Summer 2012 marched into our Shenandoah Valley in full regalia. This year perennials will be on parade in my little corner of the world.
At my doorstep, imagine knock-out roses, purple echinachea [cone flowers], golden yarrow, blacked-eye susans, coreopsis,
and Shasta daisies. The garden flag “Stars and Stripes “ will
be there all summer long!
Scholars believe St. John wrote his gospel, the focus of my studies this past month, perhaps in his nineties. John records the first miracle of Jesus turning water into wine. In the narrative Mary the mother of Jesus tells the servants at the wedding: “do whatever Jesus tells
you to do”, her last recorded words. That is the wisest command ever given; it applies to everyone today! John portrays another Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, always at the feet of Jesus in adoration,
scripture’s superb example of the meaning of worship. That same Mary would be the only one who fully comprehended the
coming death of Jesus on the cross and her loyalty [when all His disciples abandoned Him] would be rewarded by being commissioned
by Jesus himself as the first missionary after His resurrection .
the most famous and most memorized verse in Scripture, is filled with life’s greatest superlatives: the greatest Being (God) gives the greatest promise (life everlasting), with the greatest forgiveness (of all sins past, present, and future), through the greatest act (his death on
the cross), providing the greatest love the world has ever known.
John tells of divine encounters with the woman at Jacob’s
well and a blind beggar on Solomon’s porch, both healed and liberated to new life. In each case, Jesus went seeking
them; there are no coincidences. If you belong to Jesus, He found you too.
Jesus, on his way to raise Lazarus from the dead, delays for two days after He is informed of Lazarus’ near death
illness. The purpose of the delay was to ensure that God was glorified in the
dramatic miracle of Lazarus exit from the tomb in his grave clothes. Lesson:
delays are determined by our Lord for His glory and our good; there is a divine purpose
for waiting for God to act or answer our prayers. Finally John tells us that
it was Thomas who with courage asked “how can we know the way?” Jesus
responds: “I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father
except through me.” Here the operative word is “the”. Was Jesus
narrow and dogmatic? Ravi Zacharias affirms that a primary characteristic of
truth is that it is dogmatic, distinguishing the Christian faith from all others.
came to save the world, and for nearly all His life He was set to drudge at a carpenter’s bench. He came to inaugurate a Kingdom, and His lot was cast in a remote, provincial village, and Rome and Athens
never saw Him. He came to face a task for which the longest lifetime would scarcely
have been sufficient, and He died at thirty-three. He was born for a throne,
and they hanged Him on a Cross. ‘To what purpose is this waste’ – this shocking, mad, incredible waste,
this most glaring unpardonable waste in all the records of history? So
cries the heart,staggered by the mystery of the ways of God. But today we know the answer. Was it waste, that Life, when
it has been the inspiration of ten thousand Christ-like lives in every age? Was
it a waste, that death, when it is drawing the whole world to His feet? Was it
a waste, that breaking of the alabaster box of Jesus, when there has gone forth a fragrance that shall one day sweeten and
redeem the earth? Waste? Let the Cross and Resurrection tell us that the most apparent waste, the most heavy, shattering sacrifice,
can be the road to life, and to the coming of the glory of the Lord! James S. Stewart, The Extravagance of God
A man should hear a little music, read
a little poetry, and see a fine picture, every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of
the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul. Johann Wolfgang von