Posted in Christianity

The Angels’ Candle

Sometimes, I wonder how the angels felt or what they were thinking when it was time for Jesus to come to earth. Especially Gabriel. Sometimes I like to imagine:

Gabriel being in God’s presence, worshiping Him and enjoying being there. Then, God calls Him to the throne, “Gabriel, come! It is time. You will be the herald signaling the arrival of the King. Speak to Zacharias. Speak to Mary. Gather the others to help proclaim the Good News.”

It’s happening! God asked me to be the herald!

Zacharias, you and your wife will have a son. He will prepare the way for the King’s ministry. Rejoice, you and Elizabeth, for you are now a part of one of the greatest times in History!

Mary, don’t be afraid and don’t worry. You’re going to be mother to the King. It will all work out, for God is in control and nothing is impossible for Him. Celebrate, for He will bring peace to all mankind.

What if Gabriel watched them each step of the way to Bethlehem? Maybe he served as Mary and Joseph’s guardian angel as they went through the census and searched for a place to stay. I like to imagine an excitement we humans can’t understand as he gathered his brethren to tell the shepherds, I bring you good tidings of great joy. I like to imagine him sitting with the other angels watching as the shepherds glorified God and shared the good news.

Look how happy they are. The lowest of the low get to see God’s glory firsthand. And we get to witness their excitement and joy in their knowledge of the King. See how the shepherds run to share the Good News!

And the angels offer their own praises for they know this has been long in coming and Jesus’ coming is cause to celebrate. “Blessed be the LORD God, the God of Israel, Who only does wondrous things!” (Psalm 72:18).

*Luke 1:26-38 tells Gabriel’s annunciation to Mary. The second week of advent is about peace and is the angels’ candle. 

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Posted in Christianity

Expectantly Waiting…Christ Will Return

Expectantly waiting for the sign of God, a sign that shines in the darkness

to help us walk in the LORD’s light, a sign that is our banner

and our guide to God’s holy mount.

Hoping for the place of defense that brings joy and gladness to us,

to people who have walked in darkness longing for light.

Patience is required, we must wait until the day set for the sign to appear.

 

Emmanuel, God with us. The light that shined in the darkness

the Man who fulfilled prophecy and offered salvation

the Way back into God’s loving arms

 

So my soul, awake! Awake now and remember the prayers and hopes

of the prophets – the ones who knew of the coming of the KING

they foresaw salvation and love. Do not turn away, my heart,

from the light that has shined and shows the way home.

 

Expectantly waiting for Him to come again. The prophecies are fulfilled

each in their own time. On God’s time the King will return.

He will return. He will return – the echo in my heart.

Do not lose heart, cling strongly to your hope for He says

“I am coming quickly”!

So, awake my soul! Be quick and have faith until the day

that He returns.

Christ will return – prayer, longing of my heart.

 

*inspired by common scripture readings for the first week of Advent…

Isaiah 2:2-5, Isaiah 7:14; Isaiah 9:2, 6-7; Isaiah 11:1-10; Jeremiah 33:14-16; Matthew 1:5, 16-25; Luke 1:5-25; and Romans 13:11-14

The first week of Advent is about prophecy, expectation, hope. The candle is usually purple and is the candle of hope or the prophet’s candle.

Posted in Christianity, Life phases

A time to change

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.” (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

In my 21 (almost 22 years) I’ve often wondered why we make resolutions for the new year. I thought it was ridiculous because most people break them anyway, right? Most of my resolutions have been rather silly and then I didn’t actually keep them. Probably because I made it on a whim . . . which isn’t really a resolution is it?

I’ve thought about it a lot over the past few months. Every season has a time and my season is changing. I’ve been considering all the changes that are coming up. . . graduating college, moving, trying to get a job, making new friends, actually adulting. . . sometimes it’s rather terrifying. But, it’s also exhilarating. My time now is a time of transition, a time of change.

With all the things floating around in my brain (One semester left of papers, tests, and being with the people I know. How will I deal with leaving this place I’ve lived for 4 years? Should I buy a car for myself? Where should I look for an apartment? How do I get that job? What about utilities? I want a cat, how long should I wait? Will I be able to start working right out of college? Or will I have to live with my parents for a while?) sometimes I forget to rest. I forget to give myself space. I forget to trust. And then, I go back to the verse above…

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.”

And I take a deep breath as I read the rest of that passage in Ecclesiastes 3.

“2 a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to seek, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time for war, and a time for peace.”

It’s still stressful. And my season is still one of change. But each season has its time, and mine will shift from change to something else. There are a lot of unknowns, but there were a lot when I prepared for college 4 years ago too.

I guess my resolution this year is to keep my head up during this season of change and keep trusting God to bring me through as He has before. He has the unknowns that try to worry me in His hands along with all the seasons of my life. So, I’ll keep my head up, my life and heart on His altar, and do my best to love Him and love others in my time of change (and after).

 

Posted in Christianity, Poetry

God Come Near

God come near

come near to the lonely heart

near to the wandering child

to the soul seeking you

 

God come near

near to the troubled brow

to the sorrowful and hurt

near to the breaking spirit

 

Powerful Savior draw us near

as we travel this road

you’ve laid before us

that leads into your presence

 

Rescuer draw near to us

heal our hearts and our minds

remind us of your love and peace

for you are here to draw us near

 

When we cry out, as you

promised, God come near

 

*a short poem/prayer inspired by a sermon from my college church’s summer series. The picture is one of mine from a few years ago at the summer camp where I worked.

Posted in Christianity

An Excerpt – “Through the Eyes of Mary Magdalene”

It was a spring day, warm and with a gentle breeze. Birds sang, flowers grew, and people laughed together as they worked.

I had not been working. The demons were restless that day. They took me and threw me against walls, made me rip at my hair, clothes, and skin. They screamed through my voice, tossed my head like a raging animal, shook me until saliva bubbled out of my mouth and trailed down my chin. People had thrown stones at me and cursed at me. I had fled wailing and crying.

I woke from the fit of the demons in an alley. Cuts and bruises littered my arms, legs, and face. My breath dragged through my throat like rough wood. So, I sat in the alley quietly to recover.

I heard voices and I shrank back in the darkness. A group of men passed following a Man.

I felt the demons stirring again. His love seeped out to touch me as He stopped at the entrance of the alley and looked at me. I stood – surely, this Man with mercy in His eyes would be able to help me. I limped toward Him, pulling my ripped clothes around me. He didn’t move until I was standing before Him.

I saw His companions. Twelve men. They drew back when they saw me.

I focused on His face; I didn’t trust what I’d see on their faces.

His face held mercy and forgiveness. The demons were raging inside, trying to get away. I lowered my head as I fought to keep control of my wits and my body. He held out His hand. “Look at me.”

I strained to lift my head, but the seven anchored my body.

“Be still.”

Muscles relaxed as the demons stilled. He lifted my head. A sea of kindness and love ran loose in His eyes.

“Daughter, do you want to be free?”

The demons strained, but they couldn’t move. I had come to Him from the back of the alley with just that request in my soul. Now, my mouth refused to budge. Tears trickled down my face. It seemed impossible to voice my request. My heart shrieked what my mouth could not. He rested His hand on my forehead.

“You are free.”

The demons screamed wildly through my voice, desperately trying to escape this Man.

“Peace, be still. You are forgiven.”

Light and peace pierced my soul. I slumped to the ground.

Strong hands caught me and drew a tunic over my ragged clothes. I raised my head slowly. He was walking away.

Wait! My heart cried. Take me with you!

He stopped and smiled at me.

The man kneeling beside me smiled, “Don’t worry. He told me to bring you with us.”

Tears washed blood from my cheeks as I faltered to my feet.

The man steadied me saying, “His name is Jesus.”

Jesus, what a beautiful name. The Man who looked at me with love and mercy not hatred and disgust.

I smiled and wiped away my tears. No tears of frustration, sadness, or anger would spread over my face again, I vowed. Not while I was with Him.

*An excerpt from a short story I am working on, currently titled “Through the Eyes of Mary Magdalene”

Posted in Christianity, Life phases, Poetry

Lenten Thoughts – Finished

As the end of the semester draws near and many of my friends are graduating, I realize how close I am to finishing my undergraduate education. I’m not quite done yet, but I know the time will fly by. As I think about it, I’m dwelling on a poem I wrote for my church a few weeks ago for their Lent blog series. Here it is:

Finished. The sound of the word soaks into my being and seeps into my soul
whispering comfort and encouragement
soon it will be done, have courage and to Me be faithful

Immortal God! How could You love us such that You became flesh and visible
taking on our anguish and hatred
to teach us love, joy, and peace – things to us invisible

Never – I must say it! – Never will I fear what is to come in my life and in this world
for it would dishonor and blaspheme
my Savior – Jesus – the Man with that sweet, sweet Name

Incredible His love, power, grace and peace permeating my heart and mind
that in the depths of despair
still I can say of my weary and wandering soul how well it Is

Saved by His compassionate love and patience, and continually thankful for
His leading me in His way
I can press on in His power and in His Service

Hopeful – O that the day will come –  till the day that I have been made complete
and am finished in His eyes
having been made by Him and for Him, Holy

Eternally bound to Him by His love and my trust will I continue in the Way
seeking His will in the world
until the day He calls me home and my journey Ends

“Deliverer, I’m home” I’ll cry having passed through the world to His presence
“in Your house let me dwell,
let me sing and dance and worship You forever, for it is Done.”

*poem originally written for Park Place Church of God blog

 

Posted in Christianity

Lenten Thoughts – Thirst

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Darkness drags back painfully. Hard, crackled earth peeks into blurry vision. Clarity inches in and soon all that can be seen is pained land that goes on and on and on.

Wilted flowers, that should be full of color, slump against the dirt that had sustained them. With the last of their energy, they cling to their petals having already lost their leaves. Deserted, they slumber.

Tall, burdened trees stand their ground eeking out what little life is left in the earth. Branches hang from weakened joints until, with a shivering crackle, they are rent from their base to smack and burst on the dry, dry ground below.

Coarse flurries of air stagger over the land dragging persevering roots of flowers from their beds and sweeping the litterings of the trees away.

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The land creeps into your eyes, your mind, your soul. Oppressive air invades your malfunctioning lungs and bits of dust cleave to your throat. A cough sends some racing out raking the tender skin inside.

The sun has made sucking all the moisture out of your aching skin its goal.

Your eyelids embrace your eyes every time you try to blink so you stare and stare and stare since you have been robbed of the ability to lubricate your eyes.

A haze wafts through the air causing the landscape to twist and wave as it waits for you to die. Fissured lips grind apart to ease the departure of a single, impotent word. “Thirsty.”

An image sways through the haze. Closer and closer it glides until it casts a meager shadow across your eyes. Scarred feet pause just before your face. Too faint and too pained to raise your eyes, you murmur that word again.

Defaced hands wriggle beneath your smarting body and grasp your raw skin securely. As you wheeze in pain, a sweet sweet voice coasts into your mind, “My child, come with Me for you are weary and your body is damaged. Trust in Me and I will replenish your soul. Let me give to you My living water. You will never thirst again, for this water will become in you a ‘spring of water welling up to eternal life’ (John 4:14).”

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*Originally written for Park Place Church of God’s Lenten Series