Christian Author, Nancy W. Boyer

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Which Jesus do you choose?

Jesus carried crossRecently I heard a comparison of two men, both with the name of Jesus.   On this Good Friday when we consider the crucifixion and all that it means, we may want to look at the position that Pilate found himself in as he addressed the angry crowd.

Pilate asked a question of the crowd.  “Whom do you want me to release…Jesus Barabbas or Jesus, the one called the Messiah?”  He wanted them to make the choice.  (Matthew 27)

We know that the demands of the crowd grew stronger to release the man Jesus Barabbas.  Pilate’s wife had a terrifying dream concerning Jesus, the Messiah…and warned her husband.   The politically correct thing to do at the moment was for Pilate to distance himself from the situation and as he washed his hands…he told them that he was” innocent of this man’s blood”.  Backing away from being a leader was the position Pilate took.  The rioting world often brings leaders to their weakest point. Fear had a strangle-hold.

Yet the crowd persisted and Barabbas was released.  Jesus, the Messiah, was thrown to the crowd to be humiliated, tortured and put to death on a  cross…the worst of all deaths during this time.  He hung there with two thieves beside Him.  What had He done?  He had preached the love of God; healed the sick; and drove out those who would dishonor God’s house of worship.   He had stepped on the toes of the those in charge.  Everyone had to make their choice.   The disciples ran and hid.  Earlier Peter wept that he had not had courage…and had denied his Lord.

Pilate did not want to choose. When one is in a “hot spot”, it is easier to try to fade away behind those who are vocal.  The crowd knew what they wanted. It is also easier to shout with other voices rather than to allow our own voice be heard alone.

The choice had been made.  The one Jesus (Barabbas) represented the sins of the world…a man convicted and jailed for his wrong doing.   Jesus, the Messiah, was feared by the governing body of His era and the religious, who did not understand His message of redemption also feared him.

We, too, have a choice…to join the ways of the crowd and those of the world who do not understand  what Jesus was doing when He died on the cross.   The other choice is to identify ourselves and our souls with Jesus, the Messiah.  Could it be a costly decision?    Yes, as it was for the disciples who all died a martyrs’ death.   Choosing the Cross has never been an easy path.  It wasn’t for the Savior and it is not today.

Even after His death, his followers had to make decisions.  Mary Magdalene could have been fearful to go to his tomb, but she went.  God honored her decision by allowing her to see the angels at  the empty grave.  She then became the first witness who went back and told the others that He was no longer there.

In parts of the world, Good Friday is already here.  Tomorrow will be our Good Friday in the USA.  The only “good” thing about Good Friday is that God had a plan for redemption.  Jesus, the Messiah, would not stay buried in the tomb. His suffering was in our place.

Today, we drape the crosses in black…but Easter morning is coming.   Not Jesus Barabbas, but Jesus, the Messiah is the  RESURRECTED Jesus .

Which Jesus do you choose?

For Who am I? THE OLD RUGGED CROSS has the answer.

Look at yourself in the mirror.  You see this person that is complex and wonderfully made.  Look at your hands.  They may look young, but will someday become older hands with bluing veins; thin skin and tiny lines.  Look at your hair.  It will most likely turn from a color to a shade of grey.  You will have lived.   Yes, lived …and in the scheme of things…a very short time on this earth.

As we ride through the country side, we see valleys and mountains.  Throughout the world there are graves…family plots and larger cemeteries where the remains of people lay who once had a life as you do.  Some of them made the most of it.  Some did not….but regardless, they were each unique.  Just as you are unique.

We ask questions about life as the philosophers have done throughout the ages.   Why was I  born and what is my purpose in life?  Only God has those answers. If we seek HIM…at this Lenten season, He may reveal it to us.

One thing that Christ knew, because He knew all, was that He would face an “old rugged cross”.   He could have refused to go to the cross and could have called angels from heaven to protect Him, but He did not.  He simply prayed, “Not My will, but Thine be done.”

He also knows that you will ask this question, “Who am I?”  He has the answer.   Because of the cross, you are God’s child.   You have a loving heavenly Father.   He knows the number of hairs on your head and your future….that is who you are.

(Turn on your sound)

Modern Day Martyr…Father Frans van der Lugt is murdered in Syria

The blood of the martyrs still flows.   Father Frans van der Lugt refused to leave the Christians of Homs, Syria and now he has been shot in cold blood.Mideast Syria

homs, syria

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One may recall Homs became an opposition stronghold and the Syrian government launched a military assault against the city in May 2011. By 14 January, the government was in control of Homs except for the Old City, which remains in rebel hands and is under government siege. Fighting has left large parts of the city destroyed.Homs, syria2

 

 

 

 

 

 

Aljazeera reported the murder of this Dutch Priest:

“I can confirm that he’s been killed,” Jan Stuyt, secretary of the Dutch Jesuit Order, told the AFP news agency by phone.

“A man came into his house, took him outside and shot him twice in the head. In the street in front of his house.”

Stuyt said he was not aware of particular threats to van der Lugt, adding that the priest would be buried in Syria “according to his wishes”.

Van der Lugt spent nearly five decades in Syria, and said in February that he considered the country to be his home…”

 

 

Father  Frans van der Lugt in Syria

 

 

The following was written in the Daily Sun in February news concerning Father Frans and why he did not leave :

Father Frans at worship

Father Frans at worship

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEIRUT (Feb 5, 2014): There is little food or hope left in Syria’s besieged Old City of Homs. But an elderly Dutch priest has remained there in solidarity with the Syrians he considers countrymen.

Father Frans van der Lugt has spent nearly five decades in Syria, a country he loves so dearly that he considers it his own, although he was born in The Netherlands.

Despite crushing hardship in Homs, where residents face a daily struggle to find food and the Christian population has dwindled to a few dozen, the thought of leaving could not be further from his mind.

“I’m the head of the monastery, how could I leave it? How could I leave the Christians behind? It would be impossible,” he told AFP in an interview over Skype.

“The Syrian people have given me so much, so much kindness, inspiration and everything they have. If the Syrian people are suffering now, I want to share their pain and their difficulties.”Father  Frans van der Lugt in Syria5

Father Frans, a Jesuit, arrived in Syria in 1966 after spending two years in Lebanon studying Arabic.

At 75, his eyes still sparkle behind his glasses as he talks, and he smiles as he describes his relationship with his adopted home.

But he describes soberly the suffering of the estimated 3,000 people left in Homs’s Old City, under a suffocating army siege and daily regime bombardment.

 

Father Frans was Dutch, but U-Tube showed a mob gathered to behead a Syrian Catholic priest in Gassanieh, Syria. It showed people standing around with their cameras and phones getting pictures of what was about to happen.  As the Syrian Priest, whose name I do not know,  was actually beheaded, the video was censored.   It is hard to believe that people can do this in the name of religion, but  Father Frans knew the dangers he faced.   Yet, he stayed in the name of Christ and the love of God.

Father  Frans van der Lugt in Syria6Father_Frans_van_der_Lugt8

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There have been many martyrs for their faith in Christ starting with the disciples who knew Him personally.  Fox’s Book of Martyrs tell of those who were persecuted; refusing to denounce their Lord; and paid the ultimate price.  In the Holy Scriptures, Book of Revelation 20:4 we are told:

“And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshiped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years…”

Father Frans will be with those who were faithful to the end.

Father Frans van der Lugt

Father Frans van der Lugt

Some people are just INSPIRATIONAL…even at 99

IMG_1803How amazing that we have 24 hours a day…12 months a year to do things in life…and people still complain. Some don’t know what to do with themselves….are bored and sit in front of the TV…becoming depressed…when the world is out there just waiting!

I found a man who has just turned 99. He is up in the early morning…planting plants, watering and fertilizing and in general making everything around the community more beautiful.  People often mistake his yard for a city park.

Asked if he has written his memoirs, he hasn’t.   He is probably too busy.  I asked about where he grew up and it was in Carolina and Ohio…with some Native American (Cherokee) in his ancestry.    I think it is probably my future to spend some time hearing his story.  It might make a great book someday…and lives like his don’t happen too often.  He is still married to the same woman.  His wife says they have been married “forever” and she is also a sweetheart.  Yes, she was and is his sweetheart.  They were young once and still beautiful in their own way.

LEA YOUNG WOODY YOUNG

A kind and gentle smile, he walked behind a huge bush that he grew…making a little space  for him to get through to tend to the plant.

Big bush with space to enter.

Big bush with space to enter.

I teased him that it was really a “place to hide  out”.   He teased back, “No, they will put my ashes here someday.”

Men like this are an inspiration to all of us.   Easter is fast approaching and with Easter, we think of new life…new beginnings…the Resurrection.   Perhaps it is time that we look at new beginnings.   Winter has been harsh this year for many…but Spring is on its way.  Make a new project…take a new walking path…notice what is out there…call a friend that you haven’t talked to in a very long time.  We all need to inspire and be inspired.  We may not make it to 99, but what we have in days and hours should be put to good use.   (A thought for this time of Lent)

New Book for Young People…LINDA LONG LEGS

Linda Long Legs  Written and Illustrated by N.W. Boyer

Linda Long Legs Written and Illustrated by N.W. Boyer

 

Young people often find it difficult to realize their special talents.  They are constantly looking at their friends and the popular kid who seems to be able to do everything.   Sometimes young and older have to work through many avenues to know exactly what their talents may be.

As an author, educator, and parent, I have addressed this issue in my new book called LINDA LONG LEGS.   It is a sequel to BETTY BIG EARS that meets the subject of bullying head on…available on http://www.amazon.com by the name of Betty Big Ears.

LINDA is taller than all the other children and certainly has longer legs than any of the others.   How she deals with this and finds her special talent is our theme.    LINDA LONG LEGS is available by special purchase from Palmetto Specialty Group LLC   at  boyerwrites@yahoo.com   It is recommended for elementary and middle school students.  Questions are at the end of the book for parents and educators to read in discussion settings.  It will make a special gift for a young person you know.

CLICK TO SEE VIDEO OF BOOKS BY N.BOYER

 

 

For Lent: “Hope…when there appears to be no Hope”

If we asked ten people what is meant by the word, “Hope”, we would probably get ten answers.  It seems illusive….something that we can’t get a handle on…but we still hope. Norman Fried writes about hope and concludes, ” Through hope we discover faith and the pursuit of redemption. Hope sets us on a path toward attaining our goals; it helps us determine strategies for living and it transforms our will into action. And when all hope seems lost, faith asks us to look inward and to think differently. Faith teaches us to look for new ways to live in a life filled with pain. It guides us to develop new pursuits; to achieve new victories. And through our pursuits, we encounter God’s ways and we are challenged to unite with Him; only to find ourselves cleaving to both. In the end, we learn that religion is the confluence of two parallel forces; man’s wish to create a livable world, replete with the hope of grace and dignity, and man’s need to honor and accept what is unlivable through sacrifice, faith and love.” Some words that he uses stand out to me.

  • “…pursuit of redemption”    In the long run, we all want to be redeemed.  We look for an eternity of bliss with an eternally loving God.  Redemption, however, is the moment we put our trust in the Savior.  Redemption does not just start in the future, but is a daily existence.  God sent His only Son to redeem the world.
  • “…determine strategies for living”    Hope is all important to the very way we live. None of us want to come to the end and be filled with regrets.
  • “…challenged to unite with Him”     Many things are important to us: family career, dreams and goals.   Perhaps the most important thing that we can hope for is to feel His presence with us moment by moment.  In this season of Lent, we ask God for that presence and to be united with Him.
  • what is unlivable through sacrifice, faith and love.”    We look at the tragedies of the world, past and present, and wonder how people did live through the unlivable.  Truly it was the ability to hope even through harsh struggles.

Job spent hours listening to his friends who brought no comfort.   I wonder at this patience!    (Through most of the Book of Job)     Yet, this man of faith continued to believe in the one strength he had and the hope that he knew to be God’s gift to him during a terrible time of his life Even in more modern times, history tells stories of hope under the worst conditions. One such battle of WWII would appear that there was no hope.  “The Battle of Stalingrad was the largest battle on the Eastern Front and was marked by brutality and disregard for military and civilian casualties. It was among the bloodiest battles in the history of warfare,  with the higher estimates of combined casualties amounting to nearly two million. The heavy losses inflicted on the German army made it a turning point in the war. After the Battle of Stalingrad, German forces never recovered their earlier strength, and attained no further strategic victories in the East.” The film, Enemy at the Gates, has some dialog between Nikita Khrushchevand Danilov, the soldier who believed that if they published fliers for the Russian people to read about  heros of the motherland, it would bring hope. In particular, he wrote of the Russian marksman, Vassili Zaitsev, who became the center of the writings.   Danilov told Khrushchev the following: Here, the men’s only choice is between German bullets and ours. But there’s another way. The way of courage. The way of love of the Motherland. We must publish the army newspaper again. We must tell magnificent stories, stories that extol sacrifice, bravery. We must make them believe in the victory. We must give them hope, pride, a desire to fight.” Without hope, men have little for which to live.  Regardless of the country from which one comes, the politics of the time, or the belief system that they hold, the human race must have hope.    It is not enough to use the word, but to actually believe in a hope that is greater than our understanding.   The video below is  in honor of all who had hope where there appeared to be no hope. Omer Meir Wellber and Russian National Orchestra. Pietro Mascagni – Intermezzo from “Cavalleria Rusticana”. ( A response from my friend, Mark.   Thanks.   Romans 12:12 from the Holy Scriptures: “Rejoice in HOPE, be patient in AFFLICTION and faithful in PRAYER.”)

Chef Judi at Shoogie Boogies – Sarasota News | Mysuncoast.com and ABC 7: Chef Judi

Shoogie Boogies is written up in BIZ 941, a magazine of Sarasota, FL

Shoogie Boogies is written up in BIZ 941, a magazine of Sarasota, FL

Light Dinner Brochure jpegSometimes there is a place that one would love to know about…especially if there are plans to travel in Florida on the Gulf Coast near Sarasota, Florida. One of these places that you may want to explore is Shoogie Boogies Garden Cafe.

Chef Judi interviewed Kathryn, the owner, about what Shoogie Boogies has to offer in the way of old world charm and good food. She also explores what exactly is  Shoogie Boogies and some of the history of this sought after place to dine for  lunch or certain evenings for a light dinner.  We thought you may want to give it a try if you are in the area. Don’t forget that reservations are recommended. (941-951-5437) or go to the website at http://www.shoogieboogies.com for more information.

(Clarification: The spelling is Shoogie Boogies…with an s on the end.)

One last thing, this is not a cafe for only women. Men enjoy it also…so plan a nice date…or a garden event.

Click on the link below…scroll down to the video; turn on your sound and enlarge the picture for best viewing.

Lunch with Chef Judi: Shoogie Boogies – Sarasota News | Mysuncoast.com and ABC 7: Chef Judi.

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