Okay, I’m going to show my age here… Does anyone remember Judy Collins and Joni Mitchell singing “Both Sides Now”? I can’t legally give you the lyrics because it’s an illusion, you see. Worse yet, they really didn’t get into what clouds were all about because they really didn’t know…  🙂

But God knows them and used them throughout the Bible. Here are a few places and times where clouds played a significant role.

God told Noah that the rainbow in the clouds would remind Him of the covenant between Him and the earth (Gen.9:13)

A cloud covered the mountain where Moses was given the law the first time (Ex. 19:16) and when Moses received the law a second time (Ex. 34:5)

When the tabernacle was completed, a cloud covered it (Ex.40:34), and a cloud stood in the doorway of the tabernacle (Ex.33:9-10)

A cloud led the way when the Israelites broke camp and journeyed to the Promised Land (Num.9:17)

When the temple was dedicated, a cloud filled the Holy of Holies (1 Kings 8:10)

A cloud appeared when Jesus was on the Mount of Transfiguration. (Matt. 17:5)

After His crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus ascended into Heaven on a cloud (Acts 1:9)

When Jesus returns … we who remain alive will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the LORD in the air. And so we will be with the LORD forever. (1 Thes. 4:17, NIV)

Maybe there’s a deeper reason we gaze at clouds from time to time. They symbolize God’s presence, His covenant with us, and His soon return! Though we can’t see clouds from both sides now, someday soon we will!

By Amre Cortadino

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Before the world was formed, plans were set in motion for a rescue mission. The joint chiefs of staff weren’t consulted. No general assembly required. Just an earnest, heart-pounding, life-altering conversation between a Father, His Son, and The Holy Spirit. Jesus chose to become the sacrificial lamb. He willingly paid the penalty for our sins.

Preacher William Evans said, “Cut the Bible anywhere and it bleeds … the atonement is the scarlet cord running through every page in the entire Bible … it is red with redemption truth.”

If there’s any doubt, listen to Jesus’ conversation with two men on the way to Emmaus. The two were returning from Jerusalem where Jesus had been crucified. They poured out their burdened hearts to Him, thinking he was a stranger. Jesus took them through the Scriptures beginning with Moses and continued to weave His cleansing power through every prophetic passage. At last their eyes were open. They recognized the Messiah, no longer on parchment but with skin!

Jesus had accomplished every word foretold on every page.

The atoning work of the cross had been fulfilled.

Trace with me the scarlet cord woven throughout the Old Testament. It sews together the hides that cover Adam and Eve. Tethers each spotless, sacrificial lamb. See it in the garments of the high priests and in the fabric of the tabernacle curtains. Watch as the angel passes over the Israelites’ blood-stained doorposts. Feel the weight of the scarlet cord as it cuts into Rahab’s hands while she lowers the Israelite spies over the walls of Jericho. Rahab’s story becomes woven into the familial cord that binds and prompts John the Baptist to proclaim Jesus the Lamb of God.

This scarlet cord frees the New Testament woman caught in adultery, opens the eyes of the blind man, and welcomes a tax collector. And so much more…

Jesus sweat drops of blood in the Garden of Gethsemane. And on the cross, He poured out His life’s blood, extending the atoning scarlet cord to each one of us.

“Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.” (Heb. 9:22, NIV). Though our sins are as scarlet, Jesus’ blood washes them white as snow.

Whether a Rahab or a bystander at the tomb on Resurrection Sunday, this scarlet cord stretches through eternity. A completed rescue mission. For you. For me.

Happy Easter!

Written by Amre Cortadino

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Now when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man standing in front of him with a sword in his hand. Joshua went up to him and asked, “Are you for us or for our enemies?” “Neither,” he replied, “but as commander of the army of the Lord I have come now.” Then Joshua fell facedown to the ground in reverence, and asked him, “what message does my Lord have for his servant?” (Josh.5:13-14, NIV)

“God is not neutral” is a phrase we’ve heard numerous times. Yet, the words this angel spoke to Joshua before the Israelites defeated Jericho seem to say otherwise. How could that be?

Let’s look at the context.
The angel identifies Himself as Commander of the army of the Lord. When Joshua fell and worshiped him, the angel didn’t instruct him to get up. Several times in Revelation, an angel told John to stand to his feet and only worship the Lord. Not this angel. Furthermore, he tells Joshua to take off his sandals. This is holy ground. This is no ordinary angel!

Wouldn’t it be just like the Lord to appear before the biggest battle of Joshua’s life?

Let’s consider the angel’s word.
Neither. This angel came dressed as a warrior, carrying a sword for a private conversation with Joshua, to identify with him. Warrior to warrior. Though that time will come, this Commander’s mission wasn’t to pass judgment on the enemy. He came to respond to Joshua’s need. Relax, Joshua! I got this.

Let’s meet Joshua.
Moses is gone, the mantel of leading millions of people weighs heavy on him, and the sight of the massive Jericho wall buckles his knees. He sees a stranger before him, a man with a sword, and, in his startled state dares to ask whose side he’s on, then falls to the ground in all-out reverence and awe.

When pressed on every side, what’s my posture before the Lord? Yours? Do we remember that “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom. 8:31)

Let’s search God’s neutrality.
Perhaps neither comes from God’s heart of grace and love for all His children. Is it possible here again we see the Father reaching out, as with Lot and his family? If there be one…

Maybe this Old Testament event blazes through the ages to the New Testament moment when Jesus speaks the word neither to the woman caught in adultery … when He assures that we are neither slave nor free but one in Him.

Let’s investigate our hearts.
Jesus didn’t come to judge the world but to herald the Good News, all can be saved through His sacrifice. So, neither should we judge but instead share the love of Christ.

As we celebrate Passover and Palm Sunday, let’s raise our Hosanna to the King of Kings, our Savior and Deliverer — Jesus Christ!


As my husband once said, “your desk looks lived in.” …I took that as a compliment!  🙂

The lived-in look comes from piles of papers to be read, reference books, a smattering of coffee stains and occasional cookie crumbs, and sticky note reminders. Tons of them! Without hesitation, I can tell you what’s in each towering mound or if anything has been moved. Yet, aside from my reference books, if it all caught fire, would I miss any of it? …I’ll get back to you on that one!  🙂

My “lived-in” desk and countless reminders shifted to curiosity when I received this post:

Does God need reminders too?

When David penned Psalm 119, “remember Your word to me,” was he questioning the Lord’s memory?

How about when Job asked God to set a time when He’ll ‘remember him?’

Then, consider the thief on the cross who asked Jesus to remember him in paradise? Did Jesus need a reminder?

No, He never has and He never will!

When our children were young, we’d prompt them with reminders such as: “If you clean your room…” “When you finish your homework…” “Let’s do this first, and then we’ll do that.”

While we may need a gentle nudge (or big push), God needs no such reminder.

One of the things I love most about my Heavenly Father is the ability to converse with Him. I love that He waits expectantly for me, for all of us, to come and talk, even argue (reason) with Him about our struggles and questions and, yes, the promises He’s made to us.

“Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the LORD, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool.” (Is.1:18, NKJV)

Isn’t it wonderful to have an open invitation to talk with our Heavenly Father? God’s desk is always clear, there’s no waiting line, and no appointment is required. He needs no reminder app–we are His priority!

By Amre Cortadino

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Have you ever felt like an outsider to a conversation? People chatter back and forth, you’re right there but somehow distanced from their discussion. You’re uncomfortable, yet not invisible.

Maybe you’ve had this experience: you shiver in the cold while someone’s every step seems wrapped in sunshine. Their road continues ever upward and, to be honest, so does their nose!

Whether these situations pertain to non-believers or fellow Christians, we miss any aid or compassion we might provide–snug, warm, and safe in our Christian Bubble.

If we’re honest, many times our first inclination seeks to judge, much like the priest and the Levite in the parable of the Good Samaritan. ‘They caused their own problems.’ ‘That happened to them because…’ ‘See? I knew they weren’t right with God.’ ‘They got what they deserved.’

So, let me ask, do our excuses or pat answers show the world who Jesus is? Are we too busy rejoicing, socializing in our small groups, enjoying every drop of good-for-me to notice a lost and dying world? As Christians, do we sometimes forget others need Jesus, those in and outside of our circle?

Ouch!! Yes, this Christian Bubble has my name written all over it! In that 75-80-degree sweet spot, while those brilliant golden rays shine down on me, where every cloud has a silver lining, my Christian-ese is second to none.

Is it possible we’re more concerned about appearances, about our comfortable, safe bubble, that we’ve forgotten our mission?

The mandate in Luke 10:27 still applies:
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.

Let’s burst the bubble!  Or at least, take steps to expand its walls. We can begin by asking the Lord to show us our neighbor. When He does (and He will), act on what He says. Then, get a bigger cup because blessings are about to overflow!

By Amre Cortadino

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Psalm 37: 4: Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

Surely, God has blessed me with many of my wants. But I have also heard this explained as “Delight in God, and he will teach your heart what to desire.”

Psalm 37 talks a lot about the good that will come to the righteous. But where does our righteousness come from? What are some of the good things God promises us?

Verses 3,5-6: Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this: He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun.

Any ability I have to do good comes from God, and yet look what brightness and glory he offers me.

7-8,11: Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; do not fret when people succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes. Refrain from anger and turn from wrath; do not fret—it leads only to evil. But the meek will inherit the land and enjoy peace and prosperity.

Lord, help us remember to be careful and still, waiting for what you have in store for us.

18: The blameless spend their days under the Lord’s care, and their inheritance will endure forever.

Lord, our blamelessness comes from Jesus. Thank you for the care you cover us with.

23-24: The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.

Lord, what courage it gives me to know I have your support.

30-31,37,39-40: The mouths of the righteous utter wisdom, and their tongues speak what is just. The law of their God is in their hearts; their feet do not slip. Consider the blameless, observe the upright; a future awaits those who seek peace. The salvation of the righteous comes from the Lord; he is their stronghold in time of trouble. The Lord helps them and delivers them; he delivers them from the wicked and saves them, because they take refuge in him.

Father God, thank you for calling me to your refuge.

By author Kathy McKinsey

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Evening approaches. The colors of sunset bathe the sky. Pinks and purples, oranges and blues. A Father stands at the edge of his property. He raises a hand to his forehead, a shield against the disappointing day’s end.

Look with him as he scans the road. This disheartened man. Hope dims as he searches high and lo, far and wide…

…The prodigal son went from his father’s house. He wanted to taste the world. To see what he’d missed while living in a lavish place with abundance and love. (Luke 15:11)

When we reflect on those statements, this young man doesn’t seem to be the brightest tool in the box. Isn’t that what we’re all striving for? To live on Easy Street, have all of our needs and even our wants supplied while we bask in the sunshine without lifting a finger?

It took a pigpen experience for this young man to hear the whisper of the Holy Spirit, the tug of conviction that gently yet radically changed his life. That drew him back to his father’s house.

CONVICTIONDraws us to the Lord. Originator? The Holy Spirit, reaching with grace and love, imploring us to yield to God our Father so we can receive from His vast supply.

But the young man’s brother advocated condemnation. His runaway sibling was guilty as charged and deserved punishment.

CONDEMNATION Pushes us away from God. Originator? You guessed right! Our enemy who’s come to kill, steal, and destroy.

“When a person works an eight-hour day and receives a fair day’s pay for his time, that is a wage. When a person competes with an opponent and receives a trophy for his performance, that is a prize. When a person receives appropriate recognition for his long service or high achievements, that is an award. But when a person is not capable of earning a wage, can win no prize, and deserves no award—yet receives such a gift anyway—that is a good picture of God’s unmerited favor. This is what we mean when we talk about the grace of God.” (

If you’ve been weighed down by condemnation (the arrows our enemy hurls) or if you’ve ignored the conviction (the sweet whispers of the Holy Spirit), it’s time to get free.

And here’s the best part! Just like the young prodigal son, our Father waits with outstretched arms, ready to lavish on us His love, grace, and forgiveness.

The shadows have rolled in, masking the brilliant sunset. As the colors fade and darkness fills the sky, a whisper fills our hearts. Hurry. Let’s run home. Father is waiting

By Amre Cortadino

To leave a comment, please click on the title above CONTRASTING THOUGHTS and scroll down. If you enjoyed this post, please subscribe and share this website with your friends. Thank you, and God bless you!  🙂


The Apostle Paul was beaten, stoned, hungry, thirsty, shipwrecked, imprisoned, on and on. Each of these trials had nothing to do with a lack of faith, or righteousness, or sin in his life.

In fact, look at both Old and New Testament believers. Take a second glance at today’s news and at the lives of missionaries around the globe. God never promised our paths would be easy, but He did promise everything would work for our good and for His glory. That includes our suffering. He will turn ashes to beauty.

1 Peter 4:12-13 says, “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you;  but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed, you may also be glad with exceeding joy.”

You might ask, What’s so great about suffering? I echo your question! Why does it take the trying of our faith to produce fruit?

Let’s go back to the drawing board or, should I say, the field. It doesn’t take a trained eye to look at freshly mowed lawns, trimmed bushes, and pruned vines to see the benefits. What was once old and dead, is now aesthetically pleasing, with glorious blooms and room for new growth.

We need to look at ourselves from Heaven’s perspective. Pruned and ready to bear more fruit! Like gold, we are placed in the fire, so we more closely resemble the image of God (1 Peter 1:7). And because of God’s grace and love, we don’t go through the pruning, the pain, or the problems alone. He promised to always be with us (Matt. 28:20).

And, at the finish line, we’ll receive a crown and a mansion! Best of all, we’ll meet Jesus – the greatest joy of all!

By Amre Cortadino

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When it comes to TV shows, I have unique tastes. Korean dramas are my favorite for their romantic storylines. (Trust me. You get used to the subtitles.) And I love how sweet and often sappy this culture can be. Did you know even the 2018 winter Olympics in Pyeonchang featured some official merchandise with an affectionate little secret? Special gloves were designed in a dark blue color, but the thumb and index fingers were red. When you crossed the two red fingers in a V formation, it resembled a heart. In the country of South Korea, it’s a common show of endearment, and this adorable little gesture found its way into the games. Many television viewers around the world probably never knew when the athletes held their crossed fingers up to the camera it meant “I love you”.

Of course, God gave us the greatest example of love on Calvary, but what about the everyday valentines He sends us? A close parking space at the grocery store. A kind word from a colleague when we really needed it. An unexpected check in the mail. A gorgeous sunset that we zipped right past.

I wonder how many times I miss His message when I’m too busy worrying about tomorrow, or replaying what went wrong with today. God doesn’t always thunder. Oftentimes He whispers in that still small voice Elijah heard. But His love for us is unending. Better than any Korean drama or romance author could ever dream up. He’s our heroic knight who laid down His life to save us, but He’s also a gentle suitor—wooing our busy souls back to Him. I write this as an encouragement for all of us. Look for the finger hearts He’s sending our way. I promise they’re there!

(KOR/ENG) 2018 평창 마스코트 핑거하트 장갑 홍보 영상 | PyeongChang 2018 mascots-designed gloves for finger-heart – YouTube

By Guest Author Shannon Kent

To leave a comment, please click on the title above, CROSS MY HEART, and scroll down. Thank you for sharing this site with your friends. God bless you!  🙂

Shannon Kent’s new release, Valentine Decoy, is available on Amazon.


Imagine this: something as simple as a ‘high five’ has controversial origins. Did it begin as some form of a handshake? At one time, Magic Johnson said he was its originator. But women’s volleyball claims bragging rights for the up-top hand slap. Then, there are baseball players who contest they’d initiated this signature move.

What does it take?

Well, frankly, one hand and five fingers.

See the source image

What’s my point?

Glad you asked. The Bible mentions the number five a minimum of 300 times.

David picked up five stones.
There are five books of law in the Bible.
Of the ten commandments, the 1st five are about our relationship with God; the last five involve our relationships with others.
Deuteronomy is the 5th book of the Bible; its main theme is God’s covenant of love with Israel.
There were five types of offerings to God listed in the Old Testament.
The Holy Oil used to consecrate furniture in the tabernacle had five ingredients: myrrh, sweet cinnamon, sweet calamus, cassia, and olive oil.
The giant statue King Nebuchadnezzar saw in his dream was composed of five materials.
Jesus fed the multitude with five loaves and two fish.

The 5th letter in the Hebrew alphabet, h or hei, is said to represent God’s grace and goodness; it is also the number signifying redemption that comes through the Messiah, Yeshua.

God never does anything without reason or value. When God created the birds and stocked the rivers and oceans on day five, He placed visual objects in the sky and in the waters to remind us of Him! Not what we made, but what He created for our enjoyment!

In John 1:16, God doubles down on His grace to us. “Out of His fullness we have all received grace in place of grace already given.”

Next time you high-five someone, take a look at your five digits. The ones God created—on purpose. For your good and for His glory. Then raise them up in praise to Him!

By Amre Cortadino

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