Reflections by the Pond

#536: Faces

Print PDF Screen PDF

Reflections by the Pond – January 30, 2012

Odd, the process of strangers becoming familiar acquaintances, then, perhaps later, becoming friends. One steps into a roomful of strangers for the first time; each face is a mask representing an unknown: no background, no common history, no point of reference. Just a face, perhaps a voice and a handshake. A greeting is proffered, but is it real? Does it give voice to genuine interest, or is it just another perfunctory recitation?

Who are these people? What do they believe, what do they stand for? What are their names, and to whom do they belong? What do they do, how are they dressed during the other days of the week? What are their lives like when they have removed their good clothes, when they have removed their Sunday face...

#535: Revelation

Print PDF Screen PDF

Reflections by the Pond – January 23, 2012

Though we are homebodies at heart, Linda and I recently stepped out of our normal routine to visit a number of different friends in their homes. And in each case the home we were in revealed what was important to its owners. I do not speak here of right or wrong, good or bad; simply priorities—those things each family deems important to them.

For example, in one home there were a number of modern televisions prominent. By contrast, in another home we saw only one television, but the walls of practically every room in that house—including the bathroom—were decorated with oil or watercolor paintings. Two homes were filled with...

#534: Decide

Print PDF Screen PDF

Reflections by the Pond – January 16, 2012

He was an old man, sick, tethered to oxygen, coughing up blood. But still working. The last completed film he directed was entitled The Dead. In his final days he was in and out of hospitals, each time he was thought to be at death's door.

John Huston was a brilliant director and screenplay writer (The Maltese Falcon, The African Queen, The Kremlin Letter) and accomplished actor (The Wind and the Lion, The Bible, Chinatown). He was charming, entertaining, intelligent, and could spin a good yarn. He was also an unapologetic womanizer, a drunk, utterly self-centered, brutally callous toward his many wives and mistresses, and someone who loved to play vicious, cruel jokes on others.

During his last stay in a hospital, when he believed himself to be close to death, he was visited by Zoe Sallis—never his wife, but mother of Huston's son, Danny...

#533: Looking Back

Print PDF Screen PDF

Reflections by the Pond – January 9, 2012

When my soul is in the dumps,
I rehearse everything I know of you.
Psalm 42:6 The Message

In a more logical world the first day of the year would come around March 15, or April 1. New Year's Day—that special day combining nostalgic retrospection for the year just ended with eager anticipation for the year just beginning—seems wasted on a day still mired (at least in this part of the world) in cold air, gray skies, and a frozen landscape. How much better it would be if the new year began on a fresh, sunshine-filled day of spring flowers bursting forth to bring new life, new color to a gray world...

#532: Lord of the Unexpected

Print PDF Screen PDF

Reflections by the Pond – January 2, 2012

By all rights and everything that is holy I should be gazing out onto land blanketed by a foot of snow. It is January, after all, and here in the Midlands, where all storm systems meet, this is typically the coldest part of the coldest season of the year. The temperature outside should be a breath-sucking, back-snapping level of frigidity sufficient to drive the hardiest farmer or bricklayer into long johns, an insulated suit, and facial hair. The vista should be knee-deep white. I should gaze out my window across a sparkling, crystalline blanket of powder to the frozen pond, and beyond into the cotton-shrouded woods where the deer and turkeys and squirrels reveal themselves against the contrasting backdrop.

Why, then, do I gaze out upon a desert of brown and straw colored grass to a depleted pond thawing around the edges...

#531: Spirit Sight

Download Print PDF Download screen PDF

Reflections by the Pond – December 26, 2011

And there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon; and this man was righteous and devout, looking for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
Luke 2:25

Day after day he was surrounded by the most religious, the most pious men in all Judaism. Rabbis, priests, members of the Pharisaic and Sadducean parties, scribes, devout laymen—all were in residence in the temple courts, all claimed a singular understanding of God's written word, including the ancient prophecies that spoke of Messiah.

Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse,
And a branch from his roots will bear fruit.
Isaiah 11:1

#530: They Need a Savior: A Sufficient Sacrifice

Download Print PDF Download screen PDF

Reflections by the Pond – December 19, 2011

He had never been down to earth before, but now that he had been sent, Harry was determined to make the best of it. He was determined to get along.

If the truth be known, Harry had never been terribly impressed by the human species; he had always considered them a most inconvenient, unsightly bunch. But ever since The Son had gone down to be born and live amongst them, Harry had acquired a new level of interest in the inhabitants of earth.

Harry had been set down in the hill country of Lower Galilee, directly west of the lower tip of the Sea of Galilee, the great fresh water lake around which lay the cities of Capernaum, Gennesaret, and Tiberias.

Almost immediately his feet began to ache. The road was hard-packed soil, and on this day it seemed to the angel that it may as well have been forged iron beneath him. Each step on the compacted earth jarred his bones. Meanwhile the gravity of the globe worked against him. Harry was unaccustomed to these physical constraints...

#529: They Need a Savior: Just Like Everyone Else

Download Print PDF Download screen PDF

Reflections by the Pond – December 12, 2011

Jesus pushed open the wooden door and held it for Harry to leave the small house. From the compressed dirt floor of the building, Harry expected to step onto the familiar, unresisting surface of heaven, but instead found himself standing upon another, even more unpleasant surface.

"Oh," he blanched, grimacing as his foot sank down into the wet muck. "What's this?"

Jesus laughed. "What's the matter, Harry. Afraid of a little mud?"


"A mixture of water and dirt," Jesus explained. "This is what happens to a road in Palestine when it rains."


#528: They Need a Savior: Someone They Can Touch

Download Print PDF Download screen PDF

Reflections by the Pond – December 5, 2011

Harry, angel 4-R (4th Rung), moved closer to the odd structure standing curiously weighted amidst the diaphanous splendor of heaven. It seemed to have grown up, like an ugly block-shaped mushroom, out of the vaporous terra of the heavenlies. The cube appeared as a gross uncleanness within the pristine dimensions of God's domain, with textures and unpleasant colors foreign to its inhabitants.

It's so ugly it hurts the eyes, Harry thought. They must have told me wrong. How could The Son possibly be in that thing. He moved closer, his curiosity overpowering the revulsion that filled him at the ugly sight...

#527: Separated

Download Print PDF Download screen PDF

Reflections by the Pond – November 28, 2011

I have lost count of the times I have scratched my head and wondered aloud, "Why, God, did you leave me in this awful flesh? Either bring me home, or purify whatever is left, but why leave me wrapped in this weak, easily tempted, straying, miserable flesh?!"

By the reasoning of our flesh, God's design to leave His children, with the indwelling Holy Spirit, to do battle the rest of their earthly days with their earth-bound self seems wholly illogical. After all, couldn't we accomplish so much more in His name if we weren't so often sidetracked or tripped up by our fleshly weaknesses?

On occasion, however, we are favored with a glimmer of His reasoning, which, when all is said and done, is the only reasoning that matters...