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?

Hanging Memories

© Jeanne E Webster. All Rights Reserved.

 

Oh, Lord . . .

Nestled among the Mohawk trails:

My soul absorbed mountain airs

Tickling ancient senses

As I peer heavenward

Releasing my spirituality.

.

Lord . . .

My youth basked in its adventures:

Sour grass, 4-leaf clovers

Long-reeded grass jungles

Dandelion necklaces and such

Wide-leafed whistles.

.

Lord  . . .

Memories hang:

In cloudy closets of my mind

Popping into view to

Bolster my aging body

 

Oh, Lord, how green was my valley!

 

Are You Smiling?

© Jeanne E Webster. All rights reserved

 

 

 

An old ditty that ran through my head today brought some wise thoughts. Are you a little down today, troubled, burdened or just plain tired? Sing this little song and you’ll soon find the blues dispersed and your troubles less weighty.

 

“When you’re smilin’….when you’re smilin’
The whole world smiles with you.
And when you’re laughin’…. when you’re laughin’
The sun comes shinin’ through.

But when you’re cryin’…. you bring on the rain
So stop your frownin’….be happy again.
Cause when you’re smilin’….keep on smilin’
The whole world smiles with you!”

~Writers: Goodwin, Joe / Shay, Larry / Fisher, Mark

 

 

Psalm 128:1 Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord!

Tragedy

 

Tragedy
–Jill Spargur

I always wanted a red balloon,
It only cost a dime,
But Ma said it was risky,
They broke so quickly,
And beside, she didn’t have time;
And even if she did, she didn’t
Think they were worth a dime.
We lived on a farm, and I only went
To one circus and fair,
And all the balloons I ever saw
Were there.
There were yellow ones and blue ones,
But the kind I liked the best
Were red, and I don’t see why
She couldn’t have stopped and said
That maybe I could have one–
But she didn’t–I suppose that now
You can buy them anywheres,
And that they still sell red ones
At circuses and fairs.
I got a little money saved;
I got a lot of time,
I got no one to tell me how to spend my dime;
Plenty of balloons–but somehow
There’s something died inside of me,
And I don’t want one—now.

 

Life and Death Speak

© Jeanne E Webster – All Rights Reserved

 

The waters overpower us
With ruinous waves so high;
We cling tightly to each other
As lifeless bodies float by.

“Mama! Mama! Help me!”
My little one cries out;
My strength is waning fast
Numbing pain releasing doubt.

Up and down, back and forth
The waves shake us like dolls;
We spit out water to take in air
As the tide our spirit mauls.

My eyes are stuck wide open
My fingers glued to her coat;
She no longer screams “Mama!”
Utter silence swathes her throat.

Prayers of anguish gurgle forth
Amidst the roaring sea spray;
“Oh, my God!” “Help me, Lord!”
Become epithets spoken today.

Menial things matter not anymore
Squabbles are quickly laid aside;
Many to-do’s or forgotten sins
Are swigs for the ravenous tide.

There’s lots of dying, Dear one,
Enough to sate death’s thirst;
Life is clinging to another breath
Till you think you’ll surely burst.

Is this the true “Amen” corner
When all of life is predated?
When the Almighty speaks His word
And reclaims what He’s created?

So be it… from dawn to setting sun;
Life and death speak with one voice:
So be it…Lord Jesus, please come!

[Written on the fourth day after a massive earthquake and ensuing tsunami devastated Japan’s people.]

Spaces


Except for tops that spin
And books and pomes
And my father’s grin,
I like spaces best of all.
Inside, outside, upside downside,
Narrow spaces where I can crawl.

Inside my house
Under a chair,
Behind a door
In my lion’s lair;
Pausing, whisper like, on a stair,
I listen, hear, and stop to see,
And no one ever knows it’s me.
“Hush,” says my mother. “Is that a mouse?”
When it’s only me, hiding in my house.

My clothes are space, too: a shirt,
My pants,
My socks,
A dress,
A skirt,
And in my shoes, below my clothes
Are spaces there
For
All
My
Toes.

Outside, my spaces are things that grow:
A tree,
A bush,
A hill of snow.
(Except for rocks, that, as I grow taller,
Seem to shrink and grow much smaller)
I listen, hear, and stop to see.
And no one ever knows it’s me.
“Hear that?” They say! “A hair, a bird.”
When it’s really me, the noise they’ve heard.

But my very favorite space,
Behind my nose,
Behind my face,
Above my ears,
And past my tears,
Way in and back beyond,
Where I sort out my thoughts,
And sighs,
And shouts,
And cries,
That is where I like to be
Because I know that’s really me.
~Author unknown

 

(photo:  White Shar-Pei Puppy in Box ca. 1996)