Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Cathy & Heathcliff

"He's more myself than I am.
 Whatever our souls are made of, 
his and mine are the same.”
-Cathy Earnshaw

The beautiful landscape of the lonely, windswept
English moors is the setting of Emily Bronte's 
"Wuthering Heights"

Dark gypsy eyes...
piercing and proud,
insolent, fearsome,
free born of the wind
the wandering, wild
heir-elect prince
of primitive ancienne noblesse...
Your dark eyes bold,
swirling black seas of unabashed desire,
and ruthless cunning,
only reveal the hidden longing,
the intensity of vision
beguiled me;
in the calm, pale moonlight,
before the coming onslaught...
my defenses stripped,
exposed and bared
trampled on,
"in naked beauty more adorned"
like the poet, (Milton) declared,
leaving me without excuse,
arousal quaking with every pulse,
the sanguine awakening,
searing, searching,
my wistful, wandering heart
I tremble visibly at your approach
like a single leaf
before the promise of rain
in a parched and weary land;
Is it any wonder then,
that I failed to recognize you
when you came... crashing
against the barricade,
splintering wood, flying in pieces,
vainglorious... triumphant
the undaunted conqueror,
of becalmed, burdened, sweetness... she!
precious shining pearl of innocence rare,
your provoked dagger glare,
spoke of latent mysteries
to her captivated virgin soul,
the sudden convulsing paroxysm of
life-sustaining blood,
swirling, swelling, compelling,
besieged her, leaving her breathless,
by honor, to your memory...
a weeping witness am I alone,
to her surrendered, shameless, desire...

 "The Romance of Cathy and Heathcliff"
Written By Pamela Brida

Doomed Lovers
Cathy and Heathcliff
(Anna Calder Marshall and Timothy Dalton)
"Wuthering Heights"

"I Was Born In Love With You"
The theme song from
 the motion picture soundtrack
"Wuthering Heights"
Lyrics by Alan and Marilyn Bergman
Composed by Michel Legrand
Performed by Melissa Errico

Friday, April 18, 2014

The Significance Of The Cross

The purpose for Christ crucified
 is that the Cross 
is the basis of God’s total provision
 for the believer.

God, also with Jesus,
 freely gives us all things,
 through the Cross.

The Cross is the basis
 of Christ’s total defeat of Satan.
Conflict with Satan without the deliverance
 provided by the Cross
 will be a defeat.

The Cross is intended 
in the believer to be deliverance
 from this present evil age.


 "Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
O what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood."

"Blessed Assurance"
-Fanny Crosby

 Unfortunately, Satan has established
 a tenacious foothold in the Church today.
 The enemy of the souls of man 
has obscured the vision of Christ crucified.
 As a result, many churches have succumbed
 to New Age carnality and legalism, and
 the removal of the Cross, or any mention
of Messiah Jesus from the pulpit.

Seven Examples:

1.Theology replaces divine revelation

2. Education ( in the Seminary) taking the place
 of character building. 
It is very dangerous
 to train peoples’ intellect
 without building their character. 
The educated, carnal mind is far too often
 an enemy of God.

3. Religious programming takes the place
 of the leading of the Holy Spirit

4. Psychology replaces spiritual discernment

5. Eloquence replaces supernatural power

6. Man’s reasoning replaces faith

7. Laws (legalism) adding requirements
 to achieve righteousness with God,
 has replaced the unmerited favor of God (Grace).
 Legalism is also devoid of the love and mercy of God.

A good example of this is the Pharisees.
 Jesus performed the miraculous
 right before their eyes, healing the sick, and the blind,
 yet, all that concerned them 
was that He was breaking their Sabbath laws!

“Then He said to the man,
"Reach out your hand."
And the man reached it out
and it was restored,
 as sound as the other one." 
Matthew 12:13

A Matter Of Faith

I believe that the whole Nativity story 
is about faith in, and obedience to God
 from the both the human,
 and the divine perspective.
Mary, a young Jewish virgin from Nazareth
is told by an angel
 that she has found favor with God
 and will conceive His Child
 by the Holy Spirit.
Mary’s response was, “Let it be done to me

 according to Your will.”
She made the choice to lean on her faith

 and trust in God at this crucial moment,
 when the history of the world
 would be changed forever. 
Furthermore, she lived in a time 
when women accused of adultery 
were often stoned to death.

"Do not be afraid, Mary, for you
have found favor with God."
Luke 1:30


Meanwhile, Joseph, Mary’s young fiance,
 was heartbroken by what he first perceived
 as a betrayal on Mary’s part. 
He too, was aware of what might happen to her,
 and because in Jewish culture a betrothal 
was tantamount to being married,
 he sought to divorce her quietly.
 Instead, an angel came to him
 in a dream with a message 
to take Mary as his wife. 
The angel said to him 
that the child Mary carried,
 “would save His people from their sins.” Matthew 1;21. 
Joseph too, had to lean on his faith in God.
  But perhaps he was also thinking,
 "What a crazy dream! 
What the heck did I eat last night?”
 Joseph probably felt that if he told anyone
 that he saw and heard from an angel in a dream
 people would think he was crazy
 or worse, possessed by a demon.

 And yet, he chose instead
 to trust in God and married Mary.

Then there were the shepherds, 

abiding in the fields,
 keeping watch over their flocks by night.
Ordinary people doing ordinary work,

 were suddenly swept up
 into the realm of the supernatural, 
when the angels appeared to them
 and announced the birth of Jesus. 

And then there were the wise men,
 who were already aware that Someone 
very special was about to be born
 and were following His star.

 They all came to see and wonder
 about the Baby lying in the manger.
   Yet, none of these principle players of the Nativity Story
  knew the outcome of the unfolding drama.

 And like them, Jesus experienced 
what it was like to be fully human.
 He laughed. He cried. 
He showed mercy and compassion
 to the outcasts of society.
 He even displayed righteous anger
 when He beat the moneychangers in the Temple. 

Yet, He never sinned.

 He was also obedient to His Father unto death. 

That  crucial moment in Gethsemane,
 when He surrendered His will to God’s will
 and felt the horrible sting of rejection from His Father,
  taking on all the sin and evil of fallen mankind
 can only be described as perfect obedience.
The life and purpose of the Baby,
 born in a lowly manger
 came full circle with the broken Man
 hanging on the tree and the utterance, 
“It is finished.” 

And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.
But this is certainly not “The End” of the story.
  Only three days later, yet another angel 
announced to a group of grief-stricken women,
 “He is not here. He has risen.”   

"Three Marys"
Henry Ossawa Tanner

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Portrait Of Laura

 portrayed by
 the stunningly beautiful
 Gene Tierney

Theme from "Laura"
By David Raskin
with clips from the movie


 is a romantic mystery
 surrounding the alleged murder
 of  a beautiful young woman
 and the hard-boiled police detective
 who falls in love with her.

 NYPD Detective Mark McPherson,
 played by Dana Andrews,
 studies Laura's
 intriguing portrait.

 Mark is soon glad to discover
 that Laura is very much alive!

"Someone To Watch Over Me"

Laura's manipulative "mentor" Waldo Lydecker, 
played by Clifton Webb,
 a cynical newspaper columnist
 is jealous of Mark's obvious interest
 in his protege.

Another rival for Laura's affections
 is the handsome playboy
 Shelby Carpenter,
 played by Vincent Price.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Mayim Chayim "Living Water"

An ordinary day...an extraordinary meeting...and her life was changed forever....

She woke up that morning with the warm spring sun in her eyes.

 Tabitha quickly rolled over and buried her face deeper into the softness of the pillow that cradle it.   Although fully awake, she lay there holding her eyes shut and listening to the distant, familiar sounds of the nearby village in the full swing of activity at this midday hour.
  Friday was Market Day in Sychar.  The sultry breeze from the small window above her bed carried the faint cries from the merchants hawking their wares in the village square.  The frequent clattering of hooves and creaking of peddlers carts heavy laden with goods for sale on the road before her tiny home indicated a steady flow of traffic on the main road leading to the market square in the heart of the village.  Another warm puff of air brought the scent of orange blossoms and fish frying in a pan of spring onions, making Tabitha's empty stomach rumble loudly with hunger.

  She knew she must get up and have something to eat before going for the water at Jacob's Well.   Opening her eyes again, Tabitha found herself staring at the imprint of where his head had lain on the pillow next to her.  A sigh of despair escaped her lips as the ringing silence told her that she was once again alone inside the cottage.

Darius had gotten up long before the sun rose that morning.  The itinerant peddler whom shared her bed had a long journey before him through the mountain passes to the distant village where he lived with his wife and children.

As her fingers traced the imprint on the pillow where his head had lain, Tabitha felt a pang of guilt in her heart. She knew it was wrong for her to have become involved with him in the first place.  Darius was a handsome and intelligent man with a good head for business and a penchant for telling stories about his many adventures on the road. His exciting tales of faraway places and many escapes from dangerous situations fascinated Tabitha.
 Darius was also a married man.  His wife had just given birth to their fifth child, and was too busy with the fussy newborn infant to pay much attention to him. Or so he told Tabitha.  His is paying attention to her took away the loneliness in her heart.  Or so she told herself.

It hadn't always been this way.  Tabitha was once happily married to Samuel, a successful stone cutter, and one of the most handsome men in Sychar.
 Although he was old enough to be her father, Tabitha had loved Samuel ever since she was a little girl and always dreamed that one day she would be his wife and the mother of his children. Although many other young ladies in the village pined for him, it was Tabitha that Samuel chose as his betrothed when she came of marrying age. Samuel was a kind and loving man who worked hard to provide for his beautiful young wife. 
 However, after his murder at the hands of mountain bandits, she had become destitute paying off  his debts.  Tabitha had been forced to leave the lovely house Samuel had built for her in the village, and since she had no family living nearby, she had come to reside in the tiny cottage on the edge of the village that had once been used as a chicken coop by the farmer who owned it.
  The farmer was Samuel's cousin and he hired Tabitha to work in the farmhouse kitchen, helping his wife with the cooking and the sewing and the mending.  But Tabitha's extraordinary beauty drew too much attention from the hired field hands which made the farmer's wife jealous.  The woman accused Tabitha of being too flirtatious around the men. Although Tabitha denied this, the farmer's wife fired her, claiming that she would not allow a "loose woman" to work in her house.
  Without any money or home to go, to the farmer allowed her to live in his old chicken coop, Tabitha had fixed up the little place and provided the furnishings by selling herself to men like Darius.
    She knew it was a shameful existence, but at least it kept her from starving to death.  Tabitha had even convinced herself that the men she chose to become involved with over the years really did care for her.  They all told her she was beautiful.  And besides, they always lavished her with plenty of gifts and money.
  As she trudged into the tiny kitchen, Tabitha was pleased to see that Darius had left her a generous cloth bag of gold coins on the table.   Enough money to buy material for a new gown or two, and groceries for several months.  As she finished counting the money Tabitha realized that it would be that long before she would probably see him again. If she ever did see him again.

Tabitha quickly heated water for tea and ate several freshly picked ripe figs from a bowl on the small kitchen table.  As she sat there watching the steam rising from the cup of mint tea before her, she glanced over at the empty water jar waiting in the corner of the room and realized, with another weary sigh, that she still had to go down to the village well that day.
Every morning as dawn came streaking across the eastern sky in shades of yellow and crimson and pink, chasing away the shadows of the previous night, the women of Sychar walked to the field at the edge of the village to fill their clay water jars with fresh cold water from the community well.
  "Fetching the Water" was a time for the women to catch up with  each other lives, and also an opportunity to hear the latest gossip, compliments of the farmer's wife, about the brazen hussy who lived in the old chicken coop on the outskirts of the village. According to the old biddy, Tabitha was taking in a new lover almost every month and had recently been living with a man she called her "husband".
  The matrons of Sychar often seethed with envy at the mere sight of the comely young widow, believing her to be a witch.  With just a mere glance from her striking gray eyes, Tabitha never failed to stop a man in his tracks as she passed by him.  Both young boys and old men alike were smitten by her regal beauty.

 Like their men, the women could not fail to notice Tabitha's flawless olive complexion and long dark brown hair framing her lovely face like a silky angelic halo, and her slim, graceful figure.   And, she walked through the village with her head held high, as if she were a queen, leaving the village sons literally swooning in the wake of her ethereal beauty, until a sharp rebuke, usually in the form of a swift kick in the rear end, or a resounding slap on the cheek from their mothers and wives momentarily brought the besotted menfolk back to their senses.

If they only knew the truth.   If both the men and women of the village only knew how desperately lonely and afraid Tabitha felt at times, and how her heart sorely grieved for her beloved Samuel.  She knew her indiscretions with men brought shame to his memory.  Tabitha was becoming more and more convinced that there was only one way to end the pain of her miserable existence.

 She prayed daily for death to come and spirit her away.

Finishing her cup of lukewarm tea, Tabitha sighed deeply as she wearily rose from her chair and snatched up the empty water jar from the corner of the kitchen and hurried outside.  The early afternoon sun was beating down unmercifully from the hazy sky and the air felt close and damp on her skin.  A warm breeze from the south brought the smell of rain.  Dark clouds obscured the mountains rising in the distance as a rumble of thunder announced an approaching storm.
 The hot and dusty road running before the little shack was empty of travelers at the moment. Tabitha felt a sense of relief,  not wanting to be seen by anyone.  Crossing over to the other side of the road opposite her home, she instinctively decided to take the sandy path which wound through the tall green marsh grass growing there.
  Although this route to the well took longer and was considerably more dangerous, with venomous water snakes often slithering across the path, not to mention  swarms of annoying mosquitoes rising out of the damp smelling grasses in flying clouds to harass and bite, on this particular afternoon Tabitha preferred taking her chances with slithering serpents and pesky insects instead of  the rude stares and the whisper of cruel remarks from the people in the village market place.
  Tabitha continued on, pushing through grass taller than herself, feeling the increase of the afternoon heat as drops of sweat dripped down her face.  With her free hand she swatted impatiently at the mosquitoes that buzzed around her. She was almost near the very end of the path, which led out into a small clearing to Jacob's well, when she thought she heard the sound of men's voices in the distance. 

Jacob's Well
Library of Congress Collection 

   Tabitha  halted in her tracks.  Setting the water jug down, she stood there as still as a mouse and listened to the voices in the distance.
  Through the tall green spears Tabitha spied the group of strange men standing near the well.  Although she could not quite make out what they were saying, she realized they were speaking to each other in Aramaic, the language spoken in the villages of the Galilee.
 'What are a bunch of Jews doing here near our village?' she wondered.  Curiosity getting the better of her, Tabitha pushed her way through  the remaining tangle of the overgrown grasses to get a better look at the strangers. 
The marsh path had ended abruptly.  Exposed from her hiding place in the grass,Tabitha watched as two of the three men started walking away from the well, heading back toward the village.  One Man had stayed behind and was resting in the abundant leafy shade of the ancient olive tree near the well. 
 Ever wary of strangers, Tabitha hesitated, watching the man from where she stood by the edge of the tall grasses.

  "He has not seen me yet," she told herself confidently.  I could just slip back into the grass and hide until he leaves."

As if he had heard her thoughts, the Stranger resting by the well suddenly opened His eyes and looked over in her direction
  Tabitha felt her heart skip a beat.  She was alarmed at being discovered, and yet, she felt more timid than frightened. She had never met any Jews before.  Besides, this well belonged to her peoples' ancestor, Jacob, the son of Issac, the son of Abraham.
 The Stranger raised His hand to her in greeting.

"Why hello there!"  He called out to her in a friendly voice.   I was wondering if you might be so kind as to draw me a drink from this well."

Tabitha was genuinely surprised.  Was He speaking to her?  She quickly glanced around herself.   There was no one else there.

"Are you speaking to me, Sir?" she called back to Him.

The Stranger nodded.

"Indeed I am speaking to you," He told her.  I would like a drink please."

 After a moment of  self-conscious hesitation, Tabitha felt her feet moving beneath her as she walked over to the well where the Stranger sat patiently waiting for her.
  His dark blue eyes regarded her calmly.  Tabitha noticed how tired and weary He looked sitting there in the shade of the tree.  And yet, His gentle smile was so kind.  For some unknown reason, she felt a  sudden lump rising in her throat.
 Quickly turning her back to Him, she drew up a fresh bucket of  icy cold water from the depths of the well. Pouring some carefully into her jar she handed it to the Stranger.  He took it from her hands without the least hesitation.
  Tabitha stood there and watched Him as He slowly sipped the water from the jug.  Again, her curiosity usurped her courtesy.
"How is it that You, Sir, being a Jew, have asked me for a drink?  she heard herself asking Him, surprised by the boldness of her inquiry.   You Jews have nothing to do with us Samaritans!" 
"Even we Jews get thirsty," He replied, handing the jug back to her. His blue eyes were kind as He regarded her solemnly.
  "If  you only knew and could recognize Who I am," He said to her,  "You would have asked Me for a drink and I would have given you Living Water."
Tabitha stared back at him incredulously. 
'Was this some kind of a joke? Had this Stranger been out in the sun too long? It suddenly dawned on her that He was speaking in her own Samaritan dialect. Tabitha felt a stab of alarm in her heart. How could this be so?'
  She had never seen Him before. 

"I don't understand what you mean, Sir," she heard herself saying,  This well is very deep and You have nothing to draw up the water.  You asked me for a drink, but  you say that you have  'Living Water'? What is 'Living Water'? Where does it come from?"

The Stranger replied,  "All who drink the water from this well will be thirsty again. But whoever takes a drink of the water that I will give them shall never thirst again. The water I will give them shall be like a spring welling up within them forever."

Tabitha was speechless.  She could not think of a single response. This Stranger had definitely been out in the sun too long! And yet, she noticed that the expression in the Stranger's beautiful eyes was so calm, so full of tenderness and compassion, that once again, for some mysterious reason, a lump rose up in her throat and she found herself blinking back tears.
'Maybe I have gotten too much sun," she thought, ruefully.
 Then, a startling revelation came into her mind.
 "What is going on here? My own people refuse to speak to me and yet, this Stranger, this Jew, is speaking to me in my own tongue?  How can this be?"

"Sir, if You please..could you give me this water?" Tabitha heard herself saying.  "If I had this Living Water that you speak of, then I would never have to bother to come to this well again."

The Stranger looked solemnly at her and said, "Go and call your husband and then come back here with him.  Surely he can carry the water for you."

Tabitha's vision blurred as her eyes filled with tears.

"I have no husband," she confessed to Him. My husband is dead."  Tears spilled down her cheeks. Embarrassed by her lack of control, she turned away from the Stranger to face the distant mountains where dark storm clouds gathered, soon to rain upon the ground where her beloved Samuel lay in an unmarked grave.

'O Samuel!' she thought, as tears slipped down her cheeks. I miss you so much!  If only you were here!"

Suddenly, Tabitha felt the gentle touch of the Stranger's hands on her shoulders.  She turned around to face Him, shocked that this Jew would even dare to touch a lowly Samaritan and a woman like herself.  But before she could utter a word in protest, the Stranger spoke again.

"You have spoken truthfully," He said to her.  "For you have had five men that you have called husbands and the man who was in your home only recently was not your husband either."

Tabitha was stung by His words.  She felt her cheeks burning hot with shame. She kept her eyes on the ground, unable to look up at Him.  And yet, at the same time, she realized that what He had said to her had been neither reproachful, nor an accusation.. and yet, how on earth did He know all the sordid details of her miserable existence?
She had never seen this Man before in her life.
  He was certainly not from her village.
  No Jews had ever lived in Sychar.
Gathering her courage, Tabitha said to Him,
"Sir, I see you are a prophet."
Then, in after thought, she added, "Our ancestor, Jacob, worshiped here on this mountain, but you Jews claim that Jerusalem is the only place to properly worship God.  Is not the Creator of all men, everywhere at once?  Then how can this be so?"

 The Stranger regarded her calmly.
 "Woman, believe Me, there is a time coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain or in Jerusalem," He told her.  You Samaritans do not know what you are worshiping, but, we Jews know our God, for after all, salvation comes from among the Jews.   What My Father is seeking is genuine worship, the kind which can only come through a broken spirit full of repentance. He is searching for all those who will worship Him in spirit and in truth."

 " I have heard that the Messiah is coming," Tabitha responded, forcing herself to look up at Him.  "And when He arrives, He will tell us everything we need to know and make God's truth clear to us."

The Stranger replied, "I, Who now speak with you, am He."

Tabitha's eyes widened with both surprise and alarm.  She knew He was speaking the truth.  At the same time, a dreadful realization swept over her.  'If He is the prophesied Messiah, then that is why He knows all about my shameful circumstances!'  Tabitha felt a stabbing pain in her heart.  Her legs suddenly felt as weak as water and for a moment she thought she was going to faint.

"Dear Lord, have mercy on me!" she cried out, as she fell down at His feet.   I am so ashamed and so unworthy to stand in Your presence!  I have no excuse for the way I have lived my life!  I have even prayed for death to come and take me away..." her voice faltered, and Tabitha realized for the first time how terrible the last words she uttered sounded to her ears.

"Forgive me!' she pleaded,  grasping blindly at His feet as tears spilled from her eyes.  Please forgive me!"

As she lay there weeping by His feet, Tabitha felt the the Stranger lay His hand gently upon her head.

"Arise daughter,"  He gently commanded her.
 His strong hands helped her to her feet again with such tenderness that Tabitha could hardly see Him through her tears.  His cool palms cupped her warm, damp cheeks and she felt His soft breath on her face as He spoke again.

"Your faith in Me is your victory," He said to her.  Go now, and sin no more."

 Tabitha looked up into His eyes, which beheld her own with such  tender love and compassion.  For the first time in many years, she felt an overwhelming sense of peace within her heart.

  She could only stand there in awe of Him as the Messiah sent down from heaven, took her water jug and re-filled it again for her at the well.

Hearing the sound of voices from the nearby road, Tabitha turned to see His companions returning from the village, each carrying a basket of food. When the men saw her standing there, they stopped and stared back at Tabitha standing by the well with Yeshua.  His disciples were genuinely shocked to see Him conversing with a Samaritan woman.

   Only moment's later, Tabitha greeted the Lord's astonished companions with a friendly nod as she passed by them on her way back to the village.  She giggled with girlish delight at the looks of  bewilderment on their faces as she hurried to tell the wonderful news.

 In the crowded streets of Sychar that afternoon, Tabitha glowed with happiness, smiling with genuine delight as she excitedly declared to everyone she met, "Come out to the well and see a Man Who has told me everything I ever did!  Can this not be the Messiah, the Anointed One of God?"

The villagers were taken aback by Tabitha's startling announcement.  The brazen hussy who lives in an old chicken coop at the edge of the village has seen and talked to a Man she claims
is the promised Messiah of God?
The gossip mongers among them were having a regular field day.
"She is trying to bewitch us again!"
"She must be stark raving mad!"
"She has definitely been out in the sun too long!"

 And yet, even the worst of her critics, including the farmer's wife, could not help but notice the irrepressible joy in Tabitha's step as she fairly danced about her daily business in the marketplace, with a smile on her face and a song in her heart.
 Meanwhile, many of the residents of Sychar, who remembered the two Jews who came to the village square to buy food at their stalls that afternoon, and, who were overwhelmed by their own curiosity, rushed out to Jacob's Well to see this gentle Stranger for themselves. The Samaritans welcomed Him and His companions, and were genuinely surprised and delighted when Yeshua stayed in their community for two whole days speaking to them about the Kingdom of God.

"Now numerous Samaritans from that town believed in and trusted in Him because of what the woman said when she declared and testified, "He told me everything I ever did."
John 4:39

 As the days passed, the residents of Sychar not only believed in Yeshua as the long promised Messiah because of her, but, the light of hope shining in Tabitha's lovely eyes made her seem more beautiful than ever, much to the chagrin of the village gossips.

 For Tabitha had met her Redeemer, the Lover of her soul.

And her life would never be the same again.

"Come to Me,
all you who labor
and are heavy-laden and overburdened,
 and I will cause you to rest."
Matthew 11:28

Mayim Chayim
"Living Water"
A Short Story Based On The Gospel Of John
Chapter 4:7-29
Written By Pamela Denise Brida