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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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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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Resource Queen With Youth & Family Jewels

Greetings of peace, love, Joy and solidarity!

I am thankful. While I have my struggles with these shelter at home orders, I realize I am thankful for the opportunity to spend time with, good to know, and get to teach and encourage my 12-year-old son. I am grateful for the opportunity to spend so much time with my husband. I am thankful for the spirit of resilience and for my health. Remember that the best way to deal with these stressful situations is to control what you can and contribute where you were able to the welfare of yourself and others. Here, I am taking my own advice because Isee myself as a resource queen!

My son on his laptop

And, I am grateful for the opportunity to share with you some of my favorite resources for Aeducating and motivating children be at my own son or children and youth served by the churches I have ministered with. I hope these are of service to you or those you know and love.

K-12+ Resources

Youth and children resources are abundant, and if you have some, I welcome you to share. This is what we use a lot. They are apps and websites. #KeepYourHeadUp #Resources

Duolingo
https://www.duolingo.com

This one is why I put K-12+. My I love using this app probably more than my son does even. You can learn French, Spanish, Portuguese in almost any other language I can think of. my son mostly works on French, and I’ve worked on Spanish, French and Italian. Mostly, I’ve been building my skills for years in Spanish with this app.

– Prodigy
https://prodigygame.com/play

This is a great math games with levels to attain and characters they can purchase. I think my son has gotten about as high as the game currently allows, so we’re still waiting for some new developments. It’s a great site for learning math and having fun.

– Smithsonian Tween Tribune
https://www.tweentribune.com/category/teen/

Here you can create an account and create classrooms if you have one child or tons of children. You can assign the articles and the questions that go along with them. The articles are on all sorts of subjects and are geared toward age groups that you select. Have fun! Let’s teach our children about science, developments in the medical field, space travel and so much more. I love this.

– Newselahttps://newsela.com/

Current events including the current coronavirus latest news are here. The stories are customized based on age level. My son uses this in school and we’ve continued using it at home. Just this week, we’ve learned about penguins in the aquarium in Chicago which was forced to close, and Jean therapy, which could help those who have genetic blindness receive their vision.

Typing
http://www.typing.com

Pretty self-explanatory, but if you and your children wish to increase typing accuracy and speed, where else would you go beside a place called typing.com?

Lumosity
https://www.lumosity.com/en/

This app has games designed to help sharpen focus and increase brain function. If you have a preteen or a team, I know you are invested in helping them increase their focus! LOL! If I hear I didn’t know where I didn’t remember one more time…

– Khan Academy
https://www.khanacademy.org/

Another one the teachers use and encourage us to use at home to supplement our children’s education. Science, math, language arts, social studies, it’s all here!

– Los Angeles Public Library
https://lapl.beanstack.org/users/sign_in

Sending Virtual Hugs

We all have Library-‘s in our counties, of course! My son still loves physical books although we have Audible and Kindle and all the other digital formats. It’s interesting and will continue to be interesting to see how the library’s answer this current challenge. I pray for our library’s in librarians as keeping brick and mortar library is open was probably already a challenge.

It’s Me!

My prayer is that each parent and guardian take this opportunity to learn with and learn from their student. Children are blessings from God and even when they are at their most challenging, they encourage us to be at our best. I hope these resources help you enjoy your time just a little bit more. I’d love to hear any of your stories in the comments. enjoy the journey. You are not ever alone.

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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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Fight With Prayer

Fight for it Friday! This one, I love, because it is important for me to keep up a fighting spirit. Sometimes, we all get tired of fighting! We get tired of having to point out which should be obvious: that everyone deserves to live without fear; to have access to food and water; be able to earn a living wage, especially if they’ve earned a Master’s Degree in their field; have access to education; to not fear being shot by the police as they’re walking down the street, because of the color of their skin and/or their gender…and the list goes on. Justice is something so many of us have to fight for: for ourselves and for others. So fight for it Friday always reminds me to keep going!

Acts Prayer
St. Vincent de Paul

But what can we do? One thing everyone can always do is pray. So many times those prayers open the door to action. Because I love acronyms and the use of this device is helpful for children as well, , I enjoy teaching my students the ACTS prayer.

Let us pray.

Adoration

Living God, Mighty Savior, Spirit who indwells, I love you!

Confession

You are my all and all, and yet, I have failed to live as I ought! I am weak. I gossip about people and used foul language. I lose my temper however I attempt to control my tongue. Fear gets in my way, which proves my faith is not as strong as I wish it were.I need your strength, wisdom and grace. I confess all this and more.

Thanksgiving

I thank you, Lord, that you know my prayers even before I do. I thank you that you are working on my heart and disposition. I thank you for my family and for my new candidacy Mentor. I thank you for the young people in ministry workshop that is going on tomorrow. Since I know what it is to be hungry, thirsty and without clothing or a home, I thank you that I have all of these (even as the lack of rent control and the reality of rent increase threatens ) and so many other blessings. Thank you! You have blessed me abundantly.

Supplication

Oh Lord, open our hearts to see the people around us as we journey with you to the cross. Help us persist and prevail. Help us see the value in the work we do for you and others every day. Please continue to provide the food and water, the shelter and spiritual care we need to survive. I pray tonight for those who live without rent control and in fear of losing their residences. I pray for those tonight fighting drug addiction and violence/impulse control and those who love them. Protect women, children and even men at the mercy of those without compassion. I ask that you give us the courage, knowledge, skills and heart to fight tonight to fight our demons and to stand along side of those who are fighting others. We need you and we need each other tonight tomorrow and forever. In Jesus precious name by the power of the Holy Spirit and giving all glory to God, I pray, AhMen.