Let us search the world and think of those in our lifetime who have sold their soul to be someone else. How many incidents are you aware of that someone was raised learning the word of God, but later, lost their identity? And what about those who talk-the-talk, but don’t walk-the-walk? We didn’t have to go very far, did we? Our lives are inundated with invented people who aren’t as they portray. I’ve seen too many backslide to someone I can’t recognize anymore.
One of America’s Most Wanted inmates was apprehended by FBI agents in South America. He was extradited back to the U.S. to stand trial and remains in prison on a thirty-year sentence. He asked for a Bible and began reading it, page by page. When he came to Matthew 16, it turned his life around. His ultimate goal today is to join the prison ministry helping other inmates involved in an identity of theft – losing their soul and worthiness.
Let’s try to comprehend why good honest Christians revert away from what they know to be righteous and pure. Secular (worldly, non-spiritual) people are notorious for having ‘the good life’ – they do whatever they want to do, paying no mind to consequences. They’re engulfed in the good times and the next level of adrenaline rush. Who wants to waste a perfect Sunday in church or to work for the church? Isn’t that boring! So, I guess my big question now is – isn’t this clinging to a self-centered identity? Isn’t it ironic that those with the most material possessions and free spirit are the unhappiest? I think the root of the problem is a self-absorbed, ungodly pride which ultimately creates our loss of identity.
Another issue to consider may surround someone being influenced to question the validity of God. Doesn’t this make one narrow-minded? It appears that Satan stole the very soul of a smiling spirit. This is a topic that would make my blog three pages long, but in short, Jesus claimed, “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” This bold statement has never been spoken by any other great world religious leader. Can that be denied? His signs and His gifts are ever-present in this world for those who choose to receive their identity from God, but, it’s only through His holy name, Jesus Christ.
Self-reflection and learning will bring us to our knees, friends. Isolation forces us to reconcile and deal with ourselves. It is by our faults and mess ups, confronting personal issues, that we enter the realm of learning our true identity. We need to deal with this for God to get us where we want to be. We’ve got to be believers who love God more than life itself!
The sun is setting, and an anxious parent awaits the return home of their little child from a weekend rendezvous. With folded arms, standing at the stern, the landscape lighting does little to enlighten the sequence of changes. In your negative mind, you can’t help but wonder what the ex has said to your child this time. It’s best to prepare for damage control between now and bedtime as tomorrow is school. A weekend of entertainment, where life is full of dandelions, isn’t exactly the reality going through your mind. Headlights approach around the corner. Artificial hugs are exchanged, and words of encouragement mean little as the door opens. Your very first words are, “You’re late! Get a shower. School is tomorrow.”
A disgruntled child grabs their things from the back seat and stumbles out the door brushing by your seething heart. The front door slams closed and now it’s your turn. You glare back at your ex and utter, “And you wonder why we divorced!” Now your thoughts and temper are short as you’re trapped between feelings – happiness the child is home, and frustration (because you just know words must have been exchanged).
Retiring for the night in your harvested sanctuary, feelings are resolved to self-pity. Do you think you’re the only one affected by the collateral damage of being a single parent? Where are your thoughts at this time? They appear to be in just your center, in your life, and your immediate circle! It is a melting pot of catastrophic dilemmas.
Meanwhile, an innocent child who never had a choice pays the ultimate price. Too often children suffer at the hand of their parent’s indiscretions, and they become the losers. There’s not much room for error when a melting pot is about to explode in the home. Close your eyes and pray for forgiveness!
I ask God how we can bridge the heartaches of one generation to the next. How can we stop the sin of shame? Our courts are full, and only attorneys are the winners. The answer is simple – God! Spend a little time each day to focus on God. Set a good example for your children by walking in His truth. He is the only provider of all our needs.
The sun comes up like a harvest moon. It’s too cold to be considered April! I scrape the frost from my windshield and then look out over the barren fields. The sparsely populated woodlands have very few leaves. I know it’s written in scripture that seasons will be undefinable, so as Christians, we should stay vigilant. My point of this blog might be worth considering as you look out your window. Forget your pain; God is calling us to sit up and take notice!
Predicting Christ’s arrival isn’t much different from predicting the weather. They are calling for snow showers this weekend and nonetheless, in April. The branches on trees are bare as the seasons run simultaneously. Only God can tell nature when it will be Spring. Planting by a calendar is futile. We must be patient and wait for the obvious signs from God, for He is in control—not the Farmer’s Almanac.
Motivated by the word Spring written on our calendar, we rush about cleaning out closets and even the flower beds. We prepare for the impending change of season. But the innocent Forsythia blooms in wrath. For those who don’t believe God exists, look outside! Perplexed, I ponder God’s message to us.
I listen to the howling winds, and even a songbird isn’t singing. The bees that swarm in spring hibernate where they can find warmth. Is God preparing for something? I wait and watch.
To non-believers, it’s time to re-examine your subconscious. Maybe you should put God in your life now, or risk the same fate as the early flowers that will surely die, as the April snow arrives.
According to Bible prophecy, look for more severe weather events during the end times. It is with certainty that God has used the weather to influence nations and individuals in the past. He uses these events to speak to His nations at the end of this age.
Sitting on an old boulder along the hillside, I watched quietly as if I had gone way back in time. Under the overcast skies, stood a few men that looked as though they were dressed in biblical robes milling about a field. Several knelt before the base of a rough-cut pole. I watched them pray in the shadows and observed the amazed disbelievers. They gazed upon the monument where the crucified King hung not so long ago. I presumed it must have been day four or five since He was entombed in the limestone cave. They stood praying in His honor and breaking off pieces of the treasured cross.
I heard a woman weeping as she threw herself around the base of the up righted cross. Aided by two disciples, she reached up and carefully removed the remains of His loincloth hanging from the driven spike. She tore the cloth into threads, and shared the pieces –much like a first communion. “Our Savior lives! Our Savior lives!” she announced. I began to shed a tear, for I knew the truth! They, too, saw the empty tomb and knew what happened to Him.
From her soiled hands, she passed out a thread of faith. Each of the disciples carried their pieces as a sacred memento. The doubters watched while others came forward and found salvation with her communion. As I watched, I could tell they were the first to become born-again Christians for they now accepted He was the Christ.
I don’t think they saw me; maybe I didn’t exist to them but what I saw while sitting on that ominous boulder in a pair of jeans was incredible! As much as I wanted to walk up to the site, I thought better of losing the mirage. I, a mere messenger, can only report what I saw that day. The sun broke through and before it set, I watched the rays as they lifted them into the heavens.
I need sleep but I’m too tired to rest. Desiring perseverance, my body draws into a knot. God mercifully tries to lead me, but my schedule doesn’t permit His desires. So, I rush from one job to another—chasing that squirrel in a round box. My spirit dwindles like the cloudy, rainy weather forming puddles and then floods. I stab at a sense of balance but some things just cannot be grasped, no matter how much you’re convinced it’s possible. It reminds me of poking more holes into a piece of Swiss cheese.
I listen to the rain on the roof and can’t help but think there’s a message, somehow, in its sound. As I try to hear what God wants for me, I remain. A dam restrains the beauty of the shoreline – the very edge we are drawn to initially. Hmm…. is it really worth it? So gracious is His grace that we overlook the obvious signs. We fight to survive instead of going with the flow as an adventurer paddling our way downstream.
A tear comes as I try to understand the complexity of life, and age-old questions stay aloft. Why do things need to be so hard? Even storm clouds eventually break apart to allow rays of sunshine! My chest aches as my spirit reflects Noah’s forecast. Exhausted as the season procrastinates its departure, a welcomed friend has overstayed its invitation.
I stare at the jonquils of life and their smiling faces detect a glimmer of hope. Has God sent them to deliver a message? I pray so! I’ll wait for tomorrow. Maybe then, it will come on the wings of a dove, resonating light at the shoreline of the water’s edge.
An Artist’s Tribute to Palm Sunday: “The Last Supper”
Many times in life we must look at things in wonder. For centuries, disconcert plays a role in many people’s lives. One such situation you may be unaware of was set in 1495. The Duke of Milan wanted to have a contest for artists. The quest was to see who could depict the best painting of an unknown event from their imagination. This painting would be placed in the monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan. So, word went out across the land to bring knowledge and talent and put their skills to the test.
Artists came from far and wide to show their talents. One such flagrant depicter had a reputation for never completing his works. Not qualified to even be considered, he stood by the wayside as others were rejected for their inequality of workmanship. Soon enough, the list was narrowed down to just two contenders. It was between the one you already know and another who was less fortunate to be made second runner-up. Now as the story goes, these two artists did not think much of each other’s skills. In fact, they detested their perspective abilities and reputations. Despising each other brought tensions and deceit. After painting a mock version of the duke’s request, Leonardo da Vinci was awarded the job, and he began to paint.
Depicting the unimaginable, yet showing great reverence for the somber occasion, his characters developed from common people serving as models – some were off the street and one was just out of prison. But of all those who posed for this infamous painting, it was the character of Jesus that Leonardo struggled with and could not accomplish…. at least not until he made amends with his colleague who wasn’t as lucky as him. Da Vinci could not paint Jesus’s eyes until he asked for forgiveness.
Looking into the eyes of those who don’t see as we, forgiveness is all Christ asks of us. In the reflections, deep in the portals of the subconscious, Jesus stands with us. His eyes, as in the painting of “The Last Supper”, pierces our hearts and minds. It should remind us of our own integrity–-primary, and our lives in His hands. And as we celebrate our Savior’s passing may we never forget we can all partake in the last supper. Just look into Christ’s eyes and you will see.
Interesting Facts of “The Last Supper” Painting
Leonardo, prior to this contest, had no experience painting large pictures. It took him four years to complete it.
The original painting was 15 x 29 feet long.
The Last Supper was originally painted by experimenting with tempura paint on a dry, plaster wall. Even before it was finished, it flaked off the walls. It had to be re-done a few times by da Vinci.
Two exact copies of da Vinci’s Last Supper are known to exist. They were created by Leonardo’s assistants and are remarkably well preserved.
The painting was made to depict Matthew 26:21.
Very little of the original painting exists today. It was heavily damaged by Napoleon Bonaparte’s soldiers in the late 18th century, and then disintegrated by the Nazis in World War II. In fact, it has been restored seven times.
In 1652, monastery residents cut a new door in the wall of the deteriorating painting, which removed a chunk of the artwork showing the feet of Jesus.
All prior versions of “The Last Supper” had halos over the disciples and Jesus’s heads. However, Leonardo da Vinci did not paint them and many today speculate it was because he saw everyone as just ordinary people – not saints.
Da Vinci’s drawings show that most bodily proportions use the fascinating Golden Ratio: two quantities are in the golden ratio if their ratio is the same as the ratio of their sum to the larger of the two quantities. Not just a simple painting!
Want to see the original painting in person? You must book a viewing at least several months in advance. Each visit consists of fifteen minutes in groups of 20-25 visitors, and you must be dressed conservatively.
The night comes…. chapters close and a sigh of relief appears in the moonlight. We seek God and thank him for our many blessings. We’ve seen Satan’s power surrounding our world as life is torn from God’s holy chosen. Endeavors of many, though, try to conquer evil but fail.
With the strength of faith and armored by prayer, we look to our Father for inner peace. He assures us we will never be left behind. Though times are tough and we struggle daily, God prepares us for our future with His love and divine wisdom.
In the restless night, we worry and pray for dawn to come. Hopefully, the evil dominates our past will be removed with a new day. It’s only a miracle God brings us through the trials as we press on to survive. Survival substantiates the verses, for God, in all His righteousness, never tells a lie. The Bible instructs us to obtain wisdom for discernment, at all cost, through constant prayer. We must remember – prayers are a messenger; without them, we cannot communicate or receive divine wisdom.
God’s wisdom gets to the heart of our matters and sets aside all other human emotions to deliver peace abundantly. So, let us give thanks for majestic mornings. At times, we may wonder if it’s worth the trouble to even make our bed, never seeing the fortitude. But even in the dimmest of hopes, He admires your integrity. If we set our sights on newer blessed horizons, our Lord will stand firm with his arms around us. He guides us through the winter squalls and our patience protected.
Humanity can find true wisdom in a real relationship with our Savior. Let’s make ourselves an example to others.