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Easter is coming

The rugged cross… the love of a Savior.
The plan for all of mankind to see and know God’s love for them.
It was no accident. It was not a dark day in history that gave no hope.
It was the only way.
The players were planned, before it even took place.
Just as we saw at Christmas time, with the birth of the baby Jesus and Mary and Joseph.
We see it all planned in the perfect timing for Easter.
The story doesn’t end there it just continues what was started when Christmas began.
When I looked up the meaning of Easter and how it is portrayed this is what I found.
Easter:
An important religious festival among Christians; it commemorates the Resurrection of Jesus after his Crucifixion.
Easter is celebrated on a Sunday in spring, and the season of Easter, a time of rejoicing, continues for several weeks. The penitential season of Lent is a time of preparation for Easter.
Palm Sunday is the Sunday before Easter, celebrated in commemoration of Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem.
what is triumphal? it is pertaining to, celebrating, or commemorating a triumph or victory:
Isn’t it interesting that they used Palm branches to celebrate him as he came into the city riding a donkey?
Palm branches: In ancient times, a leaf or frond was carried or worn as a symbol of victory or triumph, or on feast days; hence figurative use of palm for “victory, triumph” (late 14c.).
Palm branches. a leaf or branch of any of these trees, a symbol of victory, success.
These branches were before his resurrection, and before the betrayals and death on the cross.
They were fulfilling scripture without even knowing it.
He rode on a donkey, is that not like Mary when she rode on a donkey while carrying him?
[Tell Zion’s daughter, “Look, your king’s on his way, poised and ready, mounted On a donkey, on a colt, foal of a pack animal.”] Matthew 21
[The next day the huge crowd that had arrived for the Feast heard that Jesus was entering Jerusalem.
They broke off palm branches and went out to meet him. And they cheered: Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in God’s name! Yes! The King of Israel! Jesus got a young donkey and rode it, just as the Scripture has it: No fear, Daughter Zion: See how your king comes, riding a donkey’s colt.]
It was all done to fulfill scripture.
It was all planned way ahead of time till the time was right for him to do what he was called to do.
To be the Savior, for all of mankind. For ever and Amen. Glory Hallelujah! (photo source unknown)

A little church at the beach

Winema Christian church, in Cloverdale Oregon.A few weeks ago we stayed overnight in our trailer and visited the little church near the ocean. It was old and had the wooden church pews which I really love, somehow we miss that in our comfy folding chair auditoriums.
The hard pew reminds me of the old time, old faithful ones singing from a hymnal not really needing it as the songs are so embedded in our minds and  hearts. The rustic setting, the young and old sitting among the setting while the rain pounded down on the windows. We were heading home right after the service but we just had to sit and visit.
We have grown to love this beach and enjoy coming down here every week.The setting so quaint and cute. The plaid shirt Pastor taught us good words of truth and I as usual took notes on the back of the bulletin. Not having my normal notebook with me. He talked about how we are often off course with our walk with the Lord.
We sat and listened among the normal ones who attend there, before he began to teach we sang the songs played by his wife on the un-tuned piano, words displayed on the overhead screen.
I would imagine with all the dampness in the beach air it would be hard to keep an instrument in perfect working condition. It just made the atmosphere more historical and peaceful. I loved the old fashioned look. So want to find a pew for my home for a prayer bench. There is something wonderful about them.
 We didn’t use the hymnals but we did sing a few older ‘type songs’.
The text the Pastor was sharing about was Psalm 4 using the whole Psalm.
vs 1 Answer me when I call to you, my righteous God. (which is an honest cry for a response)
Give me relief from my distress; have mercy and here my prayer.
(supplication and reaching out from a heart cry, are you listening?)
vs 2 How long will you people turn my glory into shame? How long will you love delusions and seek false gods.
vs 3 Know that the Lord has set apart his faithful servant for himself; the Lord hears when I call to him. (responding to the question above, are you listening?)
vs 4 Tremble and do not sin; when you are on your beds; search your heart and be silent.
(be still and know I am God)
vs 5 Offer the sacrifices of the righteous and trust in the Lord. (our own desires need to leave)
vs 6 Many, Lord, are asking. “who will bring us prosperity?” Let the light of your face shine on us.
vs 7 Fill my heart with joy when their grain and new wine abound. (Let me be glad in their blessings)
vs 8 In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety. (meditate and find peace)We find peace in remembering the way of the cross. It wasn’t easy and the journey often confusing for those who witnessed it.
Even David in this Psalm moved from are you listening God, to yes you are listening. The ebb and flow of questions and answers still ring true today for those of us who walk this walk.
We hold the hymnal and sing the songs of verses written so long ago. We find harmony not only in notes but in heart felt feelings, of peace and joy and the knowing we serve a God who went to great lengths for our love to be captured, so we can in turn know of His love for us.
The ending song was trust and obey. For there is no other way, to be happy in Jesus is to trust and obey.
The old country church sitting at the beach is a great reminder for us to keep our faith simple.
[In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety.]

 

Spring is here

We have had many days of rain.
Hard pressing down filled with wind and cold like a normal fall day in Oregon.
I think all of us are ready for some sunshine.
It’s hard to feel motivated when the cold is so pressing and the wet damp days come so often.
I am looking forward to daffodils and tulips and sweet smelling roses and lilacs.
On a country drive we see little fuzzy lambs and we know life is beginning again.
It is wonderful and a perfect time for new beginnings and renewal.
Easter is just around the corner and it’s a time traditionally for family and festivities at home or church, most of the time it includes an Easter egg hunt.
When our grand daughter was about two or three we did a hunt here at our house, keeping it simple because of her age and ability.
She could not grasp the concept of why we boiled eggs that were in the refrigerator then colored them, then put them back into the refrigerator till the time we were ready to hide them in the yard.
Only to find them in the yard and then put them back into the refrigerator till we were ready to eat them.
It does sound kind of silly if you really think about it.
We said, “take your basket outside and go find the eggs.”
She said, “why do I want to find them I didn’t lose them.”
We said, “because it’s fun to see where they are hiding.”
She said, “but I didn’t lose them.” (saying this in the most annoying voice she could find)
She finally gave in by walking down the sidewalk, saying in a loud voice in the most humorous way, “I am looking everywhere.” (while swinging her basket with great gusto.)
You have to admit she was right, the whole concept is pretty silly.
I am glad we have this wonderful memory of her and that we can smile when remembering the heart of a child.

A daughter was born

Three years and six days after our son’s third birthday our second baby joined our family..
She arrived on her own schedule with very little pain and very short labor.
A precious little girl, we named her Sarah Kathleen.
Tiny just 5 pounds 10 ounces and with a touch of dark hair. Such a surprise and delight.
We now had a son and a daughter and believe me Christopher was thrilled she came AFTER his birthday.
A baby girl to dress in pink, in lace and in cute shoes and tiny socks trimmed in ruffles.
Our lives had been completed with both of our children.
It wasn’t easy to be a young couple with two little ones, in fact the house we lived in was very tiny.
Christopher’s room was one crib length wide and two crib lengths long. Sarah slept on a dresser in our cradle.
Our tiny home was where we all stayed for a few short months then we moved into a townhouse apartment.
Having two children was an adjustment and our little family was settling in just as good as any young couple.
The years of raising children kept us busy as grade school moved into junior high then in high school when you wanted to be a cheerleader.
We supported you as always and you came to your own independent self as you grew into a beautiful wonderful mom of three lovely girls.
We are very proud of all that you have done to give them a wonderful home and life together.
They are sisters, and they are a precious part of our lives as grand parents.
Thirty nine years ago you joined our family and Sarah you have been a blessing and joy to us always.
We are proud of you, we pray for you, we support you always and of course love you.
When you look into the mirror always remember you are beautiful and you are loved.

Let us worship the one who gives hope

The meaning of lent:
(in the Christian religion) an annual season of fasting and penitence in preparation for Easter, beginning on Ash Wednesday and lasting 40 weekdays to Easter, observed by Roman Catholic, Anglican, and certain other churches.
What if we took some time to fast.
I can’t fast very well from food, because of blood sugar issues, but I could fast from tv or internet in the same way others would fast from some foods.
When I look up penitence it means: the state of being penitent; regret for one’s wrongdoing or sinning; contrition; repentance.
Kind of like being sorry for the areas we have failed, whether that be towards someone or just in general.
Perhaps even failed against our selves and our ‘well meaning goals or plans’.
I suggest we move our hearts to what is meaningful and allow a softening of the spirit as Easter comes near.
Some need to go apologize to others because of what has been done or said, during these last few months.
I have seen and experienced the hurt and wounds that have been placed because of disagreements.
It is hard to observe.
Contrition means sincere remorse. Sorrow for hurting someone. Have you ever hurt someone?
Have you ever been sorry enough to apologize to them?
Perhaps we need to evaluate our ‘hearts’ and search our ‘words spoken to one another’ and see if there are things we need to take care of in the way of relationships.
If we begin this year to prepare our hearts for the next 40 days to Easter, would we be in a better spiritual mindset to welcome the time of renewal?
What if we practice intentionality in keeping our hearts close to the resurrection story?
There is so much emotion surrounding Easter.
The story of the cross brings intensity and sorrow.
The story of the cross brings love in the deepest form.
That Jesus would choose, to give his life in the most horrendous of ways to show us HIS love for us.
It will be a challenge for us to focus on renewing our hearts and spirits towards the love that the cross represents.
It is like taking a pause from anything that could move us from the direction of hope and resurrection.
During this season of Easter I am asking all of us, to take time to renew, repent and restore anything that is broken between us and our Father God.
Repentance is saying I am sorry and I won’t do it again.
Let us begin to practice Lent in a new and different way this year.
Let us worship the one who gives us hope and renewed lives.