Wednesday, March 30, 2016

What To Do When You Get Lost

A few months ago I went for a run and got lost. 

Just to clarify, I was away from home, at a writer's getaway. I decided to go for an early morning jog on the jogger/nature trail at the resort. It was relatively short--something like 1.2 miles, along the golf course. 



I asked the person at the front desk how to get there, and she told me go here, then turn there and it's behind something or other. I don't do well with auditory directions. I don't know why I bothered to ask, because I didn't follow her directions anyway. Once I saw the golf course with a trail beside it, I figured I'd found my destination.


I kept losing the trail, and it wasn't clearly marked. It got frustrating when I ended up in a pocket with no apparent continuation, so I backtracked. My app told me I'd already run 1.5 miles--longer than the trail--and it appeared that I was only about halfway through. 


Once I saw buildings, I decided I may as well head for those and get back, even though I had to go off the trail and through some underbrush. Some nature trail, I thought. I guess it's not used much.


I got to the buildings and out in the road when I realized I was not in Kansas anymore. These weren't my buildings, and this wasn't my resort. They were condos, part of the same resort--just next door to ours. I was perplexed. How did I get here?


Standing in front of what appeared to be a pricey--and, at the hour--closed--spa, I looked to my left. A "No Exit" sign boldly announced itself before an empty parking lot. To my right were condos upon condos.


What now? 


I was completely disoriented, and no one was around to ask for help. I had no idea where I was or how to get back. Turning back onto the dead-end trail wasn't a viable option at this point. On top of that, I still had to shower and get to my morning class on time!




I pulled out the phone to find my location on the app (thank God I had my phone!), and that didn't really help too much. I still couldn't figure out where I was and how to get back.


Suddenly it dawned on me that I was holding my phone, which was also useful for other things, like making phone calls and looking up phone numbers. Using those detective skills, I called the front desk of the resort and explained my dilemma. 


"Oh, just walk down the road till you get to Rt. 9, then turn left," she said.


"Well, I'm looking at the end of the road and it says, "No exit."


"The other way," she very kindly said.


Riiiiiight. I knew that.


"Is there a safer way than running or walking on Rt. 9?" I asked. 


"You can walk down the hill until you see the basketball courts behind building (whatever it was) then cut through and you'll be back on our property."


Help was only a phone call away.



I followed those directions because I was lost and my incentive for getting "home" was great--which proved that my auditory skills are sharper than I claim them to be. Perhaps I use that as an excuse...hmmmmm....

Oh, and behind the basketball courts was a huge sign with a trail map for the jogging/nature trail, complete with markings. I'd started at the end and went the wrong way. Apparently, it sees heavier use than I'd thought.


Okay, that was a longer story than necessary, but dear reader, you know that I just love to include the details in my stories. 


How often do we half listen to directions? Half listen to God? Yeah, I sort of heard you God, but I'm good. I see the path. I've got this one. This is what you said, right? Cool, let's go. 


We sort of listen to God and sort of listen to our own desires.


Then we start losing the trail. We don't see the trail markings. We end up in a pocket with no way out. We backtrack. We scurry through the underbrush, trying to find our way out. We won't admit that we're lost until we become so disoriented that we think the end of the road is the beginning. It's clear to everyone else that if we just go the other way, we'll find our way back, but somehow, that thought doesn't even occur to us because we're so focused on the fact that we're lost. And we don't quite know how that happened.




Then we panic. We have so much to do, and we have deadlines. We exhaust our excuses and our own devices. Then we realize that the very thing we've been using to navigate our way out (usually our brain) can be used to call for help.



In my distress I called upon the LORD; to my God I cried for help. 
From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears. 
Psalm 18:6

It is said that hindsight is 20/20. "If I only knew then what I know now." So true. When we've exhausted all our resources, and we finally give up and admit that we've lost our way, we listen intently to the directions that we previously blew off in our arrogance, pride, or apathy because we now have a vested interest. A greater incentive. A valid reason.


And too often, we justify our behavior with blame--


Oh, those directions weren't good. 

I don't do well with auditory directions. 
The path wasn't clearly marked. 
It was her fault.

Instead of owning up.


The fact was, I didn't listen. I thought I already knew. But if I did, then why did I even ask? If I had to ask, that means I didn't already know. 


Pride got me lost. 

Humility got me home.

That's how it works with God too.


Don't wait until you're lost to call out for help. But just in case you do, always carry your phone in your pocket and His Word in your heart.



Commit your work to the Lord and your plans will be established.
Proverbs 16:3

You make known to me the path of life;
at your presence there is fullness of joy; 
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
Psalm 16:11

Blessings Along the Path,

Mare

I apolgize for the wacky fonts all over the place in this blog. I was completely unable to change font size and style. It did what it wanted. It looks horrible and I can't change it. So sorry if it was difficult to read. As a recovering perfectionist, it really irritates me.

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Sunday, March 27, 2016

Voices of the Crucifixion: Mary of Magdala: "I Have Seen the L-RD!"


It was early on the third day when I went to the tomb. There had not been sufficient time to anoint his body for burial on the Sabbath, so I brought the spices to properly prepare him for burial, according to custom.

I am Mary, of Magdala. Some call me Mary Magdalene; still others call me Mary the Demoniac. I am fully aware of the names that I am called. It is all right; most do not know quite what to make of me.


It is true-I was a demoniac. At one time, there were seven demons living in me, tormenting my soul. I was prone to violent outbursts, never knowing when they would choose to manifest themselves. I know that it frightened people...it frightened me! I was ostracized, cast out of my village. Eventually, I lost my friends and all of my family. I was utterly alone...except for the demons.


Until He came---Yeshua, Ha'mashiach...the Christ. The one who was crucified. He did not mock me. He did not reject me. He did not cast me away; rather, He looked at me with eyes so full of love, that I could not turn away. And when He touched me...the demons flew! I was healed! Delivered! Instantly! I experienced a freedom like I've never before known. 


I was...ALIVE!

So, I followed Him. I had nothing to lose. I had already lost my friends, my family, and my dignity. I had everything to gain. I watched in awe each time another such as I was cured.


Then we entered Jerusalem, where He was arrested, beaten...crucified. It was a death like nothing I had ever seen before---so violent! It will be forever etched upon my memory. 


Watching Him die such a cruel and agonizing death was more than I could bear. How could they do that to Him---my L-RD? He was the only one who ever accepted me. 

No one has ever loved me as He did.

So you can imagine the anguish I felt when I got to the tomb and discovered it to be empty. Someone had taken His body and left the linens He'd been dressed in for burial! How could they? I thought. Wasn't it enough for Him to be brutally beaten and to die a most painful and agonizing death? Wasn't that punishment enough? When would the persecution end? 


I sat outside the tomb and wept. Suddenly, I heard a voice, 


"Woman, why are you crying?"

Startled out of my grief, I turned and saw a man dressed in white. I thought he was the gardener. Perhaps he knew where my L-RD's body was. 


"Sir, are you the gardener? Please," I implored of him, "if you have taken him, please tell me where you have put him and I will go and get him."

"Mary..." 


He spoke my name as if he knew me. As He did...Yeshua. Surely, I thought, it couldn't be...could it? He said He would rise in three days. Did He indeed rise miraculously from the dead? He raised Lazarus from the dead, why not Himself? 


Oh, He is alive!

"Rabboni!" I cried. "It is You! You have returned, as you said You would!" 

I fell to my knees with the realization that my L-RD, Yeshua, Ha'mashiach, the Messiah, was standing before me. The Living G-d!

I reached out to touch Him but He told me, "Do not touch me, for I have not yet ascended to my Father. Go to my brothers and tell them, 'I ascend to my Father and your Father, my God and your God.'"


He motioned for me to rise. 


Once I was dead...emotionally, spiritually...when the demons inhabited my soul...and He raised me to new life. He had now risen from the physical dead. 

I was given a task:
To go. 
To tell. 
To proclaim to the others that He is alive! 

I grabbed my spice jar and ran to tell the others. I could barely contain myself as I shouted,

I have seen the L-rd! 
I have seen the L-rd!



HAPPY RESURRECTION DAY!!!
HE'S ALIVE!!!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Voices of the Crucifixion: Roman Centurion: "Surely, He Was the Son of God."

Our story continues at Golgotha, or The Place of the Skull...the place of crucifixion.



I come from a family of centurions. We are soldiers who know how to kill. Some say we are hardened. Hmmm...I suppose they would be right. In order to kill, a man needs to know how to suppress his emotions. It is something I was taught as a young boy from my father, who was also a centurion. Even though my father was a centurion, and his father before him, I moved up through the ranks on my own skill and merit, along with the ability to command many men. 

I had the privilege of standing guard at the crucifixion of this man they called The king of the Jews, Jesus. 


I take my job very seriously. Many of my men openly mocked Jesus, casting lots for his clothes. I find that to be an immature quality. Although I did not partake in their boyish games, I did nothing to stop them. Sometimes, they just need an outlet. And criminals are...well, criminals. Not worthy of respect. What harm is there in a little fun? They're going to die anyway. 


Around the sixth hour, it became very dark. For three hours, we waited for Jesus to die. Suddenly, around the ninth hour, he cried out in a loud voice, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!" Then, he gave up his voice. It was finally over. But it wasn't...


What happened next is something I would never have believed, had I not witnessed it. At the very moment Jesus breathed his last breath, the sun stopped shining and it grew very dark and stormy. I heard that the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom! The earth quaked and the rocks split! Then the tombs broke open and dead people, the holy ones, started walking around! 


It couldn't be coincidence. The magnitude of these happenings coinciding with the death of this man they called a king both terrified and awed me. 


The guards who were with me saw these things and can testify to them. For what seemed like an eternity, we could not speak. For someone who was an expert at hiding his emotions, I suddenly wanted to fall to my knees and weep. 

This Jesus...surely this was a righteous man. Surely, he was the Son of God.


For readers new to my blog-I hope you enjoy these stories. I have tried to remain as biblically correct as possible, while still taking creative license. For my long time readers, my apologies if you've read these before, but I pray they will still touch your heart. These stories are my interpretation of what may have gone on inside these individuals' heads. 

Voices of the Crucifixion: Simon of Cyrene: "I Would Gladly Carry His Cross."

 Our story continues on the Via Dolorosa, the road to crucifixion.





Early this morning, I was on my way to Jerusalem from the country, and I saw this crowd gathered. I heard much shouting and jeering. I wondered what was going on, but I'm not one to get involved. I just wanted to take care of my business and enjoy the Sabbath with my family. It was Passover and my wife had a list of chores for me to help her with, so I needed to get home.

But in order to conduct my business, I had to go through that crowd to get to where I needed to go. I waited awhile, thinking the crowd would disperse, but it only grew. 


Suddenly, I saw a break in the crowd, and I seized the opportunity to get through and move on. As I began to cross through the crowd, I saw this man who appeared to have been brutally beaten. He was bleeding so much that it seemed as if I there was more blood than flesh. He was carrying a cross...barely. I recognized this Roman punishment for crucifixion. The criminal was to carry his own cross to his death as a symbol of conformity to the law, which he had broken. 

It caused me to stop. I watched for a moment. The poor man kept falling from the weight of the cross; he was clearly unable to continue to Golgotha, the Place of the Skull, where he would be crucified.

I couldn't watch any more. This punishment was brutal. I was just about to continue on, when I heard a loud and demanding voice call to me. "You there!" I turned and saw a Roman soldier looking and pointing at me.


"Me?"

"Yes...YOU! What's your name?"


"Simon, of Cyrene," I replied. What did this soldier want with me? I did nothing wrong.


"Well...Simon, of Cyrene," he said with a sarcastic tone in his voice, "Carry his cross."


Now, I'm not a strong man; I prefer to work with numbers rather than lumber. But I had heard this man...Jesus they called him. I had listened to his teachings and I believed what he said. I also believed that he was being unjustly punished. I'm not sure what his crime was, but the Jesus I'd heard was gentle and kind; certainly not deserving of this savage treatment. But I certainly wasn't going to disobey an armed soldier.


I gladly took his cross.


He was tired and his body was battered. My heart went out to him. Yet...I felt something in mine; as if, even in his battered state, his heart went out to me. It wasn't merely a sentiment of thanks for my carrying his cross. It was something deeper-a connection that cannot be explained. 


It was as if he knew me. 

I kept my pace with his; he could barely walk. He fell several times. I wanted to help him up, but that soldier kept his eye on me to make sure I did only what I was told to do-carry his cross. The weight on my shoulders was great, but the weight on his had to be much greater. 


I would gladly carry his cross. And in so doing, I would never again be the same.

For readers new to my blog-I hope you enjoy these stories. I have tried to remain as biblically correct as possible while still taking creative license. For my long time readers, my apologies if you've read these before, but I pray they will still touch your heart.These stories are my interpretation of what may have gone on inside these individuals' heads.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Voices of the Crucifixion: Pontius Pilate: "I Am Innocent of This Man's Blood!"

 Our story continues in the governor's mansion, otherwise known as Pilate's palace, early in the morning on the day of crucifixion.


Very early this morning, I was awakened by a crowd of Jews. To avoid ceremonial uncleanness, they did not enter the palace, my palace; I am Pontius Pilate, the Roman governor here in Jerusalem. According to custom, the Jews wanted to be able to eat their Passover meal and I guess cavorting with a Roman governor and all that...as they call it...a Gentile...would cause them to become unclean. We all have our customs, so I went out to them.

The chief priests, the elders, the teachers of the law and the whole Sanhedrin (in other words all the important leaders) brought this man to me. They accused him of many things: undermining their authority, misleading the people, refusing to pay taxes to Caesar, and claiming to be Christ, a king---blasphemy. They were furious, adamant, and demanding. They wanted justice. I looked at this man called Jesus. He appeared to be a calm and gentle man, hardly dangerous. I asked him, "Are you the king of the Jews?"


He replied, "Yes, it is as you say."


They continued their accusations, but this Jesus had no response. He never tried to defend himself. I turned to him and asked, "Aren't you going to answer? Don't you see how many things they are accusing you of?"


To my amazement, he never said a word. I had to hand it to him. I was impressed. So, I told the crowd, "I see no basis for a charge against this man."


But they were insistent. "He stirs up people everywhere he goes. He started in Galilee and has come all the way here." 


Ah, I thought, here's my out. I discovered that he was actually under Herod's jurisdiction. I could wash my hands of this mess. I sent him to Herod, who just so happened to be in Jerusalem at the time. How convenient! Well, Herod did nothing but mock and ridicule Jesus, dressing him in a fine purple robe. Then he was sent back to me!


Meanwhile, my wife, Claudia had sent me a note through her servant. I glanced at her in the window of her bed chamber and saw desperation in her eyes. The note said that she'd had a dream that this man was innocent and that I should have nothing to do with him. Ah, Claudia, if only you understood politics.


I honestly didn't see what crime this Jesus had done that was so heinous that it would incite the leaders this way. But I knew that these men had much influence over the crowd, and the crowd was becoming more agitated. I felt conflicted. I wanted to shout, "WHAT DO YOU WANT ME TO DO?"


As if reading my mind, they began to shout to me what they wanted me to do. It was a Jewish custom to release a prison of the peoples' choosing on the Feast, and I gave them a choice: Barrabas--a murderer, or Jesus--an accused blasphemer? 


"Give us Barrabas!" they shouted. I had a strong inkling that they were influenced by the leaders, but what could I do? I had to give them Barrabas. 

"What shall I do, then, with the one you call the King of the Jews?" I asked them.


"Crucify him!" they shouted.


I knew I would get nowhere with these people. If I didn't appease them, I would have an uprising on my hands. As I washed my hands in front of the crowd, I told them, "I am innocent of this man's blood! It's your responsibility."


I released Barrabas to them. I had Jesus flogged and handed him over to be crucified. It seemed a cruel and unfair punishment to me; a desperate attempt to be rid of a man who was turning their beliefs upside down and inside out. And I remembered the note my dear Claudia had sent me. I agreed with her. I believed that he was innocent, but the people had spoken...or shouted. I could not back down. 


Still... I am innocent of this man's blood.

For readers new to my blog-I hope you enjoy my stories. I have tried to remain as biblically correct as possible, while still taking creative license. For my long time readers, my apologies if you've read these before, but I pray they will still touch your heart. These stories are my interpretation of what may have gone on inside these individuals' heads.

Voices of the Crucifixion: Claudia: "I Knew He Was Innocent"

Our story continues in the governor's mansion, otherwise known as Pilate's palace, early in the morning on the day of crucifixion.

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

I'm not one who typically gets into "mumbo-jumbo" kind of stuff. I go to sleep and I suppose I dream, but I don't remember my dreams.  I'm usually so tired from caring  for the needs of my husband and our rather large staff, that I just fall into bed, and the next thing I know it's morning.

My name is Claudia and I am the wife of a very important man who makes very important decisions every day. Many times those decisions affect the fate of others. He is a governor. Perhaps you've heard of him. Pontius Pilate. Very important.


Well, anyway, very early this morning I had a dream...one that I not only remembered, but one which caused me great distress. It was so vivid! I dreamed that my husband, the governor, the one who decides the fate of others, sent an innocent man to his death. 


I can still see the man's face. Calm, like a lamb being led to the slaughter. He didn't struggle or defend himself. But he looked right at me, and his eyes pierced my soul, as if he could see everything I'd ever done, yet loved me so much he forgave me all of it. I knew he was innocent.

I couldn't sleep the rest of the morning. My soul felt distressed. My husband was awakened very early by a great disturbance from all the important men. They had a man with them, along with a list of accusations against this man. 


I peeked through the drapes from inside my bed chamber, and I swear, for an instant the man's eyes locked with my own. I gasped with realization! It was him! The man in my dream! I knew that face, those eyes. And I knew he was innocent.

I quickly summoned my servant to give my husband this message. "Don't have anything to do with that innocent man, for I have suffered a great deal today in a dream because of him."


I feared he would not receive it in time. I watched as my servant handed the note to my husband, who quickly read it and glanced in my direction. I couldn't hear everything he said, but I heard the crowd. They were becoming more unruly. He needed to do something quickly.


I silently prayed to the gods that my husband would heed my warning. I didn't know who this man was; this man who seemed to have to power to look into the depths of my soul; but I knew he was innocent.


 For readers new to my blog-I hope you enjoy my interpretation. For my long time readers, my apologies if you've read these before, but I pray they will still touch your heart. I've tried to stay biblically correct while taking creating license. These stories are my interpretation of what may have gone on inside these individuals' heads. 

Voices of the Crucifixion: Crowd Member: "Crucify Him!"

In the past, during Holy Week, I've shared these stories. This year I forgot! So, I'll share a couple today (Thursday), some tomorrow (Friday), and a few on Saturday. For readers new to my blog-I hope you enjoy them. I have tried to remain as biblically correct as possible, while still taking creative license. For my long time readers, my apologies if you've read these before, but I pray they will still touch your heart.

These stories are my interpretation of what may have gone on inside these individuals' heads. Our story begins outside the governor's palace, early in the morning on the day of crucifixion.


How I ended up in the crowd this morning, I can't remember. I was out early, ready to set up my wares in the market place. Passover was coming. The Feast. A high holy day. 

I noticed the chief priests, the teachers of the law and all the Sanhedrin (I call them "the men of great importance") walking purposefully toward the governor's palace. A crowd of angry people followed. The leaders had a man with them who was bound and stumbling along. I was curious. 

What was going on? They couldn't go into the governor's palace today of all days. He is not a Jew. If they went inside, they would become unclean and would not be able to eat the Passover meal. Maybe whatever was going to transpire would take place outside the palace. My curiosity got the better of me and I left my wares with my brother to see what was going on.

Pontius Pilate came out to them. More people gathered. The men of great importance made accusations against this man, whose name was Jesus. I'd heard of this man. I even heard his teachings. They made sense to me and I liked this Jesus.


What I found most interesting was that these accusations didn't seem to match the intensity of the men making them. In other words, I thought that perhaps they were over-reacting. But, I am a simple man. I am not a man of great importance, like our leaders. What did I know?


I continued to watch and listen, but then I noticed that many of the men of great importance were walking among the crowd, screaming at Pilate, and getting the crowd  worked up. Before I knew what was happening, I was caught up in the turmoil. Our numbers grew and so did our anger.


Jewish custom allows a prisoner of the peoples' choosing to be released on the Feast. Pilate gave us a choice...Barrabas, a murderer or Jesus, a blasphemer? 


"We want Barrabas!" we cried.


In my heart, I knew that Jesus should be released. What crime had he really committed? Even Pilate said that the man had done nothing wrong. But no one else appeared to feel the same way. I was confused. I looked at the faces around me. They were all distorted in anger! I began to feel the same.


Pilate asked us what we wanted him to do with Jesus. Why was he asking us, the crowd? Wasn't that his job? He seemed to want nothing to do with this.


Someone shouted, "Crucify him!"  Probably a man of great importance planted in the crowd. The rest of us went along with it. 


Before I knew it, we were all shouting, "Crucify him!"

Later, I would recall how quickly I went from a peace-loving man, whose only wish in life was to provide for my family and live in harmony with others, to a bitter, raging maniac, demanding the death of what I now know was an innocent man. 


At that time, my only thought was, "Crucify him!" because that's what everyone around me was shouting. How quickly I caved in to what everyone else thought. 

How sad that I did not have a voice of my own.

Monday, March 21, 2016

Illustrating Your Bible to Get Out of a Funk

I've been feeling melancholy lately. I get this way when the seasons change. Part of the S.A.D.(Seasonal Affect Disorder) I suppose. My moods fluctuate from sadness to aggravation to both. Worse is that for a variety of reasons, I haven't written in over a week--and I'd committed to writing my novel every day. Part life getting in the way, part lethargy.

The more time slips away, the more disinterested I become, and that scares me. I am committed to finishing this, and I'm drifting right now--somewhere in the middle. When life prevents me from continuing, I become angry...with life, and with myself (I'm very hard on myself).

During all of this, I hear the Spirit calling. I feel the tug in my most inner being. Yet, I ignore it. After all, what do I have to offer you Lord? I feel like I'll just sit there, not knowing what to say, becoming bored when I don't hear anything. And opening the bible to just any old place---I'd probably get, "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!" Because right now, I can only see the woes and not the blesseds. 

The other night I was restless. I was too annoyed with things from the day to write--I was afraid that my attempts would cause my characters to defect into another novel--and try as I might, I couldn't concentrate on reading. I felt the creative pull, but I just wasn't in the mood.

I saw my Beautiful Word Bible sitting on my footstool. It truly is a beautiful bible. It's illustrated--in the margins--like what's trendy now. I started reading through Philippians and before I knew it, I wanted to illustrate my bible. So I picked up my journaling bible and copied (Beautiful Bible is on left; my copy is on the right).



There is something about copying the Word, and staying in that scripture for an hour that does the heart, soul, mind and spirit good. My mood lightened, my burden lifted, and my spirit connected with God. How could I not praise the Lord?

Next thing I knew, Hubbles was going off to bed, and I was looking for another scripture to copy (mine is on the left this time--and I have a different version).



I needed to be creative, but I just didn't have it in me to create. And that bothered me. But copying I can do. And knowing that God has made me, will carry me and has saved me put me in the right frame of mind to sleep soundly (and I did!).

The next day I woke up and felt that closeness to God that I'd been missing, and realized that was part of my sadness. After work, I plunged back in to the novel and copied three more pages in my bible!

If you're interested in the Beautiful Word Bible, it can be purchased any place bibles are sold (I got mine at Amazon).



If you're interested in how I made my beautiful copies, I first used pencil, then micro pens for the words (erasing the pencil after the ink dried, or erasing as you outline, before you fill.). Micro pens work nicely on bible pages because they don't bleed through. I used water color pencils for the flowers (water color pencils typically come with a small brush-you can color then paint over top with water to blend the colors to look like a watercolor painting). 

If you find yourself in the same ugly place I was in, don't hide from God. He knows where you, are and guess what? He loves you still. Do whatever your inner self needs to connect with Him. But remember this--

It's okay to be in that place. It's okay to sit there and have nothing to say. It's okay if you don't feel His presence. It's okay if you don't "hear" anything. Faith isn't about feeling or hearing. It's about knowing. If you feel far from God, it's because you've moved, not Him. 

Blessings (not woes!) Along the Path,
Mare

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Monday, March 14, 2016

Where Was God? Where Were You?

How could God let this happen?

What kind of a God allows this?


Where was God when (fill in the blank)? 


People are so quick to blame God when things go wrong, when bad things happen, and when they feel abandoned. So it only seems fair that the same God who is too often (erroneously) blamed for all the bad and wrong would receive credit for the same amount of good and right that happens in the world.


Sadly, that's not the case, as we well know.


What about you? Has God received as much credit as blame in your life?


When all went wrong, you asked, "How could God let this happen?"
But when all went right, did you also ask, "How could God let this happen?"

When all seemed unfair, you asked, "What kind of a God allows this?"

But when the scales tipped in your direction, did you also ask, "What kind of a God allows this?"

When you suffered loss, you demanded to know, "Where was God?"

But when you were given incredible favor, where were you

Where were you when you won, when you were chosen first, when you were loved beyond your wildest dreams, when you were the center of attention? Where were you when all was right in your world and God was beside you, rejoicing with you? Did you stop to thank Him, to praise Him or to even acknowledge Him? Did you not think that the same God who stood by you when all was right and good would not still be right there when everything fell apart?


Let's stop abusing the power of God. 

Let's stop making God responsible for all that goes wrong, because the truth is God isn't responsible for most of it. We are. Evil is. Sin is. Circumstances are. Things happen. People make poor choices that affect others. There are a million different reasons why God should NOT be blamed, yet we blame Him anyway because we don't have answers. God is not our scapegoat. He is our Creator.  


Let's let Him be so, and give Him the honor due His name.


Why would God create and then destroy the same things He loves? Would you do that to your children? Of course not. Neither would God. 



If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heave, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land. 
2 Chronicles 7:14

Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord, and He shall lift you up.
James 4:10

P.S. I know there may be someone reading this who may have lost a child or been given a cancer diagnosis or something equally devastating. Please understand...I'm not diminishing your pain. When our world is turned upside down and we lose those we love, we struggle to make sense of it, and we long for an answer, an explanation, a reason. But please don't blame God, and please don't misunderstand my point.


Blessings Along the Path,
Mare

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Monday, March 7, 2016

33 People Not Worth Saving

With the help of the internet, I've compiled a list of  the most evil people ever to live. 33 to be exact. Why 33? I'll explain. But first, the list. In no particular order, the winners (or should I say--losers--are:




  1. Adolph Hitler
  2. Joseph Stalin
  3. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini
  4. Kim Il Sung
  5. Charles Manson
  6. Attila the Hun
  7. Jeffrey Dahmer
  8. Fidel Castro
  9. King Herod 
  10. Pol Pot
  11. Saddam Hussein
  12. Emperor Hirohito
  13. Andrei Chikatilo (The Butcher)
  14. Osama bin Laden
  15. Elizabeth Bathory
  16. Nero
  17. Idi Amin
  18. Talat Pasha
  19. Henreich Himmler
  20. Haman (See the book of Esther)
  21. Caligula
  22. Mao Zedong
  23. Ivan the Terrible
  24. Genghis Khan
  25. Luis Garavitor (The Beast)
  26. Leopold II of Belgium
  27. Vlad Dracula (didn't know he was the "inspiration" for the Dracula legend)
  28. Josef Mengele
  29. Ted Bundy
  30. Tomas de Torquemada
  31. Adolf Eichmann
  32. Dennis Raider
  33. Maximilien Robespierre

Compiling this list was disturbing. I read the stories of all these evil people, and there were more who I chose not to include, simply because I needed to limit it to 33. What was equally disturbing was the more I read, I found myself saying, "Well, I'm not sure this guy makes the list. He only murdered 17 people, as opposed to this guy who murdered 300." Only 17? 

With the exception of the crazy serial killers, most were leaders who were responsible for genocides. Amazingly, Hitler was not the only one who killed in the millions. 

Truly evil.

Were any of them worth saving? 

Yes. Every one of them. 

Jesus would have--and did--die for each one of those evil people. They were worth saving. Jesus saw their lives as valuable. They were the ones who chose to follow evil instead.

Why 33?

Hubbles and I watched the movie, The 33 last night. It's the true story of the 2010 Chilean mine collapse in which 33 men were trapped underground for 69 days. 

The mine was privately owned, and when this happened, the owners had neither the resources nor the skill and knowledge to save the miners. So they did nothing.

The government intervened but upon inspection, deemed the situation too dangerous to proceed. The rescue operation was halted. 

Thirty three men's lives were deemed not worth saving.

But those thirty three men had families who thought otherwise. I won't tell you any more, in case you want to see the movie.

Someone once described a person to me as, "not worth the skin they're in." I was appalled. How dare we decide that?
Thirty three evil people.
Thirty three miners.
Thirty three people we just don't like.

Who are the "thirty three" in your sphere of influence that you've decided aren't worth saving? 

Maybe it's only one person--that "evil" person you just can't stand--or forgive--but Jesus still hung on that cross for that one person. It is not up to us to decide the fate or salvation of another. It's up to God. And He has decided that every being that He gave life to is worth saving.

Blessings Along the Path,
Mare

**The March issue of Ruby for Women is out, and it's all about Easter! Check out page 21 for a BRAND NEW COLUMN called, Be-YOU-tifully YOU-nique by...me! Each month, I will focus on the biblical you that God created each of us to be. So hop on over to read the first column about being beautiful!

 

The 33: IMDb

Sources:
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