“You cannot find the way of the Cross. Jesus must lead you there…” Martin Luther

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Oswald Chambers says “The Cross of Jesus Christ was the greatest and most profound collision of God and Sin”. In my sixty-three years of life I am still often astounded how I cannot grasp all that The Cross of Jesus means to those who choose to follow him. For you see it is a choice. Jesus never pushes himself on people because He knows that to be his follower there will be a cost.

In Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s book, Meditations on The Cross, I found myself pierced in the heart at my lack of true discipleship. Oh, make no mistake I am a born again child of God, regenerated and adopted into the family of God through Jesus’ blood shed for me however, having knowledge of that and thoughts and plans of my own on how that should go and how that should look I am learning to abandon.

In Bonhoeffer’s book he quotes Martin Luther and this quote absolutely “gutted” my spirit and has also transformed my idea of what following and obeying Christ means…I really don’t have the words to express what I have realized.

The Martin Luther quote, “things must happen not according to your own knowledge but rather immerse yourself in the abandonment of understanding and Jesus will give you true understanding. You cannot find the way of the cross. Jesus must lead you there like a blind person. Not the work you chose for yourself, not the sufferings you think up for yourself, but what comes to you contrary to your choosing, thinking, desiring, that is where you must follow, there He is calling. There you are the pupil, there is where your teacher, your Savior has come and is found.”

“So, this Great Collision between God and Sin, this collision absorbed by the heart of God is what the Cross of Jesus is. The world shook, the foundation of hell and death were defeated forever.”  Oswald Chambers

 

What the Cross is NOT is an act of martyrdom, in the sense that there is no “defeat” on Jesus’ cross. Only victory with the greatest price paid that eternity past, present, and future has ever known. The Cross is the central event in time and eternity, and the answer to all the questions of both. Nor is the Cross of Jesus something that “happened” to Jesus. He came for this exact purpose when he made His covenant between the three persons of the Godhead to become flesh and dwell among us.

Oswald Chambers says, “The Cross of Jesus is not “a” gift from God rather it is THE Gift from God! The Cross of Jesus is the literal act of God’s Holy judgment on Sin.”  Most Christians are familiar with these words but I tell you when I pondered on Martin Luther’s quote above regarding Jesus leading me like a blind person to His Cross, bearing my own cross of sin, selfishness, and vain knowledge I was undone!

In an ongoing study but now a  conclusion to this small putting together of words that cannot satisfy what I am trying to say,  The Cross is not the horrible end of a pious life, but stands rather at the beginning of community with Jesus Christ. Every call of Christ leads to death of self with the promise of eternal life in Him. You cannot know the way of the cross. I cannot make myself a disciple of Christ with my own knowledge, my own pursuits. It is only in following Jesus to His Cross that we will know the “Power of His resurrection” and eternal life. Lift up the mighty shield of faith for there are battles daily in this world but Jesus the God/man Redeemer of all is leading the way!

 

Oh what a Collision of God and Sin, my sin happened on the Cross of Jesus. The Cross of God. Oh my soul rejoice for the Joy of my Salvation has been restored!

 

(Credit to Oswald Chambers and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Martin Luther, and the Holy Bible.)

 

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the mourning is in the small connections to ordinary things

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The mourning is in the small connections to ordinary things. The smell of her hand cream and her talcum powder…

The crinkle of his skin in the corner of his gray-blue eyes when he smiles. The silly songs he  sang to wake me up each morning and the silly nicknames he called us to show His love…

The struggle, the grief, the mourning  is not between ourselves and others. It is within ourselves and lay between the longing in our souls and that which is ordained by God himself…

Between the body and its desire and between the mind and its necessary vital need of renewal…

These connections are learned at a very young age, as a babe already knows the scent of his mother and the lower tones in  her father’s  voice …So it is that these ordinary simple connections… are in reality the sound of Joy’s voice  like a warm spring rain…

These are the gentle paths of mourning that ease us into grief. There is no fear in mourning for it is a connection to our Maker…there is no fear or reason to “get rid” of grief.  For without the mourning there is no comfort. Without the sorrow there is no relationship and without grief there is no Joy.

 

 

 

The Lover of My Soul…a tribute to my sweet Mother who has gone to be with the Lord…this is what she taught me all of my life…I love you Mom and will see you again in God’s perfect timing…

 

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I lift my eyes
from all that is broken
from the ashes of idols
from lies that are spoken

I lift my eyes 
from this earthen vessel
from unanswered questions
from the unfulfilling morsels

I lift my eyes
the window of my soul
to the heaven’s Creator
to The One who has control

I lift my eyes
where my Faith will be made sight
at His appearing I will see
The Defender and Lover of my soul
has His eyes on me

“I got my meanness from the gutter and my kindness from God…

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He said, “I get my meanness from the gutter and I get my kindness from God.” I sat down under the bridge with him and I said, “I think I could say the same.” He looked at me square in the eyes and I could see he was surprised by my response. He said, “You don’t look like you know much about the gutter.”

I smiled and said “looks can be deceiving don’t ya know?” Then he laughed. The sound of his laughter was one that made me smile. His laughter was like a nine month old baby’s belly laugh. The kind of laughter where nothing is held back and a sweetness of joy rings from it. I told him I had not laughed like that in ages and he said, “Oh you can only laugh like that when Fury and Thunder have cracked your soul and all the dark places have been opened up and cleaned out and all the pieces are strewn about and you cannot put them back together by yourself. I call it reconcilable purity. This laughter only occurs when you have lost your life to save it and when you were first but now you are last…”

I sat there in sober silence but something inside of me begin to tremble. “Who are you?” I whispered. He said, “I am just an old man who has been given a new heart and all day long I just like to go around and give my heart and life away to whoever might need it for a minute or two so that they can go about their day with some pure laughter…” The gorged veined, brown spotted hands palmed my face and the old man looked me in the eye and he said, “Go and be, not do. Go laugh and cry. Go and give your life away for someone else and you will see. You will laugh the laugh of “reconcilable purity.”

A handful of words you say…

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I am a writer. Writers love to read other writers. I can only speak for myself but I like to read to see if I can find that author who has written something I have never read before. I have always been an adroit reader and have read profound words but honestly they have been said before. I have read deeply meaningful stories but they have been told before because we know, according to The Preacher, that there is “nothing new under the sun.”

But what if, what if someone’s words drive a stake into the ground right where you are standing? Or what if someone’s story breaks the chains of your heart and your own story comes to life?

That is the treasure hunt for me. The words, the expressions, the Truth, and the lies…like looking for sea shells for hours and hours and days and days seeing each one as beautifully written. The broken shells, the beautifully colored ones, the plain ones, the big ones, the little ones…all treasures.
In the end of it all I still come back to the most profound words I have ever read and these words DO drive a stake into the earth where I am standing and they DO keep me grounded and rooted in the life I have been given. This author is the only One who has broken the chains of my heart and allowed my own story to come to life…

Just a handful of words you say…yea and what a handful of words they are!

“I am the light of the world. I am the bread of life. I am the Resurrection and the Life. I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. I am the door of the sheep. I am the Good Shepherd. I am the True Vine. If you have seen Me then you have seen the Father. I am the Alpha and Omega. I am the Lamb that was slain. I go to prepare a place for you so that where I am you may be there also…”

Invincible Summer

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Eternity golden and radiantly warm

though Winter’s blast draws near me

Sunlight beams shoot through my vision

I see the way so clearly

 

 

It is always summer in your presence

invincible summer that never can die

A pact between the Ancient of Days

for He is not a man that he should lie.

 

 

To abide forever in summer’s glory

to be wholly and fully alive

not through a looking-glass darkly

but clear and present my Faith will be sight

Unencumbered by manipulation…

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As I prepare my heart during Lent season heading toward the Holy day of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ I keep coming back to the thought of The One in whom I put my trust.

All of us “trust” something or someone, as as a result, we worship the very thing we are trusting.

Dr. Hud McWilliams says, “for a relationship to be authentic, one must realize that a choice has to be unencumbered by manipulation.” (no fear, no rules, and no behavior that merits you favor). “

Looking back on my youth I have come to realize many of my relationships had an element of manipulation or my own agenda in them but now I see that Jesus never manipulated people to engage with or follow him.

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Hebrews 12:2

God gives us the ability to openly choose Him through Jesus Christ.  No manipulation, no winning a lotto, no position of prosperity or health. So, I remain humbly astounded that my relationship with God can be truly free and without manipulation…

The girl on the side street…

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Once I was the girl on the side street flashing in and out of the dark. I was taught a role to play for the well being of my family and for my Dad’s livelihood.  I played it well. Such a mix of tender family moments peppered with the fear that maybe Jesus didn’t really come for me…

…now the ocean’s wind catches each regret, each sin, and sorrow throwing it into the eternity of a perfect God to be forever forgotten.  In the light of the moon a young woman, who thought the stars would stop shining above her found the Maker of the stars and the freedom and love and the lullaby when He sang a Holy song baptizing over her in waves. So now I am drifting, sailing and it was you who came for me.

On that day when the sun tipped over the edge of the earth and spilled colors like buckets of orange, pink, and violet as a reminder of the power of Holy light. The young woman once ravaged and scarred by guilt and shame found joy in the warmth of The Son. Lifted from the darkness you came for me.  You hold me in your arms and by your own wounds, scars, and stripes you heal me. The girl on the side street finally came home…

All her colors run together on the floor

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All her colors run together on the floor…

she has been here so many times before

She is sure this time they will stone her

Condemnation beats in her heart and her soul is torn…

 

His gentle words were more than she had hoped for…

He bent down in the dirt and wrote a word

He spoke gently lifting her face to see Heaven

“No one here can condemn you anymore…”

 

All the colors of New life swirled around her at once

Blood red drops in the dirt became white as snow

the blue of the sky filled with angels singing “gloria! ”

He said, ” your sins are forgiven now you are whole… “

Hope Remains, is my story

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 I have a Story given me by my Maker

A heart fierce yet ravaged ever in need of saving

I’ve been given clear eyes to see the Holy One

To shed tears of remorse washing away bitterness

And I’ve been given healing in these two hands

To share the balm I have received  and know that Hope remains

 

I have not seen all the wonders of this world

I have not walked with the noble nor do I own anything of worth

I have not known wealth or fame but I do know  joy and pain

And I’ve been given life and love far beyond all earthly gain

I pray for humility and a heart full of gratitude running over

To share the balm I have received and know that Hope remains