Unsuspecting

The stream runs high. The trees are green, the grass lush, and the birds sing their songs. Along the bank a snake lies beneath a rock waiting for the nearest prey to come near.

A shadow falls across the rock and the snake coils. A foot lands close by. Without knowing the danger that is coiled and ready to strike the Man turns. He senses something but hasn’t put His finger on quite what it is. He takes a step and hears the hiss.

Looking down He sees what made the noise and begins to laugh. The snake uncoils and looks at the Man. “Why do you laugh?” the snake asks perturbed.

“Because you have no power where power is not given,” the Man states. He chuckles and takes a step.

“Wait!” The snake yells.

The Man stops and turns to look down at the snake.

“There are those who do not believe and those who are weak. Leave me to my tasks so I may inject my venom.” The snake states.

“It is written that man may choose whom he will serve. Go.”

The snake smiles happily and slithers off through the grass to a group camping nearby.

(Sue’s version) Joshua 24:15

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The Fast Train

A whistle breaks the silence, wheels speed across the tracks, smoke billows filling the air with white steam as the train speeds along the tracks.

There’s only one car to this train and only two stops. It’s filled with passengers from all walks of life. A lady, dressed in fine silk, jewels dangling from her ears, neck, and wrists. Her fine feathered hat sits proudly on styled hair. Her husband sits beside her typing on his laptop computer, paying no attention to her constant babble.

Families sit together with their children gaping out the window at the scenery as it speeds by. The scowl of a mother catches the Conductors eye. He smiles but she snarls under her breath and digs an elbow into her husbands side. He grunts and ignores her.

A few teenagers, with their multi-colored hair, nose rings, tattooed bodies, and slouchy pants, sit slouched on the benches discussing the latest horror movie and Rap song with its lyrics of back to back cuss words and condemnation of all that is good. The Conductor stops beside them. They don’t acknowledge Him.  He states, “Follow Me.” They ignore Him. He rubs the dust off His shoe on His pants leg and moves on.

As He approaches another group tears threaten to spill. Women in ragged dresses, men in torn dirty shirts and infants in dirty diapers fill a corner in the back of the compartment. Half eaten sandwiches are set aside and heads bow in praise and thanksgiving as the Conductor steps among them.

The Conductor touches the shoulder of a lame man, “Be healed,” the Conductor states. The man immediately jumps to his feet and runs in a circle shouting, “Praise God, I can walk!”

The Conductor moves to a woman with an infant with a cleft lip. He smiles down at the infant and with compassion, looks heavenward, whispers a prayer, and places His finger on the child’s lip. It’s instantly healed and the baby smiles brightly. The mother cries tears of joy and thanks Him.

None of the Conductors actions have gone unnoticed. Some begin praising, others shout, “Hosanna,” and yet others raise a questioning eyebrow and announce, “it’s a trick!”

The fast train begins to slow. Some begin gathering their fine leather bags, others pick up the toys of their children while others kneel in praise and thanksgiving for the blessings of a meager meal and the warmth of the compartment.

The fast train stops and the door slides open. The Conductor stands beside it and as one passenger after another line up to exit, the Conductor announces, “Many who are the greatest now will be least important then, and those who seem least important now will be the greatest then.” *

He points His finger at the ragged group in the back of the line and states loudly, “You, My children, step forward. For those who believe shall inherit the kingdom of God.”

Angry shouts fill the compartment, some try to shove their way through the door. Many stand quietly waiting to be called forward. As the line moves forward, the Conductor instructs some to return to their seat, others, He smiles and tells them they have been “good and faithful servants.” Each child is given a loving hug as He tells them to be careful stepping off the train.

The engine of the fast train roars to life, steam bellows forth, and a  loud clank is heard as the door slams shut and the fast train speeds off down the track for the last stop. The majority remain aboard.

Most assuredly I say unto you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” John 3:3

(Matt.19:30)

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Jesus on a Stage Coach

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Imagine it. The horses are tethered, they stomp their feet in anticipation of a long trek and snort their disapproval of having to wait. John and Thomas crawl up onto the driver’s seat as Jesus throws open the stage door and takes his seat on the hard wooden bench. John gives a loud whistle as he cracks the whip above the horses and the coach jerks forward.

The day is hot even though the sun has just risen. Jesus leans back against the hard wooden seat. It will be a long ride along the dusty path. The wind blows his hair and reaching up He moves it out of His eyes. He can hear John and Thomas talking and occasionally laughter fills the air. He smiles and closes His eyes and is soon asleep.

A sudden jolt and dangerous tilting of the coach startles Jesus awake throwing Him against the wall. One side of the coach has collapsed and the coach suddenly stops. John and Thomas jump down from their perch and Thomas wrings his hands while groaning loudly. “What are we going to do?” He shouts while pacing back and forth in front of the broken wheel. “Where’s Jesus?” he shouts and spins around to see Jesus carefully maneuvering His way out of the coach.

Thomas runs to Him, “The wheel is broken, Lord, what are we to do? We don’t have a spare. We’re stuck out here!” Sweat pours down his face and he quickly swipes it out of his eyes. Fear has gripped him and Jesus gently places His hand on Thomas’s shoulder, “Fear not, Thomas, I am with you.”

Jesus walks to the side of the stage-coach. He stands studiously peering at the good wheel with John and Thomas close behind Him.

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“Sit!” Jesus says to the two disciples. “I want to tell you something.” They sit down on the ground in front of Jesus. “He’s going to tell us a story in the midst of this crisis?” Thomas thinks. John sits quietly waiting.

“Do you see this wheel?” Jesus asks, pointing to the stage-coach wheel. Both nod yes. “This wheel represents the body of Christ.” Thomas whispers, “Huh?” Jesus smiles then continues. “The spokes are My children.” Thomas moves his hat aside and scratches his head. John nods. “Pay attention, Thomas!” Jesus states. “Each spoke is equal but each has been given a divine purpose. One has a gift of prophecy, another has the gift of exhortation, another is a teacher, another a home maker, another a preacher. All work together to make the wheel, the church, strong.”

Jesus reaches over and takes hold of one of the spokes and gives it a good jerk. “As long as these spokes cling tightly to the hub the wheel will remain strong and sturdy. I tell you the truth, I am the hub that holds it all together.”

“Okay.” Thomas states and glances up at the hot sun shining down on them. “Now let’s go look at the broken wheel.” Jesus states and they stand and walk to the broken wheel.

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“What do you see?” Jesus asks. Thomas is quick to reply, “A broken, crushed wheel and we’re stuck out here in this heat.” “Oh ye of little faith.” Jesus states. “Look at it! I tell you the truth, the body of Christ is broken!”

“Huh?” Thomas says. John nods in understanding.

“My shepherds are not teaching My Word. They are following the dictates of what the people want to hear. They are accepting evil as good and turning good into evil! Instead of loving one another as I love them they are divided. They are accepting the ploys of the enemy to destroy their faith. When one falls away the others are quick to condemn.”

Thomas sits quietly and John asks, “I’m not sure I fully understand. How does this relate to this broken wheel and the circumstances we are in, Lord?”

“Do you not yet understand, John? When one spoke is broken the wheel can still turn, the others offer support. It keeps the wheel from completely falling apart. But when several spokes break it weakens the whole wheel until eventually the wheel can not move forward. It lies dead in the sand.” Jesus points to the broken stage-coach wheel, “Just like that! What good is that wheel?”

Thomas states dejectedly, “Good for nothing.”

“That’s where my church is heading unless the body repents and comes together in unity. If My children will turn back to Me I will hear their prayers and heal their land but they must stop being weak in their faith, silent in the face of evil, and stand up to the sins in the world or the church will be as weak and damaged and useless as this wheel.”

Thomas shifts uncomfortably. He still doesn’t get it and asks, “But what are we to do?” and thinks,  We’re still stuck out here.  

Jesus turns and points to a large stick in the distance. “Have faith! Thomas, go get that long stick over there.”

“What for?” Thomas asks.

“You’ll see. Just trust Me.”

Thomas retrieves the long stick. “Now what?”

“Strike that broken wheel three times with it.”

“Huh? What good is that going to do?”

“Just do it, Thomas!” Jesus states emphatically.

Shaking his head in bewilderment Thomas strikes the broken wheel.

Jesus leans back in His seat as the dust from the spinning coach wheels and the horses hooves billows through the open window, When are they going to trust Me!? He thinks and closes His eyes.

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Blessings to you.