Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Ticker Tape and Palm Branches

In 1927, Charles Lindbergh returned to the US after being the first man to fly solo across the Atlantic. His ticker tape parade through the streets of New York was possibly the most impressive parade NYC had seen before. The Indianapolis Colts returned to Indianapolis after winning the Super Bowl in 2007 to a parade along the streets of Indianapolis. Braving bitter cold temps, the citizens of Indy lined the streets to cheer on the home team champs. The star of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade is Santa Claus. St. Patty's Day parades are held all over the US and abroad. Folks line the red carpert prior to the Oscars and cheer for celebrities as the stars make their way into the Kodak Theater in Hollywood. People love a parade. And these days it seems heros are sports stars, rock stars, movie stars and millionaires. We fall very easily and early into hero worship. Ask a child these days who his or her hero is and undoubtedly the answer will be a sports star or a movie star.

 Easter week for many begins with songs about Peter Cottontail hopping down the bunny trail.  The cadbury bunny trying to cluck like a chicken; marshmallow Peeps (which I happen to love) dot the shelves in  an array of shapes and colors. (I like the original yellow chicks).  New Easter dresses and Easter bonnets are purchased...
Irving Berlin wrote the holiday song Easter Parade in 1933...
A song immortalized in the movies Easter Parade & Holiday Inn

In your Easter bonnet, with all the frills upon it,
You'll be the grandest lady in the Easter Parade.
I'll be all in clover and when they look you over,
I'll be the proudest fellow in the Easter Parade.
On the avenue, Fifth Avenue, the photographers will snap us,
And you'll find that you're in the rotogravure.
Oh, I could write a sonnet about your Easter bonnet,
And of the girl I'm taking to the Easter Parade.

I have to admit I have sung this song a couple of times already this week.  But as Christians Holy Week begins with a different type of parade.

Ticker Tape Parade or Palm Branches...

After Jesus had said this, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. As he approached Bethphage and Bethany at the hill called the Mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, saying to them, "Go to the village ahead of you, and as you enter it, you will find a colt tied there, which no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 31If anyone asks you, 'Why are you untying it?' tell him, 'The Lord needs it.' "Those who were sent ahead went and found it just as he had told them. As they were untying the colt, its owners asked them, "Why are you untying the colt? "They replied, "The Lord needs it." They brought it to Jesus, threw their cloaks on the colt and put Jesus on it. As he went along, people spread their cloaks on the road. When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen: "Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!" "Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!" ~ Luke:28-38

Palm branches and cloaks were strewn about the streets as Christ enters Jerusalem The crowds cheered! Jesus was their hero... their king! People had filled the hillsides to hear Jesus preach and now he was entering Jerusalem! They were "joyfully praising God in loud voices for a ll the miracles they had seen". (Luke 19:27) And we too celebrate that triumphal entry each year on Palm Sunday. Many times our church's processional is the Sunday School children waving palm branches as one of our male members, dressed as Jesus walks in their midst.  We don't sing "Easter Parade", we shout Hosanna, Hosanna, Hosanna in the highest! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.

But in AD 33, not everybody cheered. 'Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, "Teacher, rebuke your disciples!" (Luke 19:39)

Jesus' opponents jeered.

Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread, called the Passover, was approaching, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking for some way to get rid of Jesus, for they were afraid of the people. ~ Luke 22:1-2

Not only did they jeer, but as Luke 22: 1-2 tell us, his opponents conspired to bring down the King of the Jews.

Easter Parade?

As they led him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus. A large number of people followed him, including women who mourned and wailed for him. ~ Luke 23:26-27

The first Easter Parade does not sound like the Easter Parade in the song above.  The first Easter Parade was not filled with the bright colors of spring. The verses of Luke 23 tell us of a completely different parade.  A parade that is not filled with ticker tape, confetti, cloaks or palm branches. But a parade of blood, sweat, pain and suffering. A parade that many thought ended at Golgotha. The hero hanging on a cross. Cheers of praise did not ring up to Jesus' ears... insults were hurled as his mother and John wept. Jesus was not given a trophy or a medal, but a crown of thorns. Jesus was not given a green jacket (as in the Master Golf Tournament) for his accomplishments. He is stripped naked. Jesus was not given a pat on the back, but was whipped and flogged. No... Jesus' victory parade was far different than any celebration we could ever fathom. 

As I walk with Jesus this week... from Jerusalem, to Gesthemane, to the courts, to the cross... I cheer, I weep, I pray, I rejoice. His victory is my victory. His victory is our victory. In his death I live. In his death you live. His victory over death does not end in his death. His victory does not end... EVER! His victory is eternal!  Jesus is MY hero! 
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. ~ John 3:17

Father God, I thank you for your son. I thank You that You loved us so much that you gave the ultimate sacrifice to save us from sin and death.  I thank you that your victory is ours to claim as well.  I pray this week that Jesus' sacrifice touches the hearts of those who do not know him...  Those lost sheep You are seeking accept you as their hero and savior.  I pray that those who already know Jesus, come to love him even more as they witness your great love for us displayed on the cross.  I thank you Lord for the words "It is finished".  I celebrate with all my Christian brothers and sisters YOUR VICTORY!  I celebrate the empty tomb!   I celebrate OUR VICTORY! Thank You Lord... from the depths of this sinful heart.  From the depths of this soul that loves you beyond measure... the tomb stands empty.  The Victory Parade goes on...You have Risen... Just as You said!  Amen

Monday, March 22, 2010


Mondays don't get much respect...

As I checked my Facebook page this morning I noticed A LOT of status updates describing Monday.  Here are a few: "Oh, I do not want to be here what so ever. What a busy miserable day I have ahead of me. But, had a nice weekend..." "Mondays...........UGH." "Monday, Monday....would prefer to go back to bed..."

Of course we also have a variety of songs that describe Monday...
"Monday, Monday... can't trust that day." "Rainy days and Mondays always get me down." "Just another Manic Monday"

The two weather emails I received this morning from my local TV station has these words in the subject line: "Messy Monday" and "Rainy Start to the Week" - not very uplifting!

Hmmm... I don't know about you, but I would say poor Monday doesn't get much respect.

As I scrolled down through the barrage of status updates on Facebook,  many of them dis'ing Monday I came upon this post:

" ~NOW.....if these raindrops really were kisses, we'd all be smothered♥ ~Have a wonderful Monday everyone~"

That's a post that made me smile!  God smothering us with kisses in the form of raindrops!  Smothering us with His love!

Another FB friend had thoughts in her status resulting from her quiet time with God this morning as she wrestled with what is going on in our Government.  She was reminded that He is all powerful and that nothing and no one can thrwart His plans.  He will use all things for His glory! She also went on to say that we must keep our trust in Him!   LOVE IT!

Yes, friends... don't let Monday get you down.  This is the day the LORD has made!  The day here in Indy is rainy, rather cold... one of those wouldn't it be nice to stay in bed, snuggle and watch Lifetime movies (HA)... but the LORD has made this day for bigger and better things! (shoot)  Find out what He has in store for you!  Rejoice and be glad in it!  In ALL things He works for the good of those who love Him! (Romans 8:28)  And yes "All things" certainly encompasses Mondays.  So look at Monday as a day the LORD has made.  You might have daunting tasks at hand, you might have overslept, you may be a bit over-tired, there are a lot of difficult issues facing so many of us... death, unemployment, economic woes - the media never fails to inform us with negative news. We lost a listing today and yes, it upset me!  I was angry and I could have let it ruin my day.    But I realized that no matter what happens - He is still in control.  His plans will not be derailed... "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future." Jeremiah 29:11  I have to thank 2 of my FB friends for their posts today - as they reminded me not of the negative, but of the positive.  No matter what happens - He is on my side... He will not leave me, He will not fail me. 

It's a rainy, spring day in Indy... yes a day to stay indoors...  I am also reminded of these words from Psalm 147:8  "He covers the sky with clouds; he supplies the earth with rain and makes grass grow on the hills"  Yes, for those spring flowers, green grass and warm days of April & May - we must have the rain!  He makes the grass grow my friends... He does!  (and for some of us, hooray, the rain isn't snow) ;)  And for those of us who have snow - it's the end of March - the dark of winter is behind you!  Spring lies ahead - That's a promise He keeps!

So if it is a "Manic Monday, a Rainy Monday, or if Monday is a day you can't trust... remember that there is someone you can trust and it's not a day - it's our Jesus!  He is right there with you.  I pray you find Him in your Monday! 
Much Love on a Monday & everyday,

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Oops... and Ha Ha Ha... and Snow Lesson

Don't know what I did, but apparently the reason I never received the comments to my posts (I thought no one loved me anymore - LOL) was I had the comment moderation set to where I had to be in my blog to approve comments. Ummmm... don't know how that happened, but I have since changed the setting. I am LOVED! Ha Ha! As our dear Siesta Mama Beth Moore says "I am blonder than I pay to be!"

After a few delightful, warm days rain and thunderstorms are moving into central Indiana. The western sky is slate gray. Thunderstorms = Spring. I just pray the storms aren't severe as T-storms also = Tornados.

I took the photo below yesterday - the last itty, bit of snow left on our property.  This morning - that little "blechy" (yes I just said "blechy) pile is gone!  I am hopeful that we won't see any more snow until November or December. 

A Pile of snow covered in grime, leaves, sticks...
I started thinking about that pile of snow and  remembered  a very snowy February.  I remember how beautiful the snow looked as it fell and covered the ground, trees and everything that looked drab and gray.  After the snowfall, the sun came out and all was bright and beautiful.  God had covered the darkness of winter with a robe of white!

The grime on the snow reminded me of sin.  How sin soils us. I thought of that snowfall and how it reminded me of God's forgiveness and grace that covers the grit of sin.  Covers the drab, gray of sin and makes us pure and white.  Covering us with grace, mercy and forgiveness .  Making us new.  That lovely white snowfall has been reduced to this tiny pile of snow that again is gray, drab and covered with grit.  It needed cleansing.  Yesterday it was an eyesore.  Today it is gone.  Washed away.  Warmed by the sun and washed clean by the morning rain.  An image of God's cleansing... washing our sins away in the blood of Christ.   Once again sin our sin is forgiven.  God continues to forgive... ALWAYS!  Ask Him - He will forgive.  And don't hold on to that dirty pile of snow.  There is nothing you have to do... accept His forgiveness.  There is no sin that is a match for God's grace, mercy and forgiveness.  Not a single one!

Psalm 51: 1-11

1Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. 2 Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. 3 For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. 4 Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you are proved right when you speak and justified when you judge. 5 Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. 6 Surely you desire truth in the inner parts; you teach me wisdom in the inmost place. 7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. 8 Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. 9 Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. 10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11 Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

May each of you today feel the cleansing forgiveness of the Lord.  Whatever sin is burdening your heart... He will forgive you... just ask!  Yes Lord, create in all of us a clean heart and renew a right spirit within us!  Amen!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

A New Look... A New Season... A New Study

A fresh new look is just what I needed to get excited about getting back into blogland. How I have missed my bloggy sisters. I have lost touch with so many of you and I am sure it will take time for us all to re-connect. Blogland is much different than the personal relationships we have with family and friends who we see or talk to on a daily basis. Blogland is so vast that connections obviously come and go.

I have to thank Christy at Between Here ane Home for the instructions on creating custom blog banners!  My photos are from my yard.  They were taken last summer.  I am looking forward to creating new banners each month or so to keep things fresh!  After all spring will shortly be here - can I hear an Amen to that? 

Lots have been going on in my life.  One of the most exciting things is our Church's annual spiritual renewal program.  This year our groups are reading The Prodigal God (Finding Your Place at the Table) by Timothy Keller.  The book takes a look at The Parable of the Lost Son, commonly known to so many of us as "The Parable of the Prodigal Son". 


Now the tax collectors and "sinners" were all gathering around to hear him. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, "This man welcomes sinners and eats with them." Then Jesus told them this parable:

"There was a man who had two sons. The younger one said to his father, 'Father, give me my share of the estate.' So he divided his property between them. Not long after that, the younger son got together all he had, set off for a distant country and there squandered his wealth in wild living. After he had spent everything, there was a severe famine in that whole country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to a citizen of that country, who sent him to his fields to feed pigs. He longed to fill his stomach with the pods that the pigs were eating, but no one gave him anything."

"When he came to his senses, he said, 'How many of my father's hired men have food to spare, and here I am starving to death! I will set out and go back to my father and say to him: Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me like one of your hired men.' So he got up and went to his father."

"But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. The son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.' But the father said to his servants, 'Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let's have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.' So they began to celebrate."

"Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 'Your brother has come,' he replied, 'and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.' The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. But he answered his father, 'Look! All these years I've been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!'"

"'My son,' the father said, 'you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.'"

One of the first lessons I have learned is the definition of the word "Prodigal"
Prodigal - Adjective
1. Recklessly Extravagant
2. Having Spent Everything

Now I can assure while I have been away from blogland, I have not been a Prodigal Daughter. ;)  Prior to beginning the study I kept asking myself "How could God be Prodigal?"  Of course this is when I assumed that prodigal meant wayward or lost.  After all in my Bible the parable is entitled "The Parable of the Lost Son".   As we walk toward the cross and ultimately toward Easter I can most definitely see that God is prodigal.  He is recklessly extravagant with us.  Lavishing so much love on us that He spent everything by sending His son to earth to bear the cross for our sins.  I don't know about you, but that is the epitome of "spending everything." 

I look forward to sharing so much more with all of you.  It never ceases to amaze me that the ancient words speak something new everytime I read them.

I invite you to ponder these verses in Luke.  Think about what has always come to mind when you read this portion of scripture.  Is the lost son the one who asked his father for his share of the inheritance, left home, spent his fortune only to find himself destitute?  Or is the lost son the elder son who stayed home, obeyed his father, did what he was supposed to do?  Have you ever thought that Jesus was telling his audience that both sons were lost?  Go back to the first verses of Luke 15.  Who was Jesus addressing? Ponder that question.  I look forward to your comments... and look forward to sharing more!

If you are interested in more information about Timothy Keller or the book The Prodigal God... visit The Prodigal God

I pray all of you are having a blessed day.  I think of many of you so often.  I enjoy keeping up with you not only when I visit blogland, but on Facebook.  You are all dear to me!