Monday, March 30, 2015

What is Maundy Thursday?

We are in Holy Week/Passion Week. The time from Palm Sunday through Easter Sunday. This Thursday we will celebrate Maundy Thursday or Holy Thursday. You may have gone to church all your life and not known what Maundy Thursday is.

Maundy (pronounced: mawn-dee), is from the Latin mandatum which means to command. It is the name we give to the day on which Jesus celebrated the Passover with His disciples, known as the Last Supper. (Luke 22:19-20) At that supper, Jesus gave His disciples the command to love and serve one another. (John 13:34) Not a bad idea, but are we doing it? At that same supper, Jesus washed His disciples' feet. (John 13:3-17) He acted as a servant in great humility. This is the King of the Universe, God's own Son we're talking about. The Sinless One. He got down on His knees and washed the feet of all the disciples, even the one who He knew would betray Him.

Why would He do that? Once again it comes back to the Passion Week. Jesus was all about His passion for us, even those of us who betray Him. This week is an excellent time to reflect upon where we are at on the whole self denial thing. Do I have a passion for people? Am I considering others better than myself in humility? Am I loving and serving others? If not, am I truly a disciple?

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Part of the crowd

This Sunday is Palm Sunday, a day I looked forward to as a child. In the church I grew up in, it was a day of celebration. You could see it the moment you walked in. It was no ordinary day. There were Palm branches everywhere! It was a day of rejoicing! I enthusiastically waved my palm branch along with everyone else in the crowd as the account of Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem was read aloud.

I was part of the crowd then. Later, I would accept Jesus Christ as my personal LORD and Savior and enter into an intimate relationship with Him as one of His disciples. That's it. There are two groups. One group follows Jesus along with the masses, to be fed. The other, much smaller group become His disciples and choose to follow Him to the Cross. I read a sobering scripture this week. It is from the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 7. Verses 13-14 say this:
"You can enter God's Kingdom only through the narrow gate. The highway to hell is broad, and its gate is wide for the many who choose that way. But the gateway to life is very narrow and the road is difficult, and only a few find it." (NLT)
Looking back, the act of taking the Palm Branch and making it into a cross wasn't just a simple act for us children. It was a teaching moment. This Palm Sunday, take your palm and make it into a cross. Explain to your children that as the masses celebrated Jesus' arrival on a donkey into Jerusalem, the joy and celebration would soon turn to sorrow as their King would be nailed to a cross. Tell them that it's OK to feel sad. The disciples felt sad too. Then tell them there's more to the story!

If you're a visual learner, here is a You Tube Tutorial on how to make a Palm Cross:

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

There is no music in a rest, but there is making of music in it.

This coming Sunday my husband will be preaching from Genesis 2:1-3. He will focus on REST. This is a crucial concept for all believers to learn. I've been wondering why I struggle with it so much. After all, God Himself rested. And not only that, He "blessed the seventh day and made it holy because on it He rested from all the work of creating that He had done." So what is my problem with rest? I believe that my perception of rest is that it has no meaning, no purpose. Sure, it may have some restorative powers, but not enough to take away the the fact that time is being wasted! Projects are piling up! Plus, how does resting make me look to others? Oh - and worst of all, is when I am forced to rest (like today because of another migraine)!

In reality, God's perception of rest is not like mine at all. He knows it has purpose. Perhaps even more purpose than work or why would He declare the seventh day holy? This morning I was reminded of something I had read in an Elisabeth Elliot Newsletter back in the year 2000. I include it below. Thank you LORD God, for reminding me of this article. May it be a help to others too.
"There are sometimes spaces in our lives which seem empty and silent. Things grind to a halt for one reason or another. Not long ago, in the space of a few days, the “music” in my life seemed to stop because of a rejection, a loss, and what seemed to me at the time a monumental failure. I was feeling rather desolate when I came across a paragraph written more than a hundred years ago by the artist John Ruskin: “There is no music in a rest, but there is making of music in it. In our whole life-melody, the music is broken off here and there by ‘rests,’ and we foolishly think we have come to the end of time. God sends a time of forced leisure—sickness, disappointed plans, frustrated efforts—and makes a sudden pause in the choral hymn of our lives and we lament that our voices must be silent, and our part missing in the music which ever goes up to the ear of the Creator. How does the musician read the rest? See him beat time with unvarying count and catch up the next note true and steady, as if no breaking place had come between. Not without design does God write the music of our lives. But be it ours to learn the time and not be dismayed at the ‘rests.’ They are not to be slurred over, nor to be omitted, nor to destroy the melody, nor to change the keynote. If we look up, God Himself will beat time for us. With the eye on Him we shall strike the next note full and clear.” So the Lord brought to me precisely the word I needed at the moment: there was ‘the making of music’ in what seemed a hollow emptiness. It’s His song, not mine, that I’m here to sing. It’s His will, not mine, that I’m here to do. Let me focus my vision unwaveringly on Him who alone knows the complete score, “and in the night His song shall be with me” (Psalm 42:8). The following was given to me many years ago by my dear Aunt Anne Howard. I wish I knew the author: Help me to live this day quietly, easily; To lean upon Thy great strength trustfully, restfully; To meet others peacefully, joyously; To face tomorrow confidently, courageously."

Wednesday, March 4, 2015


This coming Sunday my husband will be preaching from Genesis 1:26-28.
Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number;fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
We were created to rule our world, yet it seems that too often we are the ones being ruled. Drugs, alcohol and food rule too many of our lives. The lust for money and power drive average people to do unthinkable, horrific things.  What then, should we do?

  1. First we need to decide if we believe the scripture we just read. Am I really created in God's image and blessed with the ability to rule my world?
  2. If so, then I must begin to do what is right in God's eyes by obeying His Word. In Genesis 4:7, God says to Cain "If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it."
  3. According to God's Word, sin can be mastered! Hallelujah!
But how? How do we master something? It has been said that it takes 10,000 hours to master a skill. But this blog I have included the link to below says it's not just practice, but deliberate practice of a skill that is important. He uses Kobe Bryant as an example. Worth the read.