Living the Gifts of Christmas – Easter

Morning breaks.

I see the sun coming up over the horizon and I know today is the day.

He’s alive! Jesus is alive.

Early on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb while it was still dark. When she saw that the large stone had been moved away from the tomb,  she ran to Simon Peter and the follower whom Jesus loved. Mary said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him.” John 20:1-2k3414973

Imagine being Mary that morning. Going to anoint the body and finding instead an empty tomb.

She had to tell them. Peter and the others.

Then following him, Simon Peter arrived and went into the tomb and saw the strips of linen lying there. He also saw the cloth that had been around Jesus’ head, which was folded up and laid in a different place from the strips of linen.  Then the other follower, who had reached the tomb first, also went in. He saw and believed. John 20:6-8

She cries for him. For the man and the savior she lost.

I am always amazed that He chose her first until I think about who He is.

The healer, the comforter, the one who looks past our past to see only who we are in Him.

She thought she had lost Him.

Then, Jesus asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Whom are you looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said to him, “Did you take him away, sir? Tell me where you put him, and I will get him.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” Mary turned toward Jesus and said in the Jewish language, “Rabboni.” John 20:15-16

Imagine her jubilation. He had returned. All He had told her was true. She told the other followers. They listened.

Mary Magdalene went and said to the followers, “I saw the Lord!” And she told them what Jesus had said to her.John 20:18

On the first day of the week. On that first Easter morning. Jesus came to His faithful and they believed.

As we celebrate the resurrection this Easter morning, my prayer is that we be filled anew with that same sense of wonder and grace.

He is risen. He is risen indeed.sg026-1

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Grace for the Weekend – Holy Week

Today will be filled with preparation for tomorrow’s feast.

Food will be purchased.

Sweets will be made.

Eggs will be dyed.

Busyness will be the order of the day.

But, what was Jesus doing on this day centuries ago.

He rested.

In the tomb.

Waiting.

Knowing.

Easter’s coming.

The resurrection is at hand.

That is so what I want to remember and prepare for this Saturday before Easter.

My prayer for my family and yours is that in our busyness of the family gathering and the preparation, we don’t forget to show devotion.

So, slow down with me, won’t you?

Take time today to worship the King Jesus for his sacrifice.

Cry Hosanna.

Be sure, as I am doing, that Easter is not just an emotion. It is a devotion.

Devotion to the one true King and Savior.

The greatest gift the world has ever known.

Jesus.

Now there was a man named Joseph, a member of the Council, a good and upright man, who had not consented to their decision and action. He came from the Judean town of Arimathea, and he himself was waiting for the kingdom of God. Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus’ body. Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid. It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin.

 The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how his body was laid in it. Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes. But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment. Luke 23:50-56

Living the Gifts of Christmas – Good Friday

I often wonder why we call today “Good” Friday. Good-Friday-Wallpaper-06

What was good about this day.

Jesus died on this day two thousand years ago.

Yes, He made the way for me to spend eternity in heaven.

But my sin killed Him.

My sin caused the Father to turn His back on Jesus, His only son.Good-Friday-Wallpaper-23

My sin caused the world to go black as Father God turned away from the sin of the world borne by the perfect man – Jesus.

The soldiers gambled for Jesus clothes.

They hurt Him and ridiculed Him.

Even the thieves on the crosses with Him made fun of Him.

Sometimes I have trouble finding the good in that.

But, I know the good comes from the fact that Jesus did all these things.

He became sin so that I might have life.

He endured pain unlike anything I could or will ever know so that I could have a home beyond this Earth.

He loved me before I was born and He bore my shame.Good-Friday-Wallpaper-19

And I, I take for granted this ultimate gift.

I focus on the happy of Christmas instead of the pain of Easter.

It’s easier. It makes my Christianity easier.

Is it supposed to be, though?

He suffered so I would live.

He died so I would have life.

He rose from the dead so that I, too, could be carried up to heaven.good_friday_wallpaper

He loves.

Do I?

The Crucifixion of Jesus – John 19:17-37

So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. 17 Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). 18 There they crucified him, and with him two others—one on each side and Jesus in the middle.

19 Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: jesus of nazareth, the king of the jews. 20 Many of the Jews read this sign, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the sign was written in Aramaic, Latin and Greek. 21 The chief priests of the Jews protested to Pilate, “Do not write ‘The King of the Jews,’ but that this man claimed to be king of the Jews.”

22 Pilate answered, “What I have written, I have written.”

23 When the soldiers crucified Jesus, they took his clothes, dividing them into four shares, one for each of them, with the undergarment remaining. This garment was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom.

24 “Let’s not tear it,” they said to one another. “Let’s decide by lot who will get it.”

This happened that the scripture might be fulfilled that said,

“They divided my clothes among them
and cast lots for my garment.”[a]

So this is what the soldiers did.

25 Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman,[b] here is your son,” 27 and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home.

The Death of Jesus

28 Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, “I am thirsty.” 29 A jar of wine vinegar was there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put the sponge on a stalk of the hyssop plant, and lifted it to Jesus’ lips. 30 When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

31 Now it was the day of Preparation, and the next day was to be a special Sabbath. Because the Jewish leaders did not want the bodies left on the crosses during the Sabbath, they asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken down. 32 The soldiers therefore came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with Jesus, and then those of the other. 33 But when they came to Jesus and found that he was already dead, they did not break his legs. 34 Instead, one of the soldiers pierced Jesus’ side with a spear, bringing a sudden flow of blood and water. 35 The man who saw it has given testimony, and his testimony is true. He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe. 36 These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: “Not one of his bones will be broken,”[c] 37 and, as another scripture says, “They will look on the one they have pierced.”[d]

 

Living the Gifts of Christmas – Maundy Thursday

I can’t help but wonder what Jesus was thinking on this day 2,000 years ago.

As He prepared to have dinner with those closest to Him. bLargeLastSup

He knew.

He knew that before the night was over, one of them would betray Him.

“I am not referring to all of you; I know those I have chosen. But this is to fulfill this passage of Scripture: ‘He who shared my bread has turned against me.’“I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe that I am who I am. 20 Very truly I tell you, whoever accepts anyone I send accepts me; and whoever accepts me accepts the one who sent me.” After  he had said this, Jesus was troubled in spirit and testified, “Very truly I tell you, one of you is going to betray me.” John 13:18-21

He knew.

And still He shared with them.

He broke bread with even Judas Iscariot.

He loved His betrayer.

And, He washed his feet.

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Lovingly.

Gently.

Jesus, Lord of all, became as a servant to care for the twelve.

Even Judas.

Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. John 13:16

ForgivenessI wonder, how many times I have been Judas.

How many times have I betrayed my Jesus. Not to the degree of Judas. Maybe.

But still. How many times.

I didn’t help someone in need.

I didn’t go visit someone who is sick.

I didn’t go to church.

I betrayed Him.

The one I claim to love.

So Jesus told him, “What you are about to do, do quickly.” But no one at the meal understood why Jesus said this to him.Since Judas had charge of the money, some thought Jesus was telling him to buy what was needed for the festival, or to give something to the poor. As soon as Judas had taken the bread, he went out. John 13:27b-30a.

Words directed at Judas, but maybe true of me.

This holy of days in this holiest of weeks. He beckons me to join Him at the table.The Lord's Supper

“This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. I Corinthians 11:24-26.

And, He forgives me. Just as He forgave Judas. So, I break bread. I drink of the cup. Will you?

May today remind you of this, the greatest gift. That is the death and resurrection of Jesus. Savior and Lord.

Lynn

Living the Gifts of Christmas – Holy Week

I hadn’t really given much thought to how hard this week would be.

It’s Holy Week after all. The most special week of the year for Christians.5742379-three-crosses-on-golgotha-symbolising-easter

But, it makes the gifts of Christmas pale in comparison to the magnitude of its significance.

Palm Sunday, just passed, was the day of Jesus triumphal entry into Jerusalem. The redeemer come for his people.

They didn’t want Him, though. Sure they cried out “Hosanna” as he rode into town and certainly they laid their garments on the road, but the “save us” they cried out was as our preacher called it “for a conqueror, not a redeemer.”

The Jews missed it. The Pharisees condemned it.

And Jesus, He answered calmly, “I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out.” Luke 19:40.Stones+Will+Cry+Out

I so don’t want Jesus to have to say that about me.

I want to proclaim Him as redeemer and Lord.

And, this Easter week, I want to spend time with Him. Thanking Him for His sacrifice. Loving Him because He loved me first. Understanding what Good Friday was for Him and is to me.

So, I am being quiet again. And I am listening again. And, I hear Him.

How do you say thank you for such a gift as this.

Lynn

Grace for the Weekend – Love

Whatever you do this weekend, may it be full of love.

For God.

For your family.Family in Tennessee

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For your friends.

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And for those in the world who are hurting and weary.

From war, unrest, unbelief. photo

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.There is no commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31

Lynn

Fruit of the Spirit – Patience

This week I have been trying to practice patience with those around me and with myself.

It hasn’t been easy.

Deadlines have a way of bringing out the worst in people, not the best.

I’ve had to walk away a few times and I’ve had to breathe deep and just pray.

Because when life gets too hectic and patience is wearing thin, there’s only one place to go.

To Him.

So I did, and I am.

Quietly reflecting on the week and waiting patiently for Him to provide the answer.patience

Looking forward to a wonderful weekend.

Hope you are as well.

Lynn

Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary. Isaiah 40:31.P1020405