Tag : jesus
Tag : jesus
Some weeks are just more difficult than others, right?
As I round the corner into the final stretch of this year at school, the classwork is intensifying, as is the ministry workload—we’re taping our POP Talk television show tomorrow, my husband and I are hosting our church small group Thursday night (that means cleaning the house as well!) and I am filling in as leader for a pre-service event before our church Shabbat Service Friday night. Combined with school homework, this seems like a lot. I’ve even had the thought, Did God really tell me to go back to school?
With so many demands on my time, last night I hit the wall. I thought about picking up the phone to vent with a friend, but instead I fell to my knees and humbly cried, “Help!” I asked God to give me the strength that I do not have on my own.
I’ve been studying the journeys of the Apostle Paul in the book of Acts over the past few weeks, and one of the things I love about Paul is that he never gave up, no matter the push back and no matter the trial. What I am seeing is that while some opposed his case for Jesus as the Messiah, others loved him and believed. What if no one had bought into his message? In every port, it seemed like there were friends who took care of his needs. God also saved him from shipwrecks, and before his arrest, he was provided Jewish believer friends like Priscilla and Aquila to work alongside him. Yet he was also beaten, placed in chains and theologically opposed. Paul received good and God saw him through the bad. That’s why he was able to say, “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength” (Philippians 4:12–13).
The Greek word for “to be in need” actually means” to be brought low.” Paul knew what it was like to be down and out, but he also knew where to find a source of strength. Through “Him”—Jesus.
God did not design us to be self-sufficient. We are Him-Sufficient.
So I don’t know what’s going on in your life right now, but I felt like there is someone out there who needs to know that it is okay if your strength is zapped and you feel like giving up. Don’t throw in the towel. You can do all things—just not on your own. Today, will you ask Jesus to fill in the gap for the strength you are lacking? I am personally moving forward knowing He will provide what I do not humanly have on my own, and that gives me the confidence I need to manage what’s ahead.
“I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms” (Ephesians 1:19–20, NLT).
Will you join me for our next POP Chat Wednesday, April 28th from 6:30-7:30 p.m. CST? I will be speaking on the subject: “Nothing is Impossible with God.” If you have a situation in your life that seems “impossible,” then you will want to participate. We will worship, pray and discuss the message. Our Worship Leader this month is the talented Renee Rollins, who is a singer/songwriter and who even sang at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City! You will not want to miss this powerful gathering. Email email@example.com for more details.
At one time in my life, Easter was only about the Easter Bunny and egg hunts. I remember a family 8 mm film where, as a toddler, I took one of those beautifully died eggs and smashed it on the sidewalk. Always curious, I guess I wanted to see what would happen to that egg at high impact!
I still like the colorful eggs, and the fun of the Easter bunny. In fact I passed by him on the street Thursday—he had a police escort—so I snapped a photo to share.
But Easter is so much richer now that I know the risen Christ, and as I reflect on why Easter is meaningful to me, three things come to mind.
Access- When Jesus breathed his last breath, the curtain in the temple tore from top to bottom. That represented a type of access to our Holy God that was unfathomable. At one time it was only consecrated Jewish priests who could enter the Holy of Holies of the Tabernacle where God resided. I just read that priests had to yearly go through thirty-five steps on the Day of Atonement to make sacrifices for the sins of the people. One wrong move and they could die. Now, because of Jesus’s sacrifice, every believer is a priest and is covered by the blood of Jesus so that we can enter the presence of God 24/7. Because of our High Priest, Jesus, we can “approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16, NIV). This access shouldn’t be taken for granted. I never had a father in my life, so being able to sit in the presence of our heavenly Father has been a precious gift and has sustained me all of these years.
Forgiveness of Sins- I am not proud of my inappropriate behavior in college and those single years following college. I wish I could undo a lot of it, but because of Easter, I repented, and I know Jesus has washed me clean from those wrongdoings (even though the enemy of my soul tries to bring it up every so often). 1 John 1:9 says, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (NKJV). The word for cleanse here also means to “purify.” So when we believe, the kind of true belief that results in change, then Jesus bleaches out the stains of our sins—he purifies us—and enables us to overcome temptation and gives us the power to turn from our past way of life.
The Hope of Eternity- As I am living in what is probably the final quarter of my life, I am holding onto this hope that when I pass, I will transition into Heaven and into the arms of Jesus. This could only happen because of Easter. Hebrews 6:19-20 says, “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtain, where our forerunner, Jesus, has entered on our behalf” (NIV). Jesus made it possible for us to live on in His presence. The apostle James called our lives a “mist that appears for a while then vanishes” (James 4:14). Psalm 39 tells us we should number our days. But if we believe in what Jesus did for us on Easter, we know this is not the end. I call this life a “holy boot camp” to get us ready for eternity.
So these are just a few of the reasons why I am grateful for Easter. I hope you all have a beautiful celebration of our Savior’s resurrection and take this time to reflect on what Easter means to you.
Our guest blogger today is Mary Ann Springer Moore. Mary Ann is a Christian speaker in the Northern California area. She often shares her teaching gifts at women’s retreats and with youth events. Mary Ann is married to Tim and has two grown daughters.
When life is out of control, and things are not going as you thought, structure and organization are what keep things calm and give you the ability to focus on the next thing to do. The last few days of Jesus life were planned, and prepared in advance, because Jesus knew His time was near.
Organization and structure are my weakest areas, so when I look at Jesus’s last week, I’m amazed at the plan. It’s intriguing to me, a very sanguine girl, as I study this particular day and see the sovereignty of God in every detail. Jesus knew the reason He came to Earth was to take our place before God in judgement so we could take Jesus’s place before God in redemption. So Maundy Thursday was the day everything moved into action.
“Mandatum” is the Latin word for “Maundy” and means “commandment.” So, you could say this is “new commandment Thursday.” And it was Passover, a very important observance in the life of a Jew, like Jesus. So it was Jesus’s last night with His disciples, and He already had the upper room ready for this special evening. John 13:3-5 says, “Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority over everything and that he had come from God and would return to God. So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist, and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he had around him.” Jesus removed His king’s robe and came to earth as a man, so this symbolized his stepping into a servant’s role. He washed the disciple’s feet, saying his last words to each of them. I wonder what words of wisdom he gave them knowing what they were going to face in the next twenty-four hours? John 13:34-35 gives us a clue. It says, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”
So why is this a new commandment? The way Jesus loves is to humble himself to be a servant and then to die for us. As the mother of grown children, I feel like my surrender and servanthood is over. It’s time for me to do my next thing. No, not yet. That is my selfish thinking, not kingdom thinking. To be a servant is the greatest privilege in the world, but the hardest thing to do. To put others first, all the time, rather than myself.
Why is this so hard? Help? So I turned to the book of John to look at Maundy Thursday and asked what does this mean for me—for Christianity? I see three things:
1) God is sovereign in every detail of life. So when life turns upside down, God is working His sovereignty in our lives so we can trust Him.
2) God humbled himself to serve others for a bigger purpose, our salvation. How do we need to humble ourselves and help others in the way they need to be helped?
3) God loved his disciples and prepared them the best way he could, by example. How can we die to ourselves, and serve those who are hurting, hopeless or harassing us? God sees them all, yet in love, died, so that we may have life.
There are many lessons to be found on the eve of Jesus’s sacrifice—for us. Grateful for Maundy Thursday!
I’m writing this on Palm Sunday, the first day of Holy Week, which leads to Good Friday, and then to the day we love to celebrate, Easter. This week holds a special place in my heart for many reasons.
Beginning with Palm Sunday, the day that our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, arrived in Jerusalem on none other than a donkey. The symbolism of Jesus riding in on a donkey represented the humble arrival of someone in peace. Upon His arrival it was said that people came to “lavish praise as the townspeople threw clothes, or possibly palms or small branches, in front of him as a sign of homage. This was a customary practice for people of great respect.”
Jesus was from humble beginnings. Most of us come from humble beginnings and yet we are called to become more than we think we can be by our Father. Jesus, too, was called to do more. Born to a virgin, into a family of carpenters, and yet His Father is God. In today’s world we would say, Jesus was from a blended family. He loved both of his Fathers; however, He knew He was to follow the path His Heavenly Father had planned for Him.
I, too, have more than one father. To be honest, I have four amazing father figures who have helped shape me into the woman I am today. My biological father, Ernie, helped bring me into this world, and loves me. My Dad, Bob, raised me, taught me, and yes, hurt me but protected me too. My father-in-law, Steve, helped me get over myself, and after some persuasion (wink), welcomed me into the Simm family.
But the one father that changed my life the most was my husband, Madison. To witness his fearsome protection for our girls (and me) has been like seeing Jesus’s protection on earth. Experiencing Madison’s unconditional love for our girls, me, and our family and friends is like witnessing Jesus’s unconditional love. Jesus’s love for us was, is, and will forever be unconditional and undeserved. That’s one reason why Easter is both a hard time and a blessing for those who love HIM.
There is another reason Easter has always been a special time for me. It was Easter time, fourteen years ago, when a little girl, my daughter MacKenzie, was moved in her heart to ask that we go to church. Somehow, Jesus came through this little girl and changed our family. From that day forward, I was able to see that these four earthly fathers were merely small representations of my Heavenly Father. Each man bringing to this humble girl His incredible wisdom, patience, forgiveness, grace, and love.
Finally, this week will forever be special to me because a year ago today, we lost our beloved Steve to cancer, and with him so much humor and love. I can’t thank Jesus enough for loving me so much that He brought Steve into my life. I pray that Steve is with Jesus.
On this Easter week, let us all remember from whom we came, our Lord and Savior. From humble beginnings, God shows His desire for us and His willingness to do whatever it takes to bring us to Him. Through those whom we call fathers on this earth, to little girls with Jesus in their hearts, to friends who witness to us, Jesus will never forsake you. He sacrificed himself, died, and rose from the grave for You, just as He did for me. Blessings to you all.
We invite you to join us for our next POP Chat this Wednesday, March 31st at 6:30 p.m. CST. This month, POP Talk Co-Host and Communications Coordinator, Rosemary Legrand, will be speaking about “Embracing the Love of God.” Our guest Worship Leader is Carole Brewer. Carole is also an Author and Podcast Host of “Bible Chicks.’ https://carolebrewer.com. Just click on the link to sign up:
I’m a Martha who has to be intentional about being more like Mary, but I’m not always successful.
Many of us know the story about the two sisters, found in Luke 10:38–42. Jesus came to visit the them and Martha became irritated when Mary didn’t lift a finger to help her get dinner ready. (Have we ever had that happen in our own homes?) Instead, Mary was sedentary at Jesus’s feet, mesmerized by every word He had to say. Martha then vented to Jesus about Mary’s lack of labor, but the Savior rebuked her gently: “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.’”
As I face a podcast interview today, television tapings this week, a mini-women’s conference in Pakistan on Saturday morning and a Hebrew mid-term on Monday, the Martha in me is difficult to suppress. While worshipping this morning, the week’s schedule interrupted my devotion, and I struggled to not think about how to manage my time. While reading the Word, I prayed simultaneously Show me what to blog about today, LORD. And, of course, one of my studies today was about Mary and Martha. God has a sense of humor.
But for those of us Martha-types reading today’s blog, I think we need to give ourselves a break. It’s our nature, and it takes Martha’s to handle the details of life. Didn’t God say to the prophet Jeremiah: “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” That’s a word for us as well. The LORD formed us as well in our mother’s womb, and created every intricate chain of DNA that was characteristic of a Martha personality.
It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t spend time in full-hearted worship and immersion in G-d’s word. There are many times, more than not these days, when Mary tendencies prevail in my life. I love basking in the presence of Jesus, as she did. But if there is work to be done, like this week, I think Jesus understands. Mary chose the better thing. He never said what Martha did was wrong.
So today, Martha’s, it’s okay. I’m not going to suggest we all go to “Martha’s Anonymous” but when we can, let’s ask God to help us to withdraw mentally from the to-do list and give Jesus our full attention. It can be done, but I’m sure Jesus gives us grace when we just can’t escape the planning.