He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart…Isaiah 40:11
Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
they shall be like wool.
When you have Jesus…you have hope.
My hope is built on nothing less…
Artist Alice van Kempen features photography of her Bull Terrier, Claire, in abandoned buildings. I would encourage you to find her work on Facebook.
However, in this photo there is only Jesus reaching out amid the destruction and decay. Don’t you think that mirrors our lives today? Amid all the destruction and chaos of this world, Jesus still waits with open arms for you and for me.
What a lovely thought in an ugly world.
It’s so hard to remember what is important when we get bogged down in the slog of daily living. It doesn’t have to be defeating. Yes, it can be hard. But, it’s hard for everyone and we just fix our eyes on Jesus and keep moving forward.
I love this verse…believers know that we are overcomers. But, during this difficult political season full of hate and ugliness, I like to remember that Jesus still sits on His throne and He will some day set the world to rights.
I think we can all agree that there is nothing sweeter than a baby.
Jesus birth is the most famous and beloved stories of all time. The joy that was evident at the arrival of the Son of God would be beyond anything we could imagine. God came down to save us in the form of a sweet baby boy. He would grow up to greatness.
But the passage that often sticks with me is when Jesus is brought to the temple to be blessed and Simeon tells His mother, Mary, that a sword will pierce her soul.
This might not be the most reassuring blessing to a young mother.
But Simeon saw the end at the beginning and He wanted to remind Mary that Jesus was God’s son sent to save the world. A Savior.
Mary knew that there would be good days and bad days. Most mothers already know this. Mary’s knowledge though was even more important since her son’s future would save His people by sacrificing His life. World without end. Amen.
Thank you Lord Jesus for blessing us this Christmas with the reminder of the love you showed to us in your life, your love, and your never-ending grace.
We are blessed beyond measure. We are blessed for eternity.
Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
“Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you may now dismiss your servant in peace.
For my eyes have seen your salvation,
which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and the glory of your people Israel.”
The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
My dog Buddy thinks he is bigger and badder than any other dog. He’s not.
Buddy was quite literally dropped off at our door and into our arms. His former owners ran for their car and thus he was adopted into our home. We have never regretted this decision and he is a fine young man although possessing a rather interesting personality.
We had three small female dogs when Buddy arrived but he adapted and fit perfectly into our family. They loved him and he returned their affection. But then we took Buddy for a walk. His demeanor quickly changed and we were shocked to find a total lack of socialization and a very aggressive behavior that was troubling. All the more so because we were in a charity walk for our local Humane Society. They looked at us like we were the worst pet parents and we tried to explain that he was a recent rescue who had never behaved so poorly.
The interesting thing is the bigger the other dog, the more Buddy goes into attack mode. On a good day and with a full stomach, Buddy weighs about 12 pounds. He was not deterred…he wanted to go for the jugular of any Rottweiler or Doberman he could sink his tiny teeth into. It was alarming.
We have had Buddy a long time and tried many things but the bottom line is that somewhere in his past 8 years, he was hurt and became aggressive with other dogs. In his mind, Buddy is bigger than he thinks.
Somehow, I like this. I know I should not and we never allow him to engage with any dog because I don’t want him killed. But I like the way he thinks. He’s a big, bad dude and no one is going to mess with Buddy. Get on board or get out of his way. He’ll eat you for breakfast. Simply put Buddy has a killer mentality.
As I think on this New Year, I want Buddy’s attitude. I want a killer mentality for Christ. I want to stir the pot. I want people to think about Jesus. I want to encourage others to remember what is most important in life…a Jesus that gave His all and gave it all for us. Go big with Jesus or go home.
I promise not to hurt anyone – I just want to share the love and grace of Jesus Christ. There is no room for timid behavior, we need to be aggressive as we share the good news.
Buddy would be proud.