#metop ‘Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say rejoice’
 – Philippians 4:4 (KJV)
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Proverbs 8:4-6 (NRSV)

 

“Our Father. . .”


When Your Babies Cry, Lord!













































Listen to the sound of my cry, my King and my God, for to you I pray. – Psalm 5:2 (NRSV)

- - -

We cry to be heard, Lord.  The sounds of my despair may be a nuisance to some, but you listen patiently, knowingly.  Sometimes my cries may be silent to ears but not to you!  I cry to you because I know you care.


I cry to be freed.  Many bars cage me and keep me a prisoner, trapped by my pain, confused because I don’t understand why, confined and I am afraid.


So many things -- desires, feelings, anger, and frustration – hold me down.  You, only you, understand.  You know me and my situation even better that I.   Long before I find words to speak, you have heard my heart and have started your work of love.


Then, you come!  You pick me up and carry me to a place where it’s just you and me, a place of joy and peace and rest.  O, how my heart rejoices.  My cries stop because deep inside I know you are with me.  You care!


My soul purrs like the softness of a lost kitten found, cradled, safe, wanted, loved.  Is not this the desires of all hearts, Lord?  To escape from all that confines and keeps us from you?  The need to be what you have created us to be?  Freedom is given; how wonderful it is.  I can go where I want, become whom you want me to be, and know for certain that you are but a cry away.


In the night you are there.  Before the dawn you heard my pleas, and you came.  You know what I want, and you know that what I want most is you there, with me.


Please show me somehow that when my hurts are cutting to my very core, you have been healing me.  My body’s aches and pains will cease.  My brain pain will be taken away and replaced with courage and rest.  My heart’s distresses will be soothed and joy – your joy – again will be mine.  How wonderful are your gifts of love.


I am safe now – safe from death, safe from hell.  You, Lord, are my assurance, my life.  On the cross you bore me.  From the grave you’ll raise me.   You bought me, and I am yours. Forever!


But now I cry.  It’s not a cry of defeat, but it’s a cry of happiness because I know I am loved.  I cry because you have the power and yours is the will to set me apart from any evil that might threaten me.  None can touch me, except by your permission; you have promised that all things shall work to my good because I love you and you have called me to your very purpose (Romans 8:28).


Thank you, Father, for hearing my cry, the cry of a baby born anew by thy Holy Spirit, in Jesus’ name.  Guard me always against all that would harm me – even myself.  Amen!


Don Meadows

5/16/17



Inspired by Storm’s cries in “home hospital” and Janet’s loving response at 4 a.m.

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Philippians 2:5-11  

5   Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
6  Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God:
7  But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
8  And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
9  Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:
10  That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
11  And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

-- Philippians 2:5-11 (KJV)

Today, with the Word

The Cross:

Rugged and Stained or Polished?

“And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” -- Philippians 2:8 (KJV)

* * *


An ad was inserted in the newspaper the other day from a major retailer that advertised over two pages of jewelry crosses. You could have your own cross, or give someone else a beautiful cross, for between $47.50 and $84.99.


Most of us who profess Christ as savior, and many who don’t, have and wear them.  They’re around the necks of athletes on TV, actors and actresses, and just plain folk like you and me.  I have one made of Jade, a gift from a former member on one of the churches I served years ago.  Like other decorative jewelry, it’s beautiful. Janet has several, a special one made of mammoth tusk millions of years old, carved by our oldest son, Don II.


This has caused me to pause in wondering about my attitude.  Do I want a beautiful symbol to testify about that horrible death of Jesus on his cross, which provided the means of my salvation?  Do I want just beautiful jewelry?  Or, am I symbolically saying that, in obedience to Luke 9:23, I am willing to pick up my cross daily, wear it around my neck and testify to my beautiful love for Jesus.  Just make sure it’s made of something precious, is beautiful and will be the envy of other people?


Now, please don’t get me wrong.  I am not condemning wearing a cross as a testimony to others and as a reminder to myself what Jesus did and is doing for me.  I am trying to keep perspective on what my understanding of the Lord’s commandment means to me!


These thoughts also come up in my mind at Christmas.  Homes, inside and out, are decorated with beautiful things in supposed celebration of the birth of Christ.  And, there are Easter decorations now, St. Patrick decorations, Halloween decorations, Thanksgiving decorations, Valentine’s Day decorations, as nauseam.


Actually, what I have to deal with here is being judgmental. There is no way I can know another person’s heart, sometimes not even my own.  


The Apostle Paul encountered a similar thing, I believe, when his followers told him others were preaching about Jesus and their intentions were, well, questionable.  Paul responded, “Whether in pretense, or in truth, Christ is being preached, I rejoice and will rejoice.” (Philippians 1:18)


So, whether it is a testimony or jewelry, or both, the cross is displayed to others, Christ is lifted up and I will rejoice.


Lord, Jesus, please help me to grow

When others motives I don’t know.

Whatever gives witness of Thee

May I rejoice, whatever their sincerity


Don Meadows

5/16/2017


Published 5/19/17

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All in the Cross

 Look, it all consists in the cross, and it all lies in dying; and there is no other way to life and true peace within.  -- Thomas a Kempis, "The Imitation of Christ." Christianity Today, Vol. 30, no. 3. See: Mt 16:24-25; Lk 14:27; Php 3:8



Once Christians Got Crosses for Free

Clarence Jordan, author of the "Cotton Patch" New Testament translation and founder of the interracial Koinonia farm in Americus, Georgia, was getting a red-carpet tour of another minister's church. With pride the minister pointed to the rich, imported pews and luxurious decorations. As they stepped outside, darkness was falling, and a spotlight shone on a huge cross atop the steeple.

   "That cross alone cost us ten thousand dollars," the minister said with a satisfied smile.

   "You got cheated," said Jordan. "Times were when Christians could get them for free." -- Michael Jinkins, Itasca, Texas. Leadership, Vol. 5, no. 3. See: Mt 10:38; Mk 10:21


Christianity A Sign of Contradiction

A true Christian is a sign of contradiction--a living symbol of the Cross. He or she is a person who believes the unbelievable, bears the unbearable, forgives the unforgivable, loves the unlovable, is perfectly happy not to be perfect, is willing to give up his or her will, becomes weak to be strong ... and finds love be giving it away.  -- Joseph Roy, Leadership, Vol. 5, no. 4. See: Mt 6:14


‘Christaholics’

Many Christians are only "Christaholics" and not disciples at all. Disciples are cross-bearers; they seek Christ. Christaholics seek happiness. Disciples dare to discipline themselves, and the demands they place on themselves leave them enjoying the happiness of their growth. Christaholics are escapists looking for a shortcut to nirvana. Like drug addicts, they are trying to "bomb out" of their depressing world.

   There is no automatic joy. Christ is not a happiness capsule; he is the way to the Father. But the way to the Father is not a carnival ride in which we sit and do nothing while we are whisked through various spiritual sensations. -- Calvin Miller in The Taste of Joy. Christianity Today, Vol. 33, no. 17. See: Ac 24:25; Mt 16:24; Lk 14:33


Eternal Enemies

The world and the Cross do not get along too well together, and comfort and holiness do not share the same room. -- Carlo Carretto in Letters to Dolcidia.  Christianity Today, Vol. 38, no. 11. See: Mt 16:24-26; Mk 10:21; Gal 4:16.


It’s Effective

  The cross is rough and it is deadly, but it is effective. -- A. W. Tozer in  The Pursuit of God.  Christianity Today, Vol. 39, no. 4. See: Mt 27:32-37; 1 Co 1:18; Gal 6:14.


Religion That Demands Nothing Worth Nothing

 At the very heart of the Christian gospel is a cross--the symbol of suffering and sacrifice, of hurt and pain and humiliation and rejection.  I want no part of the Christian message which does not call me to involvement, requires of me no sacrifice, takes from me no comfort, requires of me less than the best I have to give.  The duty of a Christian is to be faithful, not popular or successful.  -- Donald Wildmon in NFD Journal.  Christianity Today, Vol. 31, no. 10. See: Mt 16:24; Lk 14:33; Gal 5:24.


Crucified Church

 It may take a crucified church to bring a crucified Christ before the eyes of the world. -- W.E. Orchard in The Temple.  Christianity Today, Vol. 34, no. 6. See: Mt 10:38; 16:24; Mk 10:21.

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