. Trivial things don’t matter any more. People don’t squabble in line at the grocery stores. Traffic is reduced, only traveling if necessary. The malls, restaurants and theatres are nearly empty where they used to be overflowing. People work less hours and spend more time with their families. We have become more aware of the treasures of life, and less caught up in the luxury available. We have re-established contact with distant family and old friends. Families are going back to church and re-establishing their relationship with their creator. People are more aware of the things around them and how very precious they are.

Satan took away the lives of 6000+ members of our family – and God showed us the way back to the true meaning of life. America – the land of the free, the home of the brave – family bound together by God. Victorious.

Many families now are seeing their children off to a war in a land where life has no meaning. A land where poverty is overwhelming and need is so great. A land where one man has orchestrated a gross evil that has marred their world. Some of our families are sending their children to an ultimate sacrifice, to ensure that our country is once again safe.

Jesus, grant us the grace to see you at every turn, no matter what the daily outcome seems. Jesus, build our faith with each passing moment. And Jesus, give us the strength to forgive, and the power to overcome.

July Sale!

26 Jun

During the month of July, two of my books will be 50% off. You can check them out here!

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/140745

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/118313

Have an amazing summer!

Blessings,

Linda

 

Forbearing One Another

19 Apr

 

“I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.” Ephesians 4:1-3

Probably the most common question I hear from a Christian is, “How do I know what God is calling me to do?”  It’s a tough question.  It’s something that isn’t always obvious to you, and yet could be to other people around you. Sometimes there are folks who push us to serve God in a capacity never meant for us, just to fill a need.  Sometimes we move around doing different things in the body, and all of the sudden we realize that we are in a position that we are very good at and there is a great need for.  Sometimes we are doing exactly what God has called us to do, but we haven’t realized it yet.  How often do we spend so much time trying to figure out what our call is that we miss all of the opportunities at hand to help us prepare for that call?

I belonged to a wonderful church in Chino Valley, AZ that made the decision to feed the community at Thanksgiving.  Everyone was invited, at no cost to them, no preaching, just food and a little gift bag.  It was an amazing time for the entire church as they came together to make this event happen.  For months food was collected, assignments made, food handler cards obtained, and teams organized.  It wasn’t a large church, but it had a big heart with a big vision.

During those months of preparation everyone in that small church had to pull together to make such an extravagant event come together to bring the blessing to the community.  Every person had to recognize those called to authority and submit to those people’s callings, as they found where they fit in best for this particular event.  There were those who donated or collected food.  Those who cleaned, prepared, sorted, and cooked the food.  There were those who made the dining area beautiful and inviting.  There were those who greeted the guests, helped people park, ushered folks to the food tables and made people comfortable.  There were those who stepped in, at any place along the way, into any position that needed extra help; they saw a need and they filled it.  There were those who interceded for weeks prior to the event and all the way through until the rooms were clean and the doors locked.  Then there were those who kept records and notes and started the planning procedure for the following year’s event.  It was, and continues to be, a life changing event.

Our scripture reference is a perfect formula for the preparing and executing an event like the one described above, or any type of event where a large (or small) group of people need to come together to bring a wonderful program to others, whether churched or unchurched.  Perhaps you will give me the grace to paraphrase the scripture to explain what I mean.

“I ask that you would work together on any event to which you have been requested, not lifting yourself up to a position for which you feel you deserve, but graciously accepting any position that those in authority feel you are best fitted to perform. Work together with humility, gentleness, patience; encouraging one another through prayer and word, and honoring each other’s duties and assignments with Christian love.  Keep in mind the final goal, working hard for the souls that will be touched and drawn to salvation, as you remember the Spirit that guides each and every saint through the bond of peace.”

I wonder how many times we get so caught up in wanting to know what God has specifically called us to do, that we completely miss the fact that He has called us to be bondservants, working diligently together, to further the Gospel and honor the lost and hurting.  Hebrews 12:1 tells us to set aside every weight (anything that might hold us back) and run, with patience, the race (or event) that has been set before us.  Can we set aside the need to have a title, or a specific call, to fulfill the needs of spreading the Gospel?  Let us all be known as servants in His Kingdom.

**A Journey Through Ephesians – Chapter 4, Part 1

 ——————————————————

Gifts, Callings and Ministries:

Here is a list of Gifts, Callings and Ministries from Scripture, along with their references.  I hope you find this interesting and useful.

Romans 12:6-8 – Prophecy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Giving, Leadership, Mercy.

1 Corinthians 12:28 – Apostle, Prophet, Teacher, Miracles, Kinds of healings, Helps, Administration, Tongues.

1 Corinthians 12:8-10 – Word of wisdom, Word of knowledge, Faith, Gifts of healings, Miracles, Prophecy, Discerning between spirits, Tongues, Interpretation of tongues.

Ephesians 4:11 – 5 Fold Ministry – Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor, Teacher.

1 Peter 4:11 – Whoever speaks, Whoever renders service.

Other Gifts Mentioned – Celibacy (1 Corinthians 7:7), Hospitality (1 Peter 4:9-10), Intercession (Romans 8:26-27), Marriage (1 Corinthians 7:7), Effective Witnessing (Acts 1:8), Craftsmanship (Exodus 35:30-33), Interpretation of Dreams (Joseph & Daniel), Composing Spiritual Music, Poetry and Prose, Charity.

Grafted

10 Apr

It was a deep wound,

Intended to bring death,
Inflicted by the spear,
Of a Roman Soldier.

Gaping open,
It released blood and water.
The blood of the new covenant,
The water of the Holy Spirit,
Yet to come.

The precious liquids,
Oozing to the surface,
Were the precious nutrients,
To give food and strength,
To the nation to come.

Inside that wound,
Deep in the side of my Savior,
The wound Satan meant for evil,
God planted a seed,
A bud,
A grafted nation,
A place for me.

That wound,
And the seed inside,
Were anointed with myrrh,
With aloes, and with spices.
Wrapped so carefully,
With the finest linen,
Preparing a cleft,
Of most Holy foundation,
For the Gentile to join,
God’s chosen.

Then came the moment,
When the linens were left,
In the shape of a man,
But hollow and unaltered,
As a message of release.

The moment when Christ,
With the grafted children,
Tucked safely beneath his arm,
Faced Satan and conquered death.

Now this nation,
Birthed in the side of Christ,
As Eve was birthed,
In the side of Adam,
Sat in communion,
At the right hand of God.

Guided forth,
Performing greater miracles,
Exhibiting greater power,
Flowing in the Holy Spirit,
The seed branched forward.

Inside that graft,
With its roots entwined,
Deep into the Master,
There is a leaf,
Turning to the Son,
Preparing to break forth,
And follow the way,
Set forth by Him.

It’s just one leaf,
Of the many branches,
Just one small part,
Of a mighty tree.
But on that leaf,
Is a name,
And that name belongs,
To ME.

olive-branch

A Prayer For My Children

29 Dec

 

mother-praying

My Children.  You are my breath and depth of life.  You help me find joy in darkness and peace in chaos.  My day starts with prayers for you, continues with prayers for you, and ends with prayers for you.  You are each so different, in your own quirky ways, and yet so alike in your humility and compassion.  I could not be prouder.  God blessed me and trusted me with your lives, and for that I will be forever thankful.

I pray that in each day you will see and receive Hope in every situation.  Hope for today, Hope for tomorrow, Hope for eternity.  And in those moments, I pray that you will reach out to help another find Hope in their circumstances, for in giving Hope, your Hope will grow brighter.  “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.” Romans 15:13

I pray that every day you will receive Grace for every situation, and in return, you will give Grace to those who have come short of your expectations.  Grace allows people to err and yet be restored once again for any inabilities or lack of judgment in their lives.  Grace is our greatest gift from God.  For through all of our failures He continues to love us and encourage us, and for that our lives are richer.  “By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.”  Romans 5:2

I pray that each and every day you will receive Mercy, and in return, you will give Mercy to each and every person, animal and situation you encounter.  Mercy is the very compassion that we receive, no matter our circumstances or what brought us to those circumstances.  With Mercy we see the soul inside of another that may be hidden deep within a hardened exterior, and forgive the trespass.  “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.”  Matthew 5:7

I pray that Joy will infuse your life so fully that it overflows into the paths of everyone you meet, and captures them in the moment, permeating them for their lifetime.  I pray that it will overflow your every action, every word, every step and every essence of your being.  I pray that the very Joy within you shines so contagiously that it doubles back and reinfects you over and over again.  These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.”  John 15:11

I pray that in all things you will receive the gift Patience from others, and in turn, you will give the gift of Patience to those struggling to figure things out in this life.  More than others, I pray that you will grant Patience to yourself when you are trying and trying to figure out a life lesson and have failed at it over and over again.  Patience can seem quite small at times, but most of the time it stretches every muscle and sinew inside of us, putting us on the edge of frustration and anger.  Realize that you are not, and never will be a perfect human being and you have permission to fail, many times, in many areas.  As long as you are Patient and continue to try, you will never be a failure.  “But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”  James 1:4

I pray that people will always show you Kindness, and you will honor that gift by showing Kindness to others.  Kindness is stepping back and recognizing that everyone has difficult days and it can all be turned around by a simple smile, an offered hand, an opened door, or a simple gift.  Kindness embraces sympathy and empathy, without requirement of return.  Kindness does not have to cost anything more than a moment in time, and we have a lot of those to share.  “For his merciful kindness is great toward us: and the truth of the LORD endureth for ever. Praise ye the LORD.”  Psalm 117:2

I pray that you will be surrounded by Goodness, and that in that loving atmosphere, you will show and lead others into Goodness in all that they do.  Respect follows goodness and paves the way for all good things.  Goodness always receives ultimate favor among men, cherish it.  “As we have therefore opportunity, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them who are of the household of faith.”  Galatians 6:10

I pray that your life will be surrounded by people of Faithfulness and that you will find and live in Faithfulness all of your days.  No matter what character a man has, if he is not found faithful to his convictions, he has lost all.  Remain faithful to your beliefs, to those who surround you, and most importantly, to God.  “It is of the LORD’S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.  They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.”  Lamentations 3:22-23

I pray that as you walk through your life you will be treated with Gentleness, and in return you will treat other people, animals and situations with Gentleness.  No matter how big, strong, smart or creative you are, Gentleness is a gift that cannot be ignored.  Gentleness can turn the heart of the most hostile around in a moment’s time.  Gentleness can defuse anger, bring confidence, turn tears to determination, and give another the courage to continue.  “To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.” Titus 3:2-3

I pray that you will recognize the strength inside yourself, and that your strength will give you the confidence to maintain Self-Control.  So many things in life can drastically change in one moment of lost Self-Control, things that cannot be recovered, things that cannot be fixed, things that are forever lost.  I pray that your courage in exhibiting your Self-Control will give others the strength and inclination to maintain their Self-Control.  You will be an example to all around you, whether you recognize it or not, and your choices will help others in making their choices, good or bad.  I pray that you will always choose wisely.  (Self-Control – The virtue of one who masters his desires and passions, especially his sensual appetites).  “And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; And to knowledge temperance (self-control); and to temperance (self-control) patience; and to patience godliness; And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  2 Peter 1:5-8

 I pray that you will always walk in the presence of Peace, Peace that surpasses all understanding.  Peace that allows you to stand strong in the challenge of fear, in the heat of angry men, in times of eminent danger, in the absence of understanding and the face of the unknown.  May Peace overwhelm you and cover you with a shield so graceful, so dense, so all encompassing, that nothing can penetrate it.  It will be your defense in the face of all odds.  “Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us, To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”  Luke 1:78-79

Most of all I pray that you will always feel and receive Love.  Love is the very center of every person’s being.  Love is a feeling that cannot be explained with words.  Love is a presence that cannot be shown with actions.  Love is something so deep that it can only be experienced.  Love can be a feeling between friends, spouses, animals, nature, and the entire environment around you, but it can also be something inside that is very personal between you and God that no one else can share.  Love is the very foundation of who you are.  Love is your integrity.  Love is your humility.  Love is your sun and moon and stars.  Love is your very breath.  Love brings you to tears at the sound of music or the sight of a child.  Love turns giants into gentlemen and weaklings into giants.  Love makes us go farther that we ever expected we could or would.  Love boasts pride and breaks hearts.  Love is the greatest gift to mankind by our most wonderful God.  I pray that you will never try to harness your Love.  I pray that you will always let Love guide you and set your path, for by Love, your path will always be straight.  I pray that your Love will be strong.  I pray that your Love will be deep. I pray that you will always remember the source of your Love and will praise God for that precious gift.  “Three things will last forever—faith, hope, and Love—and the greatest of these is Love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13     “And we have known and believed the Love that God hath to us. God is Love; and he that dwelleth in Love dwelleth in God, and God in him.”  1 John 4:16

This is my prayer for you.  I thank God every day for giving me the honor of being your mother.  I speak these words over you, and through you, with deep conviction, knowing that the God who created this universe hears every word and answers my prayers with His most gracious wisdom.  Never forget who you are or the difference you were called into this world to make.  God Bless You.

 

12-29-2016

Exceedingly Abundantly Above

19 Dec

abundantly

“Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”      Ephesians 3:20-21 (KJV)

Imagine something, anything, the biggest imagine that you have ever imagined.  God can do it.  In fact, God can do Exceedingly (“exceedingly; very; greatly; highly”), Abundantly (“an exceeding measure, something above the ordinary”), Above (“of place, above, beyond, across, or causal, for the sake of, instead, regarding; with the accusative superior to, more than”) anything that you can possibly imagine.  That’s huge!!

When I think about that, “Exceedingly Abundantly Above All That We Ask or Think,” I wonder how often we limit God in our prayers.  Our prayers are our direct connection to the Father, our personal relationship with Him, and how often are we holding back (Philippians 4:6)?  How often do we think, “Well, there are others who need His help more,” or “I don’t want to bother Him with something so small or trivial,” or “I’m not worthy of His personal attention.”  If that were the case why would this scripture be in the Bible for us to read and meditate on (1 Peter 5:7).  What if Hezekiah had decided that his desires weren’t worth of prayer (Isaiah 38:5), he would have missed out on 15 amazing years of life.

Can you imagine how spiritually powerful we would be if we addressed every need we have with this passage (James 5:16)?  Every prayer we send forward would reach the throne of God with power and confidence and expectancy.  Imagine the pleasure of the Father knowing that His children are stepping into His will and His realm to attack and issue that he can easily address (Matthew 21:22).

I remember hearing a story where a Pastor in Africa was praying for a Bicycle.  He prayed and prayed but nothing happened.  One day in prayer he asked God why his prayer had not been answered.  He heard God say, “You haven’t told me what kind you want.”  The Pastor then became very specific in the model and style and color of the bike he wanted, thinking previously that it was brash to be so specific.  Within a week God had put this Pastor on the heart of someone who bought the exact make, model and color that the Pastor had asked God for.

God could have sent a rusty old bike that still worked, but He wanted to ”abundantly exceedingly above” bless the Pastor.  He was waiting for the Pastor to recognize that God was big enough for specifics.  He wanted the Pastor to believe that he was loved beyond measure.

Do we limit God?  Do we only ask for the minimal, expecting to receive just the basics of what we need?  Do we believe that God loves us more than we can even imagine and wants to bless us with the desires of our heart, not just the needs of the day (Psalm 37:4)?  Do we believe the promises of the Bible are for other people, important people, strong people of faith, but not a simple believer?

Scripture says to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18) and if you don’t know how to pray for your specific need, to pray in the spirit and your requests will reach the Father (Romans 8:26-27).

Put Him to the test.  Pray with a humble heart and watch God bring you more than you could have ever imagined.  It is for you.  It is for today.  “To Him Be The Glory.”  Amen!

 

** A Journey Through Ephesians – Chapter 3, Part 8

(12/19/2016)

Grounded In Love

27 Nov

love

“That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; to the end that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be strong to apprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge, that ye may be filled unto all the fulness of God.”  Ephesians 3:17-19 (ASV)

To fully understand the depth of the love of God is probably one of the most difficult things for a Christian, or anyone for that matter.  We sing songs of how He loves us, read scriptures about His love and stand on the promises of His love and compassion for us, but we really don’t understand the depth.  How can we?  How can we know a love so deep, so pure, or intense, that God sent His son to earth to teach us His perfect ways, knowing full well that His son would be tortured and killed?  Not just “killed,” but stripped naked, forced to carry His own device of death through crowds of angry, screaming people, put up on a cross on the hill called Golgatha, and left in the sun to die a death that we cannot even imagine the pain of.  God did that, for us.  He did that for me.

I often tell my children that I love them more than they can understand or will understand until they have children of their own.  There is a depth of love between a parent, especially a mother, and a child, that can’t be explained in words – but I don’t think that I could love a group of people enough to take one of my children and commit them to torture and death so that the others could live.  Could you?  God did.

Scripture says that God knew us before the foundation of the world (Eph 1:4).  He knew the mistakes we would make, the doubts we would feel, the anger and people we would hurt, the moments that we would scream and curse at Him when things didn’t go well in our lives, and yet He loved us.  He didn’t just “love us,” He loved us with a love “which passeth knowledge.”  That completely overwhelms me.

When I don’t spend time studying the Word, or on my knees in prayer, He sends His love in a cool breeze on a warm day, and a sky filled with beautiful stars on a dark night.  When I have moments of doubt in the foundations of my faith, He whispers words of peace and love in the night hours.  When I feel alone and lost, He shows me that He is always near me, guiding me, teaching me, setting my steps, never leaving me.

It is that love, that deep piercing love, that helps me get back on track.  It is that love that strengthens me after a trial and gives me the ability to reach out and help others that struggle in their own lives.  It is that love that helps me to “run with patience the race that is set before” me (2 Tim 12:1-2), the race of life, sharing the gospel while encouraging and strengthening the children of God.

It is the kind of love that people have for each other where you can’t spend enough time together, and when your loved one speaks, you sit perfectly still so that you don’t miss one word of what they have to say.  Yes, it is that kind of love.  Not a one-sided loved, but where God hangs onto my words and thoughts and feelings and desires, just as much as I hang onto His.  Yes, it is that kind of love, where we are “filled unto all the fulness of God.”  It is that kind of love.

** A Journey Through Ephesians – Chapter 3, Part 7

The Blood

19 Jul

Christ with cross

 “And he said, What hast thou done? the voice of thy brother’s blood
crieth unto me from the ground.”    (Genesis 4:10  KJV)

Blood pools at the soldier’s feet surrounding the whipping yard, spraying those nearby, spraying those ripping His flesh.  Were they ever the same?  Did His blood heal the afflictions of those who wielded the Cat of 9 tails?

When they ripped at His beard and slapped His face, when the blood transferred from God to Man, did they feel the change?  Were they startled?  Were they ashamed?

Every step along the Via de la Rosa was stained with blood.  Those who screamed “Crucify Him!” surrounded and followed after Him.  As their feet stepped on the bloody droplets, did miracles change their lives?  Did the blood burn their skin?  Did it tingle?  Did it warm them to their souls?

When Simon lifted the cross and Jesus’ blood smeared onto his face, did he still see the battered face of a condemned man, or did he see the face of God?

When the soldiers pounded the nails through Jesus’ wrists and they were sprayed by gushing blood, did they stop, even for a moment?  Did he feel the touch of anticipation in the dampness?

When Mary and John sat at the foot of the cross, praying and weeping, the precious blood of Jesus trailing down the wooden cross – dripping from His arms, dripping from His feet onto their clothing, onto their faces – did they feel the new life that was about to birth, or were they so torn by grief that they couldn’t see that each precious drop would birth a new nation, strong in miracles and power?

Did His last words pierce the sky like lightening, capturing the soul of anyone who heard?

When the soldier pierced His side, being sprayed with water and blood that flowed from Him, did he feel the hand of God?  Did he step back and recognize that this blood, this water, wasn’t the same as the hundreds of other men’s that he had seen before?  Did the water of the spirit flow over him?  Did he hear the voice of God?

When the sky turned dark and the earth trembled, did they feel God step down to carry up the soul of His precious son?

When they lifted His body down from the cross, did the last few drops touch the hands of the called?  Did they feel the burning and stirring inside of something miraculous about to happen?

Are there yet drops of His blood that have seeped deep into the soil, that by its presence makes the city Holy, not for what it is, but for who left His blood along a pre-ordained path?

Are my hands stained with His Blood when I walk from the path He called me to, like the many who strayed back then, and in their ignorance and anger, drained the miracle giving, life healing, Blood of Jesus out onto the ground?

Do I stand on hallowed ground and cry “No, it’s too hard” or like Simeon, do I pick up the cross and wrap an arm around my beaten circumstance and walk toward the word God spoke into my life?

If I had held one drop of His blood in the palm of my hand, could I have seen the eternal face of God in its reflection?

Thank you God for a sacrifice I may never truly understand the ramifications of, for a gift of which I may never realize the full preciousness.

There You Are Jesus!

19 Jul

Eyes looking up.

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20

What happens when innocence is lost?  Like a fresh new flower, ripped from the plant, first we wilt, then harden, then we crumble and are blown away.

I love movies, especially children’s movies.  One of my favorite is Peter Pan, the version where Robin Williams plays Peter.  At the beginning of the movie, he doesn’t realize that he’s Peter.  He’s lost his innocence.  He’d lost touch with what things in life are truly important.  He believes the tale of Peter Pan is something made up and passed down in stories from generation to generation.

Movies, as they are, overlook the logical (that’s what I love about them) and Robin Williams ends up in Neverland with the Lost Boys.  The Lost Boys try desperately to convince him of who he is and teach him how to be a child again.  Everything in Neverland is completely dependant upon imagination.  They wouldn’t even have food, drink or sustenance without a good, active imagination.

The Lost Boys are finally successful at helping Peter find his innocence again and let go of the stresses and frustrations of schedules, bills and responsibilities of the real world.  At one point in the movie, one of the Lost Boys walks up to Robin Williams, looks deep into his eyes and says, “Oh, there you are Peter.”  A revelation of innocence returned.

This sequence always reminds me of my Christian faith.  So many times we’re caught up in the stress and frustrations of schedules and appointments and trying to please so many in so little time, that we loose the miracle and the innocence of working in ministry.  Our innocence is dependant upon our faith.  Sometimes we allow the enemy to convince us that by striving we work the good work, when in fact, it is by faith and the leading of the Holy Spirit that we accomplish everything that God has called us to do; without the loss of innocence.

I look hopefully to the time when I can casually enjoy all of those around me, without worrying about where I should be, lest I fall behind (again!!).  I look forward to the day when I will be filled with faith to the point of complete peace and serenity.  When someone, perhaps a child, will look deep into my eyes and say, “Oh, there you are Jesus.”  When the Jesus in me will shine past my many earthly flaws.

Jesus, may I always hear and obey your voice.  That the innocence, birthed in faith, will always be the most obvious attribute in my life.

 

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