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It was a dark day

Have you ever seen a really dark and gloomy day? We have them in Oregon a lot.
This day was way worse than those, the movies always show us rainy cloudy horrible conditions.
We really don’t know what the weather was, what we do know it was a dark day because hope was gone.
The trial took place after the guards took Jesus out of the garden.
Can you imagine the thoughts he might have had at that moment in time?
He had the power to stop it. But we know he didn’t because it was all in the plan.
[53 “When I was with you day after day in the temple, you did not lay hands on me.
But this is your hour, and the power of darkness.” Luke 22:53]
[63 Now the men who were holding Jesus in custody were mocking him as they beat him. 64 They also blindfolded him and kept asking him, “Prophesy! Who is it that struck you?” 65 And they said many other things against him, blaspheming him.] Can you even imagine?
It continues as he is harassed and treated poorly.
[66 When day came, the assembly of the elders of the people gathered together, both chief priests and scribes.
And they led him away to their council, and they said,
67 “If you are the Christ, tell us.” But he said to them, “If I tell you, you will not believe,
68 and if I ask you, you will not answer.
69 But from now on the Son of Man shall be seated at the right hand of the power of God.”
70 So they all said, “Are you the Son of God, then?” And he said to them, “You say that I am.”
71 Then they said, “What further testimony do we need? We have heard it ourselves from his own lips.”]
Chapter 23:3-4
[3 And Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” And he answered him, “You have said so.”
4 Then Pilate said to the chief priests and the crowds, “I find no guilt in this man.”]
[14-16
13 Pilate then called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people, 14 
and said to them, “You brought me this man as one who was misleading the people.
And after examining him before you, behold, I did not find this man guilty of any of your charges against him. 15 Neither did Herod, for he sent him back to us. Look, nothing deserving death has been done by him.
16 I will therefore punish and release him.”]
[18 But they all cried out together, “Away with this man, and release to us Barabbas”—
19 a man who had been thrown into prison for an insurrection started in the city and for murder.
20 Pilate addressed them once more, desiring to release Jesus,
21 but they kept shouting, “Crucify, crucify him!”
22 A third time he said to them, “Why? What evil has he done? I have found in him no guilt deserving death.
I will therefore punish and release him.” 23 
But they were urgent, demanding with loud cries that he should be crucified. And their voices prevailed.
24 So Pilate decided that their demand should be granted. 25 He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, for whom they asked, but he delivered Jesus over to their will.]

As the day drew near

Jesus knew the cross and it’s horrible way of killing the person crucified on it.
In the garden he was restless (as any of us would be) and he was praying.
The word says he prayed so intensely that his sweat was like droplets of blood.
[And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.]
Luke 22:44
Asking the Father to remove this ‘cup’… let this NOT be the way it has to take place.
Any of us would pray the same prayer.
Let it be easier God, don’t let me suffer.
Then he knew he had to move on to the last part of his journey here.
Luke 22:47 
While he was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them.
He approached Jesus to kiss him,
48 but Jesus asked him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”
The disciples were beginning to lose their intensity towards him and even some denied the three years they spent with him.
Luke 22:54 
Then seizing him, they led him away and took him into the house of the high priest. Peter followed at a distance.
55 And when some there had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them.
56 A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight. She looked closely at him and said, “This man was with him.”
57 But he denied it. “Woman, I don’t know him,” he said.
58 A little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.”
“Man, I am not!” Peter replied.
59 About an hour later another asserted, “Certainly this fellow was with him, for he is a Galilean.”
60 Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!” Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed.
Jesus had told Peter when the rooster crows three times you will deny me.
How horrible of an event for Peter. Have you ever felt so disappointed in yourself?
So sad of the choices you made against someone you once loved?
The cross has a story for all of us.
Redeeming, Restoring, Rescuing. But it had to take place.

May we always remember

A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.
9 The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,
“Hosanna to the Son of David!”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
10 When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?”
11 The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.” Matthew 21:8-11
John 12:12-14
12 The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem.
13 They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting,
“Hosanna!”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”
“Blessed is the king of Israel!”
Palm Sunday as we know it was the beginning of the finality of the story.
Death would come as we will read about later.
Jesus would be placed into the most horrendous mixture of emotions and reactions.
This day the people were exalting his name and praising with palm branches and song.
Days later they would be the same people who would exchange him for the thief who should never have gotten freedom.
The story is all about the plan for US as to have the gift of salvation.
The story is about love. The Father gave HIS son from heaven for a season till he would return.
The story of life and teachings and life and forgiveness and life and hope.
The circle of life had to take place, the birth of a baby and then death.
Death had to take place so life could once more be the reason for hope.
Who is this man they ask? It is Mary’s Jesus, the baby born in a manger.
May we always remember the story of God’s amazing grace to us.

And she remembered everything

As we move closer to the time we know as Easter we must pause to remember a few things.
The whole purpose of why God created a Savior was because He knew from the beginning of time… death was not the final moment, the resurrected Jesus would bring us hope.
It’s hard to imagine that the day of resurrection could not happen without the day of his birth which we now call Christmas.
The preparation that would make it all happen was long thought out and long planned.
Every detail had to be a prophecy fulfilled down to the finest detail.
It was the beginning when time changed. A Savior would be born.
As we move back into the story, where MARY met the angel.
In the first book of Matthew we read the line of ancestors of Jesus.
There had to be a certain lineage traced back to David and Abraham, who he was a descendant of, for the purpose of history as it was presented.
The multitude of generations were necessary so that Jesus could fulfill scripture.
Isn’t it interesting that Mary was the only woman mentioned in the lineage of generations?
This is really important to remember as we move into the story.
Remember the Power of the Holy Spirit fell upon her and she was pregnant.
It was all done in order for the fulfillment of the message to the prophet: (in the Old Testament)
[“Look! The virgin will conceive a child!
She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel* which means ‘God is with us.’]
Matthew 1:22-23
It was planned from the very beginning.
The angel had told her in the book of Luke, “don’t be afraid you have found favor with God.”
As the series of events unfolded in the story we find Mary confused, then trusting, then worshipful and then waiting.
Observing all that surrounded the message given to her about the birth of her little baby boy.
Most new mom’s as they carry their tiny baby, dream of their child and his or her future.
I would imagine Mary was not that different.
Luke 2:18 it says, [“Mary kept these things in her heart and thought about them often.”]
[34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother:
“This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against,
35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”]
This is very important to remember!
A prophetic word spoken to her about the trauma and pain and intense heartache and loss.
How would any of us feel if someone told us our baby was very special but we would soon know, pain like our heart being pierced with a sword.
Deep grief was going to be a part of the story. HIS birth was the revealing of HIS death.
[As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. (AND at that point in time) a sword will pierce your own soul.]
I would imagine as the days were leading up to the Easter finality she was deeply tormented by the sorrow.
The words spoken over and about her son.
Wrestling in sleep that wouldn’t come for her as she replayed the moments of his beginning days.
Anna said in the temple:
[38 Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.
39 When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth.
40 And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was on him.]
Then remember in Luke 3:40-52 we find Mary and Joseph losing sight of where Jesus was after looking for him for three days.
They finally found him in the temple teaching.] (can you even imagine?)
We don’t know how old he was but we do know he amazed all those who were listening.
[vs 48 “His parents didn’t know what to think. “Son,” his mother said to him, “why have you done this to us? Your Father and I have been frantic, searching for you everywhere.”
vs 49 He said “why did you need to search for me?” he asked. “Didn’t you know that I would be in my Fathers house?”]
vs 50 [But they didn’t understand what he meant. Then he returned to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. And his mother stored all these things in her heart.]
There is so much we want to remember about all this as we move deeper into the story.

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.]