The Great Divide

ID-100314857Jesus crucified is the true touchstone revealing what the world is: “The people stood beholding” in stolid indifference; the rulers, who wanted religion, but without a divine Christ crucified for their sins, “reviled”: the brutal amongst them mocked or railed; the conscious sinner prayed; the covetous sat down before the cross and played their sordid games.  The cross is the judgment of this world. (Rev. C. I. Scofield)

I’ve been reading the daily accounts of Jesus’ footsteps this week, following along as He rides triumphantly into the city, cleanses the temple, preaches, prays…  As I think of the disciples, I try to put myself in their place.  They saw so much: Jesus healing; Jesus stopping the Pharisees with his words of wisdom; Jesus, as he raised the dead!  And now this!  All their hopes and dreams are lying trampled in the dirt.  They thought He would usher them right into His kingdom; but instead, He was arrested, brutally beaten and whipped, mocked, and most humiliating of all: crucified like a common thief! 

Yesterday, I stopped to see my mom.  I knocked on the garage door.  No answer.  I looked in the window of the garage and saw her car, so I knew she was home.  I walked to the front door.  No answer.  Now I believe my mom will live to be a hundred (don’t we all!), but that moment, a horrible dread went through me.  Where was Mom!  What would I find when I got inside?  I stopped and thought how everything could change in that moment. Then I walked to the side porch thinking she might be working out back.  That’s when I heard the piano.  What a welcome beautiful sound!

For about thirty-six hours, the disciples experienced that dread of the unknown.  It was over.  What would happen next?  Would they all be arrested for treason against the temple?  What would become of them?  Then, early in the morning of the first day of the week, they heard the news.  Could it be true?  Many still doubted, but then He was there in their midst with those reassuring words:  “Peace be unto you.”  What a welcome beautiful sound!

Some may be indifferent to the greatest story ever told; others will count the revenue they can make on this holiday weekend like those who “sat down before the cross and played their sordid games”; some will gather in their places of worship like the rulers, having “religion, but without a divine Christ crucified for their sins”; some mock us, dear Christian and rail on our beliefs – we take the Bible too literally, they say; but the conscious sinner will pray at the cross and walk away rejoicing that his sins are gone because He is Risen!  Praise the Lord!!!  Hallelujah!  What a Savior!!!

…blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.  And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

John 20: 29a-31

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Hang on!!

And there arose a great storm of wind, and the waves beat into the ship, so that it was now full. And he was in the hinder part of the ship, asleep on a pillow: and they awake him, and say unto him,
Master, carest thou not that we perish?
IMG_6783And he arose, and rebuked the wind,
and said unto the sea,
Peace, be still.
And the wind ceased,
and there was a great calm.
 And he said unto them,
Why are ye so fearful?
how is it that ye have no faith?
And they feared exceedingly,
and said one to another,
What manner of man is this,
that even the wind and the sea obey him?
Mark 4: 3-417

Years ago, I saw a picture of this verse and loved it so much that my husband surprised me with it months later for Christmas.  It illustrates the sea at both ends of the verse: The left side portrays the waters calming and the right side shows the dark clouds, angry waves, and flashing lightening.  In between them is a small first-century fishing boat being tossed by the waves; however, in the boat among the frightened disciples, is Jesus: arms raised, telling the storm to cease.  And it does.  The picture loudly proclaims in word and picture: Peace, Be Still, often just the reminder that I need for the day!

Are your days filled with tempestuous waves?  Does it seem as though life is a constant storm?  Life is not easy: it never has been and never will be until we see Jesus face to face!  Oh that will be glory for me!  But today, financial weights drag us down, conflicts in relationships toss loads of water into our little boats, children stress our nautical structures with their bent for the world.  At times, we truly feel like those disciples and ask, “Lord, we’re perishing!  Don’t you care?!”

Of course, we do know that He cares – in our heads; however, there are times when we don’t feel it in our hearts.  Isn’t that strange!  Our hearts are the very place where Jesus dwells!  He’s there!  Always there!  His Spirit never leaves us.  That’s His promise! (Hebrews 13:5b … for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.)

Jesus is in my boat!  I can’t sink!  There is NOTHING that can sink my boat!

Though the angry surges roll
On my tempest driven soul,
I am peaceful, for I know,
Wildly though the winds may blow,
I’ve an anchor safe and sure,
That can evermore endure.

And it holds, my anchor holds:
Blow your wildest, then, O gale,
On my bark so small and frail;
By His grace I shall not fail,
For my anchor holds, my anchor holds.

Mighty tides about me sweep,
Perils lurk within the deep,
Angry clouds o’ershade the sky,
And the tempest rises high;
Still I stand the tempest’s shock,
For my anchor grips the rock.

I can feel the anchor fast
As I meet each sudden blast,
And the cable, though unseen,
Bears the heavy strain between;
Through the storm I safely ride,
Till the turning of the tide.

Troubles almost ’whelm the soul;
Griefs like billows o’er me roll;
Tempters seek to lure astray;
Storms obscure the light of day:
But in Christ I can be bold,
I’ve an anchor that shall hold.

~Daniel B. Towner

I hope you took the time to read all the verses. We don’t often sing all of them, but notice that each one starts with a description of the tempest and ends with the promised security in Jesus, our Lord.  Truly, we can be just assured and shocked as the disciples when (not if) the Lord rebukes the winds and tells the waves to cease…and they do!  So, just hang on and ride that thing!!

He Maketh Me to Lie Down

Yesterday, the Lord MADE my husband “lie down.”  While working on our gym ceiling, the ladder he was standing on slid, and he fell twelve feet to the hard cement floor.  Tonight, he’s in the hospital for the first time in his life with a broken hip and heel.

As I sit here, where I sat nearly twelve hours ago when the cry came, thinking back over the past half a day, I feel as though I’m in a time warp.  What a sickening feeling to see your husband  lying there in pain; however, that could not compare to seeing his face as he returned from getting x-rays, and he tells me that they told him he could scream.  “I didn’t until the last one,” he tells me with a quiver in his voice, his body involuntarily shaking in pain.  And then to hear him cry out in agony as they once again needed to move the leg to splint it…there are no words to describe how I felt as I wept on my daughter’s shoulder.

I probably should have stayed with my mom tonight, but my own bed was calling me up the mountain.  It’s amazing what a few extra hundred feet elevation will do to the roads.  They were clear when I left my mom’s driveway, but I’ve never prayed behind the wheel like I did the last half mile of my journey home: only to find that the electricity was off, crying out once again that my cell phone would have enough juice left to call Mom and let her know that I had made it.

When my head hit the pillow and it all came crashing in, there would be no sleep for a while–not until I starting quoting the Twenty-third Psalm:

The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.

He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me;

thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies:

thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life:

and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.

 

Have you been there?  My mind kept going to others that I’ve known who have had to deal with difficult situations.  Now I know, I thought!  It really IS true:  His grace IS sufficient!!  As my mind tries to fast forward to what is to follow, I’m overwhelmed until I remember: HIS GRACE IS SUFFICIENT, and I praise His name!

I rehearse that beautiful psalm once again and see afresh all that is there:

His IS my shepherd; I do not want for anything; even though He has put my husband flat on his back (in green pastures? I’m not sure about that!) He does lead and restores my weary soul.  I do not need to fear. The rod and staff of His Word and His very presence comfort me beyond words.  His banquet table is set before me here and now, and even as Satan tries to pull me down, I am nourished and strengthened by my Lord.  Only HIS goodness and HIS mercy, not only follow me, but surround me  here and now, and I praise HIS name that I am so privileged to dwell in HIS house forever!

There is no greater comfort or peace, and now I see the green pasture: every scorching desert turns into a beautiful meadow of green because HE has led me here and HE stands guard over my soul while I lie still and rest.

The Great Divide

ID-100314857Jesus crucified is the true touchstone revealing what the world is: “The people stood beholding” in stolid indifference; the rulers, who wanted religion, but without a divine Christ crucified for their sins, “reviled”: the brutal amongst them mocked or railed; the conscious sinner prayed; the covetous sat down before the cross and played their sordid games.  The cross is the judgment of this world. (Rev. C. I. Scofield)

I’ve been reading the daily accounts of Jesus’ footsteps this week, following along as He rides triumphantly into the city, cleanses the temple, preaches, prays…  As I think of the disciples, I try to put myself in their place.  They saw so much: Jesus healing; Jesus stopping the Pharisees with his words of wisdom; Jesus, as he raised the dead!  And now this!  All their hopes and dreams are lying trampled in the dirt.  They thought He would usher them right into His kingdom; but instead, He was arrested, brutally beaten and whipped, mocked, and most humiliating of all: crucified like a common thief! 

Yesterday, I stopped to see my mom.  I knocked on the garage door.  No answer.  I looked in the window of the garage and saw her car, so I knew she was home.  I walked to the front door.  No answer.  Now I believe my mom will live to be a hundred (don’t we all!), but that moment, a horrible dread went through me.  Where was Mom!  What would I find when I got inside?  I stopped and thought how everything could change in that moment. Then I walked to the side porch thinking she might be working out back.  That’s when I heard the piano.  What a welcome beautiful sound!

For about thirty-six hours, the disciples experienced that dread of the unknown.  It was over.  What would happen next?  Would they all be arrested for treason against the temple?  What would become of them?  Then, early in the morning of the first day of the week, they heard the news.  Could it be true?  Many still doubted, but then He was there in their midst with those reassuring words:  “Peace be unto you.”  What a welcome beautiful sound!

Some may be indifferent to the greatest story ever told; others will count the revenue they can make on this holiday weekend like those who “sat down before the cross and played their sordid games”; some will gather in their places of worship like the rulers, having “religion, but without a divine Christ crucified for their sins”; some mock us, dear Christian and rail on our beliefs – we take the Bible too literally, they say; but the conscious sinner will pray at the cross and walk away rejoicing that his sins are gone because He is Risen!  Praise the Lord!!!  Hallelujah!  What a Savior!!!

…blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.  And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

John 20: 29a-31