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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.]

 

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.