Mother Nature Waits

There are times when we sense there is something behind nature. The term Mother Nature becomes a good expression for the feeling we hold for that moment. But other aspects remind us that nature can be cruel.

But what if it is not nature that wants to be cruel? What if nature desires to mother us? Sadly, she is held back. By what? When did nature begin to change?

There was a time described where animal and tree were at peace with humans. This was when a man named the animals as they came before him and received their name. Trees were glad to produce their fruit to be eaten by humans. How long did this last? Long enough to sink deeply into the soul of man.

After man and woman made their choice to live apart from God (a sad day, indeed), nature began to change. The earth produced weeds and the roses grew thorns. The animals also began to change until they were violent towards men. They had no fear of men at that time.

It says all were corrupted, both man and beast. There are no details given. But a new beginning took place where a few people and select animals were saved in a boat, an ark. The earth has maybe one hundred years to go as Noah and sons build this massive boat.

Everyone knew of this crazed endeavor of Noah. No one believed the boat would be needed. But Noah was inside when it started to rain like it never had before. Both men and beasts were washed from the land.

We don’t know when this took place. Five thousand years ago? Fifty thousand? No one knows. But nature was restrained somewhat after this in that wild animals avoided men. But the basic conflict between men and nature remained. Cultivating land was still work.

So nature did not turn evil. Man took independence from God and was divorced from nature. Then nature became like the man, undirected. It resisted the work of men, yes, but eventually complied and grew the needed food.

Nature waits for men to become what they were supposed to be. That day will come when harmony between nature and people is restored but only to the children of God.


Romans 8:19, “For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.”

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Desire

What is the indescribable longing for something, you don’t know what, which makes you wonder if life has purpose. It lives in the back of your mind or really in your heart.

It is like when you are young and gaze too deeply into the eyes of another. You see something that is beyond words that two in love may share. But the desire is more than that and can lead to hope or despair.

But I can’t leave you between hope and despair. First, why despair? If you are sure you can never find this desire, there is nothing but despair in this world.

But the fact that you have this desire contains hope. How can you desire something that does not exist? This would be most cruel. Worse than the one who desires a mate but can’t seem to find the one they seek.

But what if the love, and it is love, is beyond you? That is not a problem to The Lover. He must understand love to create us able to love at all.

So we must become lovers not just beloved. What was the first command? Love God. Why? It is the only way to begin. To love the most lovable one is the easiest love. Then loving people can begin.

Our self-love is misinformed. Can we please our conscience? It wants perfection. When does it ever say you are good enough? The one who says they are a good person seems to be waiting for their conscience to say, “No they’re not!”

Now we can turn outward and begin to love. Love God. This is the first outward turn. The second is to love other people. God supplies this love. But we have to activate this gift. We love unselfishly.

Impossible? In our own strength, yes. But we have met the Inventor of Love. Someone went this far: saying God is Love.

So your desire is not wrong. You want love that heals you. This is the love of God that changes the receiver into a lover. What is this pure love? What is the love that gives without thought of receiving back. Divine love from the Divine Lover.

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What is Light?

Some people read the bible and think, “Why is Jesus so different from God in the older parts of the Bible?” I had the same thought for many years. We could put this question as – Why doesn’t God behave like I think he should behave?

The problem is that we don’t understand God. We assume that God’s actions should be understandable. They should make sense to us. But sometimes even our friends act in strange ways and we are not sure why they act like that.

Let us look at the first thing God did. “And God said, ‘Let there be light.’ And there was light.” Now, what exactly does that mean? I don’t know. Light wasn’t. Then it was, because God said it. Let’s take an easier question: What is light? We have had light for, let’s say, 20,000 years. That is enough time for us to figure out what light is, don’t you think?

Well, it travels fast. Like about 186,000 miles per second. It heats things when it hits them. Light consists of photons. Now we are getting somewhere. So these photons are particles, right? Maybe. One guys says particles but the other says, no, it’s waves. Now, it is said that sometimes light behaves like particles: other times, it behaves like waves.

When you ask about the colors of light, they give you a prism and you hold it up and it splits white light into a rainbow. Ooh. I can see violet, blue, green, yellow, orange and red. Don’t forget indigo, they say. Each color is a different wavelength, they say. Wow.

In 1950, a machine was made that intensified light beams called laser beams. These were useful. You could put them in a laser pointer and drive your cat crazy. You could also do laser surgery with them instead of a scalpel. So, we have been able to do amazing things with light without really knowing what it is. Then someone pipes up and says, “That is just visible light.” What do you mean? “There are other kinds, you know, like x-rays, ultraviolet rays, infrared, microwaves and even radio waves. You can’t see any of those.”

Now we have microwave cooking and UV filters in our sunglasses. We know so much about how these waves behave, we can use them for many things. Yet, while we know how light behaves, we still don’t know what light is besides calling it electromagnetic radiation.

My point is this: if we can’t really understand the first thing God created, light, how can we understand the Creator? I am glad we don’t have to understand him. He is not like us in the sense that he is completely good. We are not very good in comparison. He is powerful enough to effect change within people, yet he refuses to force people into doing good. Let’s say we now believe that God is good, powerful and wise. Is that enough? Not a chance. This powerful, good and wise being may want nothing to do with us. Maybe he would remain aloof to our plight as fallen creatures.

The Apostle John wrote that God is Love. He cares much about men and women and wants to help them. He is willing to overlook our messed up situation and move us forward in his plan. Most people like his willingness to forgive them. Some call his plan redemption or salvation. But rather than a return to our original state, like Adam and Eve, he wants to make us better than that.

He will only accept our voluntary involvement in his plan. Jesus said something like this: we think we are free but we are not really all that free. Your God-given freedom will become much more real. If the Son of God sets you free, you will be free indeed.

So, we have a God who loves the people he created. He has a plan to make us to what he had in mind for us. Our cooperation is a must. Can you believe that he is preparing us for a great future? He will create a new earth where goodness can live without restraint. Do you dare to follow his Son, Jesus? He calls you now. He desires your company.

If anyone follows me, he must become as I was in the world. Look at Me and see if it’s worth it. I have finished my course and now you can begin your new life on earth. Follow my path and you will surely end up with me in my kingdom.

Jesus was what a man was supposed to be. And he was in the same situation as you and I. He took no special privilege as the Son of God. He embraced his humanity and began reaching out to all people. And now he is calling you to himself. Why? So he can make you into the best you possible.

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Doing Good

How can some people do so much good in this world? Let us talk about doing good. It was written that Jesus went about doing good. This tells us a lot. He made it very clear that everything he did was the will of God. This idea of the will of God may surprise you. Isn’t everything the will of God?


This seems to confuse some people. Why does God allow evil to be done? He could stop it. He certainly has the power to do so. It says that in the future he will stop all evil actions from being done by any creature to any other creature. The lion will lie down with the lamb and not in its stomach. Satan will be bound and held from any activity.


So we know that God can and will deal with all evil and it will be stopped forever. But who will then do good? Good angels will do good. But what about people? Those that do good now will do more in the future. What do we need to do to become these do-gooders?


Selfishness is our problem. What if you think that something is good for you? But this same act is bad for another. Let us take an extreme example. Some is trying to kill you but you have the means to kill them first. Should you do so? Stop, you say. Drop your weapon! They advance toward you.


What can be done about this? Anything? Should anything be done? Isn’t it natural to defend your stuff. Yes, it is. But there is another nature that Jesus revealed on this earth. That is doing good with all your heart even at your own expense. This is the opposite of our natural state. But this is the great plan of God for people: to change their nature to good. It is a job only God could attempt and accomplish.


Where do we begin? We are told to begin with repentance. I don’t think so. The disciples did not begin that way. They began with the attraction of Jesus. He shocked them over and over with his unselfish behavior. Peter had a moment where he said to Jesus that he was nothing like Jesus and that they had nothing in common. But Jesus said to him, we will work together to change the world. This is not a direct quote, by the way.


Jesus said that when he was lifted up, he would draw all men to him. Some say he meant the cross. But he was not drawing anyone at that moment. Others say he meant his resurrection. He spent his time convincing his followers that he was alive mostly. When did he draw all men to himself? It began after Pentecost. Many were draw powerfully then. Thousands.


Jesus draws you now. He draws you to follow his path. He will care for you forever but now is the time for us to begin doing good. How? The same way as Jesus did. What did Jesus do first? He got baptized. You would think Jesus would be the last person to need be baptized. But what happened? The Holy Spirit came down upon him. Again, Jesus needed the Holy Spirit? Yes. How much more do we need the Holy Spirit? This is great gift of God to people. Ask God for his Spirit. Or ask to be filled with the Spirit of God if you have received from God already. Learn to love the will of God like Jesus did. Glory awaits those who follow his path.

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Looking Back

Imagine yourself in the future – one hundred years from now. Yes, you are dead. But you still exist. Who are you now?

Really, your soul cannot be destroyed. You, in some form, will continue to exist. Do you know people were not meant to die? Death was added on. All the self-aware creatures were meant to exist forever. But we are on Plan B. Plan A: live forever. Plan B: we die and move on to something else.

We have little information about the next state. But we have at least two historical examples. A guy named Lazarus who was dead four days and was brought back by Jesus. He was no worse for wear it seemed. His sisters were glad to have him back after the shock wore off.

It’s good to have a friend like Jesus. But he himself had a bit of a time convincing his close friends when he came back from the dead. They looked at him like he was a ghost. He asked for some food. Ghosts don’t eat food, huh?

Anyway, back to the question: who are you? Should you be included in the next big thing? God has a long range plan to have the earth like he wanted it: filled with good people doing good things.

Do you think God will be thwarted on his plan? He won’t. Are you in or out?

Not ready? Who is? We have to be changed, yeah, no one is ready, really. Start with forgiveness. Get it; give it. But how far back do we go? Actually, all the way to Adam. When he went wrong, we went wrong. Just as if we were him. You think you would have done better than Adam or better than Eve? We would have done the same as they did. Much later, we are born with inherent wrongness that shows up sooner or later. Some call it sin. You could call it a disconnect from God.

Jesus came to deal with sin and sins. Sins can be forgiven. But sin is a wrong condition. Jesus came to deal with that bigger issue: Sin. That was a big prediction about the Messiah, that he would deal with sin in a final way.

Look at what happened! This good man was convicted by a kangaroo court at midnight. He was turned over to a Roman governor who was coerced into setting him up to die. This was a dreadful punishment for the enemies of Rome, a humiliating kind of torture death that could last for days.

Roman soldiers carried out the whole business with grewsome enthusiasm. It took each type of evil found in men, hate, indifference, coercion, and just plain evil. Jesus forced the issue when he appeared in Jerusalem and insisted that he was the only hope for men.

They asked him who he thought he was. He quoted their book that he was the person God will appoint as the ruler over everyone and everything. He was that Son of Man.

They said he claimed to be the One written of long ago. What nerve! Could the Messiah be killed? They thought not. But this imposter certainly could be. Driven by evil, they plotted his end. But only Rome could legally kill someone publicly so they engineered it.

The Romans carried it out. So religion met politics that day and killed the best man to ever walk the earth. One reason this happened is so we could see what sin does to men.

But God cannot be thwarted in his plan for men. The triumphant return of Jesus back from the dead convinced his friends that God could do anything.

So here we are, some time later. There is no new plan. The power of God works in us and begins to make us ready for his great future. Hope past the grave. Life changing power, right here, right now.

Are you in God’s plan? Who are you? You can be changed. You can become good through Gods power in you. But he does not coerce. Never has; never will. Only the willing become the sons and daughters he always wanted people to be.

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Finding the Hidden Manna

The mysterious box called the Ark of the Covenant held several items. One was a bowl of manna. In Revelation, we find Jesus referring to the Hidden Manna. He says he will give you some of the hidden manna. My question is this: how is it hidden?

The Ark was a strange box that was carried around in the desert by the descendants of Israel and was finally placed in the temple built in Jerusalem. The top of this box was called The Mercy Seat. Once a year, during a special ceremony, lamb’s blood was put on this Mercy Seat.

So the hidden manna was covered in mercy. We found Jesus to say that his food was to do the will of God. I offer that the reason the will of God may be hidden from us is because it is wrapped in mercy. We can recognize justice easily enough. Is justice, also, the will of God? Of course, it is.

But mercy is what God is really all about! We are called to act justly but we are called to love mercy. The will of God is wrapped in mercy. It is hidden in mercy. Do you find the will of God difficult to discern? Look at his mercy and you will discover his will.

What does this mean? If we would find the will of God, we will move in mercy toward others. By doing this, by having mercy on people, we act with God toward them. He is always being merciful toward each person. But sometimes, too often, we will not receive his mercy.

How do we receive mercy? By lowering ourselves. If you hold yourself high, usually in pride, you cannot receive mercy because mercy flows to the lowly in heart.

And mercy only flows through those who are lowly in heart because they have received mercy. Now they are able to show mercy to others. Jesus said that he himself was lowly in heart.

And so we may miss doing the will of God. We are quite willing to join in calling for justice. We are willing to point out the faults of others. But mercy?

I have seen two people in my life than showed mercy. They did so in the worst of circumstances. One was in Detroit. He had a small mission outreach that helped children. These children were either neglected or from very poor families. He had what he called his breakfast club. He would provide breakfast food for children in the mornings. He did much more than this but that part really touched me.

Another person went to Beijing, China and began to help young people who had fallen out of the system. She helped them get a place to stay and to get some work. They were done with education for whatever reason. She also created a shop than made bread and cakes. It eventually became a café and the kids were the workers.

These two people showed mercy to those who needed it. They did it without any fanfare or expectation of recognition. They were eating the hidden manna and found it very satisfying.

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The Hidden Manna

The mysterious box called the Ark of the Covenant was carried around in the desert by the descendants of Israel and was finally placed in the temple, built in Jerusalem. There were several things inside.

In the Book of Revelation, Jesus says than we will be given some of the hidden manna. He is referring to a bowl of manna that was inside the Ark of the Covenant. But my question is this: How is it hidden?

This manna was food given by God. It was given when there was no other food to be found. And it was given faithfully every day by God.

So how would we eat the hidden manna? When Jesus was asked if he wanted some food that the disciples had obtained, he said, “I have food you don’t know about.” What did he mean by that? As we read the story, we see he was talking to a woman who was amazed by what Jesus had told her. Jesus found it very satisfying. Jesus found doing the will of his Father to be as satisfying as eating food.

Now, are we interested in eating the hidden manna? Eating the hidden manna is doing the will of God. And how is it hidden? It is hidden to those who are satisfied with other food.

Are you satisfied with your life? That is fine, but you won’t discover the hidden manna because you are already full. “That hidden manna sounds interesting. I’ll have to check it out sometime.” But only when you are dissatisfied with your present food will you desire a better kind.

What do you think the will of God is for you? Maybe you don’t know but are pretty sure you won’t like it. It’s easy to think that. People tell us of a strict God who will have perfection only. But let’s look back at the story. Jesus spoke to a woman. But what a woman! She was obviously a Samaritan. Common wisdom said best stay away from those people. And since when was it proper to talk to strange women? Jesus had to step past local social boundaries to do this.

So, we find doing the will of God may involve getting out of our ‘comfort zone’. But many of us have such small comfort zones anyway. “But someone could get the wrong idea!” But Jesus has the right idea and he leads this woman with a bad history to hope for a new life.

Are you happy with what you were told would satisfy your heart? You will discover that those things are not able to feed your soul. If we reach out for the hidden manna, we will find real food to satisfy our appetite for life.

Think again of those in the desert so long ago. They saw nothing to eat around them. Then God could give them this wonderful food they called manna. As long as they desired something else, they would be unhappy. But when they ate the manna, they found it satisfying.

Finding the Hidden Manna

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Out of Time

How many close friends do you have? I have trouble sitting at a table with three others and balancing my interest in the various viewpoints. I’m glad God is not like this at all.

He can maintain an unlimited number of personal intimate relationships at the same time. And why is this? Because they are not ‘at the same time’ to him. In the beginning, God created… So time and place came into being together. And before that, there was no Time. But there is Time now. But God is not subject to time since time is a subject of his and nothing God has made is ever outside his power and authority.

Do you think the world has gotten away from him? Has this world, full of so many people, slipped beyond his control? Some think so. But it is not true. Why doesn’t he stop bad people? He will stop all bad behavior in the future but He has made men responsible for all their actions and will exact an accounting from each of us for our time spent on earth.

But this great God who is not held back by time and space, has sometimes intervened. This may help us to understand several incidents recorded in the Bible.

  • Enoch disappears from time and space. It says, “he was not, for God took him”.
  • The creation may have run over eons. There were no humans to measure the time. It says “day” but had that word been defined? Yes, it came to mean 24 hours but try to keep track if you fly east or west through several time zones.
  • Moses held up his hands and that day lasted several hours more.
  • Hezekiah saw the shadow go back up the stairs.
  • Phillip moved instantly from a desert oasis to a city.

But Jesus was subject to time and space for thirty some years. Yet it says, “And no man has ascended up into heaven, but he that came down from heaven, the son of man who is in heaven.” John 3:13 Many have tried to explain this passage. “It can’t possibly mean what it says!”

And why not? Jesus cannot exist in two dimensions at once? Are angels no longer ‘in heaven’ when they appear on earth? Where is the line? He could be present on earth and also be ‘in heaven’ where there is no time. We know there is no time in the heavenly realm because the angels do not age. There is really no problem to be solved here.

Jesus says he is not like others in that he came from heaven. He also returned to heaven. But before he did, he demonstrated that his body was not limited by time and space. Jesus implies that he has not given up being ‘in heaven’ because he was here bodily. How does John speak of him as “The Word”? He says The Word became flesh. Did Jesus stop being The Word when he walked on earth? Now be sure of this: I am not saying I know exactly what all this means but I think you must agree that Jesus is a unique being and this allows his turning up in the past as “The Angel of the Lord”.

  • Adam hears him coming.
  • Abraham has him visit him at home.
  • Jacob has a unique encounter and wrestles with him.
  • Moses takes off his sandals is his presence and hears him speak.
  • He is seen as a Pillar of Cloud and a Pillar of Fire in the Exodus account.
  • Job sees him as a Whirlwind and bows.
  • Gideon is shocked to be called “a mighty, man of valor” by him.

And Daniel sees “one like the son of man” brought before the “Ancient of Days”. Now, do we see God the Father here? Remember, it is a vision. Daniel had also seen several strange beasts in a vision. But this passage remains one of the most significant in the Bible. Jesus quotes from it during his trial. They saw his implication and were angry that a man on earth should say this. But they had demanded he reveal who he was.

Is Jesus any different than he ever was? Not really. In his nature and his relationship to the Father, he has not changed. He is the same wonderful being who enjoys being the Son of His Father. But in relation to the creation and men, he has changed and will change again. He will receive all he has been given by the Father and all things will be under his feet. But look what he has done already!

  • The Word did become flesh and live among us.
  • He did fulfill much of Daniel’s prophesy.
  • He has dealt with sin in a final way.
  • He, the Messiah was cut off, but not for himself.
  • He “put an end to sin, and made reconciliation for iniquity”

If he has done all this, he will surely accomplish all things. He has been glorified with a body not subject to time and space. “All power in heaven and earth is given to me.” Matthew 28:18 Notice the use of the word “is” not “has been” or “will be” but “is”, a timeless word.

But the writer of Hebrews tells us two things: “You have put all things in subjection under his feet.” and “But now we see not yet all things put under him.”

And we read these words: But we see Jesus…

  • Made lower than angels for the suffering of death
  • Crowned with glory and honor
  • Made perfect through sufferings

And also, “he that sanctified and those that are sanctified are all of one”

So how then can we expect to become like Jesus who was ‘made perfect’ through sufferings without suffering ourselves? Remember that Jesus said to a man who claimed to have kept the Law of Moses all his life, ‘give up your wealth’. But he said more than this. When the man asks, “What do I lack?” Jesus answers, “If you would be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give the money to the poor. You will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”

Did the man do it? Sorry to say, he chose something else. But many have read these words and laid hold on Jesus. They gave up much and received more. They became rich before God. Does God require that everyone give up their wealth? He requires more than that. He that gives up his life will find it. Those than have left everything, have found a new life with a different reality that fills the soul and rejoices the heart.

Paul tells us, in Ephesian’s that we are seated in the heavenlies. Do you believe it? You have place in the heavenly realm. But I’m here, not there, we say. So was Jesus ‘here’ and not ‘there’. Yet, he enjoyed his Father as he willingly served him. You know, he has always done this: loved and served his Father. He is seated at the Father’s right hand, we are told. And the same God can hold you up and deliver you into the timeless eternity. And again, he said, “I will be with you always”. Another paradox. Seated there and with us, with you, here.

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Blast from the Past

In 1969, a movement that was later called The Jesus Movement, began in several places in obscurity. One place was Detroit where a fellow and his wife felt they should go and do what God was leading. In Detroit, with it’s mild summer, hippies were hanging out at a local park. The guy who came from California joined them and sat at a picnic table and talked with those those there.

As the weather became cooler, they rented a 3-bedroom house. Meetings were held there every night and the place was open by day to all visitors. “Come back at 7 if you want to know what’s happening.” The house soon became too small and was filled with people with others outside listening through open windows. And this was in the chilly Michigan winter.

We were just one group but this was happening all over the country. Our group spawned several other houses but no place was big enough. An unused church basement was rented. We used the classrooms for bedrooms and held meetings every night where hundreds gathered. And there were always new people.

Of those involved in this, several became pastors. I saw one of them two months ago doing a funeral, the day before the 2020 lockdown. We were always going out and never stopped to call it a church. The houses followed a simple pattern: a married couple would be house parents and single guys and girls would be divided by gender into the bedrooms. One large house in downtown Detroit had four girls upstairs and 10 guys living in the basement along with one rat who often annoyed us.

After a few years, people were getting married and moving on from the dorm style living. But during this 3-year period a lot happened. Many groups reached out and connected. Many churches and ministries were influenced by long-haired, bible carrying people who had now rejected the hippie lifestyle of sex, drugs and rock and roll. It was marriage, sobriety and Christian Rock for them. Never in that three years did anyone ask for money yet money was donated in abundance. Sometimes we would find bills tucked in the kitchen cupboards after a meeting.

People would say things like, “I read this book by a guy in Europe. I’m going to go study with him.” And he would do it. He came back years later with a Swedish wife. Others would read about far flung mission work and go and do it.

As far as I know, no one from our group or any other people I met ever asked anyone for money to support their ministry work. Guys often picked up jobs and contributed to the houses allowing others to keep the doors open to all.

One couple got married and ended up in China working with an underground movement that influenced many thousands of young Chinese tired of ‘Godless Communism’. Actually, almost everyone was tired of Communism in China. It had not worked at all.

I went visit my friends in Beijing and met many exuberant young Christians. I witnessed two events involving money. Once my friend opened a drawer to give someone some money. The large drawer was filled with Chinese 100 yuan bills. This was money used for ministry. They lived on their salary as English teachers, working sometimes at major universities in Beijing. Again, a fellow stopped by one evening and handed my friend a fat envelope. My friend looked inside and said, “This is a lot of money. Are you sure?” “Just use it for your ministry,” was the reply.

Another fellow ran an orphanage here in the States. He cared for a couple dozen children for two years and never asked for money.

Some started groups they were later kicked out of as the group matured. Others would leave the leadership to others and start something new somewhere else.

Our leader, and my mentor, was a strange fellow. He always dressed in costume and rarely ordinary clothes. He went through various phases and outfits. He maintained a full beard. The last time I saw him, he looked exactly like Santa with a long white beard. He said he couldn’t shave because his hands shook with tremors now. He even kept small toys in his pockets which he would give to children all year round.

He had several well-paying jobs and started two companies. He seemed to have a problem with success. As the company would grow, he would walk away and do something else. He worked for a government agency and set up classes in first aid training after he walked away from a ambulance company he started. The boss called him into the office and told him he needed to use all the money in the budget. But we have created all the classes you wanted and hired all the teachers and staff needed, he countered. But if we don’t use all the money, they will cut our budget next year was the reply. He resigned on the spot wanting no part of inflating costs for no good reason.

Of those I have kept track of, none became famous, few wrote books but just served quietly without fanfare. Some ended their lives in lonely places without giving up their faith.

I can only tell what I saw and heard myself during the years. One last note: a young man named Jordan, at our small, local fellowship, is a third generation result of a fellowship overseen by his Jewish grandfather, who was very important in my life. I still hold his memory dear. I say to myself, “He is no longer here. But I am and what am I doing to fill his space?”

Lazarus

Jesus is at the grave of Lazarus. Mary and Martha have red eyes and have run out of tears. Others are there because Lazarus was well know and loved by many.

Someone says as the see Jesus weeping, “Behold, how he loved him.”

Yes, Jesus weeps for his friend. He died four days ago. His sisters have been miserable. They threw our a life line to Jesus but Jesus arrives too late. They don’t understand it.

Jesus stops. This is all wrong. A young man, too young to die, is in the grave in front of him. The suffering of his friends, his closest friends is his too. The whole human experience of sadness and sorrow are his in that moment.

He said, “I am the resurrection!” moments ago. His face becomes firm. “Take away the stone!” he says hoarsely. The world is turning upside-down. They remove the stone. Lazarus! Come out here!

A dead man wrapped like a mummy hops and stumbles out. No one moves. No one breathes. “Set him free from the binding of death.” Those clothes no longer suit him. He is alive.

Jesus knows what he has done. He has signed his death warrant. The news travels through Jerusalem. Jesus shows up soon after in the capitol and teaches daily in the temple.

They hated him without a cause.

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