24 Hours Ago

24 Hours Ago

24 hours earlier he’d been known as #2098H36291M. Now he was at his favorite pub with his favorite side-kicks.  He hadn’t had such a great day and night for a long time.  Frankly, he could hardly remember his name, since his cohorts in crime were paying for it all.  His favorites were Jim B, scarlet velvet, red, white (who cares?), turkey, jack or a crown! Wow what a night & day.  This was more exhilarating than murdering those dudes the other day.  He was out so soon that all his wounds weren’t even healed yet.  Best yet he didn’t even have to go to trial.  His foggy mind seemed to  recall something about some loser having to take his rap for him. Poor guy; where’d my luck come from? Oh yea, something about a crown and purported kingship – that’s the connection to a crown.  Oh well, poor guy.

There was blood all over the place.  It was a gory, grisly scene.  Body liquids & watery blood.  About the only men around were the religious talking heads.  They were always talking, but rarely out here on a weird day like this one.  Couple of earthquakes, rumors of graves being opened, 2 criminals, and a king!?  Wait a minute, this was a high holy day.  Most important on the religious calendar – well at least one of the most important. Rumor has it the robed men were priests of Judaism.  

Someone else said some women from up north, even from beyond Samaria were on sight.  Now, believe me, that’s a rarity.  Women seeing a sight like this!  That was no doubt the worst spectacle they’d gazed upon.  It wasn’t booked as being risqué, at least not intentionally.  There were 3 men looking the worst they’d ever been. No relatives there except for the crown wearing man in the middle.  Rumor has it his mother was there.  Now that was pretty close to being something original.  This was known as an exercise for creating shame, guilt, neglect.  Not a normal farewell to life.

But wait, there was a man there apparently close to and devoted to the one wearing the crown on his profusely bleeding head. The civil crime judgment was written in 3 languages and stated He was being crucified on the treasonous charge of claiming to be “The King of the Jews.”  Caesar was the king of the whole Roman Empire.  Before this “king” gasped His last breath, he said to His confidant to be sure to take His mother into his home and care for her.  Apparently that’s what he did.

What on earth led to such a horrific event on another otherwise holy worship day?  Jealousy!  

However, there’s also a back story to this whole thing. It began centuries previously, much to the displeasure of humanity’s Creator.  Disobedience, selfishness, desire to be equal with the Creator, and the cunning of the villain.  Men & women discovered something so invitingly natural, yet so grievous that the Creator God called it sin.  This had to be reconciled so God could enjoy His friendship again with His created ones. There was only one person in all of Heaven and earth who was capable of bridging the chasm man made by his sinning. So in eternity there was the absence of One Person of the Holy Godhead for about 30+ years (whatever that might mean in eternal living).  To fulfill the meaning anticipated by the suffering lamb on that holy day of the Passover, God the Son, known on earth as Jesus the Messiah, was the holy “King” who died at the appointed hour.  He took onto Himself all of humanity’s sinning, bridging the chasm made by humanity’s sinfulness.

Jesus had predicted He would come back to life on the 3rdday after He died.  On the 1stday of the week it happened:

“Very early on Sunday morning the women went to the tomb….They found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance….Two men suddenly appeared to them, clothed in dazzling robes….Then the men asked, ‘Why are you looking among the dead for someone who is alive?  He isn’t here!  He is risen from the dead!’”

Shout the news far and wide – He isn’t dead.  He is alive.  The Savior of all humanity is alive and well, forgiving sins, giving eternal life to all who believe in Him.

Yes – He is risen!

He is risen indeed!

Immigrés / Émigrés Immigrants / Emigrants

Immigrés / Émigrés

Immigrants / Emigrants


Cuisine    Vocabulary    Passport    Religion    Education     Sports       Clothing

Ethnicities     Footwear     Housing     Transportation     Hostilities       Secrets


Smiles     Eye colors     Hair colors     Glasses/No glasses     Travel       Luggage

Inside jokes     Need shelter     Need security     Need acceptance       Religious

We all entered this universe through a birth canal.  The where and conditions could be vastly different.  We are all fellow travelers of the human race.  Yet, we are so racially different.  We have such different perspectives on life. What is a life anyway?  We all enter life with only a body.  However, our circumstances at the end of the birth canal vary wildly.  Some have the privilege of being embraced and nursed by the birth canal hostess.

We all have a culture to give meaning to life.  Religion, or lack thereof, could give context to living.  Society may give us a pattern for making sense of our existence.   Individuality makes some “realities” seem to be so irrational.  Are we immigrantsor emigrants?  Do we belong or are we outsiders?  Are we “joiners” or are we “isolators?” What do these things depend upon?  Who cares? What does it matter?

If religion or religiosity are majorly important to us, this could be a veritable “line in the sand.”  Some of our religious lingo could be fightin’ words.  Who are our religious heroes?  Perhaps this is meaningless to atheists and/or humanists.  We are all immigrants or emigrants.  We enter by the birth canal, so how do we emigrate from physical life?  If we are religious, it might not be only a matter of leaving reality bodily.  Some believe there is a faith factor here – metaphysical or spiritual or supernatural – or not.  If the book called the “Holy Bible” is one’s religious textbook there are priorities for the emigration from bodily existence. There are mandates proscribed for those who believe in the holy, Creator God being.  Having faith in the triune creating God includes believing that Jesus the Messiah is central to humanity’s post-physical existence.  The biblical record affirms He is the One who delivers us from humanity’s exclusion from this God.  

“…[H]ere we have no lasting city, but we seek the city that is to come…. Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever.  Amen”

~Hebrews 13:14, 20-21




Have you ever purified gold or silver?  If so, remember seeing the “dross” on the top?  Those impurities had to be boiled out so it would become purer.

Did you know that originally, way back in antiquity this was the month of purification for the Roman peoples?  To them, how else are you going to get good crops and babies if you didn’t do some purification?  How else would their gods know they were worthy of being given the right environment for it to happen?

Originally, this time of the year was known as “februum.”  The Roman festival of purification and expiation, celebrated on the 15th of the month we call February.  The object of the festival was, by expiation and purification, to give new life and fruitfulness to fields, flocks, and people.  The expiation was their way of making amends or reparations for guilt or wrongdoing.[1]

So, is there any reason for us making amends for anything 6+ weeks after our Christmas celebrations, or only about 5 weeks into this new year? Is this something we need to do for offending the “gods” we serve?  Or was it for how we treated family or friends recently?  For us, often it is buying something new, bright & shiny and giving it as a surprise.  We really don’t like to go by the forgiveness route, that’s too self-effacing.  Giving something, doing an act of kindness might suffice in this case, being on our best behavior are all attempts to get back into the right graces of whoever we offended.  You know, rebuilding burnt bridges.

Purifying relationships requires repairing the wreck, whether it was accidental or deliberate.  It would’ve been easier to do that the ancient Roman way.  But then that only satisfied their gods.  How on earth do we repair damaged relationships, repairing trust and reliability?  The difficult way is to do it face-to-face, and it’s best if at all possible.  Swallowing pride is never easy and often awkward. But, we have to accept whatever our responsibility is.  Own up to it clearly and ask the other’s forgiveness and acceptance.  We can’t worry about their response, even when it might not be up to what we hoped to be the right standard.  Doing this with family, friends, & neighbors is hard enough.

But how on earth would we do something similar if we recognized we offended the God in Heaven?  For those for whom this becomes a burr under the saddle, it’s hard for us to imagine how uncomfortable this could be to an already pure God to be friendly with us! When we miss the mark we have to examine how we did wrong and then realign life so we don’t repeat the same blunder. This realignment is difficult.  We still don’t like being accountable to anyone other than self.  The best way to do this is to swallow our pride.  Admit to God what we did wrong.  Asking God’s forgiveness for our sin(s).  We have the privilege of accepting God’s forgiveness.  Then there’s a renewed joy & contentment within. And a new model for genuine forgiveness.

Easy? No way!   Effective? You bet!

Jesus said, at His Last Supper with His 12 Disciples, the blood that was about to bleed from His body would be “poured out as a sacrifice to forgive the sins of many.” [Matthew 26:28, New Living Translation]

When Jesus did this, He placed no restrictions for whom this would be effective in forgiving sin(s).  His was the first “Title IX”, segregation-less provision, regardless of one’s sex, race, sexual orientation, occupation, past failures, or roller coaster spiritual life.  So why not invite Jesus to become the One who forgives you of your sins and then you’ll have a pattern for forgiving others.

Accept the offer during this year’s “purification” month (although it is available year round).

[1]http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999.04.0059:entry=februum  A Latin Dictionary. Founded on Andrews’ edition of Freund’s Latin dictionary. revised, enlarged, and in great part rewritten by. Charlton T. Lewis, Ph.D. and. Charles Short, LL.D. Oxford. Clarendon Press. 1879.   Harry Thurston Peck. Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. New York. Harper and Brothers. 1898.   A Dictionary of Greek and Roman Antiquities. William Smith, LLD. William Wayte. G. E. Marindin. Albemarle Street, London. John Murray. 1890.

The Sword and The Knife

The  Sword  & The  Knife  

Damocles had a “sword” that he used to flatter his king. Damocles is a figure featured in a single moral anecdote commonly referred to as “the Sword of Damocles”, an allusion to the imminent and ever-present peril faced by those in positions of power. Damocles was an obsequious courtier in the court of Dionysius II of Syracuse, a 4th-century BC/BCE tyrant of Syracuse, Sicily.  According to the story, Damocles was pandering to Dionysius, his king, and exclaimed to him that Dionysius was truly fortunate as a great man of power and authority, surrounded by magnificence.[1]  

The famed “sword of Damocles” dates back to an ancient moral parable popularized by the Roman philosopher Cicero in his 45 BC/BCE book “Tusculan Disputations.” Cicero’s version of the tale centers on Dionysius II, a tyrannical king who once ruled over the Sicilian city of Syracuse during the fourth and fifth centuries BC/BCE. Though rich and powerful, Dionysius was supremely unhappy. His iron-fisted rule had made him many enemies, and he was tormented by fears of assassination—so much so that he slept in a bedchamber surrounded by a moat and only trusted his daughters to shave his beard with a razor. 

As Cicero tells it, the king’s dissatisfaction came to a head one day after a court flatterer named Damocles showered him with compliments and remarked how blissful his life must be. “Since this life delights you,” an annoyed Dionysius replied, “do you wish to taste it yourself and make a trial of my good fortune?” When Damocles agreed, Dionysius seated him on a golden couch and ordered a host of servants wait on him. He was treated to succulent cuts of meat and lavished with scented perfumes and ointments. Damocles couldn’t believe his luck, but just as he was starting to enjoy the life of a king, he noticed that Dionysius had also hung a razor-sharp sword from the ceiling. It was positioned over Damocles’ head, suspended only by a single strand of horsehair. From then on, the courtier’s fear for his life made it impossible for him to savor the opulence of the feast or enjoy the servants. After casting several nervous glances at the blade dangling above him, he asked to be excused, saying he no longer wished to be so fortunate.[2]

How long have we lived with a horsehair the only difference between death and life?  When Jesus died by crucifixion in about 30 AD/CE, God/Jehovah/Yahweh disowned Him.  God could not look on His Son as Jesus took onto Himself all the sins of all the ages for all humanity.  So how did God look on humanity from creation until then?

There was the Hebrew sacrificial system by which God did not have to see our sins because they were covered by the “atoning”/covering blood of a sacrificed animal.  It is presumed that this is what the effect of God making skin clothing for Adam and Eve accomplished in the Garden of Eden.

Perhaps a symbol of God holding a “sword” over mankind was pictured when God told Abraham to sacrifice his son on Mount Moriah. As Abraham was about to thrust his knife into Isaac’s chest, God stopped him and had a ram nearby tangled up in a bush. Abraham then loosed his teenage son from the altar and replaced him by sacrificing the ram.

Jesus the Christ was our sacrificial “animal” so God no longer had to hold over us His “sword” of impending eternal death. Rather.  Jesus’ death satisfied His Father’s hatred and disgust at our sins.[3]  Today we have access to eternal life by believing in Jesus the Christ to rescue us from our sins.  God is now able to look upon those who have faith in Jesus’ sacrifice.  He affirms that our believing guarantees us the promised eternal life.  Not thus believing  continues to bring upon us God’s disfavor and His judgment of eternal death.[4]



[3]Colossian 1:21, 22; 2:13, 14

[4]John 3:16-18




Jesus’ birth we know some basic details about.

Jesus the child & teenager we know just about nothing about (Luke 2:41-52).

Jesus the adult we know more about, though probably a fraction of what could have been known (John 21:25).

Without imagining extraordinary and fantastical things about the child-God Boy that Jesus was   . . .

  • As the Creator God {John 1:1-3}:
    • Did He ever compare His observations of married life with His original intent for Adam & Eve?
    • Did He ever look at the sorrow connected with death and think how avoidable it could have been?
    • Did He look at the selfish squabbling and fighting between siblings and think how unnecessary it really should have been?
    • Did He look at the sweat and tears of sowing and reaping and how laborious it was and wish Eve hadn’t eaten of the fruit and how sorry He was that Adam did as was suggested to him {Genesis 3:17-19}? 
    • Did He overhear the pornographically-like whispering among His boyhood friends and wish Adam & Eve hadn’t been so gullible to Satan’s salacious temptation? 
    • Did He ever wish He could have intervened into the free will He created Adam & Eve with as He saw the gut-wrenching guilt & shame around Him in His friends’ lives {Genesis 2:25}?

And so:

  • As the God-boy/God-man He saw around Him abundant reasons why He was born into the humanity He created.
  • As the God-person He observed and was touched by the waves and tides of the sin-sea roiling around Him, He the only righteous island in such a devastatingly condemning ocean drowning those whose lives Righteousness was daily touching.
  • As the unique God-in-the-flesh, His compassion, sympathy, & empathy compelled Him to suffer as only He could for humanity’s redemption.

And so:

What impact is His life having in mine?

O M G !

O M G !  


Wonderful     Marvelous     Fantastic     Fantabulous     Amazing    Surprise     Imagine    Beautiful


Personal     Intimate     Private    Shareable     Mine     Relational     Knowable     Incarnate


Creator     Strong    Tower     Rock     Righteous     Holy    Powerful     Majestic     Forgiving

! !  

And more could be said about Him!  He is who the Holy Bible says He is!

He is more than 3 letters of the English alphabet.  He is more than an English / Caucasian god – He is the enfleshed God of eternity for all humanity.  He is The God for all communities, peoples, tribal groups, linguistic families, nations. He is the King above all earthly kings. He is the LORD above all masters. He is The One without equal. Supreme above all pretenders to His throne.

He is The One most worthy of all our praise – glory – honor – respect – worship – reverence.  One of His earth names is “Immanuel” = God iswith us!  He is a Prophet above any supposed equal.  He represents us to The Most High God.  He is most often now known by a common everyday word.  But not one used in this OMG! sense.  Unfortunately,  this holy One today is known profanely by a downgraded name, void of impact.  Though it’s not a 4-letter word, it’s a 5 letter one = “Jesus.”  A common personal name used in other languages, but in English usually reserved for God the Father’s Son, Jesus the Christ.

This is a name full of meaning, worthy of full respect.  He is the One referred to by the first 6 letters of the title commonly attached to this busy commercial season.  Because God gave His Gift to us 2 millennia ago we have a pattern and model for our overwhelming urge to give gifts today.  WOW! how great an example for us.  He probably had more in mind than our materialistic bent.  No doubt He wanted relationship with His created ones. Giving us One we could relate to.

A word sometimes heard this time of year is “forgiveness.”  Hmm, a tough one to act upon.  But this is a result of what Jesus’ gift is for us.  God’s forgiveness is available for us, making us aware of a great gift we can give to others – and oh, by the way, it is an underserved gift!

“Thank God for His gift too wonderful for words!” 

  •                                                                                                                       2 Corinthians 9:15

[New Living Translation]



Joseph the Carpenter

Protector       Lover       Companion        Traveler        Obedient       Caring        Trusting            Worshiper       Believer

Why would a common carpenter not break off his engagement with his pregnant fiancée when he knew he wasn’t the father?  How could a religious teenager like Mary become pregnant, so out of character.  Had all the family vetting been to no avail?  She was marrying into his family.  How would this relate to them?  What reputation will they be living with if he goes ahead and marries her?  

Like a normal man his first thoughts about Mary’s pregnancy was obvious – adultery?  As he considered this, ending the relationship seemed to be the best for protecting reputations.  But what about hers?  How would it be to her benefit?

Then his religious background came into play. This carpenter Joseph was a good, moral man and didn’t want to disgrace her publicly (no private way to clear this one up).  The difficult decision was to quietly put the engagement aside.  But God sent one of His messengers to him and counseled him. “Do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife.  For the child conceived within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus” [Matthew 1:20b-21a].  When Joseph woke up from this dream, “he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife” [Matthew 1:24].  About a couple of years later, after the Magi returned to their home, Joseph was visited by a God-messenger in a dream again.  “‘Get up!  Flee to Egypt with child and his mother,’the angel said.  ‘Stay there until I tell you to return, because Herod[the Great]is going to search for the child to kill him’” [Matthew 2:13].

To believe under those circumstances is amazing! Imagine if…  Imagine if this humble carpenter had thought: well it’s only an apparition, God doesn’t do these things today, who am I that God would say this to me about my pregnant fiancée?  However, Joseph didn’t question God: he believed the messenger was sent directly to him from God Yahweh.  

This is the setting for the home God chose to have Jesus raised in.  Joseph was the father-figure He wanted His Son to be raised under.  Can we consider the ramifications of tutoring God’s Son on the earth He created, living among people He created, teaching Him a life skilled in shaping useful utensils out of trees He had created?  Wow! What a job description.  Wonder if Joseph ever heard Jesus teach about yokes – the kind he had taught Jesus how to carve?

Thank the Lord, He had such a man of His creation ready for the most awesome task any human father could have ever been given.

What kind of a father have I been?

How can I be the father God wants me to become?



Have you ever had a reputation change from a sterling one only to become really looked down upon?  Hey, I didn’t change what I was doing.  I was consistent all along the way.  What’s with that?

Maybe it could be like a politician highly respected formerly, but now ridiculed and seriously looked down on.  He remained the same with his convictions.  People and circumstances around him turned a 180°.  Hey, that’s not fair.  It might have been unprincipled talk by the current bad-mouthers talking heads.

So how was he “crucified?”  Maybe he was voted out of office when the political climate around him swerved right or left.  Or, could he honestly just have been a victim of unfortunate circumstances? Or, could she . . . , really who cares, it happened anyway.  But it hurt so deeply!

Historically, this isn’t merely the story of some otherwise great leaders.  Religiously, this has happened way too often.  But then we say, well religious fervor comes and goes like the tide. However, there’s quite a well-known historical figure who experienced it first-hand undeservedly.  He was a well-received gentleman who was doing all the right things.  That is, until he ran afoul of his homeland’s the current occupying nation.  Wow, he did so many neighborly things helping the poor and questioning the wealthy about the real value of their portfolios. Still, there were those who of his own nationality, as well as the others, who looked askance at why he was doing all the good.

Actually, being a religious figure got him in trouble with the current religious leadership.  Those who pulled the strings and had the government in their back pockets. The good worker was well-accepted by the lower classes.  The kind of people he grew up with and who understood each other.

Well he was making some outlandish claims, according to the religious elites.  But this man was doing fantastic things that verified his claims.  He was born in the genealogy of a famous king.  Some of his statements claimed he was God’s man who rightly merited the reputation of being a king.  In fact, on the explanation plate above his head at his murder, the civic leader who finally ordered his death, made the statement he was “King of the Jews.”

Jesus was not claiming an earthly kingdom in conflict with one on earth.  No, His Kingdom was a Heavenly one.  He tried to exclaim it in several different ways.  To no avail.  But look at what His teachings have resulted in – millions of followers to this day. His life was cut short at about 33 years.  But in the centuries since, His influence has prevailed in many nations, peoples, tribes, languages.  Yes, His death was tragic but His heritage is well worth examining.

You’re encouraged to discover why Jesus’ influence has lived up to His name.


God’s Love  is . . .

. . .  ethereal but real

. . .  promised & must be accepted

. . .  felt & caught

. . .  joyful & comforting

. . .  soothing & protecting

. . .  convicting & constructing

. . .  strict & freeing

. . .  abundant & never ending

. . .  all-encompassing & personal

. . .  purposeful &plentiful

. . .  challenging & supportive

. . .  forgiving & energizing


Our Outlook On God’s Forgiveness

†   Yes, He has cleansed and forgiven us!  Jeremiah 33:8; 1 John 1:9

†   What am I doing with His gift to me?

•   Whew, that’s done, now I can get on with my life.

•   Wow, I’m free from that anchor.

•   Don’t have to be under that weight any longer.

†   Anything really different?  John 8:11

•   Is that sin still part of my life’s repertoire?

•   What is my responsibility to God?

•   How does His forgiveness affect my lifestyle?

•   What happens when I’m in the same situation & I can’t protect myself from        repeating it again?

†   Am I forgivable again?  Ezekiel 33:10-11

•   Why?

•   What is the meaning of His forgiveness of me?

•   Does it make a difference in my attitude toward Him?

†   What do I sense in me when I know I have been forgiven?

•   How is His forgiveness meaningful to me?

•   What does my integrity resemble to the Father when He looks on me as His “son,” and when Jesus recognizes me as His “brother?”

How should I be living in light of God’s forgiving?