Category Archives: Redemption

Life’s Lemons

In our quest to become healthier, my husband and I have been trying to ‘do more and eat less’.  I can tell you it has not been an easy road.  We have cut our portions, sugars and carbs.  My husband has had a harder time than I have.  He loves sweets and tries to use fruit as a substitute.

One day after lunch, he finished before I did and walked over to where I keep the fruit.  He grabbed something out of the fruit bowl and sat back down.  After a few seconds, he says, “These are the sourest oranges I have ever tasted.  Don’t ever buy these again.”

I was puzzled by his comment because I had not bought any oranges.  I looked at his pile of cut up fruit and burst out laughing.  It wasn’t an orange, it was a lemon.  (The look on his face was priceless.)

He said that it sure looked like an orange to him.  That week I had bought a new kind of lemon which was a cross between a lemon and a mandarin orange because they were cheaper than regular lemons.  I use them in recipes that call for lemon juice and salad dressing.  They look like a lemon, but have a light, smooth light orange-colored rind.

This incident was a reminder to me that appearances can be deceiving.  In Genesis, the devil was disguised as a serpent and approached Eve in the Garden of Eden.  At that time the serpent had to be an appealing looking creature because Eve had a conversation with him.

He wanted Eve to eat of The Tree-of-the-Knowledge-of-Good-And-Evil.  God specifically told Adam and Eve they could not eat from that one tree or they would die; however, all the other fruit in the garden was okay for consumption.  The serpent very shrewdly convinced Eve that she would not die if she ate the fruit.  She would be like God and know good and evil.  It was a beautiful tree and had nice looking fruit.  So, she was convinced it was okay and ate it.

Though the fruit looked appetizing, like that hybrid lemon I bought, it soured the relationship Adam and Eve had with God. They were no longer able to walk with Him and talk with Him face to face.  Adam and Eve’s disobedience was the first sin brought into the world.  God does not tolerate disobedience.

So often sin looks appealing and is enticing.  Sometimes it brings us pleasure or has some “reward” and sometimes we just can’t help ourselves.  Like Paul said, we try to do the right thing, but end up doing what we shouldn’t.  Our sins – intentional or not sours our relationship with God.

God understands that we are human and weak.  Though he cannot tolerate sin, He does love the sinner.  He has made a way for forgiveness of sin through His Son, Jesus, whose death on the cross paid for the sin of mankind that goes well into the future and all the way back to Adam and Eve.  Our part is to ask for forgiveness and just believe that Jesus died for us.  Our faith in Jesus opens the door to a new beginning and sweeter relationship with God.  After all, that’s what Easter is all about.

 

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.  Isaiah 53:6

 

The Reason for the Season

 

I remember as a child that I waited in great anticipation for Thanksgiving.  It wasn’t about the fabulous turkey meal my mother would prepare, but about the decorating for Christmas that would begin the next day.  I couldn’t wait for our Christmas tree to go up so we could decorate it and play Christmas music.  My brother, sister and I would sing, decorate and drive our parents crazy with our horsing around and hanging too many ornaments on the same branch or in the same area.  My dad would decorate the outside of the house and the lights and the Santa and the Nativity scenes would go up.  We loved putting baby Jesus in the manger – which was one of our old dolls – as the final touch.

To this day, I can still feel the joyful anticipation as we prepared for our favorite holiday.  I remember being so grateful to Jesus for being born and getting gifts so that we could get them too!  Each Christmas carol that we played on our stereo added an exclamation point to Merry Christmas. We were all nicer to one another and did what we could to help around the house to earn extra brownie points for Santa to make up for any black marks on our list.  Mom had told us several times when we misbehaved that Santa could surprise us with a stocking full of coal and that brought us back in line.

Then baking would start and my mom would make gobs, pumpkin, thumbprint, chocolate chip and peanut butter cookies.  We would all gather around her and help her grind nuts or mix dough so that we could sneak samples.  My mother had to keep careful accounts of whose turn it was to lick the beaters and bowl.

We would go to church and the anticipation would heighten because we were also remembering that Christmas over 2,000 years ago when Jesus was born.  I remember feeling blessed that we could share in that event and loved singing Gloria in Excelisis Deo and would see if I could do it without having to take a breath.  Celebrating Christ’s birth was so much fun!  As I child, it was the only time I really enjoyed church.  I tried not to think about why he was born.  It made me sad that Jesus had to die for my sins.  But I was glad that His Spirit was still alive and that I could feel His love for me.

Everywhere we went during the Christmas season there was the happy chatter, bright shiny decorations and “Merry Christmases” being exchanged.  It seemed like back then everyone was in a good mood. The specialness of the season followed us around like a happy puppy.

To this day as I get my Christmas decorations out, I remember that feeling and I bask in it as I decorate to Christmas music.  That’s the only time I seem to feel it any more.  It’s so sad that our once joyful season has been commercialized and politically corrected to the point where the true meaning is lost and the specialness of the season is tarnished.  Christ has almost been obliterated from the season that is named after Him.

To have the birth of Christ tied into our Christmas season gave the season an aura of awe and wonder that built as Christmas Day came near.  It seemed that everyone allowed the celebration of the Christ child regardless of their true beliefs and cared enough about others to not ruin celebrations.  There were very few people playing Scrooge destroying the ambience back then.  The same cannot be said for today.  Since it’s not politically correct, I must work harder to keep that joy and hope in my heart these days.  It is my prayer that Christ is in your Christmas so that there is wonder and joy as we anticipate and celebrate that holy day of his birth.

 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”  Luke 2:10-12