If you have stumbled here by accident let me first insist that there really are no accidents in life. If however, you came on your own free will then please by all means open your hearts and your minds to the "New Wine" that God has prepared for you!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Heavenly way

 There was no sensation of time passing as Maria met each and everyone who was in the crowd that had come out to meet her in the meadow. She knew each person instinctively even though they all seemed to look as they did in their early twenties. Her mom and dad, brother, aunts, uncles, grandparents and then there was a cloud of witnesses that had come out to meet her. 

Friends too had come to welcome Maria to eternity. She saw her best friend from ninth grade, Olivia, who had tragically died in an automobile mishap at the age of sixteen. Several unfamiliar faces approached and hugged her, with the warmth of a father or mother, who turned out to be her distant relatives from Spain. Auntie Nina and Carl took her by the hand and began walking towards the great light that streaked out of the large arched gate in the distant wall.

Maria looked up to locate the source of light that radiated, warmed and enveloped her entire body. It was like a hot summer sun that has paused mid sky where you can feel the heat roll over you in waves but it wasn’t coming from any celestial object in her view. The light was brilliant, like light refracted through a large diamond where all the colors of a rainbow mixed and swirled in a kaleidoscope of color.
“There is no need for the sun or moon to shine on us Maria for it’s the glory of God that illuminates eternity.” said Uriel intuitively. 

Maria noticed that the wall stretched on, disappearing into the horizon, with three massive gates spaced out equally along its length. Looking down she noticed the ground below her feet resembled coarse coral sand, where each grain and pebble had been individually tumbled and polished with colors of black, white, green and tan. 

In the blink of an eye the gate that had been in the distance was now right in front of her. Maria saw that the sand had disappeared from under her feet and she was now standing on what looked like translucent amber or maybe it was transparent gold.  Uriel waved his right arm as a mighty angel standing guard lowered a silver sword and two enormous lions hunched into a resting position on either side of the massive wrought iron gates that were already open. 

“You wouldn’t want to put these angels to task” cautioned Uriel as the group paused at the first step.
“Why are they here?” asked Maria

“Why they have always guarded the entrance to the Holy City” smiled Uriel

Now standing before the gates Maria could see the massiveness of the city’s walls. Their height looked as tall as a soccer field that was stood on end, rising up to 300 feet. The huge hand cut blocks of the wall were solid jasper marbleized with colors of red, yellow, brown and green all delineated by thin lines of white crystal quartz. The first course of blocks sat upon twelve layers of precious gem stone.

The bottom foundation layer was made of Jasper like the blocks that made up the wall; the second layer was equivalent to  translucent baby blue colored glass, next lay a microcrystalline translucent agate followed by another layer of clear emerald green. Each layer was a cubit in width and complemented the next in contrast or color. At eye level  was a layer made up of a solid red and brown banded stripes separated by white crystalline quartz which captured the light and reflected it back into Maria’s eyes.
On top of this layer was an orange-reddish cloudy quartz layer that highlighted a translucent olivine layer above it. A clear aquamarine-blue layer adorned and highlighted the yellowish-gold layer above it. The second to last layer was spectacular as Maria’s attention focused on the brownish-red faceted crystal face. The last layer was pure translucent purple, a regal color fit to adorn heaven’s eternal kingdom.

The wall’s foundation layers were staggered and formed twelve steps that led up to the gate and into the Holy City. As Maria walked up the steps towards the gate she noticed that the name “Judah” was carved into the stone above its massive arch. She also realized that each layer of the foundation was decorated with etchings of the names of the apostles with the last layer of amethyst bearing the name of John.

The gate itself was made out of one pearl and Maria couldn’t help but wonder what the oyster must have looked like that produced it. Uriel stopped abruptly in the middle of the wall’s portico. His massive silhouette blocked the bright light that streamed in and began to smile as he pointed to an inscription on the wall “Behold, the way is the Lamb!”

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Heaven awaits!

The massive stroke had shredded her aorta. In the twinkling of an eye Maria was gone. Eighty full years of life had evaporated into thin air. Her husband frantically called 911 as the operator gave instructions. “Put her flat on the floor, clear her airway, keep her warm” came the instructions through the receiver.

As Maria’s brain shut down from lack of oxygen she began to see herself floating above her body. As she slowly raised above all the confusion she saw the ambulance turn onto Americus Drive. “How odd” Maria thought as she floated above the roof she noticed the new clay roofing tiles that had been installed just a week ago. She felt warm all over as two paramedics rushed through the front door of the house. She floated even higher while watching herself being loaded into the ambulance. “You want to ride along with her or meet us there” shouted the driver.

Maria was gaining momentum and would normally be afraid of heights and flying in airplanes but she had absolutely no sense of fear now. The stars began to twinkle, sparkle and looked as though they had been set into a soft velvet back drop of pure black. She marveled as the pinpoints of light enlarged, stretched and began to lengthen into long streaks of light. Then, out of the corner of her eye, there was a flash of lighting reflected off the sky!

When the intense light had faded Maria found herself sitting on a large flat boulder that had been placed on the edge of an immense grassy meadow. There was a cedar split rail fence running along the perimeter which had no end that she could see. A group of butterflies danced and darted around her and she noticed that they had a brilliant translucent neon appearance which trailed off behind them as they flew by.

As she turned to her right, in the distance, Maria followed a path with her eyes that ran into a massive wall. There was a group of people walking out of a large pearlescent opening in the wall but they were still too far away to say who they were. A gentle breeze was pushing wonderful fragrances of orange blooms, jasmine, eucalyptus and mint around. The crowd was getting closer but still a ways off and behind them she could see flashes of lighting that originated from inside the massive gate that the group had walked through.

Suddenly, a voice startled her, it was a rich deep voice that after the initial shock, made her feel warm and fuzzy all over. The sensation was like taking a gulp from a mug of sweet hot chocolate as the whipped cream dissolved into the mixture.

“Don’t be afraid, I am Uriel” boomed the angel as Maria turned to see a man clothed in white with a silver sash across his chest. His arms were very muscular and he wore silver bands around both of his biceps.
“I have come to welcome you, Maria! And re-acquaint you with your relatives” said the massive nine foot tall bronze colored angel. 

For the first time Maria realized that she had died. She began to turn her attention away from the angel and glanced at her hands. They didn’t ache anymore from an arthritic condition that had cruelly  deformed her digits. In fact her fingers were straight and her skin was soft, smooth and looked as they did at the age of nineteen.

Maria was speechless and while she tried to form the words in her mouth the moment had taken away her ability to speak. The crowd was getting closer and she could now begin to make out several faces of friends that had passed on before. Her twin brother Carl was leading the group and she recognized her mother Lucille and her father behind him.

“Breathe Maria, it helps to acclimate to your new surroundings” reassured Uriel as the sweet quality of the air was almost too much to take in all at once. The grass was greener too against the warm blue sky and complete with well manicured edges. Maria began to realize that there were animals as several rabbits nibbled grass around the angel’s feet. She noticed birds too of all shapes, sizes and colors that soared through the air and landed in branches of nearby trees.

“Maria! We knew you were coming” Shouted Lucille as her mother put her arms around her and squeezed tightly. “We have all come to meet you, everyone is here.” Maria hadn’t been held by her mother in over thirty years and relished the experience. She even had the same fragrance that she remembered as a young girl. Maria pinched herself as Uriel laughed and her brother stepped forward to embrace his sister.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Seeds of faith

 Its 2:22 on Tuesday afternoon as I walk out my front door my Terrier-Border collie mix meets me with her favorite Frisbee in her mouth. I grab it and sail it through the air past a courtyard full of roses, iris, geraniums and star jasmine. She misses catching it because it was a bad throw and the disc careens into a large Dandelion patch. Several of the spherical seeds explode into the air sending hundreds of parachute like seeds on a new journey in search of a place to sprout and grow.

I turn back to look and catch a sweet fragrance of the star jasmine which is in full bloom. Thousands of tiny star pointed blossoms release their perfume-like aroma into the gentle breeze that meanders through the confines of the courtyard. A ruby throated hummingbird joins me as we both enjoy pushing our faces into the hedge of jasmine. Below me beautifully robed Easter irises parade their purple patterned flower attire down the garden runway. I accidentally bump into a climbing Cecile Brunet rose bush that is dotted every few inches with tightly furrowed rose buds that compete with the jasmine for first place in the fragrance category. 

I pause to listen to a peregrine falcon as it silently but swiftly navigate through a rose arbor in pursuit of a darting sparrow that is determined to get away. A pair of brightly colored yellow oriels perch in the weeping wisteria watching the entire spectacle relieved that the falcon wasn’t chasing after them. Nearby several Humming birds jockey for nectar that has been carefully placed out in a feeder hanging on a nearby pine tree. As I survey the colossal pine a cone randomly topples down releasing several seeds that helicopter down to the ground.

It’s just amazing to me to see all this design, sacred geometry, which our Creator has built into our world.  The dandelion’s spherical shape allows the wind from any direction to lift the parachute shaped seeds high into the air where they will be dispersed to another location. Once there, if they find sun, water and soil then they will sprout and grow. The pine seeds, in a different way, have one lop sided wing that causes them to spiral out and away from their parent tree where by enabling them to find sun, water and soil to grow in.

The flowers too have aromas and colors that attract insects that will do the work of pollination. In fact flowers have color wavelengths that are beyond our visible spectrum but not to specific insects that search them out. These colors can be compared to and are the equivalent of the neon signs that beckon us to enter a storefront when it is open. All these incredible proofs of God’s existence and design were observed only fifteen feet from my front door.

Spring is a wonderful time to watch the sap rise in the trees, flowers bloom and what was once thought of as dead comes back to life. It was during this same time of year that Jesus prophesied “The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified. Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.” John 12:23,24.

Jesus fulfilled numerous prophecies as He rode into Jerusalem presenting Himself as the world’s final Passover Lamb. Then at the last supper He made a New Covenant, in His blood, where He invited all to dine at His table and to remember not only His sacrifice on the cross but that he rose from the dead. 

The message of Easter is “Christ is Risen!” It’s a message of life for all to share who come to dine at Christ’s table. Creation even sings its songs to our Heavenly Father and refocuses our minds on the glorious things that are in store for us in heaven. The purple of the flowering iris and the sweet aroma of jasmine remind us that death has no longer any hold on us and that Jesus Christ has taken away the sting of death forever. It’s a time to rejoice, sing, jump and cry out to God for the wonderful love He has for us.

Easter is so much more than bunny rabbits and colored eggs. Baskets overflowing with candy don’t come close to the sweetness that Christ has in store for us. We are the apple of His eye and He faithfully loves every single person He has created. So in the end, Jesus became as that grain of wheat that died then came back to life to produce much grain.  Creation declares the glory of God and stands as a witness of His overflowing bountiful goodness.