Friday, March 25, 2011

His Table

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. Psalm 23:5a (NKJV)

My husband dislikes frothy food: soufflé, mousse, whipped cream, or meringue. He likes foods that you need to chew before swallowing. Good bread with peanut butter and jelly is an everyday treat.

I feel the same about literature, especially Christian fiction with the sweet, fluffy theme of: “I had a problem. I prayed. The Lord fixed it. Now I rejoice — until whacked by another problem.” Even though true, that set presentation is cotton candy in fairy land.

Reality-based literature like Pilgrim’s Progress written by an incarcerated John Bunyan better explains the perils of Christian living. Lloyd C. Douglas’ Magnificent Obsession turns me away from pursuits of self towards helping others. The same is true for Scrooge and other Dickens’ characters.

These books demonstrate knowledge of Jesus’ teaching “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). True-to-life dilemmas presented by talented authors are like buffets beckoning diners to the Lord’s everlasting table, the Bible. They draw readers close to that one central table where life is real, not airy or foamy. They show the way to the one Great Author.

That kind of literature stimulates the hungry to come to a banqueting table filled with platters of biblical meat and dessert – doctrine and praise. When I wonder how to avoid spiritual enemies and get to the solid goodness of His will, the Lord calls me to the table which He has prepared – the Bible. He knows I need to skip the froth and eat the bread.

Lord, thank you for setting a table before me where I can come to know you.

© 2011 V. Colclasure

Friday, March 18, 2011

Human Dilemma

Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children. Matthew 27:25 (KJV)

As a little girl, I often visited a candy store in town. Though I rarely had money, barrels of penny candy, gum, and chocolates beckoned. Looking at the sweets—surely a national pastime—my mouth watered.

Temptation is a powerful thing. One day my hand found its way into a barrel. I grabbed a piece of candy and left in a rush. A couple of blocks flew by before I felt safe enough to unwrap my treat. The sugar melted in my mouth, and I was invincible, having eluded capture.

I was caught that night, however—by conviction. I lay in bed, crying, until my mother came to see what was wrong. Between sobs the story came out.

The dilemma of man had found me. On one hand, we rely on human provision, thinking we can save ourselves. But through all our arrogance, still we cry out for supernatural deliverance. God gave the answer: His Son. Christ was tempted as we are, yet without sin. He experienced the frailty, desires, and challenges that face us every day.

My mother took me back to the store the next morning, where I confessed to the owner and paid for my candy. The weight of sin lifted as he forgave me.

We serve an ironic, wonderful God. Standing before the crowds, Pilate told them to choose: Barabbas or Jesus. They chose Barabbas—human strength. But then they immediately cried out for Jesus’ blood to be upon them and their children—divine provision. Christ answered their cry, which still wells up from the depths of every human heart today.

Thank You, Jesus, for answering the innermost cry of our hearts with Your forgiveness.

© 2011 Katherine A. Fuller

Friday, March 11, 2011

Bleeding Red

He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in my blood.” Luke 22:20 NASB

My nursing career introduces me to people in all walks of life. I have had the privilege of caring for nuns and rabbis, politicians, TV personalities, a football Hall of Famer, a gypsy king, a legendary burlesque star and an atheist here and there. My work brings me to the bedside of some very wealthy and the homeless poor; those with brilliant minds and those brain damaged by disease, injury, or drugs. There are patients of every skin color and those who are albino with no pigment at all.

Observing the uniqueness of people woven together with the paths they choose; many times I feel worlds apart from them. I wonder who of these may be squeezing through the narrow gate, rubbing shoulders with me on the way to Heaven; and who will be taking the wider path, that dead-ends in hell. As different as we are, two undeniable facts link all mankind together. One I have witnessed and one I know to be true. We all bleed red and we all need a Savior.

Jesus, our Savior, came to earth in human form like us, only without sin. His blood was red as it spilled, painting our way to Heaven. He reached out His arms on the cross, extending grace to each one of us. Without His grace we remain hopelessly worlds apart. He rose into Heaven, defeating death for our sake, and He is there now preparing a place for all of us who will believe.

Thank You, Jesus, for extending grace to us through Your blood and resurrection. Amen

© 2011 Bonnie M. Evans

Friday, March 4, 2011

Grapes of Plenty

And they came unto the brook of Eshcol, and cut down from thence a branch with one cluster of grapes, and they bare it between two upon a staff. Numbers 13:23 (KJV)

One afternoon, while washing grapes, I thought about the Bible story where God told Moses to send scouts into Canaan to see what types of people lived there. They returned carrying some of the fruits of the land. Moses was surprised to see huge grapes needing two men to carry them. My grapes were puny compared to the ones in that story. It would seem like heaven to buy grapes as big as oranges, carrots as large as bowling pins, and apples as large as saucers.

The grapes of Canaan were evidence of fertile land promised to the Israelites by God. But, it would only come by believing God's promise. The spies liked the land, liked its fruit, and even held it in their hands; but they were afraid of the giants who dwelled there.

Joshua and Caleb had a different spirit; one that trused God's Work and recognized His provision.

As I finished washing my small grapes, I praised God for His promises to me, and asked for continued faith and strength to walk in them daily.

Lord, help us to keep our minds stayed on Your sweet promise for the brightest of futures with You as our reigning King. We trust You to take care of all our needs as we walk in Your provision. Amen

(c) 2011 E. Bonnie Ryan