N.W.BOYER…Christian Author

Easter Season

Preparing for Friday before EASTER

It will be a different Friday before Easter this year.  Perhaps we should prepare our hearts for it more than ever!  We, as Christians, always have referred to this special day as GOOD FRIDAY.  A reason for saying it is “good” is because it is the beginning of the journey of our Savior to the cross, Who gave Himself for the people of the world.  The Friday had to come before the glorious Easter Day of RESURRECTION.   So, how do we prepare these few days before Friday…especially if there are some who don’t understand this special day of Christian worship?

For my readers throughout the world who may not be Christian, this may help you understand the Power of the Cross in Christianity.  Please read with an open mind. Ask God to speak to you and give you His truth of salvation. May you find, through the power of the Holy Spirit, your trust in the Savior Who came to be punishment for all your sins and mine.

 

THE PROPHECY OF CHRIST’S CRUCIFIXION was given to the Jews within their own Hebrew scriptures.  Not only does the New Testament give this account, but parts of the Old Testament give the crucifixion as a prophecy of the events to happen.  One of these is in Psalms 21,My God, my God why have You forsaken me…O my God, I cry out by day and you answer not. I cry out by night and there is no relief for me. All my bones are racked.  My heart has become like wax melting away within my chest. My throat is dried up like baked clay, My tongue cleaves to my jaw.  They have pierced my hands and my feet…”  Psalm 68 “…in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.”

 

THE HISTORY of the STATIONS OF THE CROSS:

In many churches and cathedrals around the world, there are pictures of the Stations of the Cross.   Having originated in Jerusalem, the pictures are to duplicate Jesus’ trip on the Via Dolorosa before his crucifixion.  Jerusalem fell to the forces of Saladin, the first sultan of Egypt and Syria in 1187. Forty years later Saint Francis of Assisi, a Franciscan, came back to Jerusalem and proclaimed certain holy places as places of Christian devotion. During the 15th and 16th centuries, they built outdoor shrines which later were introduced as stations. Faithful Christians read the gospels as they visit these stations to remember the suffering of the Savior…usually on Fridays.  There are traditionally 14 pictorial stations mounted on church walls.   The resurrection station is sometimes included as the last station because without the resurrection of Christ, there is no gospel.

Pictures of  selected Stations of the Cross from around the world:

Inside Stations of the Cross in Immaculate Conception Hong Kong

Inside Stations of the Cross at Immaculate Conception in Hong Kong

outdoor stations of the cross

Outside Stations of the Cross

  

 

 

 

 

crucifixion of christ statue

      Jesus dies on the cross (Sculptor unknown)

 

Jesus taken down from cross Rubens artist

Jesus is taken down from the cross. ( Rubens)

 

For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that Whosoever believes on Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.  John 3:16

In the past, on Good Friday, concerts are given around the world.  Often these are requiems of a somber nature.  This year, because of the Coronavirus, the depictions throughout Europe and other part of the world will not be reenacted.  The great concert halls will be empty.  Yet, we must not allow this to change our focus on the great sacrifice of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  We will turn to our TV’s and recordings and bow our heads as we remember the terrible day on the cross.  In just a few days after Friday will come the great morning of RESURRECTION.   Prepare your hearts now with the beautiful music I’d like to share with you today…Laudate Dominum by Mozart, sung by Aksel Rykkvin

(After the music…come back to see the pages of the Stations of the Cross.)

  • TURN UP SOUND and enlarge picture for best viewing.

 

  • 2nd link showing the description of the Stations of the Cross

 

 

 

Click this link below and follow each station by clicking on “next”:

 

http://www.bspenance.org/wayofthecross/station1.html

 

 


What is Maundy Thursday?

My last post during this Easter season was about the temptation of Christ in the desert.  Today we look at another special day in the week before the crucifixion and the resurrection of Jesus at Easter.

What exactly does Maundy Thursday mean?   The word Maundy is a shortened form of mandatum, which is Latin.  The word means “command”.

Passover Super

The last Passover meal with the disciples

Jesus celebrated the final Passover meal with His disciples. It was during this time that He gave a command to them, as He washed their feet in a great gesture of compassion and humility.  This was usually the job of a servant.

004-jesus-washes-feet

Christians today and in centuries past believe it was also a command to show love and humility to others.  He said the following to them:

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.” John 13:34

Some Christian congregations today have the ceremony of foot washing, after the example of Christ.  The Pope has gone to prisons and washed the feet of prisoners, usually kissing their feet after they were washed and dried.  He too was obeying the command and example of Christ.

Do we all have to ask to wash people’s feet? The answer would be “no” in that there are many ways to show love and compassion as well as humility.  Think of how you can show God’s love at this Easter season and throughout the year. God will show you how.

Humility and Love is the real lesson Jesus gave us as Christians.   Christ said that in this way, people will know that you are His followers and disciples.

VIDEO:  Turn up sound

 

 


Blood Money

religious Judas kissing Jesus

Judas Iscariot has become a name synonymous with betrayal and evil against the Son of God, Jesus Christ.   No person would want to name their child  Judas because of what the name represents.   There has been debate about whether Judas, who had spent at least three years following Christ; seeing His miracles and hearing His words of wisdom and love, could actually be forgiven for what he ultimately did.   The Holy Scriptures tells us that he took money from those willing to pay him for betrayal.  This is the Blood Money of which we write.  He knew that he was selling out an innocent person.  ( Matthew 26:24 says that it would have been better for him that he was never born. )

Jesus knew who would betray Him and told Judas that what he was about to do, to do it quickly.  Even though the other disciples seemed to have no idea what  Judas was up to, it was clear that both he and Jesus knew this would happen.

What happened to Judas at that point?  We are told that when he made his decision to betray an innocent person…the Messiah…that Satan entered into him. (John 13:27 Then after he had taken the morsel, Satan entered into him…”  

Once a person has allowed Satan to take over, there seems to be no turning back.  His mind was clear about the reality.   He was doing a wrong and horrible thing to the innocent Son of God.  He was about to do the very thing that would lead him to his own death and he was doing it with a kiss.

Afterwards,  Judas was remorseful, but being remorseful does not necessarily mean that there was repentance.  Rather than seeking  forgiveness, “…he went away and hanged himself”  Matthew 27:5

Yes, he had tried to give the money back, which those ready to kill Jesus would not receive.  ( And throwing down the pieces of silver into the temple, he departed, and he went and hanged himself.  But the chief priests, taking the pieces of silver, said, “It is not lawful to put them into the treasury, since it is blood money.”  So they took counsel and bought with them the potter’s field as a burial place   (Matthew 27:5-8)  Aceldama (əkĕl´dəmə) [Aram.,=field of blood]

One may ask the question, “Is there anything that God will not forgive?”   It appears so if there is not true repentance.  We have good news of justification in the Holy Scripture about this subject and God’s washing of us clean with the sacrifice of his life for us.  However, there will be those who will read this scripture and be disturbed by it because it does not fit the ideas of modern society:

“Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.” 1 Corinthians 6:9-11  

One must remember that there is always repentance.   Jesus met the woman at the well and told her everything that she had done wrong in life.  He met others whose lives were out of control and he only said, “Go and sin no more.”

We are told that blaspheming the Holy Spirit is unforgivable:  Mark 3:28-29   “Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men.  Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come.”    We hear people swear using God’s or Jesus’ name in vain, but I’ve not heard anyone swear using the name of the Holy Spirit.   Why?   I don’t know. 

People who are dying may ask for the last rites or prayers be said for them.   This is a good practice for those who want to get things right with God before meeting Him face to face. This is most helpful. However, it does not take a priest or someone to pray over us to make this happen.  As I have often said in my blogs, the shower is a great place to pray.  God is anywhere you are.

So often people die tragically with no warning.  This is why we should face each day with a  prayer of confession and each night with a contrite  heart before our Creator. God looks on the heart.  In this time of Lent, before Easter, we lay ourselves and our actions before Him…knowing that He has paid the price for sin and has promised a glorious resurrection to those who trust and follow Him.

Do we have the answers to what will happen to those evil ones in the world, who attribute to the harming of others or those who shed innocent blood?  The answer is “No” but God has told us to repent and He will remember our sins no more.

There are many who are guilty of “blood money”….blood actions… and God is the great and powerful Judge Who will one day ask for accountability.  No one wants to be a Judas.

All we can pray is “God forgive me.  Draw me nearer to You.”

Video.  Turn on sound and enlarge.

Hymn written by Sarah F. Adams, 1841. Sung  by the Sharon Singers of the Sharon Mennonite Bible Institute.

 

 

 


Music for Lent…Requiem

Statue of Mozart in Vienna

Mozart Statue in Vienna… It was erected in 1898 and moved to its current location in 1953, reflecting Vienna’s love of the music of Mozart.

Some of the world’s most beautiful music has been composed to bring us into a worshipful place.  Ave Verum Corpus by Mozart is one of those compositions.

Mozart died less than six months after writing this music.  He composed the motet while in the middle of writing his opera, Die Zauberflote, and while visiting his wife, Constanze,  who was pregnant with their sixth child.  The motet,  which is a short piece of sacred choral music, typically polyphonic and unaccompanied, foreshadows “aspects of the Requiem, that is a mass for remembrance of those who died.   The best-known part of the requiem mass starts with these words:

“Requiem aeternam dona eis, Domine” or “Give them eternal rest, O Lord

At this time of Lent, music played before Easter is usually mournful or sad because Christians are contemplating remembering the death of Jesus, our Lord and Savior.  Often a black cloth is draped across the crosses…to be removed on the glorious day of resurrection…Easter Sunday.

Turn on your sound and enlarge the picture for the best of King’s College choir at Cambridge and the Ave Verum Corpus by Mozart.

Blessings and peace to you from Boyer Writes


On EASTER CHRIST IS RISEN

After resurrection His Hands

HE IS RISEN TODAY AND HE SHALL REIGN FOR EVER AND EVER.  AMEN

For I handed on to you as of first importance what I in turn had received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures, and that he was buried, and that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures.” 1st Corinthians 15:3-5

 


Day 3 Crossing the Ocean for an Easter Message

Easter LilyToday is Good Friday.  It has always puzzled me why we call it “Good” since this is the most horrible day of the crucifixion of Christ. Then I learned that it is called “Good” because it led to the Resurrection of Jesus and His victory over death and sin.

I live in the United States of America.  This is my beloved country, but today  I must look to another country and its leader, to wish me and my readers a “Happy Easter”.

Why must I look so far away?   Sad as it is, most likely we here in the U.S. will not receive such a message as you will hear in the video below.  I hope that I will be wrong, but we will see.   So, I am thanking the Brits for this sincere, in-depth  message of Easter, one of the most important days in the Christian faith. History will reveal leaders who were not afraid to claim the Christian faith and its importance to peace in the world.

Throughout the writing of the  United States Constitution and other important matters, our Founding Fathers called for prayer and sermons to help in their decision making.  A letter from John Adams, who originally came from Great Britain,  2nd President of the U.S, wrote in 1810 to Benjamin Rush, a doctor who came from Scotland,  concerning the Christian faith and the varied beliefs of it:

 “Christian religion, as I understand it, is the brightness of the glory and the express portrait of the character of the eternal, self-existent, independent, benevolent, all powerful and all merciful creator, preserver, and Father of the universe, the first good, first perfect, and first fair. It will last as long as the world. Neither savage nor civilized man, without a revelation, could ever have discovered or invented it. Ask me not, then, whether I am a Catholic or Protestant, Calvinist or Arminian. As far as they are Christians, I wish to be a fellow-disciple with them all.”

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Our country was founded on those who left their homeland  to be a part of the New World. They did it for many reasons.  They fought the  fight to become independent from the country we now call our “friend.”   No longer enemies, but shoulder to shoulder, we have stood with Great Britain during terrible World Wars and against mutual foes who would enslave the world.  Thousands of America’s best lay in graves here and abroad.   More recently, the men and women of Great Britain and the U.S. have joined together in the fight against terrorists abroad and at home.  Let them take a lesson from history.  We are not nations that  will give up the fight.  Our heritage means too much to us. We know our way of life and freedom we share is worth giving all we have to insure that none will have died in vain and our young people will have life, liberty and a continual pursuit of happiness.  The  blood lines and heritages of many Americans stretch “across the pond” from which their relatives  first came. Now, we must stand with them and our allies in Europe who are suffering great attacks from a different enemy. We thank the Christian military chaplains and Christian missionaries and doctors  who have faithfully served people around the world.  We pray for the Christians who are under great persecution.

 

Thank you, Prime Minister David Cameron, for your inspirational Easter message in 2015 to the people of Great Britain.  We receive it here, on this soil far across the Atlantic ocean, at the Easter season, 2016.

 


Count down until Glorious Easter_ Day 6

PALM SUNDAY

Palm Sunday is part of the Christian worship and the season of LENT.   This was when Jesus rode on a borrowed donkey and the people laid before Him the palm branches and cloaks …honoring Him like a King.   A King was what they wanted to free them of all the oppression in their day.  So much like we, in the modern world, look for a leader to save us from our miseries.  We may be looking the wrong way, for Jesus knew he must die first for the sins of the world in order to give the world the chance for a heavenly kingdom of total peace with mankind and God, the Father, Creator of the universe.

Count Down:  Day 6 The Triumphal Entry,   Day 5 Last Supper and In the Garden,    Day 4 Trial   Day 3  The Crucifixion  Day 2 In the Grave, Day 1 Glorious Easter…Resurrection Day


40 Days…that might be missed

This past Wednesday was the beginning of Lent for Christians.  The first day of Lent is  Ash Wednesday because the priest makes the sign of the cross on one’s forehead with these words.   “Remember you are dust and to dust you shall return”   If one actually thinks of the meaning of these words, they are quite sobering.   We all know that time here on earth is short, but how often do we really get up each morning and thank God for a new, wonderful, glorious day?     I’m certain that someone reading that sentence is saying   “You have no idea what my day is like…or what I am going through!”    That is true, but God does.    In these 40 days, we remember the suffering of our Savior, Jesus Christ, who understand all we face in life. He wept in the Garden before enduring crucifixion.  One day our days will end.  To the atheist, I  say, “What if you are wrong and you find yourself standing before God.  What then?  I also would say that should you be right, I have had the most wonderful, love filled life sent from “God”.

Christians often miss these special 40 days before the Crucifixion  and  Easter, Christ’s Resurrection.   Yet, these forty days are some of the most important in the holy times for  a truly dedicated Christian. I would not limit this time of repentance to only Christians either, for I’m certain there are those who would like to find faith, but still has not done so. Perhaps even some reading this blog. Those who are not used to the Christian practice of receiving the ashes may have seen someone out on the street with a black smudge on the forehead. They may have wondered why their face was dirty, not knowing that it was the sign of the cross received on Ash Wednesday.  Some people also choose to fast certain meals or give up some special treat during this time. This should not be something we announce, for we are told in Matthew 6:16-18 the following.   “When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.”   This is why some Christians wash off the ashes after they are received, so that it is something between them and God and not for the general public. Others also spend each of the 40 days reading special scriptures and prayers in private devotions. 

prayerThe main thing for Christians during Lent are two things:  self-reflection and repentance.   I’ve often said that I do my best praying in the shower.  Wherever your place to pray may be, use it to list all the sins and short-comings that you can think of and ask forgiveness.  The Holy Scriptures tell us that “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” Hebrews 10:17    Thank God for that!

cross drappedShort history of Lent and its Meaning:

(Author Norman Tanner) “The earliest mention of Lent in the history of the Church comes from the council of Nicaea in 325 AD. The council of Nicaea is best known for the profession of faith – the ‘Nicene Creed’ – which is still recited in most parishes every Sunday immediately after the sermon. However, the council also issued twenty canons of a practical nature, dealing with various aspects of church life, and the fifth of these canons speaks of Lent.  The word used for Lent in this fifth canon is tessarakonta (in the original Greek), which means ‘forty’. For the first time in recorded history, we have mention of this period of preparation for Easter as lasting forty days. Much earlier, Christians had introduced Easter Sunday to celebrate Christ’s resurrection. Soon afterwards, a period of two or three days preparation, specially commemorating Christ’s passion and death – the ‘Holy Week’ part of Lent today – had been adopted by various Christian communities. But the first mention of a preparatory period lasting the forty days comes from this fifth canon of Nicaea.   The length of time was adopted in imitation of the forty days that Jesus spent in the desert at the beginning of his public ministry:  Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. He fasted forty days and forty nights and afterwards he was famished. (Matthew 4:1-2)prayer-on-my-knees4

Around the world, Christians will flock to churches on at least two days: Christmas and Easter.   In some cases, it is a requirement in order to be considered in “good standing” with the Church.  Yes, we know that people are busy and God looks on the heart not on our record of attendance, but just the same these 40 days leading up to our most celebrated Holy Days should not be forgotten.   After all, repentance and forgiveness is what keeps us in “good standing” with God.  What is more important?

Therefore…therefore…and therefore….head to a secret place or to the shower …for it’s not just for cleaning the body, but for the soul. Don’t miss it.

 

 


Easter Sunday 2015 CHRIST IS RISEN!

Whatever time zone, it is now Easter in parts of the world. Especially remember our Christian brothers and sisters who have suffered so much in this last year…and in the University in Kenya just this week.  We pray that those who said, “Yes, I am a Christian” will have experienced the Risen Lord, in all His glory, with their last breath.

HE IS RISEN….CHRIST IS RISEN INDEED.    Hallelujah Chorus sung by King’s College Choir and Orchestra


Easter…the Resurrection…and the Earth

May the glorious Resurrection of our Savior and Lord Jesus Christ help us to remember the glory of the earth where we live.   HAPPY EASTER DAY from BOYER WRITES

(Turn on sound)

John 1:4 In HIM was life, and that life was the light of men.


For Who am I? THE OLD RUGGED CROSS has the answer.

Look at yourself in the mirror.  You see this person that is complex and wonderfully made.  Look at your hands.  They may look young, but will someday become older hands with bluing veins; thin skin and tiny lines.  Look at your hair.  It will most likely turn from a color to a shade of grey.  You will have lived.   Yes, lived …and in the scheme of things…a very short time on this earth.

As we ride through the country side, we see valleys and mountains.  Throughout the world there are graves…family plots and larger cemeteries where the remains of people lay who once had a life as you do.  Some of them made the most of it.  Some did not….but regardless, they were each unique.  Just as you are unique.

We ask questions about life as the philosophers have done throughout the ages.   Why was I  born and what is my purpose in life?  Only God has those answers. If we seek HIM…at this Lenten season, He may reveal it to us.

One thing that Christ knew, because He knew all, was that He would face an “old rugged cross”.   He could have refused to go to the cross and could have called angels from heaven to protect Him, but He did not.  He simply prayed, “Not My will, but Thine be done.”

He also knows that you will ask this question, “Who am I?”  He has the answer.   Because of the cross, you are God’s child.   You have a loving heavenly Father.   He knows the number of hairs on your head and your future….that is who you are.

(Turn on your sound)


Some people are just INSPIRATIONAL…even at 99

IMG_1803How amazing that we have 24 hours a day…12 months a year to do things in life…and people still complain. Some don’t know what to do with themselves….are bored and sit in front of the TV…becoming depressed…when the world is out there just waiting!

I found a man who has just turned 99. He is up in the early morning…planting plants, watering and fertilizing and in general making everything around the community more beautiful.  People often mistake his yard for a city park.

Asked if he has written his memoirs, he hasn’t.   He is probably too busy.  I asked about where he grew up and it was in Carolina and Ohio…with some Native American (Cherokee) in his ancestry.    I think it is probably my future to spend some time hearing his story.  It might make a great book someday…and lives like his don’t happen too often.  He is still married to the same woman.  His wife says they have been married “forever” and she is also a sweetheart.  Yes, she was and is his sweetheart.  They were young once and still beautiful in their own way.

LEA YOUNG WOODY YOUNG

A kind and gentle smile, he walked behind a huge bush that he grew…making a little space  for him to get through to tend to the plant.

Big bush with space to enter.

Big bush with space to enter.

I teased him that it was really a “place to hide  out”.   He teased back, “No, they will put my ashes here someday.”

Men like this are an inspiration to all of us.   Easter is fast approaching and with Easter, we think of new life…new beginnings…the Resurrection.   Perhaps it is time that we look at new beginnings.   Winter has been harsh this year for many…but Spring is on its way.  Make a new project…take a new walking path…notice what is out there…call a friend that you haven’t talked to in a very long time.  We all need to inspire and be inspired.  We may not make it to 99, but what we have in days and hours should be put to good use.   (A thought for this time of Lent)


The Crucifixion and Good Friday

IMG_0193How shallow we are when it comes to the suffering of our Lord.  No one knows what that agony was like even though it has been portrayed on stage and in theater.   Hollywood tried to show us the depth of it in Passion of the Christ  and now the production, The Bible,  tries to relive it again. 

The person playing the part of Jesus Christ is nothing like I would imagine Christ to have been.  I did not want to see a handsome model, but a  man who looked very much like any Jew would look from that area of the world. For some people,however, who do not know the Bible or the Gospel and would not read the Bible , this dramatizations may be a good thing.  We should remember that this excruciating death is not entertainment.  Who could be entertained by such an event? It should not be treated like any other story.  It is much more than that.

For me the death of Christ and His resurrection is very personal.  I want to simply sense His presence and to know that what He did is really unimaginable.  Dying on a cross with nails in the hands and feet would have been so awful that it can never really be understood.   Crucifixion was a typical execution by the Romans of the day. Only those who have experienced it really know the true meaning.   The closest to understanding may be the martyrs, who gave everything for their faith.  Many were tortured and burned at the stake.  They understood His suffering.

For Jesus, it was not only the dying that He knew He had to face.  He also knew that for that time, He would be separated totally from his Father in Heaven.   This is why He cried out, “Why have You forsaken me?”   

The Christian church around the world observe the day of crucifixion in different ways.  In the USA, the day is called Good Friday.  In Ireland and Germany it’s called Black Friday; in Romania and Croatia it’s called Big Friday; in Norway it’s referred to as Long Friday and in Spanish-speaking countries it’s Holy Friday; and in Brazil it’s Passion of Christ Friday.pieta detail

All of these terms seem better than “Good Friday” since there seems to be nothing good about the Son of God dying. Nevertheless, the term “good” could also project  what was about to happen just three days later….the rising from the dead and what resurrection means to all of us who will one day also die….a looking forward to that same resurrection.

This day is also shown differently within the church sanctuaries  as  some  place black drapes  over statues. It is time also to go to each station of the cross to remember Christ  carrying His  cross to Calvary.  It is a quiet, reflective  time of prayer to contemplate what our Saviour has done for us.  

  Below is some music to help in prayer as we come to the close of this special day.

(Click to play and read the words being sung below:)

Behold the wounds in Jesus’ hands, The marks upon His side, Then ponder who He meant to save When on the cross He died. We cannot see the love of God Which saves us from the fall, Yet know that Christ from wood and nails Built mansions for us all.
Behold the outstretched hands of Christ Our God, who came to save, Whose love and grace redeems ours souls And lifts us from the grave. Though bruised and battered as we stray His guiding hands caress, He washes and anoints with oil Then in His arms we rest.
Behold the wounds in Jesus’ hands, Look to your Lord and live He yearns to bless you with His love And all your sins forgive. Oh empty is the heart of man When it is filled with sin. Come open wide your broken heart And let your Savior in.
Behold His wounded hands and feet! Come touch and see and feel The wounds and marks that you may know His love for you is real. Then as you fall to worship Him and wash His feet in tears Your Savior takes you in His arms And quiets all your fears.
Your Savior takes you in His arms And quiets all your fears.


Easter Sunday and Christ is Risen Indeed!

The empty tomb

To understand that something can die and then return to life again is hard for most people to grasp.  We hear of near death experiences when one sees a light…goes toward the light…feels a wonderful sense of peace…and doesn’t want to return.    That is exactly how I want it to happen when I take my last breath.

Mary Magdalene had a difficult time with this also.  She went to the tomb and stood there crying because someone had stolen the body of her beloved Jesus.  Even though Jesus had talked about destroying the temple and raising it up again in three days, she did not understand the meaning.   We all have heard that our body is the “temple of the Holy Spirit” and we should be careful how we treat it.   Yes, Jesus was referring to His own body and it took some convincing.

“For example, in Luke’s gospel Jesus told his disciples to touch him, asking whether a ghost has hands and feet, as he has, and then proceeded to eat a fish in front of them.

In John’s gospel ‘doubting’ Thomas was invited by Jesus to put his finger on Jesus’ hand where the nails had been, and put his hand in Jesus’ side which had been pierced.

In Matthew, Jesus met his disciples and they touched his feet. And yet, despite this stress on the material body of Jesus as ‘proof’ of his resurrected identity, on several occasions — on the beach at daybreak and on the Emmaus Road, for example — the men and women disciples did not recognize him.

In the account of the resurrected Jesus’ appearance to Mary Magdalene, in John’s Gospel, Jesus instructed Mary not to hold onto Him because He had not yet ascended to the Father.”

All of these events remind us of how physical in nature we are to our beliefs.  Jesus never criticized them or scolded them (or us)  for having tiny faith.    He understands  that we are human and have frailties.  In fact, as tiny as a mustard seed may be, we are reminded that is all the faith we need.

I think His followers  were in shock.   It took a while for the excitement of Easter to be realized.   I am glad that they were much like we are today.  In the resurrection, there is no more sadness and mourning for the crucified Christ, but extreme happiness and joy that we now have a risen Savior.

Without the resurrection, we would have a dead Christ.     If Christ is risen and He asked His Father in Heaven to allow us to be with Him (prayer before the crucifixion)…then we have the glorious hope of our own resurrection day.

HALLELUJAH

The Heavenly Chorus will be in all languages!     Handel’s Messiah

Conductor: Chai  Hoon Cha in Seoul, Korea

King of kings, and Lord of lords,
King of kings, and Lord of lords,
And Lord of lords,
And He shall reign,
And He shall reign forever and ever,
King of kings, forever and ever,
And Lord of lords,
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
And He shall reign forever and ever,
King of kings! and Lord of lords!
And He shall reign forever and ever,
King of kings! and Lord of lords!
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
Hallelujah!


Friday of Holy Week: Christ Crucified

IT IS FINISHED

As I walked outside the main gate of Auschwitz in Poland, a man sat by the roadside.  He carefully held a piece of wood.  It was a part of a birch tree and carved in the middle was the face of Christ.  Large, sharp thorns  had been placed across the forehead.  This man looked at me with the hopes that I would buy this from him, which I did.  The workmanship was extraordinary, even though crude.   It said so much about this man and what he had made, but more so about this  place where he sat.

Just inside these gates, millions of innocent Jews had been put to death.  This man had made the carved face of a Jew Who was put to death and no one could find any wrong in him. As Pilot said, ” I find no case against him.”

THIS WAS A SUFFERING JEW CARVED ON A TREE OUTSIDE THE GATE OF SOME OF THE WORST OF HUMAN SUFFERING.

Jesus also sat outside the gate where he would be taken before a mob, mocked, and put to death.   He prayed for the people of the world who would believe in Him, saying His hour had come and His work on earth was finished.  Even though He knew the suffering that He was to endure, His thoughts were of protection and love for those who believed the words He spoke and saw the miracles He performed.   Jesus said:

“Holy Father, protect them in your name that  you have given me so that they may be one, as We are One….

I have given them Your word and the world has hated them because they do not belong to the world, just as I do not belong to the world…I ask not only on behalf of  these but also on behalf of those who will believe in Me…

Father, I desire that those also whom you have given Me  may be with Me where I am… to see My glory which You have given Me because You loved Me before the foundation of the world.”

Inside the gate of Auschwitz, just a few feet from where the man was sitting…many years before… horrors  happened.     One of the things that I saw in one of the torture chambers was a wall where someone had scratched a cross. We know that Christians suffered and died there also.  Nothing in Auschwitz can be romanticized.      Neither can the crucifixion of Jesus.

Even though great art masters have painted  beautiful portraits to inspire us, the crucifixion was real torture given perfection by the Romans.  The preparation for a glorious Easter Sunday when Christ rises from the dead is a solemn time.  This is why the altars of the churches are stripped bare of all ornamentation or flowers.  There was nothing  lovely  about death.

   The video below is realistic with the music asking a question, “Were you there when they crucified my Lord?” Perhaps we need realism when we actually consider what Christ endured.


Easter’s Fresh, New Earth and the Promise of Life

Seasons come and go.  We shiver in the cold and wait for the Spring.  The buds begin to appear in a fresh color of green, like the crisp stalks of celery green.   We are the earth and we have been given promises by its Creator. 

Set in the universe, we here on earth see this  fresh, new life stirring.  Earth  is our home.  The breezes blow and the old leaves  fall off the trees.  The birds fly north again and the young are born.  What is life and what are those promises?

Just this week, I grabbed my camera and went out to peek at a nest that was being built  in the folds of a bush.   Carefully I pulled the small branch back and there it was.   A nest  had been carefully woven and  two small eggs were  inside.    Just as quickly I heard the sound.   It was a mother Cardinal sitting close on the fence, chirping that I was too close to her miracle that would soon happen.   Just as suddenly a bright, red male flies up to watch.   This nest was theirs and they wanted to protect it.  They had no promises that the nest would be safe or would last forever. Just last year a snake had crawled into a nest under another bush in our yard and had eaten the eggs so full of hope, beauty and promise. 

The earth is ours. We too need to protect it.    With all that we have to enjoy…from the powerful volcano; the oceans brimming with life; the birds of the air; the animals on the land….and the green that comes to us in this season of Spring, we see that earth has a new life and a resurrection.

For the Christian, the earth is a reflection of that Divine Life that was raised from the dead. Jesus, our Saviour came  to give the promise of new life and the promise of an after-life.  He brings us a spiritual newness, just as Spring brings new life to the earth.    His promise is  that old things will pass away and all becomes new.

May you be blessed this Easter season by the goodness of God.  Raise your eyes and look around  at the fresh green leaf and the renewing of the earth.  It is waiting for you with life and promises that will bring you peace and a hope.

  See the Holy Scriptures below the video.   Turn on sound and enlarge screen for best viewing. 

The Holy Scriptures:  Words of Life for our Comfort

John 1:4 In Him was life, and that life was the light of men.


John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.


John 5:21 For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it.


John 5:26 For as the Father has life in Himself, so he has granted the Son to have life in Himself.


John 6:39 And this is the will of Him who sent me, that I shall lose none of all that He has given me, but raise them up at the last day.


John 14:6 Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.


Colossians 3:4 When Christ, Who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.


Revelation 1:18 I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever!