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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Holy Week - He Is Risen

He is risen!


There isn't much more to be said. I'll quote from my http:// www.crosswalk.com devotion

The tomb is empty, the soldiers fled, the stone is rolled away. Time for the victory party! Let there be singing and rejoicing and all kinds of celebration. This is the part of the story that makes all the difference. Dying for a cause is one thing but rising victorious from the dead? Only the Savior can pull that off. And he did!

Today’s reading: Luke 24:1-48

I hope you have a blessed day today. However you choose to celebrate it.

I have spent the past week in study using this series of devotions. It has brought me some better understanding of myself and of my relationship with God. I hope your relationship has been strengthened too. Next week I will focus my daily lessons on something else.

I hope you'll journey on with me.

So it was written
So it shall be done

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Holy Week - Day of Mourning

I'm not sure I have much to say about today's lesson and scripture from the http://www.crosswalk.com devotion I am doing this week.

Jesus has died. His disciples are in mourning. His mother must be completely distraught. It's hard to imagine their grief.

Today's reading really doesn't fit. Except that the ruling class feared that even if Jesus had lied that he was so powerful the idea that they could even trick the people into believing he rose from the grave worried them. They wanted to make sure there was no way his reign over the people would continue so guard the tomb they did.  

Matthew 27:62-65

Friday, April 22, 2011

Holy Week - Good Friday

There isn't much to be said about today.

Today is Good Friday. Jesus has been arrested, tried, and crucified on the cross. An agonizing, horrible, painful death.


Jesus did it for you and me.

He died for me.

He died for you.

Whether or not you believe.


Today's Scripture is long so I won't post it but I would encourage you to click below and read it.

Luke 22:47-23:56

Today is Good Friday - it is a day of reflection and rejoicing.

It is finished

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Holy Week - Tension is Building

(continuing my devotions from www.crosswalk.com. This is yesterday's lesson. I was too tired to post last night)

And I when I be lifted up
I'll draw all men unto me


That's a great chorus from am old hymn
Such powerful thing to know.

Jesus said those words just days before he was arrested. He must have had so much on his mind. I wonder if he was stressed? Did he know (I mean really know how much it was going to hurt?

Today's devotional from crosswalk states the following:
 Put yourself in the disciples’ place on that Wednesday before the original Easter. They must have been feeling pretty good, right? After all they’d just seen their leader receive a hero’s welcome and watched him kick butt in the temple. They had to be riding pretty high.

Now think how Jesus must have felt that day: He was in countdown mode. He alone understood what was coming; surely it was on his mind well before he headed to the Garden of Gethsemane. Watching his clueless disciples, dealing with the crowds ... what were his thoughts? Every time he looked at Judas, did his heart break just a little more?


I wonder what the disciples were thinking. Did they notice a change in Jesus? Was he quieter? I would have been quiet and moody and snappish.  The anticipation would be impossible to bear.

Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!” (John 12:27-28)
Did Jesus yell that or was he excited?  Sounds like nerves to me. I'll bet that the disciples were truly confused.

What would you do if, like Jesus on that Wednesday, you knew you only had a couple of days left to live? What’s stopping you from doing those things now?
If it was me? I'd be irritable, crabby, and generally moody. I also don't think I'd keep it to myself. I'd definitely be talking to my BFF and my accountability partner. I certainly couldn't keep that kind of info to myself. I don't know if Jesus felt the stress but I do like to humanize him in thinking he did.  I don't think he had any doubt about what he was doing or why but I do believe his soul was grieving for what was about to come.

We know Jesus prayed. I would definitely pray too.  So what's stopping me from doing that now? Nothing. I am finding this year that the concept of praying without ceasing becomes easier and may be more practical when you have help.  My help is the One Little Word (OLW) study that my church study group is doing.  My word is Trust.

I'm learning quite a bite about this word.  I'm learning that to trust in God one must be patient. I'm not a patient person. I want what I want and I want it now.  My OLW has helped through some tense moments in the last few weeks.  My OLW has been a help to me just this week.

My OLW is helping in this study this week.  My OLW is bring me closer to God.

If you don't have a word you study or can meditate or pray on, I highly recommend that you pick one. It can help you get to the point where you can answer the questions What would you do? What is stopping you from doing those things today?

Will you join me this week and meditate on these things?

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Holy Week - Get Your Pretzel Here

Prayer is like a box of pretzels? Well that's not exactly what today's devotion says but it's darned near it.

First - I didn't miss my FB games at all today. OK. Now that that it out of the way - on to my lesson today.

Pretzels - crunchy, salty but does it remind you to pray? Check out what www.crosswalk.com had to say about that today.

The pretzel was invented back in the mists of time when years only had three digits. The story goes that a monk was in the kitchen mixing up some Lenten bread when he got the idea to remind his brother monks that Lent was a time of prayer by shaping strips of dough into little crossed arms. (Apparently that was a common position for prayer at the time.) So each pretzel is not just a tasty treat, it’s a call to prayer.


(Not my design or project.  Grabbed this photo link from the pattern repository at www.ravelry.com)




Doesn't that give you something to think about the next time you want a pretzel snack? Will you ever look at pretzels the same?

I certainly won't.

if a simple pretzel can be a reminder to pray, what else could you use as a mental sticky note to remind you to connect with God?

Well for me I'm spending this week on these devotions. My relationship needs lots of TLC. I'm not playing my FB games and making sure that I spend time with God this week. Next week? Who knows. May be I'll find a new devotional to focus on.

Today's Scripture
1 Thessalonians 5:17 - pray without ceasing

Let's spend our days like the pretzel.

Will you join me this week and meditate on these things?

Monday, April 18, 2011

Holy Week - Temple

Day 2 - The Temple

First, I miss my FB games.  I miss clicking on links to get or give baby bottles from my online "friends.". I miss helping out people I know and people i only know through  the game. I miss my FB games but I will not play this week as part of my fast this week.

As I said yesterday, I'm going to be focusing my energy this week on the meditations  I got in a www.crosswalk.com e-newsletter. Today's meditation has two pieces of scripture and two thoughts. It's all about the temple but not the one you think.

Today’s Scripture reading throws that old “gentle Jesus, meek and mild” stereotype out the window. One day the bustling center of commerce known as the Temple—a place supposed to be set aside for prayer—really rubbed him the wrong way. So he politely walked up to the nearest stall and said, “Please don’t do that...” Oh no, he didn’t! Jesus stormed in like an action-movie hero, knocking over furniture, sending goods and people flying, pitching a holy fit. He. Was. Not. Playing. The Temple is not to be trifled with.


We've heard the story before. Have you thought about it like this though?

1 Corinthians 6:19: “You should know that your body is a temple for the Holy Spirit who is in you.”


Does that temple need a good cleansing?
Cleansing? More like Extreme Makeover.
Today is really not the day I need to be reminded that my body is a temple. I just confessed to my accountability partners this morning that I haven't been a good steward of this temple. I've felt sluggish and down and have wallowed in that downness. I'm not exercising and I'm not eating right and surprise surprise my latest A1C was up instead of down. My Temple is a shambles and needs maintenance.

What am I doing about it? Sigh... I don't know yet

Today' full scripture is Mark 11:15-18
On reaching Jerusalem, Jesus entered the temple courts and began driving out those who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves, and would not allow anyone to carry merchandise through the temple courts. And as he taught them, he said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it ‘a den of robbers.’”

The chief priests and the teachers of the law heard this and began looking for a way to kill him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching.



How's your Temple?  Does it need maintenance? Are you treating it as part of God's creation?
If Jesus visited your temple today would he be riled up or smiling and pleased? Would he rebuke you?

Will you join me this week and meditate on these things?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Holy Week - I Missed Him Today

This week is Holy Week. Today was Palm Sunday and I missed it for the first time in years. I felt sick nut could dragged myself out of bed if I had even tried. maybe I need to up my antidepressant. (I think that's another post for another day)

I received an e-newsletter this week from www.crosswalk.com. It's part of their singles newsletters but I think their recommendations for meditation this week apply to all.

How are you going to celebrate Holy Week this week?  I'm thinking of fasting this week for Holy Week. My fast will be a Facebook game fast. I only play two games anymore nut they are very distracting. So I won't be playing farmville or citiville this week. My crops will wither and my town will be lonely but I think they'll survive without me for a week. I won't even be clicking on any of the links that help people or that give me gifts in the games. Cold turkey. No contact with the games at all.

I'm going to be following their meditation/study recommendations for each day. So here is whT they had to say about today.

PALM SUNDAY: There’s a lot of sorrow and suffering on the horizon, but this day is all happy songs, palm branches, and “Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Lord.” Feel free to wave, sing, march ... whatever suits your tradition and temperament. In the midst of all that, here’s what I’ll be pondering: If Jesus came to my town would I go out to meet him? What if I already had plans for that day? Am I willing to rearrange my schedule to welcome the Messiah? Today’s reading: Luke 19:28-40

If Jesus came to my town would I go out to meet him?  Well, I have to honestly say no.  but How can that be? First, I'm a skeptic and not very trusting. I probably wouldn't believe he is Jesus. I'd think he was a charlatan.  Second, I've been feel depressed lately and sluggish. I missed church today because of it. So if he had been there I wouldn't have been there and I would've missed him. Scripture says that where two or three of us gather there He is also (Matthew 18:20) - so I guess you could say I did miss Jesus today.  

Was it worth it? What do you think?

Today's scripture reading is Luke 19:28-40
I'm off to do some study and reading about it. Will you join me this week and fast and meditate on his word?

THE TRIUMPHAL ENTRY
After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, "Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. If anyone asks you, 'Why are you untying it?' tell him, 'The Lord needs it.' "  Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them. As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, "Why are you untying the colt?" They replied, "The Lord needs it." They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road. When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:  "Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!" Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, "Teacher, rebuke your disciples!" "I tell you," he replied, "if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out."

May you have an enjoyable and blessed week.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Faith and Trust

I was looking for some symbols on the Internet and noticed something very interesting

Take a look at the symbols below

信頼 = faith

信頼 = trust

Notice anything interesting?  The symbols for trust and faith in Japanese are the same. The words themselves are the same. I don't know anything about Japanese culture so I don't know if the pronunciation or meaning In Japanese is the same but it got me to thinking...

What do the words trust and faith mean?

Can you have one and not the other?

I did some research. I decided to look up these words. My first stop the Google dictionary

The Dictionary definition of Faith is
-- Complete trust
-- Strong belief in God based on spiritual apprehension (or understanding) rather than proof
-- System of religious beliefs

Synonym: trust, belief, confidence, reliance, religion

The Dictionary definition of Trust is
-- (n) Firm belief in the reliability, truth or strength of someone or something
-- (v) believing in the reliability, truth or strength of someone or something
-- to HAVE faith
-- reliance on luck,  fate or something else which one has NO control over

Synonym: believe, rely, hope, faith, confidence.

So the secular definition seems to imply that faith and trust are connected. Doesn't sound like you can have one and not the other. They both seem to be about a belief in something you know to be true because it is not because there is direct evidence or proof. Even the synonyms for these words point towards each other.

So what does God say?  What does his Bible say? My second stop tonight was my Bible dictionary

FAITH -----
-- Primary idea is trust
-- PERSUASION of the mind that a certain statement is true - (being convinced or taught that something IS)
-- A thing that is true and worthy of trust
-- A result of teaching - (it can be learned)
-- "The object of saving faith is the whole REVEALED of the Word of God"
-- "By faith the believer directly and immediately appropriates Christ as his own" - (we make Christ as our own)
-- Necessary to our salvation
-- Not the reasonableness of what God says but the simple fact that he says it.
-- "thus says the Lord" - it is because He says it is not because we experience it.

TRUST ----- The actual word is not in my version of the Bible dictionary. I searched for the use of the word trust in the Bible dictionary came up with the following details
-- Trust and reliance are the essence of faith - essence=cannot exist without it
-- Something is true AND worthy of trust - trust, can be earned?
-- "Brief as this book [Ruth] is, and simple as is its story, it is remarkably rich in examples of faith, patience, industry, and kindness nor less so in the indications of the care which God takes of those who put their faith in him." - how has God cared for those who had faith in Him? Was God ever cruel to a person who trusted Him?
-- Something different from evidence that we do trust. - can't see/feel it but we know it is true

Trust can seem passive when in fact it is the ultimate expression of trust & faith : "it is the Lord, let him do what seems good." (1 Sam 3:11) - taken out of context it sounds as if Eli is just giving up after hearing of Samuel's dream. Eli isn't lying down. He's giving control of the situation over to God. He's standing up and saying I trust that God will do what is right and not allow evil to prevail even if it costs him his life.

So, yeah.  Faith and trust are intimate and interconnected. Intimate. Bound. Part of each other. Soul mates.  You cannot say you have faith and not trust. You cannot trust but then not have faith. You cannot have one and not have the other.

BUT what I do think I saw is that from a human/mankind perspective faith is something you can be taught. It is a concept that can be learned or Revealed to us through God's word. I think faith something that we are born with but don't know what it is until it is Revealed or Shown to us.

Trust is something that can be earned. It also is something we have or know not because we've seen or felt something to be true but because it IS true. Because God says so.  Trust is an active word of great power and great strength.  

Trust is powerful.

I am learning so much about MY One Little Word

Monday, April 11, 2011

A OLW Experience

I had a fantastic weekend.  I joined a women's social group recently and a bunch of us decided to have a weekend getaway in Watoga State Park, WV.  The drive to the park where we were all staying Friday night was really treacherous.  I wasn't able to leave as early in the day as the rest of the group so I left after work Friday.  I took what I thought was a shorter route and in theory/mileage it is shorter but at night with heavy fog and hairpin turns through the Appalachian mountains it isn't shorter.  I think my average speed for the last 100 miles was probably 20mi.  I didn't get in until after 2am.

The good thing about it was that I thought about my OLW (trust) while I was driving.  Because the mountains I was driving through are so thick/deep there was no cell service.  There were periods of time that the fog was so heavy I completely lost sight of the road.  So if I wrecked I'd have been in deep deep trouble because I wouldn't be able to call anyone.  I kept praying and just thinking that if ever a time I need to Trust in God this is it.  Then I looked down at my gas. I couldn't tell how many miles I had to go and my needle kept getting closer and closer to "E".  So, again I had to keep praying and trusting that God would get me to the cabins.  I had to Trust God.  I really HAD no choice.  I thought at one point well, if God can make the oil for the Macabees last 8 days, he can certainly make my tank of gas last long enough to get me into civilization.

It was all such a blessing.  I had no cell service, but what I did have the whole way through the mountain range was my GPS which helped me to know where the road was going and where the really tight and dangerous hairpin turns were AND I had my satellite radio.  I tried listening to one of the gospel channels but they just weren't playing a style of music I liked.  So, I switched to the 80s channel.  Just having some music in the car that I could sing along with in between prayers and periods of holding my breath made the drive tolerable.

It was terribly late when I got in.  I knew which cabin was mine but I didn't have a key and I knew they had planned to make one of the cabins the main cabin and we would all eat and hang and be goofy at that one cabin, but which one?  I got lucky because just as I was pulling up to the cabin where I was staying my cabin-mates pulled in.  They had left the main cabin and were getting ready to go to bed.

The weekend itself was pretty awesome.  The park is very remote so there was no cell service, no internet and no TV in ANY of the cabins.  "Town" was a 45 minute drive back down the mountain.  It was a very relaxing weekend.  I don't think I've ever been that unplugged before.  It gave me a lot of time to just read, relax and enjoy what was going on around me.


Monday, April 4, 2011

Imagine A Life Without Limits


We’ve all heard the scripture and advice that God will never give you more than you can bear (1 Cor 10:13).  Imagine however giving birth to a child that has no arms and only one really thin useless looking leg.  Imagine looking in the mirror at yourself and seeing having no arms and only 1 leg.  Would you have a positive attitude?  Would you be able to smile, laugh or even get in front of a crowd and talk to people about how great God is?

This Nick’s story - except his parents never saw him as anything other than a wonderful baby bow.  Nick never thought of himself as anything other than normal.

I’m not sure I like how this book is written.  He goes forward and backward in his life story too quickly.  One moment he’s two, then he’s a teen and then he’s 10.  It’s too much bouncing around.  Then he’ll write something like this
“Don’t put your life on hold so that you can dwell on unfairness or past hurts.  
Look instead of ways to move forward.” 
and it makes me like what I’m reading and I keep reading.  Another great quote

“Even if at times you feel alone, you should know that you are 
loved too and recognize that God created you out of love.”  

it’s a definite feel-good book with some good advice on how to keep going each day when you feel like your life sucks.

Nick's life never had any limits to it.  Does yours?  You should read this book if it does and work on removing those limits from your life so that you can live a Ridiculously Good Life



DISCLAIMER:  “I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review”.

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