Tag Archives: Love

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

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

For Everything a Season: Day 34: Lent Journey

2 Apr

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

Royal Invitation: Day 23: Lent Journey

19 Mar

  “Daughters of kings are among your honored women;
   at your right hand is the royal bride in gold of Ophir.”

Psalm 45:9 (NIV)

My email contains the word princess in it.  My mother has told me numerous times that I need to get a grown up email address.  I told her it is my grown up email address since it has my married name in it too, and is quite a step up from rainbowbrite!  Yep, rainbowbrite.  (Child of the 80’s, remember!)

As I was reading today’s scripture, I was reminded and affirmed that I indeed have my grown up email address, because not only does the hubs often treat me like a princess, I am the daughter of a King.  We are all children of God.  He is the King of Kings, and that makes us royalty!  Sons and daughters of God; princes and princesses of the King.

Is this really how God sees us?… Continue reading

Just As You Are: Day 22: Lent Journey

17 Mar

 

 

 

But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”

Romans 5:8 (NIV)

*Today’s post will follow the KISS method….Keep it simple silly (Yes, I use the nice word), as I have a darling toddler literally hanging on my arm, waiting for undivided attention.*

One of my favorite chick flicks is Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001); a very imperfect girl and her zany, British, antics to land the “perfect” man.  Besides a scene where Bridget belts out some Celine Dion to, “All By Myself,” my favorite scene from the movie is the incomparable Mr. darcy declaring his “love” for Bridget.  (I say “love” because it’s a strange, reserved, British, sort of love….stodgy?)  I’ll let Darcy speak for himself:

Mark Darcy: I don’t think you’re an idiot at all. I mean, there are elements of the ridiculous about you. Your mother’s pretty interesting. And you really are an appallingly bad public speaker. And, um, you tend to let whatever’s in your head come out of your mouth without much consideration of the consequences… But the thing is, um, what I’m trying to say, very inarticulately, is that, um, in fact, perhaps despite appearances, I like you, very much. Just as you are.

The best part of the entire speech rests in the last sentences; I like you, very much. Just as you are.  Just as you are.  He’s telling Bridget that she is good enough, as is.  Despite her craziness, her quirks, her tendency to make the wrong decisions, and blurt out the wrong sentiments, he likes her.  Heck, he loves her more because of these things.

This is how God loves us.  Just as we are.  Warts and all.  Faults and all.  Despite our sin, God loves us.  He sent Jesus as a sacrifice to cleanse us from sin so we could be reconciled to Him.  God is not waiting for us to clean up our act, look or act perfect, or lead a sinless life before loving us.  He loves us now, as we are.  He wants us to accept Jesus and be brought close to Him.  He’s waiting to show you how much He loves you, and all the good plans He has for your life.  He will bring forth the best you.

Are you ready to be loved as you are?

I’ll leave you this weekend with a smile:

Remember, you are not alone!  God already loves you, as you are!

Gracefully~~Heather

Moments of Joy

29 Feb

Last night our little man, Micah, was bouncing off the walls, not wanting to listen to mommy or daddy, and grabbing everything he was told not to.  Basically, a typical, headstrong toddler.  One thing he got his eager hands on was a set of Sunday School DVD curriculum.  The kid is smart; he ran around the coffee table to get the DVD’s out of our reach, then sweetly said, “Pease mommy, daddy, DVD.”  Even though he hadn’t listened most of the evening, he used the magic words, and we conceded.  He settled on his couch to watch what may be our church’s new preschool curriculum.

He loves this hat.  It was one of mine for a crazy hat day at work.  The trim is blue and purple, but he loves it still.  He wore it all evening, woke this morning, put it on, and did not take it off again until bedtime.  I’m kind off worried he will get a bald spot!

Micah adores the character on the DVD’s and was enthralled as the lesson about being a friend unfolded.  One key component of the series is a short Scripture verse that is accompanied by actions to help the kids remember better.  Micah loved this part and eagerly imitated what he saw on the screen, then turned to us to make sure we were watching.

I can’t tell you how much joy that brought to my heart.  Not only was our son enjoying something immensely, he was learning God’s Word and taking it into his heart. We did the motions the rest of the evening, saying, “A friend loves at all times.” We did the motions this morning and he repeated the words again.  His eyes light up each time, and I smile.

He was in mid-sentence on the word, all, here.  I am quite fond of that face.  I am more in love with the little heart I see glowing in his eyes!

Cherish the small moments of joy.

Endless Love: Day 7: Lent Journey

29 Feb

 

 

“Thank God because he’s good, because his love never quits.  Tell the world, Israel, “His love never quits.” And you, clan of Aaron, tell the world, “His love never quits.” And you who fear God, join in, “His love never quits.”

 

Psalm 118:1, The Message

Today’s message is simple, yet so full: God’s love is endless.  God’s love is perfect, never failing, never wavering, never ceasing; God’s love never quits.

God’s love endures forever, and He desires to lavish it on us.

How great the Father’s love for us, that He would send His only son, Jesus, to die for our sins, in our place.  God’s desire to bring us back into restored relationship with Him cost Him dearly, but He counts it as gain as we accept His grace and love.

God’s Word is filled with the promises and examples of His love; it is a love letter from His heart to ours.

What words of love do you long to hear? Continue reading

Things I Love

16 Feb

Is it possible to have a case of the Muhndays on a Thursday?  I hope so, because I totally do.  I’d love to blame the way I feel today totally on being 24 wks preggo, but I can’t in all honesty.  I know I am still not feeling 100%, (and don’t know if I will this go round, but I hope), but today has just found me in a state of blah.

Not a fun place to be.

Part of me just wanted to crawl in bed all day.  I didn’t.  I actually got myself motivated enough to get on the elliptical.  Apparently the endorphins didn’t want to stick around.

Part of me just wanted to curl up and watch Breaking Dawn pt.1 again and again.  I settled for HGTV.  I told myself at least that way I was only committed to 30 minutes at a time.  (HA)

But this evening, the biggest part of me just wanted to cry.  Especially as I listened to my dear husband battle our darling and stubborn two-year old over bedtime.  His cries just break my heart at times. (The toddler, not the hubs..I think.)

Instead of crying I made myself look around the room, then the other room, then around the world of pinterest for things that made me smile.  I just wanted to divert the overwhelming sense of despair that seemed to be creeping up on me all day.  I want to state for the record, however, that I am in full support and actively engage in much needed and therapeutic crying sessions when needed.  Better out than in as Shrek would say.  Or is that burping?  Hmm..

Not tonight though.  I figured my husband didn’t need to walk out of one room with a crying child to encounter another.  I also felt that gentle nudging of the Spirit to look around and see the good.

This Scripture came to mind, “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

So I thought on those things that surrounded me in that moment.  Very simple things and some obvious treasures that surrounded me and my life in the beautiful and the excellent.  Here is what I came up with in no particular order.

  1. My Angel Shelf: Belonged to my Mima.  A gift from my Papa to hold her angels.  It now holds my Willow Tree figures.
  2. “Oh Baby The Places You’ll Go,” a book we read nightly to the little boy we anxiously await in June. Great book!
  3. Bowl of cherries: Pretty to look at.  Better to eat. Delicious.
  4. The bulletin board I created from scrapbook paper for my writing corner. Just a fun collage.
  5. The new crib sheet Aaron brought home today that his mom had ordered.  I LOVE it!
  6. Fleece blankets.  I usually have no less than 2 floating in the living room at all times of the year.  I’m talking the cheap $5-$10 ones from Walmart or Target!
  7. Pretty handkerchiefs I picked up at a vintage shop in KY and still have yet to find a decorative home.
  8. Yes. Harry Potter.  Books. Movies. I love them all!
  9. This picture was a mish-mash of items I love. Wooden signs, my signed Jewel photo book and Lullaby CD, and the Eiffel tower I was given from my dear friend on her trip to Paris. (I WILL go one day)
  10. Our growing baby boy in his 23 wk ultrasound photo.
  11. Lindt Lindor Truffles. Yes, please
  12. Decorative crosses, especially ones that combine textures, like metal and wood.
  13. Wooden/ canvas signs with inspirational sayings, messages, etc.
  14. My wonderful boys all snuggled up
  15. Micah loving his new toddler bed and piling it with things he loves.
  16. My poetry book that my dear husband felt needed to be displayed on the shelf.
  17. Lavender roses
  18. Pretty hardback books
  19. Knowing I am not alone even when it feels that way.
  20. Having this blog to write and share a piece of my heart.

*please excuse the quality of some of the photos.  I used my iPhone for many and it is not a 4G! 

So, after compiling my list and literally laying eyes on these treasures that make my life worth loving, I didn’t feel like crying anymore.  I felt like sharing.

From my heart to yours.

What do you love that makes crying days better?