For Us, For Him

Broken, unleavened bread,
Crushed grapes.
The bread and wine that He was,
Flesh and blood, a sacrifice of agony,
For us.

The prayer,
Asking His Father
To take away the cup.
Then His will set aside,
For us.

The arrest,
A voluntary prisoner whose “I am He”
Knocked them down.
Then He went with them,
For us.

It was cold.
They taunted and beat Him.
They drove nails into Him,
And He let them,
For us.

Today, we follow,
For Him,
A meager offering compared to His,
For us.

———————————————————

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Previously posted: March 2016

Blessing the African Rains–and a New Generation

When I got in the van, he was already buckled into the front passenger seat. Of the five grandkids going strawberry picking with us that day, he was the oldest at age 14.

Excited about what he held in his hand, a CD soundtrack from the Netflix series  Stranger Things, he slid the disc in, and David Paich began to sing “Africa“–the Toto hit from 1982.

We also heard from Devo, Jim Croce, and Cyndi Lauper, among others. But my grandson kept coming back to Toto, back to “Africa”.

We talked about the song–how the songwriter must have been to Africa before he crafted the lyrics because of the line “As sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti.”

“Africa” was a big hit for Toto–their only Billboard number one. And, as I would learn later, a song that almost didn’t happen. Continue reading “Blessing the African Rains–and a New Generation”

A Gay Man Living Christ in the Church

Some of us would say he struggles with same-sex attraction. It’s our way of avoiding the word “gay”.

But Greg Coles doesn’t avoid the word; he embraces it.

His book–Single, Gay, Christian: A Personal Journey of Faith and Sexual Identity–is beautifully written and raw.

When he realized–as an adolescent–that he was not attracted to girls, he prayed to God to make him straight. He continued to pray. Over the years, he dated girls.

He did not become straight. Continue reading “A Gay Man Living Christ in the Church”

Magical, but More

It was magical.

There were five of us. My two daughters, a daughter-in-law, a friend who’s a Disney pro, and me–not quite a rookie, but not as seasoned as our friend.

I wanted to make memories that would last–good memories for us to carry with us. I felt so thankful to be there with them.

We had wonderful meals, drank tea, and ate lavish desserts. We laughed. We talked. And we walked. And walked some more.

We spun around the Carousel of Progress that I’d ridden on at the New York World’s Fair in 1965. We met one daughter’s favorite princess–Mary Poppins. We reveled in the Magic Kingdom fireworks and light show. Continue reading “Magical, but More”

The Humidity Makes My Hair Frizz: A Review

“Laying things down at the feet of Jesus and walking away is an ongoing, lifelong process. What we struggle to lay down today may be easy to lay down a year from now. It’s when it is hardest to lay it down that we learn our greatest lessons and have the greatest growth in our relationship with Jesus.” Shelley Jarl

When we read a book about someone going through a rough time, we might expect them to make comparisons to Job. We don’t expect them to make comparisons with Noah.

But that’s exactly what Shelley Jarl does in The Humidity Makes My Hair Frizz and It’s Really Starting to Stink in Here. Continue reading “The Humidity Makes My Hair Frizz: A Review”

The Same God Who Led You In Will Lead You Out

Guest Post by Shelley Jarl

This year I will turn 50. Just like anyone else’s first 50 years, my first 50 have brought a mixed bundle of joy, sadness, laughter, and tears. The last 9 months, however, have tested and tried my faith in ways I could never have imagined and have been more difficult than any other period in my 50 years of life.

During this difficult time, someone asked me, “has this shaken your faith?” I will share with you in a moment how I responded to that question. First, let me tell you why I responded the way I did.

As I often do as I journey through the mountains and valleys of life, I have put together a playlist of songs which speak to me, songs to encourage me during a particular season. One of the songs on my playlist is “We Dance” (Bethel Music, Steffany Gretzinger). This song contains a line which when I sing it, I find myself praying it to the Lord. It states, “Finally ready now, to close my eyes and just believe that you won’t lead me where you don’t go.” Continue reading “The Same God Who Led You In Will Lead You Out”

Population Control Worked–Or Did It?

Japan figured it out a few years ago. Low birth rates lead to a smaller population that grows older without replacement workers.

In that nation, 86 percent of employers struggle to fill jobs. The situation forebodes what one reporter calls a “demographic timebomb.” The government has been offering birth incentives for years, including a lump sum payment upon birth, tuition breaks, and yearly cash payments–with little positive result.

France, Germany, Denmark, the Netherlands and other countries also offer incentives in hopes of increasing their birthrates–also without much to show for the effort.

And now China joins the chorus, promising to end what was once a one-child, now a two-child policy–“to slow the pace of aging in the country and reconcile its shortage of workers.”

Yet despite the change in policy from one-child to two, China’s birthrate did not increase. Instead, it fell. And the disproportionate number of males to females (120 to 100 throughout the country, but 143 to 100 in some rural areas) means fewer men are able to marry further reducing the birthrate.

Lower birth rates are to be expected in any nation moving from a rural to an urban culture. Couples naturally limit family sizes in a city–without the government forcing them to do so. When people move from the country to the city, their view of children changes.

In rural areas, families need more children to work. In urban areas, children don’t naturally become part of the family’s workforce. In a city setting, children are no longer part of the team pushing toward a goal for the benefit of all.

Often, even in the Christian community, children are something to be avoided and prevented instead of welcomed.

I felt this attitude when I carried my third, fourth, and fifth children. It wasn’t socially acceptable in some circles to have a big family. It still isn’t today.

Japan, China, and European countries are reaping the results of the city-dwellers’ perspective of children. That, combined with four decades of alarmism about over-population brings us to today.

Now parents in developed countries are enjoying the ease of having fewer children. (link) (link) (link) including America where the fertility rate is now below replacement level.

As the world adds one billion people every eleven years, Eastern culture is shifting and Western culture and its Christian influence are dying.

The proverbial toothpaste has come out of the tube.

And in some places in the world, there are not enough people left to put it back in.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Ireland and Abortion: Northern Ireland and Freedom to Choose Life

So Ireland has voted down its restrictive abortion laws. Now, it seems unlikely that the Emerald Isle will become as lenient regarding “pregnancy termination” as England already is. Yet perhaps someday, we’ll realized they just took longer to get to the same place.

In most of the United Kingdom, including England, abortion regulations require two doctors to sign off before the procedure. But the law grants doctors a conscience clause. They may refuse to sign on moral grounds. And the law prohibits abortion after 24 weeks–with later exceptions for health of the mother or when the unborn child may have “serious disabilities.”

So getting an abortion in the UK is more difficult than it is in the US–which requires no doctors’ signatures and has no gestational time limit. In America, a woman can get an abortion for no reason until “viability”–24 weeks–and for any reason after that. Continue reading “Ireland and Abortion: Northern Ireland and Freedom to Choose Life”

Remembering Common Virtue

“Poor is the nation that has no heroes. Poorer still is the nation that, having heroes, fails to remember and honor them.” Marcus Tullius Cicero

Today is Memorial Day in the United States. It’s a day we mark with picnics and parades. The unofficial beginning of summer, yet so much more than the chance to eat hot dogs and buy a new swimsuit.

Decoration Day, as the holiday was originally known, began after the Civil War–our bloodiest conflict. It was a time when a divided country was trying to heal–perhaps as we are today.

We mark the day on the last Monday of May–but May 30 had been the selected date before three-day weekends became a priority. May 30 remembered no notable battles from the Civil War–although our several wars since may not have missed the day.

We enrich ourselves in this remembering. Remembering those who’ve done noble things tells us we can be noble too. Continue reading “Remembering Common Virtue”

The Word-Light

Logos—the Word with God,
Who is God,
And who is Light–Word-Light.

He walks with us,
Guiding us with His words and light on a winding way.
We see others and attribute words to them.

Cherished spouse, loved child, precious friend.
But if we look away from the light, we misname,
Horrid adversary.

And we misname ourselves: Failure, Stupid, Nothing.
Word-Light says, “Seek and see Me,
To see and name rightly.”

Word-Light heals the wounded soul.
He gives us a word for ourselves–to name us:
Imago Dei—the picture of God–sacred us–all of us. Continue reading “The Word-Light”