Saturday, April 25, 2009

The Lord is MY Shepherd...

I shall not want.
He maketh me to lay down in green pastures.
He leadeth me beside the still waters,
He restoreth my soul.

Yeah, though I walk through the shadow of the valley of death
I shall fear no evil
For Thou art with me~
Thy rod and Thy staff
they comfort me...

God's plan through all adversity in life is to bring us closer to Him. As a Shepherd, He cares for His little lambs with utmost care with His tools of protection and correction: His rod and staff. These are a comfort as I walk into valleys, particularly the one of the "shadow of death." Could there be a worse one for me to enter that He is not present? Just the name of this valley is frightening...but His strength and presence brings the response that in all the evil intended for me in that valley, I will not fear~He is with me...comforting with His tools and presence! Only God can do such great and mighty works like these!

He is the Great Shepherd and a loving loving Lord. Peace, hope, joy, contentment and more are benefits of His presence and tools in any valley. Comfort is His way of loving His lamb!

I praise Him for ALL He is as Shepherd in my life!

Praising Him all the day long!Even in the valley!
Lady Graceful
Phil. 1:6

Friday, April 24, 2009

Praying for Josiah...URGENT!

The precious child of my former youth pastor's son (4 y.o.)is diagnosed with a grade four gliobastoma, which is the worst form of brain cancer.

Today, Saturday April 25th 2:00PM EVERYONE is asked to lift this child before the Lord for healing~a miracle is needed here!

Praying for a MIRACLE!
Lady Graceful
Jer. 33:3

Just Have to Praise Him!

This might seem very trivial to some. I have some difficulty sharing this really. Sometimes our blessings are found in some stuff that in reality shouldn't matter much~but it does... matter how hard I try to tell myself it doesn't matter!

I want to praise God for the new counter top my husband installed in our home today! It's not granite, corian or marble or even's just plain ole laminate! But it's such a blessing to have it!

Over the past several months, supplies and items have been collected, a faucet, a hose, a tube of caulk, this and that...until today and after about four more trips to the hardware IT WAS FINISHED!!

As these things found their way IN MY WAY into my life, WHEN became the question I did not ask...nagging never helps ;-)

But little by little, item by item, as the supplies were gathered and the builder became prepared for the emerged from the ashes!

YOU DON'T KNOW nor can you imagine just HOW ugly my kitchen was!!
But it's just like our Heavenly Father to work quietly in much the same way gathering and preparing for a day when beauty will emerge~how long O Lord will you wait? We long for You God to do in us what we cannot do for ourselves!

Yes! It's just a simple countertop...but to it's owner it's a thing so grand...
We are just humanity, but to our Owner/Designer, we are grand as well...
I was thinking up an acronym for G.O.D.
G Gracious
O Omnipotent
D Designer

That's HIM~I praise Him for my countertop and what He is doing with ME...hey...wonder what He's gathering in my life for the finished effect?

In Him with Praise!
Lady Graceful
Phil 1:6

Friday, April 17, 2009

When ALL Seems Lost...

I had a very unusual experience yesterday. I went to my doctor...actually to the nurse for some medical advice concerning healthy eating and ended up in the Emergency room...hooked to O2, IV inserted, 12-lead EKG...Let me explain...

I have an irregular heart rhythm...I take meds to control and care for me heart. I have no heart disease; they tell me...OK...So ALL seemed lost the blink of a moment HOW did I end up in the ER?

About three mos ago I hurt my left shoulder. It STILL hurts, and now since it hurts ALOT when I move it I mentioned it to the nurse...who took me into the doctor...who b/c of my potential risk and history sent me to the ER...

I really got upset. So upset that I cried and's not a fear of was that yesterday was the seventh anniversary of my brother's death, my only I DID NOT want to put my parents and family through this on THAT day...dying isn't a choice I suppose...or even ER visits when your doctor is worried...OK...
So let me say that after the evaluation...the 5ALARM Fire Drill~Thank the Lord...It is 'just' my I suspected...and now my doctor is relieved..I will get an appointment to see an orthopod...but I lay there...O2 up my nose...

I was scared. I was anxious...THEY were giving me heart palpitations and a fast rate..the more the nurse and doctor came in...WHEW!...

I am praising GOD for His control when I cannot experience reminds me of the TV show when the man who had faked illness was in the ER to get his heart shocked by the zealous ER team... but what if...AGAIN it's in His control...

Yeah..I'm glad it was my shoulder and not my heart...broken hearts are hard to fix~shoulders while painful...I can get by...

God is in control WHEN I am not! All might have seemed lost, but He was there with me...I can praise Him even when I am not in control...because HE ALWAYS IS!

In trust and faith
Lady Graceful
Phil 1:6

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Hope in God~

When circumstances are not the best, it is God who I can lean upon most.

Psalm 42

1As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God.

2My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?

3My tears have been my meat day and night, while they continually say unto me, Where is thy God?

4When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me: for I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept holyday.

5Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted in me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him for the help of his countenance.

6O my God, my soul is cast down within me: therefore will I remember thee from the land of Jordan, and of the Hermonites, from the hill Mizar.

7Deep calleth unto deep at the noise of thy waterspouts: all thy waves and thy billows are gone over me.

8Yet the LORD will command his lovingkindness in the day time, and in the night his song shall be with me, and my prayer unto the God of my life.

9I will say unto God my rock, Why hast thou forgotten me? why go I mourning because of the oppression of the enemy?

10As with a sword in my bones, mine enemies reproach me; while they say daily unto me, Where is thy God?

11Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise him, who is the health of my countenance, and my God.

Truly God is Someone I can count upon. You can too...He is ever faithful and trustable with all of our needs.

Trusting so that I have HOPE in GOD...
Lady Graceful
Phil 1:6

Monday, April 13, 2009

He Knows My Name!

I picked up a sticky note that holds our daughter's name from a lovely gift she received yesterday. As I noticed her name and thought of the generosity of the giver, it occurred to me that our Heavenly Father knows my name and has it fixed firmly upon the generous gift He has for me!

As a believer in Jesus Christ and trusting in His shed blood upon the cross of Calvary, I can rejoice in the peace as joy that HE HAS MY NAME written in the Lamb's Book of Life~a book to record those who trust in the awesome it is to know that of all of creation, God is fully able and totally committed to each and every person throughout times past, present and the future to keep His saved secure until the day of Christ's return. At His return He will come to earth again as reigning King. Whew! What a Savior~What a God~and He KNOWS my name!


Thank you, Lord!

In Assurance,
Lady Graceful
Phil 1:6

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Resurrection Morning!

Happy Easter Everyone! He LIVES! We don't worship a dead and buried Savior, but One who is alive forever more with God the Heavenly Father!

In just a few short hours in our time zone the sun will rise just as it did that first resurrection morning when the women went to anoint the body of our Lord who had been placed in the tomb with the huge rock to seal it. Imagine their grief and that of the disciples in despair believing that their Master and friend was gone forever, killed on the cross, the cruelest form of execution of the day. I have wondered if they worried if they were going to be next because not only had Peter denied the Lord when questioned, but they were hiding out as it seemed in a room away from all the activity and bustle of the day. Fear must have consumed them along with their grief,perhaps guilt too. What could they have done to have stopped the events that unfolded before their eyes? These are very real human emotions that seem possible for ones in this circumstance of losing their leader.

But it was the women whose task it was to anoint the body of the Lord in death who were first to approach the tomb, surprised and almost in shock. I do suppose that I would have been rubbing my own eyes in disbelief as I saw the angel and heard his word, "He is not here; for He has risen from the dead." Running, these women as I imagine them were exited to tell the others...they knew where to find them...had they been there before going to the tomb waiting and praying? Upon reaching the disciples it was Peter and John who run back to the tomb to SEE for themselves. I think it's interesting that the first thoughts seem to be that someone had stolen the body...where was their faith? Had they not listened to their Lord?

Easter brings so much for us as we can consider all the emotions of the disciples that ultimately end in joy and knowledge that Jesus Christ arose out of that grave to walk among the people again. His victory over death is a major distinctive of Christian belief for if He remains dead, then He is like all other worshiped or revered.

Often we are bombarded by cares that we can't control or that seem to come out of nowhere. It is in these times that if we trust God we can see that His plan is one that while it may take us through the darkness, we can rest assured that dawn is on its way~JOY COMES IN THE MORNING! Weeping only lasts for the night...

Joy and peace in knowing that God has a plan that in our humanness seems harsh, not doable, incomprehensible...but if it's His plan then He will carry us through it...Carry us, step by step, inch by inch into safety and His presence.

Oh those disciples were upset and afraid hiding up in that upper room to find that the God of the Universe had it under control all along. I need to remember that in circumstances that are difficult and build my faith.

It's not long and the sun will be peaking up...Happy Easter!
IN Power and Peace~both are the Lord's
Lady Graceful
Phil 1:6

Pray for Josiah...

Please leave a message and I will forward to the family.

In His Grace,
Lady Graceful
Phil. 1:6

The Significance of the Cross at Easter

The shed blood of Jesus Christ, our Savior is a wonderful gift to humanity to pay for our imperfection before a holy and righteous God who is intolerant of sin. So intolerant that He does condemn those who reject His gift to eternal separation from Him~a place many wince over and may deny called hell.

The great news of Easter is that Jesus made it possible by His substitute death on that Roman cross for me, you, all of the people of the world to receive His offer to "believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved."

In the previous post concerning the significance of the blood at Easter, I discussed just why a blood sacrifice was necessary for the plan of salvation, for the forgiveness of sin. It couldn't be just any blood either, but the most perfect lamb during Old Testament practices, and the precious blood of the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world as John the Baptist called Jesus when he first sees Christ and introduces Him to his own followers. But why a Roman cross? Does this lay at the feet of why Jesus died or who killed Him?

In recent years, there have been those who have blamed various people groups for the death of Jesus Christ in ways that have created horror and shame to those who most unbecomingly have behaved. Particularly I am thinking of the Holocaust where literally millions upon millions of Jews and Jewish sympathizers were killed because somewhat in relationship to their historic part in the death of Christ. It was a Jew, Judas Iscariot who betrayed our Lord and religious leaders who took Jesus before Pilate, the Roman governor for execution with the accusation of blasphemy for claiming to be "king of the Jews" and God. These claims were not tolerated like they might be today as often people who are ill or misguided will in some warp of mind claim to be Jesus Christ as Charles Manson has done or a man I once met who claimed to be "the messiah to witches." Now both of these are stories in themselves, but no one is executing either of these for claiming such as would have the religious of that day...Jesus was brought before Pilate by His accusers.

It's interesting that Pilate found no fault with Him. No fault and no real reason to condemn Him, but because he could see the political problems and possibility of revolt, he had to do something. But as conflicted as Pilate was as evidenced by the washing of his hands to cleanse them of the blood of the Innocent, he allowed Jesus to be traded for the murderer, Barabbas and crucified.

Crucifixion was a common form of capital punishment in Roman times. There were many forms of cruel punishment for the criminal including removal of limbs, eyes, tongue or whatever "offending" body part if one was found guilty along with prison and beheading. The Roman Empire of occupation was a violent society. In order to remain in power, the organization of government ruled with violence, and the Caesar was revered as a god~remember that religious tolerance was practiced because of the polytheistic practices of the Roman people. The Roman gods were human like in their nature,but held supernatural powers. In reading a good article about the usefulness of studying Greek and Roman mythology which are the tales of their gods, the writer says that even the Romans did not believe all of the myths, but allowed them as explanations for the events of nature and circumstance. You can read it: .

Since violence was common place and the territory of the Roman Empire vast, laws were obeyed generally with few rebellions by dissenters. Remember that Rome occupied most of the known world. From the shores of England to well beyond India into Asia towards China the Empire was divided into provinces with governors who worked to control and order the people of those areas under the authority of the Caesar with the Roman soldier and army as enforcement. It was harsh and not a good idea to come into contrast or dissent with Rome.

When the religious brought Jesus before Pilate, circumstances went against Jesus' case as it was not only the leaders who made accusations, but when the choice was given to the people to release Him or the criminal, the people cried, "Give us Barabbas!" No Roman governor wanted an uprising or mob scene to erupt. His fate humanly speaking was taking full hold. Jesus was condemned to death.

As the most terrible form of capitol punishment it was reserved for the most violent offenders, slaves, captives, and treason along with other methods.(Fairchild, Mary The Roman cross was wood with an upright vertically and with a horizontal piece that held the arms and legs of the accused. The crimes would be listed above the person on a sign, such as was done when the sign over Jesus read, "king of the Jews." After extreme torture, the victim would be made to carry his own cross in humiliation through the streets to the place where the attaching by nailing or tying limbs upon the cross would occur. Sometimes there would also be a footrest or seat to hold the criminal so that the death was more prolonged but with less agony. If no foot or seat area and the body only hanging by the nailed limbs, death was agonizing as suffocation, dislocation, brain death and heart failure occurred. If death didn't come quickly enough as an act of mercy the legs were broken or the side pierced. In Jesus' execution, He was hung without rests, and his side was pierced. His death did not take days but hours, some evidence that no rest was present.

As gruesome as this form of punishment, the cross itself has become a symbol of salvation for believers. Because of Jesus' death and suffering, the cross is worn as an icon of faith and belief.

Jesus was crucified because it was the worst punishment the known world offered. It fulfills Isaiah's prophecy "Isaiah 53

1Who hath believed our report? and to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?

2For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him.

3He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.

4Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

5But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.

6All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

7He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.

8He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.

9And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.

10Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.

11He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.

12Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors."

The cross is part of Easter as the vehicle by which the Lord died. It's role was that of holding upright towards God the Savior who would bare the sin of the entire human race. No wonder He cried, "My God! My God! why hast thou forsaken me?" as God unable to view sin placed upon Jesus, rejected Him. Never before had Jesus experienced separation from the Father.

As a Christian, the cross holds significance to me because it totally symbolizes the love of our Suffering Savior.

This Easter let's be thankful for the cross of Calvary; it's a reminder of the price paid to bring us to God.

Happy Easter Celebration!
In Him
Lady Graceful
Phil 1:6

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

The Signifcance of the Blood at Easter

Easter brings a beautiful time of year that holds great significance for the Christian where the cross and blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ are concerned. No other religion has ever claimed either that their god or leader to be worshiped has lasted beyond the grave like Christianity. Many followers of these other belief systems can point to an tomb or grave where lay the remains of their revered, but not the Christian. There are no bones, nothing but what was said by an angel as recorded in Scripture that "He is not here,for He has risen..." What is the importance of the cross,and why was blood necessary for the work of salvation for man's state of sinfulness? As we celebrate the holiest of weeks before Easter let us consider these questions.

First I want to share with you why there was a blood sacrifice by Jesus dying upon the cross. Then we will look at the cross itself and how it became the vehicle for the execution of Jesus.

Man since creation in the Garden of Eden enjoyed full fellowship and relationship with God his Creator. God made man, breathed into his nostrils the breath of life so that man became a living soul...not so for the animals. Man is not of the animal kingdom as our scientists categorize, but made in the very image of God,"Let us make man in our image." This is an important distinction. Man's relationship hinged and was in full knowledge of the rules and decrees of the Lord, God. God throughout creation gave man instructions and special jobs. He tended the garden, named all the animals and even was given a special tree to not eat from~one special tree that was the "tree of the knowledge of good and evil." Man knew the rules or so it seemed, and there was harmony, happiness and health for all of God's creation. God even said, "it was good." This implies with all of God's holiness and power that creation had to be VERY VERY good because how excellent does something have to be before GOD says that it's good? I suspect it was way beyond our imagination how wonderful it could be...gorgeous and perfect in every way...God's perfect creation.

But perfect creation didn't last as enters the serpent who takes advantage of the woman where her knowledge and understanding of the Word of God was concerned, for when the serpent twisted the Scriptures, Eve went along with his summation and even twisted Scripture herself. Not a good sign that God's created humanity was doing its job in knowing His laws and instructions. Then ignorance led to disobedience which led to a consequence that initially was for the garden dwellers alone to bear but was passed on into generations to this day~death. "For the wages of sin is death, and in the day that thou eatest of it thou shalt surely die. For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." Before God's issue of justice for the wrong doing, Adam and Eve found themselves naked and ashamed before their God who had made them,"Adam where are you?" God cried out to bring Adam to his senses,a place of true repentance. Imagine the fear and distress these two felt in KNOWING they were disobedient. I think of our little ones who hide their faces in shame or my son who would in order to "hide" what he had done wrong, cover my eyes,"mama,don't look!" he would say to me...But God saw just as I can often see too.

Consequences reached beyond the break in relationship, and extended into the creation; what was once a place of tranquility, became a place for the death of the souls and the first sacrifice of an animal. We must remember that God shed the blood of the innocent to cover the sin, so creating for Adam and Eve skins made into clothing to cover their nakedness. I have heard it said that as the one who had given each animal his or her name, imagine the grief and shame heaped upon Adam for the loss of a "friend." Whether or not Adam felt this emotional upset one thing stands clear, blood was shed to cover the sin or disobedience and it was for Adam and Eve~they were to blame as is transferred to all of mankind.

Forever the perfect world of Adam and Eve was changed. Now cursed,"they would surely die." as disobedient humanity. Cast from the garden, Adam and Eve were left to find their own way, but they took the animal sacrifice with them out of the garden to their family as demonstrated by their son, Abel who offered to God a pleasing sacrifice acceptable by God. In contrast, his brother offered one unpleasing which was at the seat of family disunity. Consequences of sin followed these first generation humans as the sins of the fathers followed into the 3rd and 4th generations. There is a division here where Cain is divided from his family forever an unbeliever, unacceptable~perhaps the earliest of the heathen nations for whom the nation of Israel was forever waring. Another consequence of sin. A family, a world divided in belief and practice. This goes on to this day with all manner of various beliefs represented by all sorts of pagan, and cultural beliefs inconsistent with the Judeo-Christian beliefs. And I don't have to discuss any further the discourse among many in these areas.

The blood sacrifice was symbolic and practiced throughout the Old Testament throughout the Tabernacle worship and even Temple worship. Today Jews do not practice this form of worship to God.

In each and every generation there were those who followed the sacrificial practices for offering for sin. There was a priesthood system developed as well as prophets who spoke and convened with God to bring the message of God to the people. They told of God's promised Messiah,a redeemer from the Lord.

The priest would go into an area of the holiest where the Lord,God was met with over the sins of the people. There were ceremonial washings and all types of priestly preparations including a rope tied upon the priest's leg so if some sin were unconfessed, his body could be hauled out as he would be struck down by the Lord. God was serious about not being in the presence of sin. So serious in fact, that when Jesus was on the cross, He experienced His Father's rejection "My God! My God!Why hast thou forsaken me?" he cried. God is intolerant of sin. AND He categorizes it all with the same sentence~death. Death that is an eternal separation from God's presence. This has little to do with how we humans decide which sins are worse than others.

In Leviticus it tells us that "the life is in the blood" meaning that not only as humans and created beings,such as animals we all need our blood to sustain life, but that spiritually, blood would be required to bring forgiveness to mankind's position of enmity with God.

In Isaiah the prophet told that the sins of humanity would be upon the messiah. Messiah, promised one in Hebrew; Christ is Greek for messiah. I discussed in detail the fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy where Jesus was concerned. Go to see this post.

John the Baptist,cousin messenger of Jesus said when he saw Jesus,"behold!The Lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world!" What a statement of credibility for who this Jesus is...John linked Jesus to the sacrificial ssytems of the older times when the priest made offerings on behalf of the people.

Jesus told His disciples that in three days "this temple will be destroyed and I will rebuild it up." He tried to tell them of His impending execution and resurrection. In the Passover celebration He broke the bread and said, "take eat this is my body which is broken for you. This is my blood which is shed for you." Jesus was foretelling of His death instructing His disciples to observe this practice until He comes again. Today, we call this the Lord's Supper or the Last Supper which has been the subject of many great works of art. It was in this event that Jesus also told of a betrayer.

Next time I will discuss the Significance of the Cross. Why was this form of execution used in the death of Jesus?

The Bible says without the shedding of blood there is no remission or forgiveness for sin. This is very important. Jesus' blood is the payment for the errors of humanity. "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son that who so ever believeth in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:"

Easter is a wonderful time of year where we celebrate what Jesus did when He paid for our sins and enabled humanity to have a relationship with God. If you don't know Jesus Christ as your Savior, accept Him today and trust in His shed blood to save you from eternal separation from God. When others are looking for the true meaning of life, when we seek God through His Son Jesus we can know that the blood made the difference and that we are His through adoption and in Christ. Accept Him today. Let this Easter be your best season ever!

If you have asked Jesus to be your Lord and Savior,or you have comments please contact me!
Happy Easter!

In Grace and Mercy,
Lady Graceful
Phil 1:6

Praying for Josiah, Stacy and Sherrill

I have three urgent prayer requests that are urgent in need.
Josiah is four and scheduled for brain surgery this Good Friday~April 10th. Join the Facebook group: Praying for Josiah Herring for more info.

Stacy is a young wife and mother who is recently dx with Cancer undergoing treatments. Her children are very very young.

Sherrill underwent open heart last week. Her health is frail and needs prayer for healing.

THANKS for joining me in praying for these! The Lord has answered us graciously in the past according to His will, and we are trusting Him to do His Will concerning these dear ones.

Thanks for joining us in praying!

In peace and joy,
Lady Graceful
Phil 1:6

Easter Celebration with the Wordless Book

Happy Easter!
Thanks to TOS Homeschool Minute eNewsletter, I was sent a link to the Wordless Book that if you've never seen or used it...AWESOME to share truth about what Jesus did and how to accept Him into your life. This is really neat, not so techy, but beautifully written and full of Scripture to share the plan of salvation. What's better this Easter season than focusing on the REAL event of it all~the Cross and the VICTORY in the power of the Resurrection!!

It's NOT ABOUT THE BUNNY~IT'S ABOUT THE LAMB! The Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world! Praises to Him! (Wordless Book)

May you find His grace sufficient and His peace this Easter season!

Praises to Him!
Lady Graceful
Phil. 1:6

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Happy Easter~Pastoral Thoughts on the Resurrection

I have had the joy of reconnecting with old friends on facebook, recently finding my former youth director of my teen years. He has gone on to pastor several churches over the years (over thirty now), parented along with his sweet wife a great family and is currently pastoring a church in Idaho. He wrote this inspirational piece as part of Easter and with the situation of having a wee young grandson who is very very ill. I asked his permission which he graciously granted for me to share his piece with you. May you be blessed by his thoughts as we consider the miracle of that morning two thousand years ago...the morning unlike any other that has changed the destiny of mankind of one facing defeat and loss to one of victory and hope!

Resurrection Morning
by Rev. Dean Herring

“And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him.” Mark 16:6

Resurrection morning did not begin as a day of victory and celebration, at least not in the lives of the people who should have known better. That day began as a day of gloom – nothing more than a depressing sequel to what had been a very bad and eventful week. These Galileans did not enjoy their visit to the big city, and it is no wonder that they would soon return to the comfort zone of their rural upbringing. They longed to feel the gentle sea breeze of Galilee on their face again. Jerusalem had been a hard place for them. Their dreams, their hopes, and their plans had all come crashing down on a skull shaped hill called Golgotha.

Jesus had warned them of what was to come, but they heard only what they wanted to hear. With the exception of the “sinner” woman who anointed his feet with burial spices and tears, no one seemed to grasp what He was saying. They were weary of Roman rule, and they desired a kingdom. They wanted it now. They had already discussed what positions they would hold in this new kingdom, and at this point had no idea what Jesus was talking about when He told them that the servant would be the greatest position attainable. They expected a coup d’├ętat, but what they got was something very different.

There was no crown – except the crude one fashioned with thorns, no throne – except a rugged tree, no coronation – except the mocking of the Roman soldiers, and no palace – except a borrowed garden tomb. The only military action was advanced by Peter in the garden, and the Lord Himself had over-ruled that. Was He actually going to submit? Was He capitulating to the enemy? Whatever boldness they may have mustered soon gave way to fear, and they all ran. This was clearly not the scenario that they had anticipated when they followed Jesus.

For three confused days they lived in numbed disbelief. Then on the first day of the week those faithful women made their early morning journey to where the body of their Savior had been placed. Their gait was that of women with a heavy heart. The spices they brought with them were intended for the dead, and that is exactly what they expected to find in that garden tomb. Their speech was the conversation of people who were focused on temporal obstacles. They fretted “Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre?”

What they had waiting on them was an empty tomb and the glorious announcement that “He is risen; He is not here”. On their way back from the garden they were met by Christ Himself, and they worshipped their Risen Savior! Had they listened to His words, none of this would have been an unexpected surprise.

So many times we find ourselves overwhelmed by events beyond our control. Like the disciples, we often run from the Lord when things don’t go as we planned. In extreme moments, as with Peter, we may blend with the world and act as though we don’t even know Him. Once we turn a deaf ear to what He is saying to us in His Word, the obstacles become the objects of our focus. Remember this: If God can empty the tomb, moving the stone is no problem to Him. We serve a God “that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think”. Ephesians 3:20

Happy Easter Everyone!

Expecting a miracle this Easter season,
Lady Graceful

Phil 1:6

Please remember this pastor's grandson in your prayers, and if you want more info you can join the facebook group: Praying for Josiah Herring. There are pictures and updates so we can pray and keep updated on this tiny boy and his family's needs. Thank you.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Counting "It" All Joy

I don't know of anyone who enjoys hard tough days. In fact most of us want the life of smooth sailing in calm and easy seas. Growing up in a coastal city where ocean liners come and go gliding over smooth glassy waters I can easily relate to life where an easy rocking of the ship, one that lulls the senses into a deep sleep, but also I have had the experience a time or two in a small sea craft when that ocean liner coming into port speedily creating its wake, waves 5-10 feet high from the water's surface coming like a wall to capsize that same small boat where only moments before it was easy does it as porpoise swam near us rising just enough out of the water for us to see and gulls circling overhead wishing for a stray fish or two to become their lunch that day.

"Hit the throttle~ NOW!" was my Daddy's yell to me. "I said, NOW~ Go ON~ ALL the WAY!" he further instructed with, "Turn into the wave. Hit it straight on! OPEN UP the engine(turn on high motor speed)Hang ON!" I am at the wheel. I am listening intently for my father's instructions as loudly and anxiously he gives them...if I fail, we might capsize, turn over or worse yet, drown in the salty ocean waters at the mouth of the river that leads into the ocean.

This event is not what would be called a nice fishing trip or one that is ordinary in nature. Not less than a mile from the shore~a distance that should not evoke danger or distress, our small craft, a sixteen foot open bow boat with a 75 horse engine carrying a man and his teenage daughter pulling a fifty foot net for fish and other sea delicacies finds troubles. BIG looming danger that had the potential for disaster. Obviously I am here as is the older gentleman in his recliner remembering those past days, the boat under its shelter all are safe and sound...but in the moment of danger~distress~anxiety~trouble...

I hit the lever called the "throttle" that sped that engine to its maximum speed and turned the bow (front) of the boat directly into the oncoming wave. ALL I could see was a wave of water, a huge wall coming towards us...It was us and the wave...IF it had crested and rolled over us we'd have been lost, but running into the wave, the trouble head on took us UP and OVER, miraculously OVER the wave to "fly" for just a bit into the air and hit very very very hard onto the back side of the moving water's break~BAM! We sat down. I was surprised that our boat did not crack apart by the force. Smaller waves came and came...wake will only stop on the shoreline...we were between the wake and the shore so we received the impact of its force each time with the lessening intensity of the waves from the ship as it sped into harbor. Usually the ships slowed into port and a tug would come and guide them in...Not this day, something unusual had occurred. Both as a result of the situation and the situation itself.

My father's urgency and instructions became so important that I closely listened like no teenager might have because the situation demanded it. In life, there are situations that are so intense that we must heed so closely to our heavenly Father's instructions that if we fail we might parish or fail. My Daddy yelled, but my heavenly Father speaks in a quiet and still voice. Oh I suppose there are times He yells at me too! I have heard Him (not hearing voices, but in His Word, He speaks...)so very LOUDLY telling me what He wants me to do and with urgency. I well remember the call or the clear understanding about a church volunteer ministry I was to participate in not too far back. He speaks, and I must listen closely and earnestly.

If I had rebelled and said, "NO WAY Daddy! I'm NOT going to do what you are asking of me!" Think of the disaster that awaited us as that huge wall of water washed over us and sent us possibly to our graves. Rebellion causes all sorts of troubles in this life not just between parents and children, but God is not pleased when I tell Him "No!" He is gracious and patient with me, but honestly I think I tire His patience sometimes...but WHAT a loving Father! He guides and provides despite my willfulness and stubborn shortsightedness. Oh yes, I could have said, "Daddy, I know ALL ABOUT that wave coming towards us..and YOU are WRONG! I don't need to head the bow of the boat into the wave head on...I don't need to speed the engine...I don't need to hang on tight!" Ignorantly and nearsightedly we could have perished. But as an obedient daughter I did exactly as I was instructed, and thankfully my wise Daddy knew what to do, to TELL ME to do! Nearsightedness is another issue I must address with my heavenly Father when He instructs me to follow Him..."but God! HOLD ON...I don't want to do..I am tired...I am this or that...or NO..." Potential troubles lay for me if I fail to follow Him as He directs because while He is ever present, always knowing, my vision and understanding are limited. God's in total control. I AM NOT!

It's my prayer that today we give over ourselves to our heavenly Father and His will so that when the wall of water in this life comes to swallow us up, we are saved by His grace and mercy to yet another new day to have joy and count it joy that we have overcome! Oh being a survivor of this wake is not a huge deal compared to the many trials of life that are around us every day. May we be obedient to our Father's commands, His instructions and decrees so that we find ourselves back in smooth waters having ridden out the waves that were once so dangerous.

I wish you His ever guiding hand of protection and peace for the journey over the "wall of water" in your life. It's a frightening thing to face, but with the God of Creation, our Holy Father we will find joy in the victory of coming out the other side better for the experience.

Some of my favorite verses concerning trials are

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. II Corinthians 1:3-4

Praise Him there is a purpose behind every trial...or wall of water in our lives! May I give Him the glory and have count "IT" all joy!

In His Mercy,
Lady Graceful
Phil. 1:6

Friday, April 3, 2009

Finding Myself in Him, Quietly Alone

Noise! Noise! Noise! Loud sounds from the television; music blaring! Sounds all around to drown out thoughts and feelings. Diversion. Interruption. Accompaniment. Birds not heard. Trees rustling in the breeze. The buzz of the yellow and black bumble bee unable to be heard above the sounds of the roadway as cars pass quickly, in a hurry to go. Anxious chatter from those we know. Pleasantries, superficial language not real communication or connection.

Shhhh. Be still. Oh it won't hurt, or pain. I'm trying it...There are sounds I've not heard before. A squeak where there shouldn't be faint but distinct. If the everyday distractions are present, I would have missed would have eluded my attention.

Hmmmm...what else am I missing? Could there be something I am missing that is taken up by all the clinging and clanging in my life? Am I seeking the business and noise to drown out something deep inside?

In Psalm 23 the shepherd Psalmist, David says that God leads him beside still waters and restores his soul. Still waters are not turbulent. They are calm and quiet. I am encouraged also to be still and know that He is God or rather that God is God. Being still and quiet lends itself to a contemplation of Who God is and what He has done for me.

On the other hand if I am busy busy busy running here, there and yonder can I hear Him? Can I sense Him? Will I be restored, renewed, reinvigorated in Him?

I came across this song tonight that I want to share with you because it's meaning is timeless. Often our busy, noisy, event-filled lives is an act to be...

All I Ever Have to Be

When the weight of all my dreams
Is resting heavy on my head,
And the thoughtful words of health and hope
Have all been nicely said.

But I'm still hurting,
Wondering if I'll ever be
The one I think I am.

I think I am.

Then you gently re-remind me
That you've made me from the first,
And the more I try to be the best
The more I get the worst.

And I realize the good in me,
Is only there because of who you are.

Who you are...

And all I ever have to be
Is what you've made me.
Any more or less would be a step
Out of your plan.

As you daily recreate me,
Help me always keep in mind
That I only have to do
What I can find.

And all I ever have to be
All I have to be
All I ever have to be
Is what you've made me.

When Mary, sister of Martha poured out the precious oil upon Jesus' feet drying them with her hair, her worship was subtle, quiet and profound. Did Mary content herself with so many cares of this world or with the worship of her Savior? She worshiped. She was where and how she was supposed to be which wasn't very popular with her sister or the disciple, Judas (the betrayer who also was treasurer.)

May I get quiet, still and worshipful, knowing that the struggle within can be filled by Him alone to be who HE HAS MADE ME TO BE! And may I prayerfully be satisfied with His creation~me.

May we both know Him more fully in simple, quiet and peaceful ways that teach us that we are His creation, and in Him we are complete.

In peace,
Lady Graceful
Phil. 1:6