HE

In the darkest of night, He gives a song 

In midst of conflict, He is the Prince of peace

When storms rage, He is the one who restores calm

In sorrows midst, comfort is found in Him

In unbearable sadness, He is our joy

In overwhelming exhaustion, He brings rest

In chaotic times, He can restore order

In weariness, He brings rest

In times of indecision He brings clarity

When complex problems present themselves, He brings solutions

In lonely times, He walks beside us

When questions arise, He brings answers

Jesus, He is my everything,

(5)

Three Acts and a finale

Act 1 – Scene One:

Greed had overtaken him, and he sold out his friend and teacher.  Why?  No one knows for sure.  Was it just greed or was there something else that drove him to betray his friend, his teacher and mentor.  Did he not believe what was spoken by the one, this one, who could do the impossible with a spoken word and miracles happened?  Was the payment worth the betrayal?  Once the wheels were in motion he was compelled to see this through.

He joined the group that was sent to arrest the man.  They needed him for identification purposes. It was the last place He wanted to be, but here he was.

The group of soldiers marched into the quiet serene garden carrying swords and spears.  Why?  Were they afraid of this one solitary figure?  Maybe they feared the crowd of followers and the disciples that followed closely with the master.

Over there, look there are his followers.  He must be close by.  Look they are sleeping.  Just a little farther three others that were closest to the master couldn’t stay awake either.  The soldiers surrounded the group, and were amazed when the master asked, “who are you seeking?”   Just to make sure they had the right person the soldiers waited until the betrayer Judas kissed Jesus.  The deal was done.  He was taken away.

Act 1 – Scene Two:

Brought before the High Priest to answer the accusations, he stood alone.  The High Priest sent Jesus to Pilot.  No fault could be found but the crowd insisted.  The cries of crucify him became louder and more intense.  Jesus was led away

Act 2 – Scene 1

Beatings and mocking filled the time in the courtyard.  His followers were afraid some left, and one stayed.  He really was afraid the soldiers would recognize him.  In the end it was a young woman who pointed him out.   “You are one of them, you follow this man,” she said.  No, no not me. Silence, then the cock crowed, and this one disciple knew Jesus’ words were true his denial was complete.

The road to Golgotha’s hill was brutal.  He was so broken in body he couldn’t carry his own cross and another was compelled to carry it for him.  The street was lined will people, some mocking and jeering while others wept silently as they remembered all the good he had done.

Act 2 – Scene 2

Thrown down on a wooden cross you could hear the echo of the hammer hitting the spikes in his hands and feet. The loud thud as the cross was dropped into the hole caused his body to be consumed with spasms.  His followers and disciples gazed upon this man thinking all is lost and their hopes and dreams dashed. 

He had no tomb until one man asked for the body and he was laid in a borrowed grave.  The stone rolled into place and sealed.   The world thought it was over.

Act 3 – Scene 1

It was early on the third day when three women went to the tomb.  They were going to finish anointing the body with spices.  Much to their surprise the stone was rolled away.  The body was gone.  What happened?  Did someone take the body.

Act 3 – Scene 2

Mary, alone in the garden became aware of one standing near.  Looking at the man she asked do you know if Jesus’ body has been moved.  Overcome by her grief, she did not recognize the one she loved so much until he said her name.  It was true just like he said.  He had risen and was alive and lives forever more. 

Finale: 

This “play” is not finished.  There is one more final act to take place in this world’s future.

Yes, he is risen, yes, he ascended into heaven. 

Maybe you are one of the scoffers or unbelievers and think of these happenings as just a fairy tale to make people feel good.

One day the finale will unfold, and Jesus will come back to earth again to call his true followers’ home.  Today just as in those days there are many that do not believe.    

JESUS WAS BORN, HE DIED, HE IS RISEN AND IS COMING BACK AGAIN.

HAPPY EASTER

(11)

Brokenness

Brokenness

She had everything she wanted.  At least she thought she did.

Leaving behind a home that was dysfunctional, and at times very unhappy, she strained to capture the life dreamed about.  Just 17 years old, a head full of dreams and a calling from the God she served, life would be wonderful now.  There was no comprehension of where the life journey would take her, but she was ready to go.

People in her high school told her she was not college material, look for something else. No, she was going to college, she would prove them wrong. If they said she couldn’t do it, she would prove them wrong.

The day her acceptance letter came she knew all she wanted would come true.  The next 4 years would prove life would be challenging.  A love lost, a broken heart, lack of funds, illness were just a few of the hurdles that needed to be conquered.  Graduation could not have been sweeter.  The new love of her life by her side, married life started, it was all coming together. 

It is a good thing that you can’t always see the future because you would never want to go there. The two of them, husband and wife, launched out into the calling they longed to fulfill.  No idea that the path they chose would bring so many challenges.  Yes, there were victories that allowed them to cling to hope but the trials often seemed to outweigh those victories. 

Multiple moves, various churches, good jobs, bad jobs and choices made.  All these things were a part of her life journey.  In all of these, there were the mountain top experiences and the valleys of discouragement. It was like the line in in Andre Crouch’s song – “Through It All,” she had truly learned to trust in Jesus.

Still on her journey she is amazed at where she is.  This time of life is not as frenetic and there is time to contemplate.  The kids are grown with lives of their own and often days of reflection keep her company. 

“What have I learned?” It is the good times, and spiritual victories that sustained her, but it was in the broken places, the disappointments, betrayals, loss of friends and other things to numerous to say, she found growth and spiritual lessons.  It is easy to serve God when everything is great but when her life was broken, and all hope seemed lost she found the reality of God’s love and the faithfulness of His promises. 

Brokenness and trials though hard and difficult to understand is what forges the person that God has called you to be.  You become the vessel, that is fit for the Master’s service.

A line from an old hymn says it all.  “Take me master, break me, use me.” 

(14)

It’s 2019

It’s 2019

The new year for me usually begins with a flurry of things to do. Things to get in order so that the year will begin smoothly. New thoughts flood my mind and become seed thoughts for things to write. It didn’t happen. It was only the second time in years that I didn’t spend the early hours of the new year in church and worshiping and praying. There was a valid reason for not going – but – there you have it the “but.” The normal for me was out of order and it seemed that nothing else would line up correctly.

What brought order back into focus was my personal time spent with God. That has not changed through the years. Each year I begin a new yearly devotional book, change the color of pens I use to mark important passages. This year two books along with my Bible are what starts my personal time spent in His presence.

While reading in “Come Away My Beloved” by Frances J. Roberts this one passage brought clarity and what is important for me this year. I share it with you and maybe it will help you.

I have changed it from the “King James English” (which I love to read) to make it easier reading.

GOD ASKS OF ME:

To Give:        So He can bless me more 
To Pray:        So He can respond and help me 
To Rejoice:     So I am kept from being swallowed in anxiety
To Be Humble:   So I am protected from calamities that happen to the proud 
To Forgive:     So that I can receive His forgiveness

“Come Away My Beloved by Frances J. Roberts, published by Barbour Publishing, Inc. 

If these five things guide my life through 2019 I will truly be blessed and will grow in my spiritual life.

I welcome 2019 and anticipate all that God has instore for me this year.

(17)

Christmas – Past, Present, Future

It is that time of the year.  Boxes long stored away are pulled out of storage ready for their contents to deck the halls for Christmas.  The tree is up and its branches ready to be laden with treasured ornaments.  Each ornament placed on the tree evokes a memory of all the Christmas’ that have taken place through my years.

The real tree has been replaced by an artificial one but as I place the pole, yes, a pole not a trunk, I remember picking out trees at my Uncle Bill’s gas station.  He always sold trees. We always seemed to pick the tree that had the proverbial hole, you know the one where no branches grew.  It was turned to the back of the wall and covered with tinsel.  In our house the tree stood with nothing on it – just waiting for Santa to decorate it and put presents under the tree.  Every Christmas morning there it was arrayed in splendor.  The most beautiful tree ever.  Later we were told that Santa had so many trees to decorate since we were older we could help, and we did.

Laughter, squeals of joy float through my memory of Christmas’ with my kids.  Waiting for them to fall asleep so we, or I should say me, could begin my gift wrapping.  I still can’t remember why I thought every stocking stuffer needed to be wrapped. A special dinner, cookies everywhere and Christmas cards placed just so.  The children’s program at church, the choir cantata and snow, lots of snow. (The real stuff)

The kids are now adults with families of their own and traditions they have made for their families.  I still remember the traditions of things that had to be done just a certain way.

To say that Christmas is different now is true.  We traded snow for palm trees adorned with festive lights.  We walk outside in bare feet to get the paper to see all the special ads calling us to buy endless things we don’t need.  The decorations are up, and the tree is in place while the memories have been rehearsed in my mind.  There are not as many decorations this year because I have run out of energy.  The cookie count seems to get smaller each year and the variety is scaled down.

Grandpa and I will spend a quiet Christmas and sleep in. (No little ones to wake us.)  We have grown old together and each Christmas that we share becomes special.

One day I will spend Christmas with the reason for the season.  I will transition from earthly life to everlasting life with Jesus Christ in my heavenly home.  I will be able to do this because” God wrapped divinity in humanity, laid him in a manger only to hang on a cross to forgive me of my sins.” (Z. Dodd)

This Christmas I am reminded that Jesus Christ is the best present given, past, present and future.

(16)

The One I Serve

In the middle of the fiery furnace of circumstances,
while walking in the furnace, there is one that
walks in the fire that seeks to devour me.

In the raging storms, on the ocean of my life,
there is one that rides in my life’s boat who
says peace be still, and the storm is calmed.

While alone in the night and the sea of my life
rages with fear and doubt, you say come and
walk on the water with me and trust.
When I put my eyes on the circumstance
and begin to sink under the load you stretch you hand
and pull me out.

When the battle of life roars in fury and the tears fall, it
is you that reminds me “weeping endures for a
season but joy comes in the morning.”

When all my resources are at an end, and there is no
help in sight, you multiplied the loaves and
fishes and met the need of the multitude.

You remind me that in this journey I call life I need
to put on the whole armor of God so that I can defeat
the enemy that seeks to destroy and to stand firm, believe
and see the salvation of the Lord.

You Lord are my rock, my salvation and the strong
tower of safety. I run into your safety.

You remind me that you are greater in me than any thing
that comes against me.

THIS IS THE ONE I SERVE.

(8)

I Am Thankful

I Am Thankful

The laughter of a child
The look of a lover
The bond of friendship
The comfort of family

I am thankful

The smell of rain
The beauty of flowers
The lush green of grass
The majesty of trees

I am thankful

Joy in friendship
Comfort in love
Peace after conflict
Release after a burden

I am thankful

Food on my table
The shelter of home
Clothing to wear
Shoes on my feet

I am thankful

Freedom to live
A country I love
A hope of the future
A day to rejoice

I am thankful.

It is a good thing to give thanks unto the Lord,
and to sing praises unto thy name, O Most High:
Psalms 92:1

(9)

Chaos

Bitterness, hatred and discontent boil in the cauldron of fear and lies rip away any semblance of order and give birth to chaos within us and our country.

Morality and decency no longer rule and the adage “the end justifies the means” becomes the truth of the day and rules with an iron fist. Each side postulates they are right and know what is best for humanity. If one dare to disagree or not fall into lock step with the ideology that side believes then automatically they are evil. The few believe they are right and know what is best.

No longer are we civil to those who do not believe what we think they should believe. We have bought into the lie that only we are right and only we know best. The word compromise has no place in our world today. It is my way or the highway.

We label those that do not adhere to our political beliefs, or governmental ideologies as hate mongers, liars, deplorables, or any other degrading terms used to denigrate those that have a different understanding or view.

We have come to the place where winning at any cost is acceptable. We will defame and lie about an individual to destroy not only the person but also their family and we give little thought to the immeasurable damage done to those around them.

Civility and honor are ideas and practices long forgotten. It is all about power and control. Those who have it must keep it at any cost and those who want it will use any means to obtain it. We stir up ancient beliefs, old divisions and build on old hatreds long buried just so we can win and disregard the consequences because winning and holding power is what we crave.

It doesn’t matter the “fallout.” we have established ourselves as little “gods” knowing once we obtain power we can control, manipulate and reign in the little kingdom we establish.

Into all this chaotic climate of those clamoring for rule is the general population of our country. The embers of this era of bitterness and struggle fall upon us like rain and begin to invade our souls and we believe we can display the same immoral behavior seen in our leaders. If the leaders we are supposed to look up to do this then it is alright for us.

Tossed aside are the lessons of kindness, tolerance and civility. On the news we see murders, rapes, riots and lack of respect for the rules of law and government. We seek for solutions and pour copious amounts of money hoping to find an answer to the ills of society.

Is there a solution? Can mankind be redeemed? The answer comes from the foot of a cross where one gave His life to redeem mankind. The change must come from the inside so man can be changed on the outside.

Scripture says, “…I am a new creature in Christ Jesus, old things have passed away and all things have become new.” (2Corthians 5:17KJV) It is He that brings peace during our life storms and walks on the water of our troubled lives. “…He is an ever-present help in time of trouble.”(Psalms 46:1 NIV)

(31)

She Remembers

It really was a beautiful day as the warm rays of the sunshine bathed the room in a soft glow. She sat by the small window, lost in thought, caught up in remembering all the changes in her life since that one day. Even the shining sun could not block out the memories of the three days cloaked in such darkness.

Getting pregnant was not what she planned. She was only engaged, babies came after marriage. The day she received the news she would become pregnant certainly was unique. So many unusual circumstances surrounded the birth of her son. She retained everything about that time. She kept so many of these events in her heart and thought about what they meant.

Remembering watching him grow, play, and follow the man he called father brought a smile to her face. This man, this wonderful man, married her even though he knew the child was not his. Raising this little one as his, providing for them without once complaining caused thankfulness in her heart. The tousled head tot followed him everywhere and took in everything he saw.

She recalled how eager he was to learn and it seemed he was wise, so wise. It was as if his knowledge was far beyond what her husband and the elders had taught him. She could only remember one time, as a youth, that he caused her concern. It was on that trip. She thought he was with friends or family only to find out he was not there. They had to make the journey back to where they had been to find him. They found him. He was in the temple. She couldn’t believe what he was saying. He was confounding the elders with his knowledge.

Seated by the same window, dressed in mourning clothes she didn’t want to remember the past days. Those days of the mocking, the lies told about her son. The trial was a joke. The witnesses lied. He only did good. Why? Wasn’t the blind man who could now see better off? What about the crippled man now walking and others whose lives had been forever changed for the better? She couldn’t fathom that one of those that followed him became the betrayer. Her son cared for them.

Such a cruel death. He really didn’t deserve this. Inside her heart she screamed silently, he only did good. She remembered standing at the foot of the cross. Tears streaming down, a mothers heart breaking as she looked up and saw his face. Even in that torment, he remembered her and asked one of his followers to care for her. Where would they bury him? She didn’t have the money to pay for a tomb. She was thankful for the kindness of one that provided his burial tomb.

They took him from the cross and wrapped his body for burial. She didn’t want to remember that image but it was stamped in her memory. They laid him in the tomb but couldn’t finish the process because it would soon be the Sabbath. They would go after the Sabbath passed and take the spices they needed to finish the burial process.

A smile crossed her face as she remembers that particular day. The “spice day.” They went very early to the tomb. On the way, they wondered who would roll away the heavy stone that sealed the grave. What a surprise! The stone was rolled away. Jesus was not there!

What had happened? It had just been three days. Wait, she remembered, he did say something about he would rise – on the third day- yes that was what he said. She remembered.

Today, because of this, all of humanity can be free. Free from the guilt that sin brings. The chains of our past are broken, and the addictions of our present are paid for. We just need to believe and ask for forgiveness.

Words of the song by Bill and Gloria Gaither ring true. “Because He lives I can face tomorrow.”

For God so loved that word that He give His only son that whoever believes on Him shall not perish but have everlasting life.

For God sent not His son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through Him might be saved. John 3:16,17

.

(30)

The Cry Of One

Pain deep inside
Hide it
No one can know

Hurt and despair
Hide it
Make it disappear

Anger on the surface
Hide it
Make it go away

Inside where no one knows
No one can see
The reservoir where all is hid

No one knows she thought
No one can see
It’s hidden well

Outside a calm exterior
Inside a boiling caldron
Emotions raw

She feels worthless
Nothing is right
What is the answer?
Will I ever find value?
Will I ever have peace?

Light, bright light
Truthful light
Blinding searching light

Light shinning into her darkness
Pain long hidden revealed
Hurt and despair uncovered
Hidden anger exposed to this light

The light of God’s love shines into her soul
All that she thought hidden now revealed

He saw it all
He will never love her now she thought

Gently He said, “Give it all to me”
“I can’t,” she said,
“I have had this so long
I don’t know how to let go”

He said, ” I will help you.
Give me your pain and I will heal the hurt deep inside

Give me your hurt and despair and I will exchange it and
give you you healing and joy.

Give me your anger
I will give you my peace.”

It wasn’t easy
The process long
He didn’t give up on me

His light of love bathed my damaged soul
He restored me to what He created me to be

Emptied of all these destructive feelings and emotions,
I am filled with His perfect love

He set a guard at my heart’s door
When pain, hurt, despair and anger knock again
He answers

No room here to take up residence
No place in her life for you

When Jesus’ love shines in your life
You are forever changed

(17)