Thursday, April 30, 2009
ABOUT THE BOOK
PJ Sugar knows three things for sure:
1) After traveling the country for ten years hoping to shake free from the trail of disaster that's become her life, she needs a fresh start.
2) The last person she wants to see when she heads home for her sister's wedding is Boone-her former flame and the reason she left town.
3) Her best friend's husband absolutely did not commit the first murder Kellogg, Minnesota, has seen in more than a decade.
What PJ doesn't know is that when she starts digging for evidence, she'll uncover much more than she bargained for-a deadly conspiracy, a knack for investigation, and maybe, just maybe, that fresh start she's been longing for.
It's not fair to say that trouble happens every time PJ Sugar is around, but it feels that way when she returns to her home town, looking for a fresh start. Within a week, her former teacher is murdered and her best friend's husband is arrested as the number-one suspect. Although the police detective investigating the murder—who also happens to be PJ's former flame—is convinced it's an open-and-shut case, PJ's not so sure. She begins digging for clues in an effort to clear her friend’s husband and ends up reigniting old passions, uncovering an international conspiracy, and solving a murder along the way. She also discovers that maybe God can use a woman who never seems to get it right
If you would like to read the first chapter of Nothing But Trouble, go HERE
I have always had a problem with weight and a very bad relationship with food. My entire life. I can't remember a time in my life when I wasn't either dieting or being told I should diet. I am not kidding. They are well meaning, but sometimes I get more than a little tired of hearing, "You should try this diet I am on.", "Did you hear about the diet that worked for so and so?", "I just love that Biggest Loser show. Have you ever thought about...?", "You would be so cute if...".
I don't want my boys to have the same obsession that I have grown up. I want them to be obsessed with health and nutrition. I have been trying to make them aware of things like serving sizes, reading food labels, the importance of exercise, etc....
This past weekend I was at my sister's house and she had the kid's version of the book "Eat This, Not That". It was amazing. I was shocked at some of the things that fell into the "Eat This" category. Some of the things which I had chosen as healthy, such as our oats 'n' honey granola bars, fell into the "not" category. Even my boys were surprised that our Sunchips were a no-no according to this book.
We have bought two of the books. The Eat This Not That for Kids and Eat This Not That Supermarket Survival.
Next on my list is the Eat This Not That! Thousands of Food Swaps that will save you 10, 20 or even 30 pounds!
Here are a few facts from that book that you might not know:
* Burger King doesn't want you to know that a BK Big Fish® Sandwich and fries have a whopping 1000 calories--nearly half your daily caloric intake! (Fish is usually healthy, but not this kind.)
* Pizza Hut doesn't want you to know that a standard pizza in Italy contains 500 to 800 calories, but the same meal at Pizza Hut can top 2,100 calories! (You'd need to ride a stationary bike for more than three hours to burn off this mistake.)
* Macaroni Grill doesn't want you to know that a single serving of their Grilled Teriyaki Salmon has more than three times your daily allowance of sodium! (Cut your risk of high blood pressure by making smart choices at the same restaurant.)
Poor hubs.... he loves Macaroni Grill's salmon!
Wednesday, April 29, 2009
He put His hands on them and fervently blessed them."
Blessings are very much a Hebrew custom. It is also the place of the Father to do this. He would put his hands on his child's head and speak blessings. You are probably most familiar with this from the story in Genesis 27 of Jacob and Esau. When Jesus tenderly pulled these children into his arms and put his hands on their heads and spoke whispered words of blessing, he was acting as their Father. Can you imagine how overwhelming that must have been for those parents standing there watching? I can't imagine how I would have felt standing there watching my Savior speaking words of fervent blessing over Little Guy and Big Guy. It just gives me chills. To think that the disciples rebuked the parents who brought their children to him!
I have always been intrigued with the concept of the blessing. Before we had children, I read a book called The Blessing by John Trent. It explained about how your parent's approval or lack of approval affects how you view yourself. Most of us can spend our lives striving for approval.
God planted in me a desire to give my boys the security of the blessing. A security of knowing unconditional love and approval.
This book details out five elements of the blessing: meaningful touch, a spoken message, attaching high value, picturing a special future, and an active commitment.
So many people read that Scripture in Mark and think, "That is so nice. Jesus took time for the children." But it was so much more. He took TIME for the children. He BLESSED them. He gave them a meaningful touch... a spoken message... attached a high value to them.... showed them a special future and made an active commitment!
He gave us the example... be a blessing!
Tuesday, April 28, 2009
In Review: Seeing a woman express her independence today is nothing out of the norm, but in 1915? It was unheard of. Did you realize that two women ran for president of the United States, one in 1872 and one in 1884? This was LONG before they were allowed to vote, but nothing in the law permitted them from running. And Hillary thought she was a groundbreaker!
Guinevere is living in Bethlehem Springs when the mayoral campaign begins. She has been living a quiet life there for quite a while, but she notices things that she thinks should change and she definitely does not agree with the current administration. Her sister and her father tell her that she should run.
Things look promising until a handsome stranger move into town and wants to build a spa. Scandalous! Guinevere has to battle him for the mayoral seat, battle the feelings she begins to have for him and those battles are small compared to the deep seated battles she will face in the male dominated world. In the end, will she receive a "vote of confidence"? She definitely received mine!
Book Description: A Vote of Confidence, the stage is set for some intriguing insight into what it was like during 1915 to be a woman in a “mans’ world.”
Guinevere Arlington is a beautiful young woman determined to remain in charge of her own life, For seven years, Gwen has carved out a full life in the bustling town of Bethlehem Springs, Idaho, where she teaches piano and writes for the local newspaper. Her passion for the town, its people, and the surrounding land prompt Gwen to run for mayor. After all, who says a woman can’t do a man’s job?
But stepping outside the boundaries of convention can get messy. A shady lawyer backs Gwen, believing he can control her once she’s in office. A wealthy newcomer throws his hat into the ring in an effort to overcome opposition to the health resort he’s building north of town. When the opponents fall in love, everything changes, forcing Gwen to face what she may have to lose in order to win.
If you would like to read the first chapter of A Vote Of Confidence, go HERE
I got home about lunch on Sunday and the boys had a full dinner cooked. As much as I loved spending time with my sisters and my nieces, I missed my boys so much. There is nothing like walking in the door and being smothered with hugs and kisses. Little Guy had a friend spend the weekend and he said, "Man, he missed you a lot!"
After Little Guy's friend went home we crawled up in my bed to snuggle, watch tv and nap. I fell asleep and started dreaming. I was having some really crazy dreams. At one point I was dreaming that I had a box and people were trying to grab it. One guy was grabbing the box and he had glasses on. I reached up to try to slap the glasses off his face. All of a sudden a sound woke me up out of my sleep. In my sleep I had actually been slapping and I had slapped Little Guy in the face TWICE! Oh, his face. It was awful. He was holding his nose and he had tears in his eyes. "Mom, why did you slap me?" I thought I was going to die! I felt worse than awful! Hubs came running to see that all the commotion was all about and he couldn't believe it either.
Thank goodness he loves me, but I am not sure he is ever going to nap with me again!
Monday, April 27, 2009
Book Description: Orange Beach, Alabama is a simple town filled with simple people. But like all humans on the planet, the good folks of Orange Beach have their share of problems - marriages teetering on the brink of divorce, young adults giving up on life, business people on the verge of bankruptcy, as well as the many other obstacles that life seems to dish out to the masses.
Fortunately, when things look the darkest - a mysterious man named Jones has a miraculous way of showing up. An elderly man with white hair, of indiscriminate age and race, wearing blue jeans, a white T-shirt and leather flip flops carrying a battered old suitcase, Jones is a unique soul. Communicating what he calls "a little perspective," Jones explains that he has been given a gift of noticing things that others miss. "Your time on this earth is a gift to be used wisely," he says. "Don't squander your words or your thoughts. Consider even the simplest action you take, for your lives matter beyond measure…and they matter forever."
Jones speaks to that part in everyone that is yearning to understand why things happen and what we can do about it.
In Review: Everyone gets stuck in a rut. Most times those ruts are temporary, but sometimes, you just keep spinning your wheels until you can't see out of the rut you are in. The author of this book, Andy Andrews, thought there was no better way than to start with his own rut experience. Homeless, living under a pier, working odd jobs, Andy had no idea that his life was going to be changed drastically when Jones noticed him. Today, because of being noticed by Jones, he is a nationally bestselling author and speaker.
My love language is words of affirmation so reading Jones' encouraging words on each page was like being noticed. His advice is practical and often times familiar such as when he explains the love languages a slightly different, but very familiar way. I think if I had any complaint about this book that would be it. Jones words were familiar because you will probably remember them from other books such as Gary Smalley's Five Love Languages and John Ortberg's When The Game Is Over It All Goes Back in the Box. However, Andy doesn't give any credit to these books anywhere in his book. I thought that was a little thoughtless on his part.
Andy has started The Noticer Project. This project is meant to help you identify (or notice) the five people in your life who mean so much to you. Those who have been so influential. Step outside your busy schedules and avoid waiting until a wedding, graduation or even a funeral to take notice of the special, influential people in our lives . . .do it now!
The Noticer Project also has a group on Facebook and you can even follow the project on Twitter.
I’ve decided to take action a stand and fight back against cancer by participating in the American Cancer Society Relay For Life® event right here in my community.
Please support me in this important cause by making a secure, tax-deductible donation online using the link below.
To donate online now, click here to visit my personal page.
Relay For Life® is a life-changing event that brings together more than 3.5 million people worldwide to:
* CELEBRATE the lives of those who have battled cancer. The strength of survivors inspires others to continue to fight.
* REMEMBER loved ones lost to the disease. At Relay, people who have walked alongside people battling cancer can grieve and find healing.
* FIGHT BACK. We Relay because we have been touched by cancer and desperately want to put an end to the disease.
Whatever you can give will help - it all adds up! I greatly appreciate your support and will keep you posted on my progress.
Sunday, April 26, 2009
YOU SAY, GOD SAYS, BIBLE VERSES
You say: "It's impossible"
God says: All things are possible (Luke 18:27)
You say: "I'm too tired"
God says: I will give you rest (Matthew 11:28-30)
You say: "Nobody really loves me"
God says: I love you (John 3:1 6 & John 3:34 )
You say: "I can't go on"
God says: My grace is sufficient (II Corinthians 12:9 & Psalm 91:15)
You say: "I can't figure things out"
God says: I will direct your steps (Proverbs 3:5- 6)
You say: "I can't do it"
God says: You can do all things (Philippians 4:13)
You say: "I'm not able"
God says: I am able (II Corinthians 9:8)
You say: "It's not worth it"
God says: It will be worth it (Roman 8:28 )
You say: "I can't forgive myself"
God says: I Forgive you (I John 1:9 & Romans 8:1)
You say: "I can't manage"
God says: I will supply all your needs (Philippians 4:19)
You say: "I'm afraid"
God says: I have not given you a spirit of fear (II Timothy 1:7)
You say: "I'm always worried and frustrated"
God says: Cast all your cares on ME (I Peter 5:7)
You say: "I'm not smart enough"
God says: I give you wisdom (I Corinthians 1:30)
You say: "I feel all alone"
God says: I will never leave you or forsake you (Hebrews 13:5)
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Friday, April 24, 2009
Debbie knows that girls just need to have fun so one of the first things she put on her calendar were some Ladies' Nights.
Don't these look fun?
May 21st - Various Vases
July 23rd - Tailgating Pieces
August 20th - Christmas in July
Wouldn't it be fun if we met and enjoyed a night of great food and great company? The cost of each night is $40 plus tax. This includes dinner, drinks, and your piece. Who wants to go?
Beginning in June, our new Summer Hours will be: 10 til 6 Tuesday through Saturday. (During the weeks of summer camp, we will be open 12 til 6.)
The Different Strokes website is: www.differentstrokesinc.com. Be sure to bookmark it so you can keep up with all the great special events, children's camps and fun things they will be planing.
Thursday, April 23, 2009
In Review: Elisha's Bones is the first book of Don Hoesel. Having the chance to read first books by new authors is much like trying a new restaurant for me. I love being able to see the writer's style, his method, his first baby. It is such a privilege to hold in your hand an author's first book and know that it was such a labor of love for them.
Fans of Dan Brown's DaVinci Code will definitely love this book. It has all the fast paced intrique without the controversy that Brown's book brought to it. However it is quite thought provoking as this college professor leaves his quiet life behind to traverse the world to find the bones of Elisha. The trip is financed by a man who has a limitless amount of money, but not a limitless amount of time because he is dying. His willingness to finance this college professor's search means many Indiana Jones type adventures around the world. However, Hoesel does a great job of keeping this realistic and not hokey sounding at all.
Book Description: Every year, professor of antiquities Jack Hawthorne looks forward to the winter break as a time to hide away from his responsibilities. Even if just for a week or two. But this year, his plans are derailed when he's offered almost a blank check from a man chasing a rumor.
Billionaire Gordon Reese thinks he knows where the bones of the prophet Elisha are--bones that in the Old Testament brought the dead back to life. The bones of the prophet once raised the dead to life... but they vanished from history in a whisper.
Bankrolled by a dying man of unlimited means, Hawthorne's hunt spans the globe and leads him into a deadly conspiracy older than the church itself. A born skeptic, Jack doesn't think much of the assignment but he could use the money, so he takes the first step on a chase for the legendary bones that will take him to the very ends of the earth.
But he's not alone. Joined with a fiery colleague, Esperanza Habilla, they soon discover clues to a shadowy organization whose long-held secrets have been protected . . . at all costs. And he soon discovers those sworn to keep the secret of the bones will do anything to protect them. As their lives are threatened again and again, the real race is to uncover the truth before those chasing them hunt them down.
If you would like to read the first chapter of Elisha's Bones, go HERE
Wednesday, April 22, 2009
Today is Earth Day. Seems like such a wonderful concept doesn't it? Save the planet. Conserve energy. Be kind to Mother Nature. However, Earth Day as a whole is a result of naturalism. What does naturalism as a theory teach? Evolution. What is the basis of evolution? Survival of the fittest.
Last week we went to Little Guy's "Earth Day" play at school. It was cute, but there were some glaring naturalist theories. For example: Instead of singing, "He's Got The Whole World In His Hands" they had changed the words to be "We've Got The Whole World In Our Hands".
God did not put us on this earth to save the earth. He put us on this earth to "Go and make disciples." When God returns His concern will be the condition of our hearts, not how many cans we recycled or our carbon footprint.
It is up to us to see through all these well meaning messages our children are receiving in school and help them keep their eyes lifted up to the hills from whence cometh their strength. They do NOT have the whole world in their hands... but they do need to know the One who does.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009
We have a list of favorites: Third Day, Pillar, Jeremy Camp, Jars of Clay, Tenth Avenue North, Toby Mac, Newsboys, Casting Crowns, Mercy Me, Audio Adrenaline, Switchfoot, Building 429... I could go on and on and on. We literally have 100's of CD's of great music.
But when Skillet, Disciple and Decyfer Down announced they were coming to town my boys were ecstatic. I bought them tickets as gifts for Valentine's Day. They almost couldn't stand having to wait until the April Concert date.
When the day came Big Guy woke up not feeling too well. When he came home from school he said that he couldn't go to the concert because he was feeling so badly (I knew that was a bad sign and later found he had bronchitis.) We told Little Guy he could invite a friend so he called his best friend, J, to go with him. J also loves all these groups. (Ignore the dates.... going to have to convince hubs to figure out the camera!!)
Concert pics Little Guy took... I thought he did a good job!
Monday, April 20, 2009
When I first saw it I was horrified and then the stark hilarity of it hit me. It is no secret to anyone who reads this blog that I am a person of routine. Without I tend to get lost and wander through the day. However, staring at me was glaring evidence of just how routine my life has become. All of a sudden I felt as though God was preaching His own sermon to me. "Break out of the routine, Deanna. I want you to take a few new paths. Explore a few new options. Consider some new opportunities."
If God can speak to Moses through a burning bush, then I don't find it at all weird that He can speak to me and get my attention through one extraordinarily long hair by my ankle that I had apparently been NOT shaving for several weeks.
I have no idea what God has in store for me and my future, but I am so glad that He holds it all in His hand.
Saturday, April 18, 2009
Friday, April 17, 2009
Big Guy and I got in the car yesterday morning to take him to school. Immediately we heard a strange sound. Big Guy saw him first -- a blue bird -- trapped in the back of our car. We both hopped out of the car and realized that he had gotten in the car during the night through the 1 1/2 inch crack I had left in my window during the night. We opened all the doors and it didn't take but a minute for the bird to find his freedom. It took us even less time than that to discover the "presents" the bird had left behind for us: on the seats, the doors, the headrests, the floors. This poor bird was in some serious distress and had just eaten a BIG meal for the amount of "presents" he left behind.
We were already running behind so we cleaned off our seats and took Big Guy to school. On the way home, I called hubs to tell him what happened. Talk about distress. I could hear it in his voice. He wanted that car cleaned and right then. This is my husband that takes pride in our cars. Washes and cleans them every Saturday morning. Gets up every morning during the pollen season to wash them off and makes sure they are clean before we drive them. Just the thought of it being in that condition got to him. I forgot that he had manager's training all day. If I had remembered I never would have called him because now he would be thinking about that dirty car.
I had a full day of appointments and no time to do a cleaning, but as soon as hubs got home he went straight out to scrub that car clean. I love that man. And I will never look at a blue bird quite the same!
Thursday, April 16, 2009
One of our most famous dinner table arguments is the "blue blood" discussions. My sister and I were in elementary school and we were talking about what we were studying in science. We talked about oxygenated vs. un-oxygenated blood (to our understanding). We told Daddy that unoxygenated blood was blue. Oh, he challenged it and said he had never cut himself and seen blue blood. It was always red. We argued that was because the air had hit it. Then he argued if that was true no one could see it as blue because air would always hit it. Back and forth. Round and round. On and on. Months. Years. Sometimes just for the sake or arguing!
During this past Easter weekend another one of our discussions got started. I asked my sister when my niece was going to be involved in something. She said, "next Friday." That one simple statement started a HUGE discussion. Half of the room said that "next Friday" meant that the event was going to happen this Friday on April 17th, but the other half of the room said that "This next weekend" meant that the event was going to be happening on Friday, April 24th.
HELP US! If you were there last weekend and you were told that you had to be at something "this next Friday" when would you think that you needed to be there - April 17th or April 24th? (post your answer in the comments please - no leading from family members please!)
(For the record, our family has realized that we have to use specific dates. I'll tell you the real answer to the question later.)
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
So it is not surprising that a few in Congress have decided to sit around and doodle and rewrite the original HR Bill 759 into the new even more ridiculous HR 875 bill .
Do you enjoy raising a garden every summer so you can put up fresh vegetables for your family?
Do you enjoy hunting so you can have fresh meat in your freezer?
If this bill passes, you could be considered a criminal if you grow vegetables in your backyard. It could be illegal if you share a summer fresh tomato with your neighbor... forget that... if you even grow a tomato! No more farmer's markets. No more roadside truck sales. No more Smith County watermelons!
The public is starting to stand and taking notice of this bill because of what it means for the everyday person. However, in reality there are probably very few in Congress who probably even know about this bill and when it arrives on the floor they will vote based on the good old method of "How are you voting?" decision making process.
We need to contact our members at 202-224-3121 and ask them to oppose HR 875 and S 425. While you are at it ask them if they personally have read the legislation and what their position is? If they have not read the legislation ask them to read it and politely let them know that just because other representitives are not reading the legislation and voting on it does not mean they can do the same.
Also, find out who sits on your states agriculture and farming committee and contact them with your concerns.
The time to act is now. I seriously don't want to have to go to jail for a home grown tomato sandwich, but it just isn't summer without them.
Please, people, help a Mississippi girl out!
Monday, April 13, 2009
There was no way to read this book fast enough to see what is going to happen, but at the same time the mind is racing at the thought of knowing that something like this could truly be a reality. Using a slightly off key version of the song, "Oh be careful little eyes what you see..." would make amazing background music for an on screen version of this book!
Book Description: John Hutchinson thinks it's no coincidence that Brendan Page runs this modern Praetorian Guard, and that the billionaire military industrialist must have had something to do with the atrocities his son Declan committed in Canada. The Canadian and U.S. Justice departments disagree, but Hutch has been digging for dirt ever since.
Brendan Page has some dirty not-so-little secrets. he's built an empire on supplying futuristic weapons and highly trained soldiers to the world's most powerful armies. But he's saved his most destructive weapons for himself.
When Hutch discovers the secret of Page's success, Page decides to teach him a lesson. But the operation goes terribly wrong, and Hutch's son is kidnapped. While a lone man stands little chance against the best black op soldiers ever issued M-16s, Hutch manages to survive longer than Page anticipated. As far as Hutch is concerned, high-tech helmets, machine guns, and hand grenades are nothing compared to a man determined to save his son. It's a lesson he sets out to teach Page-and one that he can only hope works as well in the real world as it does in his heart.
If you would like to read the first chapter of Deadlock, go HERE
Every boy has dreams and Little Guy has a dream of doing a triathlon. This past weekend he completed the first part of his goal in working towards this goal. He competed in the Natchez Trace Century Ride. Hubs and Tanner signed up to ride the 25 mile section of the race.
Here is Little Guy getting a little pre-race nutrition... (ignore the dates on the pictures - I am going to have to start setting Little Guy's camera before they go anywhere!)
I don't know the lady who snapped this quick pic of hubs and Little Guy before the race, but "Thank you!" When my Daddy saw this picture he said that he thought maybe hubs and Little Guy should switch helmets.
On your mark, get set,.go...
At the eleven mile mark, there was a set "stop" for nutrition and water. The next time you ride the Natchez Trace going towards Tupelo just notice how many hills there are.
Sunday, April 12, 2009
This day coincides with Sunday April 12, 2009 Resurrection Sunday (Easter) also the "Feast of First Fruits," the first Sunday of the week after the feasts of the "Lord's Passover & Unleavened Bread" Matthew 28:1-15, Mark 16:1-14, John 20:1-23
Sunday, the first day of the week, we arise early and ponder that today is also a feast day, the fourth feast, the "Feast of First fruits". We wonder why Leviticus 23 this Feast did not have an actual date to be celebrated like the Lord's Passover, the 14th of the month and the Unleavened Bread, the 15th of the month but the Feast of First Fruits is specifically to be celebrated on the first Sunday of the week after the Passover.Today is also the day the seal is scheduled to be removed from the tomb of Jesus. Some of the women go early in the morning at first light to await access to the tomb to continue to anoint the body of Jesus. While walking to the tomb the women encounter an Angel who asks them why they are seeking the "Living" among the dead? For Jesus whom you seek is Not Dead but He is Alive!
The women continue walking. They arrive at the tomb and they see the Roman seal is broken, the stone is rolled back and looking into the tomb they notice that the body of Jesus is missing but His burial wrappings remain there in an undisturbed manner. Seeing what appears to be the Gardener, the women ask him where he has moved the body of Jesus too? "Mary" replies the Gardener, WAIT! Mary knows that voice. This Gardener is JESUS, HE'S ALIVE! Mary and the women grab the feet of Jesus. Jesus tells them that He has not yet gone to the Father John 20:17 but to go and tell the Good News "of the resurrection" to the rest of the disciples.
Peter and John, like the rest of the disciples doubt the good news of the resurrection of Jesus but they run to the tomb to see for themselves. John and Peter enter the empty tomb together. John had been one of the disciples at the crucifixion and he helped place Jesus into the tomb. As John saw the anointed strips of cloth used to wrap the body of Jesus, John realized that the cloth was not unwound but just empty, vacated and collapsed down in a way in which a human body could not have been physically removed from within the cloth covered with ointment. John seeing this, believed John 20:8.
Back in the upper room two, disciples are excitedly telling of meeting and journeying with the Risen Jesus on their way to the town of Emmaus, Luke 24:33. Meanwhile, in the upper-room the door is shut and locked John 20:19 and Jesus suddenly appears in their midst in a supernatural way.
The newly Resurrected Jesus presents Himself to the disciples. The disciples marvel that Jesus is alive again and then King Jesus breathes His Holy breath on them to give them His resurrection Spirit life. Amazed we realize that this is the same way and the same giver of Life who had previously breathed life into Adam our first forefather Genesis 2:7. Jesus said "receive you the Holy Spirit" John 20:22. The disciples by faith receive the Holy Spirit offered by Jesus and by receiving the Holy Spirit they become "Born Again" new creations.
We realize that it is by Faith that we are saved, this Faith! The faith in the risen, living, resurrection Jesus. The faith that Jesus has personally sealed us with the Holy Spirit. We realize that this is the true feast the "Feast of First Fruits" as Jesus breathes into us the "First Fruits" of the Holy Spirit. We know that this is just the First Fruit, the first fruits of the Holy Spirit with much more to come. This fruit is special because it is, according to Leviticus 23, the first of the fruit from within the Promise Land Joshua 5:10-12 that is from the Promise Land of Heaven and eternal life.
We rejoice. Like the children of Israel who were delivered from Egypt, we have escaped the bondage of this world and the cruelty of Satan and the certain death that goes with it. We have escaped by the death of the Firstborn Son of God, His Son Jesus Christ, and we are now alive in His resurrection glory. We like, the Jews of Egypt, have wandered in the desert wilderness of unbelief until our unbelief has vanished. Through faith in Jesus Christ we have crossed the dangerous Jordan river and entered into the Promise Land of Heaven having accepted Jesus as our leader, our King, and our Lord by entering into His New Covenant, the covenant of life. Now alive we realize that the death of sin has "Passed Over" us by our receiving His shed blood as the cleansing of our sins through the death of Jesus on the cross. We now rejoice in the Gospel of Good News that Jesus being Righteous, Holy, Just, and True, the Son of God and God Himself, that He cannot die as humans die but He is alive in the Spiritual realm, the eternal realm that Jesus existed in with the Father before He took on a fleshly body in the womb of Mary John 16:27-28.Jesus demonstrates His Authority of Life over death.
Life, our meaning and purpose in it have now been answered once and for all in this the very Resurrection Life of Jesus. We now know that there is a God, that He has power to remove sins and to then give life over death, that He Loves us and that we are made alive to be friends with Him forever in His Eternal Resurrection Kingdom of Heaven.
How can we ever comprehend this joyous event, Life in Jesus, but comprehend it we must as it is the only way to eternal Life.
Romans 1:4 And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of Holiness, by the Resurrection from the dead.
Light shines! And with it Life! Jesus is the True Light! Jesus is the Life! God is not dead, God is Alive! Now we too are alive when Jesus breaths His Resurrection Spirit Life into us. Alive and united with the Holy God inside of us, that is Eternal Life!
John 1:3 All things were made by Him; and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehend it not.
2nd Corinthians 4:6 For God who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the Glory of God in the face of Christ Jesus.
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Saturday is again the weekly Sabbath day of rest. We rest physically but emotionally we are anything but at rest as we ponder an uncertain future without a leader, without our King Jesus.
Let's recap Thursday - Sunday by looking at some verses in Luke:
Luke 23:52-24:1 [Thursday][Crucifixion day] "This man, Joseph of Arimathaea, went to Pilate and begged the body of Jesus. And he took it down [from the cross] and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulcher (tomb) that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid. And that day was the preparation [preparation for the evening Sabbath of Unleavened Bread], and the Sabbath [Unleavened Bread, evening Sabbath curfew] drew on. And the women also, which came with Him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld (observed) the sepulcher, and how His body was laid. And they returned (home) and [Friday] [normal Day] prepared (worked & labored) spices and ointments; and rested the [Saturday][Sabbath Day] Sabbath day according to the commandment [the 4th of the 10 commandments, the weekly Saturday Sabbath]. Now upon the first day of the week [Sunday][Resurrection Day], very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulcher, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them."
It's dark in there; it's a dark and lonely place in those deep dark tombs. Death is dark, and it's dark when we look death in the face. Will the light shine? Will there be life? Will life live and conquer the darkness; the loneliness, the despair, the finality of death? We as humans have to know. We have to know if there is any hope, any permanent existence, any purpose, any reason to life and our existence or if our brief existence here on earth is only a byproduct of some random collision of molecules. Only God - Jesus can answer this question for us and it can only be answered in the Resurrection Life of Jesus as only life can hold the answers to the problems that face mankind.
God has given to us, a long time ago, the answer and His promise in each new day.
In the beginning of creation God created the Physical Light. He created light as a representation for us to see that indeed His true Spirit light of life shines and it does indeed remove the darkness of death. Every time life gets dark just remember the New Day the Sunrise the Resurrection Sunshine from on high as the Sun represents to us the True Son Light, Jesus. God made it that way! The Sun is our daily and momentary reminder of God, of His Son Jesus, of His light, His warmth, His promises, His Life, His Love and His Eternal Resurrection Life for us.
Lamentations 3:21-23 This I recall in my mind, therefore I have hope. It is the Lord's Mercies that we are not consumed, because His Compassions fail not. They are new every morning: Great is Thy Faithfulness.
Friday, April 10, 2009
Green is for the grass he made.
Yellow is for the sun so bright.
Orange is for the edge of night.
Black is for the sins we made.
White is for the grace He gave.
Purple is for His hour of sorrow.
Pink is for our new tomorrow.
A bag full of colors,
So colorful and true,
Is a prayer, is a promise,
From Jesus to you!
We awake Friday morning our first day without the presence of Jesus. Today, the day after the Feast of Unleavened Bread and before the weekly Saturday Sabbath that begins at Sundown Friday, Jewish time, today is another regular day that happens to be sandwiched between the two Sabbath day Feast days in this year's original "Jesus Passover" celebration. Therefore with today not being a Sabbath day the usual work including buying and selling can take place. Several people go to purchase spices and ointments Mark 16:1, Luke 23:56 and mix them together to prepare them in order to further anoint the body of Jesus.
Mark 16:1-2 And when the Sabbath (feast of unleavened bread) [Thursday] was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, [Friday] had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint Him. And very early in the morning the first day [Sunday] of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun.
Early in the day we also find out that the Jewish leaders have just conferred with the Roman leaders Matthew 27:62-66 to have guards placed at the tomb of Jesus. This is to prevent the disciples from stealing the body of Jesus and then claiming that He rose from the dead, something I'm sure that no disciple intended to do, after all what good is a dead leader? The tomb is now sealed with a Roman "seal" signifying that the body of Jesus is inside and that all is secure in the tomb. The guards stand in front of the sealed tomb and wait for Sunday.
The intent is that on Sunday the tomb will be unlocked/unsealed and the body of Jesus will be shown to the Jewish leaders and all will be back to normal in Jerusalem because Jesus said that He would live the third day, not the second day or the fourth day. Jesus remaining dead in the tomb on Sunday would reveal that He was not a prophet able to prophesy that He would be alive the third day and also that He is not God able to overcome human death. There is no chance to enter the sealed tomb until the three days are up and the seal is removed by the Romans who placed it on the tomb. None of the soldiers on duty have the authority to remove the seal and open the tomb, only the Roman government has the authority to open the tomb and according to the contract with the Jews, it will be after the third day. The frightened disciples are in no condition to reveal themselves as followers of Jesus. So back to the familiar upper room everyone journeys.
In the lonely darkness that comes on with despair the disciples lament that they are not prophets. One proclaims that he is just a herder of flocks from his youth Zechariah 13:4-6. Likewise we sit in the dark and also wonder if we have the spiritual stamina that it takes to make it through this "dark night of the soul." We begin to think about Jesus and His ministry here on earth. We think about the parable of the sower Matthew 13:1-23 and how hard and compacted the soil of our heart is. Emotionally we are against obstacles and unable to push our spiritual roots down any further into fresh new soil. We wonder what has become of Jesus the master Gardener, we need Him. We need the Gardener to pull the weeds of doubt, to help us through life's thorns, to break up the shallow rocky soil and to direct His seed into the good soil of our heart so it can bring forth much fruit.
Oh, it's no use a garden needs a gardener to keep it pleasant. The garden can't maintain itself from the hard soil, shallow rocks and choking weeds. Without a Gardener, the good plants will come to nothing as they are choked out and perish among the weeds and hard soil. We need God's direction and His plan in order for us to fulfill our life's purpose.
Matthew 27:66 So they went, and made the sepulchre sure [inventory of the tomb contents], sealing the stone, and setting a watch.
With the death of Jesus comes the Seal of approval from mankind. You can be certain that Jesus died on the cross and you can be just as certain that the dead body of Jesus was in the tomb on this the next day when the tomb was closed and the seal was placed on it. Certain because mankind would have it no other way than that God, would be declared dead, null, and void.
Oh they sealed the right tomb of death alright but they sealed the wrong object. What they should have placed their seal on is on the death of sin, the sin that has separated mankind from the Holy God for all of these years as God knows and as the Christian knows it is sin that has been declared dead, null, and void and not God.
As we reflect on the death of sin, that the penalty for sin has been removed from us by Jesus, do we really understand that the worst that can possibly happen to us is death from sin? But that Jesus died for us so the worst thing that can happen to us has happened to Jesus as He took our penalty for us. Now with the worst behind us thanks to Jesus, we now have the best and a new opportunity as a new relationship with God is now before us.
Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.
Thursday, April 9, 2009
When, in full view of family and friends, Charity Bloom's fiance leaves her stranded at the altar and takes off with her best friend, Charity is humiliated. How will this raven-haired beauty ever recover from losing both her betrothed and best friend on what was supposed to be the happiest day of her life?
When tall, handsome roughneck Buddy Pierce finds oil on Charity's mama's land, he hopes to free the Blooms from their poverty-stricken state. But will Buddy find the real treasure lies above ground-in Charity herself?
Ruing the day he left his fiancee for Emily Dane, Daniel Clark is determined to recapture Charity's affection. But can he remove the three things that stand in his way-a manipulative mama, a spurned lover, and the stranger at his ex-fiancee's side?
When Daniel re-stakes his claim on Charity's heart, tongues wag and minds speculate amid schemes and scandals in Humble, Texas. Whom will she choose-the handsome roughneck or the deceitful rouge?
If you would like to read the first chapter of Chasing Charity, go HERE
This day coincides with Thursday April 9, 2009 Crucifixion Thursday - Feast of Unleavened Bread, 15th of Nisan - Matthew 26:47-27:28, Mark 14:53-15:47
In the next few hours Jesus will undergo six trials all of them will be a mockery of justice. Jesus will come out of His third trial just in time to hear the disciple Peter deny a third time to being a follower of Jesus. A rooster will crow marking the dawn to the sunrise of a new day. This is the day in which Jesus of Nazareth, the true and living Son of God, will be despised, rejected of man and crucified on a wooden cross. This day will be the seventh day of our journey back and the third feast day, the "Feast of Unleavened Bread" - the feast of the removal of sin/leaven. Jesus will be despised, rejected and beaten all of this because of the love that God has for His own creation and of an ultimate desire to reunite the people that are rejecting Him back to Himself.
The horrific beating Isaiah 52:13-53:12 that King Jesus will endure for us will be a savage fit of rage, the rage of mankind and a fit of Satanic rage all wrapped into one. No person has ever been so savagely beaten as Jesus was that day. It is the kind of abuse that all evil has against all innocence.
Peter will have gone out and wept bitterly for his part in denying Jesus. Peter will not look to himself but will again look to God and experience the total love and forgiveness that God Has for mankind. Judas, who also betrayed God, will not look to God, but instead Judas will look to himself and will find no hope but only despair and in despair Judas will go out and commit suicide.
Jesus is now led to a hill and crucified. It is the same hill that the Jewish forefather Abraham brought his son Isaac to 4,000 years earlier Genesis 22:1-19, to enact out a loving father offering his only beloved son, a parallel to the crucifixion of Jesus. Jesus is offered wine mixed with bitter gall to drink but Jesus rejects the bitter wine because He has promised that the next wine He drinks will be with us in Heaven and it will be a sweet cup of Heavenly rejoicing not the bitter cup of this world.
Jesus' first words on the cross Luke 23:34 will be "Father forgive them, for they know not what they do." Forgiveness. Even as He is rejected, Jesus forgives. We stand amazed as the two thieves being crucified along with Jesus, mock Him. Then one of the thieves turns and says "we are getting our just rewards; but Jesus is innocent". Then one of the thieves says a most remarkable thing. He says "Jesus remember me when you enter into your kingdom" Luke 23:42. We look on in dismay. "Enter the Kingdom of Jesus?"
True, Jesus declared Himself to be a King only a few days ago and a King has to have a kingdom, but Jesus is dying on a cross - No! Not death! The thief is right. Jesus is entering into His kingdom, one where there is no more curse of the flesh. Where sin does not reign. In fact sin is not even present in the Kingdom of Jesus.
That's it - only the Spiritual Kingdom of God is good enough for Jesus. He died to the sin and human flesh of this world so that we can be united with Him in His glory, in His Holy Spiritual Kingdom.
Jesus will remain alive on the cross for six hours, from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. At noon, the sky will grow dark Amos 8:9, Matthew 27:45. Jesus will cry out from the cross "My God, my God why hast thou forsaken Me?" Psalm 22:1-31, Matthew 27:46. At 3:00, Jesus will give a victory cry and proclaim "It is finished" John 19:30. We marvel that the prophecy given to Eve in Genesis 3:15 is now fulfilled as Jesus, the Son of God, has His own heal bruised for us while supporting His weight on the cross. It was also on the same cross of victory on a hill called Golgotha (Skull) John 19:17 that Jesus has crushed the head (skull) Genesis 3:15 of the deceiving serpent Satan.
Jesus will then commend His Spirit to His Father, He will then permit His Spirit to leave His body Luke 23:46. It is now near the evening of the third feast day, the "Feast of Unleavened Bread." This feast according to Leviticus chapter 23, is a Sabbath - Rest feast and in order to properly keep this feast the followers need to be at home before sundown and are unable to engage in any work. The legs of the two thieves on the other two crosses are broken to hasten their deaths and to proceed with their burials before sundown.
Jesus' lifeless body is taken down from the cross and placed into a new nearby tomb, which is really a cavern carved out of solid rock and has been provided by Joseph of Armethia. Jesus will be laid in the new tomb. His body, including His face, will be wrapped with fresh linen cloth and soaked with 75 lbs. of anointing oils John 19:39. Those taking part in the burial of Jesus will quickly depart to get home before the Sabbath curfew of sundown.
That evening we will return with the disciples back to the upper room where the Lord's Passover feast was held the night before. The door will be shut and locked as everyone will cower in the dark and in silence for fear that Romans will knock down the door to seize more of the disciples and drag them off to be horribly crucified. It is the first night without the presence of Jesus. It is a dark and bitter night.
We sit down to consider the events. The third feast - we wonder what are the odds that everything of major importance would happen on a Feast Day? We know the odds are the same as those that brought life into existence and the same as those that could write the pages of the Bible before the events actually happened. We know that no odds could do this because there are no odds. There is no chance involved. It is the predetermined plan of God. Not chance, but a plan! It is a plan being carried out carefully and deliberately before the eyes of mankind.
We ponder the feasts, first was "Sabbath" the required rest and Jesus presenting Himself as our King. Next was the "Lord's Passover", the Covenant feast of escaping death and entering into life with Jesus in heaven in the presence of the Father. Now it is the "Feast of Unleavened Bread" the third feast of the eight feasts prescribed by God to Moses in Leviticus chapter 23. That's it! Jesus often referred to leaven as "sin." "Beware of the leaven of the Scribes and Pharisees" Jesus would say and this Feast is to remove the leaven, that is to remove the sin that infects mankind. Jesus' shed blood and His death on the cross are a complete removal of our sin. It is complete because death is the end result of sin therefore in Jesus' death all of our sins died. The death of sin occurs on the cross. Later in the Resurrection of Jesus, we will receive of His eternal Resurrection Life. Sin has to be removed. We cannot have fellowship with the Holy God in the New Covenant until the Sin is removed. Jesus on this day became the penalty for the sins of the world reconciling those who choose to be reconciled with God in the New Covenant.
Jesus reached out to us - all the way and without compromise. He didn't compromise as He took on the appearance of a human and entered into our physical realm so that He could interact with us on our level. He entered into our physical level because we are separated from the Holy God on His Spiritual level. We are separated from Him by our sins and it is impossible for God to bring us and the sin that accompanies us into His direct presence, so God in Jesus, came to us in our existence.
In reaching out to us Jesus didn't compromise. He reached out with both arms open and fully extended all the way, even to the cross. Mankind in return didn't compromise as mankind rejected God. Mankind then reaching back with a hammer, nailed both of His open and extended arms onto a wooden cross.
Today it is still our opportunity and our turn to reach out and touch Jesus even though we do not see Him as He is in the Spirit realm like we see one another in the physical realm. We can still come to that place of no compromise and touch Jesus in that no compromising place called faith.
Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
This day coincides with the start of the Passover week with the Feast of the Lord's Passover.Wednesday we would wake up to the second of the feast days known as the "Lord's Passover." This feast was first observed by the Jewish people in Egypt the night the plague killed all of the Egyptian firstborn sons, while death "Passed over" the Jewish firstborn because they were saved by the "Covenant blood" placed above the doors of their houses Exodus 12:1-36. This feast is also prescribed by God in Leviticus chapter 23.
We will follow Jesus to Jerusalem to eat the Passover dinner and celebrate it with the disciples in an upper room made ready by some friends. As we come into the upper room in the early afternoon prior to the Lord's Passover feast which will be observed and eaten later "at evening". We will see that Jesus and the disciples have just finished eating a lunch/supper John13:2. Jesus is telling the disciples that God the Father has given all authority in heaven and on earth to Him. We marvel that this Jesus standing before us is not just the King of Judah but is the King of the Universe, the King of heaven and of the earth, of the physical realm that is seen and also of the unseen spiritual realm. Jesus presides over all as King.
Before we can comprehend the enormity of the kingdom of Jesus, we see King Jesus lay aside His garments, pour water into a wash basin and begin to wash the disciples feet. We are in total agreement with Peter when Peter says to Jesus "Thou shall never wash my feet," after all, kings of the earth do not wash their followers feet, so much more the reason that the King of the universe should not wash our feet. Then Jesus explains to Peter that unless He washes our feet that Jesus will have nothing to do with us. We wonder, "why have Jesus wash our feet and only our feet"? Then we realize that Jesus is King and He is also our Abba, Daddy, Father, and likewise He is also the Holy God. Being Holy, Jesus requires that we be cleansed in able to approach Him. Our creator, Abba, Father, Jesus is happy to take all of His authority and use it to clean us and draw us near to Him. We now know that Jesus is really talking about cleansing our "Souls", our thought life and our emotions as the foot is a reference to the soul. We realize that one dirty item cannot make another dirty item clean. We gasp as we realize that ONLY Jesus can make us clean because only Jesus is clean and without Jesus washing us and cleansing us, we will remain dirty and Jesus will "have nothing to do with us." We make a mental note to spend more quality cleansing time with Jesus in prayer and in reading the Bible.
It is now evening and time for the Lord's Passover Supper. All of the disciples are seated around Jesus Matthew 26:20. Jesus begins to explain how one of the disciples will betray Him. We join the other disciples wondering if we will betray Jesus? After the events of the past week, we now know that we are not that familiar with the plans of God and that Sin is deceitful. Knowing that we can easily be deceived and betray Jesus in our thoughts and actions, we make another mental note to walk in the Spirit with Jesus at all times, seeking the wisdom and will of God continually for each and every activity we do during the moments of our lives.
Jesus speaking up tells the disciples that to identify the one who will betray Him, He will dip His bread in the sauce at the same time the betraying disciple dips his bread. As Judas dips his bread Jesus also dips His Matthew 26:23. We now know why, after the foot washing that Jesus said "not everyone is clean" John 13:10 because Judas is not clean, he is a betrayer. Judas asks Jesus if he is the betrayer. Jesus tells him "yes he is." We marvel that sin is so deceptive, that one can betray God and actually think that he is doing God's work. We shudder as we think of all of the killing and all of the wrong that has gone on by the deceived ones throughout the Church ages in the name of Christianity. We are very glad to make the journey back to Holy Week to walk with Jesus and to learn who He is so that we can be true disciples and true followers of Jesus.
Judas, after receiving a bread dipped in sauce by Jesus, then departs the room to proceed to betray Jesus. The disciples wonder were Judas has gone. Some think he is going to make arrangements for the next feast, the "Feast of Unleavened Bread" which begins tomorrow, John 12:29. At first we think it is unlawful for Judas to go out at night on a feast day but then a quick glance in our Bibles back to Leviticus 23 reveals that the Lord's Passover is not a "Sabbath Feast." We wonder at the thought that the Lord's Passover feast is not a "Sabbath - Rest" feast like all of the other feasts and therefore there is no evening curfew for the feast. Unfortunately, as Judas leaves the presence of Jesus, Satan then enters into Judas and demonically possesses Judas John 13:27. Again we realize the importance of staying in the presence of Jesus to keep ourselves safe from the demonic/Satanic realm.
Jesus then takes the unleavened bread of the "Lord's Passover Feast" Matthew 26:26, Mark 14:22 and giving Thanks, Jesus breaks the bread explaining that this is His body broken for us, speaking of the cross that is to come tomorrow. He then passes the bread for the disciples to eat.
Much earlier while following Jesus the disciples had dealt with this very issue of Jesus' body. In John 6:47-58, Jesus told a large group of disciples that He, "is the true bread of life that came down from heaven and any man who would eat of it that man would not die but would live forever." Many disciples were disturbed at that saying of Jesus, John 6:66 "and some walked with Jesus no more." But Jesus had also explained to the disciples John 6:63 that it is the Spirit that aids a man not the physical. Jesus said that His words are Spirit.
So here this night of the Passover the disciples readily enjoy the bread knowing that it is the Spirit of Jesus that gives Spiritual life.
Next Jesus takes a cup of wine. It is the third cup of the four prescribed cups of the feast. The third cup is known as the cup of redemption. The first cup is the cup of Sanctification, meaning to be set apart to God for the feast. The second cup is the cup of instruction, instructing that there were many plagues on the land of Egypt, yet the children of God could not go free from slavery until there was a death of the firstborn. Now this night Jesus is proclaiming that He is the Firstborn of God and that His death will set us free from the slavery of sin and the cruelty of Satan just like the death of the firstborn did so many years ago back in Egypt.
Then Jesus taking the cup Mark 14:23 of redemption and like the bread, giving thanks, Jesus passed the cup to the disciples and said "take drink all of it," Matthew 26:27 this cup is the New Testament in His blood: this do, that as often as we drink of it, to do it in remembrance of Jesus. The disciples are fully aware that Jesus is speaking of a better blood than man has, of His Spiritual life blood. They gladly take the cup of wine and gladly drink all of it. We marvel that Jesus wants us to "Drink all" that He has for us, all of His Life, Love, Compassion and Mercy.
Jesus then mentions that He will not drink again of the wine until He drinks it anew with us in His Father's Kingdom. The fourth cup of wine that Jesus is postponing to drink is called the "cup of Rejoicing." After the feast, the cup of rejoicing is to be drunk as we rejoice in all that God has done in our lives in setting us free and reuniting us with Him in the promise land of Heaven. Jesus says that He will drink that next cup with all of us for real in the real heaven. Jesus and the disciples then sing a Psalm in the closing of the "Lord's Passover Feast."
Jesus now reminds us again that He is about to be betrayed. He tells us in advance so that we will know that He does indeed know all things. Jesus then reveals to us that this dark moment is Satan's time. Judas has already left to betray Jesus. Jesus instructs us saying that "Satan has nothing in Him", but that Jesus will show His love for the Father by giving His life as a sacrifice to reunite us back to God, as this is the will of the Father and it is also the will of the Son Jesus.
Arising they depart the room Matthew 26:30, Mark 14:26, John 14:31. We marvel that this feast is not a Sabbath feast so they are able to walk in the night and not break the law of the feast. Now during a short walk, Jesus talks to the disciples about Himself being the vine, the source of life and that the disciples are the branches and that the disciples are to abide in Jesus for life. He also teaches about the persecution that will come to all of His followers. Then Jesus instructs them some more about the Holy Spirit who the Father will send.
Jesus then prays His "Priestly High Prayer" to the Father John 17:1-26, asking the Father to receive all of His followers including us, His future followers and to unite us all with Himself in Heaven with the Father. As Jesus prays to God the Father we conclude that we know that Jesus' prayers are heard by the Father and answered! After His priestly prayer of intercession for us to the Father, Jesus commits to His crucifixion and then crosses over the brook of Cedron John 18:1 as He proceeds on to the garden of Gethsemane, the Garden of destiny. Matthew 26:36, Mark14:32. We now know why God has not made the Lord's Passover to be a "Rest - Sabbath Feast" because Jesus and the disciples would have to remain at home or inside after the feast and could not have legally walked to the Garden of Gethsemane, the Garden of destiny. Had this been a "Sabbath - Rest Feast", it is also very unlikely that the Temple guards would have broken the Sabbath themselves to journey to the Garden to arrest Jesus who, after all was only peaceably praying to the Father. This is another powerful demonstration that these events are events orchestrated and allowed by God Himself and not man just as these events are foreseen in the prophetic writings by the prophets of the Old Testament.
The Garden is the ideal place to reveal that God is in control. It was so many years ago that Adam and Eve lost mankind's relationship with God through their own disobedience in the original garden, the Garden of Eden. Jesus is now stepping into another garden, the Garden of Gethsemane. Through His desire and obedience Jesus will continue to restore back the lost relationship between God and mankind, this time for forever. Had Jesus been arrested anywhere but in a Garden, say for instance in the streets or in the upper-room, it would be difficult to correlate the events of the Last Supper to the events of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. Since God made certain to go to the Garden we have to correlate these two garden events and also the coming event of the resurrection of Jesus from yet another garden, the Garden Tomb. This again reveals the detailed plan of God as He has set it out for us in His Prophetic Word, the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation.
We follow and see that Jesus is separated from His disciples and engaged in prayer to the Father. Jesus asks for the third time for the Father to remove "this cup" Matthew 26:42 but there is no other "cup" of redemption available to mankind. Either Jesus gives His life for us or mankind will never be reunited to God.
Angels come and minister to Jesus. He arises. Judas can now be seen leading a group of Temple soldiers intent on arresting Jesus. Judas then betrays Jesus with a kiss Matthew 26:49. Jesus in turn calls Judas "friend" Matthew 26:50. Jesus is arrested, bound with ropes and led off as all of the disciples abandon Him and flee.
The New Covenant - God has agreed to take on the appearance of a Human, to come for us and to die in our place for our sins so that we can Live anew in a new Spiritual relationship with God. God in His Love for us has taken our penalty of death so that we can live in His life of love. With the New Covenant and our New Spiritual Life "All things have become New".
2nd Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold All things are become New.
Are we allowing ourselves to live in our newfound Relationship with God and are we allowing ourselves the New Freedom that this relationship has to offer? When Jesus took His Communion cup and offered it to His followers Jesus gave with it the instruction and the invitation to "Drink all of it". Amen - and drink all of it we will.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Jesus has returned to spend time with Simon a Leper whom Jesus had previously cleansed. How is it that Jesus would want to visit someone that was previously Unclean. Usually when someone has knowledge of the unclean areas of our life we want to get away from them because we are vulnerable and do not want to be exposed by them for what we truly are. Yet Simon welcomed Jesus into his own home and prepared for Him a meal. All throughout the Bible we read how hurting and longing and suffering people have turned to God and have found compassion and healing and like Simon, we too have the privilege of hosting Jesus, the one who has healed us.
Matthew 11:28-30 Come to Me (Jesus), all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and Learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest for your Souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.
Monday, April 6, 2009
In Review: Have you ever played the game "Worst Case Scenario"? I used to think I could have invented that game because I was the worst of trying to prepare for worst case scenarios. For some reason I thought if I planned it out in my mind I would handle it better. I was so wrong. Unfortunately, I have found out that there is just no way to train your emotions.
Liz Peterson definitely might have predicted the way she would have reacted when she found out that her mother had died, but when the officers who showed up at her door told her that she had been brutally murdered her world was turned upside down. Her life, her emotions and her reality as she had previously had known it felt like they had been thrown inside a washing machine as she was faced with the unreal knowledge that her own son, John, had committed this unbelievable act.
Some things in life just don't have a fairy tale ending, but with God all things can end in forgiveness. During this time of Easter, this was a beautiful reminder of grace, mercy and forgiveness.
Book Description: Murder. Could there be a more chilling word?
Could it be any more horrible than to have a loved one killed, brutally and heartlessly, without obvious reason or motive?
When Liz Peterson's elderly mother is found viciously beaten to death in her home, Liz and her husband, Charles, along with their grown son, John, and teenage daughter, Sarah, are horrified beyond words. Their previously predictable, respectable lives seem to have vanished without a trace, as they struggle to make sense of a senseless act.
And then a second blow-more devastating, if possible, than the first-rocks them to their core. John is arrested for his grandmother's murder. As what's left of the Peterson family begins to crumble under the weight of loss and accusation, the Petersons' longstanding Christian faith is put to the test in a way they could never have imagined, and unconditional love is stretched to its limits. Will family ties and relationships withstand such a crushing blow, or will evil succeed in dividing and conquering this once close and inseparable family?
Watch the chilling trailer!!
If you would like to read the first chapter of My Son, John, go HERE
We would follow Jesus back into the temple where the Scribes, Pharisees and lawyers will make a final assault on the authority of Jesus Matthew 21:23-23:39, Mark 11:27-12:44. Jesus will end His discussion with the Scribes and Pharisees with the comments of "Woe to you Scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! Jesus uses strong words for strong circumstances. The leaders of Judah are misrepresenting Jesus. They are misrepresenting the word of God in the Bible and all that God stands for. Jesus refers to them as a "brood of vipers", referring to the words and actions of the leaders that their deeds are separating people from the true God and are therefore as poisonous as the poison of a snake.
Earlier, through the prophet Isaiah, Jesus said to the leaders of ancient Judah that when the circumstances of their lives pressed against them and caused them to be uncomfortable that they would responded from their heart. Jesus saw that the leaders were upset with circumstances that they didn't understand and that their actions really revealed their true heart towards God. Jesus was therefore quoting the prophet Isaiah in order to encourage the leaders to search the scriptures in a new light and gain new insight into the person of God and new insight into the kingdom of God. After the death and resurrection of Jesus the book of Acts tells us that many of the Priests came to believe in Jesus Acts 6:7. Jesus is showing us that although strong words were used, Jesus did it in a way of Reconciliation. There is only one Ministry, it is the ministry of reconciliation, man to God and man to man.
After this discussion, Jesus left the temple for the last time Matthew 24:1, Mark 13:1. We can immediately remember the Prophet Ezekiel, Ezekiel 10:1-22 and his depiction of the presence of God departing from the temple as the people had rejected God. Ezekiel wrote of a temple from which the presence of God had departed and later that temple would be destroyed by the invading Babylonians. Likewise, this temple with the presence of God, in the person of Jesus departing, would later be destroyed by the Roman armies.
After the discussion between the leaders and Jesus, Jesus walked out of the temple and the disciples followed Matthew 24:2, Mark 13:2. The disciples thought that this was the long awaited moment, the moment when the King Jesus, would take control and according to scripture would reign and rule from Jerusalem. The disciples were now interested in the buildings of the temple. In effect, the disciples were saying these are great buildings to rule from and probably wondering where their office would be. As we stand there and eavesdrop, we would hear Jesus reply and give a prophecy that the temple would be destroyed, one stone block at a time, until there were no more stone blocks left stacked upon another. The disciples were stunned. They realized that they were not familiar with the current plan of Jesus.
That evening when they returned to the Mount of Olives, some of the disciples came to Jesus privately and asked "what is the time or sign of Jesus coming into power?" In other words, when is Jesus the King going to reign and rule on earth as the King? Jesus told them that it was not for them to know the times and gave a long informative discourse into the end time events. Jesus specifically warned the disciples not to fall for deception, that many will be deceived by the vast amount of lies and deceit being told in the world. He taught that only the Bible is the true word of God. The teaching is now called "Jesus' Mt. Olivet Discourse" Matthew 24:3-26:2, Mark 13:3-14:1.
A Ministry of Reconciliation...
The ministry of Jesus is the embodiment of the Cross that Jesus would be crucified on as on the cross Jesus is lifted up - suspended, between Heaven (the dwelling of God) and Earth (the dwelling of man). The vertical post of the cross represents reconciliation between God and Man while at the same time the outstretched - reaching out arms of Jesus and the horizontal beam of the cross represent the reconciliation of one to another. Reconciliation is accomplished only in and by Jesus. There is no other hope for mankind but in Jesus, His Cross and His Resurrection.
Buy an Easter lily for your home. The lily symbolizes new life because something so strikingly fragrant and beautiful grows from a lifeless-looking bulb.
Paint a spring mural. Put up a wall-sized piece of paper, tape newspaper to the floor, dress your child in old clothes and get out the paints! Even if it's not greening up outside, you can start springtime indoors.
Take a "new life walk" outdoors, searching out tiny shoots, sprouting buds on trees and eggs in birds' nests.
The season of Lent alternates times of remembering Christ's suffering with celebrating the Resurrection (every Sunday during the season). Adopt a European tradition and collect bells you have around the house (jingle bells from Christmas?) to ring on the Sundays of Lent.
Explain the word redemption, using the dictionary definition as well as the Christian doctrine (hints: "recovering ownership" and "restoring value=").
Sing together the hymn "O Sacred Head":
Bring springtime indoors. Buy potted crocuses, daffodils or tulips for your home.
Help your child understand why Jesus was called "the Lamb of God" (his role as the unblemished sacrifice: Ex. 12:21-24; John 1:29; 1 Cor. 5:7-8). With your child, make a lamb. Glue cotton balls to a small paper plate, then add pink and black construction-paper eyes, ears, muzzle, nose and hooves.
Read or summarize Exodus 12:1-42 to give an older child a context for the Passover celebration that Jesus observed the last week before his death. Explain Christ's death as the ultimate sacrifice for sin and discuss the significance of God giving up his firstborn Son.
Fill a clay pot with soil and grass seeds. Your kids will be able to watch the swift growth of the grass shoots.
Look up 2 Corinthians 5:17. As a symbol of a "new creation," make butterflies using a large piece of wrapping tissue scrunched and secured in the middle with a clothespin.
Make homemade pretzels, which originated as a Lenten treat.
Define resurrection for your kids. Have an older child undertake a "Bible hunt" to identify people who died and were raised to life. In every case, Who did the resurrecting?
Sing or recite together a few lines from "How Great Thou Art":
Buy inexpensive packets of summer flowers, place each packet in a separate envelope, then decorate the envelopes with pictures of the full-grown flowers. School-age children can write the flower name on the envelope. Offer these as Easter gifts for friends or neighbors who enjoy gardening.
Make this a gift-giving season. The gift of Immanuel, which we celebrate at Christmas, finds its ultimate expression in Christ's sacrifice. Homemade gifts, such as cookies or cross-shaped paper bookmarks, are best.
The old word lenten means "springtime"—a season of new life. Visit a farm or petting zoo and look for newborns: piglets, bunnies, lambs or chicks.
Read Matthew 26:1-16, 47-56. Talk about your child's experiences of betrayal or disappointment in friendships. Imagine Jesus' personal hurt at Judas's treachery and the subsequent desertion of Christ's closest allies.
Define atonement, helping your kids understand the ideas of making amends or repaying a debt that is owed.
Recite together these lines from "Man of Sorrows":
Read Isaiah 53:2-8. Depending on the maturity and readiness of your child, describe Jesus' sufferings on the cross.
Explain the word alleluia, which comes from a Greek translation of a Hebrew phrase meaning "Praise the Lord"—a call to worship.
In Greece, Christians celebrate Easter with a festive outdoor banquet. On the first warm-enough day, eat lunch together outdoors.
Create egg-shaped art. Cut an egg shape out of cardboard. Use it to trace onto drawing paper. Then turn your ovals into crayon pictures of rolypoly rabbits or chicks.
Explain repentance in terms of understanding God's holiness and seeing yourself through his eyes. Emphasize God's loving desire to redeem sinners.
The idea of new clothes for Easter comes from the Easter Sunday tradition of some churches to bring in new members or to baptize new believers dressed in white. Just for fun, make an Easter bonnet by decorating a paper plate with silk or paper flowers. Two slits on opposite sides of the plate allow a ribbon to pass through so you can tie it underneath your child's chin.