Friday, December 28, 2012

Happy New Year 2013!

Change Occurs on th Inside
True change occurs on the inside

What happens outwardly in your life is not as important as what happens inside you. I was looking for an image that captures the passion and motivation we all seem to share at the beginning of a new year. I read these words and knew that was what I could sense God wanting to speak to me.

Outward Change is Easy:

Lose weight? Take a pill, join a health club, change your diet; even liposuction is an option. Today, options abound in the area of one’s physical appearance. You can change eye color, the shape of your nose, eliminate that unwanted double chin, increase your breast size, decrease your breast size, or get rid of that extra baggage around your waist.

Outward change can affect how you feel about yourself, but it doesn’t alter the reality of who you are. A liar can get facial reconstruction, but it won’t stop him from lying. A person driven by greed can have their stomach stapled to lose weight, but shrinking one’s body by one hundred pounds will not reduce one’s craving for more.

Inward Change is Difficult:

Changing how I think, believe and behave is far more difficult because I must see myself as God sees me. Think about the rich young man who openly professed his desire to follow Christ by asking:

Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?

Jesus told him:

Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.

The bible then says,

At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.

Inward change occurs when there is a change of heart, mind and spirit.

Change of spirit occurs when I see myself the way God sees me. Often we’re like the character in the story of Snow White. Each day she asked the same question:

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest one of all?

Although the mirror revealed the truth of what was visible, it never revealed that inside her life was a vain, selfish, evil woman.

I am no different when it comes to God’s word. The bible, unlike a mirror is not simply a reflection of what I want to see, it is a revelation of who I really am.

Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.

Change of mind occurs when I line up my thinking with Christ. Christians are not immune from being judgmental, spiteful, jealous, causing factions, seditions. Like modern day Pharisees, we can place ourselves in the lofty position of being so much better than them. I must continually renew my mind with the truth that I am saved by grace and not by what I’ve accomplished.

In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus…

Do I really show others the forgiveness, love and grace I so often need in my own life?

Change of heart occurs when I commit myself to following Christ in all areas of my life. I can attend church service with regularity, but on Monday, I’m cursing my boss or a co-worker. It’s so easy to judge others behavior, words, or life; but I often give myself a pass.

As the New Year draws closer, I want to ask all my Christian brothers and sisters for some intercessory prayer assistance. Not only do our nation’s political leaders need prayer and guidance, but some in the community of Christ, need to stop complaining and start kneeling.

What kind of spirit has come over us when we openly speak of secession? Where is the unity of the body of Christ in that attitude? I have seen images of the President of the United States morphed into a Hitler-like character. He has been called many things which people feel openly courageous to say, but I shudder to think of some things that are being said in secrecy.

Has God somehow been usurped from His authority? Is He still God or not? Can one man, the Democratic Party or the Republicans overthrow the will and divine purpose of God so easily? Has God been sleeping during the past election?

Like many, I am disturbed with the direction our country appears to be heading, but for far different reasons. This coming 2013 New Year, I will pray more for our leaders, for the people of this nation, and I will seek to be a better Christian man than I have been in 2012. I’ll do this by changing my heart, mind and spirit.

I once heard Edwin Louis Cole say, “Everything is subject to change”, but he also said, “Error is when truth is taken to an extreme”. In our desire to change, I pray we don’t take truth to the habitude of error.

by MTJ

A Note of Thanks: I would just like to say that I appreciate each of you who during this past year visited My Thought-filled Journey. You've taken time out of your schedule to read a post on this blog and often shared words of encouragement to me. Whether you leave a comment or choose to just read is not important. What is important, is that you came here. I do hope you find encouragement and inspiration in these words. Please know I will pray with you regarding any circumstance you may be facing. Feel free to write me to say "Hello", request prayer, or share what God is doing in your life. I have not said it enough, but thank you for the light of Chist in your life which illuminates the way for us all.

Spiritual Sunday'sNote: This post is linked to Spiritual Sundays (hosted by Charlotte).

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A True Christmas

Spirit of Christmas
Spirit of Christmas

A Christmas Greeting: I would just like to say that I appreciate each of you who visited My Thought-filled Journey during this past year. I want to extend my heartfelt desire for God's blessing upon you and your family as we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. I also would like to say that my hope is that you find even greater satisfaction in Christ during the coming new year. This has been a year of change for me, but it has also meant that I've come to appreciate even more the grace which has been given to me. I'd like to think I've grown spiritually, emotionally, and intellectually; time will reveal that. Please know I will pray with you regarding any circumstance you may be facing. Feel free to write me to say "Hello", request prayer, or share what God is doing in your life. I have not said it enough, but thank you for the light of Chist in your life which illuminates the way for us all.

Christmas lights and decorations are everywhere. As I walk by, smiles instinctively appear of the faces of strangers. There is something about this time of year that allows everyone to feel a spirit of joy in their lives. In spite of this feeling of joy and elation, there are people in America today without home or shelter. There are people who are all alone and feeling a sense of desperation. We don’t think about it unless it affects us personally, but people even die during this time of year. I remember the night my brother was murdered. Christmas would never be the same for my family.

Christmas bargains, sales, gifts, Santa Claus, ornaments none of those things seem to matter anymore. Time has given me the cushion needed to heal from my grief, but still, I don’t look at Christmas with the childlike eyes of my youth.

Years ago when I was married, my wife asked me what the tree had to do with the birth of Christ. I thought about her question and gave several technically correct answers but none of them answered her basic question. I realized then that a Christmas tree, colored lights and ornaments had absolutely nothing to do with the Messiah.

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

Why?

There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith.

Christ was born to institute redemption for all humanity.

We can sing songs of His birth, watch movies of the little baby born in a manger, but we must not forget that He came for the express purpose of dying for our sins.

You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.

This is the true Christmas we must celebrate.

I once heard a preacher jokingly talk about his childhood and how even then he was preaching. Each morning, he would stand by the school bus and say to the children boarding:

You need Jesus!

I smiled when I heard him share this but he is right; we all need Jesus!

Yes, unto us a child is born, a son is given…

Let’s not forget that Christmas shouldn’t be celebrated once a year, but every day! Let our hearts rejoice with the joy and gladness of redemption. Christ came for us!

Whether we have a tree in our home, lights all aglow, presents beautifully wrapped, allow the spirit of Christ to touch our hearts in such a way that we see the beauty of grace and God’s love. Let’s share that love for one another and be a little more forgiving; giving to all the grace we have received through Christ.


Written by MTJ

Note: This post is linked to Spiritual Sundays (hosted by Charlotte).Spiritual Sunday's

Friday, December 21, 2012

Finding Grace

Image Courtesy of sharinggodsgrace.org
Finding Grace (Image Courtesy of sharinggodsgrace.org)

I had a conversation with a friend about my post last week (Seeing Grace).

[Friend] Where is the grace there?

[Friend] Is God graceful to those (salmon) who succeed to jump upstream?

[Me] When you fully understand grace, you realize that no matter what happens in life to me, God still loves me.

[Friend] God loves you! How do you know that?

[Me] The point I am trying to make is that if I look at God solely on the basis of how he blesses me with things or protects me from harm, I don't understand the necessity of having a meaningful relationship with God.

How do I know God loves me? Because He says he loves me. That alone is enough for me to trust His word.

Good doesn't happen to the most intelligent, or beautiful, or the better race, ethnicity or religious group. God is sovereign so there is nothing I can do to influence him to benefit me. If God chooses to bless my life, it is not because I am better; it is because he chooses to.

The children who were shot today, who sinned; them or their parents?

Could He have intervened? If that is what He wanted to do, but when things occur outside my level of expectation or understanding, I remind myself of that truth. I believe that "all things work together for good", so no matter what happens in my life, God is not shocked, surprised, or caught off guard. He will use circumstances in my life (whatever they may be) to bring about a greater purpose. I cannot see what He sees, so I may not understand why something happened. I may not have wanted it to happen. But I have a choice to trust that He will use it for my good.

[Friend] Do you see Him as .....as somebody out there who protects you from any harm?

[Me] Do you remember the biblical story of the 3 Hebrew boys thrown into the furnace?

[Friend] Yes, a little.

[Me] Do you remember what they said to the king who threatened them if they refused to worship his image?

[Friend] No, I don't remember.

[Me] Nebuchadnezzar was king of all Babylon. He commissioned a statue to be made in his image. And every day when the trumpets sounded, everyone in all Babylon was required to get on their knees and bow in the direction of his statue. Anyone who did not obey would suffer execution by being burned alive in a furnace. When he was informed about the 3 Hebrews, he ordered the furnace to be heated seven times hotter than normal. He then had them brought before him and he asked them:

When I throw you into that furnace do you think your God can save you then?

One of the Hebrews spoke up and said:

Our God is able to save us, but even if He doesn't, we will not exchange our trust in the Living God for an image of you!

So to answer your question, “Do you see Him as .....as somebody out there who protects you from any harm?

I would say, whether God protects me from harm or doesn't isn't relevant to whether I choose to trust Him with my life. Things happen in my life, both good and bad, but I will not waver in my belief that God loves me.

The question I asked earlier about who sinned is how humans tend to look at tragedy. When a woman is raped, the rapist will be defended by the premise that the woman somehow was at fault. The men who killed those children today, maybe they have families, parents, a wife, possibly children. Each of them having a relationship with the murderers will be faced with the question of guilt. But they did nothing wrong. Only those who choose to do evil are wrong. In the mind of all evil doers, there are always valid reasons to do what they do, but reasons why do not matter, in the end, innocent lives were still stolen.

But even in this tragedy, God can use it for the greater good, if we choose to learn from it. Knowing what it's like to see a life stolen by another human, my prayers are extended to those in Connecticut affected by last week's tragedy. It is a very difficult road to travel when a parent outlives their child. My mother has outlived two sons (one from childhood illness and the other murdered), but faith in God's love carries her on the road to heaven. For now, she remains alive with a purpose. She will go to them one day as I believe I too will see them again. But for now, in this moment of pain, sorrow, and sadness, I will look to the hills where my help comes; my help comes from the Lord!

I pray that many of us in this country see that tragedy is the price we must pay, for the right to bear arms. To me, it is a silly notion that we hide behind a statement made hundreds of years ago when this nation fought for freedom from tyranny. Where is tyranny today? It is in the minds of those who manufacture weapons in this country. It is in the minds of those who sell weapons to individuals who are irresponsible citizens. It is in the minds of those who do not comprehend the meaning of love, grace, and peace. It is in the minds of those who will come out and say, “Guns don't kill, people kill”.

What will it take for us to see the need to demonstrate Christ in our lives? If any man comes after me, he must first deny himself. Why would Christ say, I must first deny myself? Deny myself of what?

It is not a question of “what” but “whom”. I must deny myself of “me”. I want to please “me” above pleasing God. This is what grace reveals, my utter selfishness. But the bible wants each of us to learn of a more excellent way, the way of grace. My life needs to be encompassed with the grace given me by God.

Finding grace is not so difficult. Otherwise Christ would not have said, “Ask and it shall be given, seek and you will find, knock and the door will be opened.” Finding grace (even in the midst of tragedy) is not difficult. All I need to do is open my eyes.


A Note of Thanks: I would just like to say that I appreciate each of you who visit My Thought-filled Journey. Taking time out of your schedule to read a post on this blog is encouraging to me. Many of those who visit, will from time to time leave a comment. Whether a comment is left is not important. What is important, is that you came. I do hope you find encouragement and inspiration in these words. Please know I will pray with you regarding any circumstance you may be facing. Feel free to write me to say "Hello", request prayer, or share what God is doing in your life. I have not said it enough, but thank you for the light of Chist in your life which illuminates the way for us all.

by MTJ

Spiritual Sunday'sNote: This post is linked to Spiritual Sundays (hosted by Charlotte).

Friday, December 14, 2012

Seeing Grace

My Grace is Sufficient (Image courtesy of optimisticjourney.com)
Image courtesy of optimisticjourney.com

Song writer John Newton (1725-1807) wrote these words in the song Amazing Grace:
Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
'Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far
and Grace will lead me home.

Anyone who has experienced the power of God’s grace in their life will easily identify with these words. For many, the challenges of life can be like the obstacles salmon face swimming upstream. I once watched a documentary on salmon and the Black Bear. The Black Bear will wait upstream for the migration of salmon. As the fish hurl their bodies through the air in an attempt to navigate their way home, the Black Bear with a swipe of its huge paw smacks salmon after salmon onto the shore. There on the shore as the salmon flop helplessly out of water, the bear will gorge itself on the omega rich eyes of the salmon; that’s all the bear craves!

No matter where I’m going in my life, the direction for me is upstream. Like the salmon, I’m on a path that leads me home. Along the way, there may be dangers, toils and snares, but like the song says, “I’ve already come…

That’s the magnificent quality of God’s grace, no matter the circumstances we face in life, grace leads us home. Some lack confidence in redemption because they don’t understand or know the scriptures, but even a blind man can see that “Jesus saves”. I can say, “I once was blind, but now I see” because I know I lacked vision to see the truth illuminated by the light of Christ. I lacked the ability to recognize the goodness of the Lord.

When I hear someone say, “God is good”. It isn’t some catchy cliché; it’s the revelation that acknowledges how God works all things together for good…

We’ve all been shocked and surprised at various times in our lives. I read some of the blogs written by Christians after the national election that indicated shock, dismay, and discouragement. But the truth is that God is never shocked, dismayed or discouraged; God is never caught unaware of events that occur in life.

To every man is given a measure of grace.

That’s what I need to know. That God has extended Himself in such a way that He is easily capable of reaching me and measuring the exact amount of grace my life so desperately needs.

My grace is sufficient for you.

It’s more than you’ll ever require! That’s what those words say to me. Should I pray for more grace? Why? I've already been given enough grace by Almighty God to get me through anything I face in life! I should utilize the grace God has given me and rejoice that I have more than enough to conquer the Black Bears in my life.

I’ve seen enough hatred, bigotry and racism in a lifetime of living. I could easily say, “I’ve had it up to here with that stuff”, but I realize that just as Jesus said we would always have the poor, there will always be sin in this world until He returns. Like those who condemned the woman caught in adultery, we can just as easily be ready to stone someone because of our own self-righteous attitudes. But the truth is there is a very thin line between salvation in Christ and self-confidence.

I pray that in this season of Christmas we Christians actually turn a corner and walk in a manner that befits being called the sons of God. I pray that we give grace as easily as we have received it. That we actually demonstrate to the world our capacity to love and forgive; that we remember that Jesus said, “You are the light of the world”.

If I see grace as it really is, I will see that it will lead me home.


A Note of Thanks: I would just like to say that I appreciate each of you who visit My Thought-filled Journey. Taking time out of your schedule to read a post on this blog is encouraging to me. Many of those who visit, will from time to time leave a comment. Whether a comment is left is not important. What is important, is that you came. I do hope you find encouragement and inspiration in these words. Please know I will pray with you regarding any circumstance you may be facing. Feel free to write me to say "Hello", request prayer, or share what God is doing in your life. I have not said it enough, but thank you for the light of Chist in your life which illuminates the way for us all.

by MTJ

Note: This post is linked to Spiritual Sundays (hosted by Charlotte).Spiritual Sunday's

Friday, December 7, 2012

December Grace

Aurora Over Iowa
Aurora Over Iowa, Copyright Stan Richards (NightSkyEvents.com)

December is the last month in the year. In many ways it symbolizes finality, and yet for the Christian, it is the beginning. In December, we honor the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. For unto us a child is born is one of the most memorable statements in this life.

Many see December as the month which ushers in winter. In northern climates, winters mean snow, ice, less sunlight and cold, cold days.

For some, December is their birth month; a day of celebration.

For others, it can mean a time of great loneliness, depression and futility. While many celebrate December, others will mourn the loss of someone close. Some will choose to end life rather than celebrate it.

For me, December is always special. It is special because I was born in this month, so I have always welcomed it. As a child, it was special not just because of my birthday, but because of Christmas, snowy days in Chicago, playing with my brothers, and huge meals prepared by my grandmother.

My grandmother loved to cook. Cooking for her was an honorable endeavor; she relished in the traditions of cooking for our family.

I can look back now and see that she did this by grace. For me, cooking was and still is an effort. I am (as Paul would say), “Under the law” when it comes to cooking. My grandmother cooked under grace. It was a grace that gave her the freedom to cook with her whole heart.

I realize that it is far better to live by grace than the law. The law does not impute life. It is tedious, and exhausting. At some point, we become tired of the law, but grace never tires us.

Paul writes, “Whatever you do, do as unto the Lord.

I realize that what Paul is saying to me is that my attitude in whatever I do should be to please God with my life. This has often come into conflict with my need to please and gratify myself. Yet God still calls to me to walk in the grace given to me.

Grace is such a marvelous gift that we often overlook its significance. I was talking with someone recently about forgiveness. In my feeble attempt to explain it, I asked, “When is a person forgiven by God? Is it when I ask for forgiveness? Is it when Christ died on the cross? Is it when God sacrificed animals in the garden to cover the nakedness of Adam and Eve? Or was it before creation itself when in the infinite knowledge of God He knew we needed redemption?

For me, all these are true. But I realize that God is not a sequential being like me; He is infinite! I need to follow a set of protocols, but God has no protocols that direct Him.

So, I am left with grace as my answer. To bask in God’s grace is beyond words. I cannot describe or explain it in a way that makes sense to someone who has never experienced the grace of God. To that person, grace is simply a word we banter about.

To me, it is what holds me firm in my belief of redemption, salvation and eternity. Grace is what leads me into prayer. Grace confirms for me that the Invisible God lives! Grace reveals to me that Christ rose from the dead and paid the penalty for sin in this world. Grace leads me to embrace the gift of life and inspires me to be better than I was; I want to please God because I want to hear the words,Well done.

Each day as we draw nearer to the celebration of the birth of Christ, it is my hope that we recognize and appreciate the grace which has been given to us.


Special Note: I would just like to say that I appreciate each of you who visit My Thought-filled Journey. The individual comments have been both insightful and encouraging. I had no idea when I began this journey where it would take me or when it will end, but I find myself inspired by the many thoughts others express here and on their personal blogs. Please know you are in my prayers. I have not said it enough, but thank you for the light of Chist in your life which illuminates the way for us all.

by MTJ

Spiritual Sunday'sNote: This post is linked to Spiritual Sundays (hosted by Charlotte).

Friday, November 30, 2012

A Good Life (Part 3)

Note: In this third and final installment of my short story, we find the main character Katherine, faced with the fears and doubts many of us have faced, are facing or will face in our lives. We may feel a sense of powerlessness and desperation. We may feel all alone and without hope. What Katherine discovers is that even in the midst of our despair, God is totally aware and concerned about our life. I do not believe it is a question of "Will God?", but the reality of "God will!" This affirmation is borne of faith and experiences which have taught me that God has more than enough grace to sufficiently enable me to face any circumstance in my life. I hope you like Part 3.

Dr. Matthews walked hurriedly down the corridor towards Inpatient Admissions. As he turned the corner, he could hear a woman’s voice yelling.

I’m not sitting down until I find out about my husband! If you don’t allow me to see my husband, I’ll sue this hospital and fire every one of you on staff!

He now understood why the nurse in admissions requested he come as soon as possible.

He spoke as he approached Katherine.

Mrs. Schaeffer?

Yes, I’m Katherine Schaeffer! Who are you?

Dr. Matthews didn’t want to alarm Katherine, but he needed to get her to focus on the urgency of her husband's condition instead of the nurse who she was shouting at.

I’m the doctor who initially treated your husband in ER before he was admitted into surgery. May I speak with you about your husband's condition?

Katherine looked into the eyes of the doctor, sensing the need to be quiet and listen for a moment. Everything inside made her feel like an erupting volcano, but she realized that would not help Andrew or the medical staff working to save his life.

What is my husband’s condition doctor? Will he live?"

Please come with me Mrs. Schaeffer. After I brief you on your husband’s condition, I will take you to the waiting area outside of surgery.

Dr. Matthews led Katherine into a small room next to the chapel and began to explain the extent of the injuries Andrew sustained. As she stood silently listening, it was as if Dr. Matthews was speaking a foreign language. She heard certain words but most of what was said, sounded like gibberish.

Your husband has suffered a serious head trauma and it was necessary to relieve the cranial pressure to his brain. In addition he has a punctured right lung, several broken ribs, a cracked vertebrae to his spine, both legs were badly broken and his left leg may require amputation due to the loss of blood flow. An emergency splenectomy was necessary due to the laceration and damage to his spleen. We are doing everything possible at this time to save your husband’s life. I realize hearing all this is unsettling and I’m not trying to cause you any unnecessary stress but until he is out of surgery, I cannot give you a prognosis on his condition. What I will tell you is that if he survives surgery, his recovery will be a long and difficult one. He will need your love, support, encouragement and strength. Do you have any questions for me Mrs. Schaeffer?

There was finally a pause that somehow gave Katherine some momentary relief, but then everything the doctor said began stirring the anxiety within her again.

Is my husband going to live Dr. Matthews?

As I have indicated Mrs. Schaeffer, until he comes out of surgery, I just cannot say at this time. If you would like, I could have someone here at the hospital offer you some counseling. We also have clergy staff along with volunteers who are willing to pray for patients and family members.

Katherine almost broke into a hysterical laughter at the thought of someone praying for Andrew. Andrew’s father was a retired pastor. He always thought Andrew would join him in ministry, but something disillusioned Andrew years ago, and he would never discuss the reasons with anyone; not his father, mother or sister knew what changed in his life. There were instances when Katherine thought he would share the reasons with her, but Andrew would never speak about his life as a Christian. No matter who invited Andrew to church service, he would dismiss the thought with distain.

She decided to call his parents, she needed them now. They had always been supportive of her since her parents died so many years ago.

Doctor, I need to call Andrew’s parents.

One of the officers got their contact information and they are on the way to the hospital now.

As he spoke, an incoming text arrived on his cell. He read the message and then looked at Katherine.

Your husband's parents have arrived here. Would you like me to bring them here?

Katherine, felt what seemed like millions of emotions pouring out of her. She bolted from the room, running to the man and woman standing in the corridor. When Andrew’s mother turned and saw Katherine, her arms instinctively spread open to embrace her. Katherine seemed to fling herself into the arms of her mother-in-law.

Katherine, the policemen gave us the news, have you learned anything about Andrew’s condition?

All I know is that he is in surgery and his injuries were extensive.

Dr. Schaeffer placed his arms around Katherine and his wife. His voice was soft and reassuring as he spoke to them.

Let’s find a quiet place to sit, talk and pray. We’ll stay here and wait until we get some information on his condition.

He led them through the doors of the chapel. Katherine felt uneasiness as she entered realizing how long it had been since she even thought about church.

"I'm so afraid Dr. Schaeffer. What will I do if Andrew..."

She looked into his brown eyes, knowing she could not allow herself to even say the word. Somehow, his eyes revealed that he understood her doubts and fears.

"My child, we have nothing to fear. I trust God with my son's life. I believe he will live and not die!"

His words were filled with the confident years of a life characterized by faith. Katherine found a measure of hope and peace in his eyes. As they sat down, Andrew's mother held Katherine's hand while Dr. Schaeffer began to pray.

"Almighty God and Father, we your servants call upon You in the name of Jesus Christ our Eternal Redeemer..."

Short story by MTJ



Note: This post is linked to Spiritual Sundays (hosted by Charlotte).Spiritual Sunday'sNote: This post is linked to Spiritual Sundays (hosted by Charlotte).

Friday, November 23, 2012

A Good Life (Part 2)

Note: As a Christian, I have often found that life does not always follow a sequence which my mind has mapped out for me. Unexpected things occur which can potentially change my flow and direction. How I respond to these events and circumstances will determine and demonstrate my resolve to genuinely trust the Lord with all my heart, soul, mind and spirit. This fictional short story about a couple, Katherine and Andrew attempts to convey the message that even under the most difficult of circumstances, God loves and cares about me. I hope you like Part 2.

Katherine rushed down the stairs to open the front door. She looked in the mirror at her hair and makeup, silently approving her view. Upon opening the door, her cheerful smile changed into momentary confusion; then she realized why the men in uniform were there.

I’m very sorry. I probably set off the security alarm again by mistake. Everything here is fine, I’m sure you men have more important things to do than check on a false alarm.

The older policemen smiled uncomfortably and spoke.

We’re with the police department. Are you Katherine Schaeffer?

Yes I am but…

The officer interrupted Katherine…

Your husband is Andrew Schaeffer?

Yes, he is but…

I’m sorry to inform you Mrs. Schaeffer, but your husband was involved in an accident…

What did you say, an accident? When? Where? How did it happen? Is Andrew alright?

With each word, Katherine became more and more anxious. Panic began to take hold of her thoughts and words.

Where is my husband? I need to leave, he needs me!

The younger policeman attempted to calm Katherine.

We can drive you to the hospital Mrs. Schaeffer…

Yes, take me to my husband now!

Katherine sat in the back of the police car, so many thoughts streamed through her mind. What would she do without Andrew? Should she call his parents? What about his sister Maggie? She was unable to decide. She looked out the window, but was unable to recognize anything familiar. She noticed the gray color of the car seat and thought about the kind of people who typically rode in the back of a police car. The kind of people she had no similarities with.

The police car parked in front of St. Anne’s Emergency Room entrance. Katherine attempted to open the car door but was unable. She screamed…

Why won’t this door open?

The younger officer exited the squad car and opened the rear door. He was about to explain the reason the door wouldn’t open, but Katherine walked past him as though he didn’t even exist.

The older officer smiled and said…

Don’t take it personally son; we’re invisible to most people except the ones who break the law!

Katherine walked through the hospital doors, heading to the admittance desk. The nurse behind the desk smiled and asked.

How may I help you?

I’m here to see my husband. He was in an accident.

The nurse could hear the concern in Katherine’s shaky voice and spoke calmly.

What is your husband’s name?

Schaeffer, Andrew Schaeffer.

The nurse began scanning names of those admitted. Samuel, Sanders, Saxon, Schaeffer. She looked for a status on Andrew Schaeffer and looked up to Katherine.

Your husband is in surgery. Would you like to speak with the admitting physician?

Where is surgery? I want to go there and wait for my husband!

You’re not allowed into surgery Mrs. Schaeffer. Perhaps you should speak with one of the doctors.

The nurse picked up the telephone and spoke softly into it. She then hung up the phone and turned to Katherine.

Dr. Matthews will be here shortly to speak with you. You may have a seat if you like.

Frantic, Katherine cold not hold back the tears and emotions erupting inside.

I don’t need to have a seat! I want to be with my husband!

Short story by MTJ


Spiritual Sunday'sNote: This post is linked to Spiritual Sundays (hosted by Charlotte).

Friday, November 16, 2012

A Good Life

Note: I wanted to write a short story and had an idea, but instead, my writing took a completely different storyline. Perhaps instead of what I wanted to write, this is what my heart needed to write. This short story is evolving, even as I write this note to you. It will be written in parts simply because I anticipate that it has some length. It is unedited and that's pretty much how I write. Thoughts and words seem to flow from my right brain, enabling me to recognize that I have something to say. I hope you like Part 1.

Andrew and Katherine lived a good life. Their home was on a wooded lot near a beautiful creek. Katherine loved walking by the creek with Andrew holding her hand. She loved the summer nights best. Andrew had a good job which paid well, allowing them to enjoy the fruits of his labor. Often Andrew would barbeque on the deck and Katherine would be the good hostess to old friends from college.

One night as they sat on the deck under a moonlit sky, Andrew leaned back and said, “We have a good life honey!

Katherine smiled, nodding in agreement. She thought to herself, It is a good life!

The next day, having overslept, Andrew rushed to shower, shave, dress and drive to work. There was an important meeting he was invited to attend.

More like required to attend, he thought.

Day after day, he drove this same uneventful route to work. There was seldom any traffic until he turned on Bloomingdale Boulevard. On this particular morning, he forgot to look before turning. He didn’t consider this memory lapse important because he was in a hurry and he’d driven this same route many times before.

As he turned the car to the right, he heard a horn blaring. It was the sound of a huge eighteen wheeler proceeding through the intersection. As he looked over his left shoulder, he could see the grill of the truck, and then the loud sound of metal hitting metal. He thought to himself,

What a strange sound…

The impact of the truck was beyond resistance as its wheels rolled over the top of the car’s roof. Still conscious, Andrew could now hear the sound of breaking bones. Although the driver of the truck attempted to break, it was to no avail. As the truck roll over the car and stopped, bystanders began capturing the wreckage on their cell phones.

Someone called 911.

Within minutes, the police, paramedics and fire department arrived. They would need to pry the car open to remove Andrew from the crumpled mess of metal and flesh. Firemen began cutting through the cars' frame while paramedics attempted to look for vital signs from Andrew.

I’ve got a pulse, but it’s very faint!” exclaimed one paramedic.

“We’ve got to remove him from this car!” shouted another paramedic to the firemen.

Finally, the firemen cut enough of the metal away to pull Andrew from the wreckage. He was a collection of blood and broken bones, but he was still alive.

A policeman asked one of the paramedics to check for a wallet. Reaching inside Andrew's bloodied coat pocket, he retrieved a wallet and cell. The policeman wrote down his name and address:

Andrew Schaeffer, 1502 Mulberry Lane

He next checked the address book in his cell for any surnames matching Schaeffer. Finally, he found the name, Katherine Schaeffer, 806-297-4651

Just as the officer was about to call, his partner tapped him on the shoulder and suggested,

Sir, don’t you think it best if we drive over to talk with Ms. Schaeffer?

You’re probably right son.

It was a short drive to Mulberry Lane and yet there was nothing but silence between these two policemen. As they walked to the front door of 1502, the older policeman checked the name and address one last time before ringing the bell.

From the other side of the door, he could hear a woman’s voice politely reply,

Coming….

Short story by MTJ


Note: This post is linked to Spiritual Sundays (hosted by Charlotte).Spiritual Sunday's

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Old Tree

High on a hill stood an old oak tree with branches stretching out to the length of its height. Winter was rapidly approaching and all the leaves had fallen, leaving the tree bare. This tree had see many winters and although the cold wind revealed this would be another harsh winter, the old oak tree stood ready and prepared.

Not far from the tree stood a young oak sapling. It easily moved with the wind, but unlike the old oak, it retained most of its leaves. The young tree looked toward the old oak and asked.

[Young Tree] Aren’t you cold with no leaves to cover you?

The old oak smiled and said,
[Old Tree] Soon, I will sleep, and when I awake, spring will be here.

[Young Tree] I’m afraid to fall asleep. What if I don’t wake up?

[Old Tree] You mustn’t be afraid. This is what all trees must do. You too will go to sleep and when the spring arrives, you will awaken.

The young oak loved this old oak tree. He was one of many from the same line of oak trees that covered the hillside. The young tree knew the old tree was wise and could see that time had aged the old oak for many, many years. His thick trunk and deep roots had served him well with a long life. He wondered what the hillside would look like if this huge tree fell during a brutal winter storm. With each gust of cold air, his tiny branches shivered. Try as he could to hold them, his leaves began to slowly fall off.

[Young Tree] Daddy, I’m cold!

[Old Tree] Go to sleep my son.

[Young Tree] What if I don’t wake up?

[Old Tree] You’ll awaken to a beautiful, wonderful spring.

Somehow, those simple words from the old tree gave the young tree comfort and assurance. He began to let go of each remaining leaf, as one by one, they fell to the earth around him. He began to feel sleepy and just as his eyes were about to close, he heard the old tree whisper:

[Old Tree] I love you my child.

[Young Tree] I love you too daddy.

Short story written by MTJ


Spiritual Sunday'sNote: This post is linked to Spiritual Sundays (hosted by Charlotte).

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Why Pray?


Just Pray!

I’ve often heard others say...
Don’t just pray when you need God…pray always!
But what’s wrong with praying when you need God’s help?
Certainly, it’s good to establish a consistent prayer life…
    but many don’t have this in their everyday life.
Prayer is simply talking with God and to me,
    that means...
    Anytime is a good time to talk with God.
Some hesitate to pray because they may feel
    “it’s been too long”, or
    “God won’t hear them
But God listens all the time…
    he delights in hearing your prayers.
The bible says that, “God gives grace
To me, that means that He gives grace in such a sufficient amount, that I am not lacking.
So my answer to the question, “Why pray?” is:
    God hears.
Nike says, “Just do it!
I’ll say, “Just pray!

MTJ


Note: This post is linked to Spiritual Sundays (hosted by Charlotte).Spiritual Sunday's

Friday, October 19, 2012

What Do Your Eyes See?

Note:I have been on an extended break, waiting until I once again had something worthwhile to say. I visited Paris in the Spring, and thoroughly enjoyed it (to my surprise). During the summer, I worked tirelessly and accepted a new position with excitement and anticipation. This fall, I lost my home to forecloseure and although I didn't want it to happen, I have peace regarding this outcome. The memories will remain forever etched in my mind (unless I succumb to Alzheimer's, ha ha). Over the years, I've lost loved ones, I've lost friends, losing a thing is not as bad. As the season ebbs from fall to winter, I feel a sense of anticipation and excitement. I think it's easy to fall victim to feeling forsaken and alone, but God faithfully reminds me that He extends grace in such an unbelievable measure to His children. All I can say is that God is really quite awesome. I hope you are blessed by this poem I've written in praise to God.

A boy looks upward towards a clear blue sky.
He sees a few white fluffy clouds but,
    something convinces him that God is there.
His words are the words of a child, but...
    they are bolstered by conviction.
He doesn’t know how, but he believes he can.
There is no hesitation in his voice.
I will never leave my children

What causes a boy to make such a bold promise?
How can he see so far ahead on the journey of his life?
Would he forget those words over the years?

At the time he didn’t know the promise of God…
    “I will never leave you nor forsake you."
He didn’t know God…He couldn’t even see God’s promise,
    yet, he knew God would hear him.
It was something innate that gave him that assurance.
    But God saw him…
    God heard him…
    God smiled on him.
    God extended grace to him.

Any male can father a child,
    but God honors a man...
    when his children call him, “Daddy”.
It’s the only name they know him by.
They’ve grown up before his eyes...
    with families of their own…
    yet they still call him, “Daddy”.

Over the years, he has seen many things,
    but what he sees now,
    even with the poorest of vision…
    is God’s grace.
He sees how God’s lavishes His love upon all life.
His eyes have seen joy and pain…
Good times and sad times…
    victory and defeat…
    inspiration and discouragement…
    he has seen many things over the years…
    yet what he sees woven through all of it is grace.
He sees God’s grace.

What do you see when you look at your life?
You’re not that innocent little child anymore…
    What caused you to look to the heavens that first time?
    Though He is invisible,
    do you recognize His presence?

    What do your eyes see today?
    Do you see grace?

Poem by MTJ


Spiritual Sunday'sNote: This post is linked to Spiritual Sundays (hosted by Charlotte).

Friday, August 10, 2012

Washed Clean


Wash Me, image courtesy of Barbecue Master

I was raised by Southern women...
    my mother and grandmother.
These were “Old School” women;
    who had no need for process improvement.
    They had a method.
Now even though...
    there were modern conveniences
    like a clothes dryer,
    my grandmother preferred to use a clothes line...
    to dry our clothes.

As a boy...
    I hated taking a basket of clothes outside,
    and hanging each piece on a line.
I can still remember the scent of bleach in the sheets,
    and detergent in the clothes my brothers and I wore.
Back then, there was no scented detergent.
So if you smelled anything,
    it could only the hint of powdered detergent.
That's how I knew the clothes were “clean”.
But even though these clothes were clean,
    they would soon need to be washed again.

I believe God is “Old School” too,
    since He has no need for process improvement.
The bible says:
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8, NIV)
Even God Himself has said:
I the Lord do not change.” (Malachi 3:8, NIV)

Since God doesn't change,
    it's only natural that we become
    “agents of change”.
When did I change?
Who changed in me?
How have I changed?

Having been washed in the blood of the Lamb,
    I changed from darkness to light.
Even though I’ve been washed,
    I still need cleansing;
    just like those childhood clothes...
    I hung out to dry.

I don't need to be washed again (in the blood of the Lamb),
    but I do need to be cleansed.

You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you.” (John 15:3, NIV)
…Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word…” (Ephesians 5:25-26, NIV)
The Word of God acts as a kind of detergent,
    cleansing me through and through;
    my thoughts, my words, my behavior, my life...
    washed clean!

Poem by MTJ


Note: This post is linked to Spiritual Sundays (hosted by Charlotte).Spiritual Sunday's

Friday, August 3, 2012

You Bless Me Like Rain


Rain on Me, (image courtesy of cindrellaforever.blogspot.com)

You bless me like rain,
    drenching my life with Your love.
Drops of blessings all different and unique,
    watering every facet of my life.
No need for shelter from your blessings.
No, I flee my hiding place and I run to You.
My spiritual roots are saturated with Your love.
David said, "My cup overflows" (Psalm 23:5, NIV),
    and he's right!

When storms come, You send a rainbow!
When lightning strikes, You are my rod!
When strong winds blow, You are my shelter!

So rain on me Lord, as You see fit to do.
When Jesus washed the disciples feet,
    it was Peter who declared, "not just my feet..." (John 13:9)
You bless me with life eternal, but that wasn't enough.
You bless me with joy everlasting, but that wasn't enough.
You bless me with peace beyond all understanding,
    but that wasn't enough.
So rain on me Lord, with a love supreme.
You bless me like rain,
    showering Your love upon me!


I don't understand why You do this,
    but I realize You love me so much.
It's no wonder that John wrote:
"See what great love the Father
    has lavished on us...!
" (1 John 3:1, NIV)
I look at this love from every possible perspective,
    and yet I am humbled by such examples of
    concern, care, and consideration for me.
You watch over my life with the utmost concern!
You nurture me with unbridled care!
You light my path with loving consideration.

So rain on me Lord, as You see fit to do.
When Jesus washed the disciples feet,
    it was Peter who declared, "not my feet only"
You bless me with life eternal, but that wasn't enough.
You bless me with joy everlasting, but that wasn't enough.
You bless me with peace beyond all understanding,
    but that wasn't enough.
So rain on me Lord,
    with a love supreme.

Poem by MTJ


Spiritual Sunday'sNote: This post is linked to Spiritual Sundays (hosted by Charlotte).

Friday, July 27, 2012

Hello Jesus...

She sat alone in the dark…
All her hopes dashed.
A life spent in futile exercises of frustration.

Exhausted, she held no hope for reprieve.
What to do? What to do?
She thought, “Tell it to Jesus. Pray to Him who hears all.
What good will that do? He won’t hear me!
Even if He does hear, He won’t answer me!

She pondered her dilemma.
After all this time, will He listen?

Thoughts of childhood and church seeped in.
She remembered the nice old lady who taught the children stories from the bible.
What was that story which always caught my attention?
Was is Jacob? No. Jezebel? No. Job? Yes, that was it!
What was it his wife told him? Curse God and die!

As a little girl, she couldn’t understand why anyone would curse God!
But now, facing setback after setback, she understood how a person could give up; give up on life, give up on friends, give up on family, give up on everything, even God.

Again, she wondered…will He listen to me?

God blessed Job, but what could He do with my broken, tattered life?
What could I say that wouldn’t be rejected? What will I say that God wouldn’t dismiss?

She thought long and hard, but no answer was forthcoming.

That nice old lady would always have the children hold hands and pray. She thought, Back then as a little girl, I believed in prayer, but now, I don’t even know how to pray.

What was it she used to say to us?Prayer is nothing more than talking to God!

Again, she thought, That’s right, just try talking to God; perhaps He will listen! What do I have to lose?

In the quiet of her bedroom, she knelt down and clasped her hands together.

Softly, she slowly began to talk, Hello Jesus, I know it's been a long time, but….

Note: This post is linked to Spiritual Sundays (hosted by Charlotte and Ginger).Spiritual Sunday's

Friday, July 20, 2012

Who Do You See?


I will lift up my eyes to the hills--from whence comes my help?

Standing under a darkened sky,
    Alone with my thoughts.
My constant question is,
    What will you do?

I process this question…
    running it through every algorithm in my brain.
The results are still the same..
    Does not compute!

All I see...
    is the question.

One of the classic lines in the movie, The Matrix is:
    “It's the question that drives us…1
        but...
Is it the question or my own inability to see?
Have I becomes so consumed with the question,
    that I cannot see what lies before my eyes?


And then I hear a voice so clear…
    it resonates within me,
    in my spirit...
    in my mind...
    in my body.

Causing me to lift my eyes upward,
    to Him…

The voice echoes in my mind…
    “I will lift up my eyes to the hills--
    From whence comes my help?
    My help cometh from the Lord,
    which made heaven and earth.
2

All too often, I only see the question…
    instead of seeing The Lord.
But now, in this moment,
    under the canopy of the night’s dark sky.
You remind me once again…
    You are my help.

When will I understand…
    You are The Answer to the question.
Why do I forget to lift my eyes to You?
I smile, the smile of a child, filled with joy.
    the joy of knowing You.

I don’t know how You will help me,
    but I'm looking to You Lord.
I don’t know when You will help me,
    but I'm looking to You Lord.
I don’t know what You will do to help me,
    but I'm looking to You Lord.
I know my help comes from You.

I will look to You…
    trusting you to do what I cannot.
I will wait on You…
    to perform what concerns me.
I will smile at You
    for the assurance of Your love.
It’s You I see Lord…
    not the question.

Spiritual Sunday'sNote: This post is linked to Spiritual Sundays (hosted by Charlotte).
Footnotes:
  1. The Matrix, 1999, Warner Bros. Pictures; Directors: Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski; Writers: Andy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski. Watch video clip when Neo Meets Trinity
  2. Psalm 121:1-2, NKJ

Friday, July 13, 2012

Reprint: God Hears My Cry

Note: For some time now, I've thought of sharing a reprint of an earlier post which has been integral to my life as a Christian. I can remember so many instances when I asked myself:
"Is God listening? Does He hear me?"

What I have learned is that "He really is God!" This means that God has the capacity to not only hear me, but everyone else; all at the same time. I find this fact both awesome and facinating! So today, Friday the 13th, I am reprinting a post from last year. I do hope you find it worth reading.

God's Blessings to you.


My eyes cry a rain, image courtesy of my.opera.com

Most of us who are familiar with the life of David know he was a warrior and a king. We remember David as the shepherd boy who killed the giant Goliath. We remember the bond of brotherly love between David and Saul’s son Jonathan. We remember David as having a heart after God causing him to repent from the murder of Uriah the Hittite; we don’t think of David being fearful.

But there were times when even David was afraid.

David understood that there’s no shame in acknowledging my fears.

What makes you afraid?

The unknown causes fear. The things I’m unfamiliar with can cause fear to rise up in me.

I remember as a child, we lived in an apartment and the one window in this bedroom I shared with my brothers faced an interior brick wall of another apartment building. There was a space of about four square feet that ascended from the base of the buildings to the roof.
God hears my cry, image courtesy of markmallett.com
God Hears My Cry
Next to this window was a closet which my mother used to store her clothes. She did this because her bedroom had no closet. The closet door was never shut. I suppose it was due to the small size of the closet, and the amount of clothes hanging on the rack and the door hook, that made it difficult to shut.

It was during the night that I began to notice a stationary figure standing in front of that open closet door. This motionless figure stood there, tormenting me with fear. I would call for my mother asking if I could sleep with the light on but my pleas would fall on deaf ears. Both she and my grandmother would try to assure me that no one was in the room but as soon as they left, my tormentor returned. I became so afraid that sleep was impossible unless I used the covers as a cocoon. I began to imagine that each night, my tormentor would climb up the walls and through the window, standing there by the closet door, in the dark and silence; waiting for the right moment to do something terrible to me.

In the morning, my tormentor would be gone; his opportunity lost because I’d hidden myself under the covers. Each morning, I’d cautiously open the window, peering down to the ground below hoping my tormentor was somehow trapped; unable to escape. I was never able to see my tormentor during the day. As a child, I had not reached the point where my logic would override my imagination. It never occurred to me that during a full moon, this corridor of brick walls would illuminate with light, creating shadows that seemed to move as I peered from beneath the covers.

I was afraid because I saw someone who wasn’t supposed to be there; so I hid under the covers.

I didn’t know what to do, or whom to call for help.

One night, I needed to go to the bathroom, but there was my tormentor, standing there waiting for me to get up. I waited and waited, but my tormentor stood motionless in front of the door, silently watching me. Finally, I picked up a shoe, sat up in the bed and threw it as hard as I could. To my surprise, the shoe knocked my tormentor to the floor. I got up and walked cautiously over to the closet door to get a close glimpse of my tormentor. Standing there with a shoe in my hand, ready to beat my tormentor senselessly, I looked down on the floor and lying underneath my shoe was my mother’s black and white polka-dot silk blouse. This made no sense to me.

Where was my tormentor?

I picked up the blouse and hung it back on the door. It was then that I noticed something from the moonlight shining through the window. The blouse seemed to morph into something I'd seen many times before. Was this the hideous, frightening monstrous figure that tormented me for so many nights? I walked over to the bed, sat down and peered in the direction of the closet door. There was my tormentor again! I hurled my shoe, again knocking it to the floor. I ran over to catch a glimpse and lying there was my mother’s silk blouse.

My mother never asked me about the shoeprints on her blouse, and I never saw my tormentor again.

The things I’m unfamiliar with can cause fear to rise up in me.

Unfamiliarity with God may even cause me to fear Him.

David understood that even during his darkest fears, God hears his cry; David knew that God is on his side:

My enemies will retreat when I call to you for help. This I know: God is on my side!1

Then shall my enemies turn back in the day that I cry out; this I know, for God is for me.2

Then my enemies will turn back when I call for help. By this I will know that God is for me.3

When I cry unto thee, then shall mine enemies turn back: this I know; for God is for me.4

I think about how powerful, and alive those words are as they speak, resonating in my spirit:

"...God is for me."

Fear is a type of enemy. The bible says:

Hear My Prayer O God, image courtesy of faithquestfreefall.blogspot.com
For God did not give us a spirit of timidity (of cowardice, of craven and cringing and fawning fear), but [He has given us a spirit] of power and of love and of calm and well-balanced mind and discipline and self-control.5

God gave me three spiritual weapons to overcome my fears:
  1. The spirit of power, to face my fears.
  2. The spirit of love, to faithfully trust Him with my fears.
  3. The spirit of a well-balanced mind, to know He is greater than my fears.
My fears retreat because God is for me!

So, what do you think? With God on our side like this, how can we lose? If God didn't hesitate to put everything on the line for us, embracing our condition and exposing himself to the worst by sending his own Son, is there anything else he wouldn't gladly and freely do for us? And who would dare tangle with God by messing with one of God's chosen?6

Knowing who God is, and that He hears me means that my fears cannot harm me. God hears me when I cry to Him. As a child, lying in my bed, afraid of the dark, wishing for some light, my fear grew to be a monster-sized terror. I was alone. I didn’t know what was there, or who to call for help.

I’m not alone anymore. God is for me. Jesus is called, Immanuel, which means, God with us. He won’t ignore my cry; He hears my cry. Whatever fears lurk in the shadows of my life, I will call out to the Lord because I know He hears my cry.

Note: This post is linked to Spiritual Sundays (hosted by Charlotte and Ginger).Spiritual Sunday's
Footnotes:
  1. Psalm 56:9, NLTB
  2. Psalm 56:9, Amplified Bible
  3. Psalm 56:9, NIV
  4. Psalm 56:9, KJV
  5. 2 Timothy 1:7, Amplified Bible
  6. Romans 8:31, The Message Bible
References:
  1. The Ryrie Study Bible (New American Standard Version), Edited by Charles C. Ryrie, Moody Publishers, Chicago, Illinois, ISBN 0-8024-8920-6
  2. The Amplified Bible, by The Lockman Foundation, Zondervan Bible Publishers, Grand Rapids, Michigan, ISBN-13: 978-0310951414
  3. King James Version, The Crusade Analytical Study Edition, Crusade Bible Publishers, Inc., PO Box 90011, Nashville, Tennessee 37209
  4. The Message Bible, by Eugene H. Peterson, NavPress Publishing Group, Colorado Springs, CO, ISBN-13: 978-1600060250
  5. The NIV Study Bible, Edited by Kenneth Barker, Donald Burdick, John Stek, Walter Wessel and Ronald Youngblood, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49530, USA
  6. The New Living Translation Bible, by Tyndale Charitable Trust, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois, ISBN-13: 978-0842384896
  7. Matthew Henry's Commentary, McDonald Publishing Company, McLean, Virginia 22101, ISBN 0-917006-21-6

Friday, July 6, 2012

Life!

Life
Life in Christ, (image courtesy of Mudpreacher.org)

What is life?
Is it fulfilling to you?
Is it joy unspeakable?
Is it something you do?

Does it define your purpose?
Does it set you free?
Do you have enough?
Are you all you can be?

How do you see life?
Is it really God’s gift?
Is it God’s measured love?
That is able to lift?

Lift me from sin…
Lift me from shame…
Lift me from heartache…
Lift me from pain.

Life may not lift me…
    from all of my shame.
I may have some heartaches…
I may endure pain.

But life is worth it all.
It’s the gift that God gives.
He makes me brand new…
    so I'm able to live.

Life is gratitude.
Life is worth living.
Life is the peace of God.
Life is the joy in giving.

Life gives thanks…
    to God up above.
Life is the joy…
    for His immeasurable love!
Poem by MTJ

Spiritual Sunday'sNote: This post is linked to Spiritual Sundays (hosted by Charlotte).

Friday, June 29, 2012

I'm Waiting

I'm Waiting
I'm Waiting on The Lord

I’m waiting…
For a word from you. Just a hint will do, because...
    I'm waiting.
There is no hurry, no worries, no rush, because...
    I'm waiting.
When you're ready, you will let me know, because..
    You know I'm waiting.

You said, “Wait...”, and so I do.
You said, “I would run and not get weary...
    I'm not weary Lord.
If I ask, will You not answer me?
    I know You will!
So You see, that's why...
    I'm waiting.

Who are they that wait?
Those who need not ask the question..
    “How long Lord, How long?
They who wait are patient.
I may not see the road ahead...
    but I know You've made a way,
    when there was no way!

That is why...
    I'm waiting.

It may be an unpaved road, but it's my road...
    bulldozed by Your word.
It may be a steep climb, but I have the faith...
    to ascend this height!

It may be the road less traveled by others...
    but I know it leads to You.
I may get stuck in the mud some time, but
    I will trust You to guide me through.
That is why...
    I'm waiting.

While some may flee at the first sign of terror,
    I'll stand firm and wait.
When the doctor says, “There is no cure”,
    I'm waiting for Your prognosis.
When the lawyer says, “You have no case”,
    I'll wait for Your vindication.
When the job says, “You've been laid off!”,
    Send me to that ripe harvest field.
When the bank says, “We're seizing your home!”,
    I have a place prepared by You.
You see Lord, I've learned that it's best...
    to wait on You.

Some have asked me:
    “Why do you wait for someone you cannot see?
    I say,
    “Eyes have not seen the goodness of the Lord”.
Others may ask:
    “Why wait for words that are not spoken?
    I say,
    “Ears cannot hear the words,Peace be still’”
Still others ask:
    “Why wait when the table is bare?
    I say,
    “Who will taste and see that the Lord is good?
Others may mock, but I will glory in the Lord!
That is why...
    I'm waiting.

Poem by MTJ

Note: This post is linked to Spiritual Sundays (hosted by Charlotte).Spiritual Sunday's

Friday, June 22, 2012

It Was Christ!

It Was Christ!
It Was Christ!

Who was it,
    that heard you crying that night?

Who was it,
    that brought you into the light?

Who was it,
    who gave you clarity of sight?

My friend…
    it was Christ!


Who was it,
    who carried your rugged cross?

Who didn’t forsake you,
    when all seemed lost?

Who was it,
    who willingly paid the cost?

My friend…
    it was Christ!


It was Christ,
    who hung and died for you!

It was Christ,
    who rose on the third day too!

It was Christ,
    who began new life in you.

That I’m able to say,
    “God’s love is true!

Who sees,
    the plight of the single mother?

Who feels,
    the pain of a fallen brother?

Who hears,
    your cries like no other?

My friend…
    it was Christ!


It was Christ,
    who hung and died for you!

It was Christ,
    who rose on the third day too!

It was Christ,
    who began new life in you.

That I’m able to say,
    “God’s love is true!

Poem by MTJ

Spiritual Sunday'sNote: This post is linked to Spiritual Sundays (hosted by Charlotte).

Friday, June 15, 2012

I'm a Witness!

I'm a Witness
I'm a Witness!

Born in a manger…
    to Mary, a virgin.
Holy Child…
    of God The Father.
Angels rejoice,
    wise men heard them.
Bethlehem…
    is where they found Him.
Some have called it, a fiction story.
The Son of God in all His Glory
But let me tell you this…
    He is Lord and,
    I’m a witness!!!

Jesus stood up in the temple,
Quoting scriptures to the elders.
Who is this they asked each other?
Speaking like the Son of God!
Healing sick,
    raising the dead.
Performing miracles,
    as the...prophets said.
This ain’t just...
    a made-up story.
Of some guy...looking for glory.
Cause I can tell you this…
    He is Christ…
    and I’m a witness!!!

He walked Golgotha’s lonely road,
    carrying the cross...
    of our heavy load.
He hung up on that lonely tree,
    bearing the sins of you and me.
He died, but then He rose again,
    defeating death and with it sin.
You may think...
    it’s a lovely story,
    of Jesus Christ and Heavenly glory.
I’m here to tell you this…
    He is Lord…
    and I’m a witness!!!

Jesus rose...
    from the grave.
He rose from where...
    His body laid.
He did it just...
    like He said.
One day He’ll judge...
    the living and dead.
All who stand before Him will see,
    Christ will reign through eternity.
Then you’ll know…
    this ain’t no story.
When Jesus appears in all His glory.
I’ve got to tell you this…
    that I’m a living witness!!!
Poem by MTJ

Note: This post is linked to Spiritual Sundays (hosted by Charlotte).Spiritual Sunday's