Monday, April 25, 2011

He Is Risen!

He Is Risen!

He is risen and death is defeated!

He is risen and the enemy is conquered!

He is risen and Life is victorious!

He is risen and there is no more mourning!

He is risen and the Christ followers rejoice!

He is risen and we have hope!

He is risen and the heavens proclaim it!

He is risen and the angels burst into song!

He is risen and there is new life in Him!

He is risen and salvation is complete!

Rejoice for our Savior is alive and seated at the right hand of God the Father!

Thankful today for. . .

91.  A risen Savior!

92.  First morning meetings with Mary

93.  Running disciples

94.  Emmaus walks

95.  His way of breaking bread

96.  Passover meals shared with wide-eyed children

97.  Hiding the 'afikomen'  bread and having the children find this Christ symbol 

98.  The bittersweet cup of redemption

99.  Joy coming in the morning

Friday, April 22, 2011

Good Friday

Why do they call it Good Friday Mommy?  It wasn't very good for Jesus.

Why do they call it good. . .

How can betrayal ever be good?

How can late night mock trials and a sentence of death be good?

Angry mob shouts, "Crucify Him" with hate and anger dripping from their lips.

What about the cat of nine tails that shredded the skin of the Savior, or the crown of thorns pressed deep into His tender head?

What about the heavy wooden beam carried through dusty streets on blood drenched shoulders?

Was it good when they held His hand to the cross and hammered in a nail of iron, tearing the muscles, ripping the nerves?

Was it good when they stood the cross upright and sunk it deep into the earth, jerking joints out of place, hanging Him high exposed for all to see?

What goodness comes from mocking Pharisees spitting upon, murdering the Son of God in their hearts and in His flesh?

Cursing thief, gambling soldiers, weeping mother, bewildered disciples.

Was goodness found as He pushed up hard on trembling legs just to gasp a breath of air?

Or in the darkness and earthquakes, even the earth and sky mourning their Maker?

Surely all goodness is lost as perfection takes on the sin of the world.  The Son of God becoming sin for us.

And in the bleakest moment of eternity, the Father and Son . . . parted.

How can we call anything about this day good?

Because sometimes, my child, the best gifts aren't wrapped in the prettiest paper.

Only through the suffering can the gift be given, the gift of life, life through death.

The cross had to be endured to fulfill the will of the Father, to complete the Scriptures, to make the sacrifice.

And we know that is not the end of the story. . . for He Is Risen! 

So it is good that we do not have to face death and hell, that was already done for us, by a 'wonderful, merciful Savior.'

It is good that He died so that we may live.  It is good that the Father reconciled us to Himself through the sacrifice of the Son. 

It is a Good Friday.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Amazing Love

"Oh how He loves you and me,
He gave His life, what more could He give,
Oh how He loves you, Oh how He loves me,
Oh how He loves you and me!"    

A love so vast He spread it wide on the broken trunk of a tree. 
A love so pure it flowed from pierced hands and feet.
A love so strong the earth shook and the rocks broke in pieces.
A love that put aside heaven to seek the humble humanity of us all.

That is amazing love.  That is a love I cannot begin to understand or comprehend.  That is a love that was given for me and for you.

His love. . . his sacrifice is a gift of eternal significance.

Take the time today to dwell on what it cost, so that we may have salvation.
Be still and remember His amazing love.

Monday, April 18, 2011


62 tornadoes touched down on North Carolina soil this past Saturday.

Homes were ripped to pieces beyond recognition, 100 year old pine trees snapped like twigs, animals blown hundreds of yards, and 22 human lives . . . lost.

It makes one consider the fragility of it all.

Our life is but a vapor, here one moment, gone the next.

Considering too what all the striving is for.  Many work their entire lives to afford all the 'stuff ' of life. A nice home, white picket fence, flat screen television, nice clothes, fancy toys. . . scattered to the wind.  How often am I found grasping for the things of life when all that matters is . . . life. 

Over and over the survivors of these terrible storms said they had lost everything - their homes, cars, all belongings, but the most important thing was that they were still alive.  I believe most of humanity realizes that life is a gift.  That is why we all keep working one day at a time to fulfill some purpose to which we have been called.  This gift is why we spend millions every year in medicines and treatments, to lengthen the number of our days.  There is a need to preserve life.

Often though, the world forgets the One who said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me."  John 14:6

The author of life is life Himself.  Purpose, meaning, and joy can only be found in Christ.

As we remember the ones who lost their lives and pray for the ones who are now sifting through the pieces of their kitchen floor to find the faded photographs, let us pray that in the losing of things, real life will be found.  Among the splintered pieces of home, meaning will take hold.  And let us give what we can, be it time, help, money, or prayers to those who are hurting and sifting through life right now.

I am thankful for. . .

75.  Lives spared

76.  Perspective

77.  Compassion

78.  His power to heal

79.  Life out of death

80.  Spring sweet walks in the woods

81.  Handfuls of wildflowers from loving children

82.  Lunch with my hubby

83.  The shelter of His wings

84.  Hope in the Lord

85.  Fun school days

86.  Hosanna shouts!

87.  Bird songs in the night

88.  Wild running and waving palm branches

89.  Sorrow

90.  A Savior who gave all


Saturday, April 16, 2011

"Jesus called them and immediately they left the boat. . . and followed Him."  Matthew 4:21-22

He calls.
They listen. 

And two weather worn, sea soaked, harbor hardened men drop their knotted nets and follow. . .
Dropped their nets.  Let go of their lives.  Stopped the striving.  Just to follow.
To follow the greatest soul catcher of all time.

Luke tells us the same story, with a bit more detail.  Jesus had just finished teaching the crowd from Peter's water worn vessel.  The tired men listened and mended, after being up all night fishing with no catch to call their own.

"Put out into deep water, and let the nets out for a catch,"  Jesus says simply.
Sore backs and weary arms protest, "We've worked hard all night and haven't caught anything," Peter replies and sighs deep, looking to the teacher for a way out.  The Master, silent. . .just waits.

"But because you say so, I will let down the nets," reluctant words spill from Peter's mouth.

Moments later, gasping fish overflow their small craft and their partners' boat as well.

(There is reward in obedience, even if it is reluctant.)

Miracle on the sea from the Maker of the sea.  The same God who thought to create currented, rushing, filling water, thought to surprise some fishermen one warm day and their lives were never the same.

Back on shore, boats overflowing, dollar signs piling up, business is good. . . but there's something (or someone) better.

"From now on you will catch men," Jesus says with a sparkle in His eye as He turns to leave, "Follow me."

What else can they do.  They have witnessed the miracle.  They have tasted the mystery.  They have been in the presence of the Promised One.  Who would want torn nets and slimy boats and smelly fish, when you can have mended hearts, impassioned lives, and joy to the full!?!

So they follow. . .and learn. . .and live.

The call is the same to the road weary ones.  Those of us who work and strive and do it all over again and again each day.  Whether we strive behind a desk, or in the field, or in the home, our journey is a hard one.
But this striving is not our call. 

Our call is to follow.
Simply follow.

He leads.  He has done the hard part.
We are redeemed to walk in his steps.  To go where He says go.  To stay where He says stay.  To listen and follow the voice of the Master, our Shepherd, our Savior.

Let us follow Him today.
Let us be disciples of Christ.

Scripture taken from the New International Version of the Bible.
Matthew  4:21-22
Luke 5:4-11


Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Holy Name of God

The Lord's name is holy!  It is to be revered and respected.  He cared enough about this to make it a command. . .

"You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain."  Exodus 20:7

The third command from the heart of God is that we, His people, use His name carefully.

There is so much meaning in one's name.  It captures the essence of who you are, and when your name is spoken it bears the reflection of your life.  We are known by are doings, the activites of life whether good or evil, are seen by men and God.  And when our name is spoken our actions are remembered. 

Abraham Lincoln.  Princess Diana.  Mother Teresa.  President Obama. 
Elton John.    Moses.    Donald Trump.    Lucifer.           Jesus.

For every one of these names I'm sure an image of that person or something they did during their life was brought to mind.  Your name reflects who you are, how you chose to live your life, how you carry yourself, or make yourself known to others.  Your name is yours alone, and when the people in your circle of influence hear your name an image or work is immediately brought to mind.  There is power in a name

Your name also is uniquely known by your creator.  The author of your life knows you by name and calls you His child and loves you for the unique person that you are.  How we live also determines God's view of us, whether in the end He will say, "Well done, good and faithful servant,"  or "Depart from me I never knew you."  Our lives should reflect the love of Christ because we have accepted His salvation through the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ and have confessed our sins and given Him our very lives, then and only then will our NAMES be written in the Lamb's Book of Life.

We see the importance of our own names, but the name that is above every name is the name of our Lord.  When God reveals His name to Moses in Exodus 3, Moses asks Him to reveal His name so that the people enslaved in Egypt would know who had sent Moses. 

"I AM THAT I AM... You shall say to the children of Israel, I AM has sent me to you.  The LORD God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you:  this is my name for ever, and this is my memorial to all generations."                Exodus 3:14-15

Wow!  The Creator of the spinning planets and the tiny seeds, God of the heavens, and author of life has revealed Himself to us and told us His very name, so that we may know Him!  His name reveals His nature and character perfectly - "I AM."  Not the has been or will be, but the ever present.  The God who transcends time and space and all of the finite things that we try to wrap our minds around, is called by who He is - "I AM."

Then He amazes us even more by speaking the name that has never been uttered before - YHWH - Yahweh.  We read it in our Bibles as LORD and this name of God is recorded around 6,800 times in His Word. 

YHWH - a memorial for His people, so that we may remember Him.  A name given through the fire of a burning bush to a poor, stuttering shepherd.  A name given so the people could praise Him after He performed the mighty acts of freedom from Egypt's slavery.  A name given to reveal who He is and what He has done.  

I hope next time we speak His name in prayer or read it in His Word that it is done with all reverence and respect.  And when the culture chooses to take the name of our Lord and use it as an expression, we will cringe and be saddened at their ignorance of who He really is. 

"I will make thy name to be remembered in all generations, therefore shall the people praise thee forever and ever."     Psalm 45:17

I am ever grateful for. . .

63.  His holy name revealed to us

64.  Moonlight

65.  Peaceful evenings

66.  Two pets who curl up close on the couch for a little attention

67.  God's divine wisdom

68.  New Bible studies with women sharing their dark closets

69.  Songs of praise and worship that fill our home with hope

70.  Sweet candlelight

71.  Mothers who come to visit and help out

72.  Homecooked chili on the back deck for dinner

73.  The sweet smells of spring

74.  Easter waiting

Tuesday, April 5, 2011


I am part of a very select group of people.  I have been chosen, right now to be among the living.  You may think this sounds odd or silly, but it is a gift.  Life is a gift.  These living moments are short.  Breath filled days are slipping by, and I will never hold more than I have right now.  My life is being lived one short minute at a time, and once that minute is spent it can never be grasped again.

My dear husband loves history.  As he watches the documentary of the Civil War and Abraham Lincoln I see their faces.  Faces of men who once held life.  Men with long beards and top hats of distinguished integrity, willing to fight for a cause in which they believed.  Men sitting on the sides of their cots discussing the battle, or cleaning their hands and faces in wash basins, or attending a speech given by a wise president.  Men who made choices how to live their lives.  Men who in many cases chose to give up their gift of 'life time.'  Men who may be remembered, but in most cases no one will know what they did or who they were or how they made their choices.

My time is now.  Will anyone outside of my own family know who I was or how I lived?  Will my living time be filled with wise choices of building a legacy of grace for others to see?  Will my life point to my Savior?  We all leave a legacy.  The footprint we leave on this earth may be deep. . . touching many, inspiring many, showing many the way to the cross.  Or our steps may be shallow, only reaching those who are close to us, not looking beyond our own four walls to impact the world for Christ.  I pray the steps I choose to walk this week are deep.  I pray I will see beyond myself and my own needs to the lost and hurting ones, and gently lead them to see and know my Lord.

"I want to leave a legacy
How will they remember me?
Did I choose to love? Did I point to You enough
To make a mark on things?
I want to leave an offering
A child of mercy and grace who
blessed your name unapologetically
And leave that kind of legacy."

-song lyrics by Nichole Nordeman 

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Fleeting Childhood

       "Childhood - The days are long, but the years are short."  (author unknown)

 Long days of loving, nurturing, playing, cleaning, feeding, caring, teaching, correcting, reading, snuggling, tickling, cooking, eating, sharing. . . these days are long.   Sometimes I look for ways to fill the hours usually playing long games of go fish or checkers, pretending we are princesses or pirates, taking walks around the block or through the woods.  Other times I distract myself from my little ones to do another load of laundry or fill the dishwasher or pick up the hundreds of toys that get scattered through the house daily.  Either way, some days are very long and when darkness comes and eyelids dip heavy I reflect on if anything I did that day was important.  So many things go unnoticed, often no one sees the untiring work of the mother.

I love the story about the little boy who is throwing starfish back into the ocean, who have been washed ashore after a great storm.  An older man comes up to him and says, "Why are you throwing these animals back, there are hundreds of them, you will never help them all?!"  To which the boy replies as he picks up another starfish, "Made a difference to that one." 

I must constantly remind myself that I am making a difference.  No matter how small these things may appear, they are difference making, life shaping activities.  Investing time in my children now will teach them that relationships are a priority.  Family bonds come before making money or following self.  By taking the time with them to share life experiences they will learn to take time with their little ones when they are grown and the cycle of love and life will continue. 

This is one reason I enjoy homeschooling, I can be with the ones I love to share the joys of learning.  We can open all the windows and hang our feet out to draw and write about God's creation.  We have the time together to read books about long ago and far away, how people live around the world and how we all belong to the Creator and we all need Jesus. 

These days may seem long when the details of each minute overwhelm, but I am reminded so quickly (when I look at my 7 year old) how the years fly by.  Those baby days will never come again,  the chubby hands and wobbly legs won't need my help as they used to.  Quiet, sun filled nursery days are gone and those years can never be returned.  Once life is spent, there is no holding it again.  So, while we have these minutes, these hours, these years with our children let us spend our time wisely.  Let me be diligent in using my time for good, nurturing young minds, loving and living as unto the Lord.

I am grateful for . . .

56.  new dogs to make our family a bit more full

57.  peace in the storm of stomach bugs

58.  peek-a-boo boys in the park

59.  toothless grins on sweet girls

60.  chatty boys who want to share all the details

61.  warm sunshine and spring breezes

62.  patient Savior love