Jesus’ Last Request

Have you ever asked God to have his will in your life? Great! But what is His will for you? Although Jesus was fully aware that He would soon be crucified, His thoughts and last prayer request includes us.

Listen to Pastor Cliff Purcell as he shares this important message in the following podcast: “A Family Conversation – Week 8” (March 18, 2018). Blessings!

Fall Update

I hope you are enjoying the fall colors and change of seasons. My family is full swing into football with our teenage boys, and basketball with our preteen daughter. It’s fun to watch the progress they make both individually and as a team. Our middle son recently broke his ankle in a football game, right across his growth plate. I’d cherish your prayers for healing.

Whether you regularly follow my blog, or have stumbled across some of my posts, THANK YOU for all your encouragement and visits with my Genesis Bible study. I’ve certainly gained valuable insights from studying and sharing through writing. I’m not a preacher or scholar, but it’s encouraging to know that God’s Word “will accomplish what [He] desires,” (Isaiah 55:11).

Again, thank you for your follows, visits, and likes. You are a blessing to me!

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Why did Jesus die?

Thank you to everyone who participated in my poll two weeks ago. The tallies are in . . . Drum roll . . . The winner? It’s a tie. Looks like all four categories will share the platform:

  • Bible Study . . . . 25%
  • Original pictures . . . . 25%
  • “Surprise me” . . . . 25%
  • Other: Evangelism . . . . 25%

***

I thought on this Good Friday, Jesus’ own words about His death, burial, and resurrection pave the perfect way for studying evangelism, which will be my topic for the next few weeks.

 Jesus Explains Why He Must Die: John 12:23-33 (NIV)

The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me . . . . Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour?’ No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name! . . . . (vs. 32-33) But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself.”

Living in an area surrounded by beautiful rolling hills of wheat, I appreciate and relate to Jesus’ word picture.

Living in an area surrounded by beautiful rolling hills of wheat, I appreciate and relate to Jesus’ word picture.

Unless a kernel of wheat is buried, it will not take root and become a blade of wheat producing many more seeds. Seeds generally store energy. When the seed is planted, the bit of energy within is sacrificed in order to establish the new plant.

Similarly, Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice was dying in our place. 2 Corinthians 5:21 says, For He (God) made Him (Jesus) who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

We celebrate Jesus’ resurrection and victory over death at Easter. Because He is the sinless Son of God who paid our sins’ death penalty, He alone offers forgiveness and eternal life to all who believe in Him.

In response to His sacrifice, Jesus calls us to follow Him by crucifying our sin and self-centeredness. God is raising a crop of righteousness. Jesus sets the perfect example of service in John 13 as He washes His disciples’ feet—a job that was reserved for the lowliest slave. Although it sounds like an oxymoron, the hard work of transferring control of our lives to Christ by serving God is worth all effort and discomfort. When we embrace Christ and His ways we receive eternal life, genuine peace, lasting joy, and showcase Christ to others.

Is there anything in your life that needs to die in order to experience the fruit of God’s joy and peace?

Of Preteens and Curve Balls

“Mom, watching Grizzly bears are for little kids!”

I’m not sure when my boys first decided that being seen with me, their Mom, was uncool. But this morning was no exception.

Disgruntled may be a mild term when I “dragged” them out of the house. It’s an opportune time, I reasoned, for mother-son bonding. We had three hours to hang out during my daughter’s VBS session. However, I forgot the stores wouldn’t open for an hour.

STRIKE ONE.

Can’t go wrong with Italian Sodas.

HOME RUN! Oh, no . . . foul ball—a little more month left than money. Oops!

Well, the surprise library visit to watch the Guinness World Record holding magician will be a hit.

Guess I didn’t know the record he held was for bouncing bubbles. Read the fine print K.D.! Maybe the fine print also stated his primary audience—preschoolers. My boys didn’t crack a smile when he dangled nine spoons from one arm and one from his nose while pulling out a six foot spoon from his bag.

STRIKE TWO.

What’s on my windshield? A parking ticket?!

 “Way to go, Mom!”

A few sparks erupted, but not the holiday ones.

STRIKE THREE.  “You’re out!”

Good thing I imagined this Ump, or I might have tackled him!

Good thing I imagined this Ump, or I might have tackled him!

Finally, we arrived home. Then I discovered . . .

9330cd9c1ac6d921820401e11faf527amy blouse is inside out! Lovely.

STRESS

We all experience stress—frustration in relationships, work, finances, sickness, unmet expectations, or just the daily grind.

The Apostle Paul shared the following while chained in jail:

I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation . . . . I can do everything through Him who gives me strength.”          Philippians 4:12-13

Did he say in every situation?

Positive Paul—confined inside a smelly cell—knew excruciating poverty, abundant wealth, and everything in between. But he learned to find real joy independent of changing circumstances. How?

He threw all his energy into knowing and obeying Christ (Philippians 3:8, 12-13).

Paul also knew the guilt of striking out because he once persecuted Christians. But as Christ transformed him, he shared how to overcome the guilt of failure:

Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead.”  – 3:13

When our hope is in Christ, we can look forward to what God will help us become.

How do you respond to life’s curve balls? If you—like me—blow it, don’t give up. The game’s not over.

Let’s keep our eyes on the ball—Jesus Christ. He supplies inner strength and joy, even when facing unpleasant circumstances.