The Sixth Hour

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Now from the sixth hour there was darkness over all the land until the ninth hour…And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life.

Matthew 27:45, 50-52

A Special Easter Morning

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As we wake on this Resurrection morning, our family will have an added celebration on this already special day. Our six year old daughter, Anna, made the decision a couple of weeks ago to trust and follow Jesus! She chose today, Easter Sunday, to be baptized, and at 10:30 later this morning, her Daddy will be immersing her in the baptismal waters!
Her baptism isn’t a “get me into heaven” pass. There is nothing magical about this water that pours from the city pipes to ensure her salvation. Baptism is an act of obedience to our Lord, Jesus. It is a symbol and public statement declaring that she has made Jesus Lord of her life.Paul tells us this:

If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved. Romans 10:9-10

Today, I will celebrate the life that my family and I have in Christ because of his death and resurrection. My prayer is that you also can rejoice in knowing that you will spend eternity with Jesus. If you don’t have the assurance, seek Him. He promises to hear us when we call out to Him, and He will forgive your sins and make you as white as snow.

Palm Sunday

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Palm Sunday:

The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,   “Hosanna to the Son of David!”   “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”  “Hosanna in the highest heaven!”  Matthew 21:9

Just Days Later:

“What shall I do, then, with Jesus who is called the Messiah?” Pilate asked. They all answered, “Crucify him!” “Why? What crime has he committed?” asked Pilate. But they shouted all the louder, “Crucify him!” Matthew 71:22-23

Being a follower of Jesus is not a “one day” event. It is not dependent on how you are feeling on a particular day , or how others are influencing you (as it were the case for the crowds on that first Palm Sunday). It is a daily commitment that requires focusing on the mission that Jesus has called us to: denying ourselves, living for Him, and making disciples of all nations so He receives the glory in everything. As we start this holy week, may we meditate on the sacrifice that both God the Father and Jesus made for us 2,000 years ago.

In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 1 John 4:10

True Love

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

May you experience the love of family and friends, but even more importantly, may you know how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ! (Eph 3:18)

Extravagantly Loved

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Today has been a weird day. The past week and a half has actually been a bit off for me. Sick kids, messed up routines, hectic schedules, and the like. So when I got home from church tonight, I played one of my favorite songs – Casting Crowns’ Your Love Is Extravagant.

Then I read today’s devotional on the Proverbs 31 blog. Glynnis Whitwer writes about how John referred to himself as ‘the disciple whom Jesus loved’.  I am also the disciple whom Jesus loves. And, as Paul states, this love is ‘by grace, … it is the gift of God, not a result of works so that no man can boast.’ Eph 2:8-9

I needed that reminder tonight. I needed that fellowship with my Father- a soft place to land where I feel secure and at peace no matter what storms are swirling around me. His love is truly extravagant!

Merry Christmas!

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May you enjoy this wonderful day as we celebrate the birth of our Savior!

 Blessings from Whole to the Core

The Cradle and the Cross

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Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so 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.
Phil. 2:5-11
Jesus came to this earth bloodied,  naked and crying. And He left this earth bloodied, naked and crying. Both his birth and his death were sacrifices.
The sacrifice He made to come to earth meant that he left His home in Heaven to become a helpless and dependent baby only to grow up and face all the challenges we, as humans, encounter today. The purpose? To be a servant while he walked on earth and, in the ultimate act of sacrifice, to die a death that He didn’t deserve- A death that was meant for sinners like me and for you.
So, as we celebrate his birth, let us never overlook the purpose of this miraculous event- a blameless life that led to the cross in order to defeat the sting of death so we may have fellowship with our Creator. Praise be to God for He has done great things!
 
I love the song, “Carry Your Name”. Take a moment to listen and watch. The words to the chorus (below) are simply stated, but oh so true! It reminds me of the extravagant love God has for each and everyone of us and that we, as believers, carry His name.
 
No greater love
God’s only Son
Jesus, Jesus
No other name
Mighty to save
Jesus, Jesus
 

 

 
 
 

Jesus Loves the Little Children

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He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High

will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.

I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my

fortress,my God, in whom I trust.”

Psalm 91:1-2

Thankful for a God who comforts, provides peace, and loves at all times.

Celebrating Advent – The Prophet’s Candle, The Candle of Hope

Today we celebrate the first Sunday of Advent. This week’s candle is called the Prophet’s  Candle, and it represents the hope God gave to His people with the promise of the coming Messiah.

 There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit.
And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him,
the Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
the Spirit of counsel and might,
the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.

Isaiah 11:1-2

There are over 300 Old Testament prophecies fulfilled in Jesus.

Mathematically speaking, here are the odds of any one person fulfilling these 300+ prophecies:

  • 1 person fulfilling 8 prophecies: 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000
  • 1 person fulfilling 48 prophecies: 1 chance in 10 to the 157th power
  • 1 person fulfilling 300+ prophecies: Providence at it’s best!

“The days are coming,” declares the Lord,
    “when I will raise up for Davida righteous Branch,
a King who will reign wisely
    and do what is just and right in the land.
In his days Judah will be saved
    and Israel will live in safety.
This is the name by which he will be called:
    The Lord Our Righteous Savior.

Jeremiah 23:5-6

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Prayers We Didn’t Expect to Pray

I am still fasting from blogging during our church’s 40 Days of Prayer and Fasting, but I felt led to share this story. Just over a week ago, my 4 yr old nephew, John Michael, went in for a CT scan after weeks of headaches. The following morning he was undergoing surgery to remove a brain tumor. We are thankful that the mass is non-cancerous, but we are truly blessed to know that prayers were lifted up to the Lord from all over the globe! Here is a post from Caring Bridge that my sister-in-law wrote just a couple of days ago, and I knew I needed to share it with you:

A week ago today I handed my little boy over to a team of surgeons, anesthesiologists and nurses.  All of my common sense said I should have lost it. But I can truly say that I experienced a peace that passes understanding. For six and half hours, we waited while they worked with skilled hands on our precious boy. I am so thankful for those of you who came to the hospital and prayed and those who prayed from afar. We felt your prayers. God used Dr. Smith and his team to heal my little boy. It is hard to believe it was just a week ago. This week was long and hard but the Lord sustained us. There were moments yesterday where it felt like things were almost ‘normal’ (whatever that looks like)

Overall we had a great day- we did lots of resting. John Michael even played a little bit and worked on his walking. He is ready to be back to normal but I know it will take a while.

Mark is putting up a fence in the backyard so I don’t have to worry about our puppy Lolly getting out. I also know that physical work is part of his therapy in dealing with all this. I know for me this caringbridge site has been a huge help so I know the need to do something.

Please pray for all our strength to return, for peaceful nights- JM is a little off with night and day because of all our time in the hospital, and pray for COMPLETE HEALING! We are so thankful for all your prayers.

My prayer is that during your time of prayer for us that God draws you to himself. I am thankful that I serve a God who sacrificed himself for me. I know that there isn’t any kind of pain that I feel that He hasn’t experienced.  I pray you know this God. We love you all.