All posts in Investing in Easter

Startled by Christ

My pastor is taking four weeks to savor Isaiah 52-53. I’m so glad.

It seems that each year, Easter sneaks up on me. Not Christmas. I’m fully aware of that celebration from about October 1st thanks to retailers.

No, Easter is muted by the Easter Bunny, and sweets and hunts, and eggs.

The real meaning is profound.

Take Isaiah 52:13-15 written 700+ years before Christ:

“Behold my servant shall act wisely, he shall be high and lifted up, and shall be exalted. As many were astonished at you–his appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance, and his form beyond that of the children of mankind–so shall he sprinkle many nations. Kings shall shut their mouths because of him, for that which has been told them they see, and that which they have not heard they understand.”

I would like you to take a closer look at the word sprinkle. In the Old Testament, blood was sprinkled on the altar to make atonement. In fact, Moses even sprinkled blood on the people and they were glad. (Exodus 24) They knew they needed a covering for their sin.

But that word has a double meaning. It also means startled.

Christ startled many with His teachings. Remember when He visited the temple at the ripe old age of twelve? The teachers were astounded by Him. And all through His life, people were amazed at His wisdom, not to mention the miracles He performed to authenticate His deity.

This last Sunday, our pastor asked if we as a congregation were startled by Christ. Astounded. Awestruck. Amazed.

I knelt at the front of our little church because that is my desire, to dive into the gospel of Jesus Christ–His life, death, resurrection, and kingship.

How about you? Care to join me?

It begins with desire. Ask Him. Wait on Him. Read His loving Words to You. Talk with Him.

And be startled.

Here is a link to the website. Invest time in the message to renew your love for Christ.

http://christcommunitychurchofmountairy.org/

Beneath the Cross of Jesus

 

As I prepared to sing the night before Palm Sunday, I glanced up at the cross hung which on our bedroom wall. Tom and I received it as a wedding gift from a soldier of the Clearwater Salvation Army Corp. It’s a beautiful piece of art, made by Art Fielgley.

He fashioned redwood, walnut, and birds eye maple into a stunning representation of the cross of Christ.

In the 32 years of our marriage, often it’s been in a closet or a back room. But when we had our farm house built, Tom hung it above his dresser. I have a perfect view of it from my side of the bed.

Through 32 years of marriage, and children, and caregiving, and life, I’ve lived beneath His cross even though it lay packed in a box. The cross of His forgiveness. The cross of His suffering. The cross of His love.

For me, the cross represented repentance and humbling–not just one time, but daily. When I’m impatient, or angry, or gossip or lie, I remember the cross and it brings me to my knees.

You’ve only got a day until Easter. Why not bask in the cross of our risen Savior? Search the pages of Scripture for the hows and whys and then worship.

Here are the lyrics of the song I sang yesterday. Crawl beneath His cross. It’s both a safe and wonderful place to be.

Beneath the cross of Jesus
I find a place to stand,
And wonder at such mercy
That calls me as I am;
For hands that should discard me
Hold wounds which tell me, “Come.”
Beneath the cross of Jesus
My unworthy soul is won.

Beneath the cross of Jesus
His family is my own-
Once strangers chasing selfish dreams,
Now one through grace alone.
How could I now dishonor
The ones that You have loved?
Beneath the cross of Jesus
See the children called by God.

Beneath the cross of Jesus-
The path before the crown-
We follow in His footsteps
Where promised hope is found.
How great the joy before us
To be His perfect bride;
Beneath the cross of Jesus
We will gladly live our lives.

 

 

 

 

God’s Not Dead

In a world that might make ancient Rome blush, it’s refreshing to find a movie that is relevant, entertaining, and thought-provoking.

My sister-in-law sent me money for my 55th birthday, so Tom and I decided to head out early to a tapas restaurant and see a movie. Noah had already started, so we opted for God’s Not Dead. I’m really glad. I don’t think Noah will be my kind of movie even though it stars Russell Crow, one of my favorites.

After I got home, I couldn’t stop thinking about the movie. We went in Mom’s room to hang out before we went to bed, and turned to channel 378 on DirecTV–the NRB Network. A Christian and an atheist were debating about the existence of God. It seemed like the storyline for the movie just continued from the theatre to my house.

God must laugh at our debates.

But He won’t laugh long.

One day, He will pour out His wrath on mankind for their stubborn disobedience and inconceivable arrogance.

Those of us who believe in God and understand grace don’t boast about being smarter or more righteous. As I understand more about God’s grace, it makes me bow low. Humbles me and amazes me. That He loves me. That He died for me.

The true story of Easter. An actual historical event. Jesus stepped into time.

For today’s Lent song, why don’t you listen to this song sung by Selah about our wonderful, merciful, Savior.

No, God’s Not Dead. He’s waiting. For you.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gQzrqmcwg8o[/youtube]

 

He Lives Because of Eye Witnesses and BTW, in My Heart

My pastor, David Brady is stuck on I Cor. 15 and I’m glad.

He’s been challenging my thinking and helping me consider the resurrection of Christ with fresh eyes.

I’m trying to sing my way through Lent to prepare my heart for Easter, and tonight, I soloed in the shower. My repertoire consisted of “The Longer I Serve Him,” to “The King is Coming,” and “He Lives.”

My pastor from Christ Community Church of Mt. Airy, NC reviewed “He Lives.” His only problem (if you can call it that), is with “you ask me how I know He lives? He lives within my heart.”

That’s true. He lives in my heart. But that’s not how I know He lives. That’s David’s point.

We’re back to I Cor. 15. Paul names the eye witnesses. Look it up. 500+ people saw Christ over a 40-day period and were willing to die for it.

We don’t just hope Christ is resurrected at Easter and have a warm, fuzzy, feeling, kind of like the Easter Bunny, or Santa Claus. We have an actual historical event, backed up by eye witness testimonies with several original manuscript confirming His death and resurrection.

Easter is really the apex of history.

And just like Easter was foretold in both the Old Testament and New Testament, His return is also imminent. A future event.

I can’t wait!

Are you ready?

Perhaps the reason Mr. Ackley used the lyrics, “You ask me how I know He lives, He lives within my heart,” was because “You ask me how I know He lives? He lives because (for you music people a VERY LONG Bird’s eye) He appeared to Cephas, then the twelve, then to 500 brothers at one time, and James, and to all the apostles, and one untimely born (all on one note)AND (big crescendo) He lives within my heart,” was a little too long.

Like this sentence.

Hallelujah! He lives!

Sing along with Alan Jackson and worship my friend.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mRi3l_pIKOA&list=RDmRi3l_pIKOA#t=0[/youtube]

 

 

 

My New Rocks

A few years ago I wrote two articles titled, “Go Back to the Rocks.” I got the idea from the patriarchs. Whenever God worked miraculously in their lives, they built a rock pile.

So I wondered what would happen if I did the same. If every time the Lord spoke into my life through a life-changing event, or a thoughtful person, or a bizarre circumstance that could never have happened without divine intervention, I literally piled up a heap of rocks? My life would resemble a quarry.

But I don’t do that so I forget.

I fret and worry and doubt Him.

Not this weekend. My son got married to a lovely young woman. Rock. Tom and I and my daughter and her husband stayed with a friend who lives on the beach. She wasn’t even invited to the wedding! (It was small.) And she bought me a rather large gift card to my favorite coffee place. Rock.

The week before that, I met a woman in Bible Study Fellowship and asked her to go for a cheap lunch. She already had a lunch date but asked if we could take a rain check until the next week.

I frowned. “It’s not that I don’t want to go to lunch with you. I just need to reevaluate my BSF attendance. It’s so far and gas is so expensive. Plus, it takes me away from our farm for several hours a week.”

I attended the following week and met with some of the ladies for a cheap lunch. On my way out, the lady I’d asked dropped a card into my purse. It contained a $100 gas card. Rock.

My friends in Florida hosted the rehearsal dinner and drove me around. Another bought my lunch. In North Carolina, Tom and I found a church family and pastor that loves and accepts and ministers to us like we’d been there for decades. We have a home and chickens and dogs and kittens and crops.

Rock. Rock. Rock. Rock.

Then there’s always how the Lord answers my prayers. How He leads me to pray for humility, then I don’t get any writing jobs and have to clean up chicken poop and hear sermons about humility and have someone slight me and then I read a Scripture passage that might as well have “Dear Pauline” before it.

The older I get, the more I’m amazed at God’s tender care for me.

When I don’t deserve one bit of it.

It reminds me of a passage from 2 Samuel 7 where God shares His plans for David. It’s called the Davidic Covenant. David is wowed. Verse 18 says this:

Then King David went in and sat before the Lord and said, ‘Who am I, O Lord God, and what is my house, that you have brought me thus far?’”

Who am I? was all I could think about this weekend.

As the Lent seasons continues, Who am I? resounds even more.

Meditate on those rocks, friend.

They’re everywhere.

If you’d like to read my Rock article, I’ll post the link after this amazing Casting Crowns song.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VU_rTX23V7Q[/youtube]

http://mtlmagazine.com/article/go-back-to-the-rocks/