Tag Archives: Religion

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

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

Let Your Light Radiate Love: Day 30: Lent Journey

27 Mar

1 “Arise, shine, for your light has come,
and the glory of the LORD rises upon you.
2 See, darkness covers the earth
and thick darkness is over the peoples,
but the LORD rises upon you
and his glory appears over you.
3 Nations will come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your dawn.  4 “Lift up your eyes and look about you:
All assemble and come to you;
your sons come from afar,
and your daughters are carried on the hip.
5 Then you will look and be radiant,
your heart will throb and swell with joy;”

-Isaiah 60: 1-5

Many people are familiar with the song, “This Little Light of Mine.”  It is a Sunday School staple but it also one that has made its way into popular culture through quotes, movies, and other media.  It is a song to help teach children that they should hold the light of Christ that is within them, up high for all to see.  They are taught not to hide it under a bush or a basket, or to let the light go out.

What light? Continue reading

He Knows Your Name: Day 29: Lent Journey

26 Mar Name Tag

9 “As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him.   10 While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples.  11 When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” 12 On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 13 But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice. For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Matthew 9: 9-13

Name

Seven days old in the icu tonight

Little baby boy, they don’t want to have to say goodbye

Your mother’s on the phone

Your father’s in the hall

Prayin’ “God,save this life”

He sees you

He’s near you

He knows your name

He knows your pain

He sees you and He loves you

He knows your name

He knows your name

Four doors down there’s a man who just won’t wake up

He crashed so hard

And the doctor’s want to pull the plug

Your wife is by your side sayin’ “Not tonight”

Prayin’ God will just show up.

He sees you

He’s near you

He knows your name

He knows your pain

He sees you and He loves you

He knows your name

He knows your name

Maybe you’re alone

In a corner of an empty house

Or maybe you’re the one

No one notices in the crowd

He sees you

He’s near you

He knows your name

He knows your pain

He sees you and He loves you

He knows your name

He knows your name

He knows your name

He knows your name

NAME LYRICS – FIREFLIGHT

A hospital is a place where we expect to encounter pain. It is a place of the sick and the dying, but it is also a place of healing and recovery.  Even in the midst of terrible pain, you can find hope. Continue reading

Jesus: Something About That Name

24 Aug Jesus

JesusI suppose after an extremely long hiatus from blogging that your first post back better be a good one, or at least one with a “catchy” title.  I decided to go with one about that probably gets a few hits daily in the blogosphere; that great Fisher of Men, Jesus.   For someone who only lived to be in his thirties, (which really makes my impending 30th b-day all that more looming,) Jesus is not someone to be fully contained or explained in a mere blog post.  So let’s focus on something most of us know about the Son of God; his name.

Names are important.  If you are a parent, think about how you came up with your child’s name.  If you are anything like my husband and I, then you bought a name book or two, researched names on the web, took suggestions from family, friends, and even random strangers, and probably had a tiff or two over who had selected the better and more fitting name.  We think carefully about the meaning behind a name; its origins and whether or not it has a special person or memory attached to it.   We put a lot of stock in names because it is what helps identify us from all the other billions of people out there.  Names can be sacred, cherished, tarnished, beautiful, traditional, forbidden, strong, and so many other different things to different people.  But often, there is power in a name.

Jesus.  Such a simple name.  A common name in some cultures even.  But there is something about that name.  There is a reason we are taught to pray in Jesus’ name, to ask for miracles in Jesus’ name, and to believe in Jesus’ name.  Jesus’ name is The Name of Power.  Through Jesus we are saved, healed, restored, and made new.  If that isn’t power, I’m not sure what is.  Yet, it is a name we don’t utter as often as we should, at least not in public.   Why is that?  Why are we silent with a name that holds so much power and beauty?  Because there is something about that name that offends.  As Craig Groeschel of Lifechurch.tv mentioned in a recent sermon on Boldness, the name of Jesus is as offensive today as it was two-thousand years ago, if not more so.  Why?

Because there is power in the name of Jesus Christ.  “Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” Philippians 2:9-11.  Sounds pretty much like the most powerful name to me.

So why don’t we use it more and use it boldly as Groeschel encourages?  Why aren’t we shouting it out from the mountain tops that Jesus Christ is real and ready to respond to all who call upon his wonderful name?  If you are short of mountain tops, then climb the nearest water tower and right next to “Billy Ray loves Susie” tag ‘Jesus loves YOU” as big as possible.  (I do not actually encourage or condone the defacing of public or private property, nor have I ever engaged in such illicit activities.)

Stop being content and comfortable in the way our culture has turned the name of God into an “acceptable” generic name.  Don’t be afraid of offending people by sharing the name above all names.  Share what the name means to you. Share the stories behind the name.  Share the grace that the name is drenched in.  Remind yourself that there is just something about that name.

Something wonderful.

Surrendering to The Call

11 Apr

I am one of those people.  When someone else’s phone rings, I am usually pretty quick to ask who is calling.  I like to know what’s going on.  I like to know the where, when, why, what, who, and how of most situations.  It’s called control, and yes, letting go of it is one of my personal thorns.  So, waiting on a single phone call that would determine a lot about our life, and not knowing when that call would occur or what might be said, was a big thing for me to take patiently.  Even with knowing the waiting would occur didn’t make it easier.

I knew when I married Aaron that I was, in a way, marrying the Oklahoma United Methodist Conference as well since they would not only employ my husband, but they, by listening to and hopefully discerning and trusting God’s will, would determine a huge chunk of the where, what, when, and who of our life.  So, one would think that I was well prepared and content with almost 5 years (May 13th!) with which to get used to the idea and acceptance of the itinerant system and all that the itinerancy would bring, such as the waiting, wondering, and general lack of control.  Well, my head knows that in reality I can’t really control anything and those things I want to control are the exact things I need to turn over to someone a bit more capable, namely, God.  However, along with the minor control issue, I am also likely to think and react more with my heart than my head, though in this too I am growing in grace, day by day.  As my loving husband likes to point out, he usually doesn’t rely on my initial reaction to major news, as it tends to be full-tilt emotion.  He likes to give me the needed amount of time and space with which to let my brain regain the ability to speak after being roughly gagged and stuffed in the trunk by my all too eager and somewhat reactive emotions who sometimes take over the controls of my life.  And, yes, we all have trunks in our heads into which we often shut our brains away when thinking is inconvenient and in the way of what we WANT, but may not NEED. Continue reading