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Holy Week: Day 5

March 31st, 2015 by stephanie

Holy Week – Tuesday.

Sermon on the Mount

Sermon on the Mount

Knowing it’s His final week on this earth as a human, Jesus seems to be trying to get in every little last bit of business that He can before His departure.

1. The Pharisees try to trap Jesus into making a blasphemous, or rather, anti-god remark. (Which would be very illegal!) (Mark 11:27-33).

2. He was teaching right up to the last minute. On this day He had some amazing parables. (Matthew 21:28-23:36).
3. Interestingly, Jesus had been focusing on confronting the Jewish leaders, but some secular Greeks (the intellectual/philosophical types) were very intrigued and tried to set up a meeting with Jesus as well. (John 12:20-26).
4. He also delivered what is known as the famous Olivet Discourse. On the Mt. of Olives, he talked about the coming destruction of Jerusalem along with signs of the last days. (Matt 24)
5. Lots of ancient prophecy was fulfilled on this day too. One of the prophecies said that Jesus would be rejected by his own people (Isaiah 53:1,3).

Moment to Catch:

In my opinion, Tuesday was pretty lousy. Supposedly on this day Judas, one of the 12 Disciples, agreed to betray Jesus (Matthew 26:14-16). Someone from His own personal, inner circle. What time of day, we’re not sure, but most agree, it was on Tuesday. So very heartbreaking, and sad.

Thot for today:
Have you ever been, or felt betrayed by someone who is “closest” to you? It’s a very painful experience. Jesus understands.
It happened to Him too.

S.
Verses for Today:
Matt. 22:15-46
Mark 11:20-33
Luke 21:1-38

Holy Week: Day 4

March 30th, 2015 by stephanie

Cleansing the Temple

Cleansing the Temple

Monday of  Holy Week was a busy day for Jesus.
Basically, He blew into town, blew up, then…blew out.

Many of us forget what all went down the day after He got off that donkey on Palm Sunday. No warm and fuzzy Jesus here. We get to see what you might call His “mean” side.

We read:
Matt 21:12-17

Jesus entered the temple and drove out all those who were buying and selling in the temple, and overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who were selling doves.
And He said to them, “It is written, ‘MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED A HOUSE OF PRAYER’; but you are making it a ROBBERS’ DEN.”search

Jesus had spent Sunday night in Bethany, then headed back into the city in the morning. On the way in, He did something you and I might find a bit strange. He cursed the fig tree.

Moment to Catch:
After that little episode, he cleansed the Temple…again! Then, in the evening, He headed back to Bethany for some rest. The home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus.

Thot for today:

Jesus didn’t like “religion”. One of the final things he did that final week was to let religious folks know He wasn’t fond of their ritualistic and corrupt ways. He had some new ideas about God for them. And He was getting ready to really rock their world in the next few days by proving His point–in a very unique way.

What are your thoughts on present day “faith” and what all comes with it? I’d love to hear.
– Stephanie

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Then, join us back here tomorrow as we journey together through Holy Week!

Holy Week: Day 3

March 29th, 2015 by stephanie

images

Jesus enters Jerusalem

Happy Palm Sunday!

On the Sunday before Christ died, he walked the 2 miles from Bethany (where He was staying), into the city of Jerusalem. When He arrived, He rode in on a donkey.

People were running out in front of Him throwing palm branches on the ground and waving them and singing. (That’s the “Hosanna” thing you’ve always heard about!)

This was actually a fulfillment of ancient prophecy. You’ll find it from the prophet Zechariah.
(which was written hundreds of years before this event)

FEAR NOT, DAUGHTER OF ZION; BEHOLD, YOUR KING IS COMING, SEATED ON A DONKEY’S COLT.

Here’s the deal with the donkey:
In biblical times, (especially during the rule of the Roman Empire) kings and nobles would parade in a procession, riding on the back of a donkey. The donkey was a symbol of peace; and riding it was a symbolic gesture that proclaimed peaceful intentions. When a king or dignitary was arriving in victory or triumph, people would lay palm branches in his path to signify the victory of the king.

In those days, legally, there was no king but Caesar.

On this special sunday, people were packed into Jerusalem preparing for the annual Jewish Passover celebration. That’s not a problem. What was a problem was that they were praising a new king! One they believed was their long awaited Messiah and savior. Not Caesar. (You gotta know, this didn’t go over very well with the Roman authorities in town.)

And that is how Palm Sunday got the name Triumphal Entry.
Jesus then walked into the Temple, threw over the money changers tables, freed the sacrificial doves and healed the blind and the lame. And that was just on Sunday!

Moment to Catch:

Having had a very full day, Jesus returned Sunday evening to the place that brought him comfort– the home of his friends Mary, Martha & Lazarus, in Bethany.
Read about that here! John 12:12-15

Thot for Today:

Where is your place of comfort. Where do you go during tough times?

Hope you’re enjoying this journey.

Come back tomorrow!
S.

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Passages for today:
Matt. 21: 1-17
Mark 11:1-11
Luke 19:28-46
John 12:12, 13

Holy Week: Day 2

March 28th, 2015 by stephanie

If you are just joining us today, don’t miss yesterday’s post. For the rest of you, welcome back!

DAY 2: Saturday – The Sabbath

Sabbath

Sabbath

Have you ever seen Fiddler on the Roof? If so, there’s a scene in there that shows the families of the town rushing home to prepare for Sabbath meal. That’s pretty much what Jesus did on Friday. He hurried to get to Bethany, the home of Mary, Martha and Lazarus in time for dinner. And He needed to get there by sunset!

Today, of the Holy Week, would have been the final, full Sabbath day for Jesus. It had started sundown Friday evening and would go through sundown Saturday night for the Jews.

Moment to Catch

The Sabbath would be spent completely resting. And so, we don’t find much in the Scriptures that tell us about what He did that day.

With that, it’s interesting to note, this was the last day Jesus would have to really, really “rest”. But something tells me He spent the entire day teaching…and probably eating. 🙂

Thot for today:
Jesus rested on the Sabbath…do you?

Join us tomorrow, as we follow in His steps…

– Stephanie

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Holy Week Is Here!

March 27th, 2015 by stephanie

A few years back I began a Holy Week tradition that seems to have caught on a bit. Each year, I now post my blogs, or daily devos if you will, that allow you to walk with and follow Jesus during his final days on planet earth. I hope you’ll share these with a friend, and make them part of a conversation or two as we journey our way to Resurrection Day. If anything, use them as your morning devotional perhaps. Enjoy! 

The beginning of the end.

The beginning of the end.

Holy Week:
It may be somewhat new to you,

but celebrating Holy Week is actually a very old tradition.
Holy Week follows the last 7 days that Jesus walked on the earth.
Where He went. What He did. You get the idea. We’ll follow his steps every day for the next week. So come back each morning, or evening if you like, and join us here.

DAY 1 – FRIDAY:
For Jesus and His disciples it was time to make the trek toward Jerusalem to celebrate Passover Feast week. Remember: Jesus was Jewish. And, on this particular night (Fri.), he would celebrate one last Sabbath. (which was from sundown Friday to sunset Saturday—if you’re Jewish).

TRIVIA:
The Sabbath has “rules.”

One of the rules is how far a person can walk!

According to the Mitzvah, you can’t walk a straight line more than .598 miles (3161.74 ft.) in any direction outside your city limits.

On this Friday before Good Friday, Jesus was heading to Bethany. He needed to get to where He was going by sunset (before Sabbath began). With the average adult walking pace at about 3-4 mph, a day’s journey (about 12 miles) would realistically take about 5-6 hours.

Bethany was home to Mary, Martha and Lazarus. Yes, the very Lazarus He had just raised from the dead earlier that same week. Talk about a foreshadowing! (Jesus would raise Himself a few days from now!) Bethany was dangerously close to Jerusalem (about 2 miles outside) and to those that wanted Jesus dead. But Jesus knew what he was doing.

Martha had a big dinner planned, but Mary interrupted the evening, broke a bottle of precious ointment, showered Jesus with tears of affection and anointed His feet with her hair.

Moment to Catch
This act foreshadowed his coming burial. Back then you only anointed the feet of a corpse! You anointed the head of a live person. Pretty amazing stuff.

There’s lots more to come. C U tomorrow.

– Stephanie

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1st World Problems

March 22nd, 2015 by stephanie

Namaste

Cleansing Breath…

I was driving down the road when she called. Having blue tooth in the car is a blessing, and I touched the “answer” button in anticipation of what was coming next. She’s always so bubbly and energetic, her conversations fill my emotional and mental “tank” if you will, so they are always a welcome treat.

“Ok, I know I shouldn’t complain…this is such a 1st world problem….” I had to laugh…but those words struck me. She was so balanced. So aware that the things that most likely bother us on a daily basis might be mundane and inane. If you think about it…when people are being beheaded and tortured by modern-day, 3rd-world barbarians just a few thousand miles away? I think you know where I’m going with this…

But alas, this was “her world” and she was living it and needed to vent. I have to admit, it was still a bit delightful in how she did it. I have much to learn from her.

In all honesty, there are days when I simply need an image of the holocuast to flash by a screen…and it’s enough to remind me, “Now, what was I just upset or thinking about?” Those moments of reality jar me out of my minutia and cause the dust to settle once again around me.

If I am truthful, I have so little to complain about it. Do I have a roof over my head? Yes. Do I have a food? Yes? Do I have clothes? Yes. (Oh, my, word…you should see my closets…but back to topic…) It reminds me of the verse

If we have food and covering, with these we shall be content.

1 Tim. 6:8

Think about it. Some people right now, somewhere, just want shelter, a clean bed and a hot meal. That slaps me with some quick perspective.

Now, do I mean to verbally beat up those of us living in a 1st world country? Nope, but it does help to adjust the panic or frustration of the moment. Sometimes, I just have to stop and say, “Cleansing breath…namaste.” It does, if even for a moment put a smile on my face.

Whatever is frustrating you today, I hope that this little blurb gave you a mental “breath” or “vacation” to just stop and think. It’s bad, yes. What you’re feeling is valid and yucky. But, maybe it’s survivable? I don’t know. It’s worth a shot.

🙂

Just my thoughts.

S.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

March 17th, 2015 by stephanie

I had the privilege of being invited as a Guest Blogger for this St. Patty’s Day. In lieu of a post here, I hope you’ll support my host and click on over to her site. She’s a special young lady who has worked very hard to create a lovely place on the digital space.

The Colors of Ireland.

The Colors of Ireland.

My blog discusses the significance of the colors in the Irish Flag, as told to me by my grandfather. “Remember, we were orange…” he’d always say…

Enjoy!

Super-Sized Blessings.

March 15th, 2015 by stephanie

super-size meWe live in a culture, at least in 1st world countries, where you can pull your car up, order a super-sized option, and drive away with what you requested, immediately meeting your wants…(forget your needs). It’s all about gratification. We can upgrade (or trade-in) most anything these days at any time. And we’re used to that. We expect it and we’re, in all honesty, a bit cocky about it—getting our way on demand, that is.

But have you ever found yourself in a place where you weren’t getting what you want. Perhaps, you woke up one morning only to find that what you once loved, or cared for, had been stripped away. Never to be seen, or heard from, again?

That’s what happened to Job.

He was minding his own business, and then in one day, he lost everything. Gone. Without a trace. And no explanation, or “word” from the Lord on the matter. Just silence…and deep pain. Clueless as to the grand master plan that was going on in the super natural world behind the scenes, as beautifully played out, in Chapter 1 of the book that boasts his name.

Job’s “godly” friends sat around him, waxing eloquent, trying to explain to him why this had happened to him and what he’d done to bring it all upon himself.  And too, what he needed to do to fix it and how he needed to handle himself while going through this horrific ordeal. (So easy to tell someone how to feel or what to do when we aren’t the one hurting.)

Funny how those “words of wisdom” didn’t take away Job’s agony. They only made it worse.

One thing I hadn’t noticed before in the last chapter was a particular verse (Job 42:10). Not sure how I have missed that my whole life, but here it is…

When Job prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes.

In fact, the Lord gave him twice as much as before.

Job 42:10

Did you catch that, when Job prayed for his “friends”…yep, the ones who criticized him while he was down and out, the ones who abandoned him in his time of need, who didn’t want to deal with his mess…those “friends.” I honestly don’t know how he did it. But yet, I do.

God and Job had just had a little…no big, “Come to Jesus meeting” as they say here in the South…and Job had nothing left. Remember, in fairness, God never let Job in on the “By the way, I threw you to the proverbial lion,” scenario. But, Job realized who God was after that chat, he saw his own humanness, and had one of those, “I got nuthin’ ” moments.

God also chewed out those “friends” of Job’s and let them have it as well.

Perhaps, when Job saw that, maybe that is when he prayed for them. Interesting. I guess at that moment, they were all on the same playing field. No one of them was any “better” or “godlier” than the other. They were on one side of God, and He was on His throne—staring back at all of them. A bit disconcerting I might add.

Anyway, after that, God super-sized Job’s blessings. I don’t recall Job even placing an order? But he got one. And it was a whopper (pun intended). Everything he’d ever once owned, or had, was doubled. If you look close, you’ll see that he even lived an extra 140 years after the fact so that he was given time to enjoy it all.

Now that’s a cool story.

If you’re in a tough spot in life and can’t figure out “why” (or know someone who is) perhaps take a moment to look at the first and last chapters of Job.  It might shed some light on the situation, or if even for a bit, bring some fresh perspective to the matter—to all parties involved. Jus’ sayin’.

🙂

Just my thoughts,

S.

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