Posts Tagged ‘God’

Twilight – Slaughter at Golgotha

The Passion of Benny Hill

“Your lamb shall be without blemish, a male of the first year. You may take it from the sheep or from the goats. Now you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month. Then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it at twilight.” Exodus 12:5–6

Death hung in the air, as the Passover lamb was nailed to the cross. The day drew to its pinnacle, as mourners and mockers assembled to see the unblemished One slaughtered. Beaten beyond recognition, blood poured from His wounds. Just a few days earlier, they welcomed Jesus into their homes, and praised Him in the streets as their king, crying, “Hosanna! Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!”  Now, they spit and curse and revile Him.

In preperation of the Feast of Unleavened Bread and the Passover, the people purged out the leaven in their homes. They prepared the Seder and partook of bitter herbs (to remind them of the bitterness they endured as slaves in Egypt),  and ate unleavened bread (to remind them of the freedom they received leaving Egypt, from the bread of affliction they used to taste daily). They ate the flesh of the Passover lamb and burned its remains.

Symbolic to this ritual, was Jesus, the Bread of Life and the Lamb of the Passover, hanging on a tree (cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree), tasting the bitterness of God’s wrath. As the sins of the world burned through Christ’s body, He was purged of the old leaven (sins of man). When Jesus said, “It is finished,” He was taken down from the cross and placed in the tomb, just at the Jews put away the “aphikomen,” the larger piece of Matzah that was broken in two and hid for the children to find at the closing of the Seder meal.

So far it doesn’t seem like a “Good Friday.” But “Son”day is on its way…

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Cross-Pollination (by Sherrie Ashcraft)

Anyone who’s been to my house anytime from spring through fall knows that I love to garden. When we moved here six years ago, my flowerbed space was filled with waist-high weeds (which would be shoulder-high on most of you!)

Sherrie Ashcraft

Though it was hard to envision what could be, I knew I had to start by pulling all those weeds. It was an impossible task, but since when did I, Super Garden Woman, give in to impossibility? I donned my cape (er, I mean my dust mask) and braved the dangers of hay fever to bring some order to the jungle. It took a couple of years, but by the second year I had more flowers blooming than weeds, and thus deemed the project a success.

Now, you can start a flower garden from seeds, or from having a disobedient car that won’t drive past a nursery without turning in, but the best way to increase your blooms is by cross-pollination. That doesn’t mean that you frown at your flowers and scare them into producing more, but that the pollen from one plant is transferred to a different plant. Flowers are sexual beings, and the male pollen on the anther of one flower needs to be moved to the female stigma of another flower. This is necessary in the fertilization process of flowers.

So how does this happen? It doesn’t take a moonlit night or quiet, romantic music. Sometimes the force of the wind can carry the pollen from one flower to another. God also designed it so that butterflies, bees, hummingbirds, and even flies are involved in the process, though they don’t even realize it. They’re just busy going about their normal, daily routine of trying to get food. In their quest for their favorite nectar buried within the flower, they unintentionally rub against the pollen-producing stamen, getting pollen stuck to their body. By moving on to another flower, a portion of the pollen rubs off their body and onto the next plant’s stigma. It makes for new, strong flowers.

At this time of year, with Easter on Sunday, our thoughts naturally focus on the cross. As Christians, we realize that it is central to our belief in the saving power of Christ. The cross and resurrection are what brings us salvation, freedom from the power of sin, and the assurance of spending eternity in heaven. But we’re not supposed to keep that news to ourselves–we need to have cross-pollination. The truth we have must be carried to another person in order for the gospel to spread.

Just as pollen can be spread by a gentle breeze, so too can the word of God be spread by the Holy Spirit, which is often represented by wind in the Bible. But God also uses us to carry out His rooting of a new life in another person. Just like the insects He uses to fertilize different plants, we may be going about our daily routine, not aware of how God is using us. As we feed on the nectar of the Word of God, we can’t help but have it “stick” to us. As we interact with other people around us, God’s love, peace, joy, etc. also rub off on them. We are pollinating other people with the power of the cross, fertilizing the work God is doing in their lives.

So the next time you’re out working in your garden and you see a big bumble bee cruising in and out of flowers or notice pollen floating in the air, just remember that God has called you to be a cross-pollinator too. The message of the cross of Christ is the life-giving pollen for our world.

*You can read more of Sherrie’s writing at:  sherrieashcraft.blogspot.com

No Looking Back

But Jesus told him, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.” Luke 9:62 NLT

People working with cattle and plough in Gorj ...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Cultivating Thought:

Worldly cares distract us from fully committing to God. Jesus knows the hearts of men and their excuses for not following Him (Luke 9:57-62). He used the example of plowing to illustrate the qualifications needed to be a kingdom disciple.

In Jesus’ time, the typical plow was pulled by oxen. If the person breaking the ground looked back while steering, it would inevitably turn the blade in the wrong direction, thus creating a crooked furrow. If the rows curved, they would waste space and be unable to plant to their advantage.

When we allow disturbances to take precedence over our duty to God, they hinder us from producing fruitful work. It is then that we find ourselves heading in an undesirable way of life (or even in circles). It takes focus and follow through to plot and plow when and where God assigns us. Jesus knew the urgency of preparation, because the harvest was near.

Prayer:

God of discipleship, thank You for Your example through Jesus. Please guide  me to better plot out the time You have given me. I now bury all excuses and cast my gaze before me, fully committing to glorify You, as You prepare my heart for harvest. In Jesus name, amen.

Preparing the Soil

Plowing with a John Deere tractor and a Kverne...

Plowing (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I said, ‘Plant the good seeds of righteousness, and you will harvest a crop of my love. Plow up the hard ground of your hearts, for now is the time to seek the Lord, that he may come and shower righteousness upon you.’  Hosea 10:12 NLT

Cultivating Thought:

Plowing hard ground is crucial for casting out old roots and making the soil fertile for planting. Likewise, repentance softens the heart, causing it to draw in nutrients of God’s word.

When we choose to live within the parameters of God’s precepts,  He releases showers of blessing upon us, watering our offered seed. And as we allow the Holy Spirit to work the soil of our lives daily, He will turn over those unholy dirt clods and make our hearts pliable for producing godly fruit.

Prayer:

God of Preperation, please cultivate in me a plant-able heart. Break up the fallow ground of unrighteousness that keeps me from producing a healthy crop of right living. In Jesus name, amen.

Quest for Better Health

Personal Training at a Gym - Cable Crossover

Image via Wikipedia

“It’s the eye of the tiger, it’s the thrill of the fight, rising up to the challenge of our rival, and the last known survivor stalks his prey in the night, and he’s watching us all with the eye of the tiger…”

As the Survivor song boomed down through the speakers, I intensified my workout. The clank of the weights tapping the stack and then releasing, completed my set. I was feeling pretty good after my 15 minute weight session. Grabbing my bottle of water, I gulped down a small stream of wet heaven and proceeded to the stationary bike, to ride for 30 minutes.

A year ago I was practically flat on my back in bed, with sciatica. Today I am a regular attendee of Vision Quest gym, exercising almost daily. Since I started two weeks ago, I have worked out with weights and cardio. I hope to add some light load free weights to my routine, soon.

I credit my health to God, for directing my path to this fitness center. And with my personal trainer (Patricia) helping me, I am finding the right routine to relieve my back pain. Although it hasn’t been a total walk in the park, I like the fact that I sleep better and am not sore or in constant pain. I can really feel the difference! My chiropractor also noticed the difference during my last adjustment. He said my body wasn’t moving as much, because it didn’t need to. That was the best check up in the past year! What an exciting thing to hear!

As I look forward to throwing off much needed body mass and adding muscle, I am setting some goals for this New Year. First of all, I am going to lose 40lbs and keep it off, and secondly I am going to start running again (leisurely). It may take me the good part of the year, but I am determined to press through and make it to the finish line.

“I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” –Phillipians 3:14