Easter quotes

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A man who was completely innocent, offered himself as a sacrifice for the good of others, including his enemies, and became the ransom of the world. It was a perfect act.

~Mahatma Ghandi

We are told to let our light shine, and if it does, we won’t need to tell anybody it does. Lighthouses don’t fire cannons to call attention to their shining – they just shine.
~Dwight Moody

The Bible tells us that Jesus Christ came to do three things. He came to have my past forgiven, you get a purpose for living and a home in Heaven.

~Rick Warren

God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.

~St. Augustine

The great gift of Easter is hope – Christian hope which makes us have that confidence in God, in his ultimate triumph, and in his goodness and love, which nothing can shake.
~Basil Hume

Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.

~Pope John Paul II

Outside of the cross of Jesus Christ, there is no hope in this world. That cross and resurrection at the core of the Gospel is the only hope for humanity. Wherever you go, ask God for wisdom on how to get that Gospel in, even in the toughest situations of life.
~Ravi Zacharias

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Get to know George Mueller

If you don’t know who George Mueller was, you need to.

George Mueller was a rotten Christian…a Christian who made fun of other Christians. A questionable Christian who partied too hard, gambled too much, got arrested too often. He was invited to a Bible study by another Christian friend, and he went…to harass the attendees. Imagine Saul, the persecutor, without the threat of death. Never did rapscallion Mueller think that Bible study would change his life.

After a week of attending, he realized his actions needed to change. He asked God for forgiveness and began his life transformation. Mueller decided to focus his attention on helping poor people and orphans. With this decision, Mueller lost all financial funding from his parents. He truly felt this mission field was where God wanted him to serve, so he began studying Scripture, meditating on what he read, and praying.

Prayer became George Mueller’s bread of life…literally. He never asked people for contributions to his orphanages…he just prayed. Time after time, God supplied for the 300 orphans. Food would be left on the orphanage porch by anonymous donors. Neighbors who just felt ‘led’ to bake loaves and loaves of bread stopped by and donated their goods. Milk showed up for the children. Clothes were always provided. Volunteers were always available. George Mueller only talked to God about his needs…and God was the only one who needed to know.

From his book, Answers to Prayer:

‘Truly, it is worth being poor and greatly tried in faith, for the sake of having day by day proofs of the loving interest which our kind Father takes in everything that concerns us.’

‘Through reading of the word of God, and especially though meditation on the word of God, the believer becomes more and more acquainted with the nature and character of God, and thus sees more and more, besides His holiness and justice, what a kind, loving, gracious, merciful, mighty, wise, and faithful being He is…’

‘If we, indeed, desire our faith to be strengthened, we should not shrink from opportunities where our faith may be tried, and , therefore, through the trail, be strengthened.’

‘Because he delights in the prayers of his children, He had allowed us to pray so long; also to try our faith, and to make the answer so much the sweeter.’

‘May the Christian reader be encouraged by this, should his prayers not at once be answered; and, instead of ceasing to pray, wait upon God all the more earnestly and perseveringly, and expect answers to his petitions.’

Want to read more? Great! Go get his book Answers to Prayer…it will transform your faith and your prayer life.

For a quick biography, click here. And there’s always wikipedia, though I don’t always trust it, I did get Mueller’s loving little face photo from there. So here’s that link, too.

Mercy

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A little bit of mercy makes the world less cold and more just.   ~Pope Francis

I have always found that mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice.    ~Abraham Lincoln

God’s mercy and grace give me hope – for myself, and for our world.   ~Billy Graham

#rethinkchurch  #Lent2015

God and Emeril

A few weeks ago, I was bemoaning a difficulty…primarily, I was dreading how long it was going to take to make life adjustments  because of said difficulty. I was in the process of praying one of those ‘let this cup pass from me (but I know I’m just going to have to drink it anyway)’ prayers, when I had this startling and amazing revelation.

God is the God of slow, deliberate changes, but he is also the God of the immediate change.

He spoke the universe into existence. BAM!  (Genesis 1) He parted the Red Sea…totally…with dry land for the Israelites to cross. BAM!  (Exodus 14) He poured out water from a rock…a big ol’ rock. BAM! (Exodus 17:1-7) One of my personal favorites: he dropped fire out right of the heavens to burn up a water-soaked alter and offering to show he was the true God. BAM! (1 Kings 18:16-39). He brought an angel into the fiery furnace to comfort Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. BAM! (Daniel 3:1-30) Angels…a whole choir of them… sang in the dark night sky when Jesus was born. BAM! (Luke 2:8-20) Jesus blessed a boy’s small lunch and fed 5,000 people with those few morsels…multiplied exponentially…and later that night, he defied the laws of physics and walked on water. BAM! BAM! (John 6:1-21) And after Jesus’ returned to heaven, God was still getting people’s attention with bright light and a voice…and the epiphanies conversion of Saul/Paul. BAM! (Acts 9:1-22)

Oh yes, there are plenty of stories in the Bible to snuggle up with when life is dragging you through a long ordeal. Stories of people who waited years to see answers to their heart-aching pleas. Stories of arduous struggles of faith and patience and long-suffering. And our God is in those stories, in every tear, in every sighed prayer.

But he’s also a God of immediate action…instant change…impressive results. BAM! What a God we serve! What is he about to do for you!?

New life within

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When my daughter was two and a half years old, she fell three times within a week…on cement…on her face… The results were an incredibly frustrated toddler and a bruised front tooth. The nerves in one front tooth were deadened from the repeated trauma and gave it a gray look. It was a sad change to her vivid smiley face, but better a gray tooth than permanent brain damage. We have just called it her ‘bruised tooth’.

We went to the dentist this week for a checkup, and the dentist wanted to x-ray my daughter’s upper gum to make sure the pending permanent tooth is healthy and undamaged. When we looked at the x-ray, we saw a beautiful straight white tooth waiting in queue.

I showed the future smile to my growing girl and she was shocked. ‘You mean my new tooth won’t be bruised?!’ Though she is too young to be self-conscious, she has only ever known a bruised tooth in her broad smile.

‘Nope! Your big girl tooth will be new and healthy. No bruises,’ I assured her with a renewed grin of my own. I needed her innocent words of regenerative beauty this morning.

This week brought some challenging news to me that has been really hard to accept. This news has created a bit of a gray cloud that has hung over my head and darkened my view of my present world. I’ve tried to put a bright smile on my face, but it’s been very hard. Very hard.

The precious excitement of my little one this morning when she realized that new life was growing inside her was the first ray of sunshine I’ve experienced this week. I realized that something new is growing in me too, and I just can’t see it. A new way of thinking. A new plan to take the place of the old one. I just don’t know what it is yet.

I’m going to imagine that the old plan I had is that gray tooth. It’s been hanging around and I’ve accepted that it was just part of my life’s plan. And it has been…until now. After this week, I know that there must be a new plan growing. A bright, white, shiny new plan that will make me smile with wonder and excitement.

Isaiah 43:18-20 (The Living Bible)

18 But forget all that—it is nothing compared to what I’m going to do! 19 For I’m going to do a brand-new thing. See, I have already begun! Don’t you see it? I will make a road through the wilderness of the world for my people to go home, and create rivers for them in the desert! 20 The wild animals in the fields will thank me, the jackals and ostriches too, for giving them water in the wilderness, yes, springs in the desert, so that my people, my chosen ones, can be refreshed.

Ephesians 6:10-11 (The Living Bible)

Last of all I want to remind you that your strength must come from the Lord’s mighty power within you. Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand safe against all strategies and tricks of Satan.

Old flame or closet skeleton?

There is a difference between an old flame and a skeleton in the closet.

Old flames can still hurt. They’re flames! They are still burning, still alive, still flickering tongues of danger ready to leap out and leave a mark. They will sting briefly or scorch deeply into flesh. A painful blister will result, the size of which depends on how long the flame was in contact with the surface. Maybe a small boo-boo easy to cover with a band-ad or a life-altering scar that requires therapy. The longer the flame flourishes against its tinder, the more damage it can do. The deeper the damage, the longer the recovery. Old flames are called ‘flames’ because they should be approached with caution, or just smothered immediately.

Skeletons in the closet, on the other hand, are not so dangerous. They are already dead; their trickery lurks in their reappearance. However, the trick can be thwarted by using the startle reflex to grab the skeleton as it pops out of the closet ,thus preventing it from hiding again. Keep it out in the open, and don’t let it have the chance to craftily surprise again. Name the skeleton. Use it as a teaching tool…’the neck bone’s connected to the shoulder bone…’ and how all things are connected for a good purpose.  Use it to instruct about  strength and the harmful habits that can weaken such strength. Own that skeleton, dress it up with a pirate hat or a feather boa. Enjoy the moment when that skeleton is no longer something hidden or frightening, but an accepted part of life to be shared and celebrated.

Approach doors of opportunity with care. If they are warm to the touch, run in the opposite direction. If you hear nothing behind them, open carefully. But open them anyway.

Eternal hope springs

*Spring is the balm that heals what winter has chapped.

*Little arm shadows flapping to fly as high as the kite. Little tiptoed feet skipping to chase the squirrel. Little memory pictures framed in my mind to save for a winter’s day.

*A splash of yellow, a flash of blue, a pop of red to liven up winter’s worn palette.

*This year, we hid empty Easter eggs. Ideally, it made the egg hunt easier to prepare. The kids found their eggs and brought them to exchange for candy. But it got me thinking…isn’t the whole joy of Easter about finding something empty anyway? Isn’t the celebration about the emptiness of the tomb and the miracle of God’s power over all? While finding an empty egg may not be so thrilling, rejoicing in emptiness that can be subsequently filled with greater joy is kinda awesome.