Dancing with Simplicity

Simple Living, Walking by Faith
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Suggested Online Christmas Services

  • December 22, 2019 1:24 pm

If you have no plans or places to go for Christmas services, may I suggest:

https://www.viewpointchurch.org/

Viewpoint Church.  Author/pastor Becky Tirabassi’s church from Southern CA, USA. Becky has long been a  mentor. I have used her Change Your Life Daily Bible and other resources for years, and now she and husband Roger pastor a church. Visit her church site or find her on Facebook. More resources:  http://www.changeyourlifedaily.com/. Coming in January, read through the Bible in one year…with Becky on Instagram.

 

Saddleback Church, Pastor Rick Warren from CA.  https://saddleback.com/

I’m a member of the online community on Facebook, and serve on the online prayer team. You will find many online Christmas services and a new church-wide event begins in January 2020. Watch live, watch the archive or You Tube services. The Worship team has to be one of my favorites, from just anywhere!

Christmas…Cancer…Chaos…Calm

  • December 21, 2019 10:58 am

It has been A. Year. And then some.

When a chronic illness struck my husband in 2017, I thought it a bit much to endure. When cancer struck him in 2018, late in the year, I knew 2019 was not going to be easy.

Our finances are in a chaotic state. Some things are undone and have not been tended to. Nothing is as it was, and nothing is particularly in order. Diagnosis led to treatment, treatment led to one rather serious and now chronic complication. We don’t seem to be able to catch up, or catch our breath.

When you think about it, Christmas was chaotic. Jesus was born into messy circumstances, and I don’t just mean the stable. Just setting one toe into this fallen world is to be plunged into chaos. Politics, war, sickness, financial woes, cultural problems all went on then and continue today.

I guess it’s alright to feel out of whack. Out of breath, behind.

There is a Christmas star out there somewhere still. Rising above the world. Angels looking down. Peace on earth. Peace to chaotic, messy homes and families. Peace in financial problems. Peace with family illness overtaking you every day. Elusive peace? Only if it is a peace built on man. Peace that descended from above is different. And I will welcome His peace into my home, during this most chaotic year.

Luke 2:8-14 (NIV2011)
8  And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.
9  An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.
10  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.
11  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.
12  This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13  Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14  “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

 

Easter Hope

  • April 19, 2019 1:27 pm

© Tracie Koziura | Dreamstime Stock Photos

I often think about one Easter spent in Georgia, somewhere back in the 60’s. My Dad spread blue fur around our hotel room. I’m assuming the Easter bunny was blue. I think that is what Dad was suggesting. He (Mr. Bunny) always took a nice bite out of the carrots I left for him. I believe he did on that occasion as well. Easter was blue fur and bunnies, and carrots with tooth marks in them. And who can forget Easter egg hunts, and being dressed up in patent leather shoes and your finest church clothes?

Those days however, are long gone. What used to be a holiday filled with candy and toys, has now become something much more to me. The Easter story brings hope. Hope of life eternal and grace beyond measure. Hope that streams from putting our faith in the one whose crucifixion we remember. When I decided to become a Christian, to follow Christ, I began to see how the Bible message as a whole became a reason for celebration. The Easter message was there in much of the Scriptures. Scripture was worth studying, memorizing, and above all following.

I would also discover that the most quoted Easter verses did not provide the whole picture. Suffering had to come before joy, fear before worship and God’s plan had to move forward into a message for others to hear. The message of Easter can be found in both Old and New Testament verses. It’s been said; that the message of the New Testament is concealed in the Old Testament. The message of hope therefore isn’t limited to just the standard Easter Scriptures. It is woven through the entire canon of Scripture. Bible verses specific to our Easter celebrations, stand as promises and bring us hope while Old Testament symbolism points to something much more.

It may not sound very hopeful to look at the suffering the Cross carried with it yet Psalm 22 reminds us of the suffering necessary to bring us future hope. Christ’s very words ” My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning?” (Psalm 22:1, NIV) reminds us that the pain was a necessary part of the process. The whole Psalm bears witness of this. I have always marveled that the words uttered on the Cross (Matthew 27:46, NIV) were recorded in that Psalm long before. We cannot possibly fathom this suffering yet it reminds us of why we have our Easter celebrations at all. His suffering had to come before the triumph. His friends, family and followers had to endure great pain, before unspeakable joy. Though they pale in comparison, sometimes our trials precede our victories. We have to deal with pain in our lives, often before we see the glory on the other side. Entombed in our heart are many trials, many days of suffering and pain.  But Resurrection power bursts through as our heart is renewed and filled with hope and joy.

The four gospel books contain various accounts of the resurrection of Jesus. In Matthew 28 an angel explains to Mary Magdalene and ‘another Mary’ that Jesus’ body is no longer in the tomb.

So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. (Matthew 28:8-10, NIV.)

Our worship should flow out of this very scene. Because of what He did for us, these Bible verses that celebrate Easter, can be personalized. We can worship at the feet of the Lord, because of the very fact that the tomb is empty. The. tomb. is. empty. He has risen. Our fear of any situation can be replaced with joy. The joy invokes worship at His feet.

In Luke Jesus left us this word “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” (Luke 24:44, NIV). The New Testament hope is concealed in the Old Testament Scriptures. Our Easter celebration is not made up of blue fur, and bunnies. Rather it is a celebration of hope. Hope based on a God who kept His promises, and fulfilled His word. I can live in light of the ‘everything’ that must be fulfilled.

This is what is written: The Christ will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance and forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. (Luke 24:44, NIV).

The Biblical celebration of Easter has to encompass the Cross of suffering, the joy of an empty tomb and the fulfillment of Scripture, past and future. From our own corner of the world we can preach the Easter message to others. We can share Easter verses of encouragement and hope. We can turn our fear to joy, and share that joy with those who need to hear. Be blessed and encouraged this Easter. Our world grows increasingly more troubled day by day. This Easter, embrace your Biblical hope as you live out your day to day life. Take your suffering and turn it to celebration, over the life that was given, and the life that now lives and intercedes on our behalf.

 

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Sprinkled Hearts

  • April 3, 2019 5:31 pm

I’m working on digital products. You can obtain this poem in a few ways. Here’s one link for some nice tea glasses.