Good Ground

I breathe in the fresh sea air…I look out over the water, and then, land, and watch the gulls circle once, as if in respect for him. Everything becomes still and quiet. I stand among the people who have gathered here by the sea to hear him. They say he’s the Messiah…
Thousands of people are here as far as the eye can see. Some want to kill him…others just want to see what he’ll do next…some are sick and diseased. Women and children, who normally wouldn’t hear the scriptures, listen intently. He is different; he doesn’t speak like the rabbi’s in the temple. His countenance is peaceful and gentle. Yet he has authority and power but with humility and meekness.
I saw him heal a man who was blind. That got my attention. Today I just want to hear his words. I’ve never heard anyone speak the way he does. His words make me want to be different. I believe, he is, the Messiah.
I notice there are no scribes or Pharisees here…I guess it would be beneath them to come to the sea-shore. I’m glad they’re not here, they’re always causing division and confusion. Although it doesn’t seem to bother this man, this man called Jesus.
There in a ship he sits and begins to speak. A sower went out to sow seeds…some fell on by the way side; birds came and ate the seeds that had fallen. Some fell on stony places, there wasn’t much soil, they sprung up but because there wasn’t much soil, when the sun came up they were scorched; they had no root, they withered away.
Some of the seed fell among thorns but the thorns grew and choked out the seed. But some fell in good ground and grew strong and produced fruit, some a hundredfold, some sixtyfold and some thirtyfold.
As Jesus talked I began to see exactly what he was saying. He is the sower, his word is the seed, we are the soil. He’s talking about people…I have the feeling that only those who are enlightened by him can understand what this story really means. The man next to me is irritated and wants to leave he’s hot and tired and his little boy is beginning to be restless too. The words of Jesus mean nothing to him.
But the woman on the other side of me is crying; Jesus’s words are touching her heart.
And me, well I’m ready to follow him wherever he goes…His words are seed that are being planted in my heart. Praise the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, my heart is good ground, the roots grow deep. He is the Messiah! I will follow him.
This Parable is found in Matthew 13:1-23
By: Marla Shaw O’Neill February 3, 2016©

The Good Father

The Father is Looking for you!

Luke 15:20
20 “So he returned home to his father. And while he was still a long way off, his father saw him coming. Filled with love and compassion, he ran to his son, embraced him, and kissed him.
 
Father of the Prodigal…

Every day I stand at the window and watch…

Looking for my son, and wonder…

Is he alive? Is he well? Will he ever come home?

For ten long years I’ve waited and watched
Is he lost to me forever…
I will never give up hope…

“God wherever my boy is, whatever he has done, protect him, bring him to the end of himself, and bring him home.” Amen.

It is dusk, the sun is setting. A gentle wind blows the wild flowers in the field…standing at the gate looking out to the east…a bent, dark figure approaches…He’s leaning on a staff, limping as he makes his way over the rocky path…rags cover his body, dust covers his feet.

I squint to see in the distance someone, a man walking…

Can it be…? Is it him…?

My heart begins to pump faster, strength enters my body and joy floods my soul…

It is…

It’s my son…

Darting out across the field…In a full run, I grab him and kiss him…the stench is ignored … he’s thin and dirty…that does not matter…My son! My son…has come home!

Thank God, thank God, it’s you…

God loves us with an everlasting love and rejoices when one of his children was lost then returns to him.

He’s a good, good father!

He watches everyday, waiting for you to come home.
And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ Luke 15:21-24 ESV
“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? f you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!
Matthew 7:7-11

The Trial

Forged in fire, flames lifting higher and higher…
My body begins to melt…
My mind is tormented by things I’ve never felt…
What is this Lord, don’t take your Spirit from me, I cry out!!!
Sleepless nights and weary days…I try, to pray…
Words go no higher than the ceiling…I grieve with pity and complacency
Taking Your Word I read and read, but nothing seen, can take this trail away…
God you said…
It is written…
Your words are true…
But there is nothing I can do…that brings me peace…what is this God? I am lost without you…drowning beneath the sea…
I cannot see a way out of this. What, I just don’t know…
I’m at my wit’s end…
Help me my friend…I…am…desperate for you…
Holy fire and Holy Wind…like an earthquake…shattering…
The tempest breaking in, to set me free…
Jesus, I need only thee…
Broken, and surrendered, I’m piled onto the ashes of my will…
Tears wash my soul and my mind is still…
Submerged beneath your loving faithful hand…
I can do nothing without your command…I humbly bow and wait…until…
I lay down my life for there’s nothing left of me; the consuming fire is all I see
Pure gold forged within my soul. Metamorphosed, you’ve made me whole.
Counting it all Joy to be among so great a cloud of witnesses, so I’ve been told…
Nothing strange has taken me, as closer and closer I’m drawn to thee…
Jesus, my comfort and security…
That the trial of my faith was wrought in thee…
More precious than pure gold, the dross disposed of, and all that’s left of me,
Is Love.
~M.S. O’Neill November 9, 2017
1 Peter 1:7 King James Version (KJV) That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

Cousin Rufus

Bodies in ancient crypts are laid…
Once vibrant and full of life a person was made…
Born naked, had no knowledge of words or creed…
Their mother’s milk was all their tiny bodies would need
Lived lives of many things, time swiftly took them away…
Buried long ago in an earthen grave….
Names long forgotten…children came and went…
Eons ago, bodies decayed and sent
To a timeless resting place for there it is meant…
To rest in the earth a soul from birth
The body dead and gone what was it worth…?
No longer remembered; too many years gone by…
Dry bones called alive…
Asleep now wakened by the death and life of the King
Calling on relatives, but on one has seen…
Cousin Rufus for many years…what can this possibly mean?
It’s resurrection day…the dead in Christ shall rise
Astonished, everyone begins to rub their eyes…
More alive than ever before, radiant and smiling while knocking on the door
I once was dead but not anymore!!!!
Called away to heaven to meet Jesus in the air…
All those who know him…
Others beware!!!
~M. S. O’Neill November 8, 2017
1 Thessalonians 4:14-18 Good News Translation (GNT) We believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will take back with Jesus those who have died believing in him. 
What we are teaching you now is the Lord’s teaching: we who are alive on the day the Lord comes will not go ahead of those who have died. There will be the shout of command, the archangel’s voice, the sound of God’s trumpet, and the Lord himself will come down from heaven. 
Those who have died believing in Christ will rise to life first; then we who are living at that time will be gathered up along with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. 
And so we will always be with the Lord. So then, encourage one another with these words.

After the Battle What Then

Into the raging war you go—
Relinquishing strength,
As sweat and blood flow…
Sons of men, and babes of women,
Fighting for their freedom…
An invisible host,
In an invisible realm,
Fights while the battle rages…
His Kingdom come…His will be done…
On Earth as it is in Heaven.
What are you fighting for; people of earth?
What reason are you here?
What reason for your birth?
It’s more than you can fathom;
More than you can even imagine…
Souls, crying to be born…
Not of flesh and bone;
Mind, soul or emotion…
But born of Spirit long forgotten,
This battle in motion…
Not of weapons by man’s design,
But of the Holy One, He’s divine…
The fight has already been won…
Liberty sung…
By Heaven’s Chosen One…
Yeshua…
God’s only begotten Son—
After the battle…what then?
Soul’s crying out,
Reaching out,
Birthed in a Holy Shout…
It… Is… Finished!
Will you accept the call?
Will you give your all?
New birth, Spirit born—
Is, what, then!
~M.S. O’Neill November 8, 2016

 

The Mirror

Faces in the mirror all staring back to see
Am I groomed perfectly?
Teeth-white, eyes bright, a wrinkle or two, that’s new
Flaws; there are a few…
Walking through the Mall there are faces everywhere
Going here and going there, never arriving anywhere
Sometimes smiles returned to me…
Deep concentration, busyness and frowns I see…
Lackadaisical faces and others hurrying on a lunch break. Some holding onto
children’s hands, those little faces making many demands…Mommy I want this
Not now or we will missSanta and Mrs. Clause
Long lines to stand in…its Christmas time again…
Lots and lots of faces…what stories they could tell…
Strangers, acquaintances; I hear the Salvation Army bell…
Friends we haven’t met yet; could be behind their stare…
These are the faces of many people going everywhere…
So as I stare in the mirror, this is what I see…
On my way to somewhere; they are looking back at me…
At eighty; who will I see…?
I’ll be staring at a stranger and the stranger will be me.
The reflection I want to see when I look in my mirror, is the face of the Master
For then I will know…I’ve followed where he led me, it is His face I’ve sowed.
~M.S. O’Neill November 8, 2017

Lord let us be transformed into your likeness so that when people look at us, they will see you looking back at them. Kindness and Joy and Peace and Love , a reflection of you given freely, no strings attached only that they will receive your grace today Lord and will want to know you! Amen!  

Little One

Little One…
Hiding behind a smiling face…
Hurt, that no one sees…
They’d never guess in a million years, her heartaches and her tears
The silent pain she carries, is kept in the place, where only God, hears
Never to be revealed…
Never to be healed…
Hurt locked away, from day to day, so no one will ever know…
The battle scars from things gone wrong that can never be let go…
Companions they’ve become, a comfort, this dread and woe…
Then one night in a fit of despair, the crying will not end…
Grace comes to call and witnesses the smiling face as it falls…
Little One, surprised by this…suddenly realizes…what Lies have been telling her
No one cares, you poor, pitiful thing… can’t you see…it will only bring…
Pity and disgust if anyone should ever discover your secret pain…
Little One cries, “How long can this go on…? It’s too humiliating, too, debilitating…Won’t you help me get over this?”
Grace responds, “I thought you’d never ask!”
With forgiveness comes healing of the heart, new life and a brand new start…
Little One, smiles.
Now sincere, there’s no more pain and no more fear…
Hidden secrets have been revealed…
Now Little One is free!
~M. S. O’Neill November 7, 2017
2 Corinthians 12:9 New International Version (NIV) But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

Dreams Come and Go but Memories Last

 Stack upon stack…are things we’ve said and done
And as we age and go along…
We see pictures of places and people and songs…
Wandering sometimes if we’ll ever belong…
Words and holidays and fragrances we embrace…
Traditions we keep are like tracks that we trace…
Hard times and good times with family and friends…
We continue to hope, that time will never end…
The spinning clock, it never stops…
Even if the hands get blocked…
Then one day we find…we’ve become old and displaced…
We sit in our recliners; reminisce of all those things…
Filled with sadness our memories bring…
Children grown and parents gone…
Soon we too, will take the long road home…
But until that day when life slips away…
We’ll have our memories where we laughed and played…
As silly giggles, fill the air…we dance and run and sing without a care…
Baseball and football and school days we share…dress up and make up and doing our hair
Hop scotch and dodge ball…Fall in the air…
Waiting for Santa Clause to bring toys everywhere…
Stories told by mom and dad…if only we could bring them back, we’d be so glad…
It doesn’t work like that…
Enjoy your life, let go of regret…memories are wonderful and we’re not dead yet…
Life is forever and the memories we keep, are precious and sweet, and we’ll never forget!
Memories last, so let go of regret!
~M.S. O’Neill November 2, 2017
Isaiah 46:9 KJV – Remember the former things of old: for I [am] God, and [there is] none else; [I am] God, and [there is] none like me, 
Proverbs 10:7 KJV – The memory of the just [is] blessed: but the name of the wicked shall rot.

Woman Why are you Weeping

Thought to be a gardener, and then He says your name
Surprised and thrilled for this is no game…
As life, and love and joy, like a floodgate opens wide,
Your heart is full, ‘til all that remains, is happiness inside…
One whisper from the Master is what it takes…
To find hope; erasing all mistakes
Once you know that Jesus, is the one who’s calling you
There’s only one thing that’s on your heart to do
Run and tell the others…
There’s no need to weep or seek…
‘Cause he’s been here all the while, there’s no need to weep
You may mistake Him for a gardener or a stranger on your way
He’s only asking, that you believe today…
You’ll recognize Him instantly, when Jesus says your name…
There’s nothing sweeter, and you’ll never be the same.
Jesus brings peace with Him, believe, even if you can’t touch His hands or feel His side
You’ll know it’s Him, the one who died…
Just for you, He knows your name, so do not cry!
Jesus… is… alive!
~M.S. O’Neill November 2, 2017
John 20:11-16 New King James Version (NKJV) Mary Magdalene Sees the Risen Lord
But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. Then they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?”
 She said to them, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid Him.”
 Now when she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?”
 She, supposing Him to be the gardener, said to Him, “Sir, if You have carried Him away, tell me where You have laid Him, and I will take Him away.”
 Jesus said to her, “Mary!” (insert your name)
 She turned and said to Him, “Rabboni!” (which is to say, Teacher)

Live in the Land of Hope

When sadness will not go and you live in the land of despair…
Tears fall in streams of regret leaving pain everywhere…
The hour glass turning over as years come and go
Looking back into the life that once was young, now old…
The web you spun all tangled up from running wild and cold…
Looking for answers even though you were told…
The only life worth living is the one where light unfolds…
Stop your crying, lift up your head now…child, it’s time to come home…
No more hurting or striving for a place to call your own…
Open your eyes and see clearly each moment you’re alive
You’re sent on an assignment and when you finally arrive…
You’ll no longer live in the land of despair…
For Love will meet you there…
The land of Hope will be your home, and peace your sweet reward.
While living in this cursed place, heaven will unfold,
But look toward the eastern sky, for it will testify…
Life begins at the new birth…
For Jesus is, and will always be, all this life is worth…
Looking at the past will only bring you heartache; it’s not the place that lasts…
Living in the here and now, is where you’ll bask, in happiness…
Blessed in knowing Jesus Christ, is all you’ll ever need…
When pain and suffering come to call, and doubts like mountains will not fall…
Trust in God and you will see, He’s all you’ll need…
After all!
~M. S. O’Neill November 1, 2017
Psalm 3:2-6 Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) Many say about me, “There is no help for him in God. “Selah
But You, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, and the One who lifts up my head. I cry aloud to the Lord, and He answers me from His holy mountain. Selah
I lie down and sleep; I wake again because the Lord sustains me. I am not afraid of the thousands of people who have taken their stand against me on every side.
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