ETERNAL INK +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ The articles within this publication remain the copyrights of the authors. Any permission to reproduce any article, in any format, must be granted by the author. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Editor-in-Chief of Eternal Ink - Mary-Ellen Grisham - meggy88@... Administrative Editor - David Davis - fishercaster@... Devotions Editor - Annettee Budzban - ahrtwrites2u@... Features Editor - Carl Phillips - CarlPhil10@... Special Materials Editor - Ivie Bozeman - ivie@... Poetry Editor - Elizabeth (Betty) Pearson - roybet630@... Eternal Ink Web Site - www.eternal-ink.com ISSN#: 1528-9605 +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ Table of Contents 1) Mary-Ellen's Note 2) Devotional Poem in Praise of New Life 3) Easter Poetry 4) Meditation on New Life 5) Personal Experience - Christian Living 6) Meditation on Joy 7) Prayer Requests 8) Light Moments 9) Easter Joy 10) Memorable Words/Closing Words ISSN#: 1528-9605 +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 1) Mary-Ellen's Note One afternoon, after expending considerable effort raking up mounds of dry leaves, I was resting on our back patio. Now that the dry, dirty leaves were gone, the gardens were free to soak up sun and rain and feel the air. It seemed to me that the whole earth was leaning with an expectancy, waiting for the rebirth of Spring, the joy of new life! This urgency of anticipation was like a palpable presence with me in my backyard. That experience reminded me of the passage in Romans 8 that speaks of the anticipation of all creation to see those who will be sons and daughters of God: "The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved." (Romans 8: 19-24a NIV) In Romans 8: 26, we are told that the Spirit helps us and intercedes for us with God. We remember that Jesus left us the Comforter, this Holy Spirit, to be His Presence in the world, his truth with us. We have two trees, a pin oak and a species of oriental elm, that hold their dead leaves even into Spring, so I know that other raking and tidying will be required to keep my lovely yard in readiness for the fresh growth of plants and flowers. In much the same way, the sins, trials, and problems of life burden our hearts and souls, but we know that continual "clean-up" is possible because of the life and death of Jesus. We know that His Spirit ministers to us daily and "groans" with the effort of intercession to our Father, God. We know with a sense of expectancy and triumph that His sacrifice and atoning blood is sufficient for all who believe in Him. With this assurance of the joy in rebirth and eternal life, we can breathe free, rejoicing in this everlasting psalm of life! +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 2) Devotional Poem in Praise of New Life THE MIRACLE OF NEW BIRTH By Betty Jo Mings I watched a hairy caterpillar crawling on the ground. It slowly inched its way along, not making any sound. To me it looked quite ugly, and I thought, "I'd hate to be A worm-like creature such as that, who crawls painstakingly." But as I watched, it slowly found a limb, and held on tight, And spun a silk cocoon that kept it safely out of sight. And then one day it struggled to break free so it could fly, And I beheld a butterfly that rose up to the sky. Its beauty was spectacular, and now its wings could soar, For days of crawling in the dirt were gone forevermore. I pondered on the wonder of that glorious new birth, And thought of how the Lord looks down upon our sin-sick earth. We must resemble lowly worms who wallow in our sin, But that is why Christ came to earth, to save the souls of men. He wraps us in His loving arms, and writes our names above, And we become new creatures, born again by His great love. And someday we will leave this earth, and with our wings we'll fly With beautiful new bodies to our mansions in the sky. For God has wrought a miracle in those He chose to be His holy bride, to reign with Him through all eternity. (c)2005 Betty Jo Mings bmings@... +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 3) Easter Poetry MY PASSION Irina Kocsis When I fed you I had known it's me you'll crucify When I knelt to wash your feet I knew It's me you will deny. When I called you my disciple I had also known it's me you will betray When with me you chose to walk I then too had known That down the path you'll go astray. When I called you my beloved Even then I knew That your thorns will pierce my brow You thought you knew me When I cried Forgive them Father they don't know (c)2005 Irina Kocsis Submitted by Elizabeth Pearson roybet630@... TEARS OF JOY By Betty Jo Mings My heart ached with grief as I thought of the cross, And the pain Jesus suffered for me, For it was MY sin that He took on Himself As His blood flowed on dark Calvary. I saw the compassionate tears in His eyes As He died on that tree in my place, And knew by His death He had ransomed my soul, Giving life through His infinite grace. I wept at the nails driven into hands Through His feet with hatred and scorn, And watched as His mother looked helplessly on At His body, so mangled and torn. I felt His great love as He prayed for the ones Whose sins He forgave by His death, And heard Him cry out to His Father above As He gasped, till He drew His last breath. But tears turned to joy when the stone at the tomb Was rolled by the angels away, And Jesus came forth in triumphant new life, Crushing death on that first Easter day. My heart is now full of the wonder and joy That I felt when He set my soul free, So I'll joyfully praise Him till earth is no more, And in Heaven His face I shall see. (c)2005 Betty Jo Mings bmings@... +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 4) Personal Experience - Christian Living NEW LIFE! By Melva Cooper "...Then he calls for warmer weather and the spring winds blow..." Psalm 147:18 (LB) Today the sun is shining brightly! Oh, how it cheers my spirit. There have been times this long winter when we didn't even see the big yellow light in the sky for days. The Northeast corner of the state that I live in (Arkansas) is often the boundary line between rain and snow. More often than not, it is rain that comes our way. This winter has been different! Back in December before snow even crossed the mind of Arkansans, we woke up to freezing rain. Rarely a problem in this middle of the country we live in, we were not overly concerned. The hours began to add up while the freezing rain kept falling. Soon the lights blinked and then blinked again. We discovered the electricity lines had become ice covered and had fallen. That meant no lights, no TV, no cooking and, at our house, no heat. My husband piled wood high on the fireplace and we felt safe and secure. The grandkids roasted hot dogs and marshmallows that first night. It was fun. Before morning as the fire flickered low in the fireplace, it began to get a little cool. Blankets we had forgotten about having were brought out from the closet. One day turned into two and then two days turned into three. The fireplace the family had gathered around so joyfully that first night just wasn't keeping us warm. It wasn't fun anymore! Finally, on the third night when the temperature in our hallway slithered down to 42 degrees, I told my husband I was heading south. Our daughter and her family who live in a small town about 15 miles south of us had warm heat, hot water, and plenty of cooked food. Before I could get a small suitcase gathered up and out the door the electricity came back on. Wow, what a beautiful sight! I sighed and said thank you, Lord. I was sure that we had already witnessed more than our share of freezing rain and snow for one winter. Was I ever wrong! In January the white flakes began to fall in abundance. Our grandchildren were so happy. No school for them. Sleds were purchased and our front yard became a slippery playground. The dryer was busy keeping wet, snowy clothes warm and dry as the kids ran in and out of the house. Once again, I said thank you, Lord, for allowing the grandchildren to see so much of that white stuff that is such a rarity for us. But, I just knew this time we had seen the final snow of the season. Wrong again! The sleds were barely put away before the cold snow appeared again. I stood gazing out the front window enjoying the beauty of the secluded cove we live in all covered with the sparkling snow. School was dismissed again. This time the novelty had worn off and the kids decided they would stick to the inside computers and gameboys instead of braving the wet, cold snow. It melted soon, as it often does here, and everyone went back to the hustle and bustle of school, errands, and church activities. Surely, there would be no more snow for us this winter. Before I could get those words out of my mouth, the local meteorologist appeared on the television screen telling us another cold front was headed our way. And the moisture from the gulf was right for - you guessed it - more snow. His words were never more true. It snowed all day. Huge beautiful flakes added up fast. It was, once more, a lovely sight to behold. Yet, in my spirit I was sensing enough is enough. Would we ever see warm weather again?-- was spinning around in my mind. Personally, I was ready for the new life of spring to abound. Visions of green grass, tulips bringing forth their brilliant early blooms, and budding pear trees became so real to me. But, it was only February! We still had March to go and often that is the month we experience our coldest weather. What would this year bring? The yearning in my spirit became a prayer in my heart. And as God so often does, he shows Himself strong in most unusual ways. My day normally starts with a cup of coffee and several devotions that have come during the night on my PC. Opening my inbox, I discovered the first email was not a devotional, but a picture a friend of ours had taken that morning. And to my delight in the picture I saw nestled under the melting snow, but raising their yellow blooms for the world to see, a patch of early spring crocuses. New life! What a beautiful sight for my eyes to enjoy. I sat and stared at the gorgeous flowers thinking how good God is to send over the world wide web, while I was asleep, a picture of His new life. I began to thank Him for the new life beckoning to me from the monitor of my computer. I thanked Him for my friend who loves to grow beautiful flowers. I thanked him for her husband who enjoys clicking his digital camera and then sharing what he has captured through email. And then I thanked God for sending Jesus to die on the cross so that all humanity may have new life through Him. Melva Cooper Jmelva@... www.melvacooper.com +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 5) Seasonal Feature His Blood By Craig Sands Over the years, many songwriters have written about the glorious subject of His blood. They have asked, "Are You Washed?" in His blood. They have proclaimed that "There Is Power in The Blood" and they have affirmed that "The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power." The writers of the New Testament wrote about His blood in the Gospels, the Epistles and the book of Revelation. In the church, preachers have preached about the blood of Christ, and teachers have taught on this important subject. Skeptics, on the other hand, have tried to malign and criticize Christ's precious blood. They have accused Christianity of being a bloody religion. They have rejected the God who requires such a high payment for sin and refused to believe in the soul-cleansing power of Christ's blood. Down through history, these skeptics have even sought to make those who believe in its power look like they are the worst of fools and, needless to say, we still have our share of skeptics today. Not long ago, during the pre-release frenzy that surrounded Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ," the skeptics were at it again trying to create controversy and cast doubt on the sacrifice of Christ and on the power of His blood. At the heart of the controversy was a quote from Caiaphas who was the high priest of the Jews during the time that Christ lived. This quote from Caiaphas, concerning the blood of Christ, is recorded in the Gospels. While he and the people with him are before Pilate calling for the death of Christ, Caiaphas is heard to say, "His blood be on us and on our children." This quote credited to Caiaphas has been deemed by the skeptics of our day as anti-Semitic. They have maintained that it does nothing but stir up hatred for the Jews as the ones who killed Christ. While it is true that Caiaphas made this statement, Christ Himself asked the Father to forgive those who crucified Him because He knew that they did not know what they were doing. There is, however, another truth to be learned here that may, at times, go unnoticed. It is the glorious truth that we too, as believers, need to cry out for His blood to be on us and on our children not as a curse from God but as our covenant with God and our covering for sin. Christ's blood is truly what established our covenant with God. When blessing the fruit of the vine during the Passover, Christ Himself said, "This is the new covenant in my blood." Luke affirms in the book of Acts that Christ purchased us by His blood. John further states in 1 John that it is the blood of Christ that cleanses us from all sin. All glory be to the Lamb who shed His precious blood for us! (c)2005 Craig Sands csands714@... +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 6) Meditation on Joy Joy -Where are you? By Ivie Bozeman What is joy? Where do we find it? It is a feeling beyond the deceptive power of language. There are no adequate words to describe it. Even poets, versed in the arts of imagery and metaphor, have fallen short when it came to capturing the elusive essence of joy. Someone has defined it as unmerited grace, another term equally hard to define. Joy has been compared to a brushing of the wings of one's mortal self against the infinite--a holy touch. It has been described as an inner explosion of crystalline clarity, a momentary blending of one's soul with the Spirit of God. One thing is sure--joy is not the same as pleasure. It differs from pleasure as a rose differs from a dandelion. The dandelion is cheerful, pleasant and pretty, but the rose is a sublime creation---a mirror to the infinite. Joy reflects deep inner peace from knowing God, while pleasure is frequently only a fleeting pastime, one that (like happiness) is based on outer circumstances or happenings. We search for joy in so many ways. The search is often fruitless because we are looking in all the wrong places. The scriptures call our attention to a number of passages. These vary from the joy one finds when one realizes what the Lord has done for a person, to the feeling found, when one serves another. In Luke 15:32 we find the words, "rejoice for this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found." (NIV) One of life's greatest joys is felt when someone discovers that which has been lost. Often we settle for small pleasures, never realizing we haven't even tapped into the greater joy that could be ours if we continue to search for it. We content ourselves with the warm, sunny glow of the dandelion and never find the fragrance and exhilarating beauty of the rose that lies just a few steps beyond. We often quit seeking that which is lost and settle for less, because we never expect the momentary flash of inner consciousness that transcends the brightness of the dandelion and shows us the perfect rose, or that which we had lost and will not find, because we cease to seek. When the prodigal son returned, the father knew great joy because that which was lost had been found. The older brother did not taste of this joy, because his soul had become dulled from other things. He had become so irritated by the problems he thought he saw in life, he closed the door on the joy that could have been his. He had come to believe that justice and hard work was all there was to life, so he missed the joy that could have been his. The capacity for joy lies within us all, waiting to be released from the prison where we hold it captive. Are we, like the older brother, to hold on to our sense of justice as to what the father owes us and miss the joy of our brother's salvation? The price one pays for feelings and opinions may permanently block those natural impulses of joy that are a part of our birthright. Luke 15:9 records another incident of finding: "...and when she had found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors saying, "Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin which I had lost." (NIV) This lady experienced joy when she found her lost coin. She found the joy that she had lost. Joy is the finding of that which is lost--a son, a coin, a lost sheep--or anything that allows the pulse of joy to manifest within our souls and make contact with the Infinite. Paul tells us in Galatians 5:22-25 that joy is one of the fruits of the Spirit. "Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the sinful nature with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit." This quote seems to tell us that joy is found by keeping in step with the Spirit. James 1:2-18 says to "consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you face trials of many kinds." Unless we are open to suffering and understand the pain and sorrow of others, we cannot understand that which is the opposite of suffering; but which shares the same parts of the heart. One, who has not experienced the pain, cannot identify the joy that wells up in the heart on special occasions. James 1:12 tells us that the man who preserves under trial is blessed, "because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those that love him." In 1 Peter 4:12 we are told: "Do not be surprised at the painful trial you are suffering as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice that you participate in the sufferings of Christ, so that you may be overjoyed when his glory is revealed." May the joy of this Easter Season overflow in our hearts like the brushing of our mortal self against the Infinite. May we truly experience that inner explosion of clarity that blends our soul with the Spirit of Jesus Christ. (c)2005 Ivie Bozeman ivie@... +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 7) Prayer Requests Betty King's leg is doing better. After a fall in the shower, she has gone through various stages of diagnosis. At one point, the doctor was afraid she might lose her leg, and still later, there was talk of the need for a skin graft. Betty reports, though, that her leg is slowly healing on its own, so she is holding off on any further treatments. Please keep her in your prayers for healing and encouragement. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 8) Light Moments WRONG EMAIL ADDRESS A couple from Minneapolis decided to go to Florida to thaw out during one particularly icy winter. They planned to stay at the very same hotel where they spent their honeymoon 20 years earlier. Because of hectic schedules, it was difficult to coordinate their travel schedules. So the husband left Minnesota and flew to Florida on Thursday, with his wife flying down the following day. The husband checked into the hotel. There was a computer in his room, so he decided to send an e-mail to his wife. However, he accidentally left out one letter in her e-mail address, and without realizing his error, he sent the e-mail. Meanwhile... somewhere in Houston, a widow had just returned home from her husband's funeral. He was a minister of many years who was called home to glory following a sudden heart attack. The widow decided to check her e-mail, expecting messages from relatives and friends. After reading the first message, she fainted. The widow's son rushed into the room, found his mother on the floor, and saw the computer screen which read: To: My Loving Wife Subject: I've arrived Date: 25 Sept 2004 I know you're surprised to hear from me. They have computers here now, andyou are allowed to send e-mails to your loved ones. I've just arrived and have been checked in. I see that everything has been prepared for your arrival tomorrow. Looking forward to seeing you then! Hope your journey is as uneventful as mine was. P.S. Sure is hot down here! Author Unknown Contributed by Nell Berry and her friends +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 9) Easter Joy - An Inspirational Story A wealthy man and his son loved to collect rare works of art. They had everything in their collection, from Picasso to Raphael. They would often sit together and admire the great works of art. When the Vietnam conflict broke out, the son went to war. He was very courageous and died in battle while rescuing another soldier. The father was notified and grieved deeply for his only son. About a month later, just before Christmas, there was a knock at the door. A young man stood at the door with a large package in his hands. He said, "Sir, you don't know me, but I am the soldier for whom your son gave his life. He saved many lives that day, and he was carrying me to safety when a bullet struck him in the heart and he died instantly. He often talked about you, and your love for art." The young man held out this package. "I know this isn't much. I'm not really a great artist, but I think your son would have wanted you to have this." The father opened the package. It was a portrait of his son, painted by the young man. He stared in awe at the way the soldier had captured the personality of his son in the painting. The father was so drawn to the eyes that his own eyes welled up with tears. He thanked the young man and offered to pay him for the picture. "Oh, no sir, I could never repay what your son did for me. It's a gift." The father hung the portrait over his mantle. Every time visitors came to his home he took them to see the portrait of his son before he showed them any of the other great works he had collected. The man died a few months later. There was to be a great auction of his paintings. Many influential people gathered, excited over seeing the great paintings and having an opportunity to purchase one for their collection. On the platform sat the painting of the son. The auctioneer pounded his gavel. "We will start the bidding with this picture of the son. Who will bid for this picture?" There was silence. Then a voice in the back of the room shouted, "We want to see the famous paintings. Skip this one." But the auctioneer persisted. "Will somebody bid for this painting. Who will start the bidding? $100, $200?" Another voice angrily said, "We didn't come to see this painting. We came to see the Van Goghs, the Rembrandts. Get on with the real bids!" But still the auctioneer continued. "The son! The son! Who'll take the son?" Finally, a voice came from the very back of the room. It was the long time gardener of the man and his son. "I'll give $10 for the painting." Being a poor man, it was all he could afford. "We have $10, who will bid $20?" "Give it to him for $10. Let's see the masters." "$10 is the bid, won't someone bid $20?" The crowd was becoming angry. They didn't want the picture of the son. They wanted the more worthy investments for their collections. The auctioneer pounded the gavel. "Going once, twice, SOLD for $10!" A man sitting on the second row shouted, "Now let's get on with the collection!" The auctioneer laid down his gavel. "I'm sorry, the auction is over." "What about the paintings?" "I am sorry. When I was called to conduct this auction, I was told of a secret stipulation in the will. I was not allowed to reveal that stipulation until this time. Only the painting of the son would be auctioned. Whoever bought that painting would inherit the entire estate, including the paintings. The man who took the son gets everything!" God gave His son 2,000 years ago to die on the cross. Much like the auctioneer, His message today is: "The son, the son, who'll take the son?" Because, you see, whoever takes the Son gets everything. FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD THAT HE GAVE HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON, THAT WHOSOEVER BELIEVETH IN HIM, SHOULD NOT PERISH BUT SHALL HAVE ETERNAL LIFE... (John 3:16)--THAT'S LOVE! Author Unknown Contributed by Arthur K. Hawthorne and his friends +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ 10) Memorable Words/Closing Words Even in our wrong, the power of God works for right! The joy of Palm Sunday with praise and hosannas to the Son of David can quickly turn to the shouts of "crucify, crucify," with external pressure and inner sin. The sheer joy of Easter is that God knows and understands our weakness and has provided the one-time for-all-time assurance that we are not condemned. With Jesus, salvation is still an open gift. Even with our sin, salvation is a possibility because of Jesus' willing choice to die for our sins and to set us free from bondage and death. With this assurance and joy, we can sing with the creatures in Revelation: "To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb, be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!" (Revelation 5: 13b NIV) And with the multitude of saints in white robes holding palm branches in their hands: "Salvation belongs to our God, who sits on the throne and to the Lamb." (Revelation 7: 10 NIV) And with the angels who sing the song of Moses: "Great and marvelous are your deeds, Lord God Almighty. Just and true are your ways, King of ages, Who will not fear you, O lord, and bring glory to your name? For you alone are holy, all nations will come and worship before you, for your righteous acts have been revealed." (Revelation 15: 3-4 NIV) The editors and staff of Eternal Ink would like to wish you a most joyous and holy Easter Season. If you have found blessing from this issue of Eternal Ink, please share a copy with a friend. To subscribe to Eternal Ink send a blank email to eternal_ink-subscribe@... To unsubscribe, send a blank email to eternal_ink-unsubscribe@... Until our next issue, may God bless you with joy and inner peace, Mary-Ellen. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ WE ARE PLEASED TO BE PARTNERS WITH TEENS4JESUS AND LIVING2SERVE. -- To unsubscribe, send ANY message to: eternal_ink-unsubscribe@... A proud member of the ArkWebs<http://www.arkwebs>ministry team.