He Is Risen!

I am still basking in the glow of Easter. A much anticipated celebration after the reverence and contemplation of 40 days of Lent. I have to admit that sometimes I am anxious for it all to be over and by that I mean all of the extra church practices of the season (you know…special music, food, egg hunts, early services, etc…) All those things are nice and add to the celebration but the true meaning and promises of Easter are with us EVERY DAY!

Not just on that one day when the Pastor announces “CHRIST IS RISEN!and we respond “HE IS RISEN INDEED, ALLELUIA!”

Not just on that one day when we get up before the crack of dawn, build a fire in the fire pit, huddle under a blanket and wait for the anticipated sunrise. Hopefully one year we will actually see a sunrise! (mostly it’s just an overcast gray sky on a early spring morning.)

Not just once a year when we tend to buy new outfits to wear on that special Sunday. Not just once a year when children hunt for candy in plastic eggs. Not just an excuse to get together with friends and family for a special meal.

Friends! Here is the Easter promise that is for each and everyone of us. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY! Jesus died on that cross in our place! He died for you and I to save us from eternal death and insure that we will have eternal life with HIM in heaven. THAT is Good News worth basking in!

“because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from he dead, you will be saved”

Romans 10:9 (ESV)

Spring

Here in Texas we have had quite an eventful winter…snow (unusual) more snow (really unusual) and then an epic ice storm (beyond unusual). Add all that to a pandemic that has lasted a year so far and I wonder just WHAT. IS. NEXT? HAVEN’T WE HAD ENOUGH?

As I was rereading my previous post “Snow Day”, I was a taken back a bit…it was a big deal when it snowed the first time and I remember how excited I was to see new life when I looked into my greenhouse when it was all over. There were beautiful pink flowers! But when I looked into the greenhouse after “Iceageddon” (that’s the name we use to refer to the epic ice storm), all I saw was brown, DEAD leaves!

This was a little disheartening and maybe a little defeating if I’m honest with myself. A lot of plants are DEAD like this one…but hold on….I think there is a message here!

Our life in Christ may be like these plants…hmmmm…..We wait for spring, we wait for new life and hope to renew our tired spirts after a long winter. Sometimes we wait and we wait…maybe with a little bit of hope like flowers in a greenhouse. And then another set back comes…like a storm that damages plants. It could be a life storm for you or just waiting for a long winter to end. I don’t know about you but sometimes I want to cry out to God and say WHAT.IS.NEXT? HAVEN’T I HAD ENOUGH?

Friends…I am here to assure you that He is there in the midst of the storms that never seem to end. He is there even in the long, cold winter. One of my favorite verses gives me great comfort in this;

"For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my fortress; I will not be shaken"  Psalm 62:5-6

In the storms and long winters in our lives when we wait…we can be assured that God is here with us, just as new growth in this season of spring brings hope! In Him is new life!

Happy Easter!

Longest . Week . Ever

Maybe you have heard…Texas experienced an EPIC ice storm and very cold temperatures this week. It seems most of the country was very cold as well. But here in Texas, thousands of folks had no heat or water for days. Some experienced frozen and broken pipes and I won’t even mention the frozen plants and trees! The streets and highways were pretty much impassable except for the brave folks that had to go to work. This is such unusual weather for this part of the country that cities and towns are not prepared with salt trucks and other cold weather equipment. We personally were fortunate at our house and only experienced about 22 hours with no heat. We “camped” out by the fireplace outside in a makeshift outdoor room. I have to admit it was fun for a minute… It was warmer there than in the house!

Now to the end of the long week…the sun is finally out today and the ice is melting. Soon this will all be a distant memory. I could go on and on about how “horrible” the week was, how long it seemed and in general just write an “Oh Poor Me” post. But you know…it wasn’t that bad and I am positive that others were worse off than me.

What it did teach me is this: We should be more prepared (water, canned and dried food etc…) firewood, propane gas, blankets, candles. We also realized just how dependent we are on our devices and internet! Something I am personally going to be working on…reading “real paper” books and other hobbies not involving electronics! Stay tuned for that post!

Here is the real lesson I was reminded of this week in one of my devotions: Habakkuk 3:17-18

Though the fig tree should not blossom,

nor fruit be on the vines,

the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food,

the flock be cut off from the fold, and there be no herd in the stalls,

yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.

In this time of isolation, similar to the pandemic quarantine last spring, I was reminded once again that God’s love is sovereign and never ending! We may be cut off from the flock and have little or no food, but friends…We rejoice and take joy in the God of our Salvation! That makes this long week of worldly discomfort seem like just a fleeting moment!

A few pictures of our outdoor experience!

“Camp Coffee”
“Coffee by the Fire”

Snow Day

“And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful.”  Ezekiel 36: 26-29

Last week Central Texas had a huge weather event. Something that hasn’t happened in a few years…it SNOWED! Not just a dusting, but enough to build an army of snowmen! This “snowmageden” event caused so much excitement among most, especially children! It was such a joy to hear the laughter and delight of families making snowmen, snow angels and snowballs! And…it WAS pretty! Large soft snowflakes falling HERE in Central Texas! It was a sight to behold!

But I have to be honest…I really don’t like snow. It was cold and I have become a thin-skinned Texan! I was personally glad when it was over! I know that I have a really bad attitude about snow and cold, but I did a happy dance when we sold our snow shovel and snow blower and moved back to Texas! 

I have a small green portable green house on my patio. I was checking on my poor cold plants after the snow event and was greeted by this sight… 

When I opened up my little green house and immediately saw 2 beautiful pink flowers, I felt the warmth coming back. The warmth of His love and the promise of new life!

Then it dawned on me…God is Here, through the cold and misery, through the joy and celebration. HE IS HERE THROUGH IT ALL! 

Our Daily Bread

God spoke to me this morning as I was writing a note to a friend. Has that ever happened to you? I sat down to write a note of New Year encouragement to a friend that lives in a nursing facility. All kinds of platitudes were appearing on the page like…Hope this new year is brighter and Glad 2020 is over…you get the idea. Then I decided to add a Bible verse to fill space in the card (being honest here…) I reached for my phone and favorite Bible App. This was the verse of the day…today, January 5th, 2021 and it hit me square in the face….

Give us this day our daily bread.

Matthew 6:11 (ESV)

Today…not tomorrow, not next week, not all of 2021. After all, we do not know what the future holds. We can hope and wish for better times…but what if? What if 2021 is not better…what if covid never goes away…what if? This verse today gives me great comfort. God has this! We are to trust Him each and every day. He gives me what I need and I praise Him for that! 

Thank you, Lord for showing me today that you give me what I need every day.  Amen