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“And they brought Jesus to a place called Golgotha (which means ‘Place of the Skull’)…Then the soldiers nailed him to the cross.”   ~ Mark 15:22-24 (NLT)

I left home bright and early this morning to begin my day, but only got a few blocks away.  One of my tires was extremely low.  My husband found a nail in the tire, so I went to see our good buddy Sam at Goodyear.  After inspecting the tire, Sam returned holding the nail that caused the tire’s problem and gave the nail to me.  When I looked down at that nail in my hand I thought about Jesus. 

It was a nail that pinned Jesus to the cross.  The nail I held was sharp enough to puncture a thick, sturdy rubber tire.  It could go through my wrist, too, where it’s said nails were driven into Jesus.  I tried to imagine what that must have been like for Jesus.  Silently I went to God with these thoughts and asked:   “God, Jesus was already so beaten and bloodied, did He still feel the nails as they punctured His body?”   Immediate response:  “Yes, and it was excruciating.” 

While still looking at the nail I was reminded that Jesus wasn’t just punctured once, but four times.  How terribly painful that had to be!  God spoke to my heart to say, “The pain in  his heart is what hurt Him the most.” 

Oh, my dear Jesus Christ, my Lord and my Savior, I am so sorry!  I am sorry for the pain you had to endure at the hands of others, a physical pain so great that I can’t bear to imagine it.  I’m sorry you had to endure that pain because of us, because we failed to listen to God and follow You as we should have.  We were such sinful people!  I’m especially sorry that we caused even greater pain in your heart than you felt physically.  Yet, You died for us anyway.  We, the very people who led You to the cross, were the very people for whom You died.  I’m ashamed to admit we are still those people today.  We still crucify You when we fail to live and love as we should, in the ways You taught us and the Bible tells us. I am so thankful that Your death brought forgiveness for our sins, for all people, and for all time.  Thank You, Lord.  Thank You for enduring excruciating pain on our behalf so that You could rise again and be triumphant in life, bringing us the assurance that all who bear their own crosses in the name of Jesus Christ will join You one day and live eternally in Your heavenly glory.  Amen.

I never gave much thought to nails before, but as I thought about that nail today, I realized the very nail that can puncture a tire and drain it of its air, is the very nail that can be used to join two solid items together for the purpose of creating something new with a union that is strong. 

Satan probably rejoiced in the nails as he watched them puncture Christ, thinking they would drain Jesus of his life, but we know that’s not what happened!  Christ was risen from the dead and lives today!  Those nails were driven into the cross to join us to Christ for the purpose of creating something new – an eternal new life in Christ! – with a union that is to be strong .  Praise be to God!

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“Her children arise and call her blessed…”    Proverbs 31:28

The following poem is shared in memory of my Granny, Peggy McNeel, who passed away peacefully in her sleep on March 26, 2010.  I wrote this poem for her three years ago.   She leaves behind three children, nine grandchildren, and 14 great-grandchildren. 

 MY GRANNY’S HANDS

When I think of you, Granny, I think of your hands,

Hands that have worn well with time.

Hands that show loving, serving and giving,

Hands that have often held mine.

 

I distinctly remember them wiping my tears

When I was just two, maybe three,

They found handy a tissue and held me close,

They calmed and gave comfort to me.

 

I always felt special when your hands held mine,

Or patted or gave me a squeeze,

And through the years I’ve come to find

Your hands are more precious than ever to me.

 

Your hands have shaped cookies, made biscuits, stirred gravy,

Snapped beans,  peeled potatoes – they’ve never been lazy!

They’ve patched, washed and pressed, sewn buttons, fixed hems,

Gathered food from the garden and eggs from the hens.

 

Your hands have held books and babies and bibles,

Reached out warmly to guests upon their arrivals.

Your hands have served others, and helped many needs,

Giving testament to your kindness through their many good deeds!

 

And the music they’ve made!  Finding songs on the keys

Of the piano at church and at home with family.

Now at 93 years your hands have earned rest.

They’ve served and they’ve given, always doing their best.

 

They’re larger and older than they used to be,

But they’ll always be beautiful and special to me.

Yes, they’ve worn well with time and survived life’s demands,

When I think of you, Granny, I think of your hands.

 

    I think of Granny often when I’m studying the bible because she’s a wonderful example of how Christ taught us to live. When I read through Proverbs 31:10-31, I’m amazed to see that each verse describes her in some way.

 When Granny lost most of her eyesight and was unable to do many things that most of us take for granted, she didn’t become depressed or resentful of her situation.  Instead she called upon the teaching of the Serenity Prayer and gracefully accepted her fate.  She gave praises for the life she lived and was grateful for all that she had. 

 If you knew Granny you would have loved her, and she would have loved you, too. 

The Serenity Prayer

May God grant us serenity for things we cannot change, courage to change the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

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