Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Barabbas

Matthew called him notorious.

John referred to his as a bandit.

Mark and Luke called him a rioter.

Barabbas was an insurrectionary, a terrorist, a murderer, and an all-around nasty fellow.


Barabbus, a vile, smelly person whom mothers shielded their children from in public, was what my Grandma would call just low-down, dog mean.

It is likely his mother rubbed his smooth skin as she suckled him, and dreamed about what kind of man he would become.

Would her heart leap with gladness when she saw him doing good as a young man?

Would he give her grandchildren?

Would he care for her, providing food and shelter when she was old?

It probably never entered her mind that he would be the first person Jesus would die for.


There was a Jewish custom that when prisoners were sentenced, Pilate would release one, giving a pardon from death. Maybe someone who the crowd thought was innocent, or one who had family to care for. Maybe someone who had contributed much to society before they made bad decisions. Someone who was still loved by someone. Never someone like Barabbus.

History doesn't tell us much about how Barabbus morphed from a little boy into the despicable person he was on that day, the history-changing day when Pilate released him from crucifixion, and put Jesus in his place.


Barabbus, with his black heart and blood-stained hands became the symbol of the ugliness of sin.

I was Barabbus. While I looked fine on the outside, clean and fashionable, well-mannered and acceptable to this society, Jesus could see the real me, the real Barabbus. When I came to His feet with my black heart and blood-stained hands, He covered me, cleansed me, changed me.

He loved me enough.

Enough to suffer pain and humiliation, enough to bear stripes and scars, enough to bleed and be broken.

I can never thank Him enough.

In Him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it. John 1:4-5

holy experience

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Hosanna


Hosanna.

A word of praise, a word of happiness.

A word used for adoration.

The crowd shouted "Hosanna" as He rode the donkey into Jerusalem.

Some threw their garments on the road in front of Him, giving Him the royal welcome.

Some broke tree branches and made Him a welcome mat.

Some were attracted by the cheering, and didn't have a clue what was happening.

"Who is this? What's going on?" they questioned.

The parade crowd, the ones closest to Jesus, answered.

They said, "This is the prophet Jesus, the one from Nazareth in Galilee."

I wonder what our LORD thought, as He heard their hosannas and praise.

Where they still praising when He cleaned the temple just a few hours later? Did the all-knowing look ahead for a few days, and see these same people cheering from the sidelines as He was being beaten? Did He see them accusing Him before Pilate?

When He said, "Father, forgive them", was He referring to the soldiers? Or to a crowd that might look like us?

Hosanna. We really mean it, LORD, as long as things are going our way, and we are not inconvenienced by the things You asked us to do.

Please forgive us for being part of the crowd.

Hosanna.

'Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!' Luke 19:38

Monday, March 29, 2010

Multitude Monday




To be grateful is to recognize the love of God in everything He has given us--and He has given us everything. Every breath we draw is a gift of His love, every moment of existence is a grace, for it brings with it immense graces from Him. -Thomas Merton





For all the gifts I take for granted….

326. Clean air
327. Roads
328. Bridges

329. Supermarkets
330. Medicine
331. Clothing
332. Telephones
333. Electricity
334. Microwaves
335. Smiles
336. Safe places



337. Fire Department
338. Traffic lights
339. Honeysuckle
340. Paths

341. Hymns
342. Dishes
343. The Word
344. Health


345. Teeth
346. Shampoo
347. Moisturizer
348. File folders
349. McDonald’s ice cream cones
350. Wildflowers

Be at rest once more, O my soul, for the LORD has been good to you. Psalm 116:7

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Celebrate Saturday: Wildflowers

Celebrate Saturday with a walk to admire the native wildflowers we have. The following were found this morning at the TVA Wildflower Garden and the surrounding area.



























And God saw all he had made, and it was very good...Genesis 1:31

Friday, March 26, 2010

Folklife Fridays: Some Old Home Remedies

May we never have to live without modern pharmaceuticals.



The following home remedies are from Culpepper's Complete Herbal, which was first printed in 1623. My copy is a "modern" version, printed in 1814, with improvements.

Parts of Living Creatures, and Excrement's.
The brain of sparrows being eaten, provokes lust exceedingly.

The brain of a hare being roasted, helps trembling, it makes children breed teeth easily, their gums being rubbed with it, it also helps scald heads, and falling off of hair, the head being anointed with it.

Crab eyes break the stone, and open stoppings of the bowels.

The lungs of a fox, well dried, (but not burned) is an admirable strengthener to the lungs.

The liver of a duck, stops fluxes, and strengthens the liver exceedingly.

The liver of a frog, being dried and eaten, helps quartan agues, or as the vulgar call them, third-day agues.

A sheep's or goat's bladder being burnt, and the ashes given inwardly, helps the diabetes.

A flayed mouse dried and beaten into powder, and given at a time, helps such as cannot hold their water, or have a diabetes, if you do the like three days together.

Bears grease stays the falling off of the hair.

Fox grease helps pains in the ears.

Elk's claws or hoofs are a sovereign remedy for the falling sickness, though it be but worn in a ring, much more being taken inwardly; but some say it must be the hoof of the right foot behind.


Do you really want to complain about your pills anymore?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Beauty




One thing I ask of the LORD,
this is what I seek:


that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life,

to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek Him in
His temple.


Psalm 27:4












Loving Father, open my eyes and my heart to your beauty, this beauty you created to cleanse and strengthen us, to hide the ugliness of sin's stain on the world.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Hot Peppers


We always grow hot peppers.


We enjoy watching them grow, then eating them with just about everything.
Here is one of its many uses.

The young African general Hannibal is mainly remembered because he trekked over the snow-capped Alps with elephants. Hannibal came from Carthage, a North African city in an area near modern Tunis. Romans sacked his city and killed his beloved father. Hannibal swore that he would avenge his father's death. Since the Romans could repel his attack if he arrived from North Africa by a southern sea route, Hannibal decided he would surprise the Romans from the north. That meant taking an almost impassable path through the Alps. In 218 B.C., Hannibal took ninety thousand infantry, twelve thousand cavalry, and about thirty-six African elephants through Spain, across the Pyrenees Mountains, into the impregnable and bitter-cold Alps. Herbal legend has it that powdered Cayenne pepper was one of Hannibal's survival techniques. Being North African, Hannibal already knew that cayenne pepper tea increased internal circulation and created a sensation of warmth. His second survival technique was a tip he learned by watching the Spanish mountain people who had joined his forces. To prevent frostbite, they sprinkled powdered Cayenne pepper inside their boots. This kept them warm.
From Ancient Healing Secrets by Dian Dincin Buchman


There you have it.
The lowly pepper plant changed history.

No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth, no culture comparable to that of the garden...But though an old man, I am but a young gardener. Thomas Jefferson

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Welcome, Spring



It has finally arrived!



The first day of spring is officially the vernal equinox, the time when the sun's rays are directly striking the equator. On this day, the length of daylight and darkness is equal at all latitudes.

Everywhere. Including the North Pole.



Unofficially, its the time when little birds scurry to get their nests built, when bulbs bravely push green shoots above the ground. The trees take on a faint new color, and our thoughts turn to planting.



Farewell, you drawn-out, burdensome winter! You have already outstayed your welcome, and we are weary of your company.

For, lo, the winter is past, the rain is over and gone; the flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come, and the voice of the turtle is heard in our land. Song of Solomon 2:11-12

Friday, March 19, 2010

Folklife Fridays: Doctrine of Signatures

Anything posted here is for education and entertainment. I am not a doctor, just someone who loves folklore and learning about how people coped before modern medicine. You are entirely on your own if you want to experiment.

Those of you who have studied folk medicine will have heard about the Doctrine of Signatures. It is a philosophy that says the shape and colors of some plants look like the body parts that their medicinal properties could treat or cure.


For example, liverwort has liver-shaped leaves and is used for liver ailments.


Bloodroot, a beautiful green plant with white blossoms, has red roots that look like blood. Native Americans used the roots for blood related maladies, but internal use is discouraged now; it appears to be highly toxic.


Lungwort is so named because its spotted, oval leaves resemble diseased or ulcerated lungs. The list goes on and on.

One of the oldest known herbalists, Galen of Pergamun, used this philosophy during the 2nd and 3rd century.
The doctrine was widely spread in 1621 by the writings of Jakob Bohme, who suggested that God marked objects with a sign for this purpose.

Nicholas Culpepper, 1616-1654, in The Complete Herbal implies the doctrine to be common knowledge. This book is a standard among herbalists and has been reprinted many times. I have my own ragged copy; a gift from a special gardening friend.

This doctrine is found consistently in modern herbal lore.

The doctrine of signatures is thought to be mere superstition by modern medicine. Still, could all this be coincidental?



Another example of the doctrine of signatures is that dandelion blossoms are good for the kidneys, because they are yellow like urine. I tested this last year on a day my feet were swollen from retained fluid. Please see the disclaimer at the top before you try this.

I picked a handful of the blossoms, then soaked them in salt water so the tiny insects would come out. When clean, I covered them with a cup of boiling water and let it steep. When it was cool and the lemon-colored, I drank it. It was not too tasty, but not as bad as some things I have tried.

It worked. I was in the bathroom much more than usual, and the swelling in my feet disappeared.

It's a great day; the birds are singing a dirge to winter. Go for a walk in the woods, and see what you can find.

And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. Genesis 2:8

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Oft-Repeated Dream: Fear

Why do we fear the beautiful things that we love?



THE OFT-REPEATED DREAM

by: Robert Frost (1874-1963)

HE had no saying dark enough
For the dark pine that kept
Forever trying the window latch
Of the room where they slept.

The tireless but ineffectual hands
That with every futile pass
Made the great tree seem as a little bird
Before the mystery of glass!

It never had been inside the room,
And only one of the two
Was afraid in an oft-repeated dream
Of what the tree might do.

"The Oft-Repeated Dream" is reprinted from Mountain Interval. Robert Frost. New York: Henry Holt, 1921.



For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55:9-10

Friday, March 12, 2010

Folklife Fridays: Home Remedies

Anything posted here is for education and entertainment. I am not a doctor, just someone who loves folklore and learning about how people coped before modern medicine. You are entirely on your own if you want to experiment.


My grandmother had a remedy for everything.

Some of them were particularly nasty. For example, for a really bad cough, she insisted you take some sugar with a few drops of kerosene in it. Sugar with whiskey would do the same thing, but she had rather use something toxic than to have whiskey in the house. As far as I know, no one died from this.

The ubiquitous snuff spit was used on a variety of things, including bee stings and burns.

Poultices were commonly used for the croup; hot mustard mixed with lard was applied to the chest. I can remember these being very warm. Using too much mustard could blister the skin.



Catnip tea was given to babies with colic. This actually worked, since catnip, like all the mints, contains a mild sedative. There is a huge variety of mint teas available at the supermarket now, and I have found that a cup before bedtime helps me sleep.

There was a remedy for just about everything, and I hope to share more in future posts. For now, I have to agree with W.W. Hall, who published his Hall's Journal of Health in 1893, offering a preventative necessity for good health: a nap.

A room without a couch of some sort if only half furnished. Life is full of ups and downs, all that saves the sanity of the mentally jaded and physically exhausted fortune fighter is the periodical good cry and momentary loss of consciousness on the couch. There are times when so many of the things that distract us could be straightened out and the way made clear if only one could throw himself, boots and brains, stretch his weary frame, unmindful of tidies and tapestry, close his tired eyes, relax the tension of his muscles and give his harassed mind a chance. Ten minutes of this narcotic when the head throbs, the soul yearns for endless, dreamless, eternal rest, would make the vision clear, nerves steady, the heart light and the star of hope shine again.


I'm wondering how my boss would feel if I put a couch in my office.

He that tilleth his land shall be satisfied with bread. Proverbs 12:11

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Wind



Thunderstorms passed through during the night.

The news tells us of tornadoes and damage to our west, but the storms
were gentle here, comforting rumbles that briefly stirred us.

Here in Alabama and the rest of the South, tulips come with tornadoes.
We can't spread our arms to welcome spring without embracing severe weather.

The birth of the new season is anticipated, welcomed.
Like all new birth, it has it's labor pains, it's struggle to be born.

We can't have one without the other.



The same invisible force that makes my wind chimes tinkle gently is the same entity that can splinter homes and level whole towns. The wind is powerful, uncontrollable.

Is there anything else that could so fittingly serve as a symbol of the Spirit?

The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the spirit. John 3:8

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Book Review: Beaded Hope




Beaded Hope is a work of fiction, but it is filled with truth. Author Cathy Liggett wrote this book after her own mission trip to Africa, sharing with us the beauty and despair of life there. It is a story of three women, each with a huge personal need, who for selfish reasons agree to go on a mission trip to Mamelodi, South Africa, where families suffer from the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

Gabby is struggling with personal loss and marriage problems. Heidi is coping with the loss of her husband and a rebellious teenager. Cassandra fears losing her job as news anchor as she ages. As they embarked on this mission journey, all were more concerned about their own concerns than the needs of the people of Africa. They never expected the impact the African people, with their appreciation of life in the midst of unbelievable hardship, would have on their hearts and lives.

This is a must-read for anyone, especially women, who desire to make a difference in the world. Anyone who prays, "Open the eyes of my heart, Lord," will definitely want to read this book. It will leave a lasting impression on anyone who reads it.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Welcome, March


It has been the longest winter ever.

Record-breaking cold swooped in during December, invaded our usually balmy climate.
January was a series of cold, hard days, and February's chill never abated.

We are so ready.

So March came, at last, as we knew it would if we could just hold on.

Yesterday, March came with clouds and cold wind to match our breaking hearts as we said goodbye to someone too young to be gone forever; someone who touched lives and made them better.

Today, as we battle our sinus infections and raw throats, March has brought us a dreary day of rain/snow mix and clouds that mirrors what we are feeling.

MARCH.
Please. Go. Out. And. Try. Again.
Please come in again with your Gulf winds bringing robins and honey bees.
Please show us your best; we are needy.

Why standest thou afar off, O Lord? why hidest thou thyself in times of trouble?
Psalm 10:1