Valentine’s Day is now upon us, and of course, the central theme is Love. It is the showing of one’s love for someone and being desirous of and asking for another to return such love in a way to say “I love you too”. A proposal, if you will. In this regard, (which involves a suitor) the dictionary defines such as; a man who courts a woman; a wooer. It further defines a wooer as: to seek the love or affection of, especially to marry; to court.
In this respect, allow me to present to you my Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. For the greatest act and show of love the world has ever known, let me direct your attention to the figure there on Calvary’s brow: I can only humbly say, behold Him there! For I am not worthy so much as to even approach Him. As you gaze upon him you will see that he is hanging from a cross by nails driven into his hands and feet. He is covered and “bathed” in his own blood, for as the Scriptures say, “…his visage was so marred more than any man”. The result of a savage, brutal, and one might venture to say, demonic beating.
He wasn’t there merely by chance, but because mankind was under the curse of God’s law which says; ” the soul that sinneth shall die.” His agony was so great, that he cried out; “My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me?” And thus, being made to be sin for us, He took our sin upon Himself! And now hear the prophecies as detailed in Psalms 22, “…I am a worm and no man …despised of the people …I am poured out like water …and all my bones are out of joint …my heart is like wax …my tongue cleaves to my jaw …am brought down to the dust of death.”
His being there was the fulfillment of his intent and determination to die in our place! This was the price that God himself set for our redemption: God himself had to die; God himself had to shed his very own blood! By saying, “If I be lifted up I will draw all men to me,” He is doing exactly that on the cross. He is drawing us, asking us, “to come unto me.” Yes, and by asking the Father to, “forgive them for they know not what they do”, He is throwing the door wide open for us while tugging at our hearts. And, one could almost hear him say “Be Mine”.
Be mine and your sin will be forgiven and no longer under the curse; I am reminded of the prophet who said, “though your sins be as scarlet ye shall be white as snow. Be mine for I am going to prepare a dwelling place for you. Be mine and you will never die, for my special gift to you is eternal life; and you will never thirst or hunger, for I will give you both the bread of life and the water of life.”
But what could be the proper response to such a suitor and his appeal or proposal? To learn of the best, and indeed, the only accepted response (a simple I will) we need only to look again at Calvary’s brow and hear the thief on a cross next to our Saviour when he says; “Master, remember me when you cometh into your kingdom.”
In saying “Be Mine”, “come unto me”, and “Whosoever believeth in me shall never die”, isn’t he asking us to consider and look expectantly upon the eternal, heavenly scene. We have the ‘picture’ of a people for whom a pure, white, shining garment has been prepared. And as we stand so arrayed before the very throne of God our hearts are suddenly filled with an overwhelming measure of love, and our eyes are filled with great tears of joy; for we are now aware that He is present! The Lamb of God Himself has stepped forth from the midst of the throne. And, performing the acts and duty as our Groom, places a wedding ring on our fingers; and then presents us to all the holy, righteous hosts of Heaven as his greatly beloved, glorious, precious Bride! The Church! And all the host of Heaven bow down; reverently, lovingly, and adoringly as kings cast their crowns down before Him!
And so, indeed, as the Lord said on the cross, “It Is Finished!” Thus, the message of God written indelibly throughout space and time by his own blood is there for all to see: I love you! Love has conquered!
Rev. Jess Shifflett
Front Royal, VA
Today is Maundy Thursday, the Thursday before Easter
Today is Maundy Thursday. Jesus said, “For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you” (John 13:15). This is the “mandatum”… our mandate as Christians to serve others. He washed His apostles feet and went out to a garden to pray. He asked them to watch, but they fell asleep. Jesus was arrested, tried, beaten, spit upon, and humiliated beyond words… our Lord… our Teacher… who taught servant-hood and love.
All during the night, He would be humiliated and tortured, and have placed upon His head a crown… one of thorns. More painful was the abandonment… the men He taught… the twelve… abandoned Him.
People abandon Him daily by living sinful lives. We have the chance now to show our love by following His “mandatum”… to become a servant… to serve… to love… to proclaim Jesus as our Savior.
Does the cock crow for me… or ye? I pray not… (reference verse: Luke 22:34).
Reverend Larry W. Johnson
Front Royal, VA
FRIBA encourages all of our community to be more compassionate about our current state of affairs
Over the past month, Front Royal and Warren County have encountered a financial crisis that threatens the balance in our community. This crisis affects the trust we have in our elected and appointed officials, which could further jeopardize the faith that we have had in our systems and in our fellow citizens.
As an independent business organization, The Front Royal Independent Business Alliance (FRIBA) encourages all of our community to be more level headed and compassionate about our current state of affairs. We must remain strong, use our character, our leadership and our discipline as examples for others to follow. We must have faith and understanding and avoid the madness of the crowd during this difficult period. We need to find solutions through facts, not repeating rumors. The results of these compassionate actions will help us heal and become stronger.
We encourage everyone to study the issues, avoid the negative crowds and social media mudslinging, and strive for the positives. We need to count our blessings, lean on each other for support and compassion. Together we can learn from the mistakes from this period of time and seek to improve what we have. Be a constructive leader, a sound business person and a faithful follower of the good that will result.
We ask that you put aside the pettiness and blatant criticism of the innocent, their families and their rumored guilt. Rumors can hurt families and the county’s overall reputation. The courts will find the guilty and they will suffer, rightfully so. We ask that you also remain vigilant as good citizens, so that these mistakes will not ever happen again.
Remember your family, your faith and your community, and share your kindnesses every day! Together we as a community will survive and become stronger.
The Board of Directors of FRIBA
George McIntyre, Craig Laird, Arline Link, Patricia Moore, Michael Swauger, Mike McCool
A “nothing” in a tomb, rising in glory
A recent article, “A Place Of Lost History And Identity”, addressed the search for the graves/markers/names of those buried in an African- American cemetery. Highlighted was one Carolyn Jenkins.
It really touched my heart, for this lady was at the “bottom” of the social and economic “ladders” – a “nothing” if you will. For she was a slave, knowing only bondage to her master(s). An almost miraculous chain of events, though, brought her freedom and its promises, including citizenship and being a land owner!
Her marker reads, “And the finger of God touched her and she slept”. This, to me, would say she knew of and possibly believed in Jesus as her Lord and Saviour. Jesus said of Lazarus that “he sleeps”, but later added that “Lazarus is dead”.
So, Carolyn is to be considered dead; her body art rest “in the Lord”. Another miraculous event took place. Jesus called out, “Lazarus come forth”, and he came out of his tomb! Folks, this is beyond miraculous, it is something only God can do. And because Jesus has the power, even Carolyn is subject to His awesome words: “…all those in the grave shall hear my voice and shall come forth”!
Yes, yes, Carolyn is even now in the presence of Jesus and her body will rise from its tomb. Jesus said, “…because I live ye shall live also”.
Folks, this is what Easter (Resurrection Sunday) is all about. A “nothing” in an old, lost tomb rising in glory to everlasting life and joy in the presence of God our Saviour! Lost and forgotten? Never! He won’t forget us, for He is preparing a white stone bearing a new name for each one of us.
Well, to say a New name means He must know/remember the Old name. Think about that! A totally new and everlasting I.D., if you will!
When we get to heaven, if I can remember her name, I could look her up! In that event, I wonder if she might say, “Jess, I sure do like your letter”.
Rev. Jess Shifflett
Front Royal, Virginia
OPINION: Warren County Board of Supervisors has a problem with prioritizing projects
Warren County Board of Supervisors has a problem with prioritizing projects. Having worked in private business and managing millions of dollars in annual budgets, it appears that we approach things very differently. I had to deal with a fixed budget and make my expenditures fit a budget. The Warren County Board set the expenditures and raise taxes to cover those cost without regard of what the tax base can support or its justification. Do they even calculate what each project will cost tax payers? Does the County Administrator give any guidance?
In recent years, more and more projects and expenditures have been added that cannot be justified by our tax base. We all would like to have more things from our government, but at what cost? All projects should be guided by our tax base and the ability to support them without unreasonable tax increases.
Part of my job was to set staffing levels. I find myself observing the numbers of people doing certain tasks. A recent letter about the Sheriffs department staffing was spot on! I have observed a ridiculous number of employees doing jobs that need only one or two people. Who sets staffing level for the county? Are staffing level compared to similar jurisdictions? Are the different branches required to justify staffing? Every branch of county government needs oversite in staffing and expenditures.
Front Royal, Virginia
He arose: Jesus, The mighty God, The everlasting Father
Once again, we celebrate the most amazing thing in the history of the world: more accurately known as Resurrection Sunday. A man known to be dead and sealed in a tomb arose from the dead! Yes, a dead man came back to life! And as astounding as this is, of even greater significance is who he is!
Who is he! The man called by the names of Jesus, Jesus Christ, The Messiah, The Lamb Of God and The Son Of God, among many others.
Regarding the meaning and significance of a name, the dictionary defines such as: a word by which a person, thing, animal, class or concept is distinctly known or referred to; to identify. Thus, a name identifies/defines exactly what or who the subject is. What or who the name is referring or “pointing” to is shown by the article preceding it. An Indefinite article (a, an) points to any or all of two or more. However, the Definite article (the) points to exactly, specifically, uniquely and only one! Example: The Moon.
In this regard, Jesus, by His acts and words. identified himself as the One who is by name: God! Scripture speaks to this in Isaiah 9:6; “…a child is born, a Son is given… his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father.” Truly, God on earth! So this is how and who He is called and named; who He is and what He is! The perfect Trinity. Fully Man! Fully God!
But He didn’t die and rise again simply because, being God, He could. So, why? Well, let me direct your attention to a love song that could seem to speak to the very heart of God in this regard. “Ain’t no sunshine when she’s gone, only dark clouds when she’s away… this house ain’t like no home anytime she goes away.” Can you feel/sense the pain, anguish, the sense of loss and perhaps, even, a broken heart? In death this certainly speaks to the agony of it all. For it’s not just WHEN, but NOW THAT and SINCE she is gone! (add: to stay). Allow me a personal note. My darling love of my life is “gone”. She “went away” to stay. After several years now, and after crying out for her, my love for her won’t enable me to bring her home. Truly, this house ain’t like no home now that she’s “gone”; “away”. The picture of despair?
Consider: Mankind “died” to God in the Garden of Eden. In a very real sense mankind “went away”—“gone”—to stay! So due to His great love, He was surely and profoundly impacted by the sense of loss and the anguish of it all! Thus it is safe to say that even God’s house “ain’t like no home” since we “went away”! Might it be ventured to say that we (mankind) broke God” heart?
The reason He came? LOVE! Being God, His loss was not necessarily irreparable or unlimited, but to find us, give us life and take us home would cost Him His own life! Yet, He would not be denied, for He said, “I will not give you up, for I am God and not man.”
For me, this means that although my darling is “away” from me, she is home now; and alive! She is alive!
And as for those who are still “away” in the darkness of spiritual death, know that Jesus, The mighty God, The everlasting Father came to where we are. He is waiting for you. Isn’t it time to go home?
OPINION: Thoughts on previous Letter to the Editor regarding the electoral college
The recent letter to the editor regarding the Electoral College and the attempt by “Democrats” to “violate” the Constitution ignores the very history of the document and our republic. The funders recognized their own fallibility and gave future generations the ability to amend that very document. For example, the Constitution has been amended to allow for the direct election of U.S. Senators (something the funding father had not intended). We have made changes to give women the right to vote, to give citizens age 18 and above the right to vote, to give former slaves the right to vote. None of these were included in the original Constitution.
Eliminating the Electoral College would require a Constitutional Amendment, which is by definition Constitutional. Changing the way states apportion their electors does not require a Constitutional Amendment as the document makes clear this is a matter that is left to the states to determine for themselves. Most states award all their electors to whichever candidate wins a majority of the popular vote in their sate but not all do. Some split their electoral votes.
States are also equally within their Constitutional rights to award all their electors to the candidate that wins the national popular vote. We can disagree about the merit of this proposal, but it is certainly not illegal or unconstitutional. A national popular vote would mean that every vote in every state counts equally. Presidential candidates would be incentivized to go after all our votes and not focus on a handful of swing states as they do now. I am very respectful of the wisdom of the founding fathers and I am hesitant to alter our current system, but I see merit on both sides and no reason to attack or demonize anyone.
Front Royal, Virginia