Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Redefining Moment




Christ is risen!  The tomb is empty!  The day is new!   Believe that Jesus will now be with us moment by moment the rest of our lives… for eternity! 

That is joy! 

That is a promise!


Happy Easter!


Friday, March 29, 2013

The Importance of the Moment Part 5

It’s Good Friday.  The first thought I have when I hear it’s Good Friday, I think it’s anything but good knowing what Jesus experienced.  We usually don’t think that any moment that led up to Jesus’ crucifixion were good or beautiful.  There were so many significant moments during the final hours of his life, though.

These moments had to happen: the moment Judas handed Jesus over to the officials, the moment Peter betrayed Jesus, the moment when Jesus had to stand trial before Pilate, the moment the high priests and Jews yelled, “Crucify him!”, the moment he was ridiculed, made fun of, beaten, broken, flogged, spit on and then forced to carry his cross.

Then there was the moment when Jesus was thrown down onto the cross and too weak to stretch his arms out on the cross as the soldier grabbed them, threw them on the wood, and hammered his hands and feet into the cross.

After the cross was raised, the moments before his death must have seemed so long in pain and suffering.  And then the final moment was here and Jesus cries out loud, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit,” and breathed his last breath.


Rembrandt’s “The Three Crosses”


But there is still beauty that led to the cross.  Jesus still experienced moments of love and compassion in the midst of his pain and suffering.

What about the moment when Jesus knew Pilate was on his side, and wanted to set him free, but couldn’t because he trusted deep down what Jesus had to do…

What about the moment Jesus and his mother locked eyes together and he comforted her with love just by the way he looked at her and made sure the disciples would take care of her...

What about the moment when Simon from Cyrene helped Jesus carry the cross when he couldn’t do it by himself anymore…

What about the moment when the man on the cross beside Jesus defended him as they hung there, saying Jesus didn’t deserve to die, and how that must have still brought Jesus joy, knowing they’d be in heaven together soon.

Each moment was a step closer to the beauty of our salvation.

Then after Jesus’ death, moment continued to be part of God’s plan:

The moment when the curtains of the holy temple tore in two from top to bottom.

The moment when the centurion saw the temple divide and praised God saying, “Surely this was the righteous Son of God!”.

The moments his followers, over the next two days, thought it was over. Now what?

And what about the moment, only God knew, that was about to happen…Jesus’ resurrection!

Every moment in life counts.  God’s Word makes that very clear, filled with promises that each moment in Scripture, and in our lives today, are all part of His plan. 

May this holy Friday, and the promise of Jesus’ resurrection, be filled with moments that remind you of his redeeming and relentless love for you.


5-minute-friday-1 It’s also Five Minute Friday and today’s word is “broken”.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

The Importance of the Moment this Holy Week Part 4

The importance of the moment the day before Jesus’ crucifixion was the Last Supper where Jesus foreshadows and explains the significance of glorifying God when sharing bread and wine together in His Name. All of the gospels include this event because it becomes the epic holy reminder of Jesus’ body broken and blood shed for our redemption.

But unlike the others, John includes the beautiful words Jesus prays to God, with his friends, one last time before he is seized by the high officials. It was the last moment they had to pray together. Jesus used this final moment with them talking to his Father, praying for Himself, for his disciples and for future believers. What an intimate moment.

In this great prayer, Jesus returns repeatedly to the request for the community of believers to be unified with him and each other. He is being vulnerable and exposing his heart’s deep desires.

“Father, I long for the time when those You have given Me can join Me in My place so they may witness My glory, which comes from You. You have loved me before the foundation of the cosmos were laid.” (John 17:24).

Did you catch that? Jesus longs to be with “those you have given Me.”   Those = you and me.       You are a gift God gives to Jesus.

Jesus deeply loved the people he interacted with and taught and he longed to be with them again soon because he loved them so much. He has that same love for the coming generations of believers, too…which includes us.

Jesus also prayed for his disciples. He asks for them to have the same full measure of joy that he has. He asks for them to be immersed in the same truth His voice speaks. He says his prayer is not to take them out of the world, but that He will protect them from the evil one. And he prays for their protection: “protect them by the power of Your Name.” His Name. In Exodus 3:14 God says His name is “I AM”. “I AM WHO I AM” He is saying, “I AM EVERYTHING YOU NEED” During his time on earth, Jesus said his name I AM over and over.

I AM the Way
I AM the Truth
I AM the Life
I AM the Vine
I AM the Living Water
I AM the Light
I AM the Good Shepherd
I AM the Living Bread
I AM the Lamb of God
I AM your Sacrifice
He is the sacrifice for our sins and tomorrow, Good Friday, sacrifice will have a whole new meaning. It was the moment in time that changes everything. It was the moment that will never be forgotten.

(And I know this is kind of a random question, but did Jesus give each of his disciples one last hug before they left that upper room? I want to think so…considering how much he loved them. I can’t imagine the emotions he must have been feeling that moment.)

Today, let us remember that God had this all worked out from before time. Let us remember how He shows us the necessity it is to share our deepest longings with Him and people close to us that we trust.
Let us remember that He is everything that we need.

(I recommend reading all of Jesus’ prayer in John 17.)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Importance of the Moment this Holy Week Part 3

Jesus was with his closest friends for the last time before his crucifixion in that Upper Room.  This was the last moment he had to emphasize what he wanted them to know for sure and what he wanted them to do after he was gone.

Jesus is fully conscious of the importance of the moment”.*

He knew the time had come for him to leave this earth and go to his Father. He knew Satan was about to enter and start the ball rolling to his betrayal and impending death yet, Jesus is completely aware of who he is.

If there were two things Jesus wanted to be engrained in their hearts, they were to love and serve

So, he gets on his knees and does the job that the lowliest of all lowliest of the culture did:  He washed their feet.   He lowered himself as much as he could, except maybe on his birth day when He, God, became flesh in this messy world.


Jesus Washing Apostles’ Feet by Del Parson 

The footwashing foreshadows the self-degradation of the hideous means of death.  Jesus speaks in a way that gets Peter’s attention: ‘Unless I wash you, your have no part with me.’ (John 13:8)  Jesus is emphatic that he must do the washing.  Dirty feet are a symbol of the need for the deeper cleansing of the cross.  The image of baptism merges with the image of the cross.” 

“After Jesus had washed some of the other disciples’ feet, Peter remains true to his character to the end.  In typical overreaction Peter displays his lack of understanding in his resistance and in his exuberance.  Peter says to Jesus, ‘Then, Lord,…not just my feet but my hands and my head as well’ (John 13:9)  In response to Peter Jesus essentially says, ‘Peter, it is not the washing of your body that is the issue here.  It is the deeper washing of your guilt that I came to deal with.  Only I can do that. 

Now read that again and put your name in the place of Peter.

"Jesus is doing this out of love.  And being a servant is the gift of love.  “A servant focuses far more on the needs of other than on his or her own.”  Jesus was showing his willingness to see the others’ needs. “Service requires self-sacrificeServant-hood is death to selfBeing a servant is contrary to our nature, requiring personal crucifixion.  Being a servant is the opposite of being full of self.

Jesus was using this last moment to be an example of how he wanted his friends to be: to serve God and serve His people with love…to show our love for God by loving others with a servant heart.  “He was conscious of the importance of the moment.”

Am I conscious of the importance of “the moments” in our lives for us to share our personal story of how our lives have been renewed because of what Jesus did for us on the cross?  Am I conscious of the moments when we have opportunities to wash other peoples’ feet with a love?  

That’s something to pray about and ponder as the cross draws nearer…

Lord, I want to love and serve each moment like you did.


*Quotes are taken from author Greg Ogden’s book Discipleship Essentials .  I thought he shared it just.right.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

The Importance of the Moments this Holy Week Part 2

In this moment, as I sit down the type, I have to slide over because the glare of the sun on my computer screen is almost blinding.  I thank God for this moment of morning sunlight, especially because it’s seemed to have been so cloudy and gray lately.



This week, reflecting on the days right before Jesus’ death, I’m drawn to the story of the woman with the alabaster jar of perfume.  This woman was Mary (the Mary whose sister is Martha) and yet still a woman “who had lived a sinful life”.  She was about to experience a moment in her life that would change it forever. 

This women encountered a moment of sacredness.  It was that moment where she was vulnerable, on her knees and not even knowing that what she was doing for Jesus must have been one of the most holy moments He experienced while on earth.


  Artist : Wayne Forte

When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37 A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume.38 As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.”  (Luke 7:37-39 NIV)


Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? 5 It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages[a] and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly.

6 “Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 7 The poor you will always have with you,[b] and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. 8 She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial.” (Mark 14:3-8 NIV)


She was helping prepare him for his burial after his sacrifice.  Back then, when someone died, before they were buried, they were covered with scented oils.  They were expensive oils, too.  She was giving him the gift of ALL she had saved.

She gave him the gift of her tears confessing her sin and even more her love for him. She was not a person of prestige in her community.  She was a common woman, who had sinned in her life (hmmm…can’t we relate to that?), helping prepare Jesus, who will be sacrificed and killed.  Jesus knew thatJesus loved her for who she was and he loved every second of this holy moment as tears rolled down her cheeks into her hair as she wiped his feet with it.  It makes me wonder if a holy tear rolled down Jesus’ face too because it meant so much to him that she was doing this from the depths of her heart.

He saw what she was doing as a beautiful moment.  He saw her beauty within through her tears.  It was a moment in his life that made him feel loved.  He feels the same way with us when we get on our knees and give our all to him from the depths of our hearts.  Lord, I want to be like that woman who gave all she had and I want you to feel my love for you, too…

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Importance of the Moment this Holy Week Part 1

Do you try to live “in the moment”? There are different opinions on how to define that phrase, but I see it as living where you are Right. Now. Many times it’s enjoying what is happening at that time. It’s the moment when the score of the basketball game is tied with only .5 seconds left in the game and the shot is taken and (what seems like forever in slow motion) it swishes in the basket to win the game! It’s the moment of a friend’s special birthday and doing something crazy to celebrate it.

It’s the moment of making a decision that will allow you to overcome an obstacle. It’s the moment of crossing that finish line.

Over 2000 ago, Jesus lived in the moment. All the time. He knew every moment counted for eternity.

Artist: Octavio Ocampo

Our family is reading a book during Lent. It depicts what it would have been like the final days of Jesus’ life from the perspective of a 12 year old Jewish boy. Up until now, he didn’t accept or want to believe the stories that had been buzzing around Jerusalem about this rabbi named Jesus. But one afternoon there was so much commotion outside. He was on a bridge with his two friends, one who believed his teachings were true, looking down and seeing hundreds of people waving palm branches as Jesus rode on a donkey into the city. “Hosanna to the King!” the people cheered, waving those branches. Jesus and the people were all living in the moment; but that can be seen two different ways.
Jesus was living in the moment because he knew what was soon to come. He treasured one of these last moments he’d have with the people who followed him. Their rejoicing was a gift from them to him.

The people were living in the moment, too. But sometimes we have to be careful during times like that because when something exciting is happening, emotions can sweep us up for the moment – but just for the moment. I quote what the author wrote in our story,

Sometimes it’s easy for us to be moved by emotions at a church service, at camp, or even when talking with friends. But being emotional about Jesus isn’t the same as having a relationship with him. It takes more. It takes a willingness to let him be Lord of your life, which means giving up all you selfishness.

When you live only by occasional experiences that bring emotion, like that parade in Jerusalem, – “it can’t sustain a relationship with Jesus for very long.” There has to be more that than. When you have a relationship with the Lord, then those moments are holy ones which only bring you closer to Him.

Artist: Fred Stratton

Each day this week, I want to reflect on Jesus’ week before his crucifixion and resurrection. Jesus used each moment of his life to serve and to love. We should all try to see each moment of life as a way to serve and to love and to give Him thanks.

So, each day this week let’s focus on some of “the moments” that were so significant to Jesus’ final days that affect our lives today.

Rejoicing and waving branches at Jesus for these gifts last week:
#1286 this Holy Week to remember
#1287 eating at a new restaurant with friend
#1288 hearing and sharing dreams and challenges
#1289 rain held off at soccer game
#1290 gift found in women – running/walking/obstacle climbing to support breast cancer research and having fun at it with friends

#1291 crazily living in the moment and making lasting memories
#1292 playing in the mud

#1293 my college roommate all four years and celebrating her birthday 20 years later.
#1294 gift found in women – the heart for each other in friendship

#1295 gift found in women – strength

#1296 my hubby being my biggest cheerleader
#1297 gift spoken – humbling hearing 2 people speak to me about my writing
#1298 gift spoken – the words our daughter spoke at the church Easter play at church

#1299 gift spoken – the story of how the young girls in the play, and everyone young and old, who heard and learned about Jesus, Peter, the cross and forgiveness

#1300 Gran and granddaughter, DM and grandson, hubby and wife all have special time together Saturday

#1301 parents and niece coming to see our daughter in the play at church and their safe return home in the snow.

Friday, March 22, 2013

An engraved word in my vocabulary


Joining in today with Five Minute Friday and today’s word is





Remember is such an engrained word in my vocabulary.

Several years ago I look up how many times “remember” is in the Bible (167).  It’s my passion to encourage older adults to remember their stories so I can create a book for them.  It’s a “re-“ word (l love words that start with re-!).  Loosing my memory when I become older is a fear of mine because in my former career I worked with people who had memory loss.  Journaling is a way to remember our heartfelt journey.  We love to remember times ago filled with joy and laughter, and also times that were not so joyful but can look back on and see how they were overcome.   I need simple reminders daily of God’s goodness and grace.

God wants us to remember.  (And I must believe that deep down in the hearts of believers who loose their memory have not forgotten Him.)

God wants us to never forget His sacrifice of His Son for us.  There’s only one more week of Lent and I want to make this one count.  I want to remember what Jesus did on the cross and never let that memory slip away.



As I mentioned before, I do enjoy spending time with older and wiser people that me and having them remember their stories.  If you’re interested in learning more about writing your life or faith story click here.


I hope you have a joy-filled weekend to remember!



Wednesday, March 20, 2013

This first day of spring…

On this first day of spring, let’s thank Him for the arrival of new life!


new life

Monday, March 18, 2013

A Startling Imprint

I jumped, startled when I heard a loud thump.  As I squinted to look at the almost blinding- bright kitchen window, I saw a cardinal bird flutter away.


There’s a bird feeder right in front of our kitchen window and this wasn’t the first time a bird had flown, or better word – smacked- into this window.  But never before has one left an imprint like this.


I got out of my seat and ran to look out the window to see if the bird had been stunned, lying on the ground, but I didn’t see it anywhere.  All that was left was the proof that it really happened.

I looked closely at the imprint and I was intrigued how detailed the marks were.  I could see a beautiful pattern of wispy strokes from the wings.  I could even see the tuff or “crown” from the top of the bird’s head.  The imprint looked so delicate, feather-like (well it was a bird), even though it hit that window with such a hard impact.


It left a lasting impression. 

That morning event happened a couple of months ago and the imprint is still there.  It reminded me of good ‘ole Thomas, one of Jesus’ disciples.  It is relevant to the quickly approaching Easter.  After Jesus’ resurrection he doubts Jesus’ resurrection if it really happened.

So the other disciples were saying to him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” (John 20:25 NASB)

Jesus has those thick, iron nail imprints of salvation and redemption on his hands. They prove forgiveness, victory and love.

Do I have to keep having proof of his promises?

{Jesus} is the reflection of God’s glory and the exact imprint of God’s very being, and he sustains all things by his powerful word. When he had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high (Hebrews 1:3 NRSV)

Don’t we want that imprint on our souls, on our being?

It has made me ask myself many times since then…

Are my imprints gentle, beautiful, intricate, long-lasting and full of grace?

Or are my imprints blurry or harsh, dull, shallow or easily washed away and forgotten?

“How do I make an imprint in someone’s life?  Have I ever?  In a good way or not so good way?  Who has left an imprint on my heart?  Do I just flutter around with no impact, or do I intentionally try to make an impact?  Am I trying to make an impact to give myself credibility or try to make an impact for kingdom purposes?  Those are all questions everyone should ask themselves every so often.

We all make imprints on peoples’ lives whether we realize it or not. What kind of imprints am I leaving on people in my life?  What imprints has God put in my life?

I am not ashamed with the imprints God has given me because they remind me of His grace.  I have the imprint of losing some of my vision to remind me that he carried me through brain surgery and if it weren’t for that, I might be like Thomas and have trouble believing.  I have an imprint on my hand where I was run over by my car to remind me that I need to slow down and “just be” more often.  I have imprints (and stretch marks) to remind me daily of how our children are a gift to us and I have friendships that have left imprints of joy on my heart. 

Even a bird that left an imprint on the kitchen window left an imprint in my mind.

What imprints have you made? What imprints have others given you?  What imprints have God given you?  Ponder that the next time you see a cardinal fly by. 



Thanking God for:

#1273  imprint on the kitchen window that imprinted my soul

#1274  grace for dirty windows

#1275  daughter finally understanding long division

#1276  a quote I’m still pondering

#1277  94 year young woman’s book ordered

#1278  75* Saturday

#1279  unexpected, God-planned evening with friends

#1280  serving dinner to tons of youth and their leaders

#1281  gift hung – scripture given as gift from friend

#1282  gift folded – four loads of laundry complete

#1283  gift gift turned – head turning to look out the window as I type to see titmouse and bluebirds checking out the bird house to nest in this spring.



#1284  sign of new life on a cold and dreary day

#1285  meeting set to start new project

Friday, March 15, 2013

Will you rest on this promise?


God is:

Rescuer of our lives,

Redeemer of our souls,

Relinquisher of our fears,

Reviver of our hearts,

Revealer of the Truth

Reaffirmer of His Promises,

Restorer of our faith,

Renewer of our minds,

and I Rest in Your love.


Happy Friday!  I’m joining in with Five Minute Friday and today’s word is:

REST…a word that is

I hope you have a weekend full of rest and rejoicing for the promise of spring right around the corner.


Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Be content so we are not always stretched to the limit

1 john 17

I did not forget to record my joys earlier this week, even though I had a life lesson learned from a pretty messed up night.   But as a friend reminded me not long ago:

God is good all the time and all the time, God is good.” 

And we are to give thanks all the time and all the time, we are to give thanks.

So being content, dwelling and thanking….

#1258  gift in kitchen - The sun rising and shining through the daffodils on the kitchen table.




#1259  finding God’s promises in tiny, wet crumbs of paper the went through the washing machine


#1260  lesson learned from – our heater and hot water heater broken, a kitchen counter and floor covered in flour to clean up, a washing machine filled with wet crumbs of paper stuck to all the clothes and wall.

#1261  gift in kitchen – daughter learning how to use a blender, even if there’s a BIG mess of flour everywhere to clean up!


#1262  gift to kitchen – cabinets scrubbed and Murphy oiled

#1263  our friend and the many other people in the U.S. military who help protect us.


#1264  gift bent – on knees praying for and with our dear friends

#1265  the children praying out loud for our dear friends

#1266  homemade deep dish pizza

#1267  gift broken – friends’ vulnerability so we could pray for them

#1268  son’s Battle of the Book team wins championship for ABSS!

Battle of Books champs

#1269  gift read : “God wants us to be content so we are not always stretched to the limit.”

#1270  gift read: memorizing Romans 1:19-20  “since what may have been known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.  For since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities – his eternal power and divine nature – have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” (how convicting!)

#1271   gift read: emails of two people interested in creating life and faithbooks.

#1272  lunch with college friends that included lots of laughter

Monday, March 11, 2013

When things happen in threes

The saying “Things happen in threes” really happens…at least it did for us.  Last week, we arrived home after having been gone almost all day, to discover it was only 64*… inside…while it was only 30-something* with an even colder wind chill on that extremely windy day.  The heating system was broken.

But that’s OK because we were able to schedule a time for the next day to have it fixed and made the most of it by lighting a fire in the fireplace (which we really should do more often anyway because it makes for good snuggle time).  So my daughter and I decide to make some homemade zucchini bread.  She’s enjoying baking and cooking these days, so she made the delicious bread all by herself (with a little bit of my supervision).

While she was putting ingredients in the mixing bowl, I was taking clothes out of the dryer so I could put in the load of clothes in the washing machine.  All of a sudden in the kitchen I heard, “Oh no!”  I turn my head to see in the kitchen what looked like part of the snow storm happening in Virginia had dropped some if it in our kitchen.  Flour was EVERYWHERE including all over my daughter!  All we could do was laugh. (and she wouldn’t let me take a picture of herself!)


So two down.  First the heater, then the mixer mess.  As I mentioned, things happen in threes.  So, while my daughter is wiping the flour off the counter, I open the washing machine to transfer the clothes into the dryer.  All of a sudden I gasped and like my daughter said, “Ohhh noooo!” (you know the drawn out kind...and I admit it could’ve said something else but my child was just 15 feet away).


There were hundreds of little, wet pieces of paper stuck to every piece of clothing and all on the inside wall of the machine. At first, I did not know what in the world it was.  After taking a few of the clothes out, I uncover a thick wad of soaked paper and it dawned on me what it was.  It was a large-print, Upper Room devotional, paperback book that I was planning to deliver to a lady at the skilled care retirement community the next day.


So, strike three! 

As the kitchen sits there with flour still everywhere, I began picking the tiny papers off the clothes.  Not much later, I was at the point where I started shaking the clothes aggressively out of frustration, with paper flying everywhere as the tiny pieces flurried down to the cold, tile floor.


As I was grumbling how I couldn’t believe all of this had happened on one night, I continued to pick up the wet paper and noticed words jumping out at me:

“…the ransom Jesus…price Christ paid…”


and simply “Jesus” lying on my son’s sweatshirt proclaiming Jeremiah 29:11


and the word “difficult”.


Life can feel like it’s been torn into little shreds or scattered every which way.  Life may feel like we’re tumbling around and around in a cycle, not able to see a way out or get our heads above the water.  Maybe we need the dirt and grime removed from our heart and eyes so we can see why we ended up where we did. 



Maybe I needed to be reminded of the ransom and the price Jesus paid on the cross for the purchase of my salvation.  Maybe I need to be reminded, this Lenten season, of the blood Jesus shed for me as he was slain as a sacrifice to rescue us.

Worthy are You, (Jesus)…for You were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God.”   (Revelation 5:9 ESV)   

But God promises us that light will appear at the end of the cycle; in the midst of it there is cleansing. 

But if we live in the light—just as he is in the light—then we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies (cleanses) us from every sin. (1 John 1:7 ESV)

David says in Psalm 51:7 “…wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.”

He ransomed us to wash away our stains to reveal to us his glory.  All we need to do is call out his Name.  Jesus, the Living Water, the All in All and the Giver of himself as our Ransom, is in the middle of all our dirt and mess. He allows us to go through cycles to cleanse us, even though it makes life difficult. We are cleansed for a purpose…to be more like Christ.