Friday, April 26, 2013

Angels Among Us


© Janakadharmasena

It begins with a sunrise. Birds chirp a beautiful song across the yard. One activity flows into the other with hardly a thought and so starts the hustle of the day. Eyes volley from work to the news as it airs non-stop. Terror has rained on the homeland once again, a crime which our nation can’t ignore. Central Texas will not ignore it.
Stories of devastation and valor reign supreme. Eyewitness accounts and videos, response evaluation, and even political rhetoric fill the airwaves. Theories of responsibility interlace the breaking news as the victims fight for their lives.
Prayers lift to heaven, in petition and thanksgiving, for those in Boston. May the Lord protect, guide, and heal the injured. May the Holy Spirit place a hedge around that city to protect and restore Boston for the Lord’s good work. Amen.
As Wednesday comes to a slow close, clouds fill the sky in central Texas. A mist is in the air and the wind begins to howl. Suddenly, the ground shakes and it sounds like thunder outside, but no rain falls.
Text messages come across my phone and my Facebook message queue lights up.
Are you all right? What’s going on? How far are you from the plant? Which way is the wind blowing?
Stories of devastation and chaos reign supreme. Eyewitness accounts and video fill the airwaves. Fire shoots into the air as the estimate of the death toll can’t even be guessed. Injured is over two hundred. The call for ambulances is “send all you’ve got.” Homes and lives are destroyed. Destruction has rained on the homeland, an event no neighbor can ignore. Central Texas will not ignore it.
Prayers lift to heaven, in petition and thanksgiving, for the citizens of West. May the Lord place his Holy arms around the families and friends of the fifteen lost in the explosion. Dear Holy Father, may Your mighty hand bring quick healing to those who were injured in this blast and place a hedge of protection around this small town as it rebuilds. Through Your provision and love, may it be a quick and efficient process. Amen.
The explosions in Boston and West have one valuable element in common, people. After the roar was over, even before the dust settled, heroes emerged. Those special people, not necessarily isolated or even few, who ran into the fray to help. To offer a tourniquet to stem the flow of blood, or lift a person out of harm’s way. Or spray a water hose on a burning building, or transport a truckload of patients to a safer triage site then another before finally to a hospital.
Heroes walk among us every single day, angels in disguise. They work as accountants, pharmacists, or mechanics. They give up their seat on the bus for the elderly woman or young woman with a child. They fight to stem the flow of blood and save a life when another bomb may blow at any second. They answer a call to a fertilizer plant and never make it home.
All such people are identified by one distinguishing characteristic. They are courageous and help their fellow man, no matter the cost.
What an aspiring goal! To serve your neighbor. Truly, they must be rare, right? Well, I would have to disagree after the last week or two.
The finish line of the Boston Marathon experienced two horrific explosions. The injured lay wounded on the sidewalk and street. They were not left alone to die. Heroes ran into the chaos and saved their lives. When the fertilizer plant in West, Texas exploded, a five-block radius turned into a war-zone. Fifty homes, an intermediate school, nursing home, and two-story apartment complex were destroyed. Over two-hundred people were injured and fifteen people lost their lives. Twelve of those were volunteer firefighters who served because they loved their community and are a testament to the very word of hero. Others were seen in the aftermath and relief effort afterwards.
These two events showed that everyone, anyone can be a hero. A job description, plaque on the wall, or shiny badge does not give one the title. It’s what is inside the person that counts.
So, are you one?

John 15:13 “Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends.”

In Christ,

Renee

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Guest: The Masterpiece





I was created for a noble cause. I believed this from the beginning. With loving patience, Giovani transformed me from imperfect, undefined clay into the finest porcelain urn in all of Italy. With his own gnarled hands, he molded me on his wheel for service and splendor. He covered me with oils of blues and greens-a coat of polished perfection. When persuaded what he created was worthy of completion, he put me through the final fire. With much pleasure, he inspected his work aided by the noon’s sunlight. “Good,” he proclaimed. “It is very good!  Fit for a queen.”
And so I came into being. Not an ordinary earthen jar, but a vase of importance, destined to be the possession of royalty. Yet, inexplicably I remained on the potter’s shelf, hidden from the patrons in search of common ware who frequented Giovani’s workshop. As days turned into weeks and weeks into months, I pondered at the meaning of my abandonment.    
I was destined to rest on a monarch’s table, bearing witness to the genius that made me. Months turned into years, and still I remained apart and secreted. Was this to be my end?  Was I so delicately crafted only to decay from purposelessness? 
When it seemed as if time could no longer be measured, Giovani at last appeared. He rescued me from my ruinous state, covered me with his polishing cloth, and restored my former gloss. Like an offering to the Most High, he raised me toward the upper window. Hues of aqua and marine burst into the room as the sun’s rays broke through. “It is still good,” he nodded in approval. “Rosetta will be pleased.”
Was I finally to be released from this graveyard of uselessness?  Giovani cradled me in his hands, transporting me from obscurity to a long-awaited unveiling.  He brought me along a cobbled path into a white, simple cottage, his home. He filled my emptiness with cool waters from his well, then set me upon a splintered table, adorning me with velvety roses.
He carried me past the thistle grove into a green meadow that stretched like a carpet before a mound of sculptured granite. Engraved with seraphim and cherubs, the stone was inscribed with a single word, “Rosetta.”  He placed me on an adjacent pedestal. While a salty tear dropped from his cheek, he knelt beside his beloved’s resting place, declaring, “For you, my Rosetta, my wife, my love, my queen.”
It was at this moment I realized the truth of my creation. My destiny was not the admiration of sovereigns. My purpose was a testament to a love undiminished by death, a token of his veneration for she who held his heart. With each dawn, Giovani faithfully replenishes my contents with Rosetta’s favorite flower. Above all artifacts made by the potter’s hand, I have been chosen to bear his tribute. With honor such as this, I am now complete. 

About the Author:

Winner of the 2012 Selah Award for best first novel The Other Side of Darkness/Harbourlight,  LINDA WOOD RONDEAU, writes stories of God’s mercies. Walk with her unforgettable characters as they journey paths not unlike our own. After a long career in human services, Linda now resides in Jacksonville, Florida.
Linda’s best-selling Adirondack Romance, It Really IS a Wonderful Life, is published by Lighthouse of the Carolinas and is available wherever books are sold.

These books are also available in ebook format along with her other ebooks by Helping Hands Press: I Prayed for Patience/God Gave Me Children and Days of Vines and Roses. Songs in the Valley is scheduled for release this fall by Helping Hands Press.
Readers may visit her web site at www.lindarondeau.com or email her at lindarondeau@gmail.com  or find her on Facebook, Twitter, PInterest, and Goodreads.   
Visit my website at http://rblare.webnode.com/news/rondeaus-days-of-vines-and-roses/ to discover more about this wonderful book.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Faith Walk

One Step at a Time



2 Corinthians 5:7 (NKJV) “For we walk by faith, not by sight.”

When I became a Christian at eighteen years old, I made a discovery. One that I use many different ways in my life. I learned how to walk by faith.
Now, I’m not talking about walking down the aisle, although I did make that trip; several times. But I’ll tell you about that another time. I found that my aisle walk, my baptism, and church retreats didn’t get me through the day.
When I was alone, face to face with my own issues, I fell short. The past came back to haunt with a vengeance. Old habits leeched in from their hidden places. Friends called and soon I wished I was back where I’d started. Despair, turmoil, guilt, and shame beat at my “holy” soul.
At this tumultuous time in my spiritual life, I buried myself in scripture. I searched for any solution. Why was I so confused? Why did I feel so alone? I prayed hard and long and found some answers.

2 Corinthians 13:5 (NKJV) “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.”

Psalm 62:6-7 (NKJV) “He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be moved. In God is my salvation and my glory; the rock of my strength, And my refuge, is in God.”

I decided that my walk with Christ needed to be exactly that, a walk. The verses of David’s 62nd song became my own. They’re cradled close to my heart daily as I take each step of faith.
Of course, the day I try to run ahead or laze behind is usually when I find myself in trouble. Yes, it happens. A little heart-to-heart with the Lord and my nose in His Word gets my path back on the straight and narrow.
So, I’ll continue to walk with Him. Each day, by His side, or in His arms, to live and learn. One step at a time and soon, I’ll say…

2 Timothy 4:7 (NKJV) “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.”

In Christ,

Renee

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Climb That Mountain




The Grand Tetons  

    The peak stands high above the timberline, its rocky surface glistening in the early morning sun. Glaciers of white cut different paths down the mighty massif leading to an encircling blanket of trees. Peace and tranquility abound.
     Are you searching for a little peace in your life? Looking for that tranquil place to lay your head? Or are you on that trek already? Are you walking or running? Maybe you’re hanging by your fingernails as you move inch by inch toward the top.
Isaiah 27:5 "Or let him take hold of My strength, That he may make peace with Me; And he shall make peace with Me."
     That’s right. The Lord offers His strength and His peace! Look at the verse above closely. What does it say?  Think about it for a while.
     For now, let’s say you’re looking at that mountain. You want peace. You want tranquility. You’re sick and tired of it all but don’t know what to believe anymore. Things aren’t adding up in your little world. You search for answers but so far, nothing makes sense. Confusion reigns and to avoid confrontation, you settle for logic or the status quo but deep down, you yearn for the truth.
     Or maybe you’re hiking through the forest, picking your way through the underbrush, fallen logs, and across the creeks. You want peace. You want tranquility. You’re dirty and hungry. The next bend is only another trial and you grow weary, wondering if you will ever see the path to the peak. You started this journey with the thought, “I got this,” and now realize that you can’t continue. You yearn for strength.
     Then again, you may be the climber on the mountainside. You made the decision to start this trek, knowing it was a hard journey. You braved the dense forest with its animals and terrain. You hang by your fingers and toes as the wind buffets your body and search for another hold to propel yourself closer to your destination. Peace and tranquility is in your grasp but now, with shredded knuckles, you yearn for power.
2 Samuel 22:33-24 "God is my strength and power, And He makes my way perfect. He makes my feet like the feet of deer, And sets me on my high places."
     Through the almighty grace of God, the hiker finds the strength to continue and will find the path to the mountain. The climber discovers the power to find that next handhold and stand on the summit. But why would they even begin the journey? 
Deuteronomy 32:3-4 "For I proclaim the name of the LORD: Ascribe greatness to our God. He is the Rock, His work is perfect; For all His ways are justice, A God of truth and without injustice; Righteous and upright is He."
     Are you searching for truth, strength, power, or peace? Wondering why you should take the next step? I know the answer. His name is Jesus.
Romans 5:1 "Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."
     So in this troubled world, if things appear overwhelming or frightening, turn to Him. Trust Him to deal with them and walk on. Remember to take hold of His strength. Stop fighting His will for your life and discover the awesomeness of God. Forge forward through the forest and climb that mountain.

In Christ,
Renee