Encounter With the Cross

A passerby named Simon, who was from Cyrene, was coming in from the countryside just then, and the soldiers forced him to carry Jesus’ cross. (Simon was the father of Alexander and Rufus.) —Mark 15:21 NLT I am quite sure Simon did not expect his visit to Jerusalem would involve carrying a cross. For starters, he lived in Cyrene, a city near the Mediterranean Sea in northern Africa near Egypt. A large population of Jews still lived in this predominantly Greek city, where their ancestors had been sent a couple of centuries earlier by Ptolemy I. So, Simon was probably Jewish and likely visiting Jerusalem for Passover, but he was a stranger in the city and quite literally just passing by, when he was collared […] Read more »

Be Free!

They promise freedom, but they themselves are slaves of sin and corruption. For you are a slave to whatever controls you. —2 Peter 2:19 NLT The very word slave is repugnant. It seems incomprehensible to me that anyone could so devalue human beings as to enslave them and think they can be owned. I’ve been reading a book about slavery in America and have been grieved all over again as I enter into the world of individuals who are abused, neglected, ignored, and demeaned by others. It’s even more horrible to realize that people are still enslaved throughout our world today. Evil disregard of the worth of other human beings is still a reality in this fallen world of ours. No one wants to be […] Read more »

Blessing

May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. —2 Corinthians 13:14 NLT Over one hundred times in our Bibles we find benedictions or “blessings”—beautiful and meaningful prayers inviting God’s favor and protection. One of the kindest, sweetest gifts we can give to one another is to offer a blessing. When my grandchildren lived with us for a year while their Daddy was in Afghanistan, I loved laying my hand on their little heads one at a time on a Sunday night (my night to put them to bed) and saying a blessing over them! I love it when my pastor ends a worship service with a blessing for the congregation. […] Read more »

Cling

I cling to you; your strong right hand holds me securely. —Psalm 63:8 NLT It was time for swimming lessons and my little girl was not having it. She fastened herself around my neck and wrapped her determined toddler legs around my waist and held on for dear life. She stuck to me like glue. Like cling wrap, she melded her little body as close to mine as she possibly could. That water looked scary! Ever been there? Ever faced something so scary that all you could do was cling with all your might to a person or structure that was secure and stable? I’ve gripped a rope pretty tightly in gym class when I was asked to pull myself up to the gym ceiling. […] Read more »

March to Easter Dare 2021 - Bible Study Readings

  Start with prayer, a walk in nature, listening to praise music, and/or singing hymns. Simply “be” with the Lord, in one or more of these ways, worshiping and admiring His creation. Then, settle in for some Bible Time. Grab a journal, a pen and your Bible and read as directed, answering questions in your journal and writing down any thoughts of your own as well.   Bible Reading 1: Isaiah 48-55 Questions: Where do you see Jesus in these chapters? Where do you see evidence of God’s Justice, Love, Faithfulness? Why do you think Isaiah was allowed to “see ahead” and prophesy about this?   Bible Reading 2: Choose one of these gospel readings of the story of Jesus’s crucifixion and resurrection: Matthew 27-28, […] Read more »

March to Easter Dare 2021 Instructions

  Hello friend, Are you ready to "take the dare?" It's HARD to find the time and the motivation to spend 2-6 hours alone with the Lord. It might even feel ... scary. Oh, but you will be SO glad you did! Here's what you need to know:   Preparation for the Day you Choose: Plan a nature walk if you can, as part of your day. Think on where you would go, and make sure it is open to the public. Find a quiet space for your Bible Time. Exchange houses with a friend so you won't feel like you have to "work" in your home, or choose to go to your local library. Ask God to show you where this quiet place should […] Read more »

Life-Giving Sorrow

Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. —2 Corinthians 7:10 NIV I’m not exactly fond of sorrow. I personally prefer happiness. Still … sorrow is inevitable in this world. Therefore, although I’m not fond of it, I’m definitely familiar with it. I suspect you are too. Sorrow comes in all sorts of ways. We grieve the passing of a loved one. We mourn the death of a pet. We see pictures of famine and war and disease … and sorrow fills our hearts as we feel compassion for others. This world is not always a happy place. Hard, sad things happen, and sorrow is the appropriate and natural response. Sometimes sorrow comes because we have […] Read more »