Ass But Not Least


Though they are often the “butt” of many a joke, I have always had a special affection for donkeys. And, Donkey and Cross imageevery year around Easter, that affection grows. Have you ever wondered why Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem oh so many years ago on what we now call Palm Sunday? Why not a strong, valiant horse? A horse worthy to roam the king’s pastures?

This week, in reflecting on that very question, I thought I’d ask God himself. And so, during my God time earlier this week, that is exactly what I did. As I sat quietly with nothing but a Bible, a blank page and a deep affection for The Father, these are the thoughts that came to rest deep in my spirit.

“Child, do you remember the verses in My Word in which I told you that the first will be last and the last shall be first; those that remind you to be a humble servant? My friend, the donkey, is a fitting image of what I expect from my children. Humble, hard-working, peaceful. I don’t need pomp and circumstance from you. I just need a willing, servant’s heart.

I asked for a donkey to ride me into Jerusalem for many reasons, one being to remind all of my childrenpalm sunday that it matters not how the world sees you, but instead how I see you. This donkey, considered one of the least among his kind, was fit for a King. With a servant’s heart and attitude, he escorted me into Jerusalem and into my destiny and this is exactly what I ask of you, dear child—a servant’s heart and attitude that I can use to take me to the people of the world and into my ultimate and eternal destiny. I want ALL of my children with me in eternity. Even one lost grieves my spirit so. Think of those parents who have lost one of their children to drugs, alcohol or depression. Think of the parent whose child has run away, who they’ve lost all contact with. Oh how their heart grieves! Now, multiply that by infinity and that is how I feel about my lost children. My heart is not complete without them. My kingdom is not whole. They are MY children. All of them. No matter what they have done. No matter what they haven’t done. They are MY children and I love them. And, I need you, to help me bring them home. I need you to be like that humble, willing donkey that will take me to my children; to my destiny as Father of All. Go read the story of the Prodigal Son. I will open your eyes to new things, my child. And, go through this day aware of my presence. I’ll be right beside you all the way. It’s going to be a good day, child. A very good day.”

Thank you, God, for this. Thank you for the donkey and thank you for now giving me a reason to smile when someone calls me one.  Last but not least, thank you for being such a The Legend of the Donkey's Crosscreative Creator. Whether the legend of the cross on my favorite furry friends’ back is true or not, it is quite a beautiful touch. 🙂 Amen and Ehmen!

 

 

A Bittersweet Love Story


Dear God, as I continue to reflect on this Easter season, I ask that you help the words flow dear godfrom the deepest recesses of my soul, the inner places where You dwell in all Your holiness and righteousness. Thank you for sending Your son and for Him taking on human suffering and death just so that we could live with You forever. I am overwhelmed by Your grace and love for me and, though I am eternally sorry for my sins and shortcomings, I am eternally grateful for Your grace and forgiveness and, most especially, your gift of salvation, wrapped in the arms of Jesus and presented to us freely. All we have to do is believe and accept, both of which I do, wholeheartedly. Thank you, Jesus, for what You endured; for Your obedience to the Father, no matter what; and for making a way for me. May I become more and more like You as the seconds and minutes tick past. I don’t want to waste any more time. Help me to stay focused on Your will and purpose. Father, Your will be done, on earth and in me, just as it is in Heaven. Amen and Ehmen.

A Bittersweet Love Story

As His son hung on the cross, bloodied by the hands of man and scoffed at by the evil and lost, God was certainly saddened in the moment—saddened by the state of His creation that brought everything down to this very moment. A moment perhaps best described as a necessary evil and one that would change the destiny of humankind forever; a new and jesus on crossfoolproof way for the very ones that were created in God’s own image to live forever in His Presence. It was and is the invitation of all invitations and it is extended to each and every one of us.

As one who has accepted that invitation, this Easter season finds my heart and mind naturally harkening back to the pivotal events that would forevermore open Heaven’s doorway to the likes of me and you; to sinners saved by grace and grace alone.

Yes, it was part of God’s plan that His Son would die on that cross so that we could live forever in His Presence. But, though it was always a part of His plan, doesn’t mean that it was easy. Jesus, though the Son of God, was fully a man, born to a human mother and into flesh and body just like you and me. He needed air and food just like us and he felt pain like us as well. And the cross undoubtedly created agonizing, horrific pain–pain which He in no way deserved, but humbly accepted out of pure love for us. Which one of us is not heartbroken that he had to endure such torture for us? But, at the same time, who could not be completely filled and overjoyed that he did it so that we could dwell in the presence of our Lord forever?

To me, it is indeed the epitome of a bittersweet love story; that right there in the middle of the cross where God’s heart hung in the balance, wrath and judgement met mercy and lost and found imageforgiveness and our invitation to dwell with Him forever was permanently engraved and then sealed with the blood of His one and only son and our sweet, sweet Savior.

Thank you, sweet Jesus. Thank you. May my life be a testament of my undying gratitude and may Your Glory shine through me until the day I, too, take my last breath on earth. Amen and Ehmen!

The Day In Between


It’s sometimes called Holy Saturday, the Great Sabbath, Black Saturday and Easter Eve. But what is today, really?

Well, I think today—the day between Good Friday and Easter Sunday—is just that,jesus on cross the day in between.

The silent day that lay mournfully and mysteriously between the brutal crucifixion of our Lord and Savior and His joyous resurrection. The day between a promise and its fulfillment.

I can’t even begin to imagine how those who loved and followed Jesus must have felt on this day; just hours before having watched as God’s own promise hung tethered to a rugged cross; bloody; lifeless; hopeless.

I just can’t even imagine how they felt when the world’s only hope that God Himself had so lovingly poured into the flesh of a baby more than three decades prior was taken down from the cross, a crumpled and shattered shell; breathless; dead.

Oh the grief, the fear, and the sense of loss they must have felt. Their friend and Messiah was gone and laying in a tomb; his bruised and battered body as well as their hopes and dreams swaddled in burial clothes and sealed in darkness.

I just can’t even imagine.

But, wait, you might say. What about the miracle of Jesus’ birth and all the miracles and prophecies fulfilled throughout Jesus’ life on earth. What about all the wonders—the feeding of thousands from a single lunch; the healings; the raising of Lazarus from the dead? Can you even imagine how in the world the men and women who witnessed these miracles could even spend one day doubting, grieving, hiding, scattered, and scared?

You know, at first I thought I couldn’t imagine that at all. That is, until I realized that we live in this same place every day. We live in the in-between day, suspended between the promise and the fulfillment and, just like the disciples and those who knew Jesus as a man, we doubt; we grieve; we hide; we scatter; and we certainly fear. We, too, search for hope in a dark world. We, too, sometimes lose our trust that God can make something holy and beautiful and good out of a world that often looks more like hell than the creation of a good God. We wonder how or even if He will bring beauty and order to a universe spiraling out of control. We, too, have moments of doubt. Or least I know I do.

But, thank God, for tomorrow; for Easter Sunday and the empty tomb which has become an everlasting symbol of a promise fulfilled; the rebirth of hope for all the generations to come; for the disciples; for the early churches, for all our descendants and for you and for me.

Thank God for His promise of everlasting life which eternally lives in the breath of His one and only son, Jesus Christ, and for the unyielding sacrifice Jesus made so that we can enjoy that promise just by believing in Him. I believe in Him and I hope that you do, too.

And, if you are still just checking the whole Jesus thing out, I pray that He will open your heart and eyes so that you, too, can take part in the miracle of Easter and the promise of everlasting life. God loves you. He always has and always will. You are His child and he really wants to have a relationship with you. But, you have to do something. You have to take the step and ask Him into your heart. He is not going to do it without an invitation from you. You yourself have to acknowledge that Jesus is your Lord and Savior and that he died on the cross so that you can have eternal life. You yourself have to accept Him and invite Him into your heart.

When you’re ready, you just have to say a prayer something like this. It doesn’t have to be word for word and you don’t even have to understand it all. And you certainly don’t have to be perfect, for no one on earth is perfect. Just say something like this:

“Dear God, I know that I am a sinner. Please forgive me for my sins. I believe that your son, the Lord Jesus Christ, died to pay for my sins and I trust Him now as my personal Lord and Savior. I ask Him to come into my life. Amen.”

It’s that simple. If you pray this prayer and truly accept the Lord Jesus as your personal savior, you can be assured of going to heaven. No matter what you have done on earth; no matter what you did in your past, you will be reborn and resurrected and headed for everlasting life alongside the Almighty Creator, the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. Oh, my, what a way to celebrate this day in between! Congratulations and welcome to the family! Amen and Ehmen! And Happy, Happy Easter! 🙂

And The Word of God Says:

John 11:25-26 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. (NIV)

Romans 1:4-5 And Jesus Christ our Lord was shown to be the Son of God when God powerfully raised him from the dead by means of the Holy Spirit. Through Christ, God has given us the privilege and authority to tell Gentiles everywhere what God has done for them, so that they will believe and obey him, bringing glory to his name. Romans 6:8-11 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. (NIV)

Philippians 3:10-12 I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. (NIV)

1 Peter 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead… (NIV)

Matthew 27:50-53 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus’ resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people. (NIV)

Matthew 28:1-10 After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb. There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”

So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.” (NIV)

Mark 16:1-8 When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on the first day of the week, just after sunrise, they were on their way to the tomb and they asked each other, “Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?”

But when they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had been rolled away. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed.

“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’ “

 

The Compliment in Being Compared to a Donkey


Though they are often the “butt” of many a joke, I have always had a special affection for donkeys. And, brenda and donkey 2every year around Easter, that affection grows. Have you ever wondered why Jesus rode a donkey into Jerusalem oh so many years ago on what we now call Palm Sunday? Why not a strong, valiant horse? A horse worthy to roam the king’s pastures?

This week, in reflecting on that very question, I thought I’d ask God himself. And so, during my God time earlier this week, that is exactly what I did. As I sat quietly with nothing but a Bible, a blank page and a deep affection for The Father, these are the thoughts that came to rest deep in my spirit.

“Child, do you remember the verses in My Word in which I told you that the first will be last and the last shall be first; those that remind you to be a humble servant? My friend, the donkey, is a fitting image of what I expect from my children. Humble, hard-working, peaceful. I don’t need pomp and circumstance from you. I just need a willing, servant’s heart.

I asked for a donkey to ride me into Jerusalem for many reasons, one being to remind all of my children that it matters not how the world sees you, but instead how I see you. This donkey, considered one of the least among his kind, was fit for a King. With a servant’s heart and attitude, he escorted me into Jerusalem and into my destiny and this is exactly what I ask of you, dear child—a servant’s heart and attitude that I can use to take me to the people of the world and into my ultimate and eternal destiny. I want ALL of my children with me in eternity. Even one lost grieves my spirit so. Think of those parents who have lost one of their children to drugs, alcohol or depression. Think of the parent whose child has run away, who they’ve lost all contact with. Oh how their heart grieves! Now, multiply that by infinity and that is how I feel about my lost children. My heart is not complete without them. My kingdom is not whole. They are MY children. All of them. No matter what they have done. No matter what they haven’t done. They are MY children and I love them. And, I need you, to help me bring them home. I need you to be like that humble, willing donkey that will take me to my children; to my destiny as Father of All. Go read the story of the Prodigal Son. I will open your eyes to new things, my child. And, go through this day aware of my presence. I’ll be right beside you all the way. It’s going to be a good day, child. A very good day.”

Thank you, God, for this. Thank you for the donkey and thank you for now giving me a reason to smile when someone calls me one. 🙂 Amen and Ehmen!

 

‘Fig’uratively Speaking…


Back a few weeks ago, right before Easter, I became intrigued by Jesus’ cursing of the fig tree.  I had only known of the Jesus that blessed and healed things and I wanted desperately to understand the significance of the story.

In the Gospel of Mark, Chapter 11, we are transported to that dusty road between Bethany and Jerusalem, just days before Jesus would be crucified:

Verse 12 The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. 13 Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. 14 Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it…

20As they were passing by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots up. 21Being reminded, Peter said to Him, “Rabbi, look, the fig tree which You cursed has withered.”

Withered from the roots up? Hmmm, why was that important enough to note? I closed my eyes and quietened my spirit to listen for The Teacher. The cursing of the fig tree, I sensed, was perhaps a symbolic lesson which Jesus knew the disciples would eventually understand. You see, a fig tree was a source of sustenance in their homeland, and when Jesus found it barren, He became angry; not because the tree was fruitless, but because it was a representation of the condition of His beloved Israel. Like the fig tree burgeoning with beautiful leaves, Israel may have looked amazing from the outside, but there was no fruit to be found. They were just playing a part. For the Pharisees, it had become all about the law and the way they looked. They had gotten all wrapped up in the religion and the rules and were adorned with all the right “leaves,” while in reality they had become too blind and deaf to see what the Father was doing through Jesus Christ.  Jesus Christ–God’s only son; the way, the truth and the life; the vine; and the very root system that gives life to not only the fig tree on that dusty old road between Bethany and Jerusalem, but to all of us that make up His eternal kingdom. They were too blind to see and so they persecuted and executed Him and Israel withered from the roots up.

Thank God, however, that the story didn’t end there. In true Godly-fashion, our Almighty Father, who is and has always been the same, rewrote the script to the benefit of those who love Him. The world pens a story and our Father rewrites it to please His Grand Plan. “Child, don’t you understand?,” I heard the still small voice say. “My grand plan, which includes the cross, is still in play today and will remain so until My Kingdom has come; until My Will is done on earth just as it is in Heaven. I am the root system. From me, eternal life springs.”

And to that, I reply, “Thank you, Jesus! Amen and Ehmen!”