Monday, December 22, 2014

And This is Christmas -- Christmas 4

In a Garden long ago, the crafty serpent made his entrance known
By enticing the woman Eve through his lies sown.   
Pride took hold of her heart, birthing in her the desire for more.
The fruit was beautiful to see and promised she bit.
She turned to her man, handing him the God-forbidden fruit and he joined her in her sin.
The Serpent smiled as dark shame permeated their souls.
His wicked chuckle could still be heard as they hid from their God.
But God came near with arms of grace, stitching animal skins to cover their disgrace.

After that day, the darkness grew and perpetrated the whole earth,
And every thought and intention of mankind was governed by sin.
And the violence grew rampant on the earth,
And human blood was being continuously spilt.
But Noah, he found favor with God and built Him and Ark on dry desert land.
The winds blew, a cataclysmic storm brewed, and animals accumulated two by two. 
And God came near, shutting the door, sheltering them from the raging storm.

And then there was a time that men worshiped fertility gods made of stone.  
It was in that culture that Sarai grew old, suffering the shame of her infertility, 
The man who had taken her as his bride remained both faithful and true. 
He chose to love her in spite of  her empty arms,
As he lived with his own unmet desire for a son.
God called them away, promising them longed-for son, but they laughed continued to wait.  
But God came near and she birthed and nursed while holding little "Laughter" close to the heart.

Then there came a day when Israel sinned and Babylon took her captive.
The finest young men were taken and groomed to serve the foreign king. 
In a fit of pride, the king built a statue demanding all to fall and worship at its feet.
Three young captives chose to remain loyal to their God,
And they courageously refused to bow.
They were bound and cast into burning hot flames, facing a certain death. 
But God came near and stood with them in the heat, honoring their public display of faith. 

There came a day when Rome ruled, prophets were silent, and Israel desperately longed for her Messiah. 
An angel came in the middle of the night, awakening a young teen with glorious news,
She was betrothed to a man who held integrity in his heart, 
The angel said God had chosen her to bear His Son and, by faith, Mary worshiped God.
By faith Joseph remained committed as he chose to raise the Babe as his own.
At the right time the baby was born and placed in a manger as shepherds bowed and angels sang.
And God came near in human form, born a Savior, a Shepherd, and a King. 

There came a time when Jesus walked among mankind, inviting all to experience God's love. 
A woman caught in adultery was cast at His feet and experienced both mercy and grace.
A woman was rejected by five men and found that only God's love could satisfy the unquenchable thirst.
A woman had suffered long as blood continuously flowed long from her body, 
Rose up and by faith reached for the hem of the garments He wore and was healed. 
And a man born blind was given sight; lepers were cleansed, and demons cast out.
And God came near with a missions of grace, offering love and a solution for sin. 

There came a time when religious rulers felt threatened by this God wearing flesh.
And a greedy disciple fulfilled prophecy by betraying the Master with a single kiss. 
The Messiah who was taken and illegally tried throughout the long night was found guiltless,
And He remained silent as He was sentenced to die. 
Stripped, beaten, mocked and scorned, He was hammered to a tree.
The world grew dark, His blood was spilled, our shame was covered, and God's wrath was satisfied. 
And God came near, love conquering hate, trampling the Enemy beneath His feet.

And there came this time when God dwells  in the hearts of those He calls His own. 
And people work, people play, people watch, and people pray.
And God's people find themselves longing for their King's return,
As couples grieve the babies lost, husbands watch as cancer claims their spouse's life,   
And Soldiers fight for our freedom, while people here at home are senselessly killing each other.  
Parents pray for runaways, addictions exert control, marriages crumble, and boys girls are preyed upon. 
Yet, God remains near, carefully mending each heart ripped in two, one love-stitch at a time.

There will come a time when the heavens open, revealing our King called Faithful and True.
And we will live with Him in the dwelling place He is now preparing. 
And God will forever be our God, the victorious Christmas story finally complete. 
He will be the wiper of tears, the destroyer of death, the eraser of pain, the remover of grief!
But today He is the purifier of hearts, the satisfier of longings, the giver of Life, and lover of souls. 
And God came near, He is the Alpha and Omega--the Beginning and the End,   
And He is completing redemption stories, one life, one heart, one victory at a time.    


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Several years ago I realized that I often sped through my Scripture reading and gave it little thought. Yet, when I had meaningful conversations with friends or family members I replayed them over and over in my head. One day it occurred to me, that if I thought more about what God says in his word that I would not only know more about Him, but I would come to know Him in a personal way. I would know more about His thoughts, His character, His intentions, His passions, and His actions. So, I began to take one verse at a time and think on it and then journal about it. At the time I was served as a volunteer in youth ministry and shared my “Thoughts on God” with those girls. For a while I have been rewriting and posting them on this blog. I have realized when I am in the Word or move through my day focusing on God's presence that I have wonderful opportunities to Meet God in the Everyday. The Everyday can include storms, blessings, hard things, scary things, exciting things...just any where, anyplace, any time. I hope that you will be able to engage with what I write with both your head and your heart. I also hope you will be challenged to love, trust, and know the God of the Scriptures. It is my prayer that as you read you will experience Him at a deeper level and share pieces of your journey in the comments. It is my desire that we form a safe community of believers who pursue the God who loves us radically, eternally, and without reserve. As a precious pastor once told me, "Don't forget, Wendy, God is Good!" I find myself compelled by His Goodness and His Love to share so others can know Him through all the ups and downs of life. Please feel free to dialogue back and to share how each passage impacts you. If if there is a passage you would like me to write on or if you would like to be a guest blogger, please let me know. I am just learning to navigate this blog and appreciate the kind comments you have made in the past...I promise I will even try to respond if you leave a note. If you are blessed please share the blog with friends!