Palm Sunday


For those who do not know the Easter story here is a brief synopsis of Palm Sunday taken from the internet. Be blessed and enjoy this holy week.

Palm Sunday is the start of Holy Week, which is the week before Easter, commemorating events in the last days of Jesus Christ’s life. According to Christian belief, Jesus rode into Jerusalem where people gave him a hero’s welcome during the Jewish Passover celebration. They heard about his miracles and regarded him as the leader who would deliver them from the Roman Empire’s domination. They carried palm branches, which is a traditional symbol of victory, and spread them throughout the streets before him.

Many western churches have observed palm blessings and distributions to the congregation on Palm Sunday since the middle ages. Early references to Palm Sunday observations, including a procession and blessing of palms, go as far back as the fourth and eighth centuries. Many modern Christian churches, including the Catholic and eastern churches, as well as the Lutheran, Methodist, and Presbyterian churches celebrate Palm Sunday as part of Holy Week.

Tropical green palm leaf isolated on white with clipping path : Stock PhotoTropical green palm leaf isolated on white with clipping path : Stock Photo

 

Giving Up


Many people, as a form of penance, either fast or give up something meaningful during the Lenten season. Others take on a new ritual such as daily prayer, devotions, Bible reading…whatever…to develop a closer relationship with God. Either way, it is a forty day exercise and can be very satisfying or disappointing; like keeping or breaking a New Year’s resolution. In any case, it is meant to be a disciplinary and meaningful experience.

So what if we were to give up…let’s say… holding grudges, withholding our love, disrespect for friends or family, or people in general, and other things that are detrimental to good relationships and good living; give up these things instead of coffee, wine, or our favorite dessert.

What if we don’t believe in Lent, have a Spiritual background, or just can’t be bothered?

Sometimes giving up something can be a very positive experience despite the above criteria. Sometimes giving up something can add a whole new meaning to life…not just at Lent but forever.

Sometimes giving up “giving up” is also something to think about. Hmmm.

 

 

Blessed Indeed


Here is what I learned from MatthewRuttan.com/Up yesterday, and I quote:

Today’s Thought
Horatio Spafford lived in Chicago. And when the great fire of 1871 ripped through the city, not only did it destroy his home, but it destroyed much of his livelihood. (He was in real estate.)

Did I mention he had no insurance?

This was a huge blow at an already difficult time. The previous year he and his wife had lost their son to scarlet fever.

So now, having no home, he put his wife and four daughters on a ship back to England as he stayed behind to try and get things started again.

Shortly thereafter he got a telegram from his wife that said, “Saved alone. What shall I do?”

There had been a shipwreck at sea. All four of their daughters drowned.

Horatio got on a ship to go and meet his wife. As he passed over the very same waters where his daughters had lost their lives, he wrote some lyrics to a song. Some of you will know them very well:

“When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.”

These are the now-famous words to the hymn “It is well.”

How many of us can say, “It is well with my soul” even without going through the tragedies that Horatio did. There lived a man with great faith. When we get to that place in our lives, we will be blessed indeed.

What’s So Good about Good Friday?


My claim to Christianity suffers much in my day to day life of trying to live up to the ideals of this religion. However, when it comes to the life and death and resurrection of Jesus, I am in awe.

Did Jesus die on a Friday? Does anyone really know? The scholars do, I’m sure, but I am not among the scholarly, and so, because I believe my early teachings, I accept that Friday it was. But what is so good about Good Friday if that was the day Jesus died his atoning death…because it was a brutal death…not good by any stretch of the imagination?

The good comes in looking forward to Easter Sunday, the day of Resurrection, that promised third day when life is restored to Jesus, the one who restored so many lives in bygone days, and died to restore so many more. What Joseph said to his brothers in Genesis 50:20: “You intended to harm me but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” comes to my mind when I think of that dreadful day of crucifixion. God intended it for good. Hence…Good Friday, the precursor to Easter Sunday.

God Bless and Happy Easter.

 

The Last Supper


Today is Maundy Thursday, the last Thursday before Easter, wherein the Last Supper of Christ and his disciples is celebrated throughout Christianity.

At our church, we celebrate with a pot luck supper, communion, and a program performed by our children’s ministry. Although it is typically a solemn occasion, the camaraderie is comforting in preparation of Good Friday, the day of Christ’s death, which will be commemorated by a service in the morning at 10 a.m.

And finally, Easter Sunday…He Is Risen!

These three days are typically Holy days, with Saturday being a day of preparation for Sunday’s celebrations.

Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Easter Sunday, aside from Christmas are the holiest days of the year in Christianity.

God Bless and Happy Easter.

 

 

What Do We Have to Lose?


“Heaven Is So Real”. That’s the name of a book I couldn’t quite finish reading because most of the content left me wondering what is real and what isn’t. However, the author, Choo Thomas, did describe Heaven and Hell in some detail and how attainment of each is realized, which also had me wondering how many people have ever given these two places any thought at all.

Christianity makes up one-third of the world’s population. This religion teaches that the only way to Heaven, God’s abode, is to believe in Jesus, His Son…that he was born to save us, that he died to save us, and that he lives to save us from going to Hell. I believe. I believe I am not going to Heaven because I am a good person, do good deeds, live a good life, do not hurt anyone…I know that none of these things will get me into Heaven…only my belief in Jesus will get me there.

So far no one can “prove” that Heaven or Hell exists. However, after reading many descriptions of what Hell is presumed to be like, I am certainly glad I’m a believer.

It has been said that it is better to believe that God exists and to die and find out he doesn’t, than to not believe in him and die and find out that he does. In my opinion, that’s where Hell awaits.

Weighing the options; learning about the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6) and choosing to believe, seems to me the best way to stay out of the “hot seat”.

What do we have to lose?

Let’s Give Christ Back to Christmas


The reason…and there are many of them…that we celebrate Christmas on December 25th is secondary. Celebrating the birthday of Jesus every year is really what Christmas is all about. It is remembering that he was born, lived an exemplary life, for approximately thirty-three years, and died an agonizing death. It is remembering not that he lived and died, but that he died and lives…lives in the hearts of those of us who believe, lives to reach out to those who do not believe, and lives to give real meaning to the event that is the most widely celebrated on our planet…Christmas. Let me share a poem I wrote in 1995 while pondering the idea that Santa Claus seemed to be the the reason for the season in many minds.

THE WONDER OF CHRISTMAS

The wonder of Christmas,

The birth of a Child,

The angels are singing His praises,

The people rejoice

At the sound of His voice

Echoing down through the ages.

Hope, love and laughter,

Peace and goodwill,

The message resounds loud and clear,

The birth of God’s Son,

His gift to us all,

This is the wonder of Christmas.

©1995

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good life.