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“The life of mortals is like grass, they flourish like a flower of the field.” Psalm 103:15

The marketing behind roses is one of the great success stories of all time. Anyone who knows how to impress the one they love knows about roses. The smell good, bring joy to the receiver…and die quickly! However, somewhere along the line we were ‘taught’ that the very best flowers to give were roses and so, we buy roses.

Don’t get me wrong. I have nothing wrong with roses, and I admire a good marketing plan. However, the fact remains that there are many other flowers that smell good, last a long time and are less expensive.

Why this tirade? There are plenty of passages in the Bible that remind us of the mortality of the human race. The death rate among humans is 100% and at this point there is no indication that a cure will be found. That’s the bad news.

The good news is this; you were created to be a flower! Maybe you are a rose. Maybe you are a carnation. Perhaps you are some sort of wild flower in the fields, being tossed by summer breezes, refreshed by summer rains and chilled by early fall frost. The fact of the matter is, you are a flower.

Jesus said, look at the flowers. They don’t worry about clothing, they don’t worry where the next paycheck is coming from, they don’t worry about gas prices or if their retirement account will sustain them. They aren’t challenged by unruly flowers, nor are they concerned that their seedlings will be accepted into FSU (Flowery State University).

Flowers have one purpose in life: To bring joy to those around them by blooming! Everything else is in the Father’s hands.

So. Bloom! Bloom while you can! For those of us who know Jesus as our personal savior we know this world is not our home. The very best we can hope for here is nothing compared to the worst part about eternity with Jesus. So bloom while you can. Bring joy into the lives of others by spreading the love of Jesus in your thoughts, words and actions.

Our time is short, but our impact can be breathtaking!

PRAYER: Father God. For too long I’ve seen the negative part of your word concerning the shortness of human life. From this day forward help me to see the positive. Help me to bloom for you in Jesus name. Amen!

In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. Psalm 33:21 (NIV)

Father, I rejoice in you today because I can trust you. In an era when trust is hard to find I know I can always come to you and find you.

I know that you will be the same every time I seek you. Your love for me doesn’t change when I rebel against you. Your forgiveness is free for the asking even when my attitude isn’t right.

There are many around me who make claims about the great things they will accomplish, but their words are hollow. When you say something will happen, I know it will be just as you say.

Times change. People change. Yet the principles you set at the foundation of the world remain solid and secure because you have spoken it.

I rejoice in the many blessings you have given us.

I rejoice in the gift of family, of the love between a man and a woman, of the miracle of new birth, of the proud smile of a grandparent as they hold the assurance of their posterity.

I rejoice in the gift of friendships that encourage us to move on, allow us to cry on their shoulders, support us even when they don’t agree with us, and comfort us when we mourn.

I rejoice in your Holy Word, the Bible, for in it we have simple truths that lead us to eternal life along with principles for living that will guide us through the most difficult of times.

I rejoice in your gift of diversity. Just as no snowflake is alike, my world is full of different colors, different people, different cultures and different traditions. All these join together to testify to your greatness.

Most of all, Holy Father, I rejoice in your name. A name tells us about character and integrity. Your name, Jehovah, never changes and has withstood the attacks of time.

And I rejoice in that name that is above all names. The name that brings hope, forgiveness, understanding and patience. The name of your son, Christ Jesus my Lord.


And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split Matthew 27:50-51 (NIV)

Murder: the crime of unlawfully killing a person especially with malice aforethought.

I used to think that Jesus Christ was murdered by an angry mob until I read Matthew 27 again for the millionth time.

Two things came to my mind about that whole situation. The second one first (in order to confuse you) was how traumatic the death of Jesus was. The curtain in the temple was sixty feet long and thirty feet wide! All woven of one piece and not a seam to be found it must have been a sight to behold.

‘The curtain’ served as the final division between man and God. Behind it was the holiest of all places, where God himself dwelt. The High priest was allowed behind the curtain once a year to offer sacrifices to God on behalf of his people and himself. The only way to God, essentially, was through the priest.

Just outside the temple, perhaps within view, a lonely hillside held three crosses and a small gathering of people who’d come to mourn, to celebrate or just to watch the show and jeer at the criminals hanging there.

When the guy in the middle died, the result was something like noone had ever seen. As he breathed his last there was a tremendous earthquake to add to the ominous dark sky. Rocks split in two from the force of the action.

Meanwhile inside the temple as the priests celebrated their victory over some itinerant preacher fromGalileethe temple shook and the curtain split in two from top to bottom! Can you imagine the reaction of those in the building! No one had ever seen the holiest of all places. Some may have covered their eyes in fear (as if dark skies at midday and earthquakes weren’t enough). Tradition says that he priests hastily tried to patch the curtain (wonder if they had duct tape back then?)

That action was extremely symbolic because now, because of Jesus, direct access to God was completed. The devout Jews continued to worship as though access to God was restricted. They continued to believe that the only way to truly learn from God was through a priest, a tradition that has lasted through the centuries. But Jesus’ death put an end to that. To say a priest or pastor or missionary is closer to God because of position is like saying you are closer to the planet Mars because you are taller than I?

Closeness to God isn’t because of position, it’s because of passion.

Then, there’s the issue of Jesus’ murder. As I read that passage again, I asked myself, is it murder when you willingly let someone kill you? After all, Jesus didn’t need to die that day. The same power that tore the curtain and split the rocks could have saved him at the bat of an eyelash.

So, I looked up the definition of murder. Murder is, according to Webster, a crime of unlawfully killing a person especially with malice aforethought.

Was Jesus murdered? According to Webster he was. He meets the qualifications. Jesus was innocent of all charges, yet he died for your sin. Nothing you have done of ever will do could have gotten you through that curtain in theTemple. Nothing you can do will ever separate you from God’s forgiveness through Jesus.

Was his killing an act of planning and malice and cunning? Yes, although the priests thought their plan worked, the plan for Jesus to die was planned years earlier. They were simply pawns in God’s plan to finally bring us home, to tear that curtain in half.

Jesus was murdered by his own will so you can choose. He died so you could live. He conquered death so you could have eternal life.

PRAYER; Lord Jesus, once again I’m reminded of your sacrifice of love for me and the power you have to bring us to the Father. Thank you for forgiving me. Thank you for removing the curtain so I can find God. Amen.

Those who rush to other gods bring many troubles on themselves. I will not take part in their sacrifices; I will not worship their gods. Psalm 16:4 (GNT)

Several years ago I attended the same church as a State Trooper for the state I lived in at that time. This guy was huge, make no mistake about it. I’m guessing he was about 6’ 8” tall and close to 350 pounds. From the looks of him there wasn’t an inch of fat on him. He was all muscle. His facial features were deceiving. Tom (I’ll call him) was the kindest, most compassionate person I’d ever met. He had a heart for Jesus and a heart for people. That love of people was the driving force behind his career choice.

Tom worked in the children’s ministry with his wife. I never saw him get upset. Never saw any anger in his eyes. Never saw any personality traits that would match his stern expression…except once.

Tom and I were standing in a group having coffee after services. One person in the group made an innocent, off hand remark about how there was a speed trap out on the interstate on his way to church.

Tom looked him square in the eye and said, “That wasn’t a speed trap. Traps are for not intended for innocent people, only guilty ones. The innocent have nothing to worry about.”

There was a very noticeable pause in the group and discussion suddenly changed to the Huskers game the day before!

Tom’s point was well-taken. The innocent don’t need to worry about ‘being caught’. If you never lie, cheat or steal you will never be accused of being dishonest. If you never drink, you will never get drunk. If you never open yourself to the opportunity of an affair you will never be caught in infidelity. If you never look at pornographic images you will never have your mind contaminated by their poison.

The world is full of many gods (note the small ‘g’) that promise wealth, success and happiness. God’s that offer us status and power. Only one God promises us inner peace in the present and eternal life after death. That God (note the capital ‘G”) is the God of Genesis; the God of Creation; the Father of Jesus Christ.

When struggles attack ask yourself, is this a natural consequence of following a god of hopelessness or a test of your faithfulness. Only one God promises that we will never have to be ‘caught in the trap’ intended for the guilty.

PRAYER: Lord thank you for your promise of inner peace and eternal life. Forgive me for following the gods of this world. Empower me with your Spirit to follow after you. Amen.

In the same way, there is joy in the presence of God’s angels when even one sinner repents.” Luke 15:10 (NLT)

He was in his early 20’s. He had quite a reputation around the small town I’d just moved into. Most of his activities revolved around multiple girlfriends and marijuana. Jim (not his real name) and I struck up a friendship as the result of an old man we both worked with at a small factory in town.

The old guy, I’ll call him Richard, was a Bible-thumping Presbyterian who always had a good word for everyone and usually it came from the Bible. Richard had a been a Christian for over 40 years at that time and read the Bible through every one of those years. Richard didn’t just ‘love the Lord’; he walked and talked with him on a daily basis!

As time passed, Richard and I decided to make Jim our very own prayer project. Jim was interested in the Bible, but most of the time it seemed like it was just a good discussion tool and not something he took seriously.

Perhaps that’s the reason why I was so surprised one morning when he showed up at church. I’d invited him but had no thought that he’d actually attend, but there he was at Sunday School in jeans and a t-shirt (which, in this church was simply unheard of and inappropriate).

After Sunday School we talked a bit before I had to excuse myself to tend to some of my responsibilities at the church. I lost track of Jim and couldn’t see him during the worship service either. I assumed (sadly) that he left for home. At the end of the service the pastor announced that he had an introduction to make. He invited Jim to the front of the auditorium. Jim had been sitting up in the front row the whole time. The pastor told how this young man had come to him after Sunday School and prayed to accept Christ as his Savior.

I was moved to tears to say the least. As I made my way through the crowd to try to reach Jim (who was now surrounded by a crowd of ‘welcomers’) one of the deacons stopped me and said, “Say, I see you are painting your house!”

His statement still amuses me in a sense. I tried, as I was choking back tears, to engage in the small talk but on the inside I was screaming “Who cares about my stupid house! Do you realize what just happened here? A soul has come home! A life has been changed! A lost sheep has returned to the fold!”

I think of this story whenever I hear this verse from Luke. Do we, as followers of Jesus Christ, really realize the impact we can have on someone’s eternity? We admire great evangelists who can win 1,000’s to Christ, but the angel’s party in heaven over just one soul. We weren’t put here on earth to make money or to raise families. As Christ-followers, we are here to show those who need the Savior the way to repentance and joy and eternal life.

Let your light shine! Be a part of changing just one persons life today by showing them the love and grace of Jesus Christ. Rejoice in the privilege God has given us to make a difference in someone for eternity!

PRAYER: Lord I thank you for Jesus. It’s amazing to me that the angels rejoice over even one person who comes to you. Empower me to see the great privilege I have to make a difference today. Help me to show someone what Jesus is like and perhaps even have the great privilege of leading them home. Amen

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