Tag Archive: Christ


2013-12-17 04.54.38

I Spy a fierce dragon

I was watching a movie with my boys the other day, and it had dragons in it.  Hunter asked:

“Mom, are dragons real?”

“Of course not”, I started… then God held my tongue.

The Bible does mention some large, strong, terrifying creatures.  Of course, not the dragon that the prince saves Sleeping Beauty from… that strong, fierce beast with scales and breathes fire…

“Can you pull in the leviathan with a fishhook or tie down his tongue with a rope? I will not fail to speak of his limbs, his strength and his graceful form. Who can strip off his outer coat? Who would approach him with a bridle? Who dares open the doors of his mouth, ringed about with his fearsome teeth? His back has rows of shields tightly sealed together; each is so close to the next that no air can pass between. They are joined fast to one another; they cling together and cannot be parted. His snorting throws out flashes of light; his eyes are like the rays of dawn. Firebrands stream from his mouth; sparks of fire shoot out. Smoke pours from his nostrils as from a boiling pot over a fire of reeds. His breath sets coals ablaze, and flames dart from his mouth. Strength resides in his neck; dismay goes before him. The folds of his flesh are tightly joined; they are firm and immovable. His chest is hard as rock, hard as a lower millstone. When he rises up, the mighty are terrified; they retreat before his thrashing.”   Job 41:1,14-25

Although I don’t know…maybe it is.

But, do you see in 2 Samuel 22, that the Bible references this same creature?  Although this time, David is singing a song of praise…

“In my distress I called to the Lord; I called out to my God. From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came to his ears. The earth trembled and quaked, the foundations of the heavens shook; they trembled because he was angry. Smoke rose from his nostrils; consuming fire came from his mouth, burning coals blazed out of it. He parted the heavens and came down; dark clouds were under his feet. The valleys of the sea were exposed and the foundations of the earth laid bare at the rebuke of the Lord, at the blast of breath from his nostrils. He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters. He brought me out into a spacious place; he rescued me because he delighted in me.”   2 Samuel 22:7-10,16-17,20

God IS this creature!

When we are in trouble, scared or in need…

When we need God to intervene, or to save us…

He doesn’t ride in and save the day on a steed in a shiny coat of armor, sword in hand.

He saves us with the strength of a dragon.

Today, Good Friday…

Growing up Catholic, I never truly understood all of the “celebrations” around Easter time. 

Let’s see, it starts with Ash Wednesday; you know, that terribly spiritual ritual of smearing the ashes from last year’s burnt palm fronds on your forehead…and the four prayers expressing what those ashes symbolize:

1. “To be a spiritual help for all who confess their sins.
2. To secure pardon of sins for those who receive the ashes.
3. To give us the spirit of contrition.
4. To give us the grace and strength to do penance.”  ~ fisheaters.com

Which, of course, would result in eternal damnation should you attempt to rub them off:

“They are a public witness to those things our society does not wish to embrace: the reality of death, penance for sin, and the hope of resurrection in Our Lord, Jesus Christ.”  ~ fisheaters.com

Leading into the 40 days of Lent, where you must give something up that you can’t live without, and eat fish:

“The focus of this Season is the Cross and penance, penance, penance as we imitate Christ’s forty days of fasting, like Moses and Elias before Him, and await the triumph of Easter. We fast; abstain, mortify the flesh, give alms, and think more of charitable works. Awakening each morning with the thought, ‘How might I make amends for my sins? How can I serve God in a reparative way? How can I serve others today?’ is the attitude to have.
We also practice mortifications by “giving up something” that would be a sacrifice to do without, and it can entail, too, taking on something unpleasant that we’d normally avoid, for example, going out of one’s way to do another’s chores, performing ‘random acts of kindness,’ etc.”
  ~ fisheaters.com

There’s Palm Sunday…the spiritual day you bring palm fronds home to braid:

“Today is the memorial of Christ’s ‘triumphant,’ but misunderstood, entry into Jerusalem, the day that begins Holy Week. This entry into Jerusalem is seen as the prophetic fulfillment of Zacharias 9:9-10.”   ~ fisheaters.com

And Good Friday, which I never quite understood how it could possibly be “good” when this poor man was killed on a cross:

“Good Friday is the most somber day of the entire year. A silence pervades, socializing is kept to a minimum, things are done quietly; it is a day of mourning; it is a funeral. The Temple of the Body of Christ is destroyed. Traditional Catholics wear black, cover their mirrors, extinguish candles and any lamps burning before icons, keep amusements and distractions down, and go about the day in great solemnity.”  ~ fisheaters.com

Finally, Easter Sunday!  The day we get to wear a beautiful new outfit, our Easter baskets are stolen, hidden, searched for and found filled with yummy treats, then off to church (for the first of typically two times this year):

“On this, the holiest day of the entire year, Latin Catholics greet each other with the words of Luke 24:34, ‘Surrexit Dominus vere, alleluia!’ (‘The Lord is risen indeed!’). The person so greeted responds, “Et apparuit Simoni, alleluia!’ (‘And hath appeared unto Simon!’). Catholics may even answer their telephones with this greeting. The Easter table should be adorned with the best of everything — the most beautiful china, a pure, white tablecloth, the best possible wine, flowers (especially pussy willow, lilies, and spring bulb flowers), etc., all with the colors white and gold — symbolizing purity and glory. And we should look our best, too; it is common to buy a new outfit to wear on this day. This custom springs from the idea of ‘newness’ inherent in the entire Season — the new members of the Church baptized at the Vigil in their new Baptismal albs, the New Law, a new life in Christ.”  ~ fisheaters.com

Since my childhood naïveté, I praise God that He has opened my eyes and given me understanding.  Easter is about Christ’s death and resurrection, not what we can do to make ourselves worthy to accept His sacrifice… or a fictitious magical bunny.

Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour. And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” that is, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” And some of the bystanders, hearing it, said, “This man is calling Elijah.” And one of them at once ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine, and put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink. But the others said, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to save him.” And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit.

And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!”   Matthew 27:45-54

Christ came, lived a perfect life, died in my place on a cross, and three days later returned…all so that I might have a way to live in eternity with Him.

Praise Him for that unbelievable, beautiful, and precious gift!

It is a good Friday, indeed.

Powerful YouTube Video

This powerful video illustration presents a creative and artistic worship experience from spoken word poet, Amena Brown. This reverent video illustration recounts Gods plan of salvation for us all:

The Easter message is one that needs to be heard in every season and in every culture. Amena Brown’s poetry and mixture of scripture, combined with the cutting edge video illustration technology will bring you to a point of worship with Almighty God.
http://Jesus.net
http://facebook.com/jesus.net

AMAZING.

I received an email from a dear friend of mine yesterday.  In it, she mentioned that she wanted to send out an Easter story to her Awana youth ministry kids.  However, she revealed, she’s not a writer…but I am, so she asked if I might be able to come up with something that could be read, potentially, by both the kids and their parents.

My first response was, “no” essentially… I do have many stories that center around the cross, which is what I first think of when I think of Easter, but I don’t think I had any that really related to Easter as a holiday.  But, my friend asked for my help, so I would see what I could do.

I prayed about it…and prayed about it…and with it being a Saturday, I decided to lay down for my afternoon siesta (don’t naps sound more sophisticated in a different language?!!) and God woke me with a start!  I began thinking about the story, and I immediately had an idea.

“…do not worry beforehand about what you are to say, but say whatever is given you in that hour; for it is not you who speak, but it is the Holy Spirit.”   Mark 13:11

I quickly sat up, grabbed a notebook, and began writing (much to the chagrin of Jax who had been sound asleep until I started thrashing about!).  My squiggles were practically illegible as I wrote, trying to get all of the ideas down as fast as I could, then bounded out of bed and nearly ran down the stairs to get my thoughts on the computer.

I prayed, as I always do before writing, but especially because this would be a stretch.  I write about how God works in my life, not fictional stories.  I asked God to intercede and make this His own…and I am in awe at how God guides my hands and thoughts.  Oh, I praise Him for using me.  What an honor and incredible blessing!

The story that follows is what God allowed me to write.  His answer to my feeble prayer does not disappoint, and has absolutely nothing to do with my first obscure scrawls; praise Him for that!!  🙂  Enjoy!

The Hunt

“Hurry up; we’re going to be late!!”  My heart’s pounding so hard in my chest I can feel it in my throat. 

“All the kids are lining up… come on, Mom!!”

I’m desperate to get to the edge of the parking lot along with the other kids, and when I finally reach the grass my eyes survey the landscape.

“Where is it??  I can’t see it!”  I think to myself as my eyes dart from one tree to the next…

“I have to find it!!”

I scan the horizon; flecks of red, blue, purple, and pink dot the plush green canvas… I can almost hear them laughing as if taunting me from where they lie.

I look at my competition lining up around me; tall, short, snotty noses, long hair, sparkly pink and green Easter baskets…

I turn my eyes back to the expanse of grass before me and let out a breath as my heart pounds excitedly.  

Everyone is quiet now…

“On your marks!”  A voice calls out.

I swallow hard.

“Get set!

I hold my breath and wait…

“GOOOOO!!”

There’s a flurry of motion, kids running this way and that.  We dash out into the cool wet grass, and I stay in a straight path headed toward the outer edge of the grassy field.  Kids cross in front of me running to the left, while others sprint to the right… but I stay the course.

One little kid falls and lands on his belly…

“Mooommeeeeee!!” he cries.

“Yes!  One down…” I smile as I pass.

I dodge kids bending over to pick up eggs, and hurdle others.

Greens, blues, and yellows polka dot the grass as I continue running…

“Hey kid!  You’re passing all the eggs!”  Someone yelled to me…

But I didn’t listen. 

“There’s one special egg” the announcer had said, “a golden egg.”

That thought kept me going… “It’s gotta’ be out there.”

Now, I have done enough Easter egg hunts to know, that a colorful egg filled with 3 jelly beans or a chocolate isn’t enough for me.  The prize, the one worth seeking, is the golden egg.  That egg leads to the real treasure.  The huge, gleaming, basket set aside for that lucky kid that finds that one lucky egg.  The basket filled with limitless treasure… countless joy… inexplicable happiness…

Then I saw it. 

Not 20 feet away, it glimmered in the sunlight. 

My heart skips a beat and I pick up my pace.  I hear footsteps behind me as I run toward that glistening orb.

10 feet…

5 feet…

“It’s almost mine!!”

I feel the brush of wind as someone runs past, leaps in front of me and grabs the beautiful golden egg.

I stop dead in my tracks. 

“It can’t be,” I gasp.

I stand perfectly still and stare at the kid that beat me to my prize, his face radiant as he carefully cradles that precious gift.

I turn back to see all the other kids walking back to their cars, smiles on their faces, hand in hand with their moms and dads, baskets brimming over with their alluring rainbow eggs.

I look down at my basket… nothing.

As my eyes fill with tears, I notice a golden glow surrounding me.  I blink, clear my eyes wiping the tears away, and notice thousands of golden eggs at my feet.  I bend over, stunned, and pick up one of the gleaming eggs. 

I look at the boy who beat me to my prize.  Our eyes meet, an egg in his hand an egg in mine, and a knowing smile on his face.

I instantly turn toward the other kids…where are they going?  There’s one for each of them, and more besides…  I call to them but they continue walking, satisfied with their haul and blind to what they really need.

I look down at the wonderful gift I’m holding and realize it had been there the whole time, I just wasn’t looking.  

 

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”   Matthew 7:13-14

Like children at an Easter egg hunt, drawn to the promise of sweet satisfaction within a brightly colored package; jelly beans, sweet tarts, chocolate…  Things that satisfy but only for a moment, until we are left searching again for the next empty promise.

But that one golden ticket, if found will not only fill our every desire, but will quench our thirst and satisfy our hunger…

“Then Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.’”   John 6:35

The one prize; unimaginable until revealed, unbelievable until eyes are opened, unacceptable until understood. 

The gift so fulfilling, the prize worth seeking, and the promise so real it can only be found when searched for…

is Jesus.

“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, ”   Romans 3:23

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”    Romans 6:23

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”   Romans 5:8

“If you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.”   Romans 10:9

Why Spy God?!

When I was a kid I played “I spy with my little eye…” with my Grandma. She lived in a small town, on Main Street, directly across from the only grocery store for miles. There was always lots of activity, lots to watch, a perfect place to play “I Spy,” and we would sit on her front porch for hours.

It was always fun to be the “spy-er,” because until the other person found what it was you were focused on it was invisible to them. They were essentially blind to it until enough yes or no questions were asked to figure it out, or until it was literally pointed it out to them.

I love to write short stories about how God works in my life. I see Him in the little things…the moments that others might call coincidence, fate, irony or chance.

It’s easy to see God working when there are miraculous events; unexplained healing from an illness or disease, or walking away from a terrible car accident.  But do you see Him in the little things?  You  know those times; the closest parking space open in the pouring rain or an extra $5 left in your coat pocket.

I truly believe that God wants us to see Him in the little things, and the more you give Him the credit and the glory, the more you will see Him trying to get your attention!

I long to share the stories God has given me with everyone.  I pray that the Spirit might give them understanding, and open their eyes to see that God works in every aspect and detail of their day.

There are no coincidences, ironies, or luck… all details are fashioned and planned by God, and He wants us to see how tangible and involved in life He is.  These are the moments when “I Spy God,” and what my stories focus on…because God certainly isn’t little or mundane!
“‘Go out and stand on the mount before the Lord.’ And behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind tore the mountains and broke in pieces the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire the sound of a low whisper.” 1 Kings 19:11-12
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