Hosanna Procession

A friend entered eternity this week. She’d been an inspiration to me, her attitude toward life one of positive assurance that God would take care of her.

She’d reared three children after her husband left to find other women, had worked as a fraternity cook for nearly three decades, and had walked the cancer journey alone when illness struck later in her life. Her response to trials was always, “God has taken care of me in the past, he’s taking care of me now, and he will take care of me in the future.” Her unwavering faith in the face of hardship spoke volumes to those of us who knew her.

When I read of her death, I was warmed knowing she made her exit from this earth to heaven the same week we celebrate Palm Sunday—Christ’s glorious entrance into Jerusalem. He and his disciples were headed to the holy city to celebrate Passover. He knew, as he stood at the top of the hill leading to the main gate, he would not leave alive. Time for the fulfillment of his purpose had come. Mankind would forever be changed. Jesus would become the sacrificial lamb, offering anyone who believed in Him hope for eternal life in heaven.

In Ephesians 2:4-7 we are told: “But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.”

As I read those words and thought of what Christ did for us at the cross, I imagined my friend’s final triumphant walk into the arms of her Savior. Goodbye dear friend. Save a spot for me.

The Dogwood Has Bloomed

The dogwood has bloomed. The tree sits on a corner along the street I  follow to get to my bank. Every year I anticipate the arrival of the flowers, waiting for the splash of white blossoms to stir my heart as I hurry down the thoroughfare.

Not only is the sight breathtaking, it reminds me of the season into which we are about to enter. The most important day in the earth’s history is about to be celebrated, the remembrance one that affects every person on the face of the planet.

Two thousand years ago, God had sent his son to earth. After thirty-three years here, Jesus was about to fulfill his destiny. He traveled much of Jerusalem with his band of followers, teaching people about the kingdom of heaven, healing their diseases, restoring their loved ones. He’d made enemies and gathered many friends.

The Sanhedrin feared him because he spoke against the false teachings for which they were known. He threatened to upset the delicate balance the Jews maintained in the presence of the Roman occupation. They looked for opportunities to remove him.

He knew their hearts. He understood their thoughts. He sensed them watching him. He ate with publicans and sinners. He healed on the Sabbath. They were waiting to accuse him when the time was right.

Passover was coming. Jesus would enter Jerusalem to celebrate with his disciples. No one but him can know this would be the last time he would enter the city. His enemies waited. They plotted. They watched. Soon they would act. God’s plan was about to be fulfilled.

Acts 16:31 says, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.” In the violent acts that would follow, everyone would gain access to eternal life. The innocent would be slain, the guilty redeemed, the key to heaven placed within everyone’s grasp. When Jesus entered Jerusalem, it would be only a matter of time.

 

This is the first installment in a three-part series leading up to the celebration of Easter.

 

Another Wall, Different Border

On-This-Foundation-Lynn-Austin-1170x1812Shocked and brokenhearted when he learns of the condition of his homeland, Nehemiah is driven to his knees to pray for his native Judah. Jerusalem’s wall is in ruins. Drought has destroyed the crops. People can’t work and are starving.

On This Foundation, the third book in Lynn Austin’s newest series, The Restoration Chronicles, is the artful tale of Nehemiah’s life during a period in biblical history that seems painstakingly familiar. Within the pages readers will find a political tale that bears truths for today.

Having lived a life of luxury, Nehemiah finds favor with King Artaxerxes of Persia when the source of his sorrow is made known. To his surprise, the king appoints him the new interim governor of his homeland. A political outsider with only business success on his resume, Nehemiah travels to Jerusalem to try and save his beloved country. Taxes are exorbitant. Crime is rampant. Deceit colors the truth. He has managed the affairs of a palace, can he steady the reins of a nation in trouble?

Brash and outspoken, Nehemiah’s ideas seem radical. He is besieged by skepticism and lack of trust. Foreign leaders don’t like his intrusion for they have skillfully manipulated internal trade deals for profit. The wealthy Jewish landowners have disregarded the teachings of the Torah and are using their fellow Jews for gain. Threats are made on Nehemiah’s life and plots to undermine his efforts are planned in secret. Adversaries lurk everywhere.

With his heart lifted to God and his resolve firmly in place, Nehemiah presses on and finishes the Jerusalem wall in record time. He rallies the masses and restores the country’s ability to thrive. God uses an unlikely hero with a faithful heart to change the course of a nation.

Well-written, with careful attention to detail, On This Foundation is a story which will challenge every reader’s thinking. The Restoration Chronicles series is available at your local bookstore, Amazon books, and at Christian Book Distributors.ReturntoMe_mck.inddKeepers-of-the-Covenant-Lynn-Austin-1170x1809