Volume 3, Issue 8 - April 2007
Yet, in spite of all the commercialism, two of the most powerful symbols of this holiday are in plain view every time I walk into our local supermarket. Right at the front of the store, in the bakery, are the hot-cross buns, with the symbol of our Lord's sacrifice clearly displayed. That's the obvious one, but as I wander over to the other side of the supermarket, I see shelves laden with hollow, chocolate eggs, which Christians have re-interpreted as being symbolic of the empty tomb and resurrection.
"We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life."
~ Romans 6:4 NIV ~
Hello, and welcome to the April Issue of FaithWriters' Magazine. We have another wonderful mix of great reading for you to enjoy over this very special month.
According to retailers, Easter has been just around the corner for months. No sooner had the post-Christmas sales finished up, when the first signs of the next major holiday were making their appearance in the supermarkets. Easter-related goodies slipped onto the shelves back in January and have obviously been finding a market ever since. It is another example of retailers squeezing every dollar out of the two major Christian celebrations each year.
By Casie May Payne
Bruised and battered,
torn and tired
He dragged the massive weight.
The throng of Jews
pressed in and mocked,
"So this will be His fate."
His followers still wept and cried
so grieved they could not see,
this was the way it had to end;
His walk to victory.
His humble form too weak to crawl,
had fallen to the ground.
"Get up," they yelled as whips struck flesh,
yet He made not a sound
As Simon came to
bear His load
unfettered, He became.
Still on He trod
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For the majority of shoppers, these symbols may not be obvious or significant beyond being a delicious treat. However, for the person who has tasted the true and everlasting meaning, they are reminders of life in Christ. May you be surrounded by God's love, grace, peace and joy as we remember and celebrate the certainty that our Redeemer lives!
Of course, FaithWriters' Magazine couldn't let this most important time of year slip by without some very special Easter messages. The first can be found right here on the front page. It's a quite beautiful poem by Casie May Payne-"Victory's Walk." The world looked at Christ's death as the greatest failure of all time, and yet, it was a triumph for all who will believe. I know you'll be stirred and moved by Casie's poem.
With the news abuzz in recent weeks about the so called discovery of the bones of Jesus (which apparently wasn't a particularly recent "discovery" at all), and the subsequent television documentary by James Cameron, Christians everywhere are shaking their heads, rolling their eyes and thinking, "Here we go again." Thankfully, FaithWriters has its own "James" on hand, with a very topical message, "Who's Buried in Jesus' Tomb?" Rev. James Snyder is a longtime favorite at FaithWriters, and if you have not yet read something by him, I'm sure you'll enjoy his very down-to-earth and humorous style. I know I certainly do.
Now I don't know about you, but giving blood is not something I rush to do-although I really should because being A negative, I don't have the most common blood type, and it could help to save someone's life. At the opposite end of the spectrum, Al Boyce, is a very willing blood donor, and when giving blood in the past, discovered that although his type is not the most common, it can be given to anyone-regardless of their own blood type. He is what is known as a universal donor, and knowing Al as I do, it came as no surprise that he took that idea and started to think of the one true universal donor-Jesus Christ. Al's Ripe for the Harvest article, "Universal Donor," is another excellent message for this time of year (and every other time of the year, for that matter).
Last October, the world reeled from the news of the schoolhouse shooting of five children from the Amish community. Any shooting is tragic, but given the nature of the Amish people, this crime seemed particularly heinous.
Following on from this tragedy, Claudette Wood wrote a particularly thought-provoking piece that made me consider my own attitudes regarding retribution and forgiveness. I know that the attitude of those who lost their daughters in this senseless crime, challenged Claudette, herself, to consider her own previous stance. When I read this piece back in October, I knew that it was the perfect inclusion for our Easter Issue of FaithWriters' Magazine. I encourage you to take the time to read and consider Claudette's article, "I Can Never," in Straight Talk for Today.
I think most of us, if we are honest, will admit that there have been times when, in the heat of a moment, we have let go of our self-control, only to live with regrets in the cold light of day. It really does happen to everyone, to some degree, but I think that our teenagers are particularly vulnerable, and it's with that in mind that Todd Tribble has written this month's Teen Truth story, "Text Message." I believe this is a story for anyone, regardless of age, who has ever needed the redemption only Christ can bring-and isn't that all of us?
Being a parent is such a mixture of things. It can be challenging, rewarding, exasperating, fulfilling, intimidating and inspiring-all at the same time. However, regardless of the emotions, it is always a responsibility of the highest order. That, in itself, can be daunting, but as Christians we aren't alone. God is more than willing to work with us and through us as we raise these precious gifts. We just need to "Lift Our Children" to Him, daily, in prayer-and that's the title of John Gorby's beautiful poem in The Parents' Survival Guide this month. Whether you're a parent or grandparent, I hope you'll join with me today to pray this for our children (even the grown-up ones).
If you're married, do you remember how it was in those early months (even years, perhaps), after you said "I do?" Along with all the joys and delights, there was also a whole lot of time spent getting to know the real person you had just vowed to stay joined to until death do you part. My husband, Steve, and I will be celebrating our 25th Anniversary in September this year, and I still remember some of those early skirmishes and disagreements because we had brought a whole lot of different ideas and beliefs from our upbringing. This led to one very memorable butter battle in our first year together that still makes me cringe.
Thankfully, 25 years down the track, Steve and I have been melded together, with God, into a very tight and loving partnership. Now it's our children's turn to deal with the "baggage" they take from home when they get married, and it's this issue of adjustment that spurred Jacquelyn Horne to write her excellent article, "Creating a Biblical Marriage." It really is very good advice for every couple struggling to come to terms as a new family unit. Reading between the lines, I also think it has something to say to those of us who are parents-in-law as well. I highly recommend Jacquelyn's article in United as One this month.
Many years ago, I heard the true story of an elderly woman who was no longer able to serve within the life of her church due to illness. Even so, she didn't let that stop her. She became a prayer warrior and turned her home into a house of prayer. As time went by, her walls became covered with the names and needs of countless numbers of people, and every day she prayed for them all. I remember how inspired I was when I heard of this lady, and it came rushing back to mind when I read Donna Emery's story, "Worth a Thousand Words," in Crown of Splendor this month.
Donna is a nurse, and although her story is fictional, she told me that the main character is an amalgamation of several people she has met in nursing homes over the years. I think that just makes "Worth a Thousand Words" all the more special. So if you have ever felt that you are just too old to be able to do anything else for God and His people, then think again. You may be able to bring the most valuable offering of all.
Well, as always, there's plenty more I could tell you about this month's issue of FaithWriters' Magazine, but I'll leave you discover the treasures for yourself by browsing through the Contents page.
Don't forget, if you read something that really impacts you, please take a moment to write and let the author know by contacting them through the Letters page of this magazine. Your words of encouragement are such a blessing to the authors.
Until next time, happy reading, and God bless!
Editor, FaithWriters' Magazine