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Motivation Monday: What About Suffering?

Commissioned UMC Deacon #ForSuchATimeAsThis

Greetings of peace, joy and solidarity! Today’s entry is actually a post I posted on Facebook. And Instagram. As you may know if you’ve been following the blog, I’m going through a Bible in a year project. I’m on is the book of Job at the moment. I always receive great inspiration and hope from this sometime is very dark and very disturbing book. The most powerful message is that God is always with us and for us. When life is suffocating and difficult, God is still working God’s will. I pray for all of us that as we continue living through this epidemic of COVID-19 as well as the epidemic of rampant racism and police brutality we remember that God is with us and for us. I pray for you. I pray for the souls of those who have been murdered. I pray for peace and assurance as well as the bestowing of hope upon those left behind. I pray for the police and lawyers and lawmakers that they would be given wisdom and hearts of compassion and justice according to the will of God. Amen.

BLACK LIVES MATTER

MotivationMonday – Black fathers are losing their wives, daughters and sons. Black daughters and sons are losing their fathers. Black mothers are losing their husbands and children. Black children are losing their mothers. Loss, murder, and countless numbers of tragedies and travesties befall people of all creeds and stations. #LordHelpUsAll.

Most authentically though, I speak from my own social location and to the issues burning most on my heart right now, which include the suffering and injustice perpetrated upon black bodies, minds and spirits.

I am a black daughter, mother, wife, sister, niece, aunt, friend, mentor, minister/teacher/preacher and advocate, and I want a better world for my people. We don’t know why horrific things happen and evil, power-hungry and vindictive people gain and maintain power. We wonder where God is in all of this and why setan is giving so much freedom to torment God’s people. We blame ourselves and we blame others and we seek solutions. Some of us are already in states of despair and some may be considering or have given into the temptation to self-destruct or comit suicide, because the pain is too much.

We’ve had enough for a very long time!!!!! I can’t answer your questions just like the book of Job doesn’t answer your questions, but I can help be the friends as they were at the end of chapter 2 before they started giving such fearful and condemning advice, they were good friends who sat silently with Job for seven days. I am with you not only for seven days but for as long as we need each other, which will be as long as there is life breath in you, because we are gods answers to each other’s prayers. As I read these verses from Job chapter 2, this is the message GOD put on my heart for you.

Job 2:4-5, NLT.

Dear Sisters & Brothers

Sisters and brothers, #JesusLovesYouAndSoDoI #Job245 #Job2 #RejectTheLies #BlessingsAndCurses #NoEasyAnswers #NotAlone #LordInYourMercy #BlackLivesMatter #RebukeSatan #HoldOn #IllStandByYou #BlackLivesMatter

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Holy Saturday: Jesus, Where Are You?

Let Us Pray

“I am worn out from my groaning. All night long I flood my bed with weeping and drench my couch with tears”
(Psalms 6:6 NIV).

Psalm 88:11–13 another prayer for deliverance. Jesus made God‘s wonders known below the earth on that day! But we pray for deliverance, because we can only make God‘s wonders known by living since we are not Jesus.

“Is your love declared in the grave, your faithfulness in Destruction? Are your wonders known in the place of darkness, or your righteous deeds in the land of oblivion? But I cry to you for help, Lord; in the morning my prayer comes before you”
(Psalms 88:11-13 NIV).

Hold on sisters and brothers! The sun, the hope, the light, the joy and the promise is coming. Don’t rush it! The shadow, the pain, the isolation, the grief, the uncertainty and the feelings of abandonment only make the glory more intense. Are you able to sit here for the last moments of Holy Saturday (or revisit) and resist the temptation of rushing onto Resurrection Sunday? It’s difficult, but I’ve always found it enriching and helpful.

I have found that suffering does build character. It does build endurance. It does create a deeper capacity for compassion and empathy

So I started this blog with Psalm 6:6 and 88:11-13 as prayer of lament. For those who are, by chance, not feeling sorrow or pain, perhaps you can pray for those who are. Thanks be to God. Amen.

What Does Scripture Tell Us About Ehere Jesus was on Holy Saturday?

Not surprisingly, the Gospels tell us little, because the original disciples did not know where Jesus was on Saturday. They believed that he was in a tomb waiting to have his body prepared for burial. Then, it was discovered that his body had disappeared and they thought someone stole him. At this point in time we pause and experience their Fear, uncertainty and great grief. Good Friday was bad enough, and now this.

As we today fight this coronavirus pandemic and see life around us all but stopped, and as we fear for ourselves in our love ones, we experience some of the same emotions as we live the story we find ourselves in.

List of scriptures I found most helpful in understanding the activities of Jesus on #HolySaturday In Canonical Order.

What I did to put together material for this blog is I searched the Internet. Big surprise! We find information in Matthew, John, Acts, Ephesians, Philippians, Hebrews, First Peter and First Corinthian’s.

Jesus Foretells What Must Happen

Just as the original apostles/disciples forgot, I had, too! I was happy to find this.

“For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth”
(Matthew 12:40 NIV.).

Oh yes, and John has a prediction as well! The dead who serve God and have faith in God yet who had died/fallen asleep before Jesus came to earth will hear Jesus his voice and live. He has gone to rescue those held captive. That part comes in a liter photo.

“Very truly I tell you, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live”
(John 5:25 NIV).

Peter cause us to repentance for the wall we played in Jesus being crucified and so part of good Friday is sitting in that repentance for that shared seven, and the continued sin. Peter speaks from his own place of humanity, because he was as close to Jesus as anyone could be and yet he denied Jesus three times. Lord, and your mercy!

“But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him”
(Acts 2:24 ).

Paul also supports the truth that Zjesus descended before he assented. Jesus had to descend from earth in order to ascend from earth since we know he did make appearances back on earth.

“(What does “he ascended” mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe)”
(Ephesians 4:9-10 NIV).

Jesus came as a human in order to overcome death on our behalf. He had to experience the entire human experience, which does include death, but then he went beyond that and stuff and give us eternal life! Thanks be to God! I can shower over but he had to Indore and I’m grateful that it was done.

“Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity
so that by his death
he might break the power of him
who holds the power of death
—that is, the devil—
and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death”
– Hebrews 2:14-15 –

And finally, Firdt

Peter is the scripture I found that the Catholics and Methodists, and probably other “protestants” agree is critical to understanding Holy Week. It talks about Jesus descending into hell to break the chains and set the captives free. This is a powerful statement, and if I think about it, I feel it even more poignantly, because it points out that Jesus was so far from heaven at this point.

People love the simple scripture that says, “Jesus wept” (John 11:35). The people who find comfort and reassurance in that scripture would likely find assurance from this passage. Only Jesus can do this: break her heart and heal them at the same time.

I

“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit. After being made alive, he went and made proclamation to the imprisoned spirits—”
(1 Peter 3:18-19).
Until The Marrow

Jesus, I thank you for dying on the cross for us, for me! I love you because you first love me. You are the author of life and the finisher of our faith in the saver of our souls. What amazing love and forgiveness. Grant us a restful night that we might wake up in the morning willing to praise you through the storm, through the separation and isolation and through our enemies who seek to seporate us from you. Speak to us through the scriptures that we may feels a full range of emotions from the disciples, to the early church all the way through to the current church. Help us bring other people into this Victorious story. In Jesus name we pray, amen!

Sources Rrfered To

https://www.seedbed.com/holy-saturday-2/

https://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p122a5p1.htm

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Jesus Renember Me: A Good Friday Reflection on Luke. 23:42-43

Second Word Luke 23:43

Matthew 23:43 – Bible.com

“One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at him: “Aren’t you the Messiah? Save yourself and us!” But the other criminal rebuked him. “Don’t you fear God,” he said, “since you are under the same sentence? We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve. But this man has done nothing wrong.” Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom. ”

Jesus answered him, “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.””

https://www.bible.com/bible/111/luk.23.39-43.niv

Let Us Prwy

Father/Mother God, thank you for sending your only begotten son! He would not come down from the cross to save himself. He decided, O God, to die just to save me! May we learn to be so loving, so gracious, so courageous and so selfless. Change us, O God! Create in us clean hearts that we might truly be Christians who love selflessly, forgive endlessly and die to self purposefully as did the one we follow, Jesus the Christ. Amen

One of my zoom video test photos, of me

Story of Self (personal story)

Troubled, violent, bad-mouthed, out-of-control, hard-to- place! These are the words foster children hear carelessly and cruelly aimed at and about them. Apparently, I used to think, they also think we are death and dumb! When I was 16, I served time at McLaren Hall, which has since, thank the Good Lord, been closed. It wasn’t technically Juvey, but from what I gather, it wasn’t much better. At the time though, I didn’t know it was a harsh environment, because I was so used to abuse, it was only another form of the same. In fact, at least I was in a group institutional setting and the staff did not have as much time as foster parents had to home in on me. I was simply another case! Another teen with a bad attitude and a lack of gratitude for what the state had done for me. This makes me bleed for mercy upon the criminal on Jesus’ left. Some are blessed to find the light shining in the darkness, yet others can’t see, can’t rise and thus cannot hope. But for the grace of God go I.

That light for me came in the form of two female ministers who would come to McLaren to speak with the residents. Unlike most of the adults of my acquaintance, they seemed to see and hear us. They helped us find empowerment and constructive ways to voice and express our guilt, shame, rage and need for belonging.

In return, we gave them bad attitudes and disrespect. We challenged them, because we did not trust them or their God. If your God is real, tell him to give you something better to do and get us out of here! They warned us, as the man on the right reminded the man on Jesus’ left, not to test God, and to take responsibility for our own actions. We mocked them and God, at least I did, at least at first.

These women couldn’t save us or change us, or could they? Well, they, or rather, the Holy Spirit within them, did. I stand as a living testimony that God speaks through angels on earth, and years later, I give thanks to those ministers. We don’t know if the man on the left accepted Christ in the last moment, we are not told, and I do not know the fate of the teens I lived with at that time, but as the man on Jesus’ right, and as Jesus himself most of all caused many hearts to turn toward God, these women spoke power, truth and love into my story, and I have decided to ask Jesus to remember me when he comes into his Kingdom. Glory to God

Story of Us (scripture story)

Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, today, you will be with me in paradise.” Having seen experienced the cruelty and injustice humans were/are prone to, Jesus the Christ made this astounding promise. Bloodied and beaten, already bruised for our transgressions and abandoned by many of his disciples, Jesus made his way to the Cross. Jesus is guilty of a multitude of sins. You ask how? Or perhaps you already know. Jesus, the lamb of God, the scapegoat, the Son of David has agreed to take upon himself the sins of the world! How could he stand and walk? As difficult as the walk would have been anyhow following the abuse suffered and with the physical heaviness of that old rugged cross, those burdens would have, I believe, been nothing in comparison to what Jesus the Christ carried in his spirit and in his heart; the guilt of humanity throughout history. Stoically, Jesus went on. Without protest, Jesus was hung and nailed painfully to the cross. And here, we stop to consider, the criminals hanging with him.

Luke 23:39 text from Bible.com Ha

The words of the criminal on the left remind me of the temptation of Satan when Jesus was in the desert after receiving Baptism. Satan challenged Jesus at that time saying, “If you are the son of God, jump from this cliff. Surely, God will not allow you to stub your toe on a rock.” Jesus responds to Satan, It is written “do not put the Lord your God to the test.” The criminal on the left is definitely putting God to the test, rather or not he sees God as his God, and he is trying to tempt Jesus Christ who has been pushed to extreme limits, yet Jesus does not respond. Thanks be to Jesus, for he chose not to come down from the cross.

Luke 23:41 text from Bible.com

The man on the right is no less a criminal, yet he has the one vital key to salvation: he knows he is a criminal who deserves no less than death, and yet in faith and repentance, he asks Jesus to remember him and his acknowledgement of Jesus as an innocent man. Jesus, remember me when you come into your Kingdom. We are all guilty and fall short of the Glory of God, but we pray nevertheless, Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.

We may not be able to see ourselves as worthy to sit in the seats of honor or even to enter the Kingdom. We may only ask to be remembered; remembered with compassion and perhaps affection. Yet Jesus offered the criminal on the right more. Jesus offered entry into that Kingdom. Jesus offered immediate words of forgiveness and absolution. Jesus offered immediate acceptance. He saw the heart of the criminal and Jesus sees your heart and mine!

We aren’t on the cross. Most of us aren’t on death Rowe or on a cross. Most of us are still carrying our crosses. At the same time, many of us are bearing the crosses of those who have fallen and stumbled, and some of those who have too many emotional and physical wounds to make it up life’s hills with the burden of their sins and decisions on their backs. So, we may understand a little of Jesus’ pain and understand our place in this grand story of love and sacrifice. Jesus’ has a message for us: don’t stop! Don’t let go! Just a little further! It hurts but letting go will hurt more and for longer.

Hold on my sister! Hold on my brother! Ask Jesus to remember you! Confess your crimes and acknowledge his sacrifice and the injustices done to him and countless of our powerless and marginalized sisters and brothers, and the reward may just be more than we dared hope. Jesus may turn to us and say, “today, tomorrow, whenever your time comes to end your race, you will be with me in Paradise.”

Story of Now (shared calling)

Today, we are under the shadow of coronavirus. We are not in physical churches, because we are under “shelter in place” and “stay at home” orders. Yesterday, we partook of the Lord’s Supper and observance, some of us, of Maundy Thursday, at home alone or a few family members or roommates. We hear the criminal on the left taunting us, “if you are the daughter, if you are the son of God, get down and save yourself and save us.” We have, I hope ignored that lying voice of self-centeredness, faithlessness and pride. I have heard louder the voice of my Savior saying, truly I tell you, today you will be with me in Paradise” because you have run a good race and stood firm until the end. Jesus sees my bad temper and cabin fever, and he loves me anyway. He sees every fear we allow to control us, and he loves us anyway. He is waiting for us to see our wrong-doings, confess we deserve nothing good and once we empty ourselves, we may be welcomed by him.

I don’t know how much longer I, an extrovert, and all the rest of us, will be forced to shelter in place. I do know we are invited to ask Jesus to come into our shelters and be our shelter. If we are homeless, Jesus wants to be our shelter. We have the opportunity to come out of this a more just, humble, merciful, faithful and loving community. But are we willing? We will overcome. This is my prayer.

Holy God of love and life, we are gathered from around the word via technology. We thank you for this virtual community as well as our physical communities. We thank you for the example of the criminal on the right and the criminal on the left. May we be more like the man in the middle; more like Jesus, the Christ! Thank you for the graciousness and mercy of Jesus Christ. Infuse us with the Spirit that we may come through these current struggles stronger, more faithful and ready to be instruments of healing and peace. We love you. We pray all this and more in the name of Jesus Christ by the Power of the Holy Spirit, giving you, O God, all the glory and honor forever, Amen!

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Let Us Break Bread Together: Maundy Thursday

Greetings of fellowship and peace, today, we celebrate the #LastSupper. Jesus ate in the presence of his friends and his enemies. This is community on earth for better or for worse. We are called to bring healing and reconciliation the best we can with many as we can. Holy Spirit, impart the grace, mercy, wisdom and sacrificial nature of Jesus to each of us. Amen!

Join Jesus’ Story

Please Click to read the whole Last Supper Account: https://www.bible.com/bible/111/mat.26.17-18,20-30.niv

Matthew 26:26–29 text from Bible.com

Jesus knew at the Passover feast that Judas would betray him. Who won broke bread with, especially the Passover meal, would’ve been a big deal in a big declaration, and yet Jesus made it for the one who betrayed him as well as those who did not. We are remember Judas, Thomas and Peter most specifically, because Scripture tells us of the ways they turned their back on Jesus. Still, they aren’t likely the only disciples who stumbled, and that the one of us who have never stumbled be the first one to cast the first stone. I find it more therapeutic and healing to discover when I have been Judith. That teaches humility and wisdom, and empowers me to move forward and never seen in quite the same way again by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Jesus’ Action

Tonight, I don’t wanna focus on the disciples, though. I want to focus on Jesus and his actions. Jesus broke bread symbolizing the breaking of his body and just hours now. He poured and drink the blood, symbolizing the pouring out of his blood for us in hours from now. He predicts his death and that he would not drink or eat with the disciples again until he returned and then they go to the mount of olives. Jesus lead the action as Jesus leads to the church today. If Jesus is not the head of the church, we are not the body. Let us choose tonight, tomorrow and forever more to be the body of Christ with Christ at the head.,, Holy Spirit, come! Thank you that you hear our prayers! Amen!

Hawthorne – Google image

Now, after finish prepping for tomorrow Good Friday service! Yes, #GoodFriday! it is not good because we are good! It is not good because the disciples were good. It is good because we have the promise of eternal life through faith in Jesus Christ if only we would take hold of the promise and clean fast to the promise. Good God who loves us so much that he came in the form of a helpless human child, grew up as a human boy and died The criminals death we all deserve. He for gave us! He pleaded for mercy and grace to be given to each of us. We pray that we all believeregardless of our sins Would be forgiving and excepted into the family. This is why Friday is good.

Tomorrow at noon, we will host a special worship and I’ll include the YouTube link below for any who want to view. I preach on Luke 23:43:

YouTube Link; https://youtu.be/HfqgO35CdZg

7 Last Words Good Friday Flyer

GOD BLESS YOU!

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Tell The Truth Tuesday: Holy Tuesday

Greetings of peace and hope! Yesterday, on Holy Monday, I told you I would name today/Tuesday #TellTheTaleTuesday. Instead, I have dubbed it #TellTheTruthTuesday In honor of the refrain “truly I tell you…” occurs here in Matthew 25 as well as throughout the Gospels. May the truth of the word of God guide your life today and every day.

Please read the entire Scripture passage by clicking the Button below to open the scripture in a new tab.

I hope we are able as a community to rejoice when we are the sheep, repent when we are the goats, and ask for the Holy Spirit to increase the frequency which with which we identify with this sheep, and Eradicate those times we are or are tinted to be the goats. May justice and mercy guide your life today and every day along your journey.

Sheep on the Right & Goats on the Left

As we journey to the cross, it is vital that we realize we serve a God of action; not in action. Many times we think it is OK or sufficient to avoid doing harm not realizing that in non-action itself often causes harm in matters of justice and social well-being. So, here we are given a contrast of good versus evil, action versus in action, Justice versus apathy and right versus left.

I’m a United Methodist, and in the beloved words of our founder, John Wesley, let’s say it together!

https://www.google.com/imgres?imgurl=https://2b2gdzjtaey3o01p41qinbri-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/img_0302-700×400.jpg&imgrefurl=https://juicyecumenism.com/2016/02/10/hillary-wesley-reagan-lincoln/&tbnid=ZXu6Ik3sfIXvMM&vet=1&docid=e1pa3nkuGKFBCM&w=700&h=400&q=Wesley+do+all+the+good+you+can+quote+image&hl=en&source=sh/x/

Just recently, one of the social justice agencies I am a part of hosted and event where they went to Los Angeles City Hall and honk their horn‘s for release of immigrants, and I wasn’t able to attend. I don’t drive so I miss out on a lot of these sorts of events but what I could do and it therefore I do is post on social media, talk to friends and family about it and pray. Those are things almost all of us are able to do. In my apartment, we’ve spent entire days clearing out our closet of perfectly good clothes that we will not wear to donate to shelters and clothing closets. We don’t have much money, but both my husband and I have been known to buy food or donuts for those in need in our neighborhood and drop spare cash and change when we could. Getting around is difficult, but I am really good at technology and I love doing research and writing and composing letters, so I often do those for family, friends, church and other places.

I’m not tooting my own horn. What I’m doing is showing that being a sheep requires only that we have open hearts and minds, are willing to love our neighbors, think outside of the box and commit to following Jesus.

No, I’m not always a sheep, and I don’t think any of us always are. Lent is a time for confession, so although you may not look up to me anymore after I confess, I will model what we all need to do regularly. I frequently lose my temper with my husband and son, which may not seem like a deadly sin, but it is. It is not loving. I’ve been guilty of passing judgment on homeless people or on immigrants because I don’t understand them and haven’t always wanted to. That is unjust and unloving.not Loving. So not surprisingly, my goat qualities aren’t popping to the forefront right now, but I have them in God knows! I can be self-centered, angry, fearful and anxious, lazy and unmotivated, and abrupt. Create in me a clean heart, Lord, and help me to have the spirit of Jesus. Amen!

What Does Jesus Say to/about His Faithful Sheep?

Matthew 25:35 NLT

This is the perfect time to ponder when we have done good to Jesus through doing good to those Jesus died for.

What are some ways you can clothe the naked, feed the hungry, visit/communicate in writing with the sick or the imprisoned during this time?

When we do all we can for as many as we can however we can for as long as we can, when we asked Jesus when we showed love to him, he will tell us that we did our holiest and most just work when we served the needs of the least amongst us.

Matthew 25:40, NLT

We Don’t Want to Hear….

The opposite of the blessing, which is the curse. When the judgement comes, it is too late to change our actions. FEAR NOT, for if you are reading this, you have time. I have time! Though, None can know how much.

Matthew 25:42, NLT

Holy spirit, please help me where I am weak, help us were we are weak and have failed to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, visit the sick and imprisoned, provide for the widow and orphan and immigrant in our midst. Amen! Please help us so that we do not hear the rebuke

Matthew 25:45, NLT

Whenever we have not been just, merciful and loving to other people, animals and even creation, we have not been just and loving to God. As we continue this journey toward the cross, I pray that we think more about this and about ways we might still change and thus change the world.

UNTIL NEXT TIME

May God bless you for all the good you have done in the world and all the good you will do. May God remove any tendency we have to overly criticize ourselves for what we have not done as well as remove any pride so may have for what they have done. May the glory be given to God always in in all places for our victories. Our victory is in Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit granted us by God. May God protect you and hold you up as you continue toward the cross and Contuie following the light and love of Jesus Christ and the cloud of witnesses and disciples in his wake. Amen!

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Holy Week 2020 Motivation Monday: Light and Love

Greetings of peace, love and hope! I hope you are finding you are continuing to stay on the sunny side of life as the rain and clouds continue to make life messy. In these challenges of “Shelter in Place” and covid-19, there are opportunities to love a little deeper and shine a little brighter as the reflections of God’s life we are called to be. Perhaps it helps and motivates and emboldens you as it does me to remember that Jesus, a flesh and blood man, was headed facing his own challenges this time so many years ago. Let us take up our crosses and follow our commander and champion.

Image for Matthew 22:39

Throughout this week, I will post daily as your journeying partner.

  • MONDAY – Today, Holy Monday, I aim to motivate you with pointing out how Jesus is the light and direction. Jesus has told us how to remain strong. So, we will focus on the light of Christ, and the greatest commandments of Christ Today.
  • TUESDAY – Tomorrow, on Holy Tuesday, we will explore some of the paribles Jesus told in the Temple of Jerusalem as he continued to prepare the people for his coming crucifixion and resurrection. I am calling tomorrow “TellTheTaleTuesday.
  • WEDNESDAY – On Holy Wednesday, we will observe what I am calling #WoesAndWarningWednesday. In Jerusalem, Jesus reprimands the prople–especially the religious leaders and teachers of Jewish law– for dishonoring the spirit if not the letter of the Mosaic Law. Since knowledge is power and sometimes ignorance causes us to sin, Wednesday will be spent exploring the follies we fall into and will avoid when we full-heartedly follow Jesus and by the power of the Holy Sprit.
  • THURSDAY – Thursday is called Maundy Thursday. On this day, we celebra the Last Supper in remembrance of the Supper Jesus celebrated with his disciples before his crucifiction, so I invite you to reflect on this event with me.
  • FRIDAY – Good Friday is the day we commemorate the crucifiction of Jesus Christ. It is good, because without Jesus’ willing death on our behalf, we would have no hope of eternal life. So, we will pause to remember, reflect and repent on Friday.
  • SATURDAY – Saturday is vital though it seems to be a day we often overlook. It is a day people set up their Easter Egg Hunts and make last-minute preparations for Sunday Festivities. People cook, play and engage in other activities. I mean to condemn noone. Jesus came to save the world; not com=ndemn the world. My aim is to make us findful of the fact that on Holy Sunday, Jesus is fighting the forces of death and damnation, and rescuing the souls of the prophets and other faithful persons who had already died. It is a day of silence, because the disciples did not yet understand this, and only knew their leader and beloved teacher was gone and their hopes with him. Even once the apostles and Early Church understood, we they observed the silence of Jesus’ desension. So, I will find a way to help us reflect upon this time of silence and seporation of Jesus from God. Jesus died that we might live and live abundantly.
  • SUNDAY – That rest and silence empties us for the joy of the Resurrection of Christ on Resurrection Sunday/Easter. We will rejoice on that day. Come rejoice and give thanks with me on that day, and share with me how you and yours celebrated!

Motivation Monday: Love and Light

Text image for John 12:46, from Bible.com

Before we are strong enough to not only carry our own crosses and help carry those of others, we must recieve the mental, spiritual and physical nourishment for the journey. Am I right? Scripture gives us the spiritual nourishment and armor. Jesus reveals that he is the Light and the way back in John 3:16. Here, in John 12:46, he re-affirms he is the Light, and when we commit to keeping our eyes upon him, we will get where we want to go.

“I have come as a light to shine in this dark world, so that all who put their trust in me will no longer remain in the dark” (John 12:46, NLT). https://www.bible.com/bible/116/jhn.12.46.nlt

Jesus is the Light. Jesus sheds light on those behaviors, attitudes and heart conditions most pleasing to God! In the Jerusalem Temple, he is asked what the greatest command is. He answers not only with the greatest, but adds a second command, which actually is a second part of the whole. Jesus sheads light upon the truth that we cannot love God with our whole being without loving our neighbor.

Image for Matthew 22:36–40 from Bible.com

“Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” Jesus replied, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments” (Matthew 22:36-40, NLT). https://www.bible.com/bible/116/mat.22.36-40.nlt

Especially now, I am mindful that the most powerful demonstration of our love for God is our love, service, mercy and kindness to our fellow human-beings. Love is the only light, which will bring us through this epadimic stronger and more whole than ever before. Without love, we will make it through, but we will be broken and destitute. Love, my sisters and brothers! Love! Love, as Jesus practiced it, is emotional, yes, yes, it is also active and consistant. It gives to each what she or he needs. In this way, LOVE! And may that love come back to you in abundance!

Monday Prayer

Jesus Christ, thank you for being love and light. Thank you for coming to brighten and straighten the path for us on this journey to the cross. We need you, O Lord, to be with us. Heal us Lord, and empower us to be the healing force for those around us. You know our prayers, our sorrows and our fears. Lord, take our sorrows and fears and transform them into hope and faith. May your faith and love infuse us, Lord Jesus. When the sick, homeless, orphan, imprisoned and immigrant see us, may they see you. We love you! Amen!

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Give Up Scapegoating for Lent

This passage has always made me sad. It’s just a for shadowing of the sadness I felt at reading of Jesus on the cross or experiencing the lamb who is the only one who could open the seven seals. We are to repent! And mean it!

https://www.bible.com/bible/111/lev.16.20-22.niv““When Aaron has finished making atonement for the Most Holy Place, the tent of meeting and the altar, he shall bring forward the live goat. He is to lay both hands on the head of the live goat and confess over it all the wickedness and rebellion of the Israelites—all their sins—and put them on the goat’s head. He shall send the goat away into the wilderness in the care of someone appointed for the task. The goat will carry on itself all their sins to a remote place; and the man shall release it in the wilderness.”

Leviticus 16:20-22 NIV

Lord Jesus, I thank you for inviting us on this journey. I thank you that those of us who have made it this far or at least this committed to the journey and we thank you for the power we know you will give us to go all the way with you to the cross and glory. Thank you for being the ultimate scapegoat, sacrifice and atonement for our sins. May we be better and may we become more like you. In Jesus precious and holy name we pray, by the power and the gift of the Holy Spirit bestowed upon us by God the father, amen!

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I Need A Stronger Lightbulb So I Shine Brighter

Matthew 5:14 this part of the sermon on the mount. The whole sermon is on how to be the light of the world and about God‘s presence with us in the struggle
Bible.com

Greetings of peace and joy! Yesterday (Monday, March 11), I wrote about all of the blessings in my life. Well, a lot of them! I reflected largely on Philippians 4:8 and took that opportunity to list things in my life that are beautiful and lovely and just and right. I tried to beat midnight, but didn’t quite succeed since I was trying to reach my step goal amongst other things. I know! I know! I like to save these blogs for night time, because I am a night owl and because it allows me to reflect on the day, but that means the occasional missing of deadlines. Still, this isn’t a class and I’m sure you’ll indulge me.

I’m continuing to count my blessings and today I am reflecting upon Phillipians 4:9, which is, of course, the image I left yesterday’s post wit. I want to sit in for a while.

I, like Paul, want to set a worthy example so that those who hear from and see me will learn from and follow my example and find price

Whatever You Have Learned

I am a teacher, a mother and a disciple of Christ. In all of these roles, I hope to leave a lasting and positive legacy. As the mother of an 11-year-old, I know, for example, it is so easy for our children to imitate our speech and behavior; especially those we’d rather they didn’t. There is no greater joy and pleasure than when I ask my son to pray and he recited a Bible verse or when praying spontaneously prays l for someone who is suffering, because he has seen his mother and his father do so. But those are the kind of examples we want to leave for our students and children. So, whatever others learn from us that is good, worthy, just in Christ centered, let them do those things. As we journey to the cross, people are learning from us. We are the face in the hands and feet of Christ to billions who don’t know him. That is humbling and honoring at the same time.

Whatever You Have Recieved

See, we don’t really know how people see us and what they receive from us. Sometimes, they tell us or we know, but often we don’t. I have to focus on not letting this raise my level of being Zaidi trusting that this song is I do my best and rely on God, God controls what I put out and what is actually received. My prayer is that people receive encouragement, hope, inspiration and a spirit of determination from me. I hope that my love for Jesus is contagious and I leave that behind it as part of my legacy. Of course, most people close to me received plenty of hugs, kisses and jokes along the way, at least when I’m in a good mood! Whatever you receive from me that is good and godly, receive it with joy and pass it on!

Whatever You Have Heard

This one is why I need to control the words that come out of my mouth and the anger that flies off my tongue. Until then, I can hardl pray that those I influence will hear the grace and peace of Christ through me. Help me, Jesus! Still, I trust The Holy Spirit speaks to people through me, because what is needed is a willing and open heart, which I possess. So as I journey along, May my words become wiser, fewer and more life-giving.

How about you, what do those around you hear from you…for better or worse?

Whatever You See In Me

Now, this one can make one self-conscious. If you hear me, you’re already there and that probably at your anxiety. That simply means that I need to reframe and think about this differently. But I’m afraid people seeing me is most often not actually what they see in me. I often wish I could see myself as I see others: with grace, optimism, giving them the benefit of the doubt and through the land of forgiveness and love. We need to remember the times and people have told us The positive the CNS. m

What’s more though, we must all remember that God looks at us and sees someone worth dying for. If I were to leave these words with a congregation as Paul did, I would mean if you saw in me someone who fights for social justice, someone who reaches out to the stranger and widow and someone who can provide comfort to those who mourn, imitate that. I would want my people to see that I am human and in perfect and also see that that’s OK so that they will except for themselves that it is OK to be less than perfect. I would not want them to see how anxious and I’m sure I sometimes am, but then again, seeing that I am locked in those things yet refuse to be ruled by those uncertainties might give courage and endurance and it in so far as that is the case, have at it!

Lord, you see me and you know me and you left me. May I see, no and that as freely and unconditionally. May this journey to the cross we find me and make me more like you. In Jesus’ name, Amen!

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Did Thought Management Yield the Desired Results?

Progress not perfection! That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. It’s easy for me to point out why I was NOT successful in controlling myself today, but the point is I was not! I mean, I tried! I was more positive than I have been lately, and I still have a ways to go! As I say when giving the pastoral prayer on Sunday, Holy Spirit, breathe in and speak through me. May your thoughts be my thoughts!

Acts of the Apostles is so inspirational and formational, so of course I’m thinking of acts 1:8!

In Acts 1:8, Jesus promises to send the Holy Spirit upon his gather disciples so that they in return can speak far and wide of the grace of God and salvation.

Today, as I caved to anxieties over work evaluations, confirmation training coming up, planning for Lent and Easter, getting ready for summer reading program and VBS, I needed the peace of Christ, which surpasses all understanding more than ever, but it doesn’t feel particularly accessible to me at this moment. Good thing my faith in God is not reliant upon my feelings.

So, I will wait and pray and trust. I can’t allow doing the work of the church get in the way of doing the work/will of God and being a woman of God. Holy Spirit, fill what I do and am with you.

Right now I feel like crying out with Jacob, though:

Genesis 32:26 is powerful and it this place how strong we are to be when we approach God for blessings.

The peace, wisdom, assurance, ability and giftedness I need tonight can come by the power of the Holy Spirit. I have the training, the degrees, some of the experience and network, but I need a sign, and tonight, I am praying for and asking for and expecting one.

Obstacles to Thought Management

  • Headaches (orado in your ailment).
  • Stubborn negativity
  • Lack of discipline.

Practice Thought Management: Armor

  • Pray or thank God every time I th ink something like ouch! my head hurts! If nothing else, that will definitely saturate the pain-filled days with blessedness.
  • Catch the stubbornness and refused to allow it tonight. Thank a positive affirmation such ass “I am enough” and make a conscious effort not to the future and argue with those who affirm or complement me. That’s a struggle! Worth it when successful.
  • Believe that /we do, when we do it and why we do it matters. Sometimes, it’s easier or more comfortable, I guess, to convince ourselves that what we do doesn’t matter or can be done by others. It doesn’t matter though, if that is what we are supposed to do, we owe it to ourselves and others to always do our best. So, what are some ways you can pump yourself up when completely unmotivated and feeling completely undisciplined?
  • The road is not easy. How ever we strive, some days, emotionally and physically, life takes it’s toll on us. The key is to acknowledge, except, resolve that tomorrow will be different, and move on. The journey is too important to give up now! I am going on to perfection. Holy Spirit, in your mercy, hear my prayer!

Thank You, God

  • For an open and confessing spirit.
  • Water to drink, falling from the skies and all its life-giving powers.
  • Zoom and voiceover, which made using this phone more possible.
  • That I got my 10,000 steps in as well as my Spanish practice and completed my Bible Study for the day. Now, I can sleep and rest and be ready for a brilliant day tomorrow.

Numbers 6:23–24 is a favorite text are used in benediction/sending the people into the world after worship

Keep your head up, heart open and eyes on the call as we journey with Christ to the Cross and beyond to victory. God bless you.

I Think I Can Think I Can

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Love, Peace, Joy, Justice and Hope be yours! First Sunday in the Season of Lent is coming to a close! Our culture puts so much emphasis on New Year’s and New Year’s resolutions, but I honestly feel that the greater chance for purifying our hearts and cleansing our spirits happens during this season. Many of us sacrifice, but we sacrifice nothing compared to the One who sacrificed all for us. In that sacrifice, I gain clarity, hope, restoration of relationship and an ever increasing appreciation for life. I am grateful. I hope as we walk through these 40 days and Sabbath days up to Easter you feel renewed hope, joy, peace, love and commitment to serve the needs of others. Justice and mercy are needed in our World, and when we are nourished, we are better equipped to care for our world.

Be blessed and make sure you leave any comments if you need prayers.

I got you!

Onto today’s topic! As I continued reading Max Lucado’s Be Anxious for Nothing, I was compelled to contemplate and write on this concept of

Thought Management (Ch. 9). I put recurring reminders in my phone reminding me that “I am enough.” Reminding me that “Jesus loves me and so do I.” Positive affirmations and feeding ourselves positive reinforcement may sound cliche and soft, but it is necessary. So, the idea of controlling our thoughts in order to control our destinies and lives is not a new one, but it’s definitely one I haven’t mastered. Max gives wonderful insights for how to make this a practical Goal for those of us who tend to suffer from anxious thoughts and anxiety. I want to use one of his tools, which is breaking down Philippians 4:8 Dash nine. There are others in the chapter and I’m sure I will explore them throughout these days of Lent, but my heart is on these verses, especially verse 8, tonight.

True

The truth is I am blessed. I have an amazing husband. We have been together since August 11, 1998, married June 30, 2007, and we are still in love. We have a wonderful son and share deep love of God. We pray and play together. Thanks be to God. What is true about you life and blessing?

Noble

my job as Minister Of Children, Youth & Young Families is noble. Thanks be to God.

Right

I have the heart, fortitude and ability to fight for what is Right and Just. We need those who fight for what is right our children, immigrants, trafficked populations, ethnic minorities and other marginalized people. Thanks be to God we’re all on the battlefield! Myself included.

Pure

My sweet boy asleep.

Lovely

The smile on my little niece, Kaylee and Savanna’s faces. To only have a girl!! Thank you, God, for these girls. Thank you for all our children. Protect them. Keep them!

Admirable

My mom, sister’s, brother and many friends have experienced so much pain and suffering. Still, our resilient, fighting spirits are admirable. Thank you, Jesus! May we never give up our give t u!

Excelente

hard one! I think of the Hymn though “Jesus, Excellent”.

Praise-Worthy

My God! God is creator, Redeemer, savior and judge. God is just, all love, always present. The LORD is my all and all! Thank you for this faith and assurance, O God!

… And the journey continues. Let us walk on.