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Sunday, March 27, 2016

Worshiping the Risen Lamb

Rejoicing in the Light that Overcomes the Dark

Happy Easter, Dear Ones!

Might you feel His Power wherever you are this day...
Praying Grace over each struggle, each broken heart,
He has walked in your darkness...
His sacrifice has rent the night into brilliant day.

He Promises Light for each step of the way home.

Rest in Him.

Friday, March 25, 2016

The Good...and the Bad... and His Everlasting Light

We've had some good days...

and lately we've had some bad ones... pneumonia has taken hold once more and we have found ourselves standing vigil in a quiet hospital room these past days... doctors and nurses tend to Dad with hushed voices and promises of stronger antibiotics.  We are beginning to wonder if the lungs had ever really healed from the last brutal bout...

In this sterile room, surrounded by monitors and wires and miles of oxygen tubing... my heart, it's simply starving to hear some good news.

And in the midst of the quiet, we grab a cup of hot chocolate as we wait for the latest chest x-ray results and the TV just happens to run a story on Good Friday services at a local parish.  In a blink, my mind and heart are reminded of the day... for goodness sakes, it's Good Friday!  When did that happen? (Hospital stays have a way of blurring time and bringing life to a rushed standstill...true? so true)

If you would humor me, here's a post from last year... a reminder for my soul.  Did I even know when I wrote this one year ago how much I would need this message tonight?  To know that God is here with us, even now holding us... when the darkness seems complete, it is then that God is doing His most miraculous work... for the darkness always gives way to His Light... Always.

Reposted from April 3, 2015:

"Today we celebrate Good Friday...

I've always wondered why it was called Good.  Seems that there was nothing good about Christ's walk down Golgatha's path... his pain must have been immense, the lashings, the weight of the cross upon his wounded back, the scoffing of the crowd, the fear and horror on the disciples' faces, the brutal knowing of his fate awaiting at the top of the hill... nothing good on this Friday...

And when the torment was ended, his broken and bleeding body lay in a borrowed tomb, lifeless and still.  And the stone rolled over the light and shut the Son of God in the darkest night...

The darkness of this hour would seem to be too much to bear...

And there were times in our pancreatic cancer journey that the darkness overwhelmed...just like that stone rolling out the light. 

Our walk down the shadow valley led us to places of utter darkness.

The heartaches, the pain, the fear... it was as if the light was forever gone.

Perhaps you've been there too.  Or maybe you are struggling to find your way through a dark journey even now. 

Might you be encouraged this day.  For it occurs to me that God does some of His most miraculous things in the dark.

There was Abraham.  Father of the Jewish Nation.  He struggled hard with obedient faith, trusting in God when all else about him was sifting sand.  He endured droughts and strife with family, he was called to move to a foreign land and watched as war broke out on every side.  And he aged.  And became old.  And had no son to be his heir.  Even though God had promised his descendants would be as numerous as the stars in the sky.  Doubt had him questioning God's promises. We read in Genesis 15:12-18 that God came to Abraham in the dark of the night and renewed His Covenant with him...promising that his descendants would indeed have this land.  Just as Abraham's heart was in so dark of a place, God chose the cover of darkness to reveal the Light that can only be found in Him... 

And there was Moses.  Leading the children of Israel from the bondage of Pharoah in the darkness of the night.  I can only imagine the horror of that last plague... the death of all firstborn...

And it came to pass at midnight that the Lord struck all the firstborn in the land of Eqypt... (but when He saw the blood of the lamb on the Israelites lintel and doorposts, the Lord passed over the door and did not allow the destroyer to come in and strike them)... So Pharoah rose in the night, and there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was not a house where there was not one dead.  Then he called for Moses and said  'Go, serve the Lord, both you and the children of Israel.'  And so it was that Moses led the Israelites out of the land of bondage in the dark of night.    Exodus 12:21-42

And what about Jacob.  The one who tricked his twin brother out of the birthright.  Yep.  Esau held a grudge.  And back then, grudges could be deadly.  So Jacob fled with his very life (and the birthright), but as the years passed, he found his heart hungering for reconciliation.  He made the decision to head for home, but along the way... in the dark of night... he struggled with his fear and he wrestled the night through with God... like, really wrestling, physically fighting... through the long, dark night... Jacob wrestled with God.  And he found peace.  And the Blessing.  Genesis 32:22-32

And I love Jonah.  Running from God's call.  Acting like a spoiled child not getting his way.  Until God got his attention in the belly of the big fish.  For 3 days.  Can you imagine how dark, how horrid, how completely without hope Jonah must have felt?   Surely the darkness must have been his undoing... for in Jonah 2:7-9 it is recorded, "When my soul fainted within me, I remembered the Lord; And my prayer went up to you."   In the midst of tormenting darkness, Jonah raised the voice of thanksgiving, saying "Salvation is of the Lord."  And the fish spit Jonah up onto dry land... into the light of the sun...

"And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel."  Isaiah 45:3 

Darkness.  When it descends, it can overwhelm.  The fear, the grief, the worry... all seem exaggerated in the midnight hour.  We feel so alone, so helpless.  So out of Hope.

Beloved, we are never alone.  It is during our darkest hours that God is doing His most miraculous work in our lives.  For out of our darkest places He can bring light to illuminate our very hearts... shining Hope over His Purpose in our lives, mining the treasures of the hidden riches for His Glory.

As hard as it is to walk the Shadow Valley, I know that His Hand goes before me to hollow out a place to hold me close until the morning light... for the darkness always gives way to His Light...
And so, this Good Friday... the very Savior is hidden from the light, in the tomb of the dead.  It will never feel right to call it Good.

We could feel as desperate and hopeless as those disciples must have felt.  The darkness surely radiated an eternal grief that night... and just when the darkness seemed to be too much to bear...

 God prepares to reveal His most miraculous work...

Today the Light may be hidden in the darkest night,

                                                       but never doubt that Sunday's Coming..." 

Friday, March 11, 2016

Happy Friday!

Today was a good day for Dad... and the flowering Bradford Pear Tree in the front yard.

So, we decided it was time to get outside, if even for a moment, (pajama bottoms and slippers are all the rage we hear!)   And enjoy the bliss.

Oh, it's good to be home and feeling the sun on our face, the breeze through the blossoms and the fragrance of spring all around.

Soaking up the beauty this day...

Happy Friday, Loved Ones!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Letting Hold On

"Occasionally weep deeply over the life you hoped would be.
Grieve the losses.
Then wash your face.  Trust God.
And embrace the life you have."

                                    ~ John Piper