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Originally posted on Lynna's Wonderful Life:

What is your default setting? Where do you go when nothing is making sense? Do you have a “happy place” that re-boots your psyche? Christianeze would say, “Run to Jesus.” So how do you do that when the bills pile up, and the pain is great, and prayers go unanswered?

A good friend of mine who struggles with depression will watch a funny movie. Another friend finds great solace in his deer stand. He can sit there in the cold, frosty morning and watch the forest for hours. David will take a long ride on his motorcycle through the quiet countryside. Me? Take me to the beach. Give me a day watching the waves and suddenly I’m good for another couple months.

The sweetest story is recorded in the last chapter of John. Seven guys were together after witnessing the horrible death of their friend. And even though they had…

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Broken Road

A couple of friends talked over the events of the last few days as they walked along. Sadness was written across their faces as they admitted, “We had hoped…”

Hoped, past tense.

As in, we used to hope, but not anymore.

Have you been there? Have you gone through something so hard that your soul is crushed beyond repair? Someone you love has suddenly been taken… and way too soon. The spouse you trusted tossed you aside like an old shoe. Something you planned and even dared to dream about died, leaving you…

Hopeless.

That’s the feeling of the friends who traveled down the road together. Having witnessed the horrible death of the Person they had closely followed, their hopes were just as dead.

Where do we go from here? How will we ever recover? Is all we’ve believed in been wrong?

A few miles later, they realized they were in the very presence of the risen Lord!

That first Easter morning changed everything.

The powerful Son of God stepped from the grave to prove the hopeless wrong. Since death cannot defeat Him, how could anything else? What could separate us from the love of God?

Our fears?

Our loss?

Our worries?

Things changed in an instant! The moment He was raised from the dead, hope was forever restored! Do we dare to trust Him?

“O death where is thy victory?! O grave where is thy sting?”

Thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ!

All creation shouts with joy on Easter Sunday morning! Our Creator lives, and reigns with power over any circumstance that brings suffering to His beloved ones. With the strong arms of a Shepherd, He reaches out to pull us close to His heart as He gently leads us home. Not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love as we walk in the presence of the risen Lord!

Praise His sweet holy Name! Our conquering King lives!

And there is hope!

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You can read about the friends traveling to Emmaus when Jesus suddenly appeared and walked with them in Luke 24:13-34. Romans 8:1 helps us understand that we are no longer condemned by God when we trust His Son as our sacrifice for sin. There’s more about His great love for you personally in Romans 8:23-39.

Call out to Him. He’s waiting for the time when you and He can walk the broken road of life together. This wonderful God of all creation longs to adopt you as His very own. What a “Blessed Hope!”

That’s MY Donkey!

“Hey man! Don’t be takin’ my donkey!”

That’s what I would’ve said if a couple of strangers came up to my house and started untying the family beast of burden. I mean, how will we get the firewood home, or take grandma to prayer meeting? You can’t just go around taking people’s donkeys.

“The Lord needs it.”

That’s what Jesus told his friends to say when He sent them to fetch the donkey. Apparently that’s all it took. The owner had no problem sending his valuable property with strangers. He wasn’t promised a great return on his investment. He wasn’t promised the donkey would be brought back fed and watered… or even returned at all.

All he knew was that the Lord needed something he had.

If I had a donkey, I can hear myself reasoning…

“Sorry guys. It’s the only donkey I’ve got. You’re gonna have to find yourself another mode of transportation. I just made the last payment. Had to finance it for six years, but finally it’s all mine.”

“What? The Lord needs it? The Lord has everything. What does He need MY donkey for?”

I’m afraid me and my donkey would’ve missed the Jesus parade… the only one He ever had.

In fact, I think I would’ve missed a lot of things.

I don’t believe I would’ve climbed a tree to get a better look. People would surely laugh at a grown woman in a tree.

I wouldn’t have called Him up for a night time meeting so He could answer my questions. Folks might talk.

I doubt I would have given my lunch to Him when everyone realized it was time to eat and there was no food. What good would my little pitiful sack lunch do?

And I KNOW I would not have stepped out of a perfectly good boat to go traipsing across the water. Who would take such a risk?

Not me.

In fact, everything is just fine the way it is. So Lord, I’m here for You… right here in my cozy house, with plenty to eat, and my nice warm bed, surrounded by things and people I love, with my precious donkey safely tied outside.

Hmmm… Sounds like a parade off in the distance.

I wonder if I’m missing something.

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Beautiful Joes

Isn’t it remarkable that the King of the universe chose to come to earth as a man so that God’s beautiful plan to buy us back to Himself could be realized? To me it’s interesting that He started and ended with a couple of regular Joes.

The first was just a hardworking, tax paying guy looking forward to having sons of his own and building the family carpenter business. He found himself being the adopted dad of a little boy Who would be revealed as the Son of God. But Joseph willingly gave up reputation and whatever it took to protect this child. When it meant believing a far-fetched story about his fiancée, he was willing. When it meant taking off to a foreign country with his brand new family and only what they had on their backs, he was God’s man.

Good, faithful, hard-working, steady Joe; not much by social standards, but chosen by God.

Fast forward to the end of Jesus’ life.

Another Joe steps up. This time it’s a rich man with great social status. But he refused to accept the verdict of his fellow religious leaders who had wrongly convicted Jesus. With wisdom he stepped out from the Jewish high counsel and made a decision. He would personally take the body of Christ and bury it in his own tomb… the one he had just had carved out of a rock. This rich man with great social standing did not ask servants to do the difficult task. He made his request to Pilate, then took the body of Jesus and carefully wrapped it in fine linen himself, laying it in his own tomb. What courage! He could’ve lost everything by associating himself with Jesus.

Instead, he is forever chronicled in Scripture as Joseph from Arimathea, a good and righteous man.

Two Joes: One poor, without clout or good reputation; the other rich with high social standing. Each faithful, steady and strong in character, just doing life as the Lord guided.

In my life, the people who have influenced and encouraged me most have not been dynamic, flashy, or extremely talented. They have been beautiful though, because faithfulness is a beautiful thing.

Don’t you love how God uses regular Joes?

 

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PS: You can read more about Joseph the step-dad in Luke 2:1-24 & Matthew 1:18-2:23; and Joseph of Arimathea in Luke 23:50-56 & Matthew 27:57-61.

 

Jesse Wants More

It’s too late now. Jesse has had a taste of the good stuff. And he wants more. How do we know since he is only one and a half and says only a few select words?

Typically he and his sister aren’t fed sweets just yet. Therefore they still think green peas and carrots and bananas ARE the good stuff. But a few weeks ago, when they came down with a horrible stomach virus and couldn’t stand the sight of food, Hannah introduced them to zucchini bread. If you’ve never had this manna from heaven, I am sincerely sorry for your very sad life. It’s so wonderful with all its healthy yumminess. Jesse did eat and fell in love.

His mom was pretty happy about this turn of events since he had burst into tears at the sight of plain noodles just the day before. Not a good sign for a little boy who normally eats anything placed in front of him.

As he stood as tall as his three foot frame would stretch, he pointed to the bread on the kitchen counter, bumped his little fists together signing, “More!” Hannah said his eyes pleaded like the Puss ‘n Boots of Shrek with great anticipation.

How could a mother say no?

That’s what she gets for being all smart and teaching her kids sign language for “more.”

I remember last Spring asking the Lord for more. I remember David and me praying together that if the Lord wanted something different for us that He would make that happen.

He heard us.

It’s in process.

With our eyes turned toward heaven like animated movie characters, we anticipate His answer. We don’t know what that will look like just yet. But as sweet as our daughter Hannah parents her children, we know the Lord is even better.

I cannot even fathom what could be more wonderful than zucchini bread!

But I can’t wait!

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Levi’s Party

The little phrase “complained bitterly” is used to describe how majorly ticked off the self-righteous guys of the day were at Jesus. It seems He had really over-stepped the norms of society when He not only made friends with a lowly tax collector, but also accepted his invitation to a party. We can almost hear Dr. Luke mutter with aggravation in 5:17 that these religious Pharisees seemed to show up everywhere Jesus went. You know the type.

You can’t do anything without them getting their robes in a bunch.

Levi was just minding his own business, taking up taxes for the hated Romans, and trying to make a living. Sure he was skimming off the top, charging a little extra as needed in order to live the life he was accustomed. Everybody knows that.

Then Jesus came along with an invitation to… get this… become His disciple.

“Who… me?!”

Can’t you picture Levi looking around to see if maybe Jesus was talking to someone else? But He wasn’t! Lo and behold, Levi left everything and followed! In fact, he was so happy about his change in occupation that he threw a party. All his fellow notorious tax collecting friends came. And that’s when the bitter complaining started! [See Luke 6:30]

Even though the Pharisees griped at the disciples, Jesus answered their complaints.

I like it.

I like that I don’t have to take up for myself, explain my actions, or manage my image.

I like that when I am following close to the Lord, He will handle the criticism.

In fact, I think Jesus loves a good party. He invites all the people who’ve been written off as scum. Folks like Levi, and Mary Magdalene, and me.

Hey Jesus! Count me in!

I’ll bring the doughnuts.kk

Little Things

Lynna Clark:

In honor of the first day of Spring, here’s a happy look at things to come.

Originally posted on Lynna's Wonderful Life:

The entrance of our home is quite lovely. Actually it’s a wheelchair ramp leading up to an old aluminum door fronting an old wooden door. But I love it. We are currently displaced in a way, yet somehow exactly where we’re supposed to be. Shortly after moving in, we helped some friends move as they too were downsizing. She graciously gave me this birdbath which I placed by our backdoor.
Happy Place

Happy Place


I love this old timey yard. It’s been planted by grandmas, which club I am also a member. [I’m pretty sure our club has more fun than the Hair Club for Men.] The flower beds are lined with mismatched brick. Sprigs of flowering vines distinguish the area where bulbs are planted. Mature azaleas burst with joy at the first sign of spring. But my favorite is this green birdbath. Whatever the season, I can always…

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