Sunset Above the Clouds

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They drift, like piled islands rising from the mist,
silently floating ‘neath the thin-stretched cotton above.
Brilliant sunlight bursts forth,
coating each billow in radiance,
kissing each soft roll with its gentle splendor.
The air is thin here, but the wind is strong,
Fluffing and tossing each white dune in turn.

The atmosphere is brazen with the setting sun,
the hazy sea below turning the color of Arabian sands,
the azure sky above enticing with its clarity.
The breeze is stroking the clouds now,
cat-like mounds purring under its caress
while the the sun beams out the warmth of a winter fire.

Crimson waterfalls plunge into nothingness
as we sink down toward the muddy patches of green and brown
that, expectant, wait for us to return.

Turn Your Eyes

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Turn your eyes to the past.
Not to mourn long-passed goodbyes,
nor to revisit the hurts of yesterday.
Not to run from the difficulties of today,
nor to hide in the warmth of reminiscence.
Turn your eyes to yesterday
to see the record of God’s faithfulness –
let yesterday remind you to trust Him for today and tomorrow.

Turn your eyes to the future.
Not to borrow troubles with your worrying,
nor to daydream of things without worth.
Not to waste your today in empty wishing,
nor to waste it in fearing what is yet to come.
Turn your eyes to tomorrow
in expectation of the fulfillment
of God’s promises and in partnership with God through prayer.

Turn your eyes to the present.
Not to be overwhelmed with its troubles or to-do lists,
nor to lose yourself in chasing its temporary pleasures.
Not to excuse your bad decisions,
nor to forget your past mistakes.
Turn your eyes to today
to see the everyday blessings of grace
poured out upon those who have eyes to see.

And above all, in past, present, and future –
when living in yesterday, today, or tomorrow,
Turn your eyes to Jesus:
the I WAS, I AM, and I WILL BE.
He, and He only, will ever be enough.

Alabaster Heart

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May I be the fragrance of purest nard –
my alabaster heart broken open,
a lavished fragrance you consider priceless
bathing your head and dripping onto the feet
that have faithfully walked beside me on this dusty road,
Every step a testament of how far you would go
to save me from this weak, stained self of sin.

My hopes and dreams I gladly waste on you,
though the world may scold, and sigh, and say,
“Such promise! Simply thrown away. How could she?”
But they can never understand that what I do,
this priceless gift of all I have and all I am,
can scarce return the depth of love found in your gaze.

Though wagging tongues mask blinded eyes, the words still sting,
and accusations to draw the heavy tears to mix with nard.
My heart’s dearest offering scorned and rebuked.
Then Your strong voice disperses clouds of judgment with a
“Leave her be. She has done the right.”

The Master is pleased. Lifting head, defying shame,
I see compassion that I know so well looking down at me once more.
I have received your heart and replied with my own.
I pour out my all before the Lover of my soul.

Resurrection’s Rejoicing!

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The last of a 3-day series about the Resurrection celebration. To start at the beginning, click here. These are written from the perspective of one of the women who walked with and cared for Jesus throughout his ministry, and were faithful to him through all the horrors, the pain, the confusion, and finally the joy of His victory over death.

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Hosanna to the Son of David! Oh save!
He is not dead! Glory be to God, he is not dead!
The death blow that we thought was our defeat was God’s final triumph!
I don’t even know how to feel – shocked? Confused?
But over it all is an inexpressible joy.
My beloved Teacher, my faithful friend, is alive!
He has proven himself once and for all as the Son of God,
and they could not kill him forever!

The stories of his birth tell of angels speaking, “peace on earth, goodwill to men,”
and it has come true this day!
Once again the angels come to proclaim him – Son of Man, Son of God.
Jesus – the one through whom God saves.
“He is not here. He has risen.” The greatest news of all!
And we have seen him, heard his voice again,
touched him with our own hands, and worshiped.
Now we must run to tell the others.
This my Lord commanded, and this my heart cries out to do.

Sabbath’s Sorrow

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The second of a 3-day series leading up to the Resurrection celebration. To read the first, click here. For the last in the series, click here. These are written from the perspective of one of the women who walked with and cared for Jesus throughout his ministry, and were faithful to him through all the horrors, the pain, the confusion, and finally the joy of His victory over death.

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I thought he was the Victor, the Conqueror, the King.
I thought he would free us from oppression and fear.
I followed him from Galilee, I trusted him, I cared for him!
Out of gratitude and love, I left my home for him.
And now he’s gone. They killed him. They crucified an innocent man.
The lions attacked the Shepherd, and now we are all lost and wandering sheep.

He talked of dying, of being lifted up, but we didn’t want to listen.
Didn’t want to believe it.
Now it’s come true, and we are all lost.
God’s precious day of rest has become a day of mourning
for the one who claimed to be His Son.
And I believed him.
But how could it be true?
How could the Son of God allow himself to be condemned and so brutally slain?
I just don’t understand.

Still, I love him. And still I serve him.
And tomorrow I will go to prepare his body properly for burial.
Oh, my compassionate Teacher, how could they have done this to you?
How could they be so blind to not see the beauty of your love and forgiveness?
How could they murder you like this?
My precious Lord, yesterday I kneeled at the foot of your cross.
Today I am kneeling in agony and tears.
And tomorrow I will go to say my last goodbye.

Passover’s Sacrifice

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The first of a 3-day series leading up to the Resurrection celebration. Click here for part 2. These are written from the perspective of one of the women who walked with and cared for Jesus throughout his ministry, and were faithful to him through all the horrors, the pain, the confusion, and finally the joy of His victory over death.

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What can I think? What can I feel?
Today should have been a day of preparation for God’s promise of a Sabbath rest,
a day to prepare our hearts to receive the Lord. But not today.
Today we have lost our Lord, and our hearts are broken.

I watched him die.
I saw the hands that broke the bread and gave away now pierced through.
The mouth that spoke the very words of God now pouring blood,
the eyes that saw into your wounded heart
and still radiated love now bruised and swollen shut.

I didn’t want to go to that cursed place, but I couldn’t leave him to face it alone.
The words he painfully exhaled on that cross confirmed to our aching hearts
this was our Teacher, although our eyes barely knew him.
Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they do.
How could anyone but the Son of God say those words in the midst of such agony?

For three hours the sky reflected the darkness in our hearts.
Then one last cry – tetelestai – it is finished. Paid in full.
The earth trembled under the weight of innocent blood,
and the heavy curtain that for centuries had concealed God from man was torn –
the Father’s heart ripped in two at the loss of His Beloved.

I still don’t understand how God could bring his Anointed One to such a place as this.
But it is almost the Sabbath, and still we must obey the Lord,
even when we cannot see beyond this paralyzing grief.
Tomorrow we will rest, according to the commandment.
Perhaps in the quiet, God will speak to us.

Christ’s Blood, My Life

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The life is in the blood.

Christ’s blood – His life – poured out.

But not poured out. Poured in.

His blood, that paid redemption’s fee,

Washes clean my heart, my soul, my all.

From the inside out.

The beautiful mystery of I-in-Christ and Christ-in-me

becomes the divine blood transfusion

of Eucharisteo – His body broken,

His blood collected in the cup of redemption,

freely held out on a night of betrayal and pain. 

Held out to me anew every day;

another chance to re-member:

to join again in Him this death to life transformation.

I am a fallen seed, a dusty pile of bones 

that has been breathed upon 

and invited to partake in the eternal life 

signified by the blood of God entering my veins.

Returning to my heart to transform it into His image.

To recalibrate my heartbeat until I match Him,

beat for beat, His life pushed forth to renew my being:

My eyes, my ears, my mouth, my hands – all under His control.

To be one. Echad. I die with you to live, and I surrender.

– Bethany Nicole / 11-13-16