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Archive for March, 2013

This is a repeat of the post on Easter Sunday …

He is risen indeed!

Last year I posted a video (More than Chocolate) that had been speaking to me, that Easter season. In that tradition, I am posting another this year.

I love the use of scripture to tell a story, to teach a lesson, to touch my heart.

May God,

through words He inspired,

and man brought together,

touch your heart this day of celebrating that

“God raised Him, on the third day.”

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I do not normally post on a Saturday, but today is an exception.

And since it is also the Easter weekend, I thought I would include a little chuckle (Easter style, to the right) or two, and a reminder that we do not have to eat forty days worth of chocolate in one weekend, if that is what was given up for Lent.0317bcb3d2221a038e2734a25410dfc9

It has been a month of counting days until Spring Break, followed by days of … well of not knowing what day it is!

Since I have been away for the past two weeks … away from home, from work, from schedules (from close-toed shoes 😉 ), from the scales … I have no idea what I weigh! I know there have been good days, and days that were not so great. But, whether I was successful at eating healthy, or not, I kept recording what I ate at 112aa172e046cbeb0c2c54930f697bc0myfitnesspal … and I feel that is really a good habit!

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So, it is now spring, and the days are getting more bright, and longer.

Our moods are boosted, and our bodies are empowered by natural Vitamin D that we are absorbing!

It is a great time for a walk, a run, a bike ride!

I will let you know how my weight loss is going next month … oh the suspense!

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Were you there when they nailed him to the tree ?File_PassionMovie_NailHand-726x1024
Were you there when they nailed him to the tree ?Nailed-Feet
Were you there when they pierced him in the side ?pierced_side
Were you there when they laid him in the tomb ?37
Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble

“we declare God’s wisdom,
a mystery that has been hidden
and that God destined for our glory before time began.
None of the rulers of this age understood it,
for if they had,
they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.”
1 Corinthians 2:7-8

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When the hour came,
Jesus and his apostles reclined at the table.
And he said to them,

“I have eagerly desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer.
For I tell you,

I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.”
Luke 22:14-16

The Easter weekend is upon us.

betrayal-last-supper

Today is known as Maundy Thursday … the day to remember the final, or last, supper shared by the twelve disciples, and their leader, Jesus. A meal held after sunset, in a rented room. I wonder if Jesus was able to eat … surely knowing what the hours to come would hold … betrayal, denial, arrest, torture, humiliation, death … separation from His Father …

Jesus knew what timing was all about … not the timing of others, not even his own timing, but God’s timing …

 While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son.”
Luke 2:6-7

“But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to sonship.”
Galatians 4:4

When the time of their purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord.” Luke 2:22

“When the wine was gone, Jesus’ mother said to him, “They have no more wine.” “Woman, why do you involve me?” Jesus replied. “My hour has not yet come. John 2:3-4

“When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.” Luke 4:13

“Every day I was with you in the temple courts, and you did not lay a hand on me. But this is your hour—when darkness reigns.” Luke 22:53

The timing of the events in the life of Jesus were perfect and known only to God the Father. Just as the events of our life are perfect and known only by Him. What we often do not realize is that the timing is God’s perfect timing, not ours.

I imagine that Mary did not think that being in labor, while riding a donkey, with no place to give birth, was not perfect timing … but we can see how the timing of the provision of the stable-cave showed God’s provision, and enhanced the humble king that Jesus was to be.

There are times in our lives when the timing has been poor, and it seems God was late in answering our prayers … but we see things with human eyes, limited by our lifespans … God sees with eternal eyes, limitless!

Until He returns, in God’s perfect timing, we are waiting.

“For still the vision awaits its appointed time;
it hastens to the end
—it will not lie.
If it seems slow,
wait for it;
it will surely come;
it will not delay.”
Habakkuk 2:3

 

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Recently I was reading Psalm 107, and as I heard those words of hope, of provision, of redemption, of God’s faithfulness, of the history of His people, and I felt something bubble up inside of me … joyful hope!

Maybe it is because as I read the first line, “give thanks to the Lord, for he is good” I started hearing the worship song, “Forever” written by Chris Tomlin, and it’s upbeat music simply set the mood for my scripture reading.

I love this Psalm! There is a constant thread through it that God is faithful to his people, that there is a desire on the part of God to care for those who love Him. There is also a thread of justice that weaves throughout this Psalm … something that sometimes seems so absent in our world today. It is a Psalm that reminds us that we have not because we have not yet cried out to him.

I believe that to read this Psalm is to read it, not a something written for another person, at another time …

… we need to read it as written for us as individuals, for us, and for now!

Give thanks to the Lord,

for he is good!

His love

endures

forever!

PSALM 107

Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
his love endures forever.

Let the redeemed of the Lord tell their story—
those he redeemed from the hand of the foe,
those he gathered from the lands,
from east and west, from north and south.

Some wandered in desert wastelands,
finding no way to a city where they could settle.
They were hungry and thirsty,
and their lives ebbed away.
Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress.
He led them by a straight way
to a city where they could settle.
Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for mankind,
for he satisfies the thirsty
and fills the hungry with good things.

10 Some sat in darkness, in utter darkness,
prisoners suffering in iron chains,
11 because they rebelled against God’s commands
and despised the plans of the Most High.
12 So he subjected them to bitter labor;
they stumbled, and there was no one to help.
13 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
and he saved them from their distress
14 He brought them out of darkness, the utter darkness,
and broke away their chains.
15 Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for mankind,
16 for he breaks down gates of bronze
and cuts through bars of iron.

17 Some became fools through their rebellious ways
and suffered affliction because of their iniquities.
18 They loathed all food
and drew near the gates of death.
19 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble,
and he saved them from their distress.
20 He sent out his word and healed them;
he rescued them from the grave.
21 Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for mankind.
22 Let them sacrifice thank offerings
and tell of his works with songs of joy.

23 Some went out on the sea in ships;
they were merchants on the mighty waters.
24 They saw the works of the Lord,
his wonderful deeds in the deep.
25 For he spoke and stirred up a tempest
that lifted high the waves.
26 They mounted up to the heavens and went down to the depths;
in their peril their courage melted away.
27 They reeled and staggered like drunkards;
they were at their wits’ end.
28 Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble,
and he brought them out of their distress.
29 He stilled the storm to a whisper;
the waves of the sea were hushed.
30 They were glad when it grew calm,
and he guided them to their desired haven.
31 Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for mankind.
32 Let them exalt him in the assembly of the people
and praise him in the council of the elders.

33 He turned rivers into a desert,
flowing springs into thirsty ground,
34 and fruitful land into a salt waste,
because of the wickedness of those who lived there.
35 He turned the desert into pools of water
and the parched ground into flowing springs;
36 there he brought the hungry to live,
and they founded a city where they could settle.
37 They sowed fields and planted vineyards
that yielded a fruitful harvest;
38 he blessed them, and their numbers greatly increased,
and he did not let their herds diminish.

39 Then their numbers decreased, and they were humbled
by oppression, calamity and sorrow;
40 he who pours contempt on nobles
made them wander in a trackless waste.
41 But he lifted the needy out of their affliction
and increased their families like flocks.
42 The upright see and rejoice,
but all the wicked shut their mouths.

43 Let the one who is wise heed these things
and ponder the loving deeds of the Lord.

The larger our platform becomes,
the more intentionally we have to focus on the heart of our calling:
to introduce people to God and to show them His glory.”
—Chris Tomlin

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“Sing.
Sing a song.
Sing out loud, sing out strong.
Sing of good things, not bad.
Sing of happy, not sad.
Sing.
Sing a song.
Make it simple to last your whole life long.
Don´t worry that it´s not good enough for anyone else to hear.
Just sing.”

So sang the Carpenters in the 1970’s … although my memory of it is from Sesame Street …

It is amazing how the singing of a song can make memorization so much easier. As one who is in the midst of memorizing one of the Psalms, I am thankful that it was put to music … I think I can, I think I can.

One of the beauties of memorizing scripture, poetry or lyrics through music is that it stays in your memory, and resurfaces at the most wonderful times.

Such has been the case for a particular hymn that I learned in my teens.

The hymn is more than a song, it is also evidence of the strength a person can attain with God as the rudder and anchor of their life.

Written by Horatio Spafford in 1873.

He, his wife Anna, and their four daughters had survived the great Chicago Fire. Horatio planned a trip to Europe for his family, and just days before they were to leave, he had to change his plans, send his wife and daughters on the ship without him.

While sailing to Europe the Spafford ship was hit by another, and sunk.

Days later, Horatio received the following in a telegram, from Anna, “Saved alone what shall I do?”

He boarded a ship, to meet up with his grieving wife.

As the ship was nearing the place where his four daughters died, he wrote the words to this hauntingly beautiful hymn.

It Is Well With My Soul

When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Refrain:
It is well, (it is well),
With my soul, (with my soul)
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!

For me, be it Christ, be it Christ hence to live:
If Jordan above me shall roll,
No pang shall be mine, for in death as in life,
Thou wilt whisper Thy peace to my soul.

But Lord, ’tis for Thee, for Thy coming we wait,
The sky, not the grave, is our goal;
Oh, trump of the angel! Oh, voice of the Lord!
Blessed hope, blessed rest of my soul.

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

Although I have not suffered the kind of loss and suffering of Horatio and Anna Spafford, this song surfaces in my conscious whenever my heart plummets with the weight of the sorrows of life and living.

I am amazed when it does come to my mind,
as though placed there
like a tissue to wipe my falling tears,
or a shoulder to cry on,
or a string around my finger

to remind me …

that I am not alone
that peace is more about the condition of my soul than anything to do with world conflict
that no sin is unforgivable
that no earthly sorrow can separate me from my God
that the sky, not the grave, is my goal.

What is your song?

tranquility

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haggadah72Today marks the beginning of the Passover holiday.

As with the many celebrations of many other Bible-centered religions, the celebrations revolve around food, family, and a story of faith.

This story is one which is shared in the synagogues, the cathedrals, churches and other places of worship of those who call themselves Jewish, Catholic and Christian. It is a story of mystery, of miracles, of redemption (The Theme of the Best Stories is Always …).

Although the story in Exodus begins with a conversation between God and Moses and Aaron, really it began at almost the beginning of time:

“I will make you into a great nation,
and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing .”
Genesis 12:2

God has had a plan for His people, a plan of blessing.

But God’s people had been enslaved by the Egyptians, for generations. And, through the God’s use of the Egyptians, Moses was saved when Pharaoh demanded the killing of the firstborn males of his slaves, the Jews. God has a funny way of accomplishing His plans.

God, through Moses and Aaron, tried to convince Pharaoh to let His people go free, with locusts, with plagues, with blood, with gnats, with frogs, with boils, with darkness. Pharaoh knew he had a good thing, and he refused to let them go.

It was not until God sent death … death of the firstborn sons (sound familiar?) of Egypt, that Pharaoh had ears to hear.

God had given the very specific directions to Moses and Aaron:

  • a specific date and time
  • a yearling male lamb … with no imperfections
  • slaughtered at twilight
  • blood wiped on the door frames of all of the Israelite people
  • roasted
  • all the meat eaten, with bitter herbs and yeast-free bread
  • dress code applicable
  • all left-overs burned up in the fire

Then, in the night, God past over the town, killing every firstborn, except for His chosen people, safe behind the doors with the blood of the innocent, perfect lamb dripping between their past of slavery and bondage and their future as a great nation.

All was accomplished, just as God said, and Pharaoh let the people go.

This celebration called Passover, is an everlasting reminder, of the devotion and promise that God has made with His chosen people. One worth celebrating, when Jew or Gentile.

“God kept watch all night,
watching over the Israelites as he brought them out of Egypt.
Because God kept watch,
all Israel for all generations will honor God by keeping watch this night
—a watchnight.”
Exodus 12:41-42

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