What in the World is That?

Some years ago, while I was residing in the southeastern portion of Michigan, some of the neighbors had congregated in my front yard to chat and maybe a share little gossip.  All of a sudden, and we all saw it at once, it looked as if a flying mouse was approaching!  This thing was huge, and it landed on the cedar siding of my home!

We all walked up toward the house, and we noticed that it was a gigantic moth, so colorful and so unique, with a huge body.  I went into the house to retrieve a jar, only to study the creature, and we were amazed at this wonderful, colorful animal.

Frank knew what it was.  “It’s a Cecropia Moth,” he proudly announced.  Frank went on to say, “You wouldn’t believe it, but that huge, six-inch moth started out as a tiny black caterpillar!”  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyalophora_cecropia

That Cecropia moth underwent a journey and a metamorphosis, just was we do as Christians.

Upon research, I learned that the tiny black caterpillar that was to become that mighty moth fed on Maple, Cherry and Birch trees.  From the size of the ensuing moth, it must have been very efficient at eating its way into that majestic creature that had all the neighbors talking.

I can make a correlation here between the moth’s diet and our own journey to become new creatures in Christ.

Every Bible verse we read, every sermon was stay awake for, every hymn we sing becomes a part of our Christian life. Every time we watch a movie, or read an article, or kiss our husbands good-bye in the morning, every experience, is what our souls feed upon.    Just as it was the occupation for that tiny caterpillar to eat and become a magnificent organism, so it is our occupation to nourish our souls with the proper diet of love, acceptance, obedience, and a sprinkling of joy, to help us grow and mature into the new creatures in Christ we all can become.

This morning I read from II Corinthians 5.  As Christians we have all learned that Christ died because of our lack of obedience.  We all, through nourishing our minds and hearts with the wisdom of God, can become new creatures, perhaps slowly, perhaps rapidly, perhaps a combination.

I encourage my readers to Google Cecropia Moth.  You will be viewing images of possibly the most majestic moth on the face of the earth.  My goal, my adventure.  Have faith.

W.S.

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Who Can Jesus Trust?

At one time I had a friend who grew up on a pig farm.  He was hard-working, and most definitely lived a Christian life.  At one neighborhood holiday party, he told me the following joke.

“Some time ago a traveling salesmen stopped by a farmhouse in rural Wisconsin.  He and the farmer got to talking, and one thing led to another.  The farmer invited the traveling salesman to have dinner with the family.

During the dinner conversation, the farmer told the salesman that one day he was trapped beneath a tractor.  A pig ran to the farmhouse and got the attention of his wife, who called for help.

The salesman said, “That’s amazing.”

The farmer went on to say, “And there was another time that the house was on fire during the night, and the same pig broke down the door and dragged the entire family to safety.”

The salesman said, “That’s amazing!  Can I see this pig?”

The farmer took the salesman out to the barnyard, when the salesman noticed that the pig was missing a leg.  He asked, “Did the pig lose his leg saving you from the fire?”

The farmer replied, “No, you can’t eat a valuable pig like that all at one time.”

Some of my readers are not going to like what I write next.  For some people the above joke can be compared to their feelings for Jesus.

Jesus came to earth to teach us to escape from sin, yet some people actually think it is a good idea that Jesus was put to death.

The Gospel of John teaches us in John 7:7 “The world cannot hate you, but it does hate Me because I denounce it for its wicked works and reveal that its doings are evil.”

During this most important time of the year, let us love Jesus and remind ourselves each and every day that He died BECAUSE of our sins.  We owe our gratitude and respect to our Savior.  Have faith.

W.S.

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Let’s Talk About Sin . . .

According to the Christian Bible, New Testament, John 1:29, when Jesus approached John the Baptist, John uttered the famous words, “There is the Lamb of God, Who takes away the sin of the world!”

A great sentiment, but how does Jesus do that?  If we are looking for Jesus to come down from where He is exalted, wave a magic wand, and change the hearts of every human being, and perhaps nature, we may be waiting a long, long time.

Hearts are changed one at a time, like eating cashews.  We may spend our entire lives blindly living in sin.  We may not know there is light beyond the quagmire.  But there is.  Our hope is in the name of Jesus, the Christ.

Jesus lived on earth to teach us about how to connect with God, His Father and ours.  This crucial connection leads us away from sin, any thought, word or deed that is outside of God’s plan.  I am convinced that God has a plan for each and every one of us, and His plan is always for our utmost benefit.

It takes some effort to follow Jesus.  Like a game of Blind Man’s Bluff, we may flail around reaching for Jesus to come into our lives and make big changes.  And in reality, He is only a moment’s heart-prayer away.

If we are already following Jesus, sometimes we may still find ourselves flailing.  Take heart!  Jesus is always there for us, eager to help us center ourselves and focus on our re-creation.  As we follow Jesus, we are becoming new creatures, with a comfort and peace that the world alone cannot provide.

Stating again, becoming new creatures takes effort.

This does not mean that we do not receive absolution when we ask for forgiveness.  However, if we are sitting in the pew or the confessional, and we receive absolution from the minister or priest, we have choices to make.

If we leave the confessional with true confidence that we will work toward removing the cause of sin from our lives, we are on our way to becoming new creatures in Christ Jesus.

However, if we leave the pew or confessional thinking that we have been absolved, only to commit the same sin, then, “Houston, we have a problem.”

I pray with my heart each day that I am found worthy of a God so great.  Have faith.

W.S.

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It is THAT Time of Year . . .

The wind goes woo-oo-oo, the leaves are turning from green to brilliant yellow and fiery red, and themes of harvest time surround us in our stores and shops.  Halloween.  The Eve of All Saints is upon us.  It is an eerie time of year, with its black cats and jack-o-lanterns.  So, where does Jesus fit in all of this?

Yesterday, as I was shopping the dollar store for trinkets of fall to decorate the house, Washington Irving’s short story, “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow,” crossed my mind.  It is a story set in post Revolutionary War New York.  It is the one where there is an apparent love triangle, and an eerie ride through the forest after a harvest party.  Old Ichabod Crane sees something that might have been unusual to him, but is commonplace in our world today.  It is the “headless horseman,” a body with no head.

What came to mind as I recalled the short story was a memory of a time when Christ was far from me in my life.  Without the realization that Christ dwells within me, I was like a body without a head.  My head was someplace else, not with God.

After I came to know Christ, my life changed.  Slowly, I became aware of a partnership deep within, always having my best interests, always guiding, always protecting me.  Having Christ in my life was almost like attaching the mind and head of Christ to my body.  He is that real and that influential to me.

Okay, along with all the “goodies,” of having an every-loving, ever-accepting figure in my life came responsibilities.  I learned to be obedient to God through Christ Jesus.  I became, and am becoming, a different person, with a real head, not a superficial one.

As I recall, before Christ came into my life, I was like a body without a head.  I was like a bumper car at an amusement park, bumping into and sometimes injuring my fellow man through my ignorance.

But the truly scary part of the story of the “headless horseman” is that I was not alone.  I had lots of company in my body-without-a head phase of my life.

But there is hope.  One Christian at a time can make a difference.

As a child, I played a game of chase my friends called “Catch One, Catch All.”  One person was “it” and that person would chase down another kid.  After touching that kid, both were “it.”  Those two kids would chase down others, every one they touched becoming “it” until all the children were caught.  Then the merry game was over.

As we minister, evangelize, and give testimony, we are also playing a game of “Catch One, Catch All.”  Halloween is a time of child-like abandon.  Let us not be frightened by the “headless horsemen” of the world.  Let us go chase them down and let them join the game.  Have faith.

W.S.

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Mirror, Mirror on the Wall . . .

Long before Netflix, long before Disney, long before books were readily available in the home, there were fairy tales.  Some very smart individuals, a long time ago, came up with some stories that, if we let them, resonate within our souls.

Had a bad day at work yesterday.  A certain someone was acting like the Wicked Queen in the Snow White tale.  I stewed about it for a while.  Then I realized, there is probably a little of the Wicked Queen in all of us!

We gaze into the Magic Mirror of our souls, hoping to be validated, and told that we are beautiful, but instead we are told that someone is more pure that we.

Sometimes this news is difficult for us Wicked Queens to accept, so we seek to destroy our competition, our Snow White.  Or, at least we seek to put her out of commission.

But our Snow White self dwells within us.  The seven dwarfs, or the many aspects of our inner self, seek to work in the depths of our souls to mine for our goodness, to work to redeem our Snow White (here on earth).

Just as it seems that our Snow White will expire, sleeping, in enters our Prince, who revives us with a kiss of acceptance.  We are good.  We are validated.  We are worthy of our Prince (our Christ).

Through the work of our souls, and the acceptance of Christ, we may someday look into that Magic Mirror and see our true selves, our own Snow White.  Have faith.

W.S.

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Why Punt at the First Down?

It is college football season in America.  In Wisconsin the fall colors are white and red!  I caught the University of Wisconsin game this afternoon.  The Badgers looked pretty good!

For those of my readers who are not familiar with American football, the game is played on a 100 –yard field.  Each of the two teams has an “End Zone” at opposite ends of the field, where they are able to score.  A winning score is called a “Touchdown.”  The team who is playing the offensive role has 4 chances to move the football at least 10 yards toward their End Zone.  Each chance is called a “Down.”  The team who is playing the defensive role is trying with all their might, to keep the offensive players from moving the ball the required 10 yards.

If the offensive team fails to move the ball at least 10 yards within 4 downs, the ball is turned over to the opposing team, who tries to move the ball down the field to their own End Zone.  USUALLY, if the 10 yards are not achieved within three downs, instead of advancing the ball on the 4th down, the offensive team will kick the ball, or “Punt” the ball as far away from the opposing teams End Zone as possible, to make it as difficult as possible for the opposing team to move the ball into their own End Zone.

As I watched the game today, I was struck with the thought that Christianity is a lot like an American football game.  However, at least here in America, the offensive team is stuck at the first down.  In fact, many people do not show up at the line of scrimmage at all, let alone make the effort to advance toward the End Zone, the Kingdom of Heaven.

Many Christians view the New Testament Bible verse, John 3:16, as a means to loaf off and assume they are going somewhere really, really special when they die.  John 3:16 instructs us to believe in God through a belief in Christ Jesus.  Unfortunately, to some this is the end of the game.  Many people believe their salvation is assured, therefore, they go back to warm the bench.

Well, friends, the world is living on borrowed time.  It is over two thousand years since Christ Jesus was physically in our midst.  Because of a sense of apathy, many Christians forget that the opposing team is trying to keep us away from the End Zone.  John 3:16 is only the First Down!

I guess this post is a bit of a rant, but some of our churches need a wake-up call.  The only way to the End Zone, the Kingdom of Heaven, is through effort, grunting, exhausting effort.

We may be tackled along the way, but if we do not show up for the game, or if we do not put forth the effort, the enemy may win, and our children and our children’s children will live in the same quagmire state the earth is now experiencing.

How do we advance the football?  By engaging whole-heartedly in Christianity, including inviting Christ into our souls to guide and direct our paths, and obedience to His direction.

With Christ as our Quarterback, we will win this game, one rookie at a time!  Have faith.

W.S.

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