Archive for April, 2011

What did the apostles and disciples do between the cross on Good Friday and finding the empty tomb on Resurrection Morning–Easter?

What would I have done if I had walked, served, lived, prayed, wept, eaten and slept beside Jesus for three years only to see Him die on the cross?  How did Peter feel denying Him three times, looking into Christ’s eyes and then Christ going to the cross before they could speak again?

A crisis of belief.

A time of fear, a time of confusion, a time of doubt, a time of sorrow, a sense of betrayal (why did Yahweh allow this?), a time of anger, a time of shame (the Pharisees were right), a time of wonder and awe (the curtain in the temple tore and the sky turned black), a time of seeking, a time of waiting, a time of loss, (what do we do now), a time of helplessness, a time of how do we get on with the daily tasks of life.

A crisis of belief.

Will I wait when those times of crisis come in my life to see what God has in mind?  Will I go to the tomb with my oils and herbs to just take care of the daily tasks, the busyness, the routine jobs?  Will I be sitting around in a room waiting for someone to tell me what to do next?

What will I do when I am faced with that crisis of belief?  There is even more when I think about the distrust that would have been present (after all one of the 12 betrayed Him).  Where were the eleven?  Were they together?  Alone?  Were they in prayer?  Were they too numb to pray?

A crisis of belief.  Where will it find me?

This week in our Daily Devotionals, as we reflect on the celebration of Easter, it is often easy to forget the shock and disbelief those early believers must have experienced.  But even today we have those moments when life doesn’t go as anticipated and we face a crisis of belief that feels like a tsunami as our emotions are swamped and shatter in pain.  What can we put in place in our life to help us cope with those moments just as those early believers coped?  This week we will examine handling crises of belief and discuss some of the means of grace that help us cope.  It will be good for us and perhaps some friends who could use this encouragement forwarded to them.  As always, please contribute to the conversation with ways you have found help you cope in times of crisis by leaving a comment on any of the Daily Devotionals or this blog.

Oh, Lord God, Thank you for your faithfulness.  As we look at those times of crises, help us all to reflect on the joyous news today that You Live, You, Lord Jesus, rose from the grave and have remained faithful through all these years to Your promise to be our constant guide and the guard of our hearts.  Amen.  

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According to www.dictionary.com the definition of prayer is “a spiritual communion with God or an object of worship, as in supplication, thanksgiving, adoration, or confession.” The same website defines worship as “to honor or reverence as a divine being or supernatural power or to regard with great or extravagant respect, honor, or devotion.”

But prayer, our spiritual communion with God, isn’t always easy.  Sometimes we don’t know what to say to the Lord, or how to express our deepest feelings to Him.  When our relationship with God is in it’s early stages or when our emotions run deep with sadness, bitterness or confusion, regardless of how much we adore and reverence the Lord, it can be quite hard to pray to Him. There have been times in my life where the only words I could form in prayer were “Help me, Lord.”  But I know that He has heard each and every one of my prayers, even when they have been short and clumsy.

Most of us are probably familiar with “The Lord’s Prayer” where Jesus showed His followers how to pray.

“This, then, is how you should pray:

‘Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done

on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our debts,

as we have forgiven our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation,

but deliver us from the evil one.’…”

Matthew 6:9-13

There are many other places in the Bible where prayer is mentioned. This week in our Daily Devotionals, as we continue a focus on Lent and various ways we worship,  we will explore different kinds of prayer and how prayer adds to our worship experience.

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Today is Sunday. Are you on your way to the place where you worship God, a church in your community where your family gathers each week to worship with fellow Christians?  Is worship of God limited to the regular practice of attending church on Sunday morning?  This week’s Daily Devotionals (continuing our look at Lent and Worship) will help us to grasp the idea how we are to worship God at any moment during anytime through every circumstance that life brings us.

While the place where we worship God is an important function of Christian practice, it is vital we have a basic understanding about how we worship God.   Scripture provides us with insight in John Chapter 4 versus 23 &24 (NIV), yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.”

We are to put God at the very center of our lives by pursuing Truth that involves living righteously before Him.  In doing so, we are able to approach Him honestly and freely, in adoration and without hesitation or restraint.  What an amazing opportunity for those of us who embrace Real Life as Real Women seeking Real Truth!

Heavenly father, we know You are Spirit and we continue to live our lives before You.  Teach us to be the kind of worshippers that You seek, those who worship in Spirit and in Truth.  Amen.

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Through this season of Lent, Given the Time has reflected on worship—what we worship, how we worship and most of all, who we worship.  This week our Daily Devotionals will offer considerations on how we worship our Lord Jesus Christ and the creativeness of our Father God through our physical body.

Perhaps, like me this is a challenging topic for you.  I look in the mirror and I think—how could God love these sags, wrinkles, bulges and …… The media and culture we live bombards us, telling women we need this lotion, cream or treatment to be beautiful.  Yet, God’s word promises that I am beautiful and to believe less is to believe the lies of the prince of this world.

It was a long journey…one that perhaps I can share another time…but there came a point in time when I realized the words of the psalm below were meant for me, “I am fearfully and wonderfully made…” If that challenges your perception of yourself today, I pray you realize God loves you and God doesn’t make junk.  You are the Daughter of the King of Kings and He loves YOU—yes, YOU, just as you are.  You are beautiful in His eyes—the only eyes that count!

O LORD, you have searched me and you know me.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;

your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.

When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body.

All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

How precious to me are your thoughts, O God! How vast is the sum of them!

Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand.

When I awake, I am still with you.

Psalm 139:1,13-18

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