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.’]
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.
As we move closer to the time we know as Easter we must pause to remember a few things.
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.
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)
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.]
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.
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.
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.
In the last month we have had an election that has rocked our United States to the core.
I rarely talk politics and I really hardly ever bring up controversial topics.
This election has caused more friction between friends, coworkers and even family members, it has been staggering and disappointing to me to see the hard ‘opinions and words’ that people have said to one another.
The election is over. It is done.
I wish for people to deal with it and let go of their pre-conceived ideas of righteous arguments.
There is no argument worth losing a friend over.
No argument worth losing a family member over.
It is wasted energy and definitely not life giving or relationship building. The voting is over and we have a new President.
Let’s pray for him, and be faithful in our fundamental right of freedom of speech for in such a time as this we ask May God continue to bless America and keep us protected and safe.
[I appeal to you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree and that there be no dissensions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.]
1st Corinthians 1:10
Forty two years ago on March 10th we were blessed with a baby boy.
He was precious and new and tiny. A joy for us and a delight.
We were young and didn’t really know what to do as parents.
We had a tiny little house and he slept in a cradle my grandpa made for us, a wooden one on rockers. Oh those things really hurt when you ran into them with your toe in the middle of the night.
We named him Christopher; which means Christ-bearer.
We were so new at being parents and made so many mistakes.
Sometimes we were scared of the responsibility of being parents.
We wanted so much for our son.
He was such a joy to us and very life changing for it was the beginning of the three of us in our family.
He was extremely smart and talked many words at an early age.
Every day was a new challenge and we were so pleased, proud and tired too, for this little guy got up very early every morning.
I remember taking him to my grandma’s and grandpa’s house so she could cut his hair. We would have lunch and visit.
It was a great time of sharing and making memories.
A few months after he turned two we found out we were having our second baby. He was excited to be a big brother.
It has been such a joy to see our son grow up to be a Godly man.
Responsible and wise. After high school college became his plan.
Then he met his wife to be and they dated for 5 years.
Now they are married with three boys of their own.
He is a business man, a leader and police officer too.
Our prayers are always for his safety.
For his health, for his family and for his love to grow stronger in the Lord and in his marriage. Today I just want to say:
We love you son and wish you a happy birthday.
We have been so blessed and so proud to see you become the man you have become.
Fruit of the Spirit: A Deep Challenge
March 7, 2017
“But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. Against such things there is no law.”
When I read these words I find myself deeply challenged.
Is it possible to have any or all of these fruits? I read each one and ask myself, “do I have this and does it show?”
Love, means to care for and love those who I don’t often want to spend time with. Love…is hard. It is an action word.
It’s easy when we are with others we care for but that is not often the place we find ourselves in.
Joy, we can have deep joy in our lives and then it shows up in deep peace. Those who have joy inside them are often the most peaceful people one can meet.
Remember the song, “it is well with my soul?” When peace like a river, flowing and fulfilling it spills out into forbearance, which means patient endurance and self control.
Kindness, is to be kind and good and faithful. If you have ever met someone without kindness they often show lack of self control.
They are rude and not approachable. Gentleness and self control go together very well.
Living in the Spirit means I must take inventory of every word, every action and every behavior I show to others.
It is a good thing.
It is a wonderful challenge if we choose to grow in the Spirit.
When I was in high school one of my very good friends was in college and she was a mentor to me.
Often challenging me to look inside my heart and think deep and spiritual. She had cystic fibrosis and I would call her and often ask how she was and in the end she was the one asking me matters of the heart questions. She lived by the fruits of the spirit. Gentleness, compassion, goodness, patient endurance. Her disease didn’t destroy her attitude in fact it made it sweeter for she knew her time was short. I learned from her to and her modeling of what a Christian was. She prayed, she listened and she asked questions. I never felt shamed or discouraged with her, she had a way of lifting me up even within the midst of her own suffering.
If we can challenge each other to live by the fruit of the Spirit and to show our ‘kindness to others’ in these crazy times of meanness, I think we will have more opportunity to show others who are watching, the love of Jesus. We can learn to answer meanness from other peoples words with forgiveness and the act of being gentle.
This last voting season has caused a great stir among friends and family and there has been a spirit of ‘righteous’ behavior that I have not enjoyed.
Living by the Spirit means to show fruit of ‘kindness’… goodness and self control. We really do need to look inward and ask ourselves have we done these very well? No matter what opinion we choose to share if it is done in the wrong ‘way’ we lose all of our witness.
I pray we practice the art of discerning which fruit we will give our time and attention to.
“But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard – things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people.”
Are you ready for the challenge set before you?
Do you have a special place?
A place where it is your ‘peaceful place’ for your spirit and it renews you?
I do. I find when we get away to the beach; the wind and the waves and cool air refreshes my attitude.
In fact right now as I write I am in our travel trailer drinking my coffee and enjoying the quiet without noise or distractions.
Quiet is my peaceful place too.
There are many goals I have made to keep my writing schedule focused and on my calendar.
In fact my recent purchase is a small laptop so when we are out traveling I can keep at a steady pace.
Can’t wait for it to come to our home so I can learn it and begin a series for Easter.
Writing is my ‘hobby’ or a new way of journaling for me.
In saying that it is not often personal like a journal would be it; becomes more of a story telling or devotional thoughts to challenge the reader who is reading.
I appreciate those who are faithful to this quiet space of mine.
In the blogging world one should be a known name, or an author who has written a book in order to have faithful readers.
My husband keeps asking me when I am writing mine.
Good question, I haven’t been given the answer to that one yet.
The other hobby I am learning is the art of quilting.
Writing is a lot easier for me, but the reward of a new quilt made for someone special, is just like a ‘good writing piece’ it is something to be proud of and humbled by the gift of putting something together in a beautiful way.
So as I sit in this quiet place I have prayed that the words in this blog to be always challenging, always encouraging and always sharing the love of God to his people.
Without HIS leading this little blog space has no meaning for me.
the message version.
[Every time you cross my mind, I break out in exclamations of thanks to God. Each exclamation is a trigger to prayer. I find myself praying for you with a glad heart. I am so pleased that you have continued on in this with us, believing and proclaiming God’s Message, from the day you heard it right up to the present. There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears.]
God began this journey of blogging and it will continue to be my life message until HE tells me to stop.