Thursday, April 28

Eye Contact

The other day, Mr. M was watching a program on different types of dogs. As he told me what he had learned, my little brain went into overdrive when he explained the characteristics of border collies. The one thing that jump-started my muse was this...

Border collies guide sheep with their eyes.

I went straight to Google and found some very interesting facts.

Border collies are bred to gather, not drive, sheep. They have the ability to control a herd without the use of force. With almost hypnotic precision, they maintain intense eye contact with the sheep, while darting in and out to guide them with uncanny timing and precision.

These herding dogs have the capability to master any type of herd. They will also anticipate the direction the herd is going to move and adjust its movements accordingly. They can adjust their pace to be in sync with the sheep or other herd.

Good herding dogs control sheep with calm authority and without excessive commotion. Sometimes, though, a stubborn sheep will not follow directions and the border collie’s natural instinct is to slowly increase its tactics to herd the sheep into obeying his desires.

The dog will then try barking to gain the sheep’s attention. If barking does not work, the dog will nip at the sheep’s feet and eventually bite them to get his point across.

When the collie gets the sheep where they belong, he relaxes and joins in with them.

All these characteristics elicit respect, not fear, from the sheep.

Did you see it? Did you see the similarities of how the Lord works?

The Lord...

* gathers His sheep; He does not drive them, “But I will gather the remnant of My flock out of all countries where I have driven them, and bring them back to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase.” (Jer. 23:3 NKJV)

* has the ability to control His sheep without force, “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” (Matt. 11:29 NKJV)

* maintains intense eye contact, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will guide you with My eye.” (Ps. 32:8 NKJV)

* anticipates which direction we are going and adjusts His movements accordingly, “And if you leave God’s paths and go astray, you will hear a Voice behind you say, ‘No, this is the way; walk here.” (Is. 30:21 TLB)

* has uncanny timing and precision, for “He has made everything beautiful in its time” (Eccl. 3:11a NKJV), and “His way is perfect.” (2 Sam. 22:31 NKJV)

* controls with calm authority: “Then He arose and rebuked the wind, and said to the sea, ‘Peace, be still!’” (Mark 4:39 NKJV)

* will increase His tactics if a stubborn sheep does not obey, “For the Lord disciplines those He loves, and He punishes each one He accepts as His child.” (Heb. 12:6 NLT)

* relaxes and joins in with His sheep when they are where He wants, “And Jesus went up on the mountain, and there He sat with His disciples.” (John 6:3 NKJV)

* elicits respect not fear from His sheep. Jesus told a parable that represented the Father, saying, “I know! I’ll send my cherished son. Surely they will show respect for him.” (Luke 20:13 TLB)

When these characteristics of the Lord collided with my gray matter (uh, the inner kind), an awesome sense of gratitude rushed over me as I read each one.

I prayed as David did, “Keep me as the apple of Your eye.” (Ps. 17:8a NKJV) Or as it would say with its expanded definitions, “Hedge me about as with thorns, guard and protect me as the little man or daughter of Your eye.” Or as The Message states it, “Keep Your eye on me.”

God keeps His eye on all His children; none escapes His attention. He will keep eye contact with them...when they look up to Him!

“God’s eye is on those who respect Him,
the ones who are looking for His love.”
(Ps. 33:18a Msg)


Monday, April 25

The Veiled Lady

~~Thought I'd repost an oldie. Hope you enjoy!~~

An empty water jar balances precariously on her head. Her face is veiled not only to avoid the searing stares of Sychar’s society but also to shield her from the rumors of a ruined reputation.

Too many husbands have drained her nuptial well and now she attempts to fill it with another, an unbetrothed suitor. She must go now to the watering hole, to draw from its depths the water to quench her parched thirst, a thirst that lies deeper than the surface of her tongue.

Slipping through the back streets, she shuffles her way out the city’s gate to fulfill her daily duty. As the sun beats down with its heaving swells of heat, she is forced to come to the well of the ancient fathers at the noon hour. The other women choose to draw water during the cooler hours of the day, coming later to remove their veils, to relax, to laugh, and to gossip, usually about this woman.

The heat of the day diametrically differs from the chill of passion that has penetrated this shunned woman’s being. The empty water jug she now carries on her head parallels the emptiness of her heart.

She hides behind a veil of secrecy, as she tries desperately to become invisible. As she approaches the well, she peers out from behind her veil, and, seeing a man who sits on the well’s edge, their eyes meet. He looks deep into the longing of her soul and sees a parched and depleted well. She sees acceptance beyond anything she has ever experienced.

“Give me a drink,” he asks.

“But you’re a Jew,” she says. “Why do you ask for a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?”

“If you only knew. I would satisfy your hollow yearning from a living well, teeming with waters of life that never run dry.”

“Oh, sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.”

“Call your husband to come here also,” he says.

“But, sir,” she says, “I have no husband.”

This stranger, peering into her lifeless eyes hiding within the veil, now seems to know her so well, as he recounts the depth of her past existence.

“Sir, you must be a prophet,” she says. Yet, she discerns him to be more than a prophet, for there is no hint of judgment or condemnation in his voice, only the love of the ages.

Throwing off the invisible veil over her eyes, she sees this man for who he really is and receives the love for which she has so recklessly searched. She drops her water pot by the well and runs back through the city gate to tell the others of the everlasting love she has found in the man called The Messiah.

Have you dropped all to tell others about the everlasting love you have found in Christ?

“Go…and tell…”


Thursday, April 21

Woman, Why Do You Weep?

In the chilly dampness of the early morning hours, the woman gropes her way through the dark city streets of Jerusalem. Carrying only a small oil lamp to light her way, Mary Magdalene is joined by Joanna, Salome, and Mary, the mother of James. Leaving the city, they wend their way to the dew-moistened garden where Jesus had been buried.

Dressed in their mourning apparel and blurry-eyed from their tears of grief, they enter the garden of the tomb, carrying the spices to anoint Jesus’ body.

The first glints of sunlight peek over the horizon as they approach the tomb. The ground shakes violently as an angel appears and rolls back the large stone covering the tomb’s entrance. The angel says, “Do not be afraid; Jesus is not here. He is risen! Go and tell the others.”

Terrified, Mary Magdalene rushes to get Peter and John and returns with them to the tomb. With their hearts pounding in fear and lungs struggling for air, the men enter the tomb and frantically survey the surroundings until their eyes rest on the stone slab, where only the death cloths lay.

Seeing that the body of Jesus is not there, the disciples rush back to tell the others.

While the other women wait outside the tomb, Mary Magdalene stoops down to look inside. With tears streaming down her cheeks, she turns to leave and encounters a man, who asks, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?”

Assuming him to be the gardener, “‘Sir,’ she asks, ‘if you have taken Him away, tell me where you have put Him, and I will go and get Him.’” (John 20:15 NLT)

“Mary,” He whispers compassionately.

Recognizing a familiar voice, she gasps, “Rabboni!” and falls at His feet in worship.

I have been a Mary Magdalene. . .a follower of the Lord yet not being able to find Him. I wandered around for relentless hours, with stinging tears spilling down my cheeks, weeping in pain, sorrow, and loss. I searched the tomb of the world and found it emptied of dreams, hopes, and purposes.

My restoration came when I realized my Saviour had stood beside me all along, compassionately whispering my name. When I heard His loving voice, I fell at His feet in worship.

Have you ever been a Mary Magdalene? Do you weep over loss of dreams, hopes, or purposes? Pain, sorrow, or circumstance? Do you stand at the tomb, wearing the grave clothes of mourning, wondering where Jesus is?

Just as Mary Magdalene met Christ in an unexpected way, so your Easter experience comes to you in your hour of despair. Jesus will be there beside you to comfort you, compassionately whispering your name and asking, “Why do you weep? Whom do you seek?”

Jesus always brings you hope of resurrection as on that first Easter morn. He comes to lift you up, to wipe away your tears, to release you from your pain, to remove your grave clothes of fear and depression.

Jesus says to you, “Do not wear the grave-clothes stained with the tears of grief. Come into My garden of beauty and I will give you the robe of Easter’s resurrection gladness. Take My Hand and let Me lead you along the path to life everlasting. I gave My life that you might live eternally with Me.”

He says, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26 NKJV)

Do you believe this? Then, weep no more! Fall at His feet and worship Him!

May you know the power of Christ’s Resurrection Life in a deeper way this Easter season.

This is an inspirational video of celebration. I hope you’ll watch it.

Today’s post is part of the Christian Writers Blog Chain on the topic of redemption/resurrection. Check out and enjoy the other contributors’ posts in the left sidebar.


Monday, April 18

The Scent of the Wood

Learning a trade from a father was essential. A tradition of following in a father’s footsteps. And so this young man obeys.

In the humble beginning of his apprenticeship, he is learning from his father to carve out the design of the wood, to press his hands against the wood and feel the grain, and to carry stacks of wood.

Still a young lad and learning his trade, he needs the direction of his father’s callused hands to guide his unskilled hands, which now need a little rest.

Stepping away from the carpenter’s bench, he walks outside the shop to take a break from his work and stretch his back.

Standing in the warm, noon sun, he picks at another of the daily splinters in his hands, as the rhythm of the hammer pounds in the background. Extending his arms toward the sky, he says a prayer of thanksgiving to God the Father.

He breathes in fresh air to rid his nostrils of sawdust. First shaking his head to dislodge more sawdust tangled in his hair, he then removes his sandals and shakes out the wood shavings.

As the sun’s warmth soothes his aching muscles, he wonders when he first loved the savory aroma of wood. From the stories his father has told him, he decides the first whiffs seeped into his memory from the wooden trough at his birth.

When would Jesus realize all these things were harbingers of agony upon a wooden cross?

Did that dreadful day of agony revive all those fragrant memories of His childhood? What did those harbingers herald?

* Stepping aside from His carpenter’s life means stepping into His glorified life.
* The sawdust that clung to His hair is now exchanged for a crown of thorns encircling His head.
* Stretching His sore back could never compare to the excruciating pain from the flesh-revealing stripes received from a scourge.
* The removing of His sandals rid them of sawdust; now removing them reveals His feet for torture.
* The wood He once carried strengthened Him to carry a cross-beam along the Via Dolorosa.
* His hands, once suffering splinters from pressing against the grain of the wood, now feeling pain as shards puncture them from bearing the weight of the wooden cross-beam.
* The hammer that pounded in the background now pounds in rhythmic timbre upon the nail heads, piercing His hands.
* The memory-scent of the wood, embedded in His nostrils, infuses His soul as the punctured wood releases that familiar fragrance.
* The fresh air He so easily breathed in now barely makes it into His nostrils as He struggles to breathe.
* His muscles that ached from work now throb from the pain of crucifixion, which no soothing sun can ever relieve.
* His arms extended once prayer to His Father.

Following His heavenly Father’s guidance, this young Man obeyed...unto death.
The scent of the wood released from obedience.
A sweet aroma to the Father.


Friday, April 15

Who Removed the Nails?

Whipped...lashed within an inch of His life.
Mocked...crowned with thorns.

Slapped...beard ripped from His face.
Bound...nails pounded into His flesh.

Ridiculed...garment gambled for at His feet. His side, and in His heart.

He sighed His last breath...
“It is finished.”

Now, it is time to bury Him.
But who will take Him down from the cross?

Who removed those gruesome nails from Jesus’ body?

Walk with me and let’s see...

Evening approaches. Clouds blush in the western sky as the sun begins to slide into the distant hills. It’s Preparation Day, the day before Sabbath.

A somber atmosphere hangs heavy in the city. Hearts sting from the ghastly sight of Jesus body being nailed to a cross as a common criminal.

But now, who will take down His body? He must be buried.

Appearing with boldness before Pilate to ask for the body of Jesus is Joseph of Arimathea. A rich man. A prominent member of the Sanhedrin. A secret follower of Jesus waiting for the kingdom of God.

What? Pilate summons the centurion. Jesus is dead? Pilate asks. The centurion replies in the positive. Pilate then gives Joseph permission to take Jesus’ body and bury it.

The day is growing short. Joseph rushes to the market for some linen burial cloths. Nicodemus joins him, helping to carry one hundred pounds of burial spices.

Hearts throb while lungs heave in their chests as the two men flee toward Golgotha.

Joseph takes a deep breath. Remove the nails? How can I do this?

Tears of deep grief fill his eyes and spill onto his cheeks. With trembling hands, Joseph extracts the bloody nails driven for the sins of man. First, from Jesus’ feet.

He finds a nearby ladder and timidly climbs up. He releases the cords of hate that tied Jesus’ wrists to the offensive cross beam. Next, he struggles to remove the nails...from one hand, then the other.

The Savior’s lifeless body plunges into the arms of Nicodemus.

Kneeling beside Jesus’ body, the men delicately wrap each linen strip with the spices around His body. Their arms and legs strain from the weight as they then carry Jesus to a newly hewn tomb in the garden.

After laying His body inside, the men back out of the tomb, bowing in reverence. Joseph rolls a large stone against the entrance of the tomb. The men walk back to the city in silence.

It is finished. Or is it?


Tuesday, April 12

Redemption: Priceless?

"…you were not redeemed with corruptible things…
But [you were purchased] with the precious blood of Christ.”
(1 Peter 1:18a NKJV, 1 Peter 1:19a Amp)

I love some of those commercials that show an item, then list the price of something and, at the end, list something that is priceless.

That’s our redemption: priceless! the sense that we could never repay Christ for the redemption we have received.

But for Him: a very costly price. His life. But unmeasured, priceless gift to us.

Jesus Christ released His earthly life to die an excruciating death on a cruel cross. Is there a greater sacrifice? The disciple John wrote, “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13 NLT)

You are that special friend of Jesus; you are worth every drop of blood that He shed and paid for you. If you have accepted that sacrificial offer, you are the precious Bride of Christ, the Beloved Bridegroom.

Jesus paid the asking price for His Bride, “a single sacrifice for our sins [that shall avail] for all time,” (Heb. 10:12a Amp) “who gave Himself a ransom on behalf of all.” (1 Tim. 2:6 NKJV)

The Greek word for ransom, in the above verse, is used only this once in the Bible and means the redemption price of a slave or captive, that which is offered in exchange for another.

In that covenant exchange, Christ suffered death in our stead that we might walk in newness of His risen Life. Jesus said, “I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” (John 10:10 NKJV)

Redeeming us from our sins and ultimate spiritual death, Christ became our Kinsman-Redeemer, for He “purchased our freedom [redeeming us] from the curse (doom) of the Law [and its condemnation] by [Himself] becoming a curse for us.” (Gal. 3:13 Amp)

The Greek meaning of the word used for redeem, I think, beautifully describes what Christ did for us. It means to ransom, to rescue one from loss to improve opportunity, to purchase one for his freedom from another’s power by paying a price to recover him, or to buy up for one’s self or own use.

He exchanged His life for yours. He redeemed your life to improve it, to give you abundant Life. He purchased you from the power of the enemy, redeeming you from a life of drudgery, from servitude to sin, from eternal loss, as He said, “So that anyone who believes in Me will have eternal life.” (John 3:15 TLB)

Great agony and heartache were the price of your redemption. Truly you are not your own. You were bought with a price.

Love and redemption: priceless!

May you know that Eternal Life that surges through your precious, blood-bought soul. And may the Lord reveal to you His presence in some special way this Easter season.


Monday, April 11

Give the Lady a Ride book tour

Today, it is with great pleasure that I bring you the synopsis of a brand new book written by my friend Linda Yezak. It is entitled Give the Lady a Ride.

If you’re looking for a Christian fiction, contemporary romance with great reminders to trust in God and His will, this book fits the bill. It will take you for a great and fun ride!

God Cares

In the backstory of my novel, Give the Lady a Ride, Patricia Talbert’s husband had married her for the sole purpose of having access to her dad, a United States senator from New York.

Kent Talbert wanted the political edge to further his own aspirations. Four years later, on the day she filed for divorce on the grounds of infidelity, he cruelly made sure she knew this. “Without your father, you’re just another rich girl.”

Then, before the divorce was finalized, he was killed in an automobile accident.

Now five years a widow, she has a chance for a new start–for love, for a life outside her father’s political world. But it’s frightening. What if it were true? What if she really was nothing apart from her New York roots? Can her newly renewed faith help her find the answers? Soothe her conflicted soul?

In the middle of a restless night, she leaves her bed and goes into the library. Inside, she finds a bible, opens it, and . . .

Believe it or not, this story is actually a light-hearted romance. Yes, Patricia had a rough go at love, but then she inherits a ranch in Texas. Her intent to sell it and get back to New York within four days dissipates when she becomes attracted the foreman, a bull rider.

Talon Carlson is nothing like Kent Talbert, but how can she be sure? To buy time to find out, she issues a challenge: “Teach me to ride bulls.”

As in all romances, there must come a time when the budding relationship is threatened, and mine is no different. I threw some doubt into the mix, a loss of confidence, a misunderstanding. Then, I needed God’s help to get Patricia out of the mire and back on the right track. Unfortunately, all the verses I could think of didn’t quite fit.

Then, I got a prompting. “Go get your Bible.”

Ever get one of those? Just a nudge, an elbow to the spirit. A quiet voice you’re not sure isn’t your own. When you’re nudged, I bet you do what I did–obey.

I got up from my comfy seat and brought my Bible back to my desk–and opened it to the perfect passage for Patricia. It was a verse in Psalms 73 describing David’s grief and foolishness, but acknowledging that God was still with him in spite of himself, and that God would guide him and receive him to glory. Patricia needed to know God had been with her all the years she’d ignored Him and He would guide her to make a right decision.

What a lesson I learned with that gentle nudge! Get this: God cared what happened to a character in my book! He was with me as I was writing, knew I was stumped, and provided the right verse for a fictitious character.

How much more does He care what happens to us? He pays attention to the things we are doing, cares enough to count the hairs on our heads, and knows how to guide us if we let Him. What an amazing God we have!

~~Please visit Linda’s site and the other site where she is a partner AuthorCulture.
Watch the book trailer
~You can purchase the book on Linda’s site or through Amazon.


Thursday, April 7

Another thought to ponder...


Monday, April 4

Companion of the Garden

In ancient times, when a Persian king wanted to bestow a special honor on one of his citizens, he granted that person the status of being a companion in his garden, which gave the person the privilege of walking in the garden as a special friend of the king.

In the beginning, God granted man the privilege of being His companion and walking with Him in His indescribably, beautiful paradise garden, which He created for man’s first home. It contained no thorny bushes, no stones of obstruction, no offensive weeds, and no broken stumps. All was perfect for man’s walk in the garden with his Maker.

When sin entered the garden and broke this companionship, it was necessary to bring man back into fellowship with his Maker. Through the salvation Jesus offered on the cross, man was brought back into perfect union with the Lord.

This is now heaven’s delight. How sweet is that companionship that we can enjoy, walking in an atmosphere of fellowship with our Beloved that can be compared to a garden?

Solomon wrote so intimately about his loving relationship with the Shulamite in the Song of Solomon, which not only represents a husband and wife but also represents the church as the bride and the Lord as our Bridegroom.

The Lord says of us as Solomon said of his precious bride, “You are like a private garden, my treasure, my bride! You are like a spring that no one else can drink from, a fountain of my own.” (SOS 4:12 NLT)

The Shulamite said, “I am my beloved’s (garden) and my beloved is mine!” (SOS 6:3a Amp) She told her beloved, “You are a fountain (springing up) in a garden, a well of living waters, and flowing streams...(You have called me a garden, she said)...blow upon my garden, that its spices may flow out (in abundance for you in whom my soul delights). Let my beloved come into his garden and eat its chicest fruits.” (SOS 4:15-16 Amp)

Songs of the garden have always been in man’s heart. Charles Austin Miles penned a song in 1913 when he wrote the words and music to the beautiful hymn In the Garden. His inspiration for the hymn came after reading the biblical account of Mary Magdalene and the others visiting the tomb of Jesus. He wrote these tender words...

“I come to the garden alone
While the dew is still on the roses
And the voice I hear, falling on my ear
The Son of God discloses

And He walks with me
And He talks with me
And He tells me I am His own
And the joy we share as we tarry there
None other has ever known.”

I I that resplendent garden that my Beloved loves to visit? Am I a lovely, fragrant field, full of sweet-scented blossoms, or am I a patch full of stink-weed?

When I visit my Beloved for companionship in His garden of Easter gladness, my soul thrills in His presence. He walks with me. And He talks with me. And He tells me I am His own. “And the joy we share as we tarry there, None other has ever known.”

May you walk in precious companionship with your Beloved Lord in a special way this Easter season.