Tag Archives: Lent

He is Risen! Day 40

8 Apr

5 “The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6 He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.”

Matthew 28: 5-7

Alleluia!

Christ the Lord is risen!

He is risen indeed!

We no longer wait in anticipation, but we celebrate Jesus’ victory over sin and death.

The cross is empty.

The grave could not contain him.

He is risen, and because of His grace we are restored!

His free gift of grace, bought and paid by his own blood, is for all.

Celebrate the risen Christ and accept the gift of life.

Alleluia!

I want to share the words from one of the great Christian hymns,

Continue reading

And We Wait: Day 39: Lent Journey

7 Apr

62 The next day, the one after Preparation Day, the chief priests and the Pharisees went to Pilate. 63 “Sir,” they said, “we remember that while he was still alive that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise again.’ 64So give the order for the tomb to be made secure until the third day. Otherwise, his disciples may come and steal the body and tell the people that he has been raised from the dead. This last deception will be worse than the first.”

65 “Take a guard,” Pilate answered. “Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.” 66 So they went and made the tomb secure by putting a seal on the stone and posting the guard.” -Matthew 27: 62-65

After they laid Jesus in the tomb, the disciples gathered, wept, and waited.

Would he rise in three days?

As we wait, we take comfort in knowing that indeed Jesus did rise. Despite a heavy stone and guards to protect the tomb, Jesus came forth and conquered sin and death.

But for now, we wait.  We wait in hopeful anticipation for our Savior to rise.

It is Finished: Day 38: Lent Journey

6 Apr

  “Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” – John 19: 30

 

 

 

 

 

It is Good Friday; a somber day of remembrance.  We remember Jesus’ death; death on a cross.  We reflect on images of his beating, trial, journey to the cross, and crucifixion. We remember his sacrifice that paved the way for restored relationship with God; paved and paid with his blood.

I want to share three things with you today:

  1. A poem I wrote about Jesus’ death when I was 19
  2. A song that always draws me to the foot of the cross, “Grace Flows Down,” sung by Christy Nockels
  3. The grace available to all because of Jesus’ sacrificial death.   I encourage you to read all of John 19 today and reflect on Jesus’ last day.

Continue reading

As He Has Done For You: Day 37: Lent Journey

5 Apr

1It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.

2 The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. 3 Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; 4 so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. 5 After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.

6 He came to Simon Peter, who said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?”

7 Jesus replied, “You do not realize now what I am doing, but later you will understand.”

8 “No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”

Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.”

9 “Then, Lord,” Simon Peter replied, “not just my feet but my hands and my head as well!”

10 Jesus answered, “Those who have had a bath need only to wash their feet; their whole body is clean. And you are clean, though not every one of you.” 11 For he knew who was going to betray him, and that was why he said not every one was clean.

12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” – John 13: 1-17

 

Today is Maundy Thursday for the Christian church.  We remember Jesus as he ate his last meal at Passover with his disciples.  This is where our ritual of communion comes from, as we partake of the bread and wine (or grape juice), we remember the sacrifice Jesus made of his broken body and poured out blood.

We also remember how Jesus lived a life of service, demonstrated in a powerful way on his last night with his closest friends.  Jesus, who had already taken on human form, humbled himself even more and took on the form of a servant.  He washed his disciples’ feet.  He lovingly took the dirty and weary feet of his friends, cleaned them with his hands and water, and gently dried them with a towel he had tied to his waist.

Imagine a king stooping down to wash the feet of his court advisers, or even the pheasants he is entrusted with.  This is the act of Jesus.  A King of Kings, bowed down in service to all of humanity, from the strong and rich to the poor and weak.  He loves and serves them the same.  His sacrifice is for all.

As I reflect on these final acts of love and service that Jesus performed, I can’t help but wonder if I am really taking on the mind of Christ in my own life.  Do I have a mind and a heart to serve?  Do I put myself aside enough so I can see those who need the love of Christ poured into their lives?

I hope I do.  I strive to live a life of letting God love through me, but I know I often fail.  I guess all I can do is continually wrap the towel of loving service around my waist again and again, and help bathe others in Jesus’ grace and love.

In what ways are you being called to lovingly serve someone else?

Gracefully~~Heather

Beautiful Sacrifice: Day 36: Lent Journey~

4 Apr Extravagant Love

6 While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of Simon the Leper, 7a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table.

8 When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. 9 “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.”

10 Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 11 The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. 12 When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. 13 Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.” – Matthew 26: 6-13

I can imagine the disciples grumbling to one another about how foolish this woman was for wasting such an inexpensive gift.  “How can she be so wasteful?”  “Imagine all the good that we could do with the money that perfume would bring.”  “Why is Jesus just letting her do that?”

Instead of ignoring them and letting their grumblings linger, Jesus immediately silences them by defending the gracious actions of this woman.  He calls what she did beautiful.  Jesus acknowledges the disciples concern and the fact that yes, there are the poor to help, but that the poor would still be there to take care of, and he would not.  He was reminding them not only of his impending death, but of a deeper lesson; to be able to see the big picture of how they were to serve, as well as those who had an immediate need of extravagant grace and love.

Sometimes the need to demonstrate God’s extravagant love is the only way to bring healing, hope, or grace to a broken life.  Perhaps through an expensive gift offered in an extreme demonstration of loving surrender says, “You are valued and worthy of this sacrifice.”

Let me paint a picture…. Continue reading

Are We Still Greedy?: Day 35: Lent Journey

3 Apr

12 Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves. 13 “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer, but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.”

14 The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them. 15 But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple courts, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they were indignant.

16 “Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him.

“Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read,

“‘From the lips of children and infants
you, Lord, have called forth your praise?”

17 And he left them and went out of the city to Bethany, where he spent the night.”

-Matthew 21: 12-17

Monday of Holy Week and we find Jesus at the temple courts as the Jews gathered in Jerusalem for Passover.  Just like with major holidays and events today, prices were being raised to turn a profit on the things people needed the most for celebrating or for sacrifice at the temple.  As people came to worship and celebrate they were being taking advantage of by the greed of the money changers and sellers.

This is why we read of Jesus’ anger and of his overturning of the tables and booths.  He was witnessing his Father’s house being turned from a holy place to a place of greed and sin; exploiting those in a time of need.

We then see Jesus turn from his righteous anger and begin to draw the lame, children, and others to him.  As they gathered, he began to heal them.  He was returning the temple to a holy place, a place of love and hope, where needs are met with authentic relationship.

As I reflected on this passage today I struggled a bit with what message I could share.  Often we focus on how Jesus had a right to be angry and this scripture is often referenced when a message on anger is preached.

However, as I read a few reflections on the scripture I began to focus on why Jesus was angry.  What stirred the anger?  Was it just the business taking place in what should have been a holy place?  I think his anger was indeed directed at the greed and the sin he saw.  I also think he was angry about those who were being wronged by this sin and greed, and those who were in need and being overlooked in pursuit of profit.

I wonder what Jesus might think if he took a look at some of our churches today?  Would anger burn within him because people in need are being overlooked due to greed and sin?  Continue reading

For Everything a Season: Day 34: Lent Journey

2 Apr beauty from pain

1 There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:”

11 He has made everything beautiful in its time.”  -Ecclesiastes 3:1 & 11

A friend handed me a copy of a devotional on Ecclesiastes 3:11 at church Sunday.  She said she was doing her devotional and thought of me since I had recently been posting on this very idea; beauty.  I was very grateful for two reasons: 1) She cared enough to think of me and make me a copy, and 2) She cares enough to read my little blog and remember something I wrote!  Makes my heart happy.

The funny thing is that she didn’t realize she was sending me a much needed message from God.  I didn’t read the devotional until after we had returned home from the Community Easter Service (yep, a week early), and I desperately needed to read that scripture and the accompanying message by then.

The author of the devotional, Nicole Johnson, focuses on the need for us to embrace beauty as part of who God created us to be.  Instead of getting so caught up in seeing the pain or ugliness in and around us, we often need to spend time focused on the beauty God has created in and around us; not to mention the beauty He is working to create through us.  Continue reading

Defining Beauty Part 1: Day 33: Lent Journey

30 Mar

“The bride, the beautiful princess, a royal daughter, is glorious. She waits within her chamber, dressed in a gown woven with gold. Wearing the finest garments, she is brought to the King. Her friends, her companions, follow her into the royal palace. What a joyful, enthusiastic, excited procession as they enter the palace! She comes before the her King, who is wild for her!”   – Psalm 45: 13-15 (as interpreted by Holly Wagner)

beau-ty  (from dictionary.com)
1. the quality present in a thing or person that gives intense pleasure or deep satisfaction to the mind, whether arising from sensory manifestations (as shape, color, sound, etc.), a meaningful design or pattern, or something else (as a personality in which high spiritual qualities are manifest).
2. a beautiful  person, especially a woman.
Who we do let define our beauty?  Our worth?  Where does true beauty lie? Do others see us as someone whose beauty they wish to emulate?  Where does our beauty come from? Is it worth emulating?
I saw the above quote on Pinterest today, and it went along with the Scripture I had read in my devotional.  I’m focusing on this idea of beauty, and what it really means.  Am I someone who sees herself as beautiful? Honestly, it’s difficult to do when you are 30 wks pregnant.  I am tired because I’m not sleeping well.  I don’t feel like I get anything accomplished.  I don’t FEEL beautiful.  Is that my worth?  Doesn’t God see me as beautiful no matter how I feel?
I’m going to be reflecting on this concept of beauty today and tomorrow.  Think on this until then–
“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.”  ~Philippians 4:8
How do you view your own beauty or the beauty in your life?
Gracefully~~Heather

Light from the Darkness: Day 32: Lent Journey

29 Mar

Light Overcoming Darkness

“1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was with God in the beginning. 3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. 4 In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.”-John 1: 1-5

As we draw nearer to Easter our focus tends to shift towards how we will celebrate Easter day.  We see the light and joy to come.  While there is still darkness to journey through, it is nice to see the light breaking through.  We are reminded that darkness has not overcome the light.

I used to be a nanny.  One of the perks of my job  was getting to play with the kids and be creative.  Same perks as a stay at home mom…who knew?

This was a creation from my nanny days.  I had not painted since I was in Mr. T’s (no, not that one) art class in elementary school, and I surprised myself.  While I am not about to enter this in an art contest, as a self-described drawing deficient, I was quite pleased with my efforts.  I’ll let you interpret for yourself.  I’ve included some more angles of the painting. It was done as Easter art, so I thought it was time to dust it off and share it again.

Hope you enjoy it for what it is.  (I do not plan on pursuing a career in art, so don’t ask or beg me to!)

Light Overcoming the Darkness2

Light Overcoming Darkness3

Light Overcoming the Darkness4

Art (even poor excuses for art) is a great way to look into ourselves on our journey.  Give it a shot!

Gracefully~~Heather

Beauty in the True You: Day 31: Lent Journey

28 Mar

“You are altogether beautiful, my love;
    there is no flaw in you.”   – Song of Songs 4:7 (ESV)

God created each one of us; lovingly crafting His children from the inside out.  He knows us.  He chooses us.  He loves us.  The real us.

God isn’t fooled by the images we try to create of ourselves; what we present to the world.  He is interested (and He already knows) the real story.  He looks at each of us and desires for us to know our story as well.  He wants us to accept the offer of grace that is freely given, so we might discover our true story.  A love story.

We are masterpieces of God.  When we are covered by grace, God sees us and says, “There is no flaw IN you.”  God sees the true story inside us because He shaped us.  He is waiting for us to see our own true beauty.

I want to share the lyrics from Ginny Owens’s song, True Story, one of my favorite songs.  I encourage you to download it if they speak to you.

True Story

I am a gifted artist
I’ve learned to paint this canvas well
I work until I’ve finished
An ideal image of myself
But you know better

I am a storyteller
Quite brilliant, if I do say so
I tell them tales they want to hear
And they believe it’s me they know
But you know better

Chorus:
You see my imperfections
Still You say I’m a masterpiece
A marvelous reflection
The image of Yourself in me
You paint with strokes of grace
Undoing my disguise
You say beauty lies in the true story

The world might think me foolish
If they could see beneath my mask
They might find my dreams laughable
Or be embarrassed by my past
But you know better

(Chorus)

Of where I’ve been
And where you’ve brought me to
Of who I am
All because of you

Ginny Owens

I hope you have a day full of beauty.

Gracefully~~Heather