Easter Sunday

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I organized my surroundings, getting the house prepared for Easter and guests that are expected to arrive later in the week. I should be at our Sunday school class right now. But ill health has prevented me from being there – an allergic reaction to something. My first plan of action was to get into the car and go anyway, I was going to push through. Which we attempted twice, the first time I got the car out of the carport, the second time I got just as far as the fire station, before admitting defeat. The point I’m making is my Easter is still perfect. I’m not at Sunday school celebrating with people who have become my family. We share the same Father. However, God has left us here with His Holy Spirit who will never leave us alone. So, today I’m surrounded by my heavenly family and writing this thought. We are all celebrating Jesus’ victory over death. Join the celebration wherever you are, Jesus is calling and everyone is welcome!

Please remember to pray for the families of our 207 brothers and sisters in Christ, some  who were killed while praying in their churches this morning – 3 churches to be exact, in Sri Lanka on Easter morning. How horrific! May their memory be eternal. There are over 500 people needing medical attention from the bombings. Please God give them healing, help and solace in this time of great need.

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Cleaning House!

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It’s that time of year when I have the opportunity to wash away the dirt and tiredness of a long winter and get refreshed through the word of God. I’m restructuring my goals and cleaning house at the same time. We are power washing the outside and hopefully I’m doing the same thing with my interior life.  Tomorrow is Easter Sunday and I want my soul to be clean and ready for the celebration!

Queen Vashti

 

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Queen Vashti was demoted from her position as queen chiefly because she was disobedient to her husband, King Ahasuerus. Well that’s the way it may appear to us. Back then we are told, it seemed that her disobedience would encourage other women to disobey their spouses, at least that was what Memucan the king’s advisor suggested to him that night at the banquet. In hindsight we know it was God’s plan to save His people from extermination. Queen Vashti took the high road and virtuously refused to be flaunted and displayed in front of a crowd of drunken men. She knew what the end results would be and in order to protect her modesty, she sacrificed her title. God used this moral women. Enter Esther, who was chosen to be the next queen because she also was virtuous and held great moral principles. She was prepared to die for her God. He, God placed Esther there as the follow up queen, to save His people. What looks like a crooked road was actually a straight path to God’s holy will for his people.

 

Homework

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You’re never too old to learn. I attend BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) once a week. We receive take-home-work. The plan is to do a section a day for the week and bring our answers or questions back to review with the other women in the group. I have learned a lot about God and His plan for us from studying these lessons. The sharing with other women in my group is invaluable to me, they are all insightful and offer inspired commentary. If I didn’t attend I would be missing out on some beneficial spiritual growth. Each morning my husband and I grab our coffee, take our cups out to our teardrop camper and go over my BSF lesson together. We go to the camper to avoid distractions. When we finish that day’s homework we begin our Sunday school lesson. The wife of our pastor, Annette, got me started reading the Bible daily. She shared in Sunday school that she had begun reading her Bible one hour a day and now she can answer some of her own questions – instead of going to her husband, Pastor Bob. In Sunday school the lesson is “the study of John”. I get in my hour of Bible reading in a diversified manner. And I don’t actually watch the clock. I can’t get enough of God. I always want more. We inspire each other. Isn’t that God’s plan?

Husbands Love your Wives!

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Ephesians 5:25: “For husbands, this means love your wives, just as Christ loved the church. He gave up his life for her.” Genesis 2:24: “Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”

Christian husbands are heroic and just about the most wonderful gift from God. All our  husbands represent Christ as the head of the family. Mark, my husband reflects God’s love, care and concern. He is forever helping me with the mounting daily responsibilities. We overcome each day’s trials and difficulties together. We love, admire and try to emulate our married friends whose shinning Christian example  leads us to a greater understanding and relationship with each other. Good examples are priceless! Great older couples and equally loving contemporary couples pave the way, teaching us, again by example. It’s fun to have someone who can finish my sentences, who knows what I’m thinking on any given subject and agrees with me, mostly. Someone to grow old with who knows me through and through. He encourages me to be an ever better Christian than I sometimes think I am capable of being. He stands by me in stressful moments and blesses me with spontaneous prayers when I need them most. He’s a blessing from God, who gives me exactly what I need, not always what I want, but what is best for us both to grow in God’s grace.

Pharisees

Luke 19:39-40 .. “Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples!”  “I tell you” he replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.”

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I read about Pharisees for my Sunday school lesson. So I thought I would share what I discovered.

They were a distinct group of religious leaders, members of an ancient Jewish sect, beginning in the time before Christ Jesus around 165-160 BC, distinguished by strict observance of traditions and written law. They were opposed to many of the Sadducees’ practices and ideas. The Sadducees were the party of the high priesthood who held that the Torah was the only legitimate source of Law. The Pharisees believed in the Torah, the first five books in the Bible (Christians call it the Pentateuch). They believed in evolution within the written law and the oral tradition, the teachings of the prophets. The Pharisees felt that the written laws didn’t address the problems of their day. They interpreted the law according to their understanding of it – they called it “the spirit of the law”, which eventually caused the split with the Sadducees. All of the religious sects held sway over every part of the Jewish people’s lives. Over their finances, work habits, family matters – including times of relaxation, and of course over their worship practices – where, when and how you practiced religious rites. Pharisees were a diverse group: business men; working class people; some wealthy men and women with influence; teachers; and priests. The Sadducees were the aristocrats with political influence, and the high priesthood. 

Matthew 23

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

They pile heavy burdens on people’s shoulders and won’t lift a finger to help. Everything they do is just to show off in front of others. They even make a big show of wearing Scripture verses on their foreheads and arms, and they wear big tassels for everyone to see. They love the best seats at banquets and the front seats in the meeting places. And when they are in the market, they like to have people greet them as their teachers.

But none of you should be called a teacher. You have only one teacher, and all of you are like brothers and sisters. Don’t call anyone on earth your father. All of you have the same Father in heaven. 10 None of you should be called the leader. The Messiah is your only leader. 11 Whoever is the greatest should be the servant of the others. 12 If you put yourself above others, you will be put down. But if you humble yourself, you will be honored.

13-14 You Pharisees and teachers of the Law of Moses are in for trouble! You’re nothing but show-offs. You lock people out of the kingdom of heaven. You won’t go in yourselves, and you keep others from going in.

15 You Pharisees and teachers of the Law of Moses are in for trouble! You’re nothing but show-offs. You travel over land and sea to win one follower. And when you have done so, you make that person twice as fit for hell as you are.

16 You are in for trouble! You are supposed to lead others, but you are blind. You teach that it doesn’t matter if a person swears by the temple. But you say that it does matter if someone swears by the gold in the temple. 17 You blind fools! Which is greater, the gold or the temple that makes the gold sacred?

18 You also teach that it doesn’t matter if a person swears by the altar. But you say that it does matter if someone swears by the gift on the altar. 19 Are you blind? Which is more important, the gift or the altar that makes the gift sacred? 20 Anyone who swears by the altar also swears by everything on it. 21 And anyone who swears by the temple also swears by God, who lives there. 22 To swear by heaven is the same as swearing by God’s throne and by the one who sits on that throne.

23 You Pharisees and teachers are show-offs, and you’re in for trouble! You give God a tenth of the spices from your garden, such as mint, dill, and cumin. Yet you neglect the more important matters of the Law, such as justice, mercy, and faithfulness. These are the important things you should have done, though you should not have left the others undone either. 24 You blind leaders! You strain out a small fly but swallow a camel.

25 You Pharisees and teachers are show-offs, and you’re in for trouble! You wash the outside of your cups and dishes, while inside there is nothing but greed and selfishness. 26 You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of a cup, and then the outside will also be clean.

27 You Pharisees and teachers are in for trouble! You’re nothing but show-offs. You’re like tombs that have been whitewashed. On the outside they are beautiful, but inside they are full of bones and filth. 28 That’s what you are like. Outside you look good, but inside you are evil and only pretend to be good.

29 You Pharisees and teachers are nothing but show-offs, and you’re in for trouble! You build monuments for the prophets and decorate the tombs of good people. 30 And you claim that you would not have taken part with your ancestors in killing the prophets. 31 But you prove that you really are the relatives of the ones who killed the prophets. 32 So keep on doing everything they did. 33 You are nothing but snakes and the children of snakes! How can you escape going to hell?

34 I will send prophets and wise people and experts in the Law of Moses to you. But you will kill them or nail them to a cross or beat them in your meeting places or chase them from town to town. 35 That’s why you will be held guilty for the murder of every good person, beginning with the good man Abel. This also includes Barachiah’s son Zechariah, the man you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36 I can promise that you people living today will be punished for all these things!

My thought on this subject is , it’s too easy to fall into this mentality. But for the grace of God – there go I. Save me Lord from myself.

Obey there’s No Other Way!

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The mountainous pile of painful mistakes I made in my life has been directly related to sin. Back then it cost me happiness and joy. I traded in God’s peace for a putrid pile of pathetic ideas interspersed with Pinocchio’s ungodly friends. I wasn’t listening to God and thought I knew better. I wish I could say those were my teenage years. But I was older and should never have turned my back on God. The world sucked me in and along with my pride, haughty eyes and willfulness I embraced the errors. In hindsight I can see exactly where I went wrong. I disobeyed God. I’ve repented and God’s accepted and forgiven me. I’m thankful to God that he didn’t give up on me during those years of days filled with wayward ways. I now know his rules are a safety net. I hope other people like me have God thrust someone special into their lives too – someone who sees the good and shows them how to build on that. My relationship with God is my joy. I love King David’s wholehearted devotion to God. That’s what he asks of me – to love him with my whole heart and soul.