Archive | March, 2015

Resurrection Sunday – Easter – Looking To The Cross

27 Mar

1 Thessalonians 510I look at that crown and think about my Savior who wore a crown of thorns on His head carrying my sins to the cross.  That brings tears to think of all my ugly, ugly, sin.

Resurrection Sunday, or as we grew up calling it Easter Sunday, is the oldest of the Christian holy days, and I would say it is the most important day of the church year and in the Christian life. It is typically the highest day of church attendance in the year at our church with four packed services. WHY!  Because we are celebrating the resurrection of Christ.  We, Christians believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross, and after three days He arose.  The death is commemorated on Good Friday, the Friday before Resurrection Sunday.

Resurrection Sunday is also the end of the Lent season for some – a time of fasting and prayer, solitude, and reflection. This year I have participated in Lent for the first time.  You can read about that here and here.  For me it has been a time to not only give up, but also give.  I’ve enjoyed time blessing others, and plan to do this year after year, and I have also reflected on my health with more exercise and healthier eating.  For me this year, Lent has been about preparing my heart – it’s been an awesome holy season reflecting on Jesus.  It’s been almost 40 days of reflecting on Him and the cross.

At this time of the year I think about our new creation in Christ – our “new life“.

2 corinthians 517

Spring is all about new life. Christ died for our sins and He rose. Every sin that I and you have ever committed nailed Him to the cross.  He died so that you and I can live.

Can you picture Jesus dying on that cross and arising from that tomb to give you and I grace?  Can you picture all of those death rags perhaps having words on them like fear, doubt, worthless, sinner, etc. being torn off?   On my best day, I am nothing but filthy rags.  On my worst days, He is there giving me grace. How do we experience that glorious grace?  By looking to that wonderful cross.

john 116

Today we portray the cross as something beautiful in the way we wear them – beautifully designed, and the beautiful crosses we hang in our homes, and for me outside on the house, in the flower beds.  For me it is beautiful knowing what Jesus did on that cross for me.

Do you realize what a horrible meaning the cross had in Jesus’ time?   It meant horror, it meant torture, it meant being nailed to a cross, nails driven through the wrists most likely, but possibly through the palms, and Luke depicts Jesus’s sweat becoming as blood.  It mean being spat upon, struck, scourged with a whip, ultimately with the skin of the back in ribbons, and a crown of thorns pressed upon his head, stumbling and falling as he was forced to carry his cross, nails driven through his feet, being unable to get a fresh breath of air and that’s only a small part of what the agony and pain our Christ suffered on that cross for each one of us for six long hours.   Does that break your heart?  It does mine.

I love the song “When I Survey The Wondrous Cross“.   When I survey the wondrous cross…………….OH the wondrous cross bids me come and die and find that I may truly live…….love so amazing, so divine demands my soul, my life, my ALL!

galatians 614

This week as we continue in this blessed season I have to stop and ponder daily of all He has done for me and my family. How about you?   Do you realize that he died humbly, willingly and lovingly for us?

Why didn’t He come down off that cross?  He could have called to His Father to save Him, but He willingly I am overwhelmed as I think how God sent His only begotten son to die for my sin, and I am overwhelmed to think of my sin – ugly sin that creeps up even when I am in the Word and spending hours with Him in prayer – that ole’ ugly sin of mine.  But those sins, those cracks He will use them to show His glory and grace.  We are vessels filled with His grace.  His grace and love are immeasurable.

I am overwhelmed as I think how God sent His only begotten son to die for my sin, and I am overwhelmed to think of my sin – ugly sin that creeps up even when we are in the Word and spending hours with Him in prayer – that ole’ ugly sin of mine.  I am overwhelmed by His love for me and my family.

My daughter and I were on a trip last year and we saw this beautiful cross up on a hill.  I could not help but to stop and gaze and snap a picture thinking of the ultimate sacrifice He made for me.  I could not help to pause and think Him for healing one grandson and for the trip we were on together with her carrying our future grandson (who by the way is here now and a part of us in this holy season).

  OVERWHELMED and THANKFUL and BLESSED!

How do you look to the cross?  For me, the cross is my center in Christ.  If I am not looking to the cross, I am not in the center of the cross.  He chose those nails for you and me.

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Our sins nailed him to the cross, but His undying love for us and His Father kept Him there.  Amazing Grace.

In the shadow of his glorious cross how can we forget? Resurrection Sunday is today and every day!  I’m looking to the cross.  How about you?

And here is one more I love by Chris Tomlin – Amazing Grace, My Chains Are Gone.

It’s Spring At Our House

20 Mar

hosea 63

I love the sounds of Spring – the birds chirping every time I walk outside, and when it warms up I can throw open the windows and hear all those happy sounds.  I love the bees humming around the plants when I go out to work in the flower beds.  See that little one on the plum tree.

Spring has sprung.  Yes, yes it is the first day of Spring.  I know for some of you, it hasn’t with the snow that is still around, but for us here in Texas it is here and arrived just as the calendar said it would.  We had snow just a few weeks ago, which is unusual for us and not just once, but we went through several weeks of ice and snow.

Spring brings sunshine, longer days and storms (still waiting for that sunshine here).

I love Spring, but for us it generally means severe weather and the threat for storms and tornadoes.  From the end of March until the end of May, it’s a time to be on the watch for damaging hail and winds.  That’s the only part of Spring I don’t enjoy, and I’m sure that some of you are not enjoying the snow that is still hanging around.  But this is the day our Lord has made, and I’m rejoicing that I am here to enjoy it no matter what the weather is like.

Yesterday I mowed just a little of our acreage, and my husband came in and finished up.  It takes hours to get our yard done.  Yes, we live in Texas and Spring for us also means lots of mowing when there is lots of rain, and there has been this year – snow, sleet and rain almost every day for over three weeks now.  In fact the weather man said this evening that it has rained fifteen of the last twenty days this month.  Not complaining at all.  We have been in a drought and it’s raining again today, tonight and tomorrow.  WOOHOO!

Spring brings new beginnings.

Here are a few pictures I’ve been snapping of spring at our house this week, and all the new life and splashes of color that are just popping out all over – daffodils, tulips, our orchard trees (peaches and plums).  It felt so good to get out just an hour last evening and start weeding flower beds.  We have a whole lot of them, but over the years have downsized because it was so much work.

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As Spring is springing, and I see all the beautiful green lawns sprouting out and flowers all over the neighborhood, I can’t help but reflect and being constantly aware of new life, and new beginnings because of Christ.

God is such an artist!

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I see tulips sprouting out, or at least the leaves are that my Daddy planted, and the shasta daises that Mom loved so much. There were even two yellow butterflies outside as I was walking to the mailbox yesterday.- Mom loved them too so my thoughts go to memories of her when I see one, and two were a double blessing.  These shasta daises are coming up everywhere.  Love them!

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BlogHopShasta1

Spring is the perfect time to sit on the front porch and rock my grandsons, or put them in a stroller and take a long walk!

As the rain came down today, I took my 19-month old grandson out on the porch with his blanket and sit a bit and watched it come down looking out over the front flower beds and all the new life.

Spring means weeds and working in the herb garden.

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Ecclesiastes 311

Real Love Is

20 Mar

It’s Five Minute Friday and I love joining Kate Matoung and the other FMF ladies for a Friday day of 5-minute blogs.  Come join in!

What is “real” love?  Real love is the kind of love Jesus has for us.  It is that unconditional love – love that expects absolutely nothing in return.  It’s about caring about others and expecting nothing in return.  It’s a love that is grace-filled. It’s a love that is self-sacrificing.

How do we find that “real” love.  We have to go to the Bible to find out.  I believe that 1 Corinthians 13 is probably the most quoted love chapter.  My husband uses it at every wedding.  In it you find what love is:

Love is

Do Not Sin In Your Anger – Keep it Shut – Chapter 9 Week 5

16 Mar

1 Corinthians 1531Are you hurling hate and words and hurt to those around you in your anger, or are you using soft words to turn away others wrath?

“MIND YOUR OWN SIN, SWEETHEART”

One of the things that Karen Ehman said in this chapter of Keep It Shut was “I felt God clearly say, “Mind your own sin, sweetheart.”  That stopped me in my tracks when I read those words.  I really do try not to gossip.  I don’t like it, but how about all that other sin – like food mostly for me.  I know it is as bad as gossip, but God has been working on me for over a year now and it’s getting through.  I’ve exercised more the last month than I’ve exercised in a year.

SCREAMING AT THE KIDS

I really hope my kids are reading this because there were times in the car when I could not pull over on that 45 minute drive from school when I would warn over and over and finally let it go.  I remember one time actually pulling over, but that’s as far as it got.  My son told me one day in front of the family at a meal after he was married I was a wooss, so I must not have been too bad.  If you are reading this children I APOLOGIZE.  If one of you read it, go tell the other one it is here.  Karen talked about screaming too.  There is not a verse in the Bible that tells us we can yell or scream at our kids.  P.S. It’s not ok to yell or scream to anybody.  That’s not in the Bible either.

DYING TO SELF

Many of our problems in life are caused because we are self-oriented.  It’s a me, me, me type world we live in today and that makes me sad.  Karen reminded us “I gotta die”.  I loved that.  She used the example of her son playing a video game as they were arriving at school and he didn’t want to get out until his character died.  Here were her words which I dare not paraphrase because, well because, they are heart touching:

“As a follower of Christ, I am to die to self.  But so often,  I choose not to.  Instead, I elevate myself.  I promote self.  I think little of the other person and much of me.  But before I react…..before I hurl a harsh word…..before I pass judgment or speak unkindly to my husband or snap at my child, perhaps I need to take a deep breath and say, “Hang on a second, I gotta die.”  Die to self.  Die to flesh.  Die to my “rights” that too often result in my wrongs.  Yes, Paul said it best – I die daily.”  1 Corinthians 15:31

Too much in this chapter to type it all out, but as always I love the Book of Proverbs and we were reminded of a “woman who is praised not only for what she does, but more importantly for who she is – specifically, how she interacts with people.”

May He fill our mouths with worthwhile words.

Proverbs 3126

Keep It Shut Study Chapters 7 and 8

15 Mar

The Keep It Shut study ended last week, but life is just so hectic right now I have not had the time to sit down and jot down the things that touched my heart.  So many things I don’t want to forget, and it is much easier when it is written down here instead of my notebooks.   I can come right back here to be reminded of those things that pricked my heart.  Perhaps some of them will prick yours too!

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But before I move on to Chapters 7 and 8, I had to add one last thought from my previous blog on Chapter 6.

Karen reminded us how David got his eyes off gossip and his enemies.  When our hearts are hurting because of gossip, we need to put our eyes back on Jesus and stop obsessing and worrying about what others are saying.  I know it is hard.  I see it especially in Jr. High and High School.  Teenagers can be so mean not even realizing how they are hurting and damaging someone for the future.

She pointed us back to a powerful verse in Psalms to calm us because our God is bigger than any circumstance we might be going through or any gossip that is being spread about us.  Run to Him!

Psalm 3119-20

A gossip is wicked.”  OUCH!  Karen reminded us of practices that work for her including studying how the Bible describes a gossip, how a gossip stirs up conflict, how to keep quiet,  how to make a promise and keep a commitment.

Chapter 7But I’m Just Sharing A Prayer Request

Don’t you love that title.  Have you heard that before?  I have.  I loved some of these quotes and highlighted so much.

  • Flattery – “When you speak flattering words, you paint yourself into a corner – a very lonely corner.  In short order, you can go from being liked to being known as a people-pleasing liar.  Flattery may seem like it wins you friends, but in reality it will likely cost your friends in the end.”
  • Boasting – “It isn’t wrong to give voice to our dreams.  What we are cautioned against is boasting about tomorrow without God anywhere in the picture.  We need to keep God’s wishes at the center of our desires.”
  • “God invites us to make our plans according to what will be in line with his desire for us and what will bring glory to him, not ourselves.”
  • “We need to make sure our words are first meant to please God, not our hearer.”

Chapter 8 – Lying, Loving and Pleasing People

This chapter was about people pleasing, whether to cheer or not to cheer, and flattery.  One thing I highlighted that is so true was this:

“It has been said that gossip is saying something behind someone’s back that you would never dare say to their face.  However, flattery is the opposite.  It is saying something to someone’s face that you would never say behind their back – usually because you don’t really believe it is true.”  I say ENOUGH SAID.

Steps Karen listed in fighting the disease to please:

  • Beware of Making Promises in Order to Impress Someone
  • Let Your Words Be Few
  • Do Not Answer Right Away
  • Keep God At The Center Of Your Plans
  • Know When To Eat Your Words and Admit Your Fault

“We need to make sure our words are first meant to please God, not our hearer.”  Karen Ehman

I just say wow.  If I do that, I won’t mess up. Think about the power of your words. Are you building others up?  Have you caused others pain and harm because of your words?

Such wise words in these chapters, you won’t regret picking up this book.  I am so glad I bought it and so glad I participated in the study.  Pick up the book – Keep It Shut by Karen Ehman, and hop over to Proverbs31.Org.  You can go back to these studies and see video’s and awesome teaching anytime..

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