Saturday, June 29, 2013

A Special Donkey

Last week's post featured a donkey who talked -- certainly a miracle!  This post concerns another miracle with yet another donkey.  Have you ever noticed how often God uses donkeys to get His messages across?  In VBS this week, my friend Sandy was telling the story of the Triumphal Entry.  I always knew the donkey had a special part in the whole story, but when Sandy pointed out all the elements, it dawned on me how much of a miracle the donkey's part really was.

In the photo above, this little donkey in Santa Fe, New Mexico is an extra-sturdy fellow and carries a heavy load.  The little donkey - a colt really - in the story with Jesus carried the most precious load of all.  Here's a look at his part in the story from Mark 11:

When Jesus and His disciples were just outside Jerusalem at the Mount of Olives, He sent two disciples out, saying to them, "Go into the village opposite you; and as soon as you have entered it you will find a colt tied, on which no one has sat.  Loose it and bring it.  And if anyone says to you, 'Why are you doing this?' say, 'The Lord has need of it,' and immediatley he will send it here" v. 2-3.

The fact that the colt was where He said it would be, that the owner would respond as He did, and that the colt would behave so well when it was untrained -- was altogether miraculous.  Those of us who follow Christ know He is omnipotent and omniscient, so it is no surprise that He knew all about this colt and what would transpire before it happened.  Nonetheless, it's always exciting to see His power in action.  And it must have been a great faith-booster for the disciples.

Just imagine that young colt - which had never been ridden and normally would have been totally unmanageable -- imagine how docile and calm he was as His Maker rode upon his back.  And, despite the yelling of the crowd and the waving of hundreds of palm leaves in front of his young face, the donkey walked straight ahead -- in total obedience to the Master.  It's a beautiful picture!  Once again, we learn a lesson from a lowly donkey.

As it says in Matthew 21:4-5:  "All this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: 'Tell the daughter of Zion, Behold, your King is coming to you, Lowly, and sitting on a donkey, A colt, the foal of a donkey.'"

I join in heartfelt words of praise as spoken by the multitudes:  "Hosanna to the Son of David!  Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!  Hosanna in the highest!"

Friday, June 21, 2013

"Ivory & Ice"

Well, the big day has arrived and I am what is called, a published author.  My dream has come true and I have a book sitting on my shelf with my name on the cover - yay!  It has been a long journey.  I'd been trying to get this book accepted by a publisher for over 18 years!  I let it sit on the shelf nearly forgotten for six years and then pulled it out, did some more work to it, got some feedback from friends who assured me they liked it and finally decided to self-publish.  That too was a learning process.  Now, the baby is born and I am thankful it is done.

The story is one that I wanted to tell.  Although it's labeled a "romance," that's not really accurate.  Sure, there are two love stories that move the story along, but the main idea is that people are basically the same today as they were back when the world was created.  My story also maintains the young earth truth presented by God in Genesis.  It's a thought-provoking story that will make you laugh at times and perhaps even shed a tear at other times.  My hope is that it will impact the reader's life with new ways of thinking about life.

The book can be purchased through Amazon, either in a Kindle e-book or a hard copy.  Thanks to everyone who helped to make this possible.  And a special thanks to those who read the book.  I hope it will be a blessing to you!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Balaam & the Donkey

We saw these two handsome donkeys standing on the side of the road in Custer State Park, South Dakota.  They'll help us imagine Balaam's donkey.  I've always been fascinated by the story of Balaam and the talking donkey.  I mean, this is something that really happened -- a donkey spoke in words like a man speaks!  Don't you find that utterly extraordinary!

What is so beautiful about this whole thing is the reminder that God can do anything He chooses to do.  He can bend nature to His will, even to causing a dumb animal to speak to Balaam, a dumb bird to deliver food to Elijah, and hungry lions to behave like tame kittens around Daniel.  That's my heavenly Father who is almighty and omnipotent.  What a wonderful assurance!

In case you don't remember the story in Numbers 22, here's how it goes:  Balaam was an ungodly prophet who was asked to put a curse on Moses and the wandering Israelites by an ungodly king.  A lot of stuff happens (you should really read the chapter), but in the end, Balaam is riding his donkey, accompanied by the king's men, to go and meet the king.  All of a sudden, the donkey veers off the path.  Balaam strikes his animal and tries to get him back on the road.  Instead, the animal veers off more and crushes Balaam's foot against a wall.  When Balaam continued to strike the animal, the donkey lay down on the road. 

Now, Balaam is really angry at the donkey and he starts beating him.  At this point, the donkey looks up at Balaam, opens his mouth and speaks, saying, "What have I done to you, that you have struck me these three times?"  About this time, I'd be freaking out, but Balaam simply talks back to the donkey (as if this is an everyday occurrance!?!?!), saying, "Because you have abused me.  I wish there were a sword in my hand, for now I would kill you!" 

Then, the donkey answers back, "Am I not your donkey on which you have ridden, ever since I became yours, to this day?  Was I ever disposed to do this to you?"  Can't you just see Balaam standing there, listening to the donkey speak, thinking about his previous behavior, and then calmly saying, "No."  I feel like saying, "Hello!  A donkey is carrying on a conversation with you!"

Okay, I'll let that go, because a further amazing thing happened next:  The Lord opened Balaam's spiritually blinded eyes and he saw the Angel of the Lord who was standing in the way with his drawn sword in his hand.  At least Balaam had the good sense to fall flat on his face before the angel.  Then the angel explained how the donkey had actually saved Balaam's life by stopping in the road.

So, what is the moral of this story?  For one thing, if an animal speaks to you, take it seriously, please!  But, more importantly, we need to be sensitive to God's voice.  We want to hear Him when He speaks.  We need listening ears and seeing eyes.  Don't miss out on hearing the voice of God and receiving a blessing from Him because it isn't packaged the way that you expect it to be.

Monday, June 17, 2013


We returned home last week from a grand three-week trip to Great Britain and Paris.  On our journey, we had a port call in Edinburgh, Scotland.  After a tour of the famous castle, Larry and I walked down the Royal Mile and stopped into St. Giles Cathedral.  I was not aware they were in the middle of Sunday service, but I've no doubt God planned it that way so that we'd be able to slip into a pew and experience the worship of God in this grand cathedral.

I am so thankful He led us to that service, because it was such an incredible blessing.  The photo above shows the view I had while sitting in the service.  In addition, there was a 50-voice choir and huge pipe organ to our left.  The preacher spoke with a Scottish brogue (of course!) and even asked the Lord to bless the Queen.  He had a good sermon and the choir's songs brought me to tears.

Afterward, when we walked around and looked at all the magnificent stained glass windows, I saw several of kings and one of the Lord as the King of Kings (below):

We'd been hearing so much about kings and queens and castles on our travels through Britain.  I was reminded how it is God who puts kings and queens on their thrones.  He raises one up and puts one down.  It's actually through no power of their own.  And, I love the knowledge that someday, every king and queen who ever lived will lower themselves and bow before our great Lord, who in this stained glass is pictured riding on a pale horse and coming in His glory as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. 

I'm also reminded that every person, be they a king or a slave -- all are equal in His sight and in His kingdom.  It is our heart's attitude that makes the difference, not our status.  Oh, praise His almighty name!!