Clothed in Christ

Born with a bent toward sin.  Naked in need of the covering of grace.  Take up the cross and find a wardrobe overflowing with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.  A dream-closet filled with articles of clothing that reflect the character of Christ.  Hanging in that same wonder-filled space, stuffed in the back so no one can see are the items that should have been tossed away years ago.  Anger, resentment, hate, bitterness.  The choice ever before the eyes, and the heart.  What shall I wear today?  Act justly, love mercy, walk humbly with Him.  Micah 6:8

Peace Restrains Fear

Face-to-face with fear.  The armed and armored behemoth towers over the gentle shepherd boy cupping five stones in his hand.  The reluctant prophet beleaguered by aquatic acids.  The bent-down, faithful servant of the Most High sharing peaceful slumber as an angel harnesses the jaws.  Three friends who refuse to worship the gold fellowship in fire to emerge unscathed.  The God-Son’s hands caress the wood in his shop knowing it’s always about a far greater purpose.  To be complete, to be sound.  Shalom. Yahweh Shalom.

Obstacles as Opportunities

All life fashioned by His hand.  All events filtered through His fingers.  Trust born in the light, blooms in the dark as He works in silence, invisible yet with effectiveness.  Always working for His glory and the good of those who love Him.  In the debilitating despair, in the depths of disease, in the darkness of death.  Where are You?  My God, why have You forsaken?  Silence does not mean distance.  A never-sleeping Yahweh clears the path strewn with trials or carries the beloved through them.  

A Thorn in the Flesh

The radical, persecuting tentmaker turned itinerant Jesus freak.   Heavenly revelations beyond the imagination.  Earthly troubles beyond bearing.  Shipwrecks.  Snake bites.  Beatings.  Imprisoned.  Lashed.  Stoned.  Robbed.  Weary.  Sleepless.  Hungry.  Thirsty.  Cold.  Naked.  Content.  Martyred.  To live is Christ.  To die is gain.  For when I am weak, then I am strong.  Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties.

Exclusively Inclusive

Utopia in a delightful garden.  In the beginning.  A slithering snake hisses luring lies.  God is holding back His best.  You will not die.  You will be like Him.  The thought tickles the mind.  The image pleases the eye.  The taste delights the tongue.  Eyes now see nakedness and shame.  Death.  Banishment.  Suffering.  Separation.  The road to the cross begins.  Our need.  The Perfect Mediator Who will pay the ransom for all.  The One Who will set the prisoners free from their sins.  The Defender and Advocate.  The One Who lives to intercede for His own.  

The Highest Honor

Ambassador.  Soldier.  Saint.  Last.  Doulos.  The meal served.  The betrayer gone.  A heaviness hangs over the room.  Without fanfare He rises to remove His outer robe.  Stripped down to a servant.  Steady hands gather a bowl filled with water.  A cloth for drying wraps His waist.  No, Master, never wash me.  Appalled at the idea of a King Who serves the least of these.  Gracefully and fully grace, He kneels before them.  Tenderly, lovingly, intimately He cups each filth-stained foot in His capable hands.  The One that created is making them new.  Confusion.  Discomfort.  Uneasiness.  The water flows over the grime of life.  All too soon, the blood will flow.  

A New Song

Divinely paternal.  Our Father.  High above.  Over all.  Enthroned amidst angelic creatures and worshiping saints.  Which art in heaven.  Set apart from sin which fears even the sound of His Name.  Hallowed be Thy name.  Your people marching boldly into battle under the banner of Your flag.  Your Kingdom come.  All is filtered through Your hands and guided by Your watchful eye.  You will be done.  Terra firma, the home to the pinnacle of Your creation.  On earth.  Your physical tabernacle.  As it is in heaven.  Hungry bellies and hungry souls ache for You.  Give us this day our daily bread.  Rain precious grace down as it flows from Your vessels to all in need.  And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those that trespass against us.  Protect the feet walking a rocky path strewn with obstacles.  And lead us not into temptation.  Carry the broken to safety on wings of love.  But deliver us from evil.  Omniscient, omnipresent, omnipotent.  I Am.  Alpha and Omega. For thine is the kingdom, the power, and the glory, for ever and ever.   So be it!  Amen.