It's a Hoya and we were surprised to find it was blooming!
It's been quite rainy in my little corner of the world. How about yours? It is about right for this time of the year, moose hunting season. I don't know of anyone in our family with moose meat yet. :-(
As I've mentioned before, I've been reading the Gospel of John. John is one the the Sons of Thunder that Jesus nicknamed. John and his brother James had spicy temperaments. The sons of Zebedee. I've wondered what their father Zebedee was like, or even their Momma! Is she not the Mom that asked Jesus if her sons could sit on both sides of Him in Heaven. (hehehe)
John wrote about what he saw with his own eyes in the Gospel of John. This book was written as a witness to the life of Christ, just as the other three Gospels do (Matthew, Mark and Luke).
Some people try to say that this Jesus Christ is a myth, a legend. Some that do believe He did indeed live say that he was a good man, a prophet sent by God. John says that Jesus Christ is God's Son. He documented that he and the twelve disciples did indeed spend time with Jesus. He writes the stories of what they did and what Jesus did while He lived on the earth. Jesus came to the Earth to tell us God's words and finish the work that the Old Testament Covenant began. On the cross He said, "It is finished." Now, God's words provide eternal life ---when we first believe that Jesus Christ is His Son.
When Jesus told the Jews that He and His Father are One, the Jews accused Him of blasphemy and they wanted to get rid of Him. They plotted to kill Him. As we all know, they did kill Him. Jesus died willingly, to meet the payment for sin that God the Father required. We could not pay for it ourselves. This payment had to come from a pure and undefiled Lamb. Previous to Christ, the Jews had been sacrificing lambs and bulls for hundreds of years. Providing a perfect lamb without blemish to atone for their sins was something that they all did. Imagine the looks of wonder when John the Baptist saw Jesus coming to him and then said, "Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!" The Jews knew the significance of a slaughtered lamb.
I am not of the Jewish culture, so it is a learning time for me to learn of the sacrifices God required of His people. These truths were told to them during Moses time. The words Moses got from God showed the standards that God requires from mankind in order to be perfect; in order to gain Heaven by one's own merit. If you can keep all of the law - you are indeed a perfect person! BUT, alas for us all, it is impossible! So because we all sinned (not only Jews!), God provided the procedures to have sin paid for through the sacrifices of lambs and bulls. The sacrificed lambs blood --- cleansed away sin until the next year when it had to be done again because, in this world we sin. In this world we have sin on every side. In this world we war against spirits that work every day to pull us down, to destroy us and those we love. I've often wondered - why blood? Why would God require such a horrible thing as blood to pay for our sin? Why not require something beautiful like Cain did. He tried to pay for sin with beautiful basket of fruit. By giving the best of the land. Why should we kill something to pay for our sin? I asked Doug that one day and he told me this: Because that is how much God hates sin.
Sin is something we don't understand as God does. Sin is so awful it blinds our eyes to all the goodness of God. Sin hates us. Sin is like an entity all it's own. It is like a deceitful creature that comes to us, moving our hearts, convincing us that "Surely this will not kill ya" and sin always moves us away from the love of God. To show how much God hated this separating sin He required the most horrible action that fills us with sickness in our tummies. Spilled blood.
Memory: the first time I went hunting with my husband. I was sitting at my look-out under a spruce tree, singing "How Great Thou Art" quietly, braiding grass when I heard some grunting noises in the distance. Cracking twigs and hooves coming up the hill and I quietly stood up watching. In a small clearing between the branches, I could see a bull and yep, it was a legal bull! I whistled like our cockatiel to Doug. He turned and I made a sign of bull antlers on top of my head. Quietly he moved to an area where he could get a look. The moose slowly ambled up the hill, and walked out into a clearing. I held my breath. Doug shot and the moose jumped up, and tried to turn back down the trail, then he fell to the ground. As his last breaths flowed out of his huge lungs, I cried. I cried more when Doug cut the jugular vein and watched all his life giving blood flowing downhill in a big river. I thought of how God requires blood to cover our sins and I was sickened.
Blood out of body is repulsive! That is how repulsive our sins are to God. He hates it. He had to show us how repulsive it is to Him when we obey the evil one by requiring something that should make us all sick, a bloody sacrifice. God created life, sin kills it.
I am so thankful that Jesus Christ came as a meek lamb to be slaughtered so that I, and all of us, could be redeemed! We can be freed from the clutches that evil claimed on mankind when Adam and Eve decided not to believe what God said would happen if they chose to obey Satan rather than obey God.
I believe therefore I am free! I've been freed to fellowship with God because of Jesus Christ's blood sacrifice. Someday I will be totally free from sin so that I can spend eternity in joyful physical reunion with Him and with those that have gone on before us, including God's witness - John!
Don't be like those in the book of John who chose not to believe that Jesus Christ was God's Son. He told them:
"Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin.... therefore, if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed." Later He says, "If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me.... You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it....He who is of God hears God's words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God." These verses can be read in John 8.
Study God's words, learn how He loves us all.
P.S. I do not hate Jews. I realize that God chose the least of the nations to prove His greatness. He needed a people to work through to bring His words to us all. He could have chosen the Alutiiq's to do that. The Alutiiq's would have done the same thing to Jesus Christ because all of mankind came from Adam and Eve and therefore, we all have the same ugly hearts that need a Savior.