Made in our Image

We the people find ourselves in a presidential election where the two major candidates are seriously flawed. We the people are angry and frustrated with the choice to be made.

Our government and politics are merely a reflection of us. These two candidates are our creation; they reflect who we are. Our response?  We point our fingers and hold our nose. 

This our problem. What are we going to do about it?  What are you going to do about it? What am I going to do about it? 

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Sunday meditation

I don’t want to rely on my own feeble ways.  God, be my strength!  In my heart may there be open pathways always connecting me to God.  

How blessed is the man whose strength is in You, In whose heart are the highways to Zion!
Psalms 84 NASB

http://bible.com/100/psa.84.5.NASB

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I Just Have to Share

The following links have been meaningful to me this past week.  I would love to know what you think.

It is important to walk through the darkness of Passion Week so we can enjoy the light of Easter. Dr. David Swanson’s Palm Sunday sermon: The Darkness and the Light.

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Short on time? Here’s the crescendo ending of Dr. Swanson’s sermon: Sunday is Coming!

I just love Ann Voskamp, and this post about an unjust world moved me:

You can either ruminate like a beast over the injustice of it all, till you feel some literal heartburn and the scorch of the whole thing searing off real layers of your soul —  or you can plow the pain into purpose

Read the whole post here.  While you are there check out her posts from this week- they’re all good.

In Orlando and need a place to go to celebrate Jesus’ triumph over sin and death? Join me and the congregation of First Presbyterian Church of Orlando at the Dr. Philip’s Center of the Performing Arts at 9 and 11 a.m. Get all of the details at Easter in the City.

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Resurrection blessings,
Cheli

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Journey with Jesus

Resources for Passion Week 2016

Walk through the darkness of this week with Jesus, and embrace the light of His resurrection on Easter.

Blessings,
Cheli

Painting Rainbows

Journey to Jesus

Know Jesus?  If so, you’re on a journey with Him- one marked by level plains, arduous hills, mountain tops, and dark valleys.  Jesus is our best traveling companion because He has experienced it all for us.

And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,  fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.          (Hebrews 12: 1b-2, NIV)

Holy Week presents Christians with an opportunity to revisit and remember the depths of Jesus’ redeeming love. This Holy Week or Passion Week is nearly upon us, and I’d like to share a resource written for a children’s ministries classroom; adaptable for family devotions, small groups, co-ops, or wherever your imagination takes you. Having seen this program in…

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“Like”

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I “liked” this quote, and at the time nine other people did too. I’m curious as to why. How do these nine people understand orthodoxy and rebellion? Having given their assent to this thought, are they compelled to do something about it?

Am I?

Is this a quote you agree with, if so, I’d love to know what it means to you and what you’re willing to do about it.

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Future and a Hope

What is meant by a “future and a hope” in Jeremiah 29:11, and what does that entail?

1. To completely understand this verse we need to look at the context. Consider reading chapters 28 and 29. God told the people of Judah that they will wait in exile for 70 years before He brings them back to Jerusalem; then He says “For I know the plans that I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.” (Jer. 29:11)

2. I read Romans 8:22-39. Here are some highlights (NASB):

  • v 22-23—“For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this,…….even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body.”
  • b 28—“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
  • v 31—“If God is for us, who is against us?”
  • v 37—“But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us.”

3. I read 2 Corinthians 12:7-10. Here are highlights (NASB):

  • v 7—“there was given me [Paul] a thorn in the flesh”
  • v 8—“Concerning this I implored the Lord three times that it might leave me.”
  • v 9—“…My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.”
  • v 10—“Therefore I am well content with weaknesses,…..for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.”

4. I read Hebrews 6:13-20. (MSG because it’s much easier to understand):

13-18 When God made his promise to Abraham, he backed it to the hilt, putting his own reputation on the line. He said, “I promise that I’ll bless you with everything I have—bless and bless and bless!” Abraham stuck it out and got everything that had been promised to him. When people make promises, they guarantee them by appeal to some authority above them so that if there is any question that they’ll make good on the promise, the authority will back them up. When God wanted to guarantee his promises, he gave his word, a rock-solid guarantee—God can’t break his word. And because his word cannot change, the promise is likewise unchangeable.

18-20 We who have run for our very lives to God have every reason to grab the promised hope with both hands and never let go. It’s an unbreakable spiritual lifeline, reaching past all appearances right to the very presence of God where Jesus, running on ahead of us, has taken up his permanent post as high priest for us, in the order of Melchizedek.

5. What I think I learned.

  • God has a plan and a future for us, in His time, and according to His way. I don’t know if we can know what the future is because it’s something that gets revealed to us as we live our lives.
  • We can’t escape hardships: material, emotional, spiritual.
  • God wants what is best for us; He is for us.
  • We have hope not because of what is promised but because of who God is (down to his core). This hope anchors us, keeps us steady, through life’s storms. Because He is with me in the storm, I have hope.
  • Holding onto hope is a spiritual discipline, part of the sanctification process. We have to keep trusting, surrendering every day. (“Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.” Phil. 12:12-13)
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Journey with Jesus

Journey to Jesus

Know Jesus?  If so, you’re on a journey with Him- one marked by level plains, arduous hills, mountain tops, and dark valleys.  Jesus is our best traveling companion because He has experienced it all for us.

And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,  fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.          (Hebrews 12: 1b-2, NIV)

Holy Week presents Christians with an opportunity to revisit and remember the depths of Jesus’ redeeming love. This Holy Week or Passion Week is nearly upon us, and I’d like to share a resource written for a children’s ministries classroom; adaptable for family devotions, small groups, co-ops, or wherever your imagination takes you. Having seen this program in action, I have found it meaningful for children and adults as they “journey with Jesus” together.

This resource started with a vision I had to help children experience each step Jesus took towards the cross, never retreating, to redeem us from sin and death. It took two good friends to make the vision a reality, and God blessed us with such sweet communion as we planned each detail. Thank you, Kristie Blevins and Alicia Moss!

Please consider downloading and using these materials to assist you creating a memorable Holy Week for you and your family, church, or small group. It was created to be used in one sitting, but is easy to stretch out over several days. It is especially meaningful if used with a mix of generations.

Journey with Jesus Links

The Journey with Jesus experience is comprised of three parts: the lesson plan, the map, and the “destinations.”

Journey with Jesus Lesson Plan: You’ll need one lesson plan per teacher/family. Be sure to read through the lesson plan in its entirety to see how all of the parts work together and decide what adaptations you’d like to make so this plan works for your situation. This plan was originally written to work with The Story for Children: A Storybook Bible, by Max Lucado, Randy Frazee and Karen Davis Hill, and works well independently from The Story for Children.

Journey with Jesus Map: You’ll need one map per participant. Each participant will draw a predetermined, easy-to-draw symbol on the map as each “destination” is visited. When complete, participants will have a reusable Holy Week map and scripture guide.

Destination Resources: As you proceed on your journey you’ll make stops at various “destinations.” Each “destination” has a picture illustrating a particular scene, a scripture to read, and a symbol to copy onto the map. There are two downloads per “destination.” Resources for “destinations” 1-8 can be found in numerical order when you open the link.

Should you download these resources, will you please be sure to let me know and how you plan to use them?  I’d also love to hear how using these resources blessed your Holy Week experience.

Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:3, NIV)

Lenten and Easter Blessings,

Cheli

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