Tag Archive | forgiveness

The Ancient Hill: A Good Friday Contemplation

golgotha-david-snyder

What is that there on yonder hill

Awash with red so deep?

What does it have that draws me near?

What secrets does it keep?

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My heart is caught, my eyes are set

Up to that hill I tred

There’s something there, I know not what

But oh, that deep, deep red

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I hear the story, I know it’s true

but I do not know the why

A man, they say, but more than a man

went to that hill to die

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For me? I ask, but why for me?

What did I e’re do wrong?

And then I heard a still, small voice

Sing out an ancient song

 

There was no answer I could give

upon that old, old hill

I saw the red, I heard the cries

I know I always will

 

For me, for me, I hear the song

I weep because it’s true

He came, He loved, He gave his life

For me, and friend, for you.

 

Upon that hill, that ancient hill

I always want to stay

For there I know my Savior bled

and set me free that day

 

image from: images.fineartamerica.com

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It’s Hard To Pant With A Lizard In Your Mouth

lab and lizardMy friends Guy and Judy have a black lab named Ember. One of Ember’s favorite pastimes is chasing lizards. Luckily for her, lizards abound in her Florida backyard.

Recently, Guy went to take Ember for a walk. Nothing unusual there. Also not unusual was the fact that Ember had captured a lizard. What was unusual is that, even with the draw of the walk—which is one of any lab’s favorite activities—Ember would not let loose of that lizard.

So, unfazed, Guy snapped on the leash and headed out the door with Ember—and her lizard captive in her mouth.

Now, this is Florida, in late April, early May. Ember, as her name might suggest, is coal black. Black dogs + Florida heat = a great need to pant. This is how dogs cool themselves off (when a lake or pool isn’t handy to jump into). But Ember resolutely refused to give up her lizard, thus making heat-diffusing panting impossible.

Finally, unable to bear it anymore, Ember expelled the lizard with a rush so that she could pant away the affects of the heat in her body. It seems she was willing to undergo heat stroke in order to hold onto her hard-won prize.

Aren’t we like that sometimes?

Maybe we’ve been offended or hurt by someone. We hold onto that like a lab with a lizard, unwilling to let it go, even when panting—forgiving and letting it go—could release the heat inside.

Let it go. More lizards will come along, that’s a guarantee.

 

 

photo from beaumontenterprise.com

What’s Easter All About Anyway?

Spring. Fluffy yellow chicks. Bunnies. Eggs hiding in grass. And chocolate. Don’t forget the chocolate. To many people, that’s what Easter is all about.

Really?

More than 2,000 years ago, it was about an empty tomb, and a promise of resurrection. It was about sins forgiven and new life. And it’s still about that today. Restoration.

This video strikingly depicts how God feels about each one of us.

Have a blessed Easter.

Down in the Dungeon

There’s a comic strip in the newspaper called “Rose is Rose.” It features a stay-at-home mom, Rose, who has a tattooed, leather-clad biker-babe alter ego. She has a hard-working, love-note writing husband, Jimbo, and a sweet, school-loving boy named Pasquale.

They are a typical family in many ways, but the illustrator of the strip brings out a very important spiritual truth: Every once in awhile, the strip will feature Rose at the bottom of a deep pit, a shackle around her ankle and a deep, disturbing frown upon her face. It’s usually not clear what has happened to plunge her into that dungeon of her own making, but her family is usually waiting at the top, trying to coax her out. But Rose alone holds the key.

Our dungeons, like Rose’s, are of our own making. Whether we’re simply offended by something unintentional, or truly sinned against, forgiveness is ours to give. It’s always our choice. So is being a blessing to those who have offended us.

“When you forgive,” says Joyce Meyer, “it opens a door for God to heal you, but honestly, it doesn’t do much for the person who offended you. But when you bless them, you ask God to bring truth to them so they can repent and experience the real freedom He provides. Forgiveness” she says “sets you free…blessing your enemies sets them free.”

Romans 12:14 says, “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.”

Likewise, when we repent of something we have done to offend someone else, when they extend forgiveness to us, and bless us by word or deed, then we are set free from the guilt that might plague us, if we are sensitive to the Holy Spirit. Granted, some people offend us and have no idea they’ve done it, but our forgiveness and, as stated before, our blessing, can serve as a way to clue them in to something that may need to change in their heart. But their repentance is not our job; our extending forgiveness and blessing is.

That self-made dungeon is cold and damp. The air is so much nicer on the outside.

Thankful today for:

279. clouds

280. flowering bushes

281. remote controls

282. tough love

283. community

284. movies

Clean Living

20120413-193628.jpgThis is my friend Carlton. He lives near where we’re working this week, so David and I visited him when we had some free time this afternoon. He turned 99 in February. He was married for 55 years until his wife died in 1994. He has followed Jesus for 35 years.

He worked as an accountant.
He never went to college.
He’s made a quilt.
He writes poetry.

He was diagnosed years ago with macular degeneration, but after praying with his pastor and others, Carlton experienced healing. He woke up one morning and said, “I can see! I can see!”

Carlton and his wife had three children. One son died at 14 days, another in his 40s from a brain tumor. He has a daughter and two granddaughters. He and his wife basically raised one of them.

Four years ago, that granddaughter asked Carlton to pay the interest on a loan, which was $250 a month. He couldn’t do it. It was too much for him financially. That granddaughter hasn’t talked to him since.

He says he forgave her. But she holds onto the grudge.

Carlton is a sweet, generous, humble servant of Jesus. This granddaughter has broken his heart.

Carlton prays for our family everyday. God has given him 99 years and a clear mind. Some might attribute his longevity to clean living: he would attribute it to a clean heart.

Thankful today for:
191. A short drive on the Blue Ridge Parkway
192. God’s Spirit moving around the world
193. My friend Carlton