Monday, November 11, 2013

Pierced

I read this poem I wrote on the air this morning. After seeing Billy Graham's "My Hope America" this weekend, I remembered this poem and thought I'd share it. Oh, how I love Jesus!

The hands and feet of Jesus are what we’re told to be
To go where He will lead us - to serve in humility

To love and care for orphans, to support the weak and poor
Our lives a living sacrifice with motives that are pure

And yet to be his hands and feet, we must never forget the cost
Christ’s hands and feet were pierced that day as He hung upon the Cross

The piercing was so painful and it held him in His place
While the soldiers mocked & beat Him and death He bravely faced

He was pierced for our transgressions as our sin was cast on Him
We are pierced by our transgressions now each time we commit a sin

We are pierced when those we love don’t respond to Jesus’ Name
Or when we see a suffering child whose illness seems in vain

We’re pierced when our lives seem hopeless and we question God’s intent
If things don’t go our way and our faith seems to have been spent

We’re pierced when we see the Truth but to act means sacrifice
To truly live like Christ, we must give Him our whole life

That means the money that we’ve saved and the possessions that we own
It means the dreams that we have dreamt and the relationships we have grown

But sacrifice is never as hard as the enemy would have us believe
We must trust God enough to give without expecting to receive

The hands and feet of Jesus are what we’re told to be
Pierced but raised to New Life – walking in His Victory!

-Leslie Nease



He was pierced for our transgressions,
   He was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on Him,
   and by His wounds we are healed. 


Isaiah 53:5 

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Dancing Leaves

Fall is here!  Oh, how I love this time of year. Driving down the road the other day, I noticed the colorful leaves "dancing" on the ground all around us.  My first thought was "What on earth would they have to dance about?  Don't they know they are dead?"  The poor little leaves.  It looks like their "hayday" is over.  They are withered up and they've fallen to the ground only to be raked away and toted off as trash.  It's a shame, because they look so beautiful on the outside with all the reds, oranges, yellows, purples and browns scattered across the walking trail.  But just because they were beautiful, that didn't change the fact that they were not alive anymore.

But they were dancing...

I wonder... if the leaves could think, what would they think?  Maybe they would recall the days when they were just a tiny bud, bursting into the warm sunshine with excitement and a zest for life.  Each precious day, they would soak in the rain, the sun and enjoy the warm breezes that blew through, prompting them to sing in unison with the other leaves holding tightly to the tree branches as they all rustled with the wind in harmony.

I wonder... if the leaves could think, would they think back to the day that they realized things were beginning to change? Life was beginning to get more difficult and the sun wasn't shining down on them as much.  Their colors became more beautiful and vibrant on the outside, but inside they were not feeling beautiful or vibrant at all.  I wonder if they knew something was wrong.  Instead of a welcoming breeze, the winds were chilly and uninviting.  I wonder if they recall the moment they realized they were hanging on by a thread to the tree...ready to fall to the ground, to give up and just let go at the first sign of the next breeze. 

I wonder... if the leaves could talk, would they tell us how it felt to float gently to the ground the day they finally let go?  The force of the wind was more than they could bear.  They had to surrender.  Would they tell us tales of how they would lay there, among other beautifully colored leaves, wondering what was going to happen next as they huddled together, terrified and vulnerable.  Would they admit that they pondered if this was the end of the road for them - that there was nothing left?

Then I wonder...if leaves could talk, would they tell us about the day the wind gust began to blow through their huddle with a powerful blast and instead of singing with the other leaves up in the tree as they did in their youth when those gusts would go through, they found themselves dancing with those very same leaves, all dressed up in their autumn colors, as if they were celebrating their new life!  A chance to dance freely - given only by the strength of the powerful and mighty wind.
Yes, the leaves may have been dead...but the wind brings life to them.  So they celebrate!  They are filled with hope again. 

Life is different now, and their path is determined by the wind these days, not by the security of the tree branch they so tightly held onto before the change.  They must trust not in their own strength to hold on now, but in the wind's strength to carry them through to where it would have them go.  Their mourning has turned to joyful dancing and they are clothed with joy!

What a beautiful picture this has given to me of the life God gives to us through His Spirit.

Psalm 30:10-12

You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing.
      You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy,
 that I might sing praises to you and not be silent.
      O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!


John 3:8
 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Losing Bonnie

Last Thursday was a tough night at the Nease House. After dropping my daughters off at the high school football game, I drove home to find our sweet kitten, Bonnie, caught in the top of the closed garage door. I suppose she was hiding on top of the door while it was open (she must have jumped up from the top of the car onto the door and was hiding there.) When I opened the door, she fell and she was not moving. Our dog, Max, was trying hard to lick her and move her with his nose, but I knew it was too late. She was gone and I was absolutely devastated.


My heart sank as I looked at her brother, Clyde, who was looking for her and already seemed to know something was wrong and then I thought about how I had to tell my sweet daughters about the accident. My heart hasn't been this broken in a very long time. I'm so thankful for my mom and step-father, who were there in an instant. He took Bonnie and laid her to rest. Words cannot describe my grief.

Later that night, when the girls came home from the game, I had to break the news. Of course, they were devastated and I held Kennedy as my mom held Peyton and we all just sobbed. What a horrible thing to live through. I kept praying God would give us peace and I knew it was coming - but at that moment it was pure grief.

Almost immediately, Peyton remembered that right before they left for the game, Kennedy had taken some pictures of Peyton holding Bonnie (they are the pictures I've posted here on the blog). They were beautiful pictures and immediately, the peace that passes understanding flooded us all as we looked at the photos and realized God gave Peyton an opportunity to say goodbye to her sweet friend. These pictures are absolutely precious to us.

A couple of nights later, I was talking to Peyton and she was doing surprisingly well. She mentioned she was feeling peace about it all and that she could tell that was something that God was doing in her to help her through it. When something bad happens, I try to teach my kids to look for the "God hugs" - those moments where you see God working in spite of the pain. She knew this was something good that was coming from it and she even said that on Wednesday, the day before the accident, she was prompted to pray for peace for our family for some reason. She was experiencing that "peace that passes all understanding" that God talks about in the Bible for the first time. She knew He was real and her heart was healing a lot quicker than she ever imagined it could.

Aside from the amazing lesson God is teaching us about peace that passes understanding, we have also learned that with God, we can get through anything - especially when we are together. We've learned not to take a moment for granted with one another because life is fleeting. We've learned that grief comes in waves, and you can never determine when it will hit, but you can always know it will subside and when someone is there to hug you through it, it really helps. We've learned that God is faithful and He is true to His Word. We've also learned that when the horror of the moment tries to revisit in our minds, we can picture Bonnie, purring loudly and rubbing against the sweet feet of Jesus. That's my favorite.


Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.  Philippians 4:7

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