My friend Penny is a walker (a very serious, fast walker, by the way). But Penny doesn't just walk for exercise, she also "walks" closely with the Lord. So when Penny shares, I listen. And when she shared about a favorite Christmas carol, it made me take notice. Why? Because while walking, Penny has been doing what this song describes.Read More
We would give up everything we've ever written to have penned this one verse, a stanza that comes as close as is humanly possible to capturing the splendor of who Jesus is.
Jesus Manifesto: Restoring the Supremacy and Sovereignty of Jesus Christ, by Leonard Sweet & Frank Viola, p. 173-174
What is that one verse? that one stanza? Authors Sweet & Viola are referring to the last stanza of the well-known carol, Hark, the Herald Angels Sing.
In my opinion, however, it isn't just the last stanza that is all glorious with the splendor of Christ...it's the entire song. In fact, even the stanzas that were removed* from the older version are splendid indeed. But I'm getting ahead of the story.Read More
If ever we needed to know God is WITH us in every possible way, it's NOW, after another year of the unanswerable "why's" of life. We struggle to make sense of all the violence, suffering, and injustice we see all around us. Though we can't know the answers, we can turn afresh to the One Who has us in the palm of His Hand. The God Who became One of us...flesh and bone and joint and sinew...who experienced every emotion possible, raw and gripping, tender and affectionate! He felt it all! And He feels our current struggle with us too!Read More
Jesus Christ the Son of God became one with us, so that we could be one with Him!
This glorious truth is at the heart of the Incarnation. God became one of us! One with us! Why? So that we could experience union with God.
And that takes us back to our 3 Greek prepositions for with: (see previous post: The WITH-ness of our God (prepositions):
- para, meaning beside, nearby, in the immediate vicinity or proximity, alongside
- meta, meaning with, in close association with, in companionship with
- sun, meaning together in intimate union, inseparable from
Isn't it wonderful when someone wants to spend time with us? Not just a token, obligatory, "showing up" to either fulfill an obligation, salve guilt, or ask for something...a real wanting to be with us.
As special as it is in human relationships, think how amazing it is when we realize that the Sovereign God of the universe has wanted to be with us! Yes, US! and according to the Bible words used, we see that in Jesus, our Emmanuel, He is with us on every level possible.
In the original language of the New Testament, there are three Greek words that can be translated with.Read More
Joy is the flag that flies over the soul when the King is in residence!
Years ago, I was leading a small group of ladies through Paul's letter to the Galatians. In chapter 5, we came to a familiar passage:
The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness,and self control. Galatians 5:22-23
Julie was in that small group that year, and Julie was from Great Britain. I asked her about Chuck's metaphor. She assured me that it was true. When royalty is in residence at the palace, the flag flies. It's the signal to the "subjects" that their monarch is present.Read More
"The Good News isn't just that Jesus died for our sins. The Good News is EMMANUEL...GOD WITH US!" So declared Deb at the end of our Bible Study.
As John and I drove home that evening, we reflected on her statement. We recalled a conversation we had had years before when we were discussing what the heart of the gospel ("Good News") is. The Good News isn't just that our sins are forgiven so we can go to heaven someday (and now we just do the best we can in the meantime).Read More
I’ve been feeling rather blank, dull, fatigued from a strenuous, constant, energy-expending fall. I even had to pass when my husband and I were praying together the other evening…I couldn’t think. But then I remembered this thought, first posted in 2014 … one of my very first “blogging Thanksgiving” posts. And so I’m no longer blank but rather voicing my thanks to my God and to others. Join me here even if you have “no other prayer”?Read More
My twelve year old grandson Kaden and I were chatting in the car the other day. Somehow the subject came up about those in the Bible who never died. And of course, I volunteered Elijah, and Kaden immediately remembered his chariot of fire.
I said, "I love Elijah." To which Kaden responded, "I love Elijah too."
The conversation kept on going with Enoch coming up next. And I'm not sure where it all went after that. Other people/kids were in the car so it may have gone to Fortnight or StarTrek or who knows what else.Read More
The parent-child metaphor is perhaps the most tender picture of our relationship with God as believers. This is so movingly expressed in the Scriptures by the Hebrew term for Father God "Abba," meaning "Daddy." As we approach Fathers' Day (though this is for moms & others also), let's take a break from the blog-type format. Let's do a little digging into the Scriptures. You may like this study for your own devotions or as a small group.Read More
Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road...? Luke 24:32
Carter and I have this thing goin' -- walkin' n talkin'...n talkin' n walkin'...n walkin' n talkin' n....on and on and on.
It's pure delight for both of us, because Carter is 3-1/2**...and I'm Carter's Babci (Polish for Grandma). I know it won't last forever -- he'll grow up and become interested in many other things. But for right now, we have each other and walkin' n talkin' n talkin' n walkin'!Read More
A few years ago, I came across an inspiring cartoon in my "Easter" file (See enlarged image below). I think my husband John, who had been the family reader of the Sunday funnies in years gone by, cut it out and gave it to me back in April 2001. So there in my file, this little treasure has been tucked away for all these years.
For those of you who have been following the Lenten Meditations on a branch in the Vine, this piece serves as a fitting climax during Holy Week.Read More
Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take.
So goes a traditional nighttime prayer taught by American moms to their children for generations. It may seem odd to us today that there would be the mention of death in a child's prayer. But scientists say that sleep is the closest we come to death while still alive. The Greeks even had a proverb,
Sleep and death are brothers.
However, in the first century, Jewish moms taught their children a different bedtime prayer...quoting Psalm 31:
Father, into Your hands I commit my spirit.Read More
Tetelestai!* It is finished! The death of Christ on the Cross is the HINGE of human history...and nowbefore He breathes His last breath... a cry of victory,It is finished!
What's finished? It must be something BIG,...look at what happened when Jesus died:
At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, rocks split apart, and tombs opened. The bodies of many godly men and women who had died were raised from the dead.Read More
Thirst is a primal need in all of us humans…more demanding even than hunger! We can go quite awhile without eating, but a very short time without drinking.
Jesus on the Cross had refrained up to this point from satisfying His thirst. Instead He drank theFather’s cup to the very last drop! He became sin for us…the Sinless One! Jesus took our place, and the Father turned His back. The punishment for sin had been accomplished…spiritual separation from God….for US!Read More
Abandoned! Left on the "doorstep of Life"...but with no Rescuer in sight! What happens next in the unfolding drama of the crucifixion of our Lord is incomprehensible!
It's an abandonment so profoundly mysterious that it boggles the mind...but ravishes the believing heart! Let's watch it unfold...
It is noon. By this time, Jesus has already forgiven ...Read More
Dear woman, behold your son...behold your mother. (John 19:26)
Jesus has a special love for His own. As we've already seen with His forgiving and saving attitude in the midst of excruciating agony, His concern was not with His own suffering. Rather His attention was next drawn to His precious loved ones at the foot of His cross, His mother and His beloved disciple John.
What agony Jesus must have seen on Mary's face.Read More
Truly I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise. Luke 23:43
Jesus seems to have a special love for lost people. I love the stories He tells in Luke 15. The first is the beloved story of the shepherd who has a hundred sheep but leaves the ninety-nine to look for the one that is lost. Then when he finds his lost one, he calls in his neighbors and friends to rejoice with him.Read More
Alexander Pope (1688-1744), English poet, once said,To err is human; to forgive, divine.
So true...but we humans more readily echo what someone else has said,
To err is human, but to get even? THAT is divine.
We struggle so, with forgiving our offenders! Perhaps that's why we are amazed and awestruck to realize that Jesus' first words from the Cross were ones of forgiveness.Read More
The last words of a dying person are important. They can communicate good or ill to those left behind. Why? Because the last words are so final...and so revealing of what was uppermost in the person's mind as he was leaving this earth to face his Maker. I've never been at the bedside of a dying person. But I have been with a few people just days before their death.Read More