Spring with God

Jesus said to his disciples:
I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts away every branch of mine that doesn’t produce fruit. But he trims clean every branch that does produce fruit, so that it will produce even more fruit. 3 You are already clean because of what I have said to you.

4 Stay joined to me, and I will stay joined to you. Just as a branch cannot produce fruit unless it stays joined to the vine, you cannot produce fruit unless you stay joined to me. 5 I am the vine, and you are the branches. If you stay joined to me, and I stay joined to you, then you will produce lots of fruit. But you cannot do anything without me. 6 If you don’t stay joined to me, you will be thrown away. You will be like dry branches that are gathered up and burned in a fire.

7 Stay joined to me and let my teachings become part of you. Then you can pray for whatever you want, and your prayer will be answered.”      John 15:1-7 (CEV)

Spring with the budding of trees and flowers has brought color to my yard. After the winter, which was very harsh in some parts of the country, spring is a wonderful rebirth. I am not going to pretend to be a horticulturist as I share what I do know from growing up around a farm.

Pruning. There is a process of cutting or pruning plants back so that they may produce more fruit and not just leaves. If you’ve ever seen an apple or peach orchard, the trees are planted far enough apart so they are able to receive ample sunlight and rain. Weak branches are trimmed to allow for more growth on strong, stable branches.

Rain. I remember my mother praying for rain and also praying for the rain to stop. It is a delicate balance in raising crops. It is wonderful to smell a spring rain. It is not so wonderful to feel the rage of the rain that comes with a hurricane.

Sunlight. Have you ever had a night of worry as you watched your child who was ill? The minutes seem to creep along, almost as if an hour had twice as many minutes. And then the sky seems to slowly lighten. The sun begins as an orange sphere which comes over the horizon. It is so powerful in it’s light, even burning off fog until a new day begins with hope and healing.

Grafting. It is an interesting thing to see what happens when two plants are crossed. Take a tangerine and a grapefruit together and it becomes a tangelo, larger than a tangerine but without the bitterness of a grapefruit. Jesus called all to come into the sheepfold He has prepared.

As I look back on the last ten years I can see many difficult times of pruning. It was often a very painful process. But when I look what I was producing, doing for God’s Kingdom, 10-15 years ago I know I now have a better focus and my ears are tuned for God’s voice. I want to be connected with Jesus. I want to follow His commands and footsteps. And His love and forgiveness are gifts I receive with an open heart.

Answered prayer. Yes, it comes more often not because God has become more lenient but because I have learned to ask for what is in His heart that will bless me. I am learning how wonderful it is to grow in God’s garden and be fed with His Living Water and Fresh Bread.

In the Garden written by C. Austin Miles & sung by Alan Jackson

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His Family Works Together

It is truly wonderful when relatives live together in peace.
2 It is as beautiful as olive oil poured on Aaron’s head and running down his beard and the collar of his robe.
3 It is like the dew from Mount Hermon, falling on Zion’s mountains, where the Lord has promised to bless his people with life forevermore. Psalm 133 (CEV)

Jesus asked, “Who is my mother and who are my brothers?”34 Then he looked at the people sitting around him and said, “Here are my mother and my brothers.35 Anyone who obeys God is my brother or sister or mother.” Mark 3:33-35 (CEV)

The devotion today is one of those “no-brainers” I often hear from God. There is nothing I hear Him say that I question or argue…until I apply it in my daily life.

God is my Father. I am His child. My brothers and sisters are all who obey Him. Jesus made that pretty simple text, didn’t He? It is a wonderful thing to run into a sister/brother I’ve yet to meet in Costa Rica or Debrecen, Hungary. It is not about their name which sparks a feeling of familiarity but the knowing of the same Father and the same Son who was sent to save us both. It is standing in a place of worship and hearing a familiar tune like How Great Thou Art, and even if the words are in a different language, we sing the same love to the same Father.

The psalmist speaks about what a beautiful sight it is to see brothers and sisters working together in harmony. And here is where we, the children, seem to habitually drive God’s train off the rails with our petty bickering and jealousies. Like Jesus’ disciples, we bicker about who is the favorite child; who has their doctrines and beliefs the “most right” or righteous.

One day, shortly after my son, James was born, I heard the raised voices of my then almost 8-year-old twins. As I struggled to my post-operative feet and made my way out to the living room, I beheld my daughter holding her baby brother as tightly as she could while her twin brother had hold of the blanket swaddling James and one of his arms. They were playing tug-of-war on who was going to hold the new baby brother!

We in Christ’s Church spend too much time doing the same thing to Jesus! “We have Him in our on fire, Spirit-filled church!” – “No, we have Him in our Bible-believing church!”

This week there is a group of pastors meeting iin a retreat center who do not all belong to the same denomination. They aren’t coming together to argue or convince each other. They aren’t coming together because they all worship the same. They aren’t going to draft out some homogenized, lukewarm initiative. They are coming together to encourage each other and pray for each other. They are coming together to offer each other a hand of friendship. My husband is there at this retreat. Over the years, Henry has been blessed to be a friend to several pastors. God has graciously given Henry an opportunity to listen and pray and encourage these men and women. They know he can and will keep a confidence. And so it is no surprise to see how God has led him to this group of shepherds.

I believe one of the characteristics that marks the presence of God is a unity. God comes to dwell with those who let go of their own agendas and egos and keep their eyes on their Commander-in-Chief. They are truly God’s Army when they march to His cadence and follow His plan.

God’s blessings fall upon all His children. Let us rejoice in the Army of God and be open to the opportunities He creates for us to reach out our hands and take the hand of another brother and sister. Let us work together, encourage each other and utilize each other in gifts and service. Those who are lost will come into the fold when they see it as a place of safety and healing because we are washing the feet of each other as Jesus did.

Behold How Good and Pleasant It Is from Shalom Jerusalem with Paul Wilbur

Posted in Mark, Psalms | 1 Comment

I AM

[reprinted from September 14, 2010]

Moses said to God, “Behold, when I come to the children of Israel, and tell them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you;’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ What should I tell them?”

God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM,” and he said, “You shall tell the children of Israel this: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”      Exodus 3:13-14 (WEB)

Have you ever wondered why God calls Himself “I AM”? Obviously, God could call Himself whatever He wanted to call Himself! The name does not give much in the way of description, does it?

It occurs to me as I consider the phrase “I AM” that it gives me a clue about God and one of His great mysteries – time. As a finite person it is difficult for me to even try to understand ‘eternity’ or ‘forever.’ And I have thought about ‘eternity.’ I have been to Europe and seen buildings that were built in the 6th century and wept as I considered all the people who had walked on the same steps that I now stood. But ‘eternity’ makes 1400 years seem like nothing!

The Lord speaks His name in the present tense. Is there something to learn from that?

The Past: The past can be a comfortable place. Good memories. Old friends. Learn from history so that I do not repeat it! But the past is also a place that is easy to get stuck. I rarely think about the past that I do not consider some different turns I could have taken. Regrets. Mistakes made always give birth to a regret and a wish that I could have made a different choice. God did not say, “I WAS,” did He? I know that God has always been and He knows those mistakes; those secret sins of my past. But God extends His forgiveness and then separates me from my sins forever (Psalm 103:12).

The Future: The future can be a place of hope when I think of the future as my home in heaven. The future here is so many unknowns with problems and fears straight out of headlines and sound bites. Many pray that peace and unity will come but that doesn’t seem to be characteristic of the world that satan wants to rule. God did not say, “I WILL BE,” did He? He did not want me to amass “treasures” here in this world (Matthew 6:19-22).

The Present: “I AM.” Here is where God lives. He lives in this moment where there are no regrets and no fears. Just as He lead the Israelites with a cloud/pillar of fire and fed them with manna, God will provide all that I need for today. Remember Jesus said I should pray that God would give me what I need for today(Matthew 6:11). He told me not to worry about tomorrow because there is enough in this day (Matthew 6:34).

I like a plan. I like to know what is to come. This is not going to be an easy lesson for me. Fortunately, Jesus is a great Teacher. Take time to read all of Matthew 6 today. Class is in session!

Holy Captivated written by Antonio Neal & Nicole C Mullen & sung by Nicole C Mullen

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I’ll Never Walk Alone

In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, O Lord, will keep me safe.     Psalm 4:8 (NLT)

The wonder and power of Christ’s resurrection made us come to worship with joy and thanksgiving yesterday. Now what will I do today and every day? Did I greet the morning sun today as I did yesterday?

For the next 50 days Jesus’ disciples stayed together and prayed. They were afraid of the High Priest and Sanhedrin and the Romans. They were uncertain what to do. Yes, they were sheep without their shepherd. Jesus told them to wait in Jerusalem for the Father’s promise (Acts 1). And on that day when the Holy Spirit descended on them in God’s power, they were never alone again.

I have the blessing of their testimony and the testimonies of so many others who have gone before me. Whether my days are filled with great joy or trials and great sorrow, God will never abandon me.

Christ’s resurrection is the manifestation of His triumph over sin and death. No one and nothing can separate me from God’s presence unless I choose sin instead of Jesus. Jesus proclaimed a promise that when I accepted Him as my Savior then I am in the Father’s hand and no one can snatch me out of His hand (John 10:29). In the darkness of night, when storms rage with great thunder and lightening and the earth shakes, I am still in the Father’s hand. When disease or pain attack my physical body, God is with me. When people reject or forget me, the Father never will.

I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.      Romans 15:13 (NLT)

If you have a concordance in the back of your Bible, look up the word “Hope.” Or go online to Biblegateway.com and put the word “Hope” in the keyword search. Read the passages, the many passages, in Scriptures that speak of Hope. Fill all the empty, uncertain corners of your mind and spirit with the truth and promises of God’s Hope. Commit those words of God to memory so when life’s storms blow and try to knock you down, God’s promises will be the anchor. Jesus will be your Rock and sure foundation. We never walk alone.

You’ll Never Walk Alone written by Richard Rogers & Oscar Hammerstein and sung by Jordin Sparks

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A Time of Repentance

Pilate turned to the leading priests and to the crowd and said, “I find nothing wrong with this man!”

5 Then they became insistent. “But he is causing riots by his teaching wherever he goes—all over Judea, from Galilee to Jerusalem!”     Luke 23:4-5 (NLT)

The leading priests and teachers of religious law also mocked Jesus. “He saved others,” they scoffed, “but he can’t save himself! 32 Let this Messiah, this King of Israel, come down from the cross so we can see it and believe him!” Even the men who were crucified with Jesus ridiculed him.      Mark 15:31-32 (NLT)

Have you ever wondered why today has been called “Good Friday”? I’m not offering any historical facts here but when I consider Jesus’ message as “Good News,” it begins to make sense to me to call today Good Friday. While not denying one minute of the horrific and unimaginable suffering of Jesus (despite Hollywood’s attempts in movies), what the Messiah did that day was a perfect act of love. God sent His Son as Savior to do what His children could not do for themselves. His blood covered all our sins. Jesus, who was without any sin, took the sins from Adam and Eve through time to me and onward until He returns. He took them to the cross and there sin and death were destroyed.

The two passages of Scripture caused a lance of pain in my heart as I was reading the four gospel accounts of Jesus’ final week. Pilate, who history doesn’t not report as neither compassionate nor slow to pronounce a death sentence on anyone who threatened Caesar’s rule, tells the High Priest and the crowd he has no cause to order Jesus’ death. Jesus never involved Himself in the political arena. It was the High Priest and the Sanhedrin who felt threatened; and rightly so.

Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples:

2 “The Pharisees and the teachers of the Law are experts in the Law of Moses.3 So obey everything they teach you, but don’t do as they do. After all, they say one thing and do something else.

4 They pile heavy burdens on people’s shoulders and won’t lift a finger to help.5 Everything they do is just to show off in front of others.”      Matthew 23:1-5 (CEV)

It was this kind of teaching which infuriated the Pharisees and leaders. Jesus, like John the Baptist before Him, called the temple leaders to task for their manipulation of the Law for their own gain and standing in the community. God hates pride and detests anyone who puts false burdens on His children.

It is still happening in our churches today. God comes near and people embrace His love and teachings. They begin to form prayer groups and more small groups for Bible study. Sabbath worship begins to last more than an hour as people share where and how God has been at work in their lives during the week. People begin to reach out into their communities to the homeless and the poor, giving and serving others. And “those people” begin to come to worship. “Those people” who have children who do not know how to act in a sanctuary. They don’t dress up on Sundays like they should. Church members begin to decide more of the church budget should go to the poor and missions instead of salaries and new carpet for the floor and soft cushions for the pews. And other members become enraged because their comfortable, predictable “the-way-we’ve-always-done-it” is abandoned.

Today, as I meditate again on Christ’s suffering and death, I turn to God and ask Him to “create in me a clean heart and renew a right spirit in me.” (Psalm 51:10) Is my heart set on things of God? Am I following God’s plan and making His priorities – my priories? Are my actions and motives about bringing all the credit, all the glory to God? Jesus said He came not to condemn me but to save me. He saves me everyday with His loving conviction of my sins and His great mercy to forgive them. There are no words to express all that is in my heart for what God has done. But I am going to spend time today, tomorrow and all my tomorrows trying to express my love for Him and share with others His love for them too.

My Tribute/My Redeemer Lives written by Andre Crouch & Nicole C Mullen & sung by Nicole C Mullen

Posted in Luke, Mark, Matthew | Leave a comment

Worthy is the Lamb

After Jesus had washed his disciples’ feet and had put his outer garment back on, he sat down again. Then he said:

Do you understand what I have done?13 You call me your teacher and Lord, and you should, because that is who I am.14 And if your Lord and teacher has washed your feet, you should do the same for each other. 15 I have set the example, and you should do for each other exactly what I have done for you. 16 I tell you for certain that servants are not greater than their master, and messengers are not greater than the one who sent them.17 You know these things, and God will bless you, if you do them.      John 13:12-17 (CEV)

“Do you understand what I have done?” Jesus asks. If I look at what most of us do in the Church when it comes to communion and fellowship, especially those of us in leadership, the answer is, with great shame, “No, Jesus.”

Jesus is our LORD (Master) and He sends us. There is NO ONE in the Church today who is greater than the message they’ve been given to share nor are they greater than the One who gave them the message. Whether we are a pastor or teacher, evangelist or prophet, or apostle, if we have been given a message to deliver to God’s children, we should be on our knees in humility and holy fear. And when the message has been given, those listening should remember nothing but the message and that it came from God. We are only an instrument in the hand of our extraordinary God.

Jesus washed the feet of all. Jesus washed the feet of every disciple. He washed Peter’s feet even when Peter initially refused; even though Jesus knew Peter would reject Him not just once but three times! He washed their feet even though He knew those same feet would flee and desert Him. “Who me? No, I don’t know anything about this Jesus.” And Jesus washed the feet of Judas Iscariot who would turn Him over to those who intended to kill Him. Jesus gives me a clear message: I am to be a servant of all! Whatever and wherever God sends me, I will be a conduit of His Word, His grace, and His mercy.

Jesus paid the price of reconciliation. I have a relationship with Father God because of what Jesus has done. Jesus has made it possible for all to come and meet and be with the Father for all eternity. Whether child, teenager, young adult, middle age homeless person or a senior saint who has been in the church longer than they can remember, they are God’s children and loved by Him.

Do we feed the homeless during the week but hope none of them show up on Sunday? Is our Sunday service all about making members comfortable and happy or about worshiping our LORD? Do we say prayer is important but then only give a perfunctory “Amen” to the pastor’s prepared 60-second prayer?

This is Holy Week. Have I given God any time even though He gave His Son for my sins? Or is it business as usual? What does Jesus’ death and resurrection mean in my every day life? Will I read this Scripture and just move on without any further thought?

Stop. Think. And when you come together for supper tonight, think of what Jesus meant about God blessing those who do what He did. In our homes, may we serve each other and worship our LORD with all we say and do. And when we come together in our church fellowship, may our eyes be open and our spirit’s willing to worship God in prayer, in music, in hearing His Word and in doing something kind to someone we meet. May we consider others needs before our own. May we bring glory to God!

Agnus Dei written and sung by Michael W Smith

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Receive the Passion

“Don’t be fooled by those who will come and claim to be me. They will say, “I am Christ!” and “Now is the time!” But don’t follow them. 9 When you hear about wars and riots, don’t be afraid. These things will have to happen first, but that isn’t the end.

10 Nations will go to war against one another, and kingdoms will attack each other. 11 There will be great earthquakes, and in many places people will starve to death and suffer terrible diseases. All sorts of frightening things will be seen in the sky.

12 Before all this happens, you will be arrested and punished. You will be tried in your meeting places and put in jail. Because of me you will be placed on trial before kings and governors.13 But this will be your chance to tell about your faith.

14 Don’t worry about what you will say to defend yourselves. 15 I will give you the wisdom to know what to say. None of your enemies will be able to oppose you or to say that you are wrong. 16 You will be betrayed by your own parents, brothers, family, and friends. Some of you will even be killed. 17 Because of me, you will be hated by everyone. 18 But don’t worry! 19 You will be saved by being faithful to me.”      Luke 21:8-19 (CEV, emphasis mine)

Many people call Wednesday “Hump Day” because it signifies the middle of their work week and then they are on the downward slide into the weekend. This is a week when we are focused on Jesus’ passion to save us. And here, as time is growing short, Jesus tells us not to distracted and deceived into believing we are on some slide into the “End Times.” I believe Jesus wants me to be focused on the mission, the call, the job He has put into my heart to do in His Kingdom.

I’ve never been a runner but I have read and listened to people who do run marathons, etc. They tell me there is a point in the race that is crucial. It is when the runner “hits the wall” of muscle fatigue and pain. They can see the end in sight and may feel they can’t keep going or they can only coast in. They must find that final spark to push on, that final bit of energy and heart for the win. I believe Jesus is saying that here.

He is running the race He has been given and He speaks to me in my race. He encourages me not to be distracted by what I see with my eyes. The news of the world is horrific with wars, killings in schools, rejection of moral standards and the acceptance of selfish ambition and gratification. Churches are seen as businesses and self-absorbed places where a few create their place of comfort and pronounce judgment on anyone who threatens that. Even parents and families will reject those who place God before their wants, calling them “fanatics.”

Jesus showed me how to stay the course even when it becomes a Via Dolorosa, a Way of Suffering. During this Passion Week I can find myself hitting the high points, the Last Supper, the Crucifixion, the Resurrection and ignoring the journey Jesus began in Bethlehem. He never wavered from His mission, His call, His job which the Father had given Him to do in the Kingdom. Even during the last crucial hours when the fatigue and pain were great, when He was alone, He walked the Way of Suffering.

I know there are many who are reading this who are in their Via Dolorosa. You are not alone. I am not alone. No matter the path or how long the race, Jesus is there. He will lead. He will carry the burdens. He will speak to us true promises. “I have gone to prepare a place of rest for you, so that where I am, you also will be.” (John 14:2-4) Let us stay the course this week. There is much to learn from our Savior.

Via Dolorosa written by Niles Borop & Billy Sprague & sung by Sandy Patti

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Tell What I Know

The high priest questioned Jesus about his followers and his teaching. But Jesus told him, “I have spoken freely in front of everyone. And I have always taught in our meeting places and in the temple, where all of our people come together. I have not said anything in secret. Why are you questioning me? Why don’t you ask the people who heard me? They know what I have said.”

As soon as Jesus said this, one of the temple police hit him and said, “That’s no way to talk to the high priest!”

Jesus answered, “If I have done something wrong, say so. But if not, why did you hit me?” Jesus was still tied up, and Annas sent him to Caiaphas the high priest.     John 18:19-24 (CEV)

Jesus taught in the open. The gospels relate few occasions in which Jesus taught in the Temple. He took His teaching to the people and His message was for everyone. There was no manipulation or “pumping up” the crowds. Jesus’ message was so simple and different from anything the people had ever heard.

I grew up in a church with a tradition that only the priest read the gospel account. He would announce, “A reading from the Holy Gospel of Luke” and that was it, no chapter or verse. I never participated in a Bible study until I was almost 40 years old. Reading the Gospels for myself was a shattering experience for me. WOW! Here was everything right here in front of me, for me to read, for me to reason what it said. I devoured the New Testament from Matthew to Revelation and then began in Genesis. Amazed does not fully describe what I was feeling.

It is so important for me to share with my children and grandchildren the sweet Word of God. To tell them what God has done in my life. It is important for them to see the truth of my relationship with Jesus – good and not good. If I share only the victories then what are my children and grandchildren going to think when they struggle? Struggle is part of the gospel story too, isn’t it?

My friends, I beg you to listen as I teach. I will give instruction and explain the mystery of what happened long ago.
These are things we learned from our ancestors, and we will tell them to the next generation.
We won’t keep secret the glorious deeds and the mighty miracles of the Lord.      Psalm 78: 1-4 (CEV)

In the same church where I did not read the Bible, I heard the true passion of Christ’s love for me as He suffered and died as the perfect sacrifice to cover my sins. For most of my growing years I went to worship every day before school. When I was 12, I began to sing in the adult choir and we sang at least one service every day of Holy Week. The music was so beautiful as voices and organ soared throughout the cathedral. I remember one year a severe thunderstorm came up during the Good Friday service. Just as the minister utter Jesus’ words, “It is finished.” this HUGE clap of thunder shook the building. I suspect most of us went home that evening with an extra helping of belief in our spirits!

This year share something more than Easter eggs and bunny stories with your children and grandchildren. And as you sit around the table groaning under the weight of all the food, remember those who are on the outside, alone, homeless and hungry, looking in. Share the blessings God has given you. When God gives a blessing and I allow myself to be a conduit of His love, the blessing isn’t divided but multiplied. Whatever bread I cast out on the water of this life, God will multiply it larger than I can imagine.

Jesus, my Redeemer lives. He is alive! His plan is for me to freely share the Hope I have found in Him. When the storms of this life and the tragedies bring seemingly unbearable suffering. Jesus is the anchor I count on and my testimony will help others to trust in Him, too.

My Redeemer Lives written & sung by Nicole C Mullen

Posted in John, Psalms | Leave a comment

Desire the Best

Not everyone can heal the sick. Not everyone can speak different kinds of languages. Not everyone can tell what these languages mean. I want you to desire the best gifts. So I will show you a much better way.      1 Corinthians 12:30-31 (CEV)

My husband is a wonderful teacher. He brings his passion for God’s Word into every class. Some may think it is all about his knowledge and ability to read Hebrew and Greek. And that is a wonderful thing! But it is also about the hours he has sat at God’s feet and just listened to what God wanted to teach him. Freely God has given to Henry and so freely Henry gives to all who ask.

I love to read 1 Corinthians 13. It is such beautiful prose. It’s message cuts through me no matter how many times I read it. But one day, as I listened to Henry teach about spiritual gifts, he strongly urged all of us to read 1 Corinthians 12, 13, and 14 all together. I did that and saw how 1 Corinthians 13 impacted how I look at chapters 12 and 14 on spiritual gifts. And again how 12 and 14 impacted chapter 13. Give it a read yourself!

This week is what many call Passion Week. It is my absolute favorite week in the whole year. Yes, even more than Christmas! It is a week when I feel soaked in the love of my Savior. It is a time when I feel overwhelmed with what Jesus did for me.

Jesus healed the sick. Jesus spoke to people no matter their station in life or whether they were Jew or Gentile. It was His Spirit who enabled Peter on the day of Pentecost to speak to literally hundreds of people from all over the known world and they heard him in their own language! Jesus could do all this but it is His love that saved me and set me truly free. If there wasn’t Jesus’ love for me and you and everyone of God’s children, we would have nothing.

God’s love is the best way for everything I do. If I do not have His love when I write these devotions, then the words would be nothing. If I do not have love when I receive an email or phone call from someone who needs prayer or an ear to listen, then I have nothing. God’s love is enough for anyone. And in those emails, phone calls, and these devotions, we need a reminder, a testimony of God’s love. Whether we are speaking to each other around the family dinner table or in the local soup kitchen or on a mission trip on their other side of the world – God loves is the foundation of whatever message He wants us to share. It is His best gift. It is the message in the passion of this week.

I hope, I pray for every person reading this to feel a quickening in their spirit to soak themselves in the Word of Christ’s passion this week. Read the gospel accounts and accept His love that has saved us.

Matthew 26-28
Mark 14-16
Luke 22-24
John 18-20

At the Cross written and sung by Brian Doerksen

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“God Knows Best”

So I said to you: Don’t be terrified or afraid of them! The Lord your God who goes before youwill fight for you,just as you saw Him do for you in Egypt. And you saw in the wilderness how the Lord your God carried you as a man carries his son all along the way you traveled until you reached this place.”        Deuteronomy 1:29-31 (HCSB)

When I was a little girl I used to watch a TV show, “Father Knows Best.” Like much of television in the late 50′s and early 60′s the show portrayed a family we would all like to have, not the reality of what we did have. In this particular show, Jim, the father, went to work Monday through Friday and came home every day in time for the supper that Margaret had prepared. The three children, Betty, Bud and Kathy all brought their problems to dad and he dispensed quiet wisdom and occasional discipline, like being grounded. In each 20-something minute episode, a crisis was identified and resolved and closing credits would roll as the family smiled, hugged or laughed at their life. Hollywood hasn’t changed much. They still produce television and movies which have only a passing acquaintance with reality and truth.

About twenty years ago, I found my true Father who always does know best!

Lord, You have searched me and known me.
You know when I sit down and when I stand up;
You understand my thoughts from far away.
You observe my travels and my rest;
You are aware of all my ways.       Psalm 139: 1-3 (HCSB)

God knows my life. I cannot lie to God like I did to my parents as a rebellious teenager. God knows every step I take in obedience – or not. He knows every kind word I say and all those unkind ones even when I have wanted to call them back. God doesn’t need me to explain to Him why I behave the way I do but when I sit down with Him and tell Him about my day, His light of truth shines to reveal any distortion or lies from my own flesh or to confirm or deny the advice of another.

Have you never heard? Have you never understood?
The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth.
He never grows weak or weary.
No one can measure the depths of his understanding.        Isaiah 40:28 (NLT)

Father God is always there for me, day or night. One of the major mistakes of my early adult years was to expect another human being to be the one I could count on. I was putting them into a position in my life that belongs to God. My Father and Savior will never leave me or bend under the weight of of pain or need. I especially found the depth of God’s strength and love during the ten years that included the death of both of my parents, divorce and the diagnosis of my son with cancer and his death five years later. In the darkest of nights, God was always there to bring His Light, comfort and healing to my bruised and battered spirit.

Where is the philosopher? Where is the scholar? Where is the debater of this age? Hasn’t God made the world’s wisdom foolish? For since, in God’s wisdom, the world did not know God through wisdom, God was pleased to save those who believe through the foolishness of the message preached. For the Jews ask for signs and the Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to the Jews and foolishness to the Gentiles. Yet to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ is God’s power and God’s wisdom, because God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.          1 Corinthians 1:20-25 (HCSB)

His wisdom is without flaw. In this world there are events and situations not covered in philosophy classes or self-help books. There are decisions to be made which have no quantitative pros and cons to work out like some algebra equation. The most wondrous thing occurs when I spend time with the LORD. I learn His voice and His character. And I learn to trust Him when I cannot see the solution in front of me but must take one step at a time with my hand in His to lead me.

As I enter into Holy Week this Sunday, I will be thinking about the depth of my Father’s love. He loved me so much that He sent His Son into my world. Father God promised if I believed in His Son, I will never truly die but will live forever with Him. I look into my Father’s eyes and see – love, so much love, for me.

My Father’s Eyes written by Gary Chapman and sung by Amy Grant

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