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Beauty and Beholder

Beholding our Passover Lamb

The people were in bondage.  Their oppressors were harsh taskmasters, cruel in their demands.  Men and women and children cried out to the LORD in their distress.  And God heard their prayers and answered.   Pharoah would not relinquish his grip on the people easily, so God made life hard on him.  Plagues were sent.  They bugged the Egyptians, literally.  They sequentially demonstrated that the pantheon of Egyptian gods was no match for the I AM.  Still, pharoah's heart was hard.  And the Scriptures tell us that God had made it that way (Exodus 11:10) for His own purposes.  God was showing the people of Israel His deliverance from bondage in their day, but also picturing future deliverance from their sin.  "Passover"...

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Design and Deception

On Substitutes   A bizarre tale has been splashed across various news outlets in the last few days.  A woman used spray-on Gorilla Glue to fix her hair.  She had run out of hairspray.  The Gorilla Glue spray seemed to be similar enough to hairspray (to her).  The end result, however, was disastrous:  her hair has turned into a helmet of glue.  And there seems to be no simple way to free her from it.  The manufacturers of the product extended their sympathies.  Alongside the sympathies, however, they resolutely stated that their product should be used only in the ways that they have prescribed on their packaging.   This episode serves as a reminder to all of us that the intentions of a creator...

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Fleeing the Lie

Sin portrays itself as sweet.  Enticing words and images enter our minds, asking us to dwell upon them.  Mirages appear on our screens and beckon us to drink them in.  The siren song of sin calls to our hearts, attempting to lure us from the safety offered by God's ways into destruction and chaos.   We often forget the warnings of Scripture when in the midst of mesmerization temptation:   Her feet go down to death.     Dead men's bones lie there.   You'll forfeit the grace that could be yours.   It's better if a millstone were tied around your neck and you were thrown into the sea.   This will wage war against your soul.     If these warnings fail to reach our consciousness, what can we rely on to resist sin?   The...

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Still to Come

Sweet memories.  Bitter memories.  Joys and hardships intermingled.  They fill our days.   Our pasts are mixtures of beauty and ashes.  The former times of our lives contain the inescapable marks of human frailty in a sin-stained creation.  No man or woman escapes this reality.  When prompted, all of us can envision those dark valleys and the sunlit mountain peaks.  They are often still vivid beyond expectation.   And yet, each moment we breathe, we advance further into a hidden realm.  It's name?  The future.  We have no idea what experiences are ahead for each of us.  There are reasons to hope in a brighter day dawning just ahead.  And there are reasons to fear what is on the horizon, as well.  Some people...

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Making the Messiah

Once, He had taken a portion of ground in His almighty hands.  He fashioned the dust of the earth into flesh and bone.  He breathed life into His creation.  And now, the same God whose hands formed the first man was at work again.   He had in mind what He wanted to make.  Not just another man, but a new kind of Man.  Temporal flesh and bone prepared for eternal Spirit to inhabit.  A body in which to dwell among us--a "tabernacle."   It would be a body prepared for a purpose.  It would suffer.  The skin would be flayed and pierced.  Blood and water would one day flow from within it, all in the act of accomplishing of its purpose.  Insults would...

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Taste and See

I watch as my kids cast sideways glances at the skillet that rests on the table.  Its' contents are very colorful.  To them, dangerously so.  They know that vegetable sautees like this one may very well contain (gulp) onions, peppers, squash, and cabbage.  Could there be a tomato somewhere in the mix, too?   I can see the gears within their heads spinning as their eyes roam the contours of the steaming cookware.  They are contemplating: should I raise an objection?  Should I ask, "Do I have to eat all of it to get dessert?"  Can I force a smile onto my face as I examine this dish?  Am I able to say, "Thanks, Mom!" when a large dollop is placed upon...

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Another Crown of Thorns

God Speaks A younger me often heard older saints speak of the Word of God with such reverence and love.  I could tell that the Scriptures were like an old friend to them.  They approached their Bibles with excitement.  They recounted how God was showing them new things all the time!  I desired the experience they enjoyed.  That desire gave me hope as I struggled to form good habits of Bible reading in the midst of all the distractions that were dangled in front of a twenty-something.   Now, after another set of twenty years, by God's grace, I have joined their ranks.  The joys that come from reading God's Word have been compounded by regular visits to the same pages over the...

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Seeing the Future

The text I received went something like this:   The doctors have given him two months to live.  He really wants to meet with an elementary Art teacher, with the hopes that he can pass on his classroom gadgets.  He wants them to be used by children after he is gone.  Are you interested?   I am grateful that I said yes.   As I approached the house, I wondered what I would experience during our visit.  How able would this man be?  Would he be encouraged or solemn or resigned? And the most important question of all:  Does he know the Lord?  I had bathed the meeting in prayer and had only my Bible in my hands as I rang his doorbell.  Would he even...

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Glory and Calluses

Is my heart so hard?  Are my ears so deaf?  My eyes covered in layers of scale?  Could it be that when glory is standing before me, I am unmoved by it?   Sadly, the answer is yes.  I sit before the Word.  My eyes take in the sentences, but the meaning is hidden in fog.  Between the cereal bowl and the day's activities that sit before me, my mind is shrouded in a cloud of competing thoughts.   Is there a common denominator to the distractions?  I believe that there is, and its name is Pride.  One could call it Self-Worship, too.  This familiar enemy of the children of God keeps our hearts hardened and our ears deaf, our eyes darkened and our...

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