Mirror Mirror on the Wall


©Jeanne E Webster All rights reserved

 

“The self-seeking soul is a robber, for he steals from God that which belongs to Him and takes for himself that which belongs to others. Not only does self-seeking carry on its devilish work out in the world but also in the gatherings of religious people, in the house of the righteous, even in the hearts of those who desire to follow the unselfish Jesus. It is self-seeking when one desires to appear more pious than others, to pray more beautifully than others, when one always wants to have the advantage for oneself. But the scriptures say, “Cursed be the deceiver.”  Malachi 1:14 K.J.V.   ~G. Steinberger from Footprints

 

After reading and deeply gleaning from old Malachi, I must admit I have been and still am at times, A DECEIVER! Meditate on Malachi 1:6-14 and see what you find within your spirit. Are you a deceiver? Think about that.

You’d think I would have gotten over my self by now, being a Christian for over half a century. Are you over your self now, my Christian friend? Let me warn you; it’s all too easy to answer, “Yes.”

I ploughed through my motive file and polished it up with all the honesty I could muster… and saw the real ME. I was shocked and ashamed, for SELF had deceived me. My motives were the clear indicators, the defining marks. I realize I need some soul therapy, some deep-down soul cleansing. Like that old song, “I’m gonna wash that man right outta my hair…” Well, I’m gonna wash that self right outta my soul.

Oops, wrong again. I can’t rid my spirit of selfishness, but I know who can: Jesus Christ, my Lord and King. There’s a tiny bit of selfishness in this article I’m writing right now. I know it. I feel it. I have no need to boast, except in the Lord Jesus. In Him I will live and breathe throughout all eternity.

Shalom

(photo from Hackernoon.com)

Hope for Shattered Spirits

 

Lamentations 3:21-31

© Jeanne E Webster. All rights reserved

Jeremiah wrote Lamentations (Tears/Wailings in Greek) after personally witnessing the downfall of Judah and the capture of Jerusalem. As his pen so vividly illustrates, His people suffered tragically. God’s fierce judgment crushed them because of their total disregard for His law.

No wonder Jeremiah was called the weeping prophet. Broken in heart and spirit, he grieved over this horrific devastation and urged the people to repent of their sins.

As I read this scripture, I imagine witnessing the breakdown of the present day Church!

Picture every vestige and denomination– disgraced beyond imagination and completely broken down because of our sins and idolatry. Reflection would thoroughly rupture every true Christian spirit.  Revival time would be soon upon us; the old-time tent meetings would spread from shore to shore.

I hope and pray we will realize the need to turn our hearts back to God before His wrath is nigh at our door. Lord, have compassion on us as we harken to Christ’s Spirit.  

The Jewish people read Lamentations every year on the commemoration date of the temple’s destruction. Integrating this scriptural reading into our Lenten services perhaps might illicit contrite reflection during that somber season. Our walk with Christ is in dire need of realignment.

“This I recall to mind, therefore have I hope:

Because of the Lord’s mercies, we are not consumed; his compassions fail not.
They are new every morning; great is his faithfulness. The Lord is my portion, says my soul; therefore I will hope in him.

The Lord is good to them that wait for him, to the soul that seeks him.

It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the Lord.

It is good for a man that he bears the yoke in his youth.

Let him sit alone and keep silent, because God has laid it upon him.

Let him put his mouth in the dust, so there may be hope.

Let him give his cheek to him that smites him; he is filled full with reproach.

For the Lord will not cast off forever.”

shalom

Scutterings in the Night

© Jeanne E Webster – All Rights Reserved

Remember when we were toddlers and the carefree daylight abandoned us to that ugly black darkness called night? Our bedtime drama began with a hug and kiss and recitation of our prayers.  A bonnie “Sleep well, see you in the morning,” echoed through the rustling of covers, and the light switch clicked off.

Then it was time!  The hour of darkness swooped and thrashed upon our innocent spirits.  Panic screeched a fiery course through our veins. Those menacing, creepy shadows scuttered along the walls, hid in the closets, and stirred ever so slightly underneath the bed. Meanness dominated those dark hours and horrified us. We were sore afraid.

Morning came and past horrors dissolved into the light of day. Levity reigned supreme once again.  What terror lurks in the day light that men should be afraid?

“We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark; the real tragedy of life is when men are afraid of the light.” ― Plato

John relates to us the teaching of our Lord Jesus:

John 12:46-48:  Jesus cried and said…”I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness. And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.”

Do not fear the One Who offers eternal life. Come to the Lord while it is yet day.

Shalom

The Holocaust Happened!

© Jeanne E Webster. All rights reserved and observed.
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Knuckles of uniformed SS troops
Knocking

Voices hushed, hidden behind doors,
Talking

Feet of frantic ones shuffling, slowly
Walking

Spirits of bravery waning, yet still
Balking

Train cars swallowing up entire families
Shocking

Gassed bodies at death camps ghastly
Gawking

Nazi soldiers crazed, hatefully defiant,
Mocking

Dead body after dead body after dead body
Clocking

+
Holocaust time at . . .
Auschwitz-Birkenau
Belzec
Bergen-Belsen
Bogdanovka
Buchenwald
Chelmno
Dachau
Gross-Rosen
Herzogenbusch
Janowska
Jasenovac
Kaiserwald
Majdanek
Maly Trostenets
Mauthausen-Gusen
Neuengamme
Ravensbrück
Sachsenhausen
Sajmište
Salaspils
Sobibór
Stutthof
Theresienstadt
Triblinka
Uckermark
Warsaw

Holocaust Day: the day of remembrance.

Never forget!

Can You See Him?

© Jeanne E Webster. All rights observed and reserved.

Luke 15:20 “…But when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him and had compassion…”

 

“Beneath the Cross of Jesus” has always been a favorite hymn of mine. It bores deeply to the very core of my being. As I sing the second verse my throat lumps up, my heart skips a beat and I am transported to that God-forsaken hill, standing in the shadow of my tormented and tortured Savior.

“Upon the cross of Jesus
Mine eyes at times can see
The very dying form of one
Who suffered there for me:
And from my stricken heart with tears,
Two wonders I confess–
The wonders of redeeming love
And my unworthiness.”
~Elizabeth C. Clephane

 

Trembling, mumbling, praying, hurting and crying, I kneel and bow before the King of kings and Lord of lords. His blood-drained form beckons me look up… and I see… the wonders of redeeming love and my unworthiness.

Imagine having a father who loves us despite our deliberate disobedience, our numerous jaunts in the dirty gutters of shame, repetitive relishments in the pits of selfishness, or years of rejection when we forsook his direction. How a holy God could hear our pleas for forgiveness, much less pardon our iniquities.

Sins come wrapped in a package that can only be bought by a sinless person. What a dilemma for mankind! No person has ever lived a sin-free life.

But wait. The priceless wonders of God’s redeeming love are mind-boggling. You see… His love covers our sins and remembers them no more.

“Why? How?” you ask.

Well… a long time ago God came down from heaven in the form of His Son Jesus and paid the ransom for our sins. The cost was death to the Redeemer. Jesus was savagely whipped, flayed and mocked til His body was almost bled out, with crucifixion being the final indignity.

Hanging by three stout nails pounded through His hands and feet onto a rugged slab of wood, He saw us afar off atop that hill called Calvary. He died a slow, horribly agonizing death, for you, me, and all who believe in His redemption and saving grace.

What a Redeemer!  What a Savior!

His death and suffering would not have saved us from the fires of hell if not for what happened three days later, His resurrection.

Rising from His grave, He set the captives free from the hold of hell, loosing the bonds of death over them. He lives forever, and so shall we!

He rose up into heaven to reign with His Father and is preparing our eternal home. The Holy Spirit was sent to enlighten our way through Bible study, as Jesus unceasingly prays for our souls. Oh, my, the wonder of it all!

The next vision that we see is a stark contrast to the sinless form of a holy Son: our utterly depraved unworthiness. We are all so undeserving of His love and grace. No matter how hard we try, we can’t make ourselves good enough to approach a holy God.

Looking upon our soiled garments, our spirits can only cry out earnestly as with the prophet Isaiah, “Woe is me! I am undone!”

   Helen H. Lemmel eloquently penned:

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus;

Look full in His wonderful face,

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim

In the light of His glory and grace.”

What’s It All About?

© Jeanne E Webster. All rights reserved and observed.

 

Do not go around saying that the world owes you a living; it owes you nothing; it was here first. –Mark Twain

During a practice session a world-famous skier falls, injuring her skull and landing her in a hospital. She struggled to come out of a coma in I.C.U.

A 7-month old baby boy lies in perilous condition with a fever, earaches, and swollen eardrums. He suffers from the ravages of a common yet deadly bacterium.

A faithful follower of Christ suffers from mouth and tongue cancer for months and months, finally succumbing in an agonizing ordeal.

What is life all about? Is God fair?

Life is a struggle for most people, always has been, always will be. We are born, live, then perish and return to the dust from whence we came.

A little refresher course on life: God created mankind to worship and fellowship with Him, obey Him and love Him. Our disobedience in the Garden of Eden put the whammy on the obedience aspect. The bond was shattered. We were booted out of the Garden and sentenced with many curses.

The entire earth and everything living in it was afflicted. God knew all this would happen yet continued with His program formulated in the beginning, before any thing was created. He still loved us, desired fellowship with us, and wanted us to worship and love Him in return. He provided a way to restore mankind’s fellowship with Him and open up heaven’s realm as our spiritual resting place.

Therefore…”God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:16

So we continue with the curses but have a conditional reprieve. Physically we shall live with pain, suffering, and evil things but have the option of spending our eternity in heaven or in hell. God gave us a way out– he came down from heaven in the form of a man and became like us. He was the perfect sacrifice for our sins, because no sin was found in Him. He was Messiah, Jesus Christ. He dwelt among us and preached the kingdom of God.

Mankind did not want to hear this and decided to kill Christ. He was sentenced to death as a blasphemer. He sacrificed his life on a wooden cross to pay the penalty for all mankind’s sins. He died and was buried according to the custom of the day. However, three days later He rose from the tomb and overcame the power of death. Thus, He opened the door to heaven to all those who believe that He died for their sins.

So, what is life all about? Life is about being born by the grace of God, living life by the grace of God, dying by the grace of God and spending eternity with Him in heaven . . .by His grace.

Is God fair? He is our Creator. He has made us from the dust of the earth. He has made us to fellowship with Him, love Him and dwell with Him. In order to dwell with Him someday throughout eternity, we must become like Him. Thus, life is a growing process for equipping us for heaven. Growing spiritually while down here on earth is not easy, but grow we must to be fit for heaven.

What happens to us if we are not fit for heaven? We are fit for hell, a decision we make ourselves. It’s called free will. We are free to make our own destiny. God offers us a pardon, a fair exchange for our sins. Jesus Christ is the redeeming factor, our ticket to heaven.

That is a fair exchange in my mind. But what about all the suffering we must go through? Everyone goes through suffering. Not a soul squeaks through life free of suffering. The sad part is– the souls who negate God’s pardon have all eternity to agonize with more suffering, for ever and ever and ever. I’ll take the chastening and guiding rod if that’s what it takes, because I know at the end of that road are the out-stretched arms of Jesus.

For ever and ever and ever. In Heaven.

Yes, God is fair. Ask Paul, John, Peter, James, Stephen, Luke, Matthew, Timothy, Mary, Martha, Andrew, Philip, Bartholomew, Thomas, Thaddeus, Simon, John the baptizer, Mark, Anna, Matthias, Lois, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, Nicolas, Dorcas, Cornelius, Philemon, Barnabas, Lazarus, and trillions more.

“Therefore most gladly, I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

2 Cor. 12:9

Who Are We?

© Jeanne E. Webster. All rights reserved

“What is man, that You should exalt him, that You should set Your heart on him, that You should visit him every morning, and test him every moment?” Job 7:17-18

Who are we?

Job asked this with belabored passion after months of being tested of God. “Just who is mankind that You uplift him, set Your heart on him, visit him every morning and inspect him continually?”

I would say mankind is certainly most unique in God’s eye. Stop processing for a minute and think about it. God exalts us above all His earthly creations, giving us power over every living thing. We are His cherished beings. We are accompanied every day with His presence. He hovers over us like a concerned mother, taking note of our status.

Now . . . why would He do all that? He loves us! As we go about our daily lives, perhaps we should use a lot more reciprocity. Exalt Him in our lives, set our hearts on and in Him, commune with Him every day and continually focus our spirits on Him.

How about it? Will you join with us?

♫♫♫
Psalm 148
Praise the Lord. Praise the Lord from the heavens: praise him in the heights.

Praise him, all his angels: praise him, all his hosts.

Praise him, sun and moon: praise him, all stars of light.

Praise him, heavens of heavens, and waters that be above the heavens.

Let them praise the name of the Lord: for he commanded, and they were created.

He hath also stablished them for ever and ever: he hath made a decree which shall not pass.

Praise the Lord from the earth, dragons, and all deeps,

Fire, and hail; snow, and vapors; stormy wind fulfilling his word:

Mountains, and all hills; fruitful trees, and all cedars:

Beasts, and all cattle; creeping things, and flying fowl:

Kings of the earth, and all people; princes, and all judges of the earth:

Both young men, and maidens; old men, and children:

Let them praise the name of the Lord: for his name alone is excellent; his glory is above the earth and heaven.

He also exalts the horn of his people, the praise of all his saints; even of the children of Israel, a people near unto him. Praise the Lord.
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Shalom