It’s Easter Sunday

He held my sins in His hands as the nails were pierced through… wow!  So many thoughts come to mind, but it humbles me to think that Christ suffered such pain and disgrace for me.  I need a Savior – I’m the first to admit it.  To say thank You just seems insufficient and unimpressive.  I understand now that the Lord doesn’t want fancy words.  He wants my life to reflect my relationship with Him.  Actions really do speak louder than words.

What does the resurrection of Jesus Christ mean to you?  When God raised Christ from the dead (yes, He was dead – not stunned), He paid our sin debt!  There is no greater love than that!  This means that through Christ, we are able to claim complete VICTORY!  God doesn’t do anything halfway.  The price is paid, and all we have to do is claim the victory.  Accept the sacrifice He made at Calvary and live like the blessed child of God you are.

We are blessed and even though temptations and yes, sin sometimes gets in the way – we know that Christ will help us get total victory over all of it.  He didn’t save me just to leave me standing in a cold, dark place.  He saved me to guide and direct me closer to Him.  We will mess up sometimes – whoppers of messes sometimes!  But we know whatever comes along, the sacrifice that Christ made for us is greater than our sins.

Should we linger on the sins we’ve committed?  No.  Satan would like nothing better.  Lingering on the sins is polarizing!  Ask God to forgive your sins – and keep moving, leaning on Him to help you out of sin and closer to Him.  Trust that God forgives you and move on.  There’s not a thing you can do about yesterday.  Just make tomorrow better with God’s help.

Jesus Christ is ALIVE – ready to help us live in total VICTORY!!!  Will you seek Him?  There’s not a sin He can’t forgive.  There’s not a temptation He can’t overcome.  Plea the blood of Christ over it, know it’s covered, go on to the next thing.  Praise God for the victory through the resurrection of Christ!  Hallelujah! 

Not that I want to mention April Fool’s Day and Easter in the same sentence…  but someone challenged Lucinda to write a poem about it.  And, well…  she nailed it!  Take a look at this:

Isn’t that great?  There’s no FOOLIN’ about it!  Happy Easter, everyone!  🙂

 

 

 

 

EASTER

I have exciting news!  I’m going to start posting a weekly blog post beginning today!  I’ll be covering more Scripture verses and give you an opportunity to study it for yourself for a week.  Obviously, John 20:6 is the Scripture about the resurrection of Christ – HE AROSE!!!  Without the resurrection of Christ, Christmas would be meaningless.

Today we have joy, peace, and HOPE that was not possible before God raised Christ from the dead!  Aren’t we thankful for what Jesus did for us on Calvary and beyond?  When the stone was rolled away and God raised Christ from the dead…  salvation’s wondrous plan was done.  All that’s left is for us to believe and with faith, trust that God through Christ has us in His very capable hands – and with His Holy Spirit, will help us navigate our way through.

I’ve heard so many sermons about this passage of Scripture.  We know that Peter was a bold sort – a fisherman by trade – we might call him rugged, unpolished, a diamond in the rough.  He’s the sort who speaks before thinking and ends up having to apologize later.  That may sound familiar to some.  LOL!

For this week, I want us to think about 2 Corinthians 4:16-18.

I was taught that a verse that begins with THEREFORE needs to be investigated further.  We need to know what came before this verse, so we know what it is THERE FOR… so – verse 15 says:

As God’s grace reaches more and more people, there will be great thanksgiving, and God will receive more and more glory.  – 2 Corinthians 4:15

It’s not that I’m against doing all I can to preserve myself outwardly – believe me.  I don’t welcome these crows feet around my eyes at all – but I try to call them smile lines to keep it positive.  The question really is, does your outward maintenance mean more than your inward maintenance?  So much mental struggle could be helped if we’d just put as much importance on studying God’s Word as we do on spa days for the outward body.  Let’s face it, when we get to Heaven, God’s not going to ask me how many spa days I took (which I could count on one hand) – but He will ask how many times I shared the gospel of Christ with others.

True Christianity is about living a balanced life.  God gave us one body and one soul, along with a great owner’s manual, if we’ll take the time to read it.  The Bible teaches us so much about ourselves and how to care for body, soul and mind.

I had a friend who always tried to put things together without reading instructions.  It made me crazy!  He’d end up with extra pieces – or needing pieces, then scratched his head because he couldn’t figure out how that happened.  Really?

Have a wonderful week and leave this blog some love if you like it.  Thanks!  🙂

 

 

 

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

Before the death, burial and resurrection of Christ Jesus…  all of mankind was in big trouble – by that, I mean we were lost – like, unbelievably, no GPS can help us…  lost!  Until Christ took the sins of the world on Himself – there was no hope of redemption.  That would be a very sad ending for us, wouldn’t it?  But God made sure we were not left hopeless.

Christians have good news to share.  The Savior was sent to earth by His Father – sent here to live, serve, teach and be the ultimate and final sacrifice so that mankind can make Heaven their eternal home.  That is what Easter is all about.  HOPE. It’s the greatest hope imaginable.  When God raised Christ from the dead…  HOPE was born!

Each person has a decision to make regarding the Lord.  You will either accept His gift of hope or you will reject it.  It’s not my job to judge anyone (and I’m quite pleased about that), but it is my job to share my faith…  and so I do.  There’s no fence walking allowed – you will either live on one side or the other.  God is not an elderly grandfather who winks at sin, making excuses for His children.  God is love, yes – but He is also fair and just.  You can’t pretend to be His and go on living like you’re not.

God wants everyone to come to a saving knowledge of His Son, Jesus Christ.  He wants us to grow in our faith and share this good news with others.  Being a good person and doing random acts of kindness is certainly commendable and so needed in today’s society to be sure, but a genuine walk with the Lord is what will get you through and to Heaven when this life is over.  Keep it real and honest because you know, God knows everything.

So…  you know which side of the fence you’re living on.  If you would like to meet this Generous Carpenter, it’s not that difficult.  Just have a little talk with Him.  Yes…  WITH Him.  Prayer is a two-way conversation.  Listen – trust me.  God talks back – He speaks to your heart.  Let’s pray:

Dear God,
I know I’m a sinner, and I ask for your forgiveness.
I believe Jesus Christ is Your Son. I believe that He died
for my sin and that you raised Him to life.
I want to trust Him as my Savior and follow Him as Lord,
from this day forward. Guide my life and help me to do your will.
I pray this in the name of Jesus. Amen.

If you’re living on the wrong side of the fence (and only you know if you are), I hope you prayed this prayer and meant it.  I also hope that this is the first of many conversations you have with God, through His Son, Jesus Christ.  Once you begin living your life for God, it’s a journey you’ll not trade for anything.  Putting my faith and trust in God through Jesus was the best decision I ever made.  God bless you.  🙂

 

 

 

HAPPY EASTER

TL EASTER SUNDAY

Our faith is what connects our weakness to God’s power.  – Wanda McDaniel

Dear Heavenly Father,

Thank You for sending Jesus as a baby into our world with a mission to save our sins at Calvary.  Thank You for raising Him from the dead and for Your precious Holy Spirit.  Thank You for loving us so much!

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

And with great power gave the apostles their witness of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus: and great grace was upon them all.  – Acts 4:33

How many colors can you fathom?  There are not enough colors on the palette to describe the joy in every Christian’s heart and soul today!  God raised Jesus from the dead and HE IS ALIVE!!!  The colors available to us are not vivid enough to paint the joy we feel today!

 Easter says you can put truth in a grave, but it won’t stay there.   – Clarence W. Hall

God did not leave us in Saturday – after death and despair.  He raised Christ from the dead and now He sits at the right hand of God in heaven.

And…  when God raised Christ from the grave, He did not leave man alone either, but gave us His Holy Spirit to help us.  That is love.  So as you paint Easter eggs, remember to use the most bright and vivid colors you can find because we are celebrating today!

 The resurrection gives my life meaning and direction and the opportunity to start over no matter what my circumstances.   – Robert Flatt

Throughout my life I’ve heard the phrase “I know that I know that I know that I KNOW my Savior is alive!”  It means that the faith you have remains unshaken and you continue to fully trust in God through Christ Jesus no matter what.

 The joyful news that He is risen does not change the contemporary world.  Still before us lie work, discipline, sacrifice.  But the fact of Easter gives us the spiritual power to do the work, accept the discipline, and make the sacrifice.   – Henry Knox Sherrill

We know that regardless of outward appearances, God has a plan and He knows what He’s doing.  Keep praying and reading His Word.  Trust Him for the answers you need in your life.

 Let the resurrection joy lift us from loneliness and weakness and despair to strength and beauty and happiness.   – Floyd W. Tomkins

As you color Easter eggs, think about all the beautiful colors that represent how thankful you are for the resurrection of Christ – and that He is ALIVE!!!  Happy Easter!!!  🙂

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORYTraditionally, people had to enter the church building in order to hear God’s Word preached in 1865.  That changed one day when William Booth was invited to hold a series of evangelistic meetings in the East End of London.  It was a tent meeting in a Quaker graveyard.  The services were an instant success.

His popularity as a religious leader spread throughout London and he attracted followers who were dedicated to fight for the souls of men and women.

Drunkards, thieves and prostitutes were among the first converts to Christianity.  He preached the gospel message of hope and redemption, his goal of course was to lead people to Christ and get them involved in a church for further spiritual guidance so they could grow in their new faith.

In the spring of 1879, the newly named Salvation Army in London was very small and all the workers knew each other personally.  Eliza Shirley, a 16-year old, joined the Christian Mission and was appointed as an evangelist at one of the “stations.”  At first, her parents were skeptical.

Eliza’s father was an experienced silk weaver and sought employment in the United States.  He found work in Philadelphia and sent for his wife and daughter.  Eliza expressed her desire to begin a work in America after hearing from her father how ungodly Americans were.  She got permission from General Superintendent William Booth, and the rest, as they say, is history!

The Salvation Army came to the United States.  Eliza began the work with Booth’s blessing.  Captain Elijah Cadman, her superior officer, gave her 100 penny song books to take with her.  Little is Much when God is in it!

When they reached Philadelphia, Eliza’s mother shared her desire to begin Army work.  They walked and prayed for an affordable meeting place, settling on an abandoned chair factory.  The whole Shirley family worked together to get the place cleaned up and ready for the opening meeting.

They put up posters announcing “TWO HALLELUJAH FEMALES.”  They didn’t have any standard uniforms, drums, or any of the usual bling that attracted crowds, but people flocked out of sheer curiosity to their open air meetings.  I’m sure the words used on those posters brought out the curiosity in folks…  lol.

The police told them they couldn’t gather out on the street anymore, so they found a vacant lot several blocks away, but no one followed their march to the hall.

God has the most creative way of providing for His own.  A tar barrel fire was set by some boys on their lot.  When the Shirleys saw the lot filled with people watching the firemen, they went ahead with the meeting!  Reddy, the worst drunk in the area, walked over to the hall.  Others followed him over just to see what would happen to him.  Well, Reddy was converted and the news not only reached the local papers, but people were burning up the phone lines spreading the news up and down the coast!  For once the gossip was a good thing.

The Salvation Army was becoming a household name.  Shortly after the Reddy conversion, the Shirleys opened up another hall in West Philadelphia.  Eliza’s father was given a choice by his employer to keep his job or keep the Salvation Army.  He chose to keep the Salvation Army and lost his job.

When General Booth became aware of the situation, he promoted the Shirleys to captain and promised to send George Scott Railton to America to take charge.

Eliza’s father died in a fatal accident a short time later, but Eliza and her mother continued in the work.

Eliza married Captain Philip Symmonds.  They had four children and a good long life.

Philip and Eliza retired in Chicago.  Eliza became an ardent fan of the Chicago Cubs.

I love this part of the story…

As Eliza was on her deathbed, the Cubs were in the final games of the World Series.  She was drifting in and out of consciousness, alternately praying and asking how the Cubs were doing.

When word came that Eliza Symmonds had been promoted to glory, there was a moment of silence in the stadium in honor of this gallant lady.

https://youtu.be/3KnOfYVkCQk

Little is much when God is in it…  if you go in Jesus’ name.  🙂

A COMMENTARY FROM THE HEART

TL ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY (12)

I spent most of the day rummaging around estate sales yesterday!  If I can find some unusual item or collectible that looks lonely and forgotten in a corner, it’s my duty to rescue it and take it home where I can then nurse it back to health with love and care.

Each sale has its own unique ambience.  When you walk in the door you immediately get a sense of whether these things were taken care of and worth taking a look at, or used, abused and ultimately thrown aside when no longer needed.

If you can learn to love yourself and all the flaws, you can love other people so much better.  – Kristin Chenoweth

There were two sales that represent each of these scenarios.  The first was a collector’s paradise – filled with little treasures at every turn.  The second was filled with items that were obviously well used, a little abused and may not have many more miles left in them.

The odd thing I noticed was at the second sale.  It seemed every other item I saw had a large sign on it that said AS IS.  The price did not reflect the fact that there was a flaw or damage to the item.  There was a flawless price on flawed merchandise.  As I said, we expect to strike bargains, and the buyers expect us to bargain with them.

What of this sign – AS IS???  I know without a doubt that this physical body of mine has that sign on it – and maybe yours does too.  Does my soul have a sign hanging on it too?  Were any of us born without flaws of character and needing redemption?  No.  We have an AS IS sign on our souls too.

Why were we worth redeeming?  Have you ever asked yourself why God sent Jesus to save us?  Why didn’t He just let the flood wipe everything out?  He had a deep-down faith in His creation – that we would seek a relationship with Him.

He saw the AS IS sign on us but sent His only Son, Jesus, to suffer and die on Calvary’s cross.  Then rise again on the 3rd day.  We are not stuck in Saturday, weeping and mourning in our sorry state.  Once we accept Christ’s sacrifice on Calvary, we are free and redeemed, washed clean by the precious blood of Christ, the Lamb of God.

Seek the LORD, and his strength: seek his face evermore.  – Psalm 105:4

Seek the Lord while He may be found.  He loves you so much He was willing to pay full price for you – AS IS.  He purchased your soul and wants to lovingly care for you throughout your life – and beyond.

I PRAYED FOR YOU

photo courtesy of S.G. Lutz

I’m going to take this thought a step further and submit that we should all look for the AS IS sign on each other?  I’m not suggesting that we prejudge anyone, but that we cut each other more slack.  I’m not suggesting that we whitewash over sin either; however, I would remind us that it’s not our job to change anyone.  That can only be accomplished by God’s Holy Spirit.  Here’s a great idea – let’s pray for one another, that our hearts and minds would be open to the leading of God’s Holy Spirit!  Doesn’t that sound like a winner???  🙂

 

IRON SHARPENS IRON… FRIENDSHIP

TL IRON SHARPENS IRON (2)

 

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.  – Psalm 23:4

My heart is heavy today.  I’m praying for two very good friends, both facing serious health issues.  One is in surgery right now fighting to stay alive.  Please pray with me for these two wonderful people.  They are both Christians, and that is the one thing that makes this easier than it would be otherwise.

Precious Lord,

It’s with a heavy heart I come to You.  You are Almighty Creator God; holy and full of grace and love.  I have such great grief for two friends today and one may be leaving me.  I know everyone has to die sometime, Lord, but I thank You Father, that because of Jesus, You know my pain and sorrow intimately.  Jesus knows the way through this dark shadow of death and for that I thank You.  Please guide the hands of the surgeons today and if it be Your will let my friend survive and thrive from this day on.  If not, hold her in Your precious arms and see her safely home to spend eternity with You.  Guard my heart and mind and let me find peace no matter what happens.  I thank You for the cross and for the resurrection of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  I confess that You are Lord of all and the gate-keeper to eternal life.  Grant me peace in my heart, mind and spirit right now as I wait for news.  I ask all of this in Christ’s precious name, Amen.

There are folks who I am honored to call friends.  I feel so blessed in my life to have talked and laughed and yes, cried a few times with them.  To know that they are facing such horrific health issues with a grace and courage that I’m not sure I’d have – well, it humbles me.  They hang on to the hand of Jesus with faith firmly intact, unwavering and unafraid.

KNEEL

I appreciate those who join me in prayer today.  Prayer really does change things.  Thanks!  🙂