Guest Writer

Pricks & Pride

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GUEST WRITER: JEANNE E. WEBSTER

 

A thorn in the flesh is healthier

Than a clot of pride in the heart.

A thorn will prick your attention;

Pride vainly numbs your smarts.

~

A thorn seeks immediate care

To purge the prick of its pain.

Pride probes for its pacifier,

Suavely sucking its own gain.

~

How quickly we yank the thorn;

It is most troublesome at best.

We leave fleshly plump Pride

Feathering and fluffing its nest.

~

Thorns set off many red flags,

Panic buttons and alarms;

Pride smugly veils its soul

Concealing its ways of harm.

~

Give me a thorn any old day,

Within my flesh or without;

I’ll rid it of its harmful deed

And quickly give it a shout!

~

But Pride: O me, O my, I cry!

Is a need I must have for sure.

Please spare me just a little bit.

How else will I ever endure?



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A Letter From Mama

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GUEST WRITER: EMILY SWANSON

 

How quickly time has flown. The yesterdays now far out-measure the tomorrows. But please don’t look at me with pity.

Inside me there is a little girl swinging in the sunshine, running through the fields and playing dolls in a make-believe playhouse on the dusty earth beneath a live oak in the yard. There is a happy teenager, giggling and sharing secrets with my best friend. Sometimes there emerges the memory of a new bride who has chosen to make her home with a special young man. They clasp hands and exchange knowing glances. The twinkle in his eye tells me I am still special.

“Precious memories flood my soul” of the children with whom I shared life. The joy and pain of giving birth was my special blessing from God. A large portion of my life is labeled “mama”.

Now the sands of time have shifted and the sand is nearly run out. The hourglass is turned upside down and once again I am become that helpless little child, vulnerable and trapped in this tired, used-up, adult body.

I know, my child, you grieve for me. It is hard for you to assume your new role as caretaker. I too, wish it did not have to be so. But the cycle-of-life dictates it to happen just this way.

When you were a babe I rejoiced when you were first put into my arms. My heart expressed wonder in my breast as I examined every tiny finger and toe. I marveled as you began to crawl and laughed out loud at your first word! There were times of great pain as I rocked you through the night with high fever, unable to administer the healing I wanted for you so desperately. I nursed you, nurtured you, loved you and enjoyed you. You were one of my special gifts from God. You are “mama” now. I’m sorry it must be so, for it takes a special grace for both of us to surrender our roles. But His Grace is sufficient.

Know that sometimes I am afraid. This is an unfamiliar path I walk. I have shown you how to walk many paths in life. I shall try to show you how to tread this one with faith and dignity. There are may old people who have to life this time of their lives alone. Thank God I do not walk alone, He is here and so are you! Do not try to be Him and take responsibility for making me whole and pain free. Do as I once did in that rocking chair so many years ago…acknowledge that He is in charge. Whatever transpires here is for just a little while and has great purpose in His plan for our lives.

When you come, bring gifts. Bring the gift of your smile and of loving arms to “hold me”. Bring the gift of reassurance that I am loved and I am hot a burden (for I fear that I am). Let us share meaningful words for time is too short now for trivia.

And when the Father calls me home, grieve for a little while. You will be lonely for a part of you will be gone. Mama and Daddy will both be away. (But you are not alone or comfortless, my child. You have family to whom you have given life) Grieve the loss. Talk about it. Then you can begin to remember the good times and the good things we shared in life. Those precious memories will far out-weigh the grief…in due time. Then your healing can occur.

There came a time, my child, when you wanted to leave home and fly on your own. I had to release you…thought it made me lonely. Release me, my child, and let me go home. I’ll wait for you there and the light will be on.

 

Dear Nicodemus

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GUEST WRITER: JEANNE WEBSTER

Dear Nicodemus
©2010 Jeanne E. Webster

Nicodemus, teacher
Order of the Pharisees
Sanhedrin member
Rabbi (master of Israel)

Dear Nicodemus:

This letter is sent to confirm our conversation last night regarding eternal life. You questioned my statement that a person cannot enter heaven without being born again. You wanted evidence that a person can be born again after he’s grown. As a Pharisee, a rabbi and teacher, you don’t comprehend this?

I explained to you that one must be born of the Spirit, not a rebirth from the womb. Being born of the flesh is a physical birth; being born of the Spirit is a spiritual birth. There is a touch from God framing the spiritual birth which is granted to anyone who believes in the Son of man. He descended from heaven and will return to heaven, evidence for the passage of regeneration for everyone who believes in Him.

You have heard me preach of earthly things yet you don’t believe them. How will you have faith in what I tell you of heavenly things? Moses lifted up the brass serpent that represented the sins of Israel; everyone who looked on it was healed. So will the Son of man be lifted up for everyone to see and believe in, and they shall have eternal life. God loved everyone so much that He put upon the Son of Man the sins of the world. He was lifted up on Calvary for all to see and believe. Those who have faith in Him will not perish but have everlasting life in heaven.

You see, Nicodemus, God didn’t send his Son into the world to condemn everyone but to save them. They condemn themselves if they do not believe in the name of the only Son of God. In all reality, this is the truth: light has come into the world to save the souls of everyone. But people love the darkness, as it covers the evil deeds they don’t want discovered. Those that live good lives are drawn to the light because their deeds will be shown to be of God.

The wind blows where it wishes, Nicodemus. Even though you can’t tell where the sound comes from, listen to it, as it is from the Spirit. Believe in it and be born again, this time of the Spirit, and you will have eternal life.

Love,
Jesus

(Paraphrased from John 3:1-21)

 

Close To God

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GUEST WRITER: VICTOR JASTI

As a Christian,

I understand that when God cleans my heart,

I get closer and closer to Him.

But when sins, selfish attitudes and worldly cares,

Keeps me from getting closer to the Lord,

I lay aside the World’s weight,

For when I lay them aside,

I experience the inspiring joy,

Of a Christian

Who is close to the Lord.

Don’t Look Down

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GUEST WRITER: EMILY SWANSON

Matthew 14: 24-30

When Jesus invited Peter to join Him on the water of the sea, Peter was hoping to meet the challenge. With great faith, Peter stepped out of the boat. He was full of confidence as he faced the Master. I think Peter’s feet were quite dry as long as his eyes were on Jesus.

I can almost hear Jesus calling out with urgency, “don’t look down, Peter. Don’t look down.”

The Big Fisherman made that very mistake. He looked down into the murky waters. His confidence in himself waned. His faith in Jesus wavered. After all, walking on water was impossible.

It is extremely easy to criticize Peter for his failure. Yet it is true of us all. The walk-of-faith is remarkable as long as one’s eyes are on the Master. When one’s gaze wanders into the world, we get swept up by waves of doubt.

Peter was not too proud to cry out, “Master, save me!”

Like Peter of old, we must “Turn Our Eyes Upon Jesus”. “Look full in His wonderful face“. It becomes easy to sink into the swirling waters of discouragement. One’s attention can become fixed on the problem rather than the Problem Solver. Discouragement can pull us down into a never-ending whirlpool of despair.

I can almost hear Jesus calling out with urgency, “don’t look down. Don’t look down!”

We, too, must cry out, “Master, save me”.

 
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God Has A Secret

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GUEST WRITER: EMILY SWANSON


Romans 5:10

It was said of Abraham that he was a friend of God. What a marvelous statement about any person Think about what all friendship involves.

My best friend is my husband of 55 years. He knows more about me than any other living soul. Yet he still loves me, warts and all. He knows where I keep the coffee cups and the spoons. He knows where to put the dirty laundry. He knows that I snore. That is because we abide together. He knows my joys and my sorrows. He knows simple things; like I like to eat sandwiches of anything. These are probably things about me that others do not know…or care. We can spend hours together never uttering a word and then suddenly both say the same thing simultaneously.

There are other friends in my life who know secrets from my heart. We have laughed and cried together over events for many years. They, too, know my joys and sorrows. I may call on them at anytime for a cup of coffee, a visit, a prayer. We have even prayed over the telephone together as I cry and they pray. There are those who have given me little gifts (for no reason other than love) at no eventful time. They leave a small package on the seat of my car, or on my doorknob at home. What a friend!

Beloved, we all have such a friend. (Not one with skin on as the little boy is noted for saying). But we have a friend who loves to abide with us. What a privilege to abide with the Living God! He would like to walk with us in our garden as He did with Adam. He would love to call us friend as He did Abraham. Perhaps He would like to know us as a “child after His Own Heart” as He did King David. He already knows your our intimate secrets; but He would like to reveal some of His secrets to us.

Our Father wants to hear from us about the secret things of our hearts…our joys, our sorrows, our desires. He wants to know the simple things like our concerns over our children’s grades in schools, what can I do to stretch my time as a wife and mother or grandmother? He listens to our frustrations and our victories (say, Father, did You know my husband got a raise today; my child made an A in math. WOW) He can know these things from us because we choose to abide with Him. Abiding indicates quality time spent together.

He already leaves little gifts for us all over the place. What was that special hug from my child or that smile from my baby if it wasn’t a Gift from God? Who do we think arranges for those A’s in life and those raises that come unexpectedly? What was that beautiful day of sunshine shedding its light over the ountryside? What was that refreshing rain cooling off the parched land? What is that “Peace that passes all understanding” in a time of trial? Where’d that come from anyway?

We can spend much time together…never saying a word, just listening; and all of a sudden the Heavenly Father, the Creator of the Universe, speaks to my heart revealing His Heart and His plans for me. He reassures me of His love. He gives me glimpses of His secrets.

Dear Heart, Friends love to be together and to share. The mark of a true friend is their availability to us when we need, and their undying friendship regardless of our faults. We have such a Friend…and What a Friend He is. Enjoy Him

“Dearest Father, What a Friend we have in You all ‘because of what Christ has done in dying for our sins…making us friends of God’. (Psalm 5:11 Living Bible) Help us to take every advantage of that friendship by abiding in You and Your Word. ‘I come to the Garden alone; while the dew is still on the roses.’ Amen”

Psalm 32 Forgiveness

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GUEST AUTHOR: JEANNE WEBSTER

 

Psalm 32 Forgiveness
© 2010 Jeanne E. Webster

Forgiveness for our sins brings us exuberant joy and overwhelming peace,
For God knows the spirit of an honest person and inters our sins forever.
When we keep sins hidden within us, they roar and groan to get out in the open.
The breath of God weighs mightily upon us and our spirits whither.
I confessed to Him my hidden sins and He forgave me.
Pray as quickly as possible after you have sinned, as the longer sin hides, the harder and more heinous it becomes.
You are my shelter and preservation from trouble. I hear your songs of sweet deliverance.
You will teach me how I should live and search the best path for my spirit.
Don’t be dumb as the horse and mule. They need to be led by bridle and bit to keep from stepping on you.
The wicked will reap sorrows but those who trust in the Lord shall be wrapped in His blanket of mercy.
Rejoice and be happy, you lover of God. Shout for joy all you who have an honorable heart.

 
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