It Goes On

© Jeanne E Webster–All rights reserved



Life is filled with many wonders, some shrouded in golden ecstasy while others forever etched within tortured souls. It is an arduous and exhilarating labor, long and short, hopeful and hopeless, fulfilling and fleeting, and promising and forsaking.

It begins with a scream and ends with a moan, loves one day and hates the next, promises the world with one hand and waves goodbye with the other. Somewhere in between babies are born and people die, lovers marry and the disillusioned divorce, families build up and discord knocks them down, adults fight and children hurt. Such is life.

Mature life begins with shy smiles, cuddling looks, love oozing from the seams of passion, pure innocence in all its meant-to-be fashion. Babies snuggle at the breast, prideful glances are exchanged with cooing and oh-so-gentle touches of love. Brief bliss offers fulfillment. Home was security until a thing called the “Viet Nam war” bombed the soul out of young hearts just beginning their walk down the aisle of life.

The eruption of this foolhardy war blasted despair on the idyllic scene and in a few short years family units deteriorated into shambles.  Parents divorced, bitterly forging a sword of despair and unforgiveness into once solid family trees—forever. Like animated ghosts of the past, fathers and mothers tread wearily along what’s left of life, separated by wounds too deep to heal and too long ago remembered.

The children are resilient but deeply wounded nonetheless. They reach adulthood and marry, clinging dearly to high hopes, bearing young and slowly resurrecting their family trees. But all too soon they realize that, “Life begins with a scream and ends with a moan, loves one day and hates the next, promises the world with one hand and waves goodbye with the other.”

A story told by an angel on the wing, carrying heavenward life’s shattered things.

Written in the Wind

© Jeanne E Webster. All rights reserved


Nicodemus, teacher
Order of the Pharisees
Sanhedrin member
Rabbi (master of Israel)


Dear Nicodemus:

This letter confirms our conversation last night regarding eternal life. You questioned my statement that a person cannot enter heaven without being born again. You wanted evidence that a person can be born again after he’s grown. As a Pharisee, a rabbi and teacher, you don’t comprehend this?

I explained to you that one must be born of the Spirit, not a rebirth from the womb. Being born of the flesh is a physical birth; being born of the Spirit is a spiritual birth. There is a touch from God framing the spiritual birth which is granted to anyone who believes in the Son of man. He descended from heaven and will return to heaven, evidence for the passage of regeneration for everyone who believes in Him.

You have heard me preach of earthly things yet you don’t believe them. How will you have faith in what I tell you of heavenly things? Moses lifted up the brass serpent that represented the sins of Israel; everyone who looked on it was healed. So will the Son of man be lifted up for everyone to see and believe in, and they shall have eternal life. God loved everyone so much that He put upon the Son of Man the sins of the world. He was lifted up on Calvary for all to see and believe. Those who have faith in Him will not perish but have everlasting life in heaven.

You see, Nicodemus, God didn’t send his Son into the world to condemn everyone but to save them. They condemn themselves if they do not believe in the name of the only Son of God. In all reality, this is the truth: light has come into the world to save the souls of everyone. But people love the darkness, as it covers the evil deeds they don’t want discovered. Those that live good lives are drawn to the light because their deeds will be shown to be of God.

The wind blows where it wishes, Nicodemus. Even though you can’t tell where the sound comes from, listen to it, as it is from the Spirit. Believe in it and be born again, this time of the Spirit, and you will have eternal life.

Love,
Jesus

(Paraphrased from John 3:1-21)

A Man’s Gotta Do What a Man’s Gotta Do, huh?


© Jeanne E Webster  –  All Rights Reserved


Galatians 5:16-17 “This I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh. And these are contrary the one to the other, so that you cannot do the things that you would. “

The above verse is quite a mouthful, isn’t it? I would imagine that it holds true for most us. Our bodies are quite hard to control, to rein in, and to subdue. To put it frankly, we’ve got us a full-brewed battlefield. The flesh desires to sin; the Spirit is constrained to obey the things of the Spirit. Every day we face this conundrum of natures.

Paul continues with a stark comparison of the two natures:
The works of the flesh are these: Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, sexual excesses, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, reveling….

Paul adds some powerful drama here with this warning…As I have told you before in time past, that they which do such things (as a lifestyle) shall not inherit the kingdom of God.”

But the fruit of the Spirit is: Love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance…. The differences are startling.


“Within my earthly temple there’s a crowd;

There’s one of us that’s humble, one that’s proud;

There’s one that’s brokenhearted for his sins

And one who, unrepentant, sits and grins;

There’s one who loves his neighbor as himself

And one who cares for naught but fame and pelf.

From such corroding care I would be free

If once I could determine which is me.”


As in any war, action must be taken in order to achieve victory. The finger points at each one of us. Will we remain passive and continue to tolerate the works of the flesh within us? Or shall we rear up off our sanctified haunches and give way to the power of the Spirit to crucify this flesh? The victory has already been won; we merely have to give the “Charge!”

“Brethren, the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen.”

God of the Living

© Jeanne E Webster. All rights reserved



Matthew 22:23-28 The same day came to Him the Sadducees, which say that there is no resurrection, and asked him . . .“Therefore in the resurrection, whose wife shall she be of the seven, for they all had her?” . . .

V. 29 Jesus answered and said unto them, “Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven.

But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, ‘I AM THE GOD OF ABRAHAM, AND THE GOD OF ISAAC, AND THE GOD OF JACOB?’  God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.’”


Last night I was thinking of my brother, Jim, who died recently. During his last days on earth he went through some soul searching and discomfort, though he was a Christian through and through. We shared often over the phone yet I never quite knew exactly how to reassure his troubled spirit. I remember telling him many a time to read the psalms as prayers to God. “The psalms will comfort you and be assured that the Holy Spirit is interceding for you,” I had told him.

Jim knew he would be going home soon and wanted to prepare the way. Ten days later he departed, his spirit at peace and family beside him.

As I reminisced last night, I found myself talking to him and saying I hoped he had prayed the psalms. Almost immediately I realized the folly of my statement. Jim had no more need of comfort or reassurance. He was home!

Yes! Jim is among the immortal, with the GOD OF ABRAHAM, and the GOD OF ISAAC and THE GOD OF JACOB. He has set down mortality and put on immortality. He lives with the God of the living! Amen!

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.”


The cost of following Jesus has a steep price tag, particularly in family relationships.

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 $2.00 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!”

We pay a steep price for our fellowship with Jesus. Our Lord warned us that we would be scorned, hated and abused, but our reward is heavenly.  Between Heaven and Hell . . . there’s a cross.

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?”


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 man’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

Bloody Mud



© Jeanne E Webster – All Rights Reserved

Have you ever had wondering days
When you sit and reflect upon things?
Certain thoughts will linger and laze,
Before you know it… take wings.

I wondered about Mary today,
The mother of Jesus, our Lord.
She tarried with intent to stay,
Heart and soul of woeful accord…

That day when they took Jesus, her son.
They mangled him … nailed him fast.
Judas betrayed this holy One
For silver that would never last.

She tarried on that blood-soaked hill,
Weeping… needing to hold her boy.
Discerned his body they did kill
But never would his spirit destroy.

His ravaged flesh taken from the tree;
Mary’s tears flowed with his blood.
She cradled him so lovingly
As the soil churned into red mud.

His corpse was taken to a tomb quite near,
Wrapped up in spices and herbs.
Mary trudged home with Sabbath tears,
A heavy heart greatly disturbed.

Do you think underneath all that dirt,
This hill still preserves hallowed mud…
The evidence of Mary’s hurt—-
Her tears mingled with Jesus’ blood?

Figure It Out


© Jeanne E Webster. All Rights Reserved.



During times of life’s struggles and turmoil, it’s natural to first open our arsenal of combative tools. Next we reflect upon our strengths, both physical and mental, and thrust the old “heave ho” at the enemy line. Before we realize it, however, our resources are exhausted and lie grounded like paper airplanes with shredded wings. Relief is not in sight! Our spirit chokes on the “winds of war” and our hands raise into the air, desperately grasping for a reprieve. But where will help come from?

Psalm 28:7 “The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts.”

This is our surety: The Lord is our strength and our shield. Our power to combat life’s struggles lies from the gracious auspices of our loving and almighty God. We may ask how this works. It’s simple. Trust Him, with all our hearts.

Believing that He is God, ascertain that He is able to provide all our needs. Who else in this world could do that? I can’t think of anyone or anything else. Not even the strongest person in the whole universe nor all the armies in this universe. If we can’t meet the challenge of combating catastrophes, no matter what we confront them with, what good does it do for us to trust in our OWN understanding? Nothing!

Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.”

Do not trust our own understanding. Our intellect, wit, cleverness, or competency have not come forth and rescued us. They give us no comfort. They do not refresh our soul.

But . . . God gives us our daily bread, steadfast love, undeserved forgiveness, leads us in comforting ways, protects us from unforeseen trials, and welcomes us back into His presence when time is no more.

With ALL our hearts . . . believe in God . . . trust in God.



Trust and Obey

by Daniel B. Towner


When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word,
What a glory He sheds on our way!
While we do His good will, He abides with us still,
And with all who will trust and obey.

Not a shadow can rise, not a cloud in the skies,
But His smile quickly drives it away;
Not a doubt or a fear, not a sigh or a tear,
Can abide while we trust and obey.


Trust and obey, for there’s no other way
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.