Posts Tagged Christ Jesus
He never spoke a word to me,
And yet He called my name;
He never gave a sign to me,
And yet I knew and came.
At first I said, “I will not bear
His cross upon my back;
He only seeks to place it there
Because my skin is black.”
But He was dying for a dream,
And He was very meek,
And in His eyes there shone a gleam
Men journey far to seek.
It was Himself my pity bought;
I did for Christ alone
What all of Rome could not have wrought
With bruise of lash or stone.~ Anonymous
I was looking through some of my old posts and remembered my Trip to the Holy Land. There is no greater spiritual experience than to walk the path Jesus walked.
“. . . how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language?” Acts 2:8 (RSV)
One of the greatest experiences of my life was a journey to “the Holy Land.” It was awe-inspiring to walk where Jesus walked and to see places that I had only read and heard about. But the place I remember most is the Church of Saint Anne in “old city Jerusalem.” Christian tradition holds that the Church bears the name of Jesus’ maternal grandmother, Anne. It is also noted for the Bethesda Pool (John 5:2-9), where Jesus performed many miracles of faith. Its architecture is both simple and majestic, with cross-vaulted ceilings and giant pillars. But most striking to me was its amazing acoustics that seemed to transform even the simplest prayer and praise into a musical language that appeared to penetrate the heart of every hearer.
The day I…
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Celebrate His Glorious Birth
For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2:10 (RSV)
WHY ME? is a question I’m sure Job (a perfect man) asked as he was losing everything. Surely, the Apostle Paul asked it many times during his perilous missionary journeys. No doubt, even Christ’s own Disciples asked it as they took up their own crosses and followed the Savior. And, I am certain it is the question that each of us whether rich, poor, Christian, or not, asks ourselves when we experience sickness, suffering, or loss. I have asked it many times, but strangely, never while being Blessed. Nor, have I asked it while happy, healthy, and whole. Not once did I question my privilege, but I always questioned my pain.
Why does it take sickness, disaster, and tragedy, before we look beyond our own concerns and truly see the suffering of others? And why is it when we witness or even hear about others’ needs, we automatically want to do something. Without a second thought, we want to give something. We want to lend a hand, many times, to the very person(s) we would ordinarily pass on the street without even a smile. How strange human nature is. It needs the “ugliness”of life in order to see the “beauty” in life. And before we decide to help we must see hurt. Why does it always take the suffering of others to see how Blessed we are? Is it because when we look on it we suddenly realize: it could have been . . . it should have been . . . and, but for the grace of God, it would have been you or me?
In the midst of all I have witnessed and in taking a personal inventory, I admit to many times feeling sorry for myself and asking why me, only to be reminded that “I am not my own — I was bought with a price.” I am God’s creation, made for His glory. It has never been about me — it was always about GOD. In my moments of reflection, I understand how truly Blessed I am just to be alive. And, with gratitude, I smile and humbly submit that I belong to the one who KNOWS ALL things and CONTROLS ALL things, and gives me the courage through every challenge to sincerely ask myself the real question — WHY NOT ME?”
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.”
St. John 14:27 (New International Translation)
As I sit at my desk watching the tree on my front lawn move furiously in the wind — a tornado watch has been issued and the dark clouds look ominous. Suddenly, my computer screen fades to black and the higher speed internet I just ordered is indicating that the system is down. I have to postpone again — this already late post I am entitling “Perfect Peace.”
I continue to wait for the system to restart and I reflect on the past week that has been particularly Blessed — all plans flowed effortlessly. But today, as I attempt to get back on schedule and to write this post — things are falling apart. Could it be a reminder that when all is well with me and mine that I simply take life for granted? Could it be that I have been so busy being busy that I forgot to remember what is truly important to the Lord? I have not listened to the news. I have not thought of the wars and other disquieting situations at home and abroad — that is: not until this hour of angst in my own world. As I continue to wait and reflect on God’s goodness — as suddenly and abruptly as they began — the winds calm, my tree stills, the sun returns and so do the lights on my modem — lesson learned! Peacefully, I get back to work. Isn’t it amazing how the Father gets our attention!!
Jesus tried to tell His disciples from the beginning that this day would come, but they would not hear Him. He knew they were upset by the talk of betrayal and the thought of His leaving them. He knew what they would face in the coming days, and He was concerned about the effect his death would have on them. So, He tries to get them to understand why it has to happen. Jesus knew His time was at hand and the end had come, but He was ready for it. We saw in the Garden, how He dreaded the pain, but we also saw how He kept His eye on the joy beyond the pain. That is the picture of “peace in its perfection” that He bequeathed to them and to us.
During this High and Holy season of celebration of the Resurrection of our Lord, let us remember amidst all the chaotic noise and constant upheaval of this world, we (His followers) own a legacy from the “Prince of Peace!” “And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:7)
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (NIV)
Whenever I feel unloved, I go to Calvary. Whenever I feel pressured by the world, I remember Calvary. Whenever I feel lost, lonely or alone, I go to Calvary–the place where human suffering is laid out in full view. I go to that place where our sinless Lord is dying– not for sins He committed, but for our sins–yours and mine. And I marvel at the way God chose to write an unforgettable message of unconditional love, especially when we were so undeserving and so unworthy. I am amazed, but you have to see the suffering in order to see the love. And you will miss the depth of the love if you do not understand the degree of the suffering. What an extraordinary picture God paints of unconditional love!
But if the truth be told, I believe most of us would settle for love in any condition, but it is unconditional love that we crave. You know: love without restrictions;love without prerequisites or requirements; love without qualification or reservation, love without hidden clauses or small print; that never keeps a scorecard of rights and wrongs; that never says, if you love me you would do this; or you don’t love me because you didn’t do that. It’s love that has no limits; that sets no boundaries; that draws no lines; that is always open. It’s the kind of love we get –not because we are lovable but because we are beloved. You see, real, authentic love finds it own way; acts on its own initiative. It’s the 1 Corinthians Chapter 13′ kind of love. It’s a man named, Jonas Beiler’s “No Pre-nup–No Post-nup” love. That’s the kind of love we want most!
It’s the kind of love, that loves us not just when we are dressed up in all our “stuff” — but also loves when we are dressed down and stripped of all pretense. The kind of love that loves when we are wrestling in the dark corners of our lives. That loves when we are wallowing in our muck, mire, and misery. That loves when we are acting the fool and should know better. That loves whether we are wrong or right. That cherishes us when we get lost and can’t find our way. That loves when we try and fail in our trying, that keeps on loving when we get old, gray, and wrinkled; that loves us even without makeup; that doesn’t stop loving because our breath is unpleasant; our noses are drippy or our hair is a mess; that adores us even when our heads are bald; our bellies hang over our belts and all of our teeth are gone. I’m talking about THE GREATEST LOVE OF ALL– THE LOVE OF GOD THAT (ON CALVARY) LOVED US WITH AN EVERLASTING LOVE — IN SPITE OF WHO AND WHAT WE WERE — THAT SAW US AT OUR WORST AND STILL GAVE THE VERY BEST. WITHOUT A DOUBT, THAT’S (MATCHLESS), UNCONDITIONAL LOVE!!!!
The songwriter said it best: “I could not imagine what loving me would cost until Jesus went to Calvary and loved me with a Cross.” May you rejoice always in these words found in Romans 8:38-39 (RSV) “For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Be Blessed and Happy Valentines Day to ALL.