Resurrection Day 2019

The Darkness Of Day Two

Yesterday was Good Friday. The day that Jesus Christ was hung up on the cross. As a Christian I believe that Jesus was God in the flesh. That the King of the universe created himself a bodily vehicle and lived, walked, taught and healed among mortal man. He was simultaneously both fully God and Fully man. And I believe that the disciples who followed him were at least partly aware of this. He was the messiah. The God/Man who had come to fix everything. But on Good Friday, God laid down his life and died. Notice that I didn’t say that he was slain. And mortal man who endured crucifixion would have been but being immortal Christ could not have been killed no matter how brutal he was treated. Then he cried out that God had forsaken him.

Digital art by Lloyd’s Lens Photography.

The flesh couldn’t die until the Spirit of God removed himself. And darkness covered the earth. And they buried the messiah. The bible tells us a lot about what happened on Good Friday. And the “Good News” of His resurrection is well documented. But on day two, the universe wept. Hope was gone. Peter went as far as to deny ever having met Jesus Christ on three different occasions. Day Two had to be the darkest day in human history. I have been saving tonight’s feature image just for this post because of the dark feeling invoked by the clouds and the rain on the sunroof of my wife’s car. (A technique that I use often) I think that it captures the feeling that his followers would have had on day two. The Bible says that during this day of darkness that Jesus was in Hell. That during our time of darkness he went to the prisoners in Hell and released those who died before His sacrifice was made. Itp wouldn’t be fair on the day of judgment to have not provided the opportunity of repentance to every soul that had ever lived. (Reference 1st Peter 3:18 – 20)

But his followers could not have known this. Day two had to be a day of doubts.

It’s a reminder to me that just because the darkness surrounds me and just because I don’t actually see what God is doing in my life doesn’t mean that nothing is happening.

Then, on the morning of day three the clouds rolled back and light returned to the earth. The two Marys had been to his grave and were the first to be told that hope was not lost. In fact, hope was just beginning and it was going to get even better.

It’s typical for us as Christians adapt the cross as the symbol of the sacrifice that cleansed us from our sins. But it’s the empty grave that ensures our own Resurrection.

Just a quick note before I close. There won’t be post for Resurrection Sunday. I’m taking the day off and the next post will be on Monday night. I’m also forgoing the normal marketing pitch at the end since tonight’s post is more of a testimony dedicated to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Good night and be blessed.

Holding My Peace

Hello Friends! Tonight’s feature image is titled “Peace Like A River ” and is available for purchase by following the instructions at the bottom of the article.

Ever since I was a kid people have advised me to “hold my peace”. It wasn’t until recently that I understood that this phrase didn’t necessarily mean shut up. Oh, I understand that’s what most people intend when they invoke the words but it means something different to me now. I hope that it’s going to mean something different for you too after this post. I realize that I have some readers that are not Christian. I can’t write this one from any other perspective. So, if you’re offended by Christianity then this post isn’t for you. You can skip this one. Unless of course, you’re tolerant enough to read it and try to gain something. I write a lot about peaceful moments and quiet time. The images that I share with you are normally places where I go to spend a few moments with Jesus Christ or in some cases something that makes me feel his presence in my life. It’s the things that “recharge my batteries”.

Christ is an endless supply of peace. We can be filled at any time. But the real challenge is staying full of peace in a world where your peace is under constant assault. I don’t have to provide examples, we all know where that stress comes from. Which brings me to my point. Being filled with peace and holding onto your peace might be two different things. Holding my peace now means something different to me. It means the ability to carry that peace throughout the day. I’m just as human as the next guy. There’s times when my peace battery is completely depleted. I’ve even gotten stressed out about being stressed out. The Apostle Paul said that he had to repent every day. But you know what? I’ve never really read where Jesus Christ refused to accept repentance. Don’t get me wrong, there will be a day when the age of grace closes and the day of vengeance will be at hand but not until after the rapture. Today we can simply come apart from the outside world and recharge as often as we need. And holding onto your peace gets easier with practice. Even if that means holding as long as you can and then running outside or into the next room to regain your grip on it. That grip will get stronger with exercise.

I hope you find this post and image to be an encouragement. Be blessed and have a great day.

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Fire On The Mountain & Alone Time With God

They had been walking for a very long time. Everyone was exhausted and cranky. The children were crying and the old people just sighed with “that look” on there faces. Along the way there were miracles and even now all of there shoes looked like brand new but still the people complained. Moses lifted his eyes to see the fire settling down on top of the mountain.

One of the most important things in life is alone time with God. That’s actually a lot of the reason why I crave the moments of solitude and the quiet places. It always helps to get out and away from society and the distraction of various responsibilities and obligations. I like to sit down and talk to God just like I talk to anyone else in the room or on the trail. There may not be fire and smoke or the voice of a trumpet but He’s always there just the same.

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The Long Night And Meaning Of The Lights On The Tree

Recently I made the comment that I was more excited about the 21st of December than I was for the 24th or 25th. The 21st of December is the longest night of year. And, when the dawn breaks on the 22nd the light returns to planet Earth. Most people are aware of the winter solstice and how the early church decided that it was just perfect for celebrating Jesus’s birthday.

Saint John 1:4-5

4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men.

5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.

Simply put, the lights on a Christmas tree represent Jesus Christ as the light of the world.

The Appalachian Winter is one where we can have snow or rain or both for Christmas but the darkness of December is a constant. The steep incline of our hills and low angle of the sun makes the normally long night even longer. The darkness like sin seems to suffocate you. It brings a coldness that seeps into very core of your being. But just when you think it’s going to be dark forever the light breaks over a distant ridge and the cold night begins to retreat. The light returns and with it comes new life.

As I’ve studied the deeper meanings behind our Christmas decorations I’ve come to understand that the Christmas Tree itself is a microcosm of the Jesus experience. We can decorate the tree with all kinds of trinkets and bobbles and assign different meanings to them and make it a beautiful and artistic expression of our Christian faith but it’s when the lights are turned on that it comes to life and brings us joy.

So, that’s the meaning behind the Christmas lights. It’s the expression of new life coming into world and the exit of the long dark night.

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All About The Christmas Holly

Well by gosh by golly, tonight’s post is all about holly!

One of the more familiar icons of the Christmas season in North America holly is a direct analogy to Jesus Christ.

Obviously the red berries are said to represent the blood that was shed for the remittance of sin. Only innocent blood could break the curse of Adam.

The prickles on the leaves are in relationship to the crown of thorns. In Roman Times the highest honor a leader could receive was a crown made from the grass of the battlefield where he had just gained victory. Because the thorn is a symbol for the curse of Adam a crown of thorns could be seen as a symbol for Christ’s victory, awarded to him by the sinners who He was born to save.

Holly is evergreen representing eternal life bestowed upon us by Jesus.

The wood produced by holly is white and symbolizes purity.

On a side note, if you want to have pretty red berries on your holly tree you need two trees. Holly comes in male and female trees. Holly grows wild in my area and before I understood why I would be disappointed to see one without berries.

In addition to that, one of my Forestry instructors would tell us that “holy wood will guide you right”. The wood is very fine grained and somewhat oily. Because of this it was once used to make guide pins for saw mills.

Even though Christmas holly is evergreen there is a type of holly tree that is deciduous. It has bright red berries like it’s festive Christmas cousin but the leaves turn bright yellow in the fall and drop in winter.

The berries of all hollies are poison but beautiful to look at making them great landscaping for the drab backdrop of winter.

That’s pretty much it for holly as it relates to the Christmas season. I hope that you have enjoyed this post.

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The second picture is titled “Deciduous Holly 2018” and is also available for purchase by using the Contact Form on my website.

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About That Ivy On Your Antique Decorations

You really couldn’t find a better symbol of resilience than English Ivy. Not only is it evergreen it seems to thrive wherever it puts down roots. I had always noticed that in some older Christmas decorations that English Ivy seemed to be present but I really didn’t know why. Here in the Southern United States holly and Mistletoe are staples of Christmas decor. So much so that unless you are an active observer you might mistake the Ivy for stylized holly. But it’s not. As I started to dig a little deeper into Ivy as a Christmas symbol I learned that it’s use peaked somewhere around the year 1200 Anno Domini. Like all Christmas symbols it has roots in paganism but then if people can be converted then why not symbolism? But I digress. The Christian symbolism of Ivy at Christmas is that of the believer. Like the Ivy the believer thrives wherever he/she is planted. Like the Ivy the believer is evergreen in having eternal life. And like the Ivy the believer must have support. English Ivy must have a wall or something to hold it up in order to reach the heavens. And the believer must lean on Christ throughout his/her life.

The next time you are pulling out those antique Christmas decorations look closely at the filigree. For years what I thought was holly turned out to be English Ivy.

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The Shaking

The small Virginia Pine stands out in a sea of Broomsedge. The open ridge line invites a harsh wind on most days. The winter here in this spot is ruled by freezing rain as well as blizzards. The wind has come through with enough rage to shake my big blue truck from side to side and knock down the power lines but still the crooked little Virginia Pine continues to flourish. I have watched it for several years now and it’s growing stronger with each storm. While it’s obvious that wind shake can damage trees it’s also true that a certain amount of wind is necessary for the trees to grow strong. If the tree isn’t shaken as it grows it never develops the mechanisms to deal with storms.

Often in our spiritual life we become distraught when troubles come and our faith is tested. But, it’s in these challenges that our strength develops to our full potential. Without them we never develop the coping mechanism that that gives us the strength to survive the storms.

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