Jesus Rose of Sharon

Jesus Rose (of Sharon)

Quotation Marks“For to this end Christ both died, and ROSE, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.” Romans 14:9
“I am a ROSE of Sharon, a lily of the valleys.” Song of Songs 2:1

I selected this particular image, because Jesus ROSE from the dead, and is often referred to as the ROSE of Sharon. I cannot truly imagine the elation of Mary and the Disciples, after the despair of the two days previous to the Resurrection, but my heart sings with joy that Jesus loved us enough to pay the penalty for our sins, and rose from the grave on the third day as a proof of His dominion over death! He. Is. Alive!

If all that is not Grace enough, Jesus, Who promised we could have Life in Him through His Holy Spirit, commissioned His Holy Spirit to abide, as an Advocate, a Teacher, a Testimony, a Gift, and a Guarantee, within all who believe on Him! I have included only a few of the promises related to His precious Holy Spirit, and I pray you find them as comforting as do I! Praise Jesus, and Happy Easter! —AdL

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another ADVOCATE to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.” John 14:16-18

“But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will TEACH you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” John 14:26

“’When the Advocate comes, whom I will send to you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will TESTIFY about me.’” John 15:26

“’Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the GIFT of the Holy Spirit. The promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off—for all whom the Lord our God will call.’” Acts 2:38, 39

“When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit GUARANTEEing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.” Ephesians 1:13, 14

Written on April 19th, 2014 , 5th Day Photography, God Lessons, Special Occasions
Stone Cross

Meditation on the Cross

Quotation MarksI found it engrossing, enlightening and encouraging when I meditated upon the instances and contexts of the word CROSS within the lexicon of The Word. You surely will benefit from hearing directly from God’s Word without any interpretation from me. I have limited the quotes to those of significance, so if you want to see all the instances, I recommend the Bible Gateway (http://www.biblegateway.com) site. Just search for whatever term you are seeking. May God bless you this Good Friday with an understanding of His incredible gift! —AdL

“Also make CROSSbars of acacia wood: five for the frames on one side of the tabernacle, five for those on the other side, and five for the frames on the west, at the far end of the tabernacle.” Exodus 26:26

“All who CROSS over, those twenty years old or more, are to give an offering to the Lord.” Exodus 30:14

“I will die in this land; I will not CROSS the Jordan; but you are about to cross over and take possession of that good land.” Deuteronomy 4:22

“The Lord your God himself will CROSS over ahead of you.” Deuteronomy 31:3

“Your servant will CROSS over the Jordan with the king for a short distance, but why should the king reward me in this way?” Samuel 19:36

“You set a boundary they cannot CROSS; never again will they cover the earth.” Psalm 104:9

“Was it not you who dried up the sea, the waters of the great deep, who made a road in the depths of the sea so that the redeemed might CROSS over?” Isaiah 51:10

“‘Should you not fear me?’ declares the Lord. ‘Should you not tremble in my presence? I made the sand a boundary for the sea, an everlasting barrier it cannot CROSS. The waves may roll, but they cannot prevail; they may roar, but they cannot CROSS it.’” Jeremiah 5:22

“This is what the Lord says: ‘Stand at the CROSSroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls.’” Jeremiah 6:16

“Then he said to them all: ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their CROSS daily and follow me.’” Luke 9:23

“And whoever does not carry their CROSS and follow me cannot be my disciple.” Luke 14:27

“‘Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has CROSSed over from death to life.’” John 5:24

“Carrying his own CROSS, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha).” John 19:17

“Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the CROSS. It read: jesus of nazareth, the king of the jews.” John 19:19

“Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jewish leaders did not want the bodies left on the CROSSes during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down.” John 19:31

“This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the CROSS.” Acts 2:23

“The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead—whom you killed by hanging him on a CROSS.” Acts 5:30

“After Herod had a thorough search made for him [Peter] and did not find him, he CROSS-examined the guards and ordered that they be executed.” Acts 12:19

“When they had carried out all that was written about him, they took him down from the CROSS and laid him in a tomb.” Acts 13:29

“For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the CROSS of Christ be emptied of its power.” 1 Corinthians 1:17

“For the message of the CROSS is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” Corinthians 1:18

“May I never boast except in the CROSS of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” Galatians 6:14

“His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the CROSS, by which he put to death their hostility.” Ephesians 2:15-16

“And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a CROSS!” Philippians 2:8

“For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the CROSS of Christ.” Philippians 3:18

“For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the CROSS.” Colossians 1:19-20

“And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the CROSS.” Colossians 2:15

“For the joy set before him he endured the CROSS, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:2

“‘He himself bore our sins’ in his body on the CROSS, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; ‘by his wounds you have been healed.’” 1 Peter 2:24

Written on April 18th, 2014 , 5th Day Photography, God Lessons
Male Costa's Hummingbird on Branch 040911

Male Costa’s Displaying His Glory

Quotation MarksIt’s easy, isn’t it, to give when you know you will be recompensed? The reward may not be tangible, like money, gifts, or even a thank you card, but something much more subtle, such as a compliment, a quick, “Thank you,” or even just a sense of respect and esteem. Perhaps just a little glory gleaned? That is not to infer that your gifts are disingenuous, or not given with a generous intent, but perhaps a subtle motivation may be lurking quietly behind those earnest emotions.

God gently convicted me about this very issue recently, and despite His tenderness, still it hurt. Not because He was cruel or harsh, but because it is true. I’m not convinced that it is necessarily inherently sinful, but perhaps a natural limitation due to our sinful nature. I mean, who is it that does not respond to positive reinforcement? A whole science is dedicated to studying it, and devising ways to employ it successfully with everyone, from infant to elderly, rich to poor, genius to mentally-impaired.

Think about it, you each must have encountered that person that makes it disheartening and unrewarding to give. You know, the one that is seldom grateful, complains that you don’t give more, and rarely reciprocates. You each must have also encountered that person that hugs you fervently, lavishes you with gratitude, and is anxious for the opportunity to reciprocate. Tell the truth, to which do you give more generously, more frequently and with a gladder heart? I admit my weakness, of course I prefer the person who will acknowledge my sacrifice, and shower me with gratitude and approval. However, Jesus said, “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that.” Luke 6:27, 28

I have discovered latent glory-gleaning motives regarding my blog, too. For the last five or six months, I have invested an abundance of time and effort (writing is difficult for me) into developing discipline to post regularly, formulating themes and ideas (not easy for a totally non-creative person), growing an audience, and producing a repository of posts. I have experimented with different types of posts, observed the responses, gauged audience preferences, and sought to satisfy. Again, not sinful, of course, and if this were a purely commercial site, would in fact, be wise and profitable. But…as a Christian, I am called to a higher purpose, and a higher standard. (From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. Luke 12:48) Much more dangerous, at least for me, is that I have made it personal, and have begun to covet positive feedback. When days pass…and days pass…and days pass…and I see no interest in a post, I feel that I’ve failed, and am driven to strive harder to earn approbation the next time. Or if I do happen to receive a comment or compliment, I am high for days. Again, not necessarily inherently sinful, but the danger is that the praise and admiration of others usurps the rightful place of Jesus as Head in my heart. And just as crucial, I steal a bit of glory that belongs to Jesus. He made me. He gave me the mind, the skill, the idea, the means. What glory is mine to claim? That I obeyed His urging? Perhaps. I lament, however, for I tend to claim more of His glory for myself. Read the rest of this entry »

Written on September 9th, 2011 , God Lessons
Morning and Evening Cover

Morning and Evening Devotional by Charles H. Spurgeon

Quotation MarksThis is a tough lesson for any of us that want to be doers rather than waiters, but I find it tremendously encouraging during those times that God forces me to be still. Perhaps you will find it so, too.
—AdL
August 30

“Wait for the Lord.” —Psalm 27:14

It may seem like an easy thing to wait, but it is rather a discipline learned by a Christian soldier over years of teaching. Marching and even quick-marching is much easier to God’s warriors than standing still. There are seasons of perplexity when the most willing spirit anxiously desires to serve the Lord, but simply doesn’t know what he should do. Should he torment himself in despair, turn away in fear, or rush forward in presumption? No. He should but simply wait.

He should wait, first of all, in prayer. Call upon God, and spread the case before Him. Tell Him your difficulty, and plead with Him to fulfill His promise of aid. It is sweet to wait with simplicity of soul upon the Lord. It is good for us to feel and know our own foolishness and to be willingly guided by Him.

We must also wait in faith, expressing our unstaggering confidence in Him. After all, unfaithful, untrusting waiting is an insult to the Lord. Believe that if He keeps you waiting even until midnight He will still come at the right time.

Wait in quiet patience, not rebelling under the affliction but blessing your God for it. Never complain about your circumstances as the children of Israel did; never wish to go back to the world again, but accept your situation as it is, putting it into the hand of your covenant God. Say, “Lord, not my will, but Yours be done. I don’t know what to do; I have come to the very edge, but my heart is fixed on You alone, O God. You will yet be my joy, my salvation, my refuge, and my strong tower.”

Charles H. Spurgeon, Morning and Evening

Written on August 30th, 2011 , God Lessons

Amazing Humpback Whale Rescue

Quotation MarksI love whales, ever since third grade when I first learned about them, and have even adopted a couple of humpback whales over the years. Alas, I have never had the privilege to view any in the wild, although I did spend nearly a day with J.J. (a young Gray whale) that Sea World rescued on January 11, 1997, when she was found beached as a newborn. She was dehydrated and weak, but was successfully stabilized, rehabilitated and released back into the wild.

When I was in San Diego in April of 1997, she was successfully nursing six times a day on five gallons of “whale formula” made of fish, milk powder and vitamins blended with heavy cream. (Yum.) At that point, she was gaining more than 30 pounds and half an inch in length a day! I had the exciting opportunity to film her as she nursed (well, sucked smelly goo through a plastic hose from two five gallon utility buckets, actually) only four feet away. It was all over in less than five minutes, but what a glorious five minutes! Less than a year later, she was sadly (and joyfully!) released into the Pacific Ocean on March 31, 1998. It was amazing to be even a five minute part of such an incredible story. :-)

This is another remarkable rescue story, and I can definitely relate to their elation once the whale was free. Even more heart-warming is watching the obvious delight and exhilaration of the rescued whale. My heart leaps with hers in joyful recognition of a small reflection of how Jesus rescued us!

—AdL

Written on August 3rd, 2011 , God Lessons
Sonoran Desert Sunset 063010

A Sonoran Desert Sunset

Quotation MarksFor P.—I miss you, and love you always!

Death. It touches us all. It comes to us all. It comes for us all. And it came to me—unexpectedly, unfairly, uninvited, unwanted. It came for my beloved brother, Pete—unidentified, unnamed, unforeseen, unavoidable. It had been over a year since Pete died an excruciating death, and since I suffered that agony with him. The difference between us is that Pete is Home, free from the suffering, that painful event in his past, but I, left behind, still resided in those last tragic moments, reliving the agony ceaselessly. I kept trying to extirpate myself from the emotional hole, but with rather indifferent results.

Each time thoughts of Pete came to my mind, I appropriated that favorite and oft repeated phrase exploited by Scarlett O’Hara in Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind, “I can’t think about that right now. I’ll think about that tomorrow.” That became my mantra of late, as a desperate plea for reprieve from the demons who shadowed me since that dreadful night that I received “the call.” Ever, I was haunted by regret, anguish, pity, sorrow, and the unrelenting questions that come with unexpected death. And still, Pete’s death was worse, almost verging on suicide of a sort. He knew. He knew. He must have known. He knew something was desperately wrong, and yet he sought no medical care, and he told no one, at least not enough for anyone to discern how seriously ill he was. Why? Why! It had been fourteen months, and still that answer eluded me, and I thought, perhaps it always will. Read the rest of this entry »

Written on June 28th, 2011 , God Lessons
Cross Sunset 010508

Good Friday

Quotation MarksDo you want to be used of God? Do you ever envy Moses, Elijah, John the Baptist, Paul? What about Jonah, Job or Stephen? Approaching it from a different direction, have you ever had to wound somebody? I don’t mean in that, “You really can’t sing,” or, “That plaid makes you look fat,” or “You’re no good at fixing cars,” way. I mean crush them…down deep…where the soul seems almost newly formed with no scaling, no thickening, no scars, no calluses to protect it? Would you do it, could you do it, if God asked it of you? It seems to be just another of those esoteric, philosophical, and ultimately rhetorical questions…but it’s not, because God required it of me nearly a decade ago, and I have only begun to forgive Him for that.

A little background would probably be helpful. For years, family and friends would come to me with their burdens, and through me, as He does through so many others, God would provide comfort and, when He chose to, words of wisdom. I do not, cannot, take credit for this, other than for perhaps making myself available for Him to use in that way. I was always left humbled by His Presence, and incredibly grateful that He would use me at all. But—and there’s always a but, isn’t there—those who would come to me were usually comforted and grateful. It never occurred to me, while I was enjoying, well, adoring, those halcyon days of, in a modern colloquialism, “sharing the love,” that He might someday expect me to mature and grow into offering something more recondite and formidable. Silly, I know, but He was always so gentle and tender with me, I never realized I would eventually need to be weaned from Spiritual Pabulum to meat. (I think I begin to understand why infants are so grumpy during this period.) Read the rest of this entry »

Written on April 22nd, 2011 , God Lessons, Special Occasions
Frozen Pipes

Frozen Pipes in the Sonoran Desert

Quotation MarksFreezing temperatures are not exactly the norm in the Sonoran Desert, but we usually have a 28° F low one or two nights in winter. A “hard freeze” usually equates to approximately 25° F, so we all bedeck our citrus trees in parka-like insulation, fret about our water pipes freezing, and tremble beneath our electric blankets jacked up to High. Last year, we happened to have a whole-house water filter system installed, and the plumbers thoroughly insulated the pipes after the installation, so along with our additional “bath-towel-insulation,” we thought we were safe.

This time, however, a “hard freeze” meant 18° —tying the lowest temperature we’ve ever experienced in February, since weather record-keeping began here in 1895. Now to those of you who live in less temperate locations than the Sonoran Desert, you may believe our water pipes would still be safe, but you would be wrong. Why? Because unlike the practical tradition in cold regions where water pipes are buried deep, and surface into a warm basement or crawl space, our pipes emerge outside the house, and bend to enter the house through the outside wall. I’m sure you can see where this is going. Exposed pipes (even mostly covered with foam insulation), and two nights of 18°F temperatures. But why attempt to draw out the suspense? You can see the results above. Read the rest of this entry »

Written on February 7th, 2011 , God Lessons, Just for Fun

Quotation MarksLost, truly lost. Amidst the tumult of a prosaic life, the poetry of God’s deathless Love stole in, and what was lost was found.

Where is that doggone disk? I stormed around the room. “Darn it,” I yelled aloud in my frustration, and began flinging things heedlessly. “There. There it is, thank God!” I mumbled under my breath, as I scrambled out the door. I had already locked the door when I remembered, Rats! I forgot my water. I can’t go out in this heat without water. I reentered the apartment, snatched the bottle, and flung the strap over my shoulder. Thump! It tangled with my bag and briefcase, and the whole mess fell to the floor. “Darn it!” My patience had defected with my previously aborted departure, and I suffered the current vexation minus the traitor.

I was late, laden with the necessities for summertime travel in the crowded Sonoran Desert streets, and my temper was burning ere I even hit the 110° desert incinerator. I relocked the door, and stalked toward the parking lot, impatiently ceding right-of-way to a woman carting laundry to the on-grounds Laundromat. My obligatory smile was hollow; she was in my way, and I was in a hurry. Read the rest of this entry »

Written on August 12th, 2009 , God Lessons
Game of Life Scoreboard

Quotation MarksWho wants to lose, right, much less be happy to lose? But if you consider for just a minute, it may become apparent that there can be situations in which some of us might even be happy to lose. I would be thrilled to lose weight, lose the persistent pain in my left hand, lose my next summons to jury duty, lose the cacophony of vehicles hurdling past my house each day, lose this nagging sense of inferiority, and lose my penchant for chocolate chip cookies. How about that income tax? I would be happy to lose that any old time. What about you? Read the rest of this entry »

Written on April 24th, 2009 , God Lessons

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On the 5th Day Photography – Revealing God's nature in the Sonoran Desert

Nature Photography and Stories from the Sonoran Desert