The Book of Ephesians
The Book of Ephesians
Praise God from whom all blessings flow!
“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:32
Yes, I know it is not Christmas anymore (technically) and I am well aware it is New Year’s Eve. But this glorious song reminds me that EVERY DAY is Christmas for those who know Jesus. My weary worldly soul rejoices at the fact that I know and love a God that graces me with unconditional and every lasting love. Rejoice…and again, I say…Rejoice.
Blessings to you and yours in 2017.
Driving down the highway is always an experience.
Halfway to my destination today, I saw a convertible Beetle similar to my own. The difference though was my convertible top was closed but the other was down and open to the elements.
…it was raining.
The occupants were laughing hysterically while getting drenched and I reveled in their joie de vivre. They were ecstatic.
All days are not sunny and sometimes the rain pours down upon my head. But, it is up to me to choose to laugh in the rain knowing it will pass or wallow in misery.
God doesn’t promise perfect days, perfect people, or a perfect life. But what He does promise is to cover me with His grace and love.
That is something to hold onto on less than ideal days because I want to laugh in the rain. I really do.
Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.
I am not afraid of birthdays. I embrace them. Today, I celebrate my 61st.
Many years ago, I was sitting at the funeral for one of my dearest lifelong friends, Paul Marshall May, and it just struck me that I would never complain about getting older. He was a young man who would not live to see his very small children grow up and enjoy years with his family.
I think of Paul often and I miss him dearly but I honor him on my birthday as a way to remember that our days are numbered as we wait to be cross over Jordan and head homeward. Paul was so full of the joy of life and while cancer robbed him of his earthly days, his faith guaranteed him an eternity of birthdays. His legacy is his faith, his family and the beautiful music he could create on the church organ. Paul was amazing.
We grew up in church together with our families and know what it means to be born again. On each birthday, on each day, I too am born again. I walk one step closer toward Jesus and that is just all right with me.
Happy 61st birthday Paul and thank you Jesus for the many gifts you have given to me…but most of all, for the gift of grace.
I am the luckiest girl in the world.
Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Simon,” he said to Peter, “are you asleep? Couldn’t you keep watch for one hour? Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Mark 14:37-38
Loneliness is a terrible thing. The fear that grows from the despair of loneliness can be difficult to bear.
I have experienced a deep sense of loss and loneliness. But, I have never experienced or could even fathom what Jesus felt that night in the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus counts on His beloved disciples to watch with Him as He prays. They can’t do it.
As sweat turns to blood and Jesus cries out in prayer to the Father, the disciples sleep.
Preparing to drink from the cup filled with the sins of mankind would be beyond human comprehension. It is unimaginable. But Christians believe in the unimaginable. We believe in a Savior who died for us. We could not drink a cup containing just our own personal sins. So, imagine the sins of the world…it is too much to ask of anyone.
But Jesus went on that lonely journey to death for me and for you. He carried the cross, endured the humiliation, the beatings, and the pain for our sins.
Tonight, I watch for one hour. One hour of my time for a lifetime of grace.
I sit and I watch and I am grateful. I sit and I know I am unworthy but I sit and I am glad. I sit remembering His sacrifice and I mourn until I can rejoice again.
Honestly, I hate palm trees.
As a native Floridian, I know that may sound sacrilegious but I really find them to be ugly, messy trees. They just don’t have the beauty of the willowy drake elm or fine spread of a wide oak tree. However, in Jesus’ time the palm branch symbolized triumph and victory. I get it.
So this week, I’m all about the palms. It’s Palm Sunday tomorrow and a day to remember something special. It was a great day when people cheered Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem.
Every day I welcome Jesus into my heart and home. I love Him so. I pray, read, study and discuss the Bible with friends. I talk about Jesus grace and love for me. I worship Him.
But, I also know that I don’t live up to my Christian calling. I make mistakes, big mistakes, and I am not the person God has called me to be. It’s not for lack of trying; it is simply the failings of the flesh and the sinful nature of my soul. I don’t want to sin, I just do.
So while I know that I would have almost certainly be in the crowd praising Jesus’ arrival, I wonder if I wouldn’t have also been one to stand at the cross. Would I have denied him three times or would I have carried His cross?
I know what I would hope to do. I know how much I love Jesus. But I also know that God knows all of this and loves me just the same. Grace, grace, God’s grace – grace that is greater than my sin.
In my heart, I’m waving my palm branch! Hosanna!
My Dad was a Prisoner of War in Nazi Germany. It was an important part of his legacy.
As the pilot of a B-17, he was shot down over Stuttgart and parachuted into a lake where he treaded water until the German military arrived. Any soldier who swam to shore would be beaten or killed by waiting citizens. This was the reality of war.
My Dad did not start talking about his war experience until late in life. I think his sons, grandsons (one of whom is a Naval Commander) and friends wanted to know his story. It was dramatic and cringe-worthy and was difficult for me to comprehend. War is just so horrible.
This was a big part of my Dad’s life; a life lived well with significant highs and lows. The war was a low point for a man who was never defeated in spirit.
However, I really didn’t want to hear about it. I didn’t like to hear about my Father in danger.
I am proud of my Father’s heroism and his military skills of survival. But, I liked the Dad that I knew personally. You see, my Father was one of the most fun-loving and joy-filled people that I ever knew. He had a wicked grin and a lovely sense of humor. He delighted in pranking his children and pulled some funny, funny tricks over his 91 years on this earth. There are so many stories that I can’t begin to share them all. Suffice it to say, there was rarely a dull moment around my home. He was the life of the party and the person we all wanted to be around. He was a magnet for people and they clung to him in love and laughter.
Dad had seen the worst in people including some horrid atrocities that come with being a soldier in combat. He had seen death in so many ways and did not relive those moments often.
Lent is like that for me. I have to force myself to walk through the awful process to get to the resurrection on Easter Sunday. I don’t want to consider the beaten, spit upon, abused, and mocked Jesus. That’s too hard. I don’t want to think of the blood, sweat and tears of Jesus. It is simply too painful to ponder. But sometimes, we have to remember in order to understand and appreciate the never-ending gift given to us through the shed blood of Christ. Sometimes we have to go through the worst to get to the best.
My Dad’s laugh resonates in my heart. My Lord’s sacrifice blesses my soul. The grace of Jesus Christ keeps me safe.
I am grateful. Eternally so…
“A time is coming and in fact has come when you will be scattered, each to your own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me.I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:32-33
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