Friday, November 11, 2011

It All Begins With a Question . . .

Photo by Nina Powell Shields

Matthew 16:15
He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"

It is as clear and crisp a fall day as one can envision. As I drive to my weekly Bible study, I purposely leave the radio off. I need the silence.

My heart longs for solace, my mind, for peace.

The trees along the roadside explode with fiery colors. Red as burning embers, orange as ripe pumpkins, yellow as burnished gold. My eyes are set ablaze with their glory.

My heart encounters an unexpected tug of sadness. My thoughts grow pensive.

The leaves are dying . . .

As the end draws near, God clothes them in luster and radiance. Indescribably, vibrantly beautiful is their raiment.

Not even Solomon in all his splendor . . .

I am surprised by my sudden smile.

The leaves, quaking and rustling in the wind, remind me that death has no sting. It is a passing of the soul, from this life into bliss eternal.

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for dying on the cross for me. For taking my sins away. For opening the gates of Heaven.

As I pull into the parking lot at the Chick-Fil-A restaurant where our study group meets, I am deep in reflection. My thoughts are centered on Jesus; who He was, who He is, what He did, what He does . . .

Who do you say that I am?

Entering the restaurant, I spot Pastor Emily sitting at our customary tables. We exchange greetings, I order my lunch at the counter, and return to take my seat. We chat casually as we await the arrival of the others we expect to join us.

I notice that Emily's Bible is open to Matthew, Chapter 15.

Hmmm. Last week, we were reading Judges; she has something new up her sleeve . . .

I open my Bible to the same place.

Within moments of doing so, the rest of the group troops in and settles down for study. We are ready to begin.

Emily flashes us a mischievous smile, her brown eyes sparkling.

"I'm going to start with a question today," she announces.

Everyone laughs, long and loudly. Why? Because Emily is notorious for answering questions with another question, constantly firing away! We tease her mercilessly about this, but she loves us anyway.

"I want you to tell me," she continues, looking around at each one of us, "who you think Jesus is."

Who do you say that I am?

I am beside myself. The very question I pondered along the way here is the focal point of our session. I can't wipe the smile off my face . . .

Who do you say Jesus is?

Let us go to God in prayer:
Thank you, Father, for all the times you lead us in the Spirit, preparing us for situations and circumstances we could never have envisioned. Help us, through reading scripture and through prayer, to know Jesus as well as we know our dearest friend. Guide us as we bring others into fellowship with You. Amen.

I am thankful for my talented friend, Nina, who generously shared her photo here today.

Psalms 88 or 91, 91
1 Maccabees 1:41-63
Revelation 19:11-16
Matthew 16:13-20


  1. Beautifuller and beautifuller, Martha!! :-)

    It's all about JESUS, JESUS, JESUS!! Thank you for that focus this morning!! AMEN!!

    Check out this song to go with your prayer, sister!

  2. I really enjoyed reading this post Martha! A question that I will ponder on during the day and tonight when I do my Bible study I will attempt to answer the question! What a lovely study group you have! Have a blessed day!

  3. This is really excellent Martha...need to think a lot,and do soul searching.

  4. I love when that happens. Spirit knows no bounds!
    Brilliant post my dear.

  5. A beautiful post :) Sometimes I feel the need to drive in silence too, and I am never dissapointed. Those moments are great opportunities to hear from God.

  6. Thank you, everyone, for stopping by and leaving your thoughts!
    @Bernie - Yes, it IS all about Jesus! I will be sure to check out the song, too!
    @Nelieta - So glad you liked the post and are going to try to answer the question. Yes, I am very blessed in my Bible study group!
    @Alpana - Soul searching is always a good thing!
    @Leah - I know! Isn't it great when those God-moments happen, and we are aware enough to see it? Yes!
    @Jessica - I haven't been driving without the radio for very long, but am doing so more and more exactly for the reason you mentioned. Silence plays a bigger role in our lives than most would ever imagine!

    God's blessings to you all!!!

  7. Lovely post, and photo Martha. Your Pastor sounds very much like Pastor Kris at our church... She loves to throw out questions like that. ~smiles~

    Have a Blessed Day!

  8. Having recently met this Man, I'm eager to answer this question for myself :) Martha, once again, your writing comes at a perfect time for me :)

  9. Thanks, Phather Phil and Constance, for stopping by today!
    @Phil - Aren't questions great? Yes, Pastor Emily really challenges us to think! :)
    @Constance - I'm so glad today's post met you where you are and speaks so strongly to you. God is so grand that way!

    A blessed day to you both!

  10. "death has no sting"- wow this was profound. you have given me a lot to think about. Thank you.

  11. he is my older brother who lives so i may god bless

  12. Thank you, Sukanya and Roy! I'm so sorry I didn't see your posts until today.
    @Sukanya - took me a LONG time to get here . . .
    @Roy - God bless you, too!
    Blessing to you both!

  13. When we grace ourselves with silence, our mind is able to reflect on such important, powerful questions. How is it you so simply and easily put over such strong messages.

  14. So glad you used Nina's photo. I love the colors of the leaves in the fall. I don't often think of the fact that they are dying unless I see brown leaves. The glory of God's creation in the seasons represent different phases of life and death. How blessed are we that Jesus died on the cross for us and rose again so that we could have true life and express His love to others. Thank you again, Martha, for a wonderful meditation.

  15. I am so thankful, Larry and Galer, for you in my life. I am remiss in not tending to later comments after posting. Such is the demand of daily posting!
    @Larry - It is, absolutely, positively, God's asking of me to be His conduit. I sit in silence, reading and pondering His word, listening for His guidance. I could not do this without Him!
    @Galer - Yes, isn't Nina's photo exquisite? We can see the brown in death or we can see the reds and golds and orange of jubilant celebration. It's entirely up to us . . .

    Blessings always!


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