Thursday, December 12, 2019

God Became Man


But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, 
who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you 
shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose 
coming forth is from of old, from ancient days. Micah 5:2


I think most people have heard the story of Christmas. A young woman and her husband are on a long journey to have themselves counted for a census. On the way home, they stop in a town for the night. There is no room at the inn, so the innkeeper gives them an area in the barn. It's warm and safe. The young woman is 
the Virgin Mary who is about to give birth to the Messiah. 
Of course, no one knows that except her, her husband Joseph, 
and the wise men who will arrive later. 

It is celebrated on December 25, though some historians say it was summer or early autumn, and the Bible gives no date for the event. 

Today, Christmas is celebrated all over the world and not just in Christian cultures. Have you ever seen pictures of Christmas trees in Dubai? (The tree comes from other traditions and makes no appearance in the Bible, unless you count the reprimand in Jeremiah 10 as talking about Christmas trees.)

But back to the story. 

God, the Creator of you and me, and the universe, the South Sea Islands, people near and far, stars in Heaven, clouds, and all of the random things you are thinking of right now, had a son and He was born in a stable. Why would a God who can control everything allow that? The child's mother faced rejection by her fiancé which in that time and culture would have had dire consequences. Why would God allow that? He sent an angel to tell Joseph that Mary had not been unfaithful, the child was a gift from God. Joseph believed the angel. He must have been a man of great faith. 
Though we don't know much about him, his actions speak loudly. 

Why does the story go like this? 

The savior sent by God, the Messiah of His people who reaches His arms out to the whole world, saints and sinners alike, was not born in a palace. He didn't even have a bed. This is a terrible story. I would never write this. It is unbelievable. It is not relatable. But 
it touches me deeply. It says...what does it say? It says, "Sandi, I came for you. You were not rejected. I sent an angel to knock down the tall things in your way. I built the road beneath your feet. I am in the barn. I am the palace. I see you. I hear you. I know you. 
Tell them," and He nudges me and points...to you. 

Merry Christmas!


For unto you is born this day in the City of David
a savior which is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:11


Thursday, December 5, 2019

1 Peter 1:3-5


According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God’s power are being guarded through faith for a 
salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.


Saturday, November 30, 2019

Morning Star


I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you 
about these things for the churches. 
I am the root and the descendant of David, 
the bright morning star. 

Revelation 22:16


Thursday, November 21, 2019

A Prayer Request


Please keep my niece in your prayers. She had a neck injury a few weeks ago. She still has a lot of pain, is wearing a brace, and has been seeing doctors. I'm praying for complete healing. Thank you!


Sunday, November 17, 2019

from Revelation 5:9-10


...you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation 
and you have made them a kingdom...


Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Trump talks to Erdoğan


Today President Trump met with Turkey's President Erdoğan at the White House. There was a small press event at the beginning and then a full press conference after their closed door meeting. They seemed to say the usual things. But one thing stood out to me as exceedingly hopeful, the term friend. They each referred to the other as a friend, even a good friend. We all know world leaders often pretend camaraderie through gritted teeth. But in this instance I hope it means our problems in some areas of the world can come to an end. These are the leaders we have and they are the ones working together. I'll take a little light over pessimism any day. 

(The visit seems to have been overshadowed by the Ukraine hearings, which the President commented on during the event.)

Here is where they call eachother friend:




First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. 1 Timothy 2:1-4

2 Chronicles 29:36


And Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced because God had provided for the people, for the thing came about suddenly.


Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Jesus is the Answer


So many problems in our world are caused by selfishness. How many wars have been fought for reasons other than what we have been told? How many problems did we create ourselves? 

The snow falls. The sun shines. 
It doesn't fight. It doesn't steal. 

What the world needs is unconditional love, healing, and awareness of why all this has happened. As Alexander Solzhenitsyn said of his times, "Men have forgotten God; that’s why all this has happened."

The world needs God. 

You do. 
I do. 

We are not just all by ourselves. We are a force together, meant to be together, intended to be in connection with our Creator. It is so simple. How many times do we see kindness and it touches us deeply? Each person, anywhere, kindness, love, empathy, selflessness, these things move us all. 

Why are we so similar if we are supposed to be Us and Them? 

Something divides us. 
Something foolish. 

But Jesus makes all men brothers. 


Sunday, November 10, 2019

100,000 Views


Even a small, quiet voice can be heard. 


He is like a tree planted by water, 
that sends out its roots by the stream,
and does not fear when heat comes, 
for its leaves remain green,
and is not anxious in the year of drought, 
for it does not cease to bear fruit.

Jeremiah 17:8

Saturday, November 9, 2019

30


Today marks 30 years since the Berlin Wall was torn down by ordinary people. Do you remember it? The date is seared in my mind. It was the beginning of the end of Communism in that area of the world. (Though it seems to have just moved elsewhere.)




Saturday, November 2, 2019

Isaiah 64:3-4


When you did awesome things that we did not look for,
you came down, the mountains quaked at your presence.
From of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear,
no eye has seen a God besides you,
who acts for those who wait for him.



Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Promise


I will make your overseers peace and your taskmasters righteousness. Violence shall no more be heard in your 
land, devastation or destruction within your borders; you shall call your walls Salvation, and your gates Praise.

Isaiah 60




Psalm 46:1-3


God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth 
give way and the mountains fall into the heart 
of the sea, though its waters roar and foam 
and the mountains quake with their surging. 



Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Saturday, October 26, 2019

A Rich Man


What else is there?

Artisans painted my ceiling. I flew them in. I am a rich man. I am the epitome of success. I am philanthropic. I am loved. I am liked. Adored. Held to high esteem. I use strange words to be intriguing.

It's not enough.

Why isn't it?

I lay on my back and gaze at the sky, trying to look through it. I have a friend who suspects there is something on the other side. 

Is that where they hide enough?

In a pocket of terror, impatience, and not caring, not really worrying what will happen, in a flash, I ask. What is it? What am I on the hunt for? I shrug. And what is on the hunt for me? I laugh, outwardly, but inside I am crying. Please, God, be real.

And then, suddenly, unexpectedly, though I'd hoped, and with a flash like mine, like mine, I see.

Oh no. The simpletons can't be right. You can't be that God. Not Him!

But He is. The God of the Jews. The Christian God. Jesus. I thought I knew everything, but I did not know this. 

Finally, though, I know. And my life will never be the same overstuffed emptiness again. I won't ever be that again. I am weeping now, a mix of relieved and overwhelmed, free and aware of all that I have been freed from.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

A Troubled Heart



It rained. All of heaven swept down upon him. He stepped inside for shelter from the onslaught. His homemade covering was little protection. He was just a small boy carrying a shield of his own making. It was held together 
with what he could find in the world around him. It was 
frail. Temporary. Flimsy. He needed something stronger.

The Cathedral was gold, inside and out. Also flimsy. Also temporary. It was made of the world around them, though it was beautiful. They needed something stronger.

And there it was, surrounding them, a temple of the brotherhood of man. This one was not made of the things of this world, but the things of God. 

The whole place was armor. A golden shield like his, made of the people who worshiped there and everywhere, a weapon that brings life not death. His heart wasn't troubled anymore, though he stood in the open for all the world to see and the rain still came down. It couldn't touch him.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Intercession



Small and hidden away, an intercessor 
prays for you. She rings the bells of 
heaven with her voice. Let your goodness 
be seen. Speak. Sing. Praise. Awaken. 

A whisper. A scream. 

Prayers are like lightning, shots in 
the dark, arrows into the heart of what 
separates us. They are a child's voice interrupting the disputes of adults. 
We have many disputes, our two lands, 
don't we? All of them are foolish. 

Suddenly, a wave roars this way, the 
sweeping move of every ocean, all at 
once from all directions. It is a shout 
to her whisper, a hush to her scream, 
and then she sees. She is praying for 
you, but you are praying for her.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Almost Christmas


Matthew 2:1-6

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, 

“Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? 

For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:

"'And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.’”




Ezekiel 11:19-20


And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in my statutes and keep my rules and obey them. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God.


Friday, October 11, 2019

Does Forgiveness Matter?


Jewel sings, "In the end only kindness matters." (Is this true?)

Matthew 6:15 
But if you do not forgive others their sins, 
your Father will not forgive your sins.

Do you know anyone who seems to hate everyone?
No small slight is forgotten. It is recalled, recounted, forever.
If you ask them about it you will be met with rage.

Small things. Medium things.
Something done to someone else.

If you are ever guilty, you are always guilty. 

It's not much, but enough 
to coil around a heart and choke the life inside. 


And let's not talk about me. 
(Do you ever remember a fault?)


Do these little things matter? Can unforgiveness drag you down? How far?


Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Prayer for America



Let us see
From sea to shining sea

See all
See everything

What has been hidden from us
What we have willfully ignored

Corruption
Deception

This war and that one

Mysterious coincidences

Hiding in plain sight
For us to find
When we are ready

Open our eyes
Fully


Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Sunday, September 22, 2019

Who Are You?



Why are you here?

Are you random?

An accident?

Why does the sun shine on you?

Why do you live now?


You were 
created 
on purpose
and 
for a reason. 

You are loved.

You are not random.

You have 
never been 
outside of the 
Creator's sight.

You matter.

God hears you. 


Do you know you are loved?


Friday, September 20, 2019

Gospel of Peace


Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in  the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. 

In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication.

Ephesians 6:13-18a