Living With a Saturday Mindset


The following piece really touched me this morning. It’s about living with the Saturday mindset. May you be richly blessed and encouraged as you read it.

From InTouch Ministries – http://www.intouch.org

In the Story of Easter, Saturday normally gets lost.
The days (and even the few years) preceding it, however, were filled with amazing events and words. If it were a symphony, it would have all risen to a resounding yet horrific crescendo: the arrest and trial, the scourging and crucifixion, the agony on the cross, the death, the day turning to utter darkness, the ground shaking as if to split the earth, the veil tearing in two . . .
And then, just like the famous pause in Handel’s Messiah, it all comes to a screeching halt. Jesus is buried—and it is all over.
With Jesus gone, the disciples were left with nothing but the memories and His words, neither of which seemed to be affecting them, for they huddled in fear on Saturday, having little faith in what He had promised. The disciples had painted their own picture of who Messiah was supposed to be—a narrative they wanted Him to fulfill.
How many of us believers live with a Saturday mindset—somewhere between the truth of Jesus’ earthly life and the glorious resurrection that validated everything He said and did? It is easy to look at the disciples’ fear and lack of faith on that day and shake our heads. But are we so different, really? Do we have our own plans for God? Do you and I conveniently believe that the best thing for us is that God and everyone else follow our script for the day? Do we get angry when it doesn’t happen?
Do you find yourself speaking words that increasingly convey a lack of hope? Are they words of discouragement, gloom, doom—maybe even despair?
Two choices lie before those of us who live with such a mentality. Either we make the frustrating and futile attempt to get our own way, or we turn and revisit the truth of what God has told us: the truth about Himself and the truth about ourselves; the truth about what He has asked us to do in the disappointment of “Saturday.”
The disciples had not yet received the Holy Spirit. We now have Him in full. They did not have the fullness of God’s Word. We have all of it at ready access. They were living on the other side of the resurrection. We live in its reality.
Because the Truth, dear friends, is that the music will resume. Sunday’s coming! What an awesome Saturday we have been given!
–Del Tackett

Family Memories


1 wedding pic

I wrote this piece a few years ago just before our family celebrated my in-laws 54th Wedding Anniversary. Today we celebrate their 57th Anniversary. Unfortunately, my mother-in-law’s memory and body has failed her, and now she is home-bound. There won’t be an anniversary outing this year, but there will be plenty of love. As you read, consider creating more of your own lasting family memories. They are priceless. 

The Anniversary Dinner (2011)

My Father-In-Law called the other night. He doesn’t usually call to talk to me, but to talk to his son; possibly because of the slight language barrier. My father-in-law is Cuban and although he speaks fluent English, his thick accent makes it hard to understand him sometimes. I have very little in common with my in-laws, and we have butted heads on more than one occasion (politics, childrearing, working moms, etc.)

Monday night was different, however. Gerardo started out by complimenting my cooking (more than usual) and my home, and then he asked me to plan and prepare a very nice anniversary dinner at my home, to include all the children and grandchildren that can be in attendance. My in-laws will be married 54 years this Sunday. So yes, I’m going to jump up and plan something very nice. He asked for an anniversary cake, steaks and whatever special accompaniments I could come up with. He told me to spare no expense. (That’s a major request from a family that celebrates its thriftiness.)

But there was more to the request. There were the unspoken words. Gerardo fears this may be his last anniversary meal with the love of his life. My mother-in-law is just not well. Since their elaborate 50th Wedding Anniversary Celebration, Haydee has suffered 2 major strokes and has other health issues. When I met my future mother-in-law (some 18+ years ago) she was still a vibrant woman, talked a mile a minute and could tell you every detail about her children and grandchildren. She cooked for huge family gatherings, able to feed a small army; a skill she honed because of the duties of being a Pastor’s wife, and raising 5 children. Now her memory is faltering and she can barely warm up prepared food items. He didn’t say it but my father-in-law mourns the changes in his wife and he only wishes to celebrate their life together, possibly this one last time. Heroes come in all sizes. In this case it’s a 79-year-old man planning a special outing for his very best friend – he wants it to be very special.

My children are fortunate; they have had the luxury of knowing both sets of grandparents. I don’t know how long that will last. My father was just diagnosed with cancer. So I’m going to make this evening special.  Children and grandchildren are coming in from out of town to surprise Gerardo and Haydee. The meal is planned. I’m pulling out the good china & wine glasses (when was the last time I did that?), table cloths, linen napkins and the like. I’m grateful I planted flowers on the patio last weekend. Haydee will like that. I have croquet, horseshoes and a lawn chess set to ensure a fun family gathering. I’m charging the batteries to every camera I can find. I’ll probably pick up a few disposable cameras too. After all, it’s not about the food, it’s about family.

Congratulations Mr. & Mrs. Garro, and thank you for the example.

Worship Music – Who Is Blessing Who?


“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent” – Victor Hugo 

Every now and then we all feel spiritually dry. I’ve been struggling with this lately. It seems like God has been quiet and that has affected my writing. At times like these worship is more important than ever. Singing praises to our Lord will connect you to God in a special way. Praising our Lord helps us remember what He has done for us, and who we are In Him. I feel like I am communicating with my Lord in a more perfect an intimate way when I am singing His praises. I want to bless God through the music. To quote Jimmy Needham, “Worship is more than a song.”

The church I attend has a fabulous music ministry. You can be blessed in either traditional or contemporary services. Worship each weekend always glorifies God and helps you connect with our Savior in a warm, personal way. Worship this past Sunday was more special to me than usual. All the music helped me think about our Lord and want to praise Him, but it was the final song that touched me the most. Heather sang out Forever with so much meaning I wanted to cry. I am so thankful for God’s promises to us, and for His victory, expressed during this song.

Singing Forever was an act of worship, but it also refreshed my spirit. It’s one of the great reciprocal benefits of experiencing the Christian life. The more we praise and worship our great God, the more we are blessed.

Psalm 68:4

Sing to God, sing in praise of His name, extol him who rides on the clouds; rejoice before Him—His name is the Lord.

 May you feel His presence through music.

 Special Thanks to the Well Music Team, led by Doug Peak. (FUMC Mansfield, TX)

 

Our Rock


rock-of-gibraltar-8

 Psalm 18:31

For who is God besides Yahweh? And who is a rock? Only our God.

God is referred to a rock in several passages of Scripture; many Psalms refer to God as a rock, fortress, and salvation. I stopped to ponder on the reason for this word selection. We’ve all touched rocks before, but have you stopped to think how the attributes of a rock compare to our great God?

If you consult a geologist you will get additional information about how rocks are formed, how rocks withstand many forces of nature, and the mineral content of rocks. But let’s keep this simple. I think most people can agree that whether large or small, rocks are heavy, hard, solid substances that are basically impenetrable, and can even provide shelter.

Replace that definition with the word “rock” in Psalm 18:31 (and other passages) and we see an expanded picture of our God. Now one might argue that God is spirit, and a rock is solid. But this verse is symbolic. Consider a passage from the New Testament:

1 Corinthians 10:4

and drank the same spiritual drink; for they drank from the spiritual rock that accompanied them, and that rock was Christ. 

 

Our rock is Christ. Always has been, always will be.

May you feel His strength and protection today.

Image: Google Images

Scripture: http://www.biblegateway.com (NIV)

The Answer to Proverbs 4:7 + 1 Corinthians 1:24 = X


Julie Garro:

I love this post and this answer. As many of you know, I’m doing a Wisdom Challenge this year, reading a Proverb every day, so that I will have read the Proverbs 12 times by the end of the year. (Each month I am using a different version of the Bible.) This post, and answer combines the Old and New Testaments and sums this up for us perfectly. Great insight.

Originally posted on God Running:

Bible verse equation answer Proverbs 4:7 1 Corinthians 1:24

Last post I asked you to solve the equation: Proverbs 4:7 + 1 Corinthians 1:24 = X

We had some great responses to this equation in the comments section. In this post I’ll share my own solution.

Bible Verse Equation Answer

Proverbs 4:7 says, “Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.” (NIV) And the same verse in the King James version says, “Wisdom is the principal thing.”

1 Corinthians 1:24 says that Jesus Christ is the wisdom of God.

So from those scriptures I come to this solution: Proverbs 4:7 + 1 Corinthians 1:24 =

Jesus Christ is the principal thing. Get Jesus. Though it cost all you have, get Jesus.

[Image via Johannes Winger-Lang - Creative Commons]

View original

Refreshment at the Water’s Edge


  JesusTeachingFromBoat_01

There is something soothing and refreshing about being near open water. When I need to be alone, or want to think, I prefer to sit near a lake, or walk along the beach. Even a gentle rain refreshes my spirit. It’s not always possible to be near water, but when I can, the presence of water has a powerful and calming effect on me.

I pondered this as I was reading Luke 5:1-11, the passage where Jesus calls his first disciples.

Luke 5:1-11

One day as Jesus was standing by the Lake of Gennesaret, the people were crowding around him and listening to the word of God. He saw at the water’s edge two boats, left there by the fishermen, who were washing their nets.He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little from shore. Then he sat down and taught the people from the boat.

When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into deep water, and let down the nets for a catch.”

Simon answered, “Master, we’ve worked hard all night and haven’t caught anything. But because you say so, I will let down the nets.”

When they had done so, they caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break. So they signaled their partners in the other boat to come and help them, and they came and filled both boats so full that they began to sink.

When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” For he and all his companions were astonished at the catch of fish they had taken, 10 and so were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, Simon’s partners.

Then Jesus said to Simon, “Don’t be afraid; from now on you will fish for people.” 11 So they pulled their boats up on shore, left everything and followed him.

I think Jesus teaching the people from the water’s edge probably had a soothing and comforting effect on them. How refreshing to be near the water and also hear the life-changing teachings of our Lord and Savior. What I find most interesting is that Jesus called his first disciples from the water, and also chose to reward them for their obedience.

Jesus is full of refreshment for the soul, and when we follow Him, He will show us great things.

May you find refreshment for your soul today.

Scripture: www.BibleGateway.com

Image: google images

Living in the Lion’s Den


 daniel_angel_lion

As I have continued studying the book of Daniel, using Beth Moore’s workbook and video, I am amazed at how much more I am learning about God and His protection of us. I think often times we don’t see how He has protected us, perhaps moment-by-moment.

Take Daniel in the Lion’s Den. This is a story we have all probably heard many times. We love the happy ending – the angel shut the mouths of the lions and Daniel was not harmed. It must have been a terrifying night for Daniel, sitting so close to the lions.

We’re all living in a lion’s den to some extent. Consider 1 Peter 5:8, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”

Sometimes we may feel like we are in a lion’s den, but God is close. We may not be able to see Him,  He’s sent His angel to shut the mouth of the lion, even if we can’t see Him.

Psalm 121:7-8   

The Lord will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going  both now and forevermore.

2 Thessalonians 3:3

But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.

2 Samuel 22:3-4

My God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation. He is my stronghold, my refuge and my savior—from violent people you save me. “I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and have been saved from my enemies.

Isaiah 41:10

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 54:17 

No weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me,” declares the Lord.

Psalm 46:1

God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. 

Psalm 91:1-3

Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence.

Psalm 138:7  

Though I walk in the midst of trouble, you preserve my life. You stretch out your hand against the anger of my foes; with your right hand you save me.

 

We may feel like we are spending a terrifying night in the lion’s den, (or maybe a long season of time) but we are not seeing the work God is doing in our behalf – shutting the mouth of the lion.

May you feel God’s Peace.

Daniel, Lives of Integrity, Words of Prophecy, by Beth Moore, Lifeway Publishing, Nashville, TN, 2006

Scripture: www.biblegateway.com

Image: google images.