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

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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

The Kiss-off

© Jeanne E Webster. All rights reserved

Matt. 26:49-50 “And he came to Jesus and said, ‘Greetings, Rabbi,’ –then kissed him.

Jesus asked him, “Friend, why have you come here?’”

Can you imagine the thoughts that spiraled through Judas’ mind later that day, moments before he hung himself? Had he been veiling his edginess as he greeted his Master?

Then he kissed Jesus on the cheek. Did he remember that final kiss, a ritual that indicated friendship and respect? Jesus had called him “Friend.” Judas recognized his cost of discipleship very soon after betraying his Lord. He confronted the horror of his actions: Jesus would soon be crucified because he gave him away…with a kiss. What a lesson we can learn from this tragedy.

Transpose this scenario to our lives today. John 15:13, 14, 15 “You are my friends if you keep my commandments. Henceforth I call you not servants, for the servant knows not what his lord does. But I have called you friends, for all things I have heard from God I have told to you.”

Jesus calls those who love and serve Him his friends. Is Jesus your friend? Do you keep his commandments?  Do you run to him one minute with praise then later betray your friendship? “Lord, I worship you and praise you. You are the Lord of my life.”

Then a conscience-pricking situation comes along and you give no thought to your devotion. You “kiss off” this lord of your life as easily as you would change hats. “I’m no do-gooder.”

They can pick themselves up from ground. No one helped me when I was down! Who? Jesus? Nah, he doesn’t expect me to do that. I’m a member of the Main Street ******** Church. What more does he expect? No, no, not me.”

Many times during the day, every day, I’m sure we all hear that still small Voice whispering in our ears:
“Write …
Visit …
Check up on…
Put some change in the little kid’s hand …
Rebuff that urge to …
Call …
Listen …
Touch …”

We all get these twinges of conscience or heart but dismiss them as soon as our senses recognize we might have to leave our comfort zone. Being a friend of Jesus means looking upon others as he would, if he were still on earth.  You see, he still is on earth–in you!

 

What is Your Fashion Trend?


© Jeanne E Webster. All rights reserved

Colossians 3:12 “Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, may I put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering, bearing with others and forgiving others . . .”

Paul exhorted Christians to take on or assume certain virtues and qualities befitting the elect of God. This is a difficult exercise unless one has been endowed with intrinsic attributes in this area. I’ve yet to come across anyone who has not struggled to some degree with this commission. We all are in the developmental stage and have not arrived spiritually.

Tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering, bearing with others and forgiving others . . . like clothes hanging in the closet, waiting for us to choose which to wear. Hmm, let’s see, I think I will put on tender mercies today; tomorrow maybe I’ll try meekness.

Oh, I don’t think Paul intended his words to be so casually addressed.

At one time or another, we have probably tried all these on, ending up with egg on our faces. Tender mercies might be easy to wear with a family member we love dearly and understand fully, but wear it in the presence of an adversary and the mercies fall flat and lifeless.

As I prepared this post, I tried to envision which virtue garment would be the one most tossed in the washer! Perhaps the humility one would stay the cleanest. Nah, with added thought, that might happen but only because of prideful thinking; not exactly what Paul had in mind. He’s down to the bone here, peering into the soul with a mega-lumen halogen light bulb.

So, I shall regroup. Be honest. Act . . . no, not act. Get out the 100-X magnifying glass and take inventory of my true motivations. Be real, in other words. The words of Christ return here in bright fluorescent color: “Love one another as I have loved you.”

Now I’m in for a day-by-day, moment-by-moment lifelong exercise, as it should be. As when a person goes on a diet, the effort must become a daily habit in order to be effective. There’s no other way. Whether one dresses for other Christians or people in general, these virtues must be evident in our lives.

Perhaps the fashion trend today is a good thing, multi-layering. Looks like I’m going to try it with this virtue accessory training. Let’s see now, what goes good with tender mercies? Kindness maybe? Or better yet, how about humility underneath the longsuffering?

I think I have a long way to go here. How about you?

 

 

Awesome Blessings

© Jeanne E Webster. All rights observed and reserved.

Deut. 10:21 “You are my praise, and You are my God, who have done for me these great and awesome things which my eyes have seen.”

Thank you, Lord, for these blessings:

Seeing love through unloving circumstances

Growing up sheltered within an unsafe environment

Appreciating not always having enough to eat or nice clothes to wear

An angelic grandmother’s protection in my early years

A good mind and healthy body so I could attend school and learn

Four children to birth and love

Children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren

Brothers and sisters and half-brothers and half-sisters

Learning about Jesus and loving Him as a very young child

The vast amount of wisdom in the Bible

A loving heart for all God’s creation

A forgiving spirit to be used for all wrongs done against me

A contrite spirit after acknowledging my sins

A rejoicing heart and spirit to lift my praises and thanks to You

A thankful heart and spirit to appreciate each and every blessing

The many hearts that have encouraged and prayed for me. . .

Today, for the tools You have given me to use in Your name;

Tomorrow, though it is not here yet, I know it awaits me.

Amen and amen!