Jesus

16
Apr

The Empty Tomb is the Key to Our Salvation

Have you ever pictured it? Pictured the empty tomb on that glorious Sunday morning? What wonder and awe it held. Inside, the body of Jesus had been laid to rest after His crucifixion. But on that joyous and triumphant morning, the stone that sealed the tomb, though heavy in nature, was rolled aside and a bare tomb revealed!

And yet, a few days earlier, it was just a tomb owned by Joseph of Arimathea, a member of the Sanhedrin who secretly believed in Jesus. After Jesus’ crucifixion, placing himself in danger of social and religious exclusion, Joseph requested the body of Jesus so he could properly bury Him.

Joseph bought a long sheet of linen cloth. Then he took Jesus’ body down from the cross, wrapped it in the cloth, and laid it in a tomb that had been carved out of the rock. Then he rolled a stone in front of the entrance. Mark 15:46

What did the tomb look like? Well, in the days of Jesus, tombs were carved-out areas in the stony parts of the city or surrounding hillside. According to past records and historical analysis, the tomb where Jesus was laid is believed to have been in a garden previously owned by Joseph of Arimathea and is within the city of Jerusalem. Inside most tombs, multiple shelves on which to lay several family members were chiseled out. The tomb of Jesus contains two.

You can see the actual tomb that is believed to be the burial site of Jesus HERE.

When I think of the lavish ways in which we now bury our dead in cushioned coffins and fancy dress, the tomb of Jesus seems extremely cold and dark. His body was laid out in the openness of this miniature man-made cave. Only linen cloth would be wrapped around Him. There would be no funeral, as the lateness in the day would have required quick action to complete the initial work of preparing the body according to Jewish custom.

I can almost hear stone scraping against stone as Joseph would roll a rounded stone in front of the tomb entrance to close it off. And then there would be utter silence as night fell.

One night would pass, then two, and then three…

For as Jonah was in the belly of the great fish for three days and three nights, so will the Son of Man be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights. Matthew 12:40

Unlike our traditional view that Jesus was buried on Friday and raised on Sunday, the scriptures tell a very different story. Jesus was very clear that he would be buried 3 days and 3 nights. To understand what day Jesus was crucified and buried on, you must account for Jewish tradition. The events in scripture, when reviewed carefully and in the order they occurred, revealed that Jesus was buried on Wednesday, lying in the grave Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday night. He arose on Saturday! Remember, Saturday is considered a Sabbath day in Jewish tradition, and it ends at sunset. In other words, the start of Sunday is in the evening.

Mary and the other women went back to Jesus’ tomb on Sunday morning around sunrise, having purchased spices the evening prior after sunset (start of Sunday) to complete their burial ritual, but Jesus had already been raised from the dead the day before! Here are two sets of scriptures that support the events as described above:

Saturday evening, when the Sabbath ended, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome went out and purchased burial spices so they could anoint Jesus’ body. Very early on Sunday morning, just at sunrise, they went to the tomb. On the way they were asking each other, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” But as they arrived, they looked up and saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled aside. Mark 16:1-4

 

Early on Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. John 20:1

To see all the evidence that backs up this timeline, read this ARTICLE.

However, what is most important about the story is the fact that the tomb was found EMPTY! (Well, except for an angel that is!)

When they entered the tomb, they saw a young man clothed in a white robe sitting on the right side. The women were shocked, but the angel said, “Don’t be alarmed. You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Look, this is where they laid his body. Mark 16:5-6

And that, my friend, is the basis of our belief! HE IS RISEN!!!

Our Savior lives! There was no body to find. He has defeated death, He sits at the right hand of God, and He is coming back again!!!

I hope you enjoy this Easter Sunday with your family. I hope it is filled with joy and laughter. But most of all, among the food and the consumerism of the day, I hope you take some time to contemplate the emptiness of the tomb and all that it means!! Easter is about our wonderful, amazing, powerful, holy, and LIVING Savior!!!

Hallelujah!

 

 

 

 


Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

14
Dec

Silent Night ~ Holy Night

“Silent Night” is perhaps one of the best known Christmas carols to date. It is by far my favorite! I love that it brings us back to the real “reason for the season” –the birth of the Savior.

I relate to the scenery in the song that is specific to the skyline that night, mainly because I live in the country. And living in the country does have its advantages. One of them is the ability to look up into the night sky on a clear night and see millions of stars glimmering right back at you. Another is that deep into the evening, it gets quiet –deathly, but peacefully, quiet.

Having stood out recently on one of the chiller nights we have had, with stars laid out as far as the eye can see and silence all around, I closed my eyes and let my mind focus on that glorious night when Jesus made His entrance into the world as a tiny baby boy.

There in Bethlehem, Joseph and Mary would find themselves in a barn surrounded by animals, such as cows and donkeys. It wasn’t glamorous or royal by any means, but quite ordinary. They would be isolated from family and friends. Joseph would be there watching Mary careful and yet feeling quite helpless at the same time. And Mary, still a virgin, would endure every moment of childbirth naturally. And yet, in that place, under those circumstances, they would birth a King.

We have to take a moment to remember some details leading up to that night. Would you indulge me for a few minutes? Thanks!

  1. Jesus’ destiny was already arranged. “Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” Matt. 1:20-21
  2. Joseph was a righteous man who obeyed God. When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife. Matt. 1:24
  3. Mary was chosen from among all women. Elizabeth gave a glad cry and exclaimed to Mary, “God has blessed you above all women, and your child is blessed.” Luke 1:42
  4. Bethlehem was a prearranged birth place. And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them. Luke 2:6-7

Yes, Joseph and Mary were in the right place. A magnificent Lord would start off in humble beginnings, but He was not destined to stay there. Isaiah describes Him best:

For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isa. 9:6

Yes, that 7-8 lb baby wrapped in strips of cloth would start out in lowly circumstances, but He became the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. And even now, we are yet to see Him in all His glory! What a day that will be!

I hope you have a wonderful Christmas season. I also hope you will take some time to ponder what a miraculous event occurred that night. I am right there with you, sometimes getting caught up in the tinsel, presents, and fun that occurs this time of year. Let’s not forget to be silent, even if just for a few minutes. Let’s quiet ourselves and experience that silent night, the holiest of nights and savor the moment!

Merry Christmas to you and yours!!!!!

Elaine


Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

30
Oct

Leadership Building

Are you a leader?

Wait, before you say no – are you a parent? a teacher? or even a consistent volunteer in your church? You don’t have to be a CEO of a major company to be a leader! Chances are you are doing something which requires others to follow your lead, and therefore, you are a leader!

A few weeks ago I signed up to take part in the John Maxwell International Leadership Training & Certification program. I want to grow my leadership skills so that in a few years I can help others like me to grow as well. Right now, I am just a mom, a wife, a small group leader, co-leader of a missions team, a prayer warrior, a writer, and a speaker. And when I wear any of those caps, I am influencing someone (something I recently came to realize in a big way).

John Maxwell states leadership is influence: nothing more, nothing less.

Now, when you put it that way, it is easy to see how even someone in an ordinary, everyday position can be a leader!

But as a leader, there is one person we must be sure to follow and that is God!

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God [granted by His permission and sanction], and those which exist have been put in place by God. Romans 13:1 AMP

No matter our position, we must continuously remind ourselves on whose authority we are ultimately working under. In addition, we must be humble leaders and not proud, boastful people. How do we treat those we might see as our followers? If we are Christian leaders, we should be following the teachings of Jesus.

Treat others the same way you want them to treat you. Luke 6:31 AMP

 

But Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant…” Matthew 20:25-26 NLT

Yep, if we want to be the leaders Jesus called us to be, we must be the ultimate friend and servant.

Today, take into account those you look up to as leaders. Do they possess these qualities? Do you? One thing is for certain, all of us are works in progress, so if you feel you fall short, keep working at it!

I am excited for the days ahead and for all that I will learn. Learning is growing forward! Will you join me?


Amplified Bible (AMP) Copyright © 2015 by The Lockman Foundation, La Habra, CA 90631. All rights reserved.

Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

7
Oct

Jesus Loves Me (and You)

Wow! Time has really flown by! Weren’t we just remembering 9/11? And now, it is almost the 11th of October!

I promise, you have been on my mind the whole time!

So here’s the deal. Haven’t you had those periods in life when everything is up in the air and no matter how much you try; you can’t catch your breath? The last four weeks have been exactly that for me! Yet in those tiring and tense moments, God always has a way of reminding me to cool my jets, get quiet, and just listen to Him.

The past few weeks, a group of ladies and I from Believers Church were putting together the final details of the He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not women’s event. It was set for October 1st.

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And last Saturday, it all came together and went off without a hitch! But we were sweating it there for a few days. Not because God wouldn’t see us through, but because putting events together are just plain nerve wrecking!

We had been planning this one-day women’s event over the last 8 months, and a lot of love went into the details of it. But we couldn’t have done it without Jesus, so we also did a lot of praying!

Saturday turned out to be better than we could have ever hoped for! We had close to 85 ladies there! From the decorations to the catering to the time spent speaking, they got the “wow” experience we had been hoping for! We were there to show them Jesus loves them – and they received the message loud and clear!!

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During the day, we watched women come together and sing songs of worship, take time to pray some really earnest prayers to God, and then leave whatever it was that was burdening them at the cross. But at the end of the day, this is what meant the most – 6 salvations! 6 salvations during a women’s event on a Saturday in October!

Friends, God is never limited in where He can show up and touch lives.

Today, I want to share just a portion of my speech from Saturday. It involves a passage of scripture from Ephesians, and it is written by the Apostle Paul.

 

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I love the Apostle Paul’s expression of his understanding of Christ’s love and the transforming power of it.

Paul, formerly known as Saul, came to Christ after meeting Him on the road to Damascus. You can read about it in the Book of Acts. I think I like Paul because, much like me, Jesus had to stop him dead in his tracks to get his attention. Paul, a Jewish leader, sought out Christians and had them severely punished, jailed, or even killed prior to his conversion to Christianity. (And you thought what you’ve done is bad) But after his acceptance of Christ as Savior, he did a total 360. He became the most Jesus-loving, crazy man you ever saw. Instead of inhlmhlmn-3flicting pain, he received the pain; instead of imprisoning people, he became the one imprisoned. Paul is, for all intents and purposes, an outlier in Christianity. He truly gave it his ALL. Why the sudden transformation? Paul finally understood Jesus’ love for Him. Paul didn’t have a transaction with Christ, he experienced a transformation. Christ came in and took root in Paul’s heart and that is the source from which Paul drew strength.

Let’s look at a small section of scripture – Ephesians 3:14-18. Here Paul is writing to the Church in Ephesus, and as he is writing, which I am imagining was feverishly, he was describing the awe he held for God and His plan of salvation for both the Jew and the Gentiles…of this great love God has for humanity as a whole.

And then he speaks these words to them:

When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and earth. (verses 14-15)

I love that. There is something so sincere about it. Paul is so overcome by Christ’s love for him and all of humanity. Even though Paul use to fight against the Church initially, he is now overwhelmed…and it brings him to his knees…every…single…time. Has the love of Christ brought you to your knees yet?

Let’s go a little further…

I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. (verse 16)

Paul is simply praying for these Christians, still new to the faith, to be strengthened by the Lord, knowing that they like us must tap into the resources only the Lord possesses.

Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. (verse 17)

Paul has prayed for them to be strengthened and now he is describing the transformation that occurs in a Christian’s heart when Christ is given rule over their heart, which is that we become more trusting of God and we become stronger in our faith because we are growing roots!

And this is the one verse I want you to remember after today.

And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. (verse 18)

Let those words sink in – how wide, how long, how high, and how deep His love is. Paul is giving us the best description he knows how to explain how limitless and how huge God’s love is for us. But notice we have to be rooted first to grow in this understanding.

Take a few minutes and just evaluate all that you have been feeling lately.

Do you believe Jesus loves you?

Do you believe Jesus can love you?

Those are two very different questions. The first doesn’t require an in depth look at yourself, it is really an evaluation of Jesus. The second question means we have to look at ourselves and find what is lovable. Too many times, we are hung up on what does Jesus love about me. Case in point, how many of you wives have asked your husbands at some point in the relationship, what do you love about me? Right? We want to know why?

With Jesus that answer is very simple – because he just does. Jesus loves everyone, no matter who you are, no matter what your status is, no matter who you know – He just loves people.

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Friend, today, I simply want you to know this – Jesus Loves You! Receive it and embrace it!!!

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24
Apr

Three Levels of Healing by Jesus

Luke 13_13

When my dad developed a chronic lung condition called chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), I hoped and prayed that God would spare him from the sometimes severe effects of the disorder. Some COPD patients go several years before needing supportive oxygen, but as a heavy cigarette smoker, my dad went only a couple of years. It was painful to watch him deteriorate, but before the condition became too severe, he passed away from injuries sustained in a car accident.

Have you had the experience of watching a love one suffer from chronic illness? Perhaps they had a condition such as severe arthritis, fibromyalgia, heart disease, or cancer. Maybe that someone is you?

Though chronic illness is hard, tiring, frustrating, and just plain overwhelming at times, our Savior is a healer. Over and over in the New Testament are stories of Jesus healing – the young, the old, individuals, groups, Jews, and Gentiles.

From these stories we can gleam all the ways in which Jesus healed – physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Let’s take one of those stories and breakdown the elements within the story to see these various levels of healing unfold.

Luke 13:10-13 (NLT) states:

One Sabbath day as Jesus was teaching in a synagogue, he saw a woman who had been crippled by an evil spirit. She had been bent double for eighteen years and was unable to stand up straight. When Jesus saw her, he called her over and said, “Dear woman, you are healed of your sickness!” Then he touched her, and instantly she could stand straight. How she praised God!

Have you ever felt trapped by your physical or emotional state? Do you feel hopeless to resolve the issue? Jesus is our healer, and what He touches no one can reverse.

I relate to this story of the woman crippled by an evil spirit. There have been times in my life, I have been crippled, engulfed, and overwhelmed by my emotional and physical flaws. Trapped by feelings of insecurity, fear, loneliness, and low self-worth. Trapped by feeling that I am not pretty enough, not tall enough, not slim enough. Gripped by an evil spirit that wanted me to feel less than worthy, less than adequate in regards to my Savior. Jesus constantly flips the table on such things, just as He does in this story.

In the short 3-4 verses that reference her situation, we learn a couple of things about her:

  1. First, she was crippled by an evil spirit. We are not told more than that. We don’t know if the evil spirit was attached to her due to something sinful she did, or because she was simply under attack. In either case, we know she suffered.
  2. We also know the length of her suffering -18 years! The Scriptures state, “she had been bent double for 18 years and was unable to stand up straight.” Can you imagine always looking down, never being able to see beyond the issue? Can you imagine as each day, then week, then month, then year went by –each passing moment must have been more depressing than the first?

Then Jesus, being the compassionate Savior He is, notices her. He sees something inside her that is worth redeeming, and immediately He goes into action! Notice He “called her over.” She didn’t come to Jesus until He called. Is Jesus calling you?

Then He proclaims, “you are healed of your sickness.” Imagine how those words must have rung in her ears. Her heart must of leaped in that moment. Do you think her faith began to rise?

So here’s a question for you –if Jesus can speak anything into existence, why did He not stop there? She was healed right? He said it was so. Why then did He reach out and touch her? I believe Jesus is all about relationship, not just an acquaintance, but a personal, concrete relationship! And so, He touched her. It doesn’t get more personal than that.

“Instantly she could stand straight.” I would love to know what she saw first from her new vantage point. Was it the crowd? Was it Jesus’ face? Or maybe, it was the synagogue leaders?

Whoever or whatever she saw first, doesn’t compare to her reaction: “How she praised God!” Can you see her thank Jesus over and over? Can you see her almost dance around? Can you imagine how many people she stopped to tell her good fortunate on the way home?

I hope you see the pattern:

  • He called her over –this healed her emotions. She mattered to Him!
  • He told her “you are healed” –this healed her spiritually. Her sins were forgiven.
  • He touched her and she straightened – this healed her physically. Complete healing!

Whatever you face today, remember your healer! No matter the circumstance, no matter how much time has passed, don’t give up on believing in His power. One day, He may call you over, speak to your condition, and release you from what “binds” you. Then how you will praise God!


Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

26
Mar

Easter Series: Sticks and Stones

Cross by Maddie for blog post

Do you remember getting up Easter morning and finding that basket of goodness waiting for you? My Easter basket was always at the entrance to our living room. Probably like most kids, I was ecstatic. I would take everything out and examine it, and then put everything back. Finally, I would make my selection on what I would try first. As a kid, having grown up watching Bugs Bunny cartoons, a mystical rabbit delivering that basket as I slept wasn’t too far of a stretch for me to believe. But as I grew older, and the relevance of the holiday came into focus, I quickly moved away from this secular tradition and onto the real celebration of events behind the day.

Oh don’t get me wrong; when my son came along, I had a little fun with the Easter bunny again. But as he grew older, we quickly let that aspect of Easter fade into the background. Today, I am a little saddened by the wealth of commercialism that has taken over both Christmas and Easter. Kids now days get their picture taken with both Santa and the Easter bunny. But my soul longs to sing out above this noise and reflect on the true glory of it all.

The True Easter Story

Can you imagine that first Easter morning? Just three days earlier, Christ’s followers had witnessed his brutal and gory execution on the Cross. That scene etched in their minds forevermore. How bloodstained the ground around him must have been as the blood dripped from His beaten and broken body. How many tears must have flowed in those 72 hours.

And all his acquaintance and the women who had followed him from Galilee stood at a distance watching these things. Luke 23:49

I have to tell you, the first time I saw the Passion of the Christ in a local theater; I almost became violently ill as I watched how He was beaten and whipped, and then nailed to that cross. When I watched it again in my home a few years later, my stomach begin to turn again. But sitting and watching a movie doesn’t even start to compare to how it must have been to be there and hear all the sounds, see the disfigurement, and smell death in the air.

I say all this because it is so important to remember the mood of the disciples, and the women who traveled with them, just prior to that Sunday morning. Probably no time in their entire life had they experienced such deep emotional turmoil. We cannot begin to understand the depth of their anguish as they contemplated what the future might hold.

The Cross Was Only A Stick

I know you remember that little children’s rhyme regarding sticks and stones. It went something like this:

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.

I think we would all agree, that phrasing certainly helped us in some tough situations to look strong, but its wording is entirely untrue. I believe Christ felt it all during his trail and crucifixion. Certainly, the physical abuse left its mark, but the emotional cuts were no better. Don’t misunderstand, I know He was above the insults thrown at Him because He knew who He was; but the hatred that was behind them must have saddened Him deeply.

Yet, as final as the Cross may have seemed, we must remember it was only made of wood. Though our Savior hung on it, He was not bound by its power. He remained on the Cross in His own power to pay for our sins once and for all. Death was imminent, but victory was just around the corner!

“…But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.” Matthew 26:64

There Was No Stone Big Enough

As Christians today, knowing the outcome of those events, I believe the most amusing thing about the Easter story is the placement of the stone in front of Jesus’ grave. Here were men, who had just roughed up Jesus to the point of being unrecognizable and who had physically nailed Him to a cross, using the biggest, heaviest stone they could find to seal the tomb of a corpse (or so they thought). And then, to seal the deal, not a few soldiers, but many soldiers were placed outside the grave to guard it.

The irony is astounding!

But the good news of Easter is that no stone on earth was going to hold Him in that grave. HE AROSE! And without an ounce of effort, the angels rolled that pebble from in front of the grave to prove it.

And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him.” Mark 16:5-6

Let’s do a happy dance right now!!!

Oh, how joyful the disciples, both man and woman, must have been once it all sank in days to weeks later. And that joy has been carrying us for over 2000 years!!!

This Easter, among the festivities, food, and family; take some time to remember the real meaning of it all. HE IS ALIVE! Death has been conquered. Our sins have been atoned for forever. And He is coming back for us!

Praise Jesus!

13
Mar

Singing a New Song!

Psalm 96_1

It was a whirlwind of a week. There is no other way to explain it. From the highest highs to the lowest lows, I have seen and experienced it all.

The Challenges

Some of the events that affected me started a couple of weeks ago, but concluded this week. For example, my husband and I recently reconnected with some dear friends and were planning to get together with them within the week. But then, there was a death in their family. How our hearts ache for them for their loss. But God’s timing is perfect. How grateful we are that after years of being out of touch, we have found them again and can support them through this time of sadness.

Soon afterwards a beautiful soul in our church became gravely ill. The outcome was, well, let’s say potentially negative. A consistent offering of prayer went up to heaven, covering her and the family and beckoning God to that hospital room. And He did not disappoint. Miraculously, in just a few short days, she received an organ transplant, saving her life. And throughout this process, this person faced each day courageously, confidently, and full of faith and grace. It is a true lesson of how we are each in the palm of His hand.

Back here on the home front, I watched my mother, who some of you know is a stroke patient, hit one of the lowest emotional moments I have seen yet. She was so depressed and anxious, I wasn’t sure if she would pull out of it. However, just as the springtime sunlight began to pour in this week, she bounced back and had some really terrific days.

And lastly, after weeks of tension building up over where life is going in this new passion of mine, and perhaps a small tantrum I threw, my husband and I started to talk. Like really talk. We had one of the best conversations we have ever had over how to get to where we want to go next in life, and most importantly, get there together. And if that wasn’t enough, God threw in an awesome opportunity that we are praying over. It could be a game changer, and so we have been at His feet seeking discernment in this decision. The best part–it has caused us to start dreaming of a better future!

Tune Up Those Vocal Cords!

Why do I tell you all that? Because in this life, even those of faith, tend to feel that we live in isolation and that the problems mounting around us are overwhelming. But in these times, God has an unusual instruction for us. 

Sing a new song to the Lord!
Let the whole earth sing to the Lord!
Sing to the Lord; praise his name.
Each day proclaim the good news that he saves.
Publish his glorious deeds among the nations.
Tell everyone about the amazing things he does.

Psalm 96:1-3 NLT

Well, I must admit my singing is more like ‘make a joyful noise’ (Psalm 100:1) then a song, but I try to make the most of it!

Even through the tough stuff, the rough stuff, the sad stuff, the scary stuff–we need to keep singing His praises, and in some cases, sing a new song! Instead of looking at the circumstances, we need to look to our God.

 Focusing on Him brings peace, strength, and wisdom. Leaning on Him keeps us safe in the storms of life.

When We Find Ourselves Out of Tune

How do we find the right song? First, take a step back from your circumstances and take a really deep breath. I get how hard that is sometimes. Trust me, this week, I had to take my own advice! Second, count your blessings. I know how Christianese that might sound, but it is so important. One of the ways my husband and I dealt with the opportunity before us was to write a list of pros and cons. This works in many situations. Grab a piece of paper, write your troubles on one side, but then write your blessings on the other. I am confident your list of blessings will be longer, and your perspective will start to change. Lastly, pray! Once we start talking with God, He will begin to fill our hearts with more hopes and dreams than they can possibly hold. And in that moment, you will find yourself singing a new song!

Hear the words of David, who was no stranger to troubles and sorrows:

You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing.
You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy,
that I might sing praises to you and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give you thanks forever!

Psalm 30:11-12 NLT

Thank you Father God that you are with us in all circumstances and that when we ask, you give us a new song to sing!


Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

 

14
Feb

Our True Valentine!

Valentines Day

Hey there! It seems like ages since we talked. I hope your New Year’s got off to a great start. To be honest, mine has been a little rocky. But I am not surprised! Anytime we put our efforts into starting over or beginning something new, there will be obstacles. I have learned those obstacles are allowed by God to refine us, to mold us, and to strengthen us for the long haul which we call life. Sure, it’s not exactly fun to go through, but the payoff is greater than the frustration, and that is something you can trust in.

So how do we endure the many disappointments and hurts that come in those seasons? We continue to lean on Jesus. Sometimes I just have my hand resting on His arm. Other times I feel like I have wrapped myself around His leg like a kid clinging to his/her parent in total fear. But here is the thing. Jesus can handle it. Even when I have a death grip on His hand, this I know – He still loves me!

So this Valentine’s Day, I want you to remember how much He loves you! I can’t think of two more fitting verses than John 3:16 and 1 John 4:19!

For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 NLT

 

We love each other because he loved us first. 1 John 4:19 NLT

These are very familiar verses. Some of us have heard them a thousand times. We may even have them committed to memory. But today, I want them to speak straight to your heart. Let’s slow down for a while today and really take some time to absorb them.

I absolutely LOVE (no pun intended) that this Valentine’s Day is on Sunday. Not only will I celebrate the love I have for my husband, but first, I will celebrate the love of my Savior. It is extremely easy for us to forget in the day-to-day rush that He left the comfort of Heaven and came here to be among us. That He suffered and died a sinner’s death though He was perfect and holy. And that His resurrection provides a hope for us that we could never achieve on our own. Never.

I hope you enjoy your day, and that it brings you great happiness. I’m going to enjoy a little chocolate myself. But among the rush of feelings that this day will evoke, take some time to remember the One who gave it all for you; whose love is so pure, its transforming powers cannot be denied.

And remember this:

Jesus, I thank you that You love us even with all our faults. I give You praise for all that You have done. Forgive me when I allow the things of this world to blind me from Your grace. Tug on my heart daily, and remind me whose I am. I love you Lord and all that You are – my provider, my protector, and my friend. Today, I fall to my knees to worship You, the one true lover of my soul. Amen.

Happy Valentine’s Day! Love, Elaine 

 


Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright© 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

16
Nov

That New Christian Feel

Believers Celebration Sunday

I’m not sure what your church service looked like this past Sunday, but this was mine! At Believers Church, we had service outside underneath a HUGE tent adjacent to the property our church family will soon call home (hopefully within the next 18 months to 2 years). We called it Celebration Sunday!

Yes, we got a little crazy, but isn’t the love of Jesus something to be crazy about!

So what were we celebrating? I am so glad you asked! During this service, we were able to look back and see how far the church has come since the Rescue Project, a former project that allowed the church to build our current worship center. Back then, the church was really no bigger than your average Baptist church is today, and my husband and I weren’t part of the membership! We have, however, benefited from the hard work and strong faith of those who took God at His word and launched out into the unknown “to rescue those who were drowning in their sin.” Darrell and I came to Believers in 2006. Next year, we will have been with the church 10 years! And the growth has been incredible, so much so that we have outgrown our current building and are working toward building a new church that house all the kids, teens, and adults that Jesus sees fit to send us each Sunday (almost 1500 total).

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16
Oct

Abiding in the Love of Jesus

Wow, I can’t believe how time has flown!! Where did the last few weeks go? I feel like we haven’t talked in ages!

I wish I could tell you the last several days have been filled with big red hearts and unicorns, but it hasn’t! In fact, it has been some of the toughest days I have had in a while. I have felt the world slowly caving in all around me, and that I was unable to stop it! I have felt isolated and maybe even a little abandoned.

I just wanted to go out my front door and yell to the top of my lungs, “World, are you out there?”

Can you relate?

Well even when the sun doesn’t come up for me and the gray skies hang around way too long, I know this – He still loves me. Even though I have thrown a temper tantrum or two over the last couple of weeks and told Him He is taking way too long on this one – He is still patient with me. And yes, even when my 40-something, hormonal self is just sitting there pouting, though I know what He has promised – He probably is just laughing at me!

The last few weeks has reminded me why I love Jesus so much, even when I am completely and totally unlovable at times. He is faithful and He is true.

Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Hebrews 13:8 NIV

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