OH GOD!

© Jeanne E Webster- All Rights Reserved

Scene 1

Mary and Joseph lost track of their son, Jesus, a mere 12 year-old, on the way home from their temple visit in Jerusalem. Frantically searching for three days, they found him back in the temple in deep discourse with the rabbis. Quite distraught, they inquired why he had gone off on his own.

“…I must be about my Father’s business.” LUKE 2:49

Scene 2

While attending a wedding in Cana of Galilee, Jesus’ mother asked him to provide the guests with more wine before the barrel ran dry. “…mine hour is not yet come.” JOHN 2:4

Scene 3

Many years later, a Passover meal has been prepared in an upper room for Jesus and his disciples. Women possibly were present to facilitate the meal, including his mother. She had perhaps bid him “Shalom, my son” as he left the upper room, heading towards his destiny awaiting him in the garden of Gethsemane and later at Golgotha.
Did she remember his words as a child? “…I must be about my Father’s business.” Did she know to some extent what might lie ahead for her son? “…MINE HOUR IS NOT YET COME.” Is this his hour? Mary’s heart and spirit must have shuddered as she trudged home that evening.

Scene 4

A few hours later Jesus was standing before the high priest, arrested after being betrayed by Judas. His hour had come. LUKE 22:15-22, JOHN 18:1-14

Agonizing hours later, amongst the crowds, Mary catches a glimpse of a man struggling to carry a wooden beam that is strapped to his shoulders. This is surely a criminal off to his death on the hill called Golgotha. Surely.  No…wait!  THAT IS MY SON!

He is drenched with blood and sweat, glistening in the hot sun as it streaks down his brow, the remainder of his body one dark red mass. She frantically pushes and shoves those that separate them, but he is still far off. The din from the masses is deafening.

“Crucify him! Crucify him!” “We want Barabbas!”

Scene 5

Breathless and exhausted, Mary scrambles up the hill to the cross that holds her son with a mere three nails. Grabbing the cross to catch her balance, she looks up, trying to make eye contact with her son, one last time. HIS HOUR HAS COME!

The brutal leather-thronged whip has done its god-forsaken work on his head, shoulders and back. A torn mass of bleeding arteries and shredded muscles hang limply from that rugged cross. “Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother…” JOHN 19:25

Scene 6

The trial was over, the long agonizing walk to Golgotha concluded, the torture of an innocent man, the Son of God, was almost finished. The King of the Jews had been dethroned. Naked, stripped of all his glory and lifted up for all to see, Jesus looked down, searching. Through blood streaked eyes and excruciating pain, he saw his mother standing by. When Jesus therefore saw her, He said “Woman, behold your Son!” JOHN 19:26

For a few moments, close your eyes and envision this event: a dying son gasping for a glimpse of his mother…a mother in tears and overwhelming heartbreak, peering through the snarled, bloodied hair of her son, trying desperately to make eye contact.

“It is finished.” Bowing his head he gave up the ghost. John 19:30
(jew)

Hey Judas!


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© Jeanne E Webster   All rights reserved

Envision this:

While going about your daily business two thousand years ago, a certain man ambled by and addressed you with sound authority. You had recently heard bits of rumors about him… he is a prophet, a great teacher, and a healer. He invited you to join him and his group of followers, and perhaps sensing something unique about him, you decided to follow him too.

You lived, ate, walked, talked, slept and pondered with him and his men. He told you about the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and the Ten Commandments. He explained some of the mysteries of scripture, cured diseases, resurrected people from the dead, and told you how to live a pleasing life for God.

How mesmerizing he was explaining how to love people and love God, warned you of false prophets, calmed your fears, forgave your sins and taught you how to pray. Gradually your admiration for this man grew into a secret desire for some of his power.

One day he called you and his other disciples around him and chose twelve to be his closest apostles. You were one of the twelve! What an honor! What glory! To be one of his inner circle! That’s a choice position! You must really be someone special!

Soon after this event, he gave you and the others real POWER: power to heal the sick, make the blind to see, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons and raise the dead. WOW! He told you to go to the cities where the Jews lived and tell them “the kingdom is at hand!

Repent!” Pretty heavy stuff here! Pretty heady too!

For three years, you and the other disciples performed miracles and followed this man. He took you and the others aside one day and asked, “Who do men say that I am?”

One of your group answered, “Elijah!”

“A great prophet!” said another.

“John the Baptist!” answered another.

Peter spoke up, “You are the Christ, the Son of God!”

The Messiah?! The Son of God?! Just think of that! You have seen, felt, and experienced the Messiah!

You saw him perform thousands of miracles, weep at the loss of a friend, have compassion on the poor, the children, and sinners. What honor, what pleasure, what glory and power and elation filled your spirit. You not only witnessed the Messiah and His works down here on earth, you were among His special disciples. That was something to write home about.

Then…now that your head is puffed way up out of proportion, and your heart is filled with pride…then…this Man says something that immediately bursts your bubble. The hot air is still hissing from your big balloon when he continued, “I must suffer many things in the days ahead…the elders and chief priests and scribes are going to reject me…I will be killed…and after three days I will rise again.”

Your mind spun out of control, the thoughts flashed by one after another with lightning speed. WHAT? He just said the elder, chief priests and scribes did not believe He is Messiah. They are going to kill Him? He will rise again in three days?

Peter spoke out, “Lord, You don’t have to go through all that. We’ll fight for You. I’ll lay down my life for You! Don’t say things like that!”You didn’t want to hear things like that either.

The Master rebuked Peter and called him, “Satan!” He continued, “Whoever saves his life will lose it but he who loses his life for My sake will save it. Don’t be ashamed of Me because if you do, I’ll be ashamed of you when I come again to judge you.”

Over the next few days or weeks He warned you of more things to come. “Don’t be deceived, for many will come in My name. There’ll be wars, earthquakes, famines and lots of trouble. You’ll be delivered up to councils, be beaten and brought up on trial before rulers and kings. You’ll be hated by all men because of Me. But endure, be faithful and you will be saved.”

Passover arrived. You joined the others in an upper room, had a good meal, good discussions and maybe got a little drowsy when you suddenly perked up at the voice of Jesus. “One of you is going to betray Me!”

That took your drowsiness away! “Betray You, Lord? Me?”

Jesus answered, “He that dips his hand in this dish with Me, that’s who it is. Woe to the man by whom I am betrayed! It’d been better if he would have never been born!”

You slowly rose from your resting place, walked over to Jesus and asked, “Master…is it I?”

He looked up at you and replied, “Yes, you have said it.”

You immediately left the room. Meeting with the chief priests and scribes later, you told them, “Jesus and His disciples will be in the garden of Gethsemane tonight. Go get Him! I’ll greet the prophet with a kiss.”

That evening you approached the garden, followed by the priests, scribes and soldiers from the temple. Walking over to Jesus you proclaimed, “Hail Master!” You leaned forward and kissed Him on His right cheek. He peered into your eyes and asked, “Friend, why did you come here?”

Later, after realizing your mistake, you had second thoughts about this event. You didn’t know it would go this far. You gave the money back. Jesus didn’t have to be crucified. “Why don’t they stop this awful nonsense?!” But it is out of your hands now.

Dejected, you found a rope, put a noose in it and prepared to end your misery. Seconds before you flung yourself off the tree branch, you vividly saw again your Master’s face and hear His last words to you, “Friend, why did you come here?” Thus was the fate of Judas Iscariot.

It might be that Jesus asks us that question today. “Friend, why do you come to Me?” Is it for the glory, the power, the esteem, the need to feel better than others? Or do our hearts reply, “Whoever saves his life will lose it but he who loses his life will save it.”

“Don’t be ashamed of me because if you do, I’ll be ashamed of you when I come again to judge you.”

Do we truly mean, as the old hymn so eloquently pleads:

Just as I am without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me;
And that Thou bidd’st me come to Thee
O Lamb of God…I come…I come.
Just as I am Thou wilt receive,
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve.
Because Thy promise…I believe!
O Lamb of God…I come…I come.
(Just as I am, written by Charlotte Elliott, 1789-1871)

My Sacred Refuge

 

 

© Jeanne E Webster. All rights reserved and observed

 

Psalm 55:8 (KJV) “I would hasten my escape from the windy storm and tempest.”

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Everyone occasionally needs a place to escape the cares of this world, be it a quiet room, a shed, a nook in the barn, a fence post, or a piece of land where nothing intrudes into one’s thoughts and feelings. The burdens of the soul shall melt away whenever one slips into this serene, sacred realm.

For many a year, my place of refuge was a tiny chunk of land resting beside the Flint River. It was merely half an acre, but my, what a busy patch of green!

Squirrels scurried here and there burying their nuts for the long cold winters while frolicking rabbits waltzed around the grove of prickly crabapple trees. Gorging on bugs and grubs by the thousands, fat and sassy moles punched the rich, dark loam upward into long tunnels crisscrossing the grassy field. Various ducks and geese nestled alongside the banks of the rippling, cool water, displaying their beauty and serenity, whereas the feisty kingfishers zoomed overhead, diving into the murky river for their catch of the day. In the early morning dew, occasionally a deer would come tiptoeing along the lower bank, tenderly chomping fallen acorns.

Whenever this idyllic wonderland beckoned to my sagging spirit, I’d mosey on down and head for a special old tree alongside the riverbank. Snuggling down next to its weather worn trunk, I’d silently sit for a while and spiritually blend in with the land.

I sensed the spirit of the trees and the grass, the leaves and the dirt, the river and the animals, the wind and the rain, the snow, the fog, and the mist.

Within my soul came healing as I rested and communed with God. I’d tell Him all my troubles, my needs and sins, mention folks in need of prayer, praise Him for all His blessings, and thank Him for His grace. Sighing softly as the tenseness within my weary body slowly ebbed away, my spirit was restored, fully refreshed and strengthened to face anew the matters at hand.

Thank you, Father, for that mystical plot of land that served so faithfully as my refuge many years ago. Those memories shall be treasured forever.

Shalom

Between Heaven and Hell There’s a Cross

 

 

© Jeanne E Webster.  All rights reserved

 

Luke 12:51-53 “Do you think that I have come to bring peace on earth? I tell you, No, rather division. From now on there will be five in one household divided, three against two and two against three. The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”

A daughter accepts Christ as her Savior and her life changes. She begins to exhibit characteristics of a Christian, and her family is taken aback. Soon they are estranged and the costs begin to mount up for the girl. She suffers hateful accusations meant to prompt a change in her faithfulness to Christ.

“Well, hello Miss Goody Two shoes!”

“Who do you think you are?”

“You’re not fun anymore.”

“We’re not good enough for you anymore?”

“You’ve stopped swearing.”

“Gee, you’re as phony as a two-dollar bill.”

“You’re not my daughter anymore!”

“Don’t cram that “Jesus stuff” down our throats.”

“You’re not welcome here till you change back to your old self.”

“You can go to hell for all we care!”

.Our Lord warned us that we would be scorned, hated and abused, but our reward is heavenly.

Luke 9: 26 “If any man will follow me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily. Whoever will save his life shall lose it, but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, will save it. What’s your reward if you gain the whole world and lose your soul?”

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I’d rather have Jesus than silver or gold;

I’d rather be His than have riches untold;

I’d rather have Jesus than houses or lands;

I’d rather be led by His nail-pierced hand

 

Refrain:

Than to be the king of a vast domain

And be held in sin’s dread sway;

I’d rather have Jesus than anything

This world affords today.

 

I’d rather have Jesus than men’s applause;

I’d rather be faithful to His dear cause;

I’d rather have Jesus than worldwide fame;

I’d rather be true to His holy name.

 

He’s fairer than lilies of rarest bloom;

He’s sweeter than honey from out the comb;

He’s all that my hungering spirit needs;

I’d rather have Jesus and let Him lead.

~Rhea F. Miller, 1922

 

Change is a’coming!

 

© Jeanne E Webster

Happy New Year! A new year is certain to bring forth change, in everything and within all of us. So I thought of writing a post about new creatures.

The newest things on this earth are babies. We even have a contest to award the parents of the baby born closest to the yearly changeover, the New Year’s baby! Sometimes folks have tried to hurry their unborn entry along or delay the birth to match the new time, all to maintain control over circumstances.

We all can look back and remember the scenario of checking out the fingers and toes of our newly born beautiful babies. The digits are counted audibly, first the fingers than the toes. A big sigh of relief is breathed as the babe is given the thumbs up signal. All is well.

2 Cor. 5: Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature. Old things are passed away and all things become new.

Eph. 4:24-32 and that you put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness…

God has a way of checking out his reborns, ones born of Christ. He looks for signs of change within our spirits. All corruptness or deceitful lusts must leave, as we daily walk with our Lord. A new man will be constantly renewed in the spirit of the mind. Speaking truth replaces lying; sinful anger is replaced by righteous indignation; theft is replaced by honest work; foul language is replace by gracious speech; resentment and wrath give way to kindness and forgiveness.

The old man has gone—Christ has come!

O Spread the Good News!

© Jeanne E Webster.  All rights reserved

Excited faces glowed as the shepherd boys scurried to the place where the angels had told them a babe had been born.  This babe was Christ the Lord, the Savior of the world.   I wonder what their thoughts were as they approached the manger where this babe lay.  I’ve tried to plunk myself into their place as they stood looking upon this newly born baby.  How could this little one be the Savior, the Christ?   He’s just a plain baby.  No, the angels had told them this was Christ the Lord.  A Savior?  Yes!

What awe must have filled their hearts!  Did they merely nod to Mary and Joseph, or did they tell them the angels’ story?   Did they bow low as they walked to the manger? Did they reach in and touch his hand?  Did they gaze into the eyes of their Lord in wonder? Did the Babe smile at their bewildered stares?  Oh, my…the wonder of it all.  I just can’t take it in.

There is a song that filled my spirit as I pondered all this:   Heaven Came Down and Glory Filled My Soul.  I know this melody is meant for repentance and redeeming grace, but I think my heart would have felt these words as I looked down upon this baby boy in wonderment, trying to take it all in… especially the first verse and beginning of the chorus.

“O what a wonderful, wonderful day – day I will never forget;
After I’d wandered in darkness away, Jesus my Savior I met.
O what a tender, compassionate friend – He met the need of my heart;
Shadows dispelling, With joy I am telling, He made all the darkness depart.

Heaven came down and glory filled my soul! ”

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I love Christmas!  It’s the grandest birthday party we’ll ever attend!

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace and goodwill to mankind. 

Amen”

Sweet Baby Moment

© Jeanne E Webster. All rights reserved and observed.

Luke 2:25-33 “And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Ghost was upon him.

And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. And he came by the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law.

Then took he him up in his arms and blessed God and said, “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word. For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people: a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.”

And Joseph and his mother marveled at those things which were spoken of him.

This passage of scripture is so fragrant with God’s outpouring of blessings upon mankind. Simeon, an old man and mere servant of God, devoted to Him in all his ways, went to the temple after the Holy Spirit had beckoned to him. He was told that someday he would see the Christ, the Messiah, before he died.

Was this the time?

Can you imagine the heart of this devoted servant straining to keep up with the flow of excitement surging through his veins? The Holy Spirit called; he responded. He was the right man at the right place at the right time. He would be the one to reveal the prophecy that Jesus’ significance would extend even to the Gentiles.

Also guided to the temple that very same hour were the parents of Jesus. Joseph and Mary were there to dedicate their firstborn son to the Lord. It was the customary law, along with offering a sacrifice of two turtledoves.

Simeon took the babe in his arms and blessed God!

This is the sweet part. . . holding baby Jesus in his arms. I have held many babies in my arms, and it was a rich blessing to snuggle each one of them. But–the Son of God, the Messiah, the Prince of Peace? How the arms must have trembled, the knees must have weakened; the head must have grown faint.

Yet. . . yet, Simeon raised his voice and said, “Lord, let me depart in peace now, for I have seen our salvation. He shall be a light to the Gentiles and the glory to your people Israel.”

No wonder Joseph and Mary marveled. Simeon was speaking about their firstborn son! One of the sweetest moments in history, folks.

Shalom