Thursday, March 21, 2013

Ding Dong

Remeber the Munchkins' beginning song for our classic version of The Wizard of Oz? I doubt the kind of merriment we all felt from it is present in the new pre-quel, The Land of Oz. Why should the retelling of traditional lore in our culture be "updated" to include confusion, terror, and woefully wicked looking creatures? Even Jack the Giant Slayer previews scare the pudding out of me.
With Easter coming in less than two weeks, our cultural tolerance for terror seems to have lessened the horror of the Cross. But I say, "Ding Dong, the devil's dead, the mean old thing, the mean old thing. Ding dong, the wickedness is dead." At least for Christ: He overcame everything the devil hurled his way. Jesus was victorious, whole, and gallant rising up on His third day from the grave. "Death where is thy sting?" Absolutely nowhere to be found in the truth of the resurrection.

As many of you who follow me know, I felt the sting of death when my young and very pregnant daughter was murdered ten years ago on Valentine's Day. God had his hand on all of the brokeness of her body parts, finally found in a large plastic trash can on Easter Monday. It was His way of telling me that her earth suit had been decimated, but her spirit, and that of her little girl, had risen in wholeness to be with Christ. God's timing is so elegant and so perfect.

There truly is power in the blood of Christ slain for all sinners. Had it not been for my faith in Him, I would not have peace in knowing I would see April and her child once again. Death has lost its sting. I thirst for this magnificently joyful reunion in heaven with them and my husband of only nine years--all in the presence of the King of kings, my strong tower and my best friend.

In honor of this year's celebration of eternal life, I have decided to sponsor one more child through the Africa Renewal Ministries in Uganda, a developing country in the heartland of Africa bordering Lake Victoria. Her name is Lilian. It reminds me of Jesus, the Lilly of the Valley, the Bright and Morning Star. She is in second grade and close to the age of my grandson, Andrew. Lilian's birthday is tomorrow, and I bless her with the hope within all who look to God for our eternal salvation and who seek gallant victory over each day on this earth. Ding dong, the wickedness is dead through Christ.

Blessings and Agape,
Linda B. Greer

Monday, March 4, 2013

Warming Up With Joy

Lately, Spartanburg has been down in the twenties in temperature for the last several days. There are times when I simply cannot feel warm in my own home despite the layers of clothing. Even my tub feels colder than normal when I'm soaking. I can't imagine what it's like for the homeless people who have no shelter at all.

As we approach the celebration of Christ's resurrection, we see there are many needs in our communities, our states, and our nation. Christ had a knack for meeting needs as he went about His father's business. We sometimes forget there are ways we can meet needs as we go about our business.

For instance, today I had interaction with people at two different stores. I intentionally wanted to be kind and cheerful because these people work very hard for very little money. Most young single people are finding the job market in today's economy extremely challenging. Any kind word I can give them is a bonus hopefully.

Recently I donated an older washer and dryer to a combined family of a mom and two pregnant daughters with no husbands. it was a joy to see these stored items put to good use even though I could've fetched a couple of hundred dollars by selling them.  I was able to meet a need just like Christ did, and I knew it was the right thing to do. The feedback I got from my neighbor, who delivered the washer and dryer, was well worth the effort. The mom and her daughters were teasing each other about getting to go first doing their laundry. The imagery of their happy faces will stay with me a long time. And when the babies arrive, there will be clean clothes and bedding for their small bodies.

I don't want to brag, but it seems to me I've turned a spiritual corner.  It's been 10 years since my pregnant daughter, April, was murdered, and I feel great promise in getting mail from my first granddaughter by April.  This little girl was adopted from birth and now we are corresponding by regular mail.  It's like having a little piece of heaven here on earth knowing  this little girl is now 12 years old and the only person on the planet with April's DNA.  My heart is so encouraged knowing someone, who looks like April, is somewhere in western North Carolina. I want to thank God by joyfully meeting needs as I go.
April at 12 years

When I think about Christ on the cross and the Scripture that says he did it "for the joy set before Him", I understand suffering has a place and a purpose in this life. Christians will all sustain joy in heaven, but it's His gracious gift to have heavenly joy here and now as part of our walk with Christ.

Search your mind and soul for something exquisitely joyful in your life today and spread the joy as you go about your business.  Christ said his followers would be recognized by the love they had for one another. I think you could substitute "joy" for "love" and still be true to His word, don't you?

Blessings and Agape,
Linda B. Greer