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Posts Tagged ‘Christ will return!’

Here's what it's all about sans GB

This precious photo takes me back to 1962, when our daughters, Laura and Debbie, plus our son, Eric, reenacted an historical event which needs no explanation—as a part of our Christmas Eve celebration at home.

We had another daughter, Judy, somewhere around—and a real live baby, Karl, who for some reason was not available at the moment, so a doll took the place of Baby Jesus.¬† Obviously we overlooked the fact that we had no boy doll to fill in the gap. ūüôā

I think some of our children understood the Christmas message better than I did in 1962.  Children can be so receptive to the simplicity of it all!

I was reminded of this last evening, at our church’s annual special Christmas worship:¬† Scripture readings from the Genesis 3:15 first mention of our Messiah, prophecies concerning the Lord Jesus from Micah and Isaiah, the beautiful account of Jesus’s birth in the Gospel of Luke, and the joyous climax in the book of Revelation when God’s glorified people will be worshipping the Lamb Who was slain—KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.¬† All of the readings were interspersed with the singing of beloved Christmas Carols.¬† As a finale, we lit our individual candles and sang “Silent Night”.

It brought tears to my eyes, to think that people all over the world would be replicating this service of worship and adoration:¬† people of countless denominations, in many languages and in every possible setting—be it a cathedral, church, public venue, or at home either in safety and comfort or at risk of arrest, incarceration, and/or torture and possibly death.¬† Scriptures, carols, and candlelight.

When singing the carols, I thought of all of you who may be reading this blog—brothers and sisters in Christ in the USA, Canada, Mexico, Brazil, UK, Ireland, Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, France, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Portugal. Australia, New Zealand, India, Myanmar, Hong Kong, Nigeria, Gabon, South Africa, Afghanistan, and other places around the world.¬† All lighting candles and singing praises to the Lord Jesus Who is the Light of the World!

Today we are united in love, through His Holy Spirit.¬† Someday we will be united in person, praising our LORD OF LORDS, KING OF KINGS—thanks to His message of Salvation, Redemption, and Eternal Life:¬† a message so beautifully simple that even a receptive child can understand and believe it.

To all of you readers, wherever you are, I pray you will have a blessed Christmas!

Margaret L. Been — December 22, 2018 ¬†

Note:  I am adding Ghana, Russia, Turkey, and Switzerland to the above international list.  Welcome friends!!! 

 

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Coming Home (2)

“But unto you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise with healing in His wings . . . .”¬† Malachi 4:2a

Malachi’s promise of Christ’s second coming to establish peace and justice on earth has always fascinated me, because the Son is spelled “Sun”.¬†¬†Strong’s Concordance simply states that the Malachi 4:2 noun originates in a root meaning “to be brilliant” with implications of coming from the East.

One doesn’t have to be profoundly philosophical¬†to grasp the metaphorical connection between our Savior and the sun which He created.¬† Nature fell with that nefarious duo in Eden’s garden, yet we still have¬†glimpses of nature’s original intent—to¬†reflect some of God’s attributes and truths.¬† Thus I believe that God prompted the prophet Malachi to understand the metaphor and¬†explicitly present it to stimulate our hearts and minds toward an ever-deepening realization of our Savior—thus appropriating that reality to our everyday lives.

As we¬†reflect on the role of our¬†astronomical sun¬†as the source of physical energy, warmth, and light—therefore supporting life on earth—we¬†comprehend the reasoning behind¬†the fact that pagan cultures had (and still may have) a “sun god”.¬† It’s kind of a DUH!¬† One¬†understands the¬†rationale behind¬†the fallen mind, however mistaken.

Those¬†of us¬†who spend countless summer¬†hours stretched out on a lounge chair soaking it up are called “sun worshippers”.¬† With no apologies, I do¬†luxuriate¬†in the sunshine which the SON has created to be a source of energy and light on earth.¬† Even my history of skin cancers (one of which was an in situ melanoma) fails to shadow or curtail my¬†sunbathing.¬† Some things¬†are not negotiable.¬† But I certainly DO NOT worship the sun;¬† I worship the SON.¬†¬†And I praise Him for His metaphor implicit in the astronomical sun.

Years ago nature played a huge role in leading me to consider the existence of¬†God.¬† I could not escape¬†the teleological argument:¬† the fact that there had to be an intelligent designer of the universe.¬† It could not have just “happened”, as so many believe today.¬† But for years I failed to understand that this Intelligent Designer was personal and knowable.¬†¬†I was an agnostic, and because I loved¬†nature I tried to¬†convince myself¬†that wandering¬†in the woods or¬†lolling on¬†a beach was “worship”—an acknowledgment of the Designer, Whomever He might be.

Obviously wandering and lolling did not “cut it”.¬† As awe-inspiring as nature is, it could not remedy the fact that I¬†desperately needed to be redeemed and removed from the bondage of sin.¬† Nature can only point us to God; it cannot go beyond its witness to the intricacies of creation.¬†¬†Once we have come to know our Savior,¬†we begin to discover¬†many spiritual¬†illustrations in nature; but nature cannot save us from sin.¬† Only the “Sun of righteousness” can do that!¬† And only the Son can heal.

In his comprehensive and practical book¬†THE FOUR LOVES, C. S. Lewis examines¬†the¬†limits of nature—affirming that although nature shows us God’s glory, it will never lead us to salvation or Christian growth.¬† We must have¬†Scripture study, church, and prayer.¬† While stringent copyright restrictions prohibit my quoting from¬†Lewis’s¬†treatise of¬†love per¬†Affection, Friendship, Eros, and Charity, I¬†recommend THE FOUR LOVES for further delving.

Meanwhile¬†only God’s book, our Holy Bible, presents us with a total and complete revelation of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ—the “Sun of righteousness” who will indeed return to heal our sin-sick, fractured earth.

Margaret L. Been — March 4th, 2016

 

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Every year at this time, since¬†I began¬†blogging, I’ve commemorated Pearl Harbor¬†with a photo of the disaster.¬† This year, I can’t bring myself to feature¬†the photo.¬† Recently, whenever I think of Japan I think of the devastation of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.¬† Necessary from a military standpoint?¬† Yes!¬† Unthinkably tragic from a human standpoint? ¬†YES!¬†

We need to remember history, mainly because¬†we could benefit from learning.¬† History could¬†provide foresight and wisdom.¬† But it’s been shown again and again¬†that¬†people do not¬†learn from history.¬† We may remember history, but we simply play it again.

As Christians, we are commanded to forgive.¬† Forgiveness is the very core of our faith, and the reason why we are standing here rather than decimated and plowed under by¬†God’s wrath.¬† Yet there are historical characters¬†whom I cannot forgive in¬†my fallen¬†humanity:¬† especially Hitler, for his atrocities to God’s people the Jews.¬† And Stalin.¬†

And, going way back—Oliver Cromwell.¬† I read a lot of documentaries on Irish history.¬†¬†I’m currently¬†experiencing a¬†formidable challenge knowing that I have to forgive the British Empire, not only for its mindless brutality in Ireland but for centuries of¬†power lust and domination in India and Africa.¬† My husband, always the wit, suggests that I gather up all my English tea and dump it in the harbor a mile from our home.

However when I think England I¬†want to¬†think¬†tea¬†and English country gardens—along with Shakespeare, Jane Austin, Keats, the Bront√ęs, Thomas Hardy, John Galsworthy and other authors too numerous to name.¬† I want to think our precious English language, and English theatre which¬†(in my opinion) is second to none.¬†

When I think Russia I want to¬†remember ballet and Tchaikowsky who, tortured as he was in his personal life, left the world a legacy of hauntingly beautiful music.¬† When I think Germany I want to¬†recall Bach and Beethoven—and the¬†tradition of¬†gem√ľtlichkeit reflected by German Americans in the cultural history of Wisconsin.¬† When I think Japan I want to¬†focus on¬†centuries of exquisite art traditions:¬† painting, poetry, gardening.

Every nation on earth has its shame as well as its pride.  Individuals are born sinners.  National shame is sin multiplied.  America is not exempt from national sin.  Just ask the decendants of the Cherokee and other Native Nations who walked the Trail of Tears from the deep South to Oklahoma and points West.  Or ask the descendants of slaves.

There is only One Remedy for sin, and that was accomplished for us¬†at Calvary.¬† God’s Remedy for sin came to us as a baby, born in a crude and humble manger some 2000 plus years ago.¬† He is coming again!¬† “And He shall reign forever and ever!”

Meanwhile I will remember December 7th, 1941.  Remember, but move on!

Margaret L. Been, ©2011

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