Jesus Journey

Our hotel was very close to many landmarks and so convenient.  I snapped this photo outside the Old City walls.  If you look closely you can see the rock it was built on.  Such a spectacular sight.  Below is also one of the many gates into the old city.  IMG_0253IMG_0254

This day took us on a sacred journey through the places Christ traveled right up to His death and resurrection.  What a powerful day!

We started at the top of the Mount of olives overlooking the city.  There we took a photo of our awesome group, met a man taking photos with his donkey, and some of us road a camel!

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The man gave Dean a kiss when offered some money as a token of appreciation for a photo.

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We took some stairs and a walkway down to look at the many, many tombs with Jewish people buried with their feet toward the Temple Mount so that they can be ready for Messiah when He comes.  Muslims are buried near the gate He will come to as a way of blocking Him.  No chance.

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Some graves were so ancient that the tombstones were falling apart.

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The spires you see here are of Saint Mary Magdalena Greek Orthodox Church.

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We were then on to see some 2,000 year old olive trees and the area known as the Garden of Gethsemane where Jesus prayed out to His Father to take the cup of death away He was about to endure.

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While there, a private garden was opened to us and we spent time in the Scriptures with Guy and were able to pray and mediate alone or with friends and family.  I thought a lot about the anguish Jesus went through as He thought about His pending death and it made me cry.  I thanked Him for bowing to His Father’s will.

“Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and His disciples followed Him. On reaching the place, He said to them, ‘Pray that you will not fall into temptation.’ He withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, ‘Father, if you are willing, take this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.’ An angel from heaven appeared to Him and strengthened Him.  And being in anguish, He prayed more earnestly, and His sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.

– Luke 22:39-44 (NIV)

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We next drove nearby to the Church of Saint Peter in Galicantu, a Roman Catholic church located on the eastern slope of Mount Zion just outside the Old (walled) City of Jerusalem.  It is believed that Jesus appeared to the High Priest Caiaphas here, was sentenced to death by the Sanhedrin, and was the courtyard where Peter denied Jesus three times.

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Underneath the church we went down into some dungeon pits  where Jesus was likely beaten and kept overnight.

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In this pit, we together read Psalm 88:

Lord, You are the God who saves me;
    day and night I cry out to You.
May my prayer come before You;
    turn your ear to my cry.

I am overwhelmed with troubles
    and my life draws near to death.
I am counted among those who go down to the pit;
    I am like one without strength.
I am set apart with the dead,
    like the slain who lie in the grave,
whom You remember no more,
    who are cut off from Your care.

You have put me in the lowest pit,
    in the darkest depths.
Your wrath lies heavily on me;
    you have overwhelmed me with all Your waves.
8You have taken from me my closest friends
    and have made me repulsive to them.
I am confined and cannot escape;
     my eyes are dim with grief.

I call to You, Lord, every day;
    I spread out my hands to You.
Do you show Your wonders to the dead?
    Do their spirits rise up and praise You?
Is Your love declared in the grave,
    Your faithfulness in Destruction?
Are Your wonders known in the place of darkness,
    or Your righteous deeds in the land of oblivion?

But I cry to You for help, Lord;
    in the morning my prayer comes before You.
Why, Lord, do You reject me
    and hide Your face from me?

From my youth I have suffered and been close to death;
    I have borne Your terrors and am in despair.
Your wrath has swept over me;
    Your terrors have destroyed me.
All day long they surround me like a flood;
    they have completely engulfed me.
You have taken from me friend and neighbor—
    darkness is my closest friend.

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We all could feel the sadness and loneliness of that place.

In the courtyard where Peter denied Jesus, regret was there.

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We were able to see the actual Roman stairs where Jesus was brought up from the Garden.

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We then entered the Old City of Jerusalem by way of Herod’s Gate into the Muslim Quarter where we found tight hallways and alleyways with merchants.  We then came to the Christian Quarter and the place where Jesus was brought before Pilate.

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“Then the Jewish leaders took Jesus from Caiaphas to the palace of the Roman governor. By now it was early morning, and to avoid ceremonial uncleanness they did not enter the palace, because they wanted to be able to eat the Passover. So Pilate came out to them and asked, ‘What charges are you bringing against this man?’

If He were not a criminal,’ they replied, ‘we would not have handed him over to you.’

Pilate said, ‘Take him yourselves and judge him by your own law.’

‘But we have no right to execute anyone,’ they objected. This took place to fulfill what Jesus had said about the kind of death He was going to die.

Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked Him, ‘Are you the king of the Jews?’

Is that your own idea,’ Jesus asked, ‘or did others talk to you about me?’

Am I a Jew?’ Pilate replied. ‘Your own people and chief priests handed You over to me. What is it You have done?’

Jesus said, ‘My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent My arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now My kingdom is from another place.’

You are a king, then!’ said Pilate.

Jesus answered, ‘You say that I am a king. In fact, the reason I was born and came into the world is to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me.’

What is truth?” retorted Pilate. With this he went out again to the Jews gathered there and said, ‘I find no basis for a charge against him. But it is your custom for me to release to you one prisoner at the time of the Passover. Do you want me to release “the king of the Jews”?’

They shouted back, ‘No, not Him! Give us Barabbas!’ Now Barabbas had taken part in an uprising.

Then Pilate took Jesus and had Him flogged. The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on His head. They clothed Him in a purple robe and went up to Him again and again, saying, ‘Hail, king of the Jews!’ And they slapped Him in the face.

Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews gathered there, ‘Look, I am bringing Him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against Him.’ When Jesus came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe, Pilate said to them, ‘Here is the man!’

As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw Him, they shouted, ‘Crucify! Crucify!’

But Pilate answered, ‘You take Him and crucify Him. As for me, I find no basis for a charge against Him.’

The Jewish leaders insisted, ‘We have a law, and according to that law He must die, because He claimed to be the Son of God.’

When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, and he went back inside the palace. ‘Where do you come from?’ he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer. Do you refuse to speak to me?’ Pilate said. ‘Don’t you realize I have power either to free You or to crucify You?’

Jesus answered, ‘You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed Me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.’

From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jewish leaders kept shouting, ‘If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar.’

When Pilate heard this, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judge’s seat at a place known as the Stone Pavement (which in Aramaic is Gabbatha). It was the day of Preparation of the Passover; it was about noon.

‘Here is your king,’ Pilate said to the Jews.

But they shouted, ‘Take Him away! Take Him away! Crucify Him!’

‘Shall I crucify your king?’ Pilate asked.

‘We have no king but Caesar,’ the chief priests answered.

Finally Pilate handed Him over to them to be crucified.”

– John 18:28-40; 19:1-16 (NIV)

 

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We heard excellent teaching from Bob about Pilate and the politics of the crucifixion.  And we realized that we were standing on the stone where Jesus was flogged, beaten and given a crown of thorns to wear.  I felt a pit in my stomach.

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These were inscriptions found at the site.

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As we walked, we saw one of the only Lutheran Churches in the area.

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From there we went to lunch and looked out over the city from the balcony of the restaurant.

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The Church of the Holy Sepulchre was next in the Old City.  It was massive and there were many people there.  This is a church that holds a number of different devout religions.  It is thought to be the site of Jesus’ death and burial, by the catholic church.  People who believe this wait for so long in lines to see in this building within a building where they believe Jesus’ tomb was.

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Coming out of the Old City we were shown the places where bullet holes can be seen in the wall and small slits where guns were fired from.

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And then on to the Garden Tomb site where others, including myself, believe that Jesus was crucified, buried and rose from the grave.  When we entered this place it was so incredibly peaceful and beautiful.  It is kept up by Christians and run through donations.

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When we entered we sat in this shaded area, listened to teaching by our leaders, and had a time of reverent communion.

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We were led into a time of Biblical and archaeological learning by a guide.  He was so solid in the Gospel and a joy to listen to.  He showed us the place of the skull, called Golgotha in Greek.  We get our English word “Calvary” from the Latin Calvariæ Locus.  Golgotha is right outside the walls of Jerusalem and Jesus would have been crucified on the road (not on a hill) and the cross would have been close to the ground to humiliate the criminals on them.

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If you notice, the area right next to the Golgotha hill is currently a muslim area.

Adjacent to Golgotha is the Garden Tomb area.  There our guide told us about the inscription found at the site of this tomb believed to be the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea where Jesus’ body was laid.

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It was a sacred and exciting moment for us all as we went into the tomb and came out.  Jesus is alive!!

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As we left that garden we saw this verse

… that means everything.

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What a day it was, sacred and profound.

 

Photos by Susie Stewart

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Wish…

I wish

I could sit at Your feet, Jesus

 

look into Your eyes

and hear Your beautiful voice

 

I wish

I could pour out expensive perfume

over You

in adoration

 

crying tears of gratitude

and wiping them with my hair

 

I wish

I could touch the hem of Your robe

 

crowd not distracting

my attention on You

 

I wish I could follow You

from town to town

taking in Your brilliance

 

gleaning wisdom

from Your deep words

 

I wish

I could see Your lovely face

and just be with You

 

but You have chosen me

for this time and place

 

for a reason

 

And in my mind and heart

I will seek Your face

I will look into Your heart

I will listen for Your voice

and I will be sitting at Your feet

 

pouring out my best

for You

 

– Susie Stewart

 

Jesus was in Bethany at the home of Simon, a man who had previously had leprosy. While He was eating, a woman came in with a beautiful alabaster jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard. She broke open the jar and poured the perfume over His head.

Some of those at the table were indignant. “Why waste such expensive perfume?” they asked. “It could have been sold for a year’s wages and the money given to the poor!” So they scolded her harshly.

But Jesus replied, “Leave her alone. Why criticize her for doing such a good thing to Me? You will always have the poor among you, and you can help them whenever you want to. But you will not always have Me. She has done what she could and has anointed my body for burial ahead of time. I tell you the truth, wherever the Good News is preached throughout the world, this woman’s deed will be remembered and discussed.”

– Mark 14:3-9 (NLT)

 

As they continued their travel, Jesus entered a village. A woman by the name of Martha welcomed Him and made Him feel quite at home. She had a sister, Mary, who sat before the Master, hanging on every word He said. But Martha was pulled away by all she had to do in the kitchen. Later, she stepped in, interrupting them. “Master, don’t You care that my sister has abandoned the kitchen to me? Tell her to lend me a hand.”

The Master said, “Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it—it’s the main course, and won’t be taken from her.”

– Luke 10:38-42 (MSG)

 

Soon afterward Jesus began a tour of the nearby towns and villages, preaching and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom of God. He took His twelve disciples with him, along with some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases. Among them were Mary Magdalene, from whom He had cast out seven demons; Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s business manager; Susanna; and many others who were contributing from their own resources to support Jesus and His disciples.

– Luke 8:1-3 (NLT)

 

And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years, but no one could heal her. She came up behind Him and touched the edge of His cloak, and immediately her bleeding stopped.

“Who touched Me?” Jesus asked.

When they all denied it, Peter said, “Master, the people are crowding and pressing against You.”

But Jesus said, “Someone touched Me; I know that power has gone out from Me.”

Then the woman, seeing that she could not go unnoticed, came trembling and fell at His feet. In the presence of all the people, she told why she had touched Him and how she had been instantly healed. Then He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”

– Luke 8:43-48 (NIV)

 

Photo by Susie Stewart

More Vs. Enough

Jesus, teach me more

about enough

 

about content

and satisfied

 

Settle the desire

for more

 

and more

and more

 

Tame disatisfaction

and expose greed

 

Because more

will never be enough

 

YOU

must be

my Enough

 

– Susie Stewart

 

Don’t love the world’s ways. Don’t love the world’s goods. Love of the world squeezes out love for the Father. Practically everything that goes on in the world—wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important—has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from Him. The world and all its wanting, wanting, wanting is on the way out—but whoever does what God wants is set for eternity.

– 1 John 2:15-17 (MSG)

 

Then He said to them, “Watch out and guard yourselves against every form of greed; for not even when one has an overflowing abundance does his life consist of nor is it derived from his possessions.”

– Luke 12:15 (AMP)

 

Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away.  These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death.

– James 1:14,15 (NLT)

 

Yet true godliness with contentment is itself great wealth. After all, we brought nothing with us when we came into the world, and we can’t take anything with us when we leave it.  So if we have enough food and clothing, let us be content.

But people who long to be rich fall into temptation and are trapped by many foolish and harmful desires that plunge them into ruin and destruction.  For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows.

– 1 Timothy 6:6-10 (NLT)

 

Photo by Susie Stewart

Is This All There Is?

 

Living life

in light of eternity

 

means living as if

there is more than now

 

Eyes up

Trust forward

 

knowing that existence here

is a speck of dust

 

in eternity’s line

of endless

 

Remembering what is important,

Who is important

 

and not becoming attached

to what doesn’t last

 

Lord, show me how NOT to live

as if this is all there is

 

Show me my purpose

lived out

in Love

 

Finite life on earth

wrapped in infinite life with You, God

 

There’s so much more to come

 

– Susie Stewart

 

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, Love your neighbor as yourself.

– Luke 10:27 (NIV)

 

Everything in the world is about to be wrapped up, so take nothing for granted. Stay wide-awake in prayer. Most of all, love each other as if your life depended on it. Love makes up for practically anything. Be quick to give a meal to the hungry, a bed to the homeless—cheerfully. Be generous with the different things God gave you, passing them around so all get in on it: if words, let it be God’s words; if help, let it be God’s hearty help. That way, God’s bright presence will be evident in everything through Jesus, and He’ll get all the credit as the One mighty in everything—encores to the end of time. Oh, yes!

– 1 Peter 4:7-11 (MSG)

 

Don’t be troubled. Believe in God, and believe in Me. My Father’s house has many rooms. If that were not true, would I have told you that I’m going to prepare a place for you?  If I go to prepare a place for you, I will come again. Then I will bring you into My presence so that you will be where I am.  You know the way to the place where I am going.

– John 14:1-4 (GW)

 

For our momentary, light distress [this passing trouble] is producing for us an eternal weight of glory [a fullness] beyond all measure [surpassing all comparisons, a transcendent splendor and an endless blessedness]!

– 2 Corinthians 4:17 (AMP)

 

This is eternal life, that they should know you, the only true God, and Him whom you sent, Jesus Christ.

– John 17:3 (WEB)

 

Photo by Susie Stewart

Gifts Multiplied

For those who have accepted

the beautiful gift of grace

 

our words should be gracious

 

For those who have accepted

the unmerited gift of mercy

 

our actions should be merciful

 

For those who have accepted

perfect love unconditional

 

our love should should come without strings

 

For those who have accepted

redemption from darkness impenetrable

 

our attitudes should reflect intense light

 

What precious gifts, these!

 

Who we are in Christ should be a gift

to those we come into contact with

 

– Susie Stewart

 

Whoever loves a pure heart and whoever speaks graciously has a king as his friend.

– Proverbs 22:11 (GW)

 

Pleasant words are like honey from a honeycomb— sweet to the spirit and healthy for the body.

-Proverbs 16:24 (GW)

 

Great gifts mean great responsibilities; greater gifts, greater responsibilities!

– Luke 12:48 (MSG)

 

Each of you is now a new person. You are becoming more and more like your Creator, and you will understand Him better.

– Colossians 3:10 (CEV)

 

Photo by Susie Stewart

 

 

Pained Sister

Sister,

you have known much pain

 

You have been doubled-over

in life

for such a long time

 

And yet,

you have faithfully come

to worship

 

You have begged for healing

from your low-perspective infirmity

 

And yet it continues

and continues

 

Faithful sister,

your God has seen your pain

 

Your God has seen

your circumstances

 

He has seen your faithful heart

 

Continuing to trust

continuing to come

to Him

 

And just when you think

it has been too long

to be noticed

 

He speaks your name

and sets you free!

 

And your bowed position of humility

and pain

 

has produced in you

a strength and an inheritance

 

for eternity

 

You are loosed

from the weight

of the world

 

Sister, I see your faithfulness

and your love for the Master

 

You praised Him bent over

and you praise Him standing tall

 

Always trusting

bringing glory to Him

 

– Susie Stewart

 

One Sabbath day as Jesus was teaching in a synagogue, He saw a woman who had been crippled by an evil spirit. She had been bent double for eighteen years and was unable to stand up straight. When Jesus saw her, He called her over and said, “Dear woman, you are healed of your sickness!” Then He touched her, and instantly she could stand straight. How she praised God!

– Luke 13:10-13 (NLT)

 

“Lord, help!” they cried in their trouble,
and He saved them from their distress.
He sent out his word and healed them,
snatching them from the door of death.
Let them praise the Lord for His great love
and for the wonderful things He has done for them.
Let them offer sacrifices of thanksgiving
and sing joyfully about His glorious acts.

– Psalm 107:18-22 (NLT)

 

So own up to your sins to one another and pray for one another. In the end, you may be healed. Your prayers are powerful when they are rooted in a righteous life.

– James 5:16 (VOICE)

 

For our momentary, light distress [this passing trouble] is producing for us an eternal weight of glory [a fullness] beyond all measure [surpassing all comparisons, a transcendent splendor and an endless blessedness]!

– 2 Corinthians 4:17 (AMP)

 

Jesus First

Take note

of what distracts you

from Jesus

 

We say

“Love the Lord your God

with all your heart

and all your soul

and all your strength

and all your mind.”

 

and then we start the day

without talking to Him

 

we ignore His prodding

to love people practically

 

and we end the day

soaking in more distractions

 

with a token prayer at bedtime,

if that

 

Lord, I want to love You

with everything I have!

 

as a brand new lover

who can think of little else

 

Jesus, You saved me

with Your love!

 

with Your love…

 

I want You to know

that I recognize that and I’m grateful

 

and I see this

as a reciprocal relationship

 

I want to love You

MORE

each day

 

and I want people to see

that You

come

first

in me

 

I  want You to know

without a doubt

that I love You

 

– Susie Stewart

 

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind; and, Love your neighbor as yourself.

– Luke 10:27 (NIV)

 

One of the religion scholars came up. Hearing the lively exchanges of question and answer and seeing how sharp Jesus was in His answers, he put in his question: “Which is most important of all the commandments?”

Jesus said, “The first in importance is, ‘Listen, Israel: The Lord your God is one; so love the Lord God with all your passion and prayer and intelligence and energy.’ And here is the second: ‘Love others as well as you love yourself.’ There is no other commandment that ranks with these.”

– Mark 28:27-31 (MSG)

 

So I am not the one living now—it is Christ living in me. I still live in my body, but I live by faith in the Son of God. He is the one who loved me and gave Himself to save me.

– Galatians 2:20 (ERV)

 

For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With His love, He will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.

– Zephaniah 3:17 (NLT)

 

– Photo by Susie Stewart

 

Dark Pit

How dark is your pit?

How deep your valley?

 

How far down have you gone?

 

Into sin

Into grief

Into regret

 

That hole of darkness,

is it so all-encompassing

 

that you think

you’ll never see the light of day

again?

 

Even there

God will come for you

 

As long as you are alive

here on planet earth

 

you  will never be so low

that Jesus’ light cannot penetrate your darkness

 

This darkness,

it blinds

 

Wake up

to White Light

 

And He will bring you out

of that pit

 

– Susie Stewart

 

I am Light that has come into the world so that all who believe in Me won’t have to stay any longer in the dark.

– John 12:46 (MSG)

 

Everything was created through Him; nothing—not one thing!— came into being without Him. What came into existence was Life, and the Life was Light to live by. The Life-Light blazed out of the darkness; the darkness couldn’t put it out.

– John 1:3-5 (MSG)

 

I’m sending you off to open the eyes of the outsiders so they can see the difference between dark and light, and choose light, see the difference between Satan and God, and choose God. I’m sending you off to present my offer of sins forgiven, and a place in the family, inviting them into the company of those who begin real living by believing in Me.

– Acts 26:17, 18 (MSG)

 

Through the heartfelt mercies of our God, God’s Sunrise will break in upon us, Shining on those in the darkness, those sitting in the shadow of death, Then showing us the way, one foot at a time, down the path of peace.

– Luke 1:79 (MSG)

 

 

Photo by Arik Stewart

Complacent

I know when I’m complacent

I know it’s a choice

 

And I can see why God detests

lukewarm

 

Because when I’m in that place

it’s a miserable place

 

And You, Lord, don’t wake me up

to have me meander, head low, to You

 

You call me to run back!

 

With fervency

and joy

and thankfulness

 

Mercy awaits

the temporarily complacent

 

Mercy beckons

 

Loving with abandon

crushes complacency

 

– Susie Stewart

 

What the world doesn’t need is Christians who tolerate the complacency of their own lives.

– Francis Chan

 

So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him. His son said to him, “Father, I have sinned against both heaven and you, and I am no longer worthy of being called your son.”

But his father said to the servants, ‘Quick! Bring the finest robe in the house and put it on him. Get a ring for his finger and sandals for his feet. And kill the calf we have been fattening. We must celebrate with a feast, for this son of mine was dead and has now returned to life. He was lost, but now he is found.’ So the party began.

– Luke 15:20-24 (NLT)

 

Don’t you see how wonderfully kind, tolerant, and patient God is with you? Does this mean nothing to you? Can’t you see that his kindness is intended to turn you from your sin?

– Romans 2:4 (NLT)

 

Those I love I also correct and discipline. Therefore, be shamelessly committed to Me, and turn back.

– Revelation 3:19 (VOICE)

 

Photo by Susie Stewart

Light in Light

In Light

we see Light

 

In darkness

all is dark

 

So, Jesus, open the eyes of the blind!

Awaken them to Light!

 

For the dark

is a scary place to be

 

It’s hopeless…

 

But those who dwell in Light

recognize Your Light

 

and want it

for those in absence of it

 

Those who dwell in blackness

can’t see it

 

Loose them, Lord!

Unbind them!

 

Let us be Your Light

to our fellow-created

 

May Your Light

Pierce the darkness

 

that threatens to overtake

those You love

 

– Susie Stewart

 

For with You is the fountain of life; in Your light we see light.

– Psalm 36:9 (NIV)

 

How exquisite your love, O God! How eager we are to run under your wings, To eat our fill at the banquet You spread as You fill our tankards with Eden spring water. You’re a fountain of cascading light, and you open our eyes to light.

– Psalm 36:7-9 (MSG)

 

In Your house, they eat and are full at Your table.
They drink from the river of Your overflowing kindness.
You have the fountain of life that quenches our thirst.
Your light has opened our eyes and awakened our souls.

– Psalm 36:8,9 (VOICE)

 

But we had to celebrate and be happy, because your brother was dead, but now he is alive; he was lost, but now he has been found.

– Luke 15:32 (GNT)

 

Light shows up everything, just as the Scriptures say,

“Wake up from your sleep
and rise from death.
Then Christ will shine on you.”

– Ephesians 5:14 CEV)

 

You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ, for He forgave all our sins.

– Colossians 2:13 (NLT)

 

It wasn’t so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin. You let the world, which doesn’t know the first thing about living, tell you how to live. You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience. We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. It’s a wonder God didn’t lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, He embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on His own, with no help from us! Then He picked us up and set us down in highest heaven in company with Jesus, our Messiah.

– Ephesians 2:1-6 (MSG)

 

Photo by Susie Stewart