Monthly Archives: March 2016

Month’s End

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Well the month is ending and we will be going on to a new category for April, Rebirth/Resurrection. I am excited for the month to come and all the wonderful things God has in store. I will not be giving a bible with with this blog, I just wanted to take the time to thank Jesus for all he did for us, by guiding us with our writings. Through the writings this month we have learned different ways/meanings of sacrifice and can find ways to apply them to our lives. I have enjoyed your comments and likes and look forward to a new month of revelations for the new topic. Once again, thank you for taking your time to support us and I hope you will continue to do so.

Always remember, that God Loves You And So Do I

Michele Edgel

Sacrificing at the Right Time

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“For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly.” Romans 5:6

What made this particular point in history and in the life of Jesus the right time?  I’ve been pondering this since Easter Sunday.  I’ve heard teachers speculate that the Roman Empire and the system of roads created allowed Christianity to spread in a way that couldn’t have happened before.  Maybe that’s right.  It’s one of those things the Bible doesn’t tell us, so we don’t know.

What about Jesus?  Why did he “set his face” to go to Jerusalem on this particular Passover?  He knew what was going to happen;  He even told the disciples He would die.  It didn’t make sense to them, so why was he so convinced?  Well, there’s only one answer, plain and simple.  He did it in obedience to God. He never allowed anyone or anything to interfere with the Father’s will for His life.

It makes me realize that if I’m going to imitate Christ, I have to try to obey at the right time: in other words, as soon as God asks.  This is hard for me.  I have a million excuses:  I’m not ready yet, I need to prepare;  it’s not practical, nobody thinks I should do that;  I need to finish this other task first;  and even, is that really you, God?

The Bible tells us that our times are in God’s hand.  He is the one who knows the right time for everything in our lives.  We need to pray the prayer that cannot fail, “thy will be done.”  Then we need to step out in faith and do whatever He is calling us to do. He will take care of the results.

 

 

He is Risen

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The title pretty much sums up what today is.   It isn’t the chocolate bunnies, marshmallow peeps, ham or any of the other rituals we call Easter.  The only additional thing I would like to add is – Thank you Jesus for taking my sins and washing me in your blood to be reborn and clean.

 

Celebrate for He is Risen indeed.

 

GLYASDI

Michele Edgel

Good Friday devotional 3.25.16

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Sarah Geringer

resurrection gardenRead:  Matthew 27:46

This cry of Jesus has long resonated with me:  “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”  Jesus had never been separated from his Father.  In taking sin’s curse upon himself on the cross, Jesus had to accept that terrible punishment.  His cry resonates with me as a child of divorce who often felt forsaken.  I take comfort knowing Jesus understands my pain.  I take comfort knowing God never leaves me nor forsakes me (Hebrews 13:5).  I take comfort that on this Good Friday, Jesus removed the barrier between us once and for all, and I can live in his presence forever.

Reflection:  

Have you ever felt forsaken?  How can you find comfort in Jesus’ suffering?

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The Sacrifice of Separation

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“My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?  Why are you so far from saving me, from the words of my groaning?” Psalm 22:1

At our Good Friday service last night we looked at the bare wood of an altar that had been stripped of all the usual ornamentation, and we heard about the special sacrifice Jesus made for us.  One we don’t think about very often.  When Jesus took the sins of the world upon himself, he was temporarily separated from the Father and the Holy Spirit.  He was stripped of the companionship that He had enjoyed since birth.  He became in one final way like us:  separated from God.  He was utterly alone.

Although I have often heard about the physical sufferings Christ endured on the cross,  I  don’t think I had contemplated this deep emotional pain before.  Think about it.  Even when the earthly friends of Jesus did not understand Him, or deserted Him, He had his union with the other two persons of the trinity to comfort and sustain Him.  Now he lost that, too.

I’ve been married for 44 years, so I have become accustomed to this union with my husband.  When we are separated for just a few days, I feel uncomfortable.  I want to talk with him and I can’t;  I need some help and he is not there;  I long for a hug and he is out of reach.  If my husband were to die, I would experience deep grief and pain. Probably greater than any other pain I can imagine.  Multiply that many, many times and it still doesn’t come close to how Jesus felt. His union was perfect and continual.  Jesus knew this would happen.  He contemplated it in the garden. Yet He still submitted to His Father’s will.  He made this sacrifice for me and for you.  How does this make you feel?  What are you willing to give up for the one who sacrificed so much for you?

“Although He was a son, he learned obedience through what he had suffered.  And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him, …” Hebrews 5:8-9″

 

 

 

 

Walking through the Services

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All my life I’ve gone to church on a fairly regular basis. Growing up, my parents added Sunday School and Vacation Bible Study to what we were required to attend. Then there was confirmation. As I got older, it didn’t seem so important to attend church regularly and besides, it’s hard to get the family up, dressed and out the door. Gee, I have to do this all week long, do I really have to do this on Sunday, too? This is what would go through my mind.
So when a crisis happened (my husband diagnosed with terminal cancer) we went back to church. Still not as much as we should have, but with more regularity. The children are grown so it was just the two of us. I started looking forward to the services to start my week. It made my life better.
I’m telling you all this because this Easter Season is the first time I’ve gone to all the Lenten Services and I actually went to the Maundy Thursday service last night. This was the first time I’ve attended this service and it was very powerful for me; it made Christ hanging on the cross more real to me then it’s ever been. When we stripped the Altar of all the vestments, candles and flowers I felt like I wanted to cry. It was a very solemn thing.
I’m not only planning on attending all the services this weekend, but I’m looking forward to them. Tonight is the Good Friday Service and I have an open heart for what ever happens. There are two services on Sunday and I’m looking forward to both of them.
This is a change for me. This is different. If any of you think that all these services are a pain, you don’t have time, you don’t want to take that much time for church; I would tell you to take the time, go with an open heart and I believe your life would be changed.

Would you sacrifice your time and energy to attend all the services at your church?

The Ultimate Sacrifice

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It’s Good Friday.  Some Christians don’t like to think about the atonement:  too gory, too depressing.  As Lutherans we walk through the entire journey of Jesus, knowing there is no Easter without Good Friday.  Today is a day to meditate on the crucifixion and the sins that caused it to happen.  Think about the words of this hymn, Ah, Holy Jesus.

1. Ah, holy Jesus, how hast thou offended,
that we to judge thee have in hate pretended?
By foes derided, by thine own rejected,
O most afflicted!

2. Who was the guilty? Who brought this upon thee?
Alas, my treason, Jesus, hath undone thee!
‘Twas I, Lord Jesus, I it was denied thee;
I crucified thee.

3. Lo, the Good Shepherd for the sheep is offered;
the slave hath sinned, and the Son hath suffered.
For our atonement, while we nothing heeded,
God interceded.

4. For me, kind Jesus, was thy incarnation,
thy mortal sorrow, and thy life’s oblation;
thy death of anguish and thy bitter passion,
for my salvation.

5. Therefore, kind Jesus, since I cannot pay thee,
I do adore thee, and will ever pray thee,
think on thy pity and thy love unswerving,
not my deserving.

Washing Feet (continued)

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In our society, few of us experience being a servant.  We have bosses at our jobs and we are subject to their authority, but we can walk away at any time and get another job.  Most of us would not put up with being treated like a servant in our relationships – we would get a divorce or just refuse to comply with those expectations. We are taught to avoid “being a doormat.” Yet as Christians we are called not just to be servants, but “slaves of God.” Romans 6:22.  A slave has no choice in where he goes, or what he does, he is totally controlled by the commands of his master.

 Once in a Bible study a member of our congregation told us she learned to be a servant when she cared for her mother with Alzheimers. That really impressed me.  I had never thought about being a “servant” as an opportunity. 

 I am thankful to this friend for her insight because in a few years God gave me this same “opportunity.”  Once a week, I went to my mothers house (a one hour drive).  Mom had dementia.  I helped her to shower – yes, I washed her feet.  If you have never done this, it is a humbling experience.  I knelt on the hard bathroom floor and having arthritis myself, it was sometimes hard to get up.  It was not easy to see Mom in such a vulnerable position.  I had to help her dress and undress.  Sometimes she soiled herself.  Next I fed Mom lunch, or took her out to lunch.  I cleaned her house and checked her refrigerator.  Sometimes we went to the bank.  We looked through her picture albums or watched TV.  Most of the things I imagined doing with her when I retired were not possible—her attention span was too short, and her memories just not there anymore.  It was difficult for us to carry on a meaningful conversation.  It wasn’t always pleasant.

 Now I am not holding myself up as a wonderful Christian example of service.  Far from it. For one thing, I love my mother.  She took care of me, so in a sense caring for her was no more than payback.  The Bible tells us that “even the tax collectors” do good things to those they love.  I also am fortunate to have six siblings who shared in her care.  Some of them did much more than I.  I gave up my time only once or twice a week and I did this only for a year before Moms condition worsened, and she went to a nursing home.  Many, many people care for family members constantly and under more challenging conditions.  What I want to say is I am thankful that due to my faith, I was able to accept this task as what God wanted me to do, and know that it was not just for Mom’s good, but mine.

 “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.”  Romans 8:28

 So what did I gain from this experience?  I learned patience and humility.  I learned adjust my expectations to what Mom was able to do.  I learned to slow down and do the best I could each day I was with her. I learned to appreciate her as a child of God, rather than anything she could do for me. I learned gratitude for other family members and for small affirmations, like the time Mom told me, “all my children are good to me.”

 So, I ask you again, “whose feet have you washed?”  How do you feel about being a servant, and what have you learned?

Whose Feet Have You Washed?

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“Whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the son of man came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”  Matthew 20:26-28.

 

In a few days our congregation, and many others will be celebrating Maundy Thursday, commemorating the institution of Holy Communion.  It is customary during the service to hear how before the meal, Jesus washed the feet of his disciples.

 

“Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper.  He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist.  Them he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him.”  John 13:3-6

 

This would have been astounding.  It was customary at the time for the lowliest servant in the household to wash the dirty feet of those coming in from dusty roads.  Even peers did not wash each others feet, except on a rare occasion as a sign of great love.  I don’t know what would serve as a comparable example in our world – maybe being honored by having the President of the United States over to dinner, only for him to get up after the meal and say, “let me scrape and wash the dishes and take the garbage out for you”  How would we react?  Probably like Peter, protesting, “Oh no sir, we can’t let you do that!”

 

Jesus did this to give us an example of humble servanthood.

 

“If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet you also ought to wash one another’s feet.  For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you.” John 13: 14-15

 

Jesus calls us to a life of sacrifice and humility.  Whose feet have you washed?

To be continued ….