August 14, 2011

It Hurts, But He’s Not Forgotten

Posted in Devotionals, Poetry, prophecy, Stories at 11:32 pm by Sarah Bosse

I had an encouraging vision tonight while writing a poem for a friend who is enduring extremely challenging times.

I saw the tears my friend was crying as she prayed, and Father God looking lovingly and gently into her face. And though she could not see Him clearly through all the tears, He was taking each tear as it came down, onto His fingertip. He inspected each tear closely and as He looked into each beaded teardrop, He saw His own reflection in that tear. He knew that He would be reflected in each tear, yet He didn’t neglect to inspect each and every one. After inspecting a tear, he let the tear roll off the side of His fingertip and into the top of a large, dark blue teardrop-shaped bottle that He carried with Him at all times to collect the tears of the saints.

Then I saw the tears of Jesus as He prayed for those He was to save. And in His tears, our faces were reflected so that if we inspected His tears, we would see ourselves, and remember from whom these tears came. His tears would glorify God, His Father, whom He was making known to us.

Then I saw Jesus lifted up on the Cross and His blood was dripping down from his side where the whips had broken open His flesh. The blood dripped down his chest, his side, spiraling down his leg and from his heel it flowed down the trunk of the tree on which he hung. I clung to that old rugged cross, and I looked and saw the drops slide down further still until they soaked into the dust around my feet. “We are made of dust,” I thought, as I realized how far those drops of blood had traveled for me – from Heaven’s highest place…to be soaked up by the dust, poured out upon a sinful mortal people to save them from their sins and God’s holy wrath. How great was His humiliation for us!

Jesus’ tears and blood plead forgiveness for us so that we can fully enter the Father’s presence without hesitation. He forgave us so that we could forgive and live for His purposes, to make more of Him and less of ourselves.

I had this sense that God takes prayers and tears seriously. He cherishes them. He holds them for the proper time. He doesn’t forget them or push them away and pretend they aren’t there; He doesn’t cast them as far as the east is from the west or add them to the ocean as just another droplet of water; He knows their depth, each tear’s cry. And He listens to the tears of His saints just as He listened to the tears of His Son and the cry of His Son’s blood spilled for us.

At the appointed time, I saw Father take His bottle into the throneroom of Heaven and pour it out so that it became a river. The bottle kept pouring out more tears than it seemed it was possible it could contain. It made a crystal clear river of life in the New Jerusalem and splished and splashed joyously throughout all of heaven. The sounds of its splashing and gushing were like choirs of heavenly music which sung praises to God.

I saw the Samaritan woman by the well whom Jesus had asked to draw water for Him. When she questioned Him, He told her that he could give her living water. I saw the tears of Jesus again and knew that God notices every tear His Son or His children have ever cried, and that all will glorify God in the end, though now it’s still a mystery. We know that He sees His reflection in our tears.

———————————————————————————–

I am not posting the full poem, but what is relevant to the above is here:
It Hurts, But He’s Not Forgotten
….
God sees and knows and feels each blow you take.

His Son’s tears plead a testimony of salvation for us
As His blood poured down from his side,
Down his leg, Down the wood of that old rugged cross;
The friend to which I cling,
As I confess that His blood made its way to sink
Into the dust around my feet
To redeem people like you and me who are just such,
And make us clean.

These tears and this blood pleads forgiveness for you and me,
That we may be forgiven and by forgiving others be set free
To love Him more, to become lesser still,
To serve Him fully and yield our hearts to His will.

So your prayers and tears are in Father’s big bottle,
Not forgotten, not pushed aside, not thrown away, not belittled.
He dropped each one in there Himself after looking intently to see
His own reflection in the bead.

Jesus’ tears reflected us and our tears reflect Him now.

Perhaps the tears of the saints cause the crystal river of life to flow
Through the courts of the heavenlies with newfound boyancy and vigor,
Understanding their purpose.

Perhaps the waters that make us thirst not are the forever-powerful
Prayers of our savior’s tearful intercession on our behalf,
For the Father’s glory.

————————————————————————————

Rev 21:3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

Rev 22:1 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, bright as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. 3 No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. 4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5 And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever.

John 4:7 A woman from Samaria came to draw water. Jesus said to her, “Give me a drink.” 8 (For his disciples had gone away into the city to buy food.) 9 The Samaritan woman said to him, “How is it that you, a Jew, ask for a drink from me, a woman of Samaria?” (For Jews have no dealings with Samaritans.) 10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.” 11 The woman said to him, “Sir, you have nothing to draw water with, and the well is deep. Where do you get that living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob? He gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did his sons and his livestock.” 13 Jesus said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water, so that I will not be thirsty or have to come here to draw water.”

Sarah M. Bosse 8-14-11  10:55pm

February 10, 2011

A Response To: ESSAY; The Valley Is The Place For Me by Christine DiGrazia

Posted in Lighter Moments, Stories at 9:13 pm by Sarah Bosse

A response to:

ESSAY; The Valley Is The Place For Me
By CHRISTINE DiGRAZIA
Published: March 21, 2004

That was a good article. I lived in Ansonia growing up, and as an infant I lived in New Haven. I went to school for several years in Ansonia, and my family attended a church in Orange. I remember all those lonely-looking, empty factories, some of which were still being used, typically for purposes other than that for which they were originally built. And I do have to agree that sports fanaticism has become part of the local culture of that area. LOL. 😀 Dad still roots for UCONN, especially women’s basketball. He would bring me home little stuffed teddies with “UCONN” on their sports jersey shirts. 🙂 To be honest, the stereotype that Valley folks don’t travel as much as others is probably true, but there’s nothing particularly wrong about that.

The problem isn’t even so much the stereotypes, but the fact that people tend to care more about silly preferences and cultural differences than they care about moral and ethical issues, character qualities, etc. “So what!” if you have more or less education (and coming from my “stock,” I’m not dissing education, but…) – there are things much more important in life than education, culture, etc. For instance…Do you love God and others? I can assure you that truly loving others and making that your “career” will be more challenging than any other job, career, or goal you set in your life – it’s one you will never fully perfect, but growing in love is worth every bit of work, effort, toil, sweat and tear you will pour into it.

If I speak in the tongues of men… but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I …understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.
Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never ends. ….As for knowledge, it will pass away.
(1 Corinthians 13:1-8 ESV)

Rather than being known for their high education, cultural astuteness, and equality with the rest of the world, I hope the Valley will feel challenged to be known for Christ-like love, grace, and the fruit of the Spirit.

*Jumping off my soap box, hoping to land on my feet.*

May 29, 2010

Humbling Love and Conviction

Posted in Devotionals, Prayer Request, Stories tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 11:33 pm by Sarah Bosse

Last week, I sinned a doozie. I lost my patience with a particular person, rolled my eyes, argued, huffed and puffed, raised my voice, and came very close to slamming a door. In short, it was not pretty. Worse was the fact that this person wasn’t a Christian, (wasn’t even a person in my family) and therefore I did terrible damage to the Gospel and this person’s view of Christians in general. You would be right in shaking your head as you read this, for it was an awful sight. Worse still is the fact that what showed on the outside (my facial expressions, tone of voice, huffing and puffing, and general demeanor) was restrained compared to the anger, frustration and agitation I felt on the inside. Indeed, if I had blown up as seriously on the outside as I was blowing up on the inside, the situation would have been far worse.

But oh, it does get worse. Yes, much much worse. Because I felt justified in my reaction towards this person and used the situation and this person’s response to me as my basis of justification for my anger and blow-up. Two days passed. I still had the event in my mind and was still somewhat angry, though mildly convicted that I did something wrong. I was still generally unwilling to consider my responsibility in what happened. It took a loving Christian friend coming to me and simply saying, “You know, you offended that person and didn’t do the Gospel any service through your behavior” to finally bring the Holy Spirit’s conviction to my heart and cause me to truly pause and consider God in the midst of that event, my feelings, my actions, and my desire to just sweep it under the rug and call it “good”.

Whether I wanted to acknowledge it or not, the Holy Spirit – God Himself – was there with me while I was blowing up at this person. He was watching and knowing. God the Father knew what I was doing, what I was thinking. And now that I think about God being there, I can imagine Jesus on the cross in that room, bleeding for me while I raised my voice in argument against this other person. Yes, on Calvary He bled for that sin….for those MANY sins that occurred in those few moments and for the many sins of omission (unwillingness to repent, to ask for forgiveness, to recognize and turn from my sins, to turn to God rather than to self-justification, ignoring the imploring of the Holy Spirit who calls me to holiness…) that occurred afterwards. He was there. And where was I at that moment? Living in my old flesh, not giving one thought to His presence, His precious blood, His grace and mercy that saved me, and the fact that “my” life is NOT my own, but belongs to Him who called me out to be part of a people for Himself and His bride.

The Holy Spirit drew me to the Word. Love was His theme. Love was God’s theme when He sent His Son to die for me, and love must be my theme to the God who is worthy of all praise. Moreover, love must be my theme to all men, a reflection of the Gospel living in and through me. Oh Lord, help me to live this call!

1 Corinthians 13:1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Without love, I can do nothing good. Okay, so what is real love then?

1 Corinthians 13:4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant 5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. 7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 8 Love never ends.

Ouch. Rewind. Was I patient with this person? Definitely NOT. Was I kind? No. Was I arrogant or rude? Both. Did I insist on my own way? Yes, I love being “right”. Was I irritable or resentful? Entirely to the core. Was I bearing with this person and believing the best about this person and this person’s motives? No. Was I enduring? Hardly. Well, that sure did hit the nail on the head, didn’t it?!

God also calls me to live at peace with everyone, as much as it is my responsibility to do so. Their responsibility is their own, over which I have no control. But my responsibility is to take care of the portion that God has given me, over which to exercise self-control…and trust you me; that is MORE THAN enough.

Romans 12:18 says, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.” That’s simple enough to understand, whether I want to understand it or not.

And yet it’s more than just living peaceably that the Bible calls us to.

Romans 12:9 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. 10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. 11 Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.

Romans 13:7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed. 8 Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law….12 So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in…quarreling and jealousy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.

I do not want others to fall in the same ways I have fallen to sin. My actions last week were a disgrace to the Gospel of God. Yet there is hope even for a sinner such as me, and there is hope for all who are chosen of God and born of God. We are no longer slaves to sin because our happy bondage is now to Christ.

Romans 6:1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? 3 Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. 7 For one who has died has been set free from sin. 8 Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. 9 We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. 10 For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. 11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. 13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. 14 For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

15 What then? Are we to sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16 Do you not know that if you present yourselves to anyone as obedient slaves, you are slaves of the one whom you obey, either of sin, which leads to death, or of obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17 But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, 18 and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness. 19 I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.

20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness. 21 But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

And how does this all apply back to the topic of loving others?

Galatians 5:13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another. 16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

By the Power, that is, God, which raised Christ Jesus from the dead, we also are raised to newness of life in Christ. That same Power is living in those who belong to Christ, and through Him we are able to obey His commands with joy. The fruit of our union with Christ will be evident:

Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.

Love is requiring humility in my heart that, apart from God, is nonexistent. Jesus’s love for us was the ultimate example of humility. The fragments of humility required of me in love to others, especially in this situation where I’ve grievously sinned, don’t require an atom of condescension on my part. What I mean is…I’m just a human. Other people are humans. I must be humble towards them and put their needs above my own, considering them more important than myself. But in physical terms, we’re on the same playing field – we’re all human and sinners deserving the wrath of a Holy God. When I compare my responsibility to humility to Jesus’s task, my part becomes “no big whoop”. Jesus was GOD. He humbled HIMself to man, and not just in little ways (such as not arguing), but in keeping his heart’s thoughts pure towards others who REVILED Him, beat Him, said that He was NOT God and that He was blaspheming, and schemed countless times to stone Him to death, and finally did beat Him to unrecognizability, and then hung Him on a shoddy-built cross with a vandalizing sign nailed above His sacred head. I did that. I beat my Savior with my sin. And yet He never once hated me or wished me ill. He had only LOVE in His pure heart towards me. Wow. That’s a thought! And that is GRACE – AMAZING GRACE.

And this coming week, when I have the first opportunity to see the person whom I greatly offended, I will have the opportunity to humble myself first before God (for though I’ve already done this, it is a continual and moment-by-moment process in my heart), and then before the person I’ve hurt. I am grieved until that time, and I believe it is in God’s providence that I have several days to meditate on His Word and listen to His Holy Spirit before I am able to speak with this person again and make known my repentance. And the next step for me now is to pray that He will also give me the humility to ask this person to please “tell me if you ever see me acting in a way that is unloving, not patient, unkind, arrogant, rude, insisting, restful, or irritable.” Hopefully by asking for her input, my heart will further be on guard against sinful desires in the future; as being convicted by one who is not a Believer should be something that breaks my very heart. Help me to live for you, Lord, and to deny myself!

Why am I writing about this? First, because I am grateful for the Holy Spirit’s work of conviction in my heart. Even when my heart is so hardened towards His Spirit and my God-given conscience is broken or purposely ignored, He comes in and brings light to my darkness. This is a grace, friends! He doesn’t leave me in my sin and filth and shame, but exposes it so that I may grow in Christ-likeness. Oh, what grace! And there is still more grace to be shown. While I, even His child (!), am sinning and rebelling, He sees me not as a damnable sinner, but as a Saved, Forgiven, Justified, child who wears the Righteousness of Christ Jesus.

When I feel like my sin has distanced me from His loving gaze and when I feel the tangling chords of guilt wrap around me and avert my eyes from my Bible and heaven, I have His promises to stand on….and HIS GRACE! And the more I see His unfathomable grace for what it truly is (especially in contrast to my sin), the more I am amazed by Grace and desire to walk in a way that is honoring to the God and Gospel that has saved me.

Writing can also be a means of “speaking the truth to myself”. It’s a way to organize so many different swirling and otherwise disorganized thoughts into a more cohesive package that I can refer back to as needed. I would greatly appreciate your prayers as God seeks to grow me in love. Praise be to God, for His love endures forever (1 Corinthians 13:8)!

May 13, 2010

A New Wrinkle On My Face

Posted in Stories tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 9:53 pm by Sarah Bosse

There was this saying I once heard, not that I ever understood it, that went “A wrinkle in time saves nine.” What a wrinkle in time is and what the nine something’s are, I have no clue. But I figure perhaps by getting this new wrinkle on my face I’ve saved myself from nine others??? Wishful thinking? Well, I looked in the mirror today, saw it, and laughed out-loud! Of all places I could have a wrinkle, this is has shown up in probably the least surprising spot – directly between my eyebrows, running vertically just above my nose. I figure it’s there from all the hard thinking I’ve done over the years. I often furrow my brow when thinking. I also furrow my brow when in pain and, well, I suppose there are probably many other times that I’m unaware of when I furrow my brow. So I guess my brow muscles are so completely furrowed and perhaps so strong by now that they’ve decided to make a wrinkle to attest to their common usage. I imagine, if I ever have children, they will know not to mess with Mommy when her between-the-eyebrows wrinkle shows up and that if they started causing trouble (not that my hypothetical children would ever cause any form of trouble, mind you!!!) and the between-the-eyebrows wrinkle shows up suddenly, it’s probably a bad sign. Oh my…..*sigh.* The end of my 20’s seems to be approaching. 🙂 Good…maybe that means marriage is just around the corner! Ha!! The men better get me before the wrinkles do!!

Sarah Bosse

February 18, 2010

Great Specialty Products – Selling Gluten-Filled “GF” Bread Products to Celiacs

Posted in Disability, Stories tagged , , , , , , , at 10:25 am by Sarah Bosse

Well, this is a sad incident to report and makes me much more wary of products and companies claiming to be “gluten free”. I had bought bagels from this company and when I ate them I said, “Oh my goodness! These are so good! How can they be gluten free?!” I was already sick from a previous glutening, so if I was glutened by these non-GF bread products, I wouldn’t have known the difference. I was in probably my second or third month of gluten-free living, and I know more now than I did then. But this story is really scary if gluten is a major problem for you because you have gluten intolerance or Celiac Disease.

Just a few nights ago, two days after being officially diagnosed with Celiac Disease, I woke up from very vivid nightmare, in tears. I dreamed that I had opened a bread bag, and oh…that bread was soooo soft and yummy, and I took the first bite. But before I swallowed it, I looked on the bag and realized “OH NO! IT’s NOT GLUTEN FREE!!” and I rushed to the sink to try to wash every single crumb out of my mouth and then cried because I didn’t know if I had just glutened myself. Granted, it was just a dream and when I woke up, tears soaking my face and pillow, I realized it was a nightmare. But it amazes me that someone could be so mean as to sell regular bread and target it specifically to Gluten-Free or Celiac consumers!

I’m sad to see those WONDERFUL TASTING bagels and breads go, but in another, much greater sense, I am all too happy to see them go. If it sounds too good to be true, then it is.

And if it tastes too good to be Gluten-Free, then it’s probably NOT Gluten-Free.

Here is how the story came out in the news, and you can find more information about it online.
Company: Great Specialty Products, Durham NC
Owner: Paul Seelig (also goes by other fictitious names)

http://thegfcfcookbook.blogspot.com/2009/12/every-celiacs-nightmare.html

http://glutenfreeraleigh.blogspot.com/2010/02/nc-vs-great-specialty-products-update.html

http://wake.mync.com/site/wake/news/story/47183/local-bakery-closes-after-gluten-is-found-in-gluten-free-bread/

Sarah Bosse

December 10, 2009

10 Reasons Why God is Better Than Santa Claus

Posted in Stories tagged , at 11:12 pm by Sarah Bosse

Okay, ready? Here are my ten reasons for why God is better than Santa Claus!

1 God doesn’t partake in the sin of gluttony. God is the man who wears the big pants around here, but He is entitled given that He made the whole universe. And God doesn’t have to keep His pants up with suspenders – He just says “let my pants stay up!” and they do.

2 Santa may be charged with breaking and entering into your house (don’t ask me how he gets down the chimney, but at least we now have an explanation for the necessary suspenders when he climbs back UP the chimney). God is the Only One who can break and enter into stone-hard hearts.

3 Santa doesn’t accept returns. God takes returns and tells us to cast all our cares upon Him because He cares for us! What’s more, God always gives the perfect gift and there is no need for disappointment.

4 The happiness provided by Santa lasts perhaps days, hours, or even just minutes. We don’t even think about Santa in June – he gets forgotten, as sweaty Santas are generally unwelcome. The genuine JOY of knowing the True God is eternal and fulfilling all-year-round.

5 God doesn’t face any economic crises. Santa’s belt might be cinched a tad tighter this year, but God’s giving never ends and His mercies are “new every morning”.

6 Santa better feed his reindeer lots of beans the night before Christmas or they won’t have enough gas to get around the world and back. God has no transportation concerns and can be in every place at once, including inside your heart. He could have Santa’s job done in one millionth of a millisecond.

7 Santa is limited to the creations of his elves and workshop, as well as time constraints. But God made YOU, which proves His creativity…(I’m tempted to add a joke about breaking the mold, but I won’t). God owns the cattle on a thousand hills (i.e. EVERYTHING), so you can expect a cow for Christmas…or at least a burger (oh, wait, God prefers Chick-Fil-A!). And God is the ruler of all history, so He has no deadlines. Speaking of that (whispering so as not to bother the little ones…”does Santa die?”).

8 God has a good sense of humor and knows when to laugh (book of Esther, anyone?). Santa just laughs at everything. “Ho Ho Ho!”

9 Santa has us fixated on earthly things that will rust, rot, be stolen, and eventually be destroyed or left behind when we die (and go to heaven or hell). God wants us to make HIM OUR TREASURE and to store up for ourselves treasures in heaven where moth and rust do not destroy and where thieves cannot break in and steal. Where our treasures are, there our hearts will also be.

10 Santa makes a list and checks it twice to see if you’ve been naughty or nice and gives you gifts based on your goodness or badness. God knows that we are all defiled and utterly depraved sinners, yet God gives His free gift of Mercy to all who will believe. You may believe in Santa, which at least puts you on his radar, but if you’re naughty, you’re getting a lump of coal. For the one who does not believe in Christ, God will give him burning coals for eternity. But for the Christian who believes that Jesus Christ is God and that Jesus literally died for him and was risen from the dead as the accepted sacrifice for his sin, God looks at the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ as that person’s righteousness and no longer counts his sins against him. Santa can’t save your soul.

While reading this list, you probably came up with some clever and true ways in which God is better than Santa. What were your thoughts? Please post them in the comments section. After you post your comment, please wait a day or two so that I can read and “approve” it before you send it again. It will appear after I have read it and given it two antlers-up.

Merry Christmas!

Sarah M. Bosse

November 4, 2009

Remembering November 4, 2007 – The Accident

Posted in Disability, Prayer Request, Stories tagged , , , , , , , , , , at 10:41 pm by Sarah Bosse

Today is the two-year date of my accident on November 4, 2007, at nearly 1:30pm.  It’s a difficult day for me, but I’m doing alright.  In some way I remember the accident daily.  It impacts every day by adding physical pain to what I had already experienced from fibromyalgia, birth defects, osteoarthritis in some joints, stress fractures, and other problems.  Every time I wince or my back spasms, it’s a reminder of what happened on that day.  My back has almost constantly been hurting since that day (minus two months, ending about this time last year, of full relief – what a miraculous rest I enjoyed, provided by God!). 
I also think about how God really spared me a lot of harm from that accident.  If you had seen the car afterwards, you would know that I was definitely protected by the hand of God.  Sometimes I wonder why He didn’t take my life on that day and bring me Home to New Life with Him.  I often wonder if the pain will ever go away, at least during this lifetime.  Could I have prevented the accident by being more diligent while driving?  I honestly don’t know.  But I often battle this creepy little guilt monster that tells me I should have done things differently.
There was some encouragement that came out of the wreckage, however.  I remember very clearly how near He was to me as my car flipped over in ‘slow motion’ and I was utterly powerless to control the situation that I felt would surely lead to either my death or dismemberment.  God wanted to show me that everything was in His hands. 
So many complete (hundreds, I dare say?) thoughts in just milliseconds raced through my mind as my car started to go airborne.  “I cannot do anything!” I thought to myself.  As that thought left my mind, it was replaced with another, more comforting thought.  “God, you’re in control now and I’m not.  I need your help.” 
 

Suddenly, as if I had been removed from my car which was headed for a tree, I was ‘transported’ back to my Occupational Therapy class at Pitt Community College, where Mrs. Haithcock was lecturing about car accidents and telling students that drunk drivers are often less seriously injured in vehicle accidents because, like sleeping drivers, they are relaxed and not bracing for impact.  Bracing for impact and tightening skeletal muscleture is frequently what causes the impact to break bones and cause soft tissue damage.  During that lecture, I remembered thinking to myself, “I wonder if it is possible, during an emergency situation like a car accident, to make your muscles relax to avoid injury?”  I don’t remember if I ever actually asked the question or not; probably not. 
As my car began to flip, I snapped back to the situation I was currently in.  I was very aware of what was happening around me and the fact that I was flipping over and that the brakes were utterly useless at this point.  I believe I shouted audibly “GOD, I CAN’T!” meaning “I can’t relax my body right now!  I’m afraid!”  God did not speak audibly back to me, but He spoke so clearly in my spirit that it wouldn’t have been any more convincing to me had he spoken audibly…and He said, “You’re right; you can’t, but I can.  I can make you relax.  Now relax your body, relax your muscles.”  And I immediately became like a ragdoll as the car threw me violently over and over, without my body resisting. 
I counted myself flipping around three times.  Witnesses counted “at least four times”.  In any case, I landed upside down.  But by the time I landed, I had no idea which way was up…nor the fact that I was “down”.  My car had landed upside-down in a ditch, the back window somehow hanging up high in a tree, the back end having smashed sideways into a tree at nearly full force (55 mph).  People I had met just that day came to get me out of the car.  If the accident had happened a mere week from that day, I would have drowned.  We had been experiencing a drought, but the next week it rained and poured, and that same ditch was filled to the top with water.  It took too long for me to get out of the car, and with the back window having been popped out and the other windows cracked and “holy,” there is no way I would have made it had I been in that accident seven days later…save for another miracle. 
*Deep sigh.*  Yeah, a lot has happened through and since that day in 2007.  Dreams have had to be drastically changed.  Life has become more challenging in many ways.  The one thing I need to give God for Christmas is an “easy” button.  I think Staples has them on sale during the Christmas season.   Of course, I’m just joking.  For God, nothing is impossible.  But that doesn’t mean He’s guaranteed to take the shortcut route. 
 
At the end of the day, I won’t be able to figure out all of God’s reasons for why he allowed the accident, protected me through it, allowed the consequences of it to last for 2 full years thus far, and what He desires to continue to do through it to change my heart and life for His glory, etc.  The answers are too big for me to understand, and chasing them down is basically like chasing the wind; it won’t get me anywhere.
 

I like what Joni Eareckson Tada said:

“Rather than answers, I believe God wants you to see Jesus as the Answer.  He’s the One who holds all the reasons in His hand.  And having His hand to hold onto through this difficult time is enough!”

 
 
So I Will Trust You
 
Almighty Maker, Universe Shaper,
You put the stars into space,
yet You descended, You have befriended
those who had hated Your name, just like me.

Chorus:
King of Glory, I know You love me,
so I will trust You.
Yes I will trust You.
God almighty, You have saved me,
so I will trust You.
Yes, I will trust in You.

Lord over nations, King of Creation,
heaven and earth bow to You.
I am Your child, I’ve been reconciled,
with tender affection You drew me to You.

Chorus

Bridge:
How could I not trust my King,
the One who has formed me and shaped me?
I will rejoice and will sing,
for the One who has made me has saved me.

June 9, 2009

“I am Yours; save me!” Martin Luther’s Prayer, Psalm 119:94

Posted in Devotionals, Hymns / Songs / Lyrics, Poetry, Stories tagged , , , , , , , , , , , at 12:45 am by Sarah Bosse

This simple yet profound advice given to Martin Luther has the power to shape the way we view God and our Salvation. Psalm 119:94 reads, “I am Yours; save me…”.

“The young monk Luther, tormented by his inability to feel that he was accepted by God, learned from Stauptiz [his “closest friend”] to rely on Christ, quoting Psalm 119:94: “I am Yours; save me”…” excerpt from 1

Stauptiz: “Martin, what is it you seek?”
Luther: “A merciful God: A God whom I can love. A God who loves me.”
Stauptiz: “Then look to Christ. Bind yourself to Christ and you will know God’s love. Say to Him, “I’m yours. Save me.””
Luther: “I am yours. Save me. I am yours. Save me. I am yours. Save me.” 2

In times of darkness, when I cannot see the Lord and when situations seem so bleak, I know one thing by faith – I am the Lord’s and He wills that I be saved through Christ alone. I know nothing else. Nothing else, when all is lost, will bring me the comfort of knowing that I am the Lord’s and that He saving me. IS NOT EVERY OTHER GOOD THING, EVERY OTHER PROMISE OF GOD, WRAPPED UP IN THIS ONE CONFESSION?

The Scripture, “I am Yours; save me!” implies:
1 God is good.
2 God is loving.
3 God is sovereign.
4 God is all-powerful.
5 I am not able to save myself.
6 I’m not worthy of salvation; it’s a free gift.
7 The aim and sole purpose of my life is that God is glorified.
8 Whom have I in heaven but you, Lord? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.

Psalm 73:23b-26, 28
23b I am continually with you;
you hold my right hand.
24 You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will receive me to glory.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever….
28 …for me it is good to be near God;
I have made the Lord God my refuge,
that I may tell of all your works.

Martin Luther himself penned these words in his first hymn written for congregational worship:

My own good works all came to naught,
No grace or merit gaining;
Free will against God’s judgment fought,
Dead to all good remaining.
My fears increased till sheer despair
Left only death to my share;
The pangs of hell I suffered.

But God had seen my wretched state
Before the world’s foundation,
And mindful of his mercies great,
He planned for my salvation.
He turned to me a father’s heart;
He did not choose easy part
But gave his dearest treasure.

To me he said: “Stay close to me,
I am your rock and castle.
Your ransom I myself will be;
For you I strive and wrestle;
For I am yours, and you are mine,
And where I am you may remain;
The foe shall not divide us.

“Though he will shed my precious blood,
Of life me thus bereaving,
All this I suffer for your good;
Be steadfast and believing.
Life will from death the victory win;
My innocence shall bear your sin;
And you are blest forever.
excerpts from 3

Perhaps even Luther would have nodded a hint of agreement to the lyrics of Tracy Chapman’s “I am yours” (with my editing!):

When all my hopes and dreams
Have [fallen through]
I stand before you
My hands are empty

I am yours
…you are mine

When I fall and stumble
Flat on my face
When I’m shamed and humbled
In disgrace

I am yours
…you are mine

When voices call me
To question my faith
When [doubt and sin]
Taints my love with hate

I am yours
…you are mine
excerpts from 4

Sources:
1 The Word made flesh: a history of Christian thought
By Margaret Ruth Miles
Published by Wiley-Blackwell, 2005
ISBN 1405108460, 9781405108461

2 http://www.script-o-rama.com/movie_scripts/l/luther-script-transcript-joseph-fiennes.html
http://www.christianaction.org.za/articles_ca/2004-3-NewFilmOnLuther.htm

3
Dear Christians, One and All, Rejoice by Martin Luther, 1523
http://www.iclnet.org/pub/resources/text/wittenberg/hymns/rejoice.txt

4
http://www.tracychapman.com/

June 5, 2009

Christ’s Power Is Made Perfect In Weakness

Posted in Devotionals, Disability, Stories tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , at 10:39 pm by Sarah Bosse

By John PiperJuly 14, 1991

2 Corinthians 12:1-10

I must boast; there is nothing to be gained by it, but I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows. And I know that this man was caught up into Paradise—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know, God knows—and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter. On behalf of this man I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses. Though if I wish to boast, I shall not be a fool, for I shall be speaking the truth. But I refrain from it, so that no one may think more of me than he sees in me or hears from me. And to keep me from being too elated by the abundance of revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to harass me, to keep me from being too elated. Three times I besought the Lord about this, that it should leave me; but he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” I will all the more gladly boast of my weaknesses, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

Distorting the Message to Make It Marketable

One of the reasons biblical Christianity has to be so drastically distorted in order to sell it to mass markets is that the market wants power to escape weakness in leisure, but Christianity offers power to endure weakness in love.

Verse 9 just doesn’t sell: “Jesus said [in response to Paul’s prayer], ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” IN weakness? What the market wants is escape from weakness, not power in weakness. But to meet that felt need in the market the message must be distorted—and often is.

But by distorting the message to make it more immediately appealing, two things are lost:

1. the truth of the message is lost, and
2. the chance to meet the really deep need that we all have in the midst of adversity is lost.

So what I want to do—for the sake of God’s truth and for the sake of meeting your deepest need—is lay open this text with as little distortion as possible. You have it in front of you. You be the judge.

Three Questions About Christian Weakness

We are going to talk about the Christian experience of weakness. There are three questions to answer in the time we have:

1. What are the weaknesses that Paul has in mind here when he says, “The power of Christ is made perfect in weakness”?
2. What is the source of such weaknesses? Do they come from Satan or from God? Or both?
3. What is the purpose of such weaknesses? Is there a goal or an aim for why the weaknesses come?

I ask these three questions not only because they are the ones answered in the text, but because knowing these things and being reminded of them in our hearts as God’s truth will give us the strength to live and endure and often even to thrive in the midst many weaknesses.

Bringing the Questions Closer to Home

Just to bring it closer to home, on Wednesday we had a really good all church strategy meeting. One of the songs we sang has a chorus that goes like this:

Since Jesus came into my heart,
Floods of joy o’er my soul
Like the sea billows roll
Since Jesus came into my heart.

As we sang it, I wondered how everyone in the chapel was processing that statement in the light of real life experience when sea billows of joy do not roll over the soul. Here’s how I fit it in my own experience: Yes, since knowing Jesus, joy has rolled over me like the waves of the sea, but not always. There are times when the tide goes out. God is still God; joy is still joy; but I am baking in the seaweed on the beach waiting for the tide to come in.

What makes days and months and years like that livable is the grace and power of Jesus described in our text.

1. What Weaknesses?
What are the weaknesses Paul has in mind here when he quotes Jesus as saying in verse 9, “My power is made perfect in weakness”? And then says, “I will all the more gladly boast in my weaknesses”? And then again in verse 10 says, “For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses”?

Four Other Words to Fill Out the Meaning

I think the safest way to answer is to let the four other words in verse 10 fill out what he has in mind. What he summarizes as weaknesses in verse 9 he spells out in four other words in verse 10: insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities.

1. Insults—when people think of clever ways of making your faith or your lifestyle or your words look stupid or weird or inconsistent. When we were giving out “Finding Your Field of Dreams” at the dome, I heard one man say mockingly, “And the Lord said, Play ball.” And all his friends laughed.
2. Hardships—circumstances forced upon you, reversals of fortune against your will. This could refer to any situation where you feel trapped. You didn’t plan it or think it would be this way. But there you are, and it’s hard.
3. Persecutions—wounds or abuses or painful circumstances or acts of prejudice or exploitation from people because of your Christian faith or your Christian moral commitments. It’s when you are not treated fairly. You get a raw deal.
4. Calamities (or distresses or difficulties or troubles)—the idea is one of pressure or crushing or being weighed down; circumstances that tend to overcome you with stress and tension.

Not Sin or Imperfect Behaviors

So you can see that what Paul has in mind here is not sin. He is not talking about a kind of behavior—like we might say he has a weakness for lust; or she has a weakness for overeating. Paul is not talking about bad choices that we make. He is not saying, The power of Christ is perfected in my bad choices. Or: I will all the more gladly boast of my bad choices. Weaknesses here are not imperfect behaviors.

What Theses Weaknesses Are

They are circumstances and situations and experiences and wounds that make us look weak; things we would probably get rid of if we had the human strength.

1. If we were “strong,” we might return the insult with such an effective put down that the opponent would wither and everyone would admire our wit and cleverness.
2. If we were “strong,” we might take charge of our own fortune and turn back the emerging hardship and change circumstances so that they go the way we want them to and not force us into discomfort.
3. If we were “strong,” we might turn back the persecution so quickly and so decisively that no one would mess with us again.
4. If we were “strong,” we might use our resources to get out of the calamity or distress as fast as possible, or take charge of the situation and marshal our own resources so masterfully as to minimize its pressure.

But in reality we don’t usually have that kind of human strength, and even when we may have it, Christians don’t use it the way the world does. Jesus tells us not to return evil for evil (Matthew 5:38-42). Paul said in 1 Corinthians 4:12-13, “When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure; when slandered, we try to conciliate.” And then he added, “We have become like the refuse of the world, the off-scouring of all things.” In other words, this kind of lifestyle, this kind of response to abuse, looks weak and beggarly and feeble and anemic and inept—at least it looks that way to those who thrive on pride and equate power with the best come back.

So the answer to our first question is that weaknesses are not sins but experiences and situations and circumstances and wounds that are hard to bear and that we can’t remove either because they are beyond our control or because love dictates that we not return evil for evil.

2. Where Do They Come From?

What is the source of such weaknesses? Do they come from Satan or from God? Or both?

Paul’s “Thorn in the Flesh”

Let’s take Paul’s thorn in the flesh as an example and see what his answer is. In verses 1-4 Paul describes what amazing revelations of God’s glory he had been given—he was caught up into Paradise and heard things that cannot be told on earth (vv. 3-4).

How easy it would have been for Paul to think that he was already rising above the ordinary hardships and troubles of earthly life because he was given such a privilege. But verse 7 shows what actually happened: “To keep me from being too elated [RSV; a better translation would be: “to keep me from exalting myself,” NASB, or: “to keep me from becoming conceited,” NIV] by the abundance of revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to harass me, to keep me from exalting myself.”

Now this thorn in the flesh (whether it was some physical problem or some relentless enemies) is one of the weaknesses he is talking about. We know this because when he prays that God would take it away in verse 8 (“three times I besought the Lord”), the Lord answers in verse 9, “My power is made perfect in weakness.” So the thorn in the flesh is one of the weaknesses we are talking about.

A “Messenger of Satan”

And where did it come from? Paul calls it a “messenger of Satan” (v. 7) given to harass him. So one clear answer is that some weaknesses come from Satan. Satan afflicts the children of God through his angels or messengers. His aim is destruction and death and misery.

But it is not that simple is it? Satan is not the only one at work here. God is at work. This thorn is not just the work of Satan to destroy. It is the work of God to save.

The Work of God to Save

We know this for two reasons. First, because Paul describes the purpose for the thorn in terms of preventing pride. But Satan’s whole design is to produce pride not prevent it. That’s how he kills: either with pride in what we have done, or despair over what we haven’t done. Paul’s revelations in Paradise made him vulnerable to pride and self-exaltation. So God uses the hostile intentions of Satan for Paul’s holiness. Satan wanted to make Paul miserable and turn him away from the faith and the ministry and the value of the visions he had seen. But God wanted to make Paul humble and turn him away from self-exaltation. So God appointed the thorn of Satan for the work of salvation.

The other reason we know the thorn is God’s work and not just Satan’s is that when Paul prays in verse 8 that God would take the thorn away, the Lord says, No, because my power is made perfect in this weakness. In other words, I have a purpose in what is happening to you. This is not ultimately Satan’s destroying work. It is ultimately my saving, sanctifying work.

Just like it was with Job—God permits Satan to afflict his righteous servant, and turns the affliction for his good purposes. (See also Luke 22:31-32.)

The Truth of God’s Sovereign Grace

So the answer to our second question is that the source of our weaknesses may sometimes be Satan and his destructive designs for us; but always our weaknesses are designed by God for our good. This is why the truth of God’s sovereign grace is so precious in the midst of hardship and calamity. God is in control of Satan. Satan does nothing to God’s children that God does not design with infinite skill and love for our good.

Which brings us to the final question, which we have already answered.

3. For What Purpose?

What is the purpose of such weaknesses? Is there a goal or an aim for why the weaknesses come? Why insults, hardships, persecutions, calamities, troubles? Why can’t I find a job? Why am I trapped in this awful marriage? Why does my dad have cancer? Why can’t I have children? Why do I have no friends? Why is nothing working in my life?

Paul gives three brief answers about his own experience and I think they are tremendously important for us to live by.

Satan’s Purpose to Buffet You

First, he says that Satan has the purpose to buffet you or harass you (v. 7). And so it is OK to pray for relief. That’s what Paul did until he got word from the Lord. Pain is not a good thing in itself. God does not delight in your suffering. Satan does and he must be resisted.

God’s Purpose to Humble You

Second, God’s purpose over and through Satan’s harassment is our humility. Paul was in danger of pride and self-exaltation and God took steps to keep him humble. This is an utterly strange thing in our self-saturated age. God thinks humility is more important than comfort. Humility is more important than freedom from pain. He will give us a mountain top experience in Paradise, and then bring us through anguish of soul lest we think that we have risen above the need for total reliance on his grace. So his purpose is our humility and lowliness and reliance on him (cf. 1:9; 4:7).

God’s Purpose to Glorify Jesus

Finally, God’s purpose in our weaknesses is to glorify the grace and power of his Son. This is the main point of verses 9-10. Jesus says, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” God’s design is to make you a showcase for Jesus’ power. But not necessarily the way the market demands: not by getting rid of all our weaknesses; but by giving strength to endure and even rejoice in tribulation.

Let God be God here. If he wills to show the perfection of his Son’s power in our weakness instead of by our escape from weakness, then he knows best; trust him. Hebrews 11 is a good guide here. It says that by faith some escaped the edge of the sword (v. 34) and by faith some were killed by the sword (v. 37). By faith some stopped the mouths of lions, and by faith others were sawn asunder. By faith some were mighty in war, and by faith others suffered chains and imprisonment (see also Philippians 4:11-13).

The ultimate purpose of God in our weakness is to glorify the kind of power that moved Christ to the cross and kept him there until the work of love was done. Paul said that Christ crucified was foolishness to the Greeks, a stumbling block to the Jews, but to those who are called it is the power of God and the wisdom of God (1 Corinthians 1:23f.).

The deepest need that you and I have in weakness and adversity is not quick relief, but the well-grounded confidence that what is happening to us is part of the greatest purpose of God in the universe—the glorification of the grace and power of his Son—the grace and power that bore him to the cross and kept him there until the work of love was done. That’s what God is building into our lives. That is the meaning of weakness, insults, hardships, persecution, calamity.

© Desiring God
By John Piper. © Desiring God. Website: desiringGod.org

May 10, 2009

“All We Need Is Love, Love” – But What Kind? Paul Knew the Answer.

Posted in Devotionals, Poetry, Stories at 11:57 pm by Sarah Bosse

~ from ‘Paul’s Face, Part 2’ ~ John Piper ~ Dec 4, 2005 ~

“…The love we need is not the kind
That comes to us and tries to find
Some worth or beauty that can keep 
The lover true. No, we must sweep
All self-exalting loves away.
One kind of love alone will stay,
And it is not the kind that needs
Our worth or beauty or good deeds,
But intercedes for us and dies
When there is nothing here but lies.
The love that, as we kill, it cries,
“Lord, make these enemies your prize.””

How poignant this poem’s story, following today’s message in church (which included an account of Paul’s involvement in the stoning of Stephen and Stephen’s view of Jesus standing to welcome him Home). To make sense of Part 2, go ahead and invest a few minutes in reading and/or listening to Part 1.  I promise you won’t regret it!  If you get a chance, please read all of Part 2 or listen to it here.  

God’s love alone is that which we must seek; all others pass away and are forgotten, and have no bearing on eternity.  But the Love of God carried the agony of the cross for you and me, and the Love of God has been demonstrated by Jesus from all eternity.  Jesus is now interceding (praying) for His children – all those whom God the Father has given to Him (John 10:28-30 28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand. 30 I and the Father are one.”).  The Lord made His enemies to be His prize.  

Regarding the stoning of Stephen, John Piper writes as “Paul” in his advent poem the following:

“About a year went by. Then swirled
A storm of controversy in 
Jerusalem. There had not been
Such fury since the day we killed 
The Lord. And finally it spilled
Beyond what anyone had seen 
For years, and filled the court with mean
And raging men, including me, 
Though I was but a youth. And we
Were driven to this rage by one
Whose humble face shown like the sun,
And said that Jesus was alive,
And that our Law, and how we strive,
And worship with our feasts,
And sacrifice our flawless beasts
Was coming to an end, and all
That we must do is trust, and call
Upon the mercy of the Lord.
I knew if this was true, a sword
Would pierce the city of my soul 
And lay in ruins ev’ry goal
I had, and overthrow my birth,
My pride, and all my vaunted worth.
And so I gathered at my feet
The garments of the most elite
In righteousness as they stoned him
To death. And then, when ev’ry limb
Of Stephen’s body quivered in
The agony of death, the sin
Of all my righteousness appeared
For one brief moment. Killers cleared
Away, and I saw Stephen’s face,
The right side torn away, and grace
Filled all the rest. And with the lips 
That he had left he said, ‘Though whips
And stones destroy this flesh, I know
That my redeemer lives. I go.
Behold the Son of Man has stood,
And counts this sinner Stephen good!
However great their sin amount,
Christ, lay it not to their account.’
The wall was breached, and though I raged
To keep myself with Law encaged,
The power of his shredded face
Would prove to be triumphant grace.”
 

Now, from the Word (ESV):

Stephen is stoned
Acts 754 Now when they heard these things they were enraged, and they ground their teeth at him. 55 But he, full of the Holy Spirit, gazed into heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. 56 And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” 57 But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together at him. 58 Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. 59 And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” 60 And falling to his knees he cried out with a loud voice, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And when he had said this, he fell asleep… Acts 8:1 And Saul approved of his execution.
 

And that, my friends, is an example of a man whose life and death shows us a reflection of Christ’s love.  The Love of Christ is perfect.  Let’s seek after it alone!

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