Easter - 2018

Friday, April 30, 2010

Friday Funny - Creative Thinking!

This is the true story of George Phillips of Meridian, Mississippi, who was going to bed when his wife told him that he'd left the light on in the shed. George opened the door to go turn off the light but saw there were people in the shed in the process of stealing things.

He immediately phoned the police, who asked "Is someone in your house?" and George said no and explained the situation. Then they explained that all patrols were busy, and that he should simply lock his door and an officer would be there when available.

George said, "Okay," hung up, counted to 30, and phoned the police again.

"Hello, I just called you a few seconds ago because there were people in my shed. Well, you don't have to worry about them now because I've just shot them all."

Then he hung up. Within five minutes three squad cars, an Armed Response unit, and an ambulance showed up. Of course, the police caught the burglars red-handed.

One of the policemen said to George: "I thought you said that you'd shot them!"

George said, "I thought you said there was nobody available!"
Gotta Be creative in this world - keep laughing and you know I love ya, Don

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Preparation Prayer for Worship

Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home.

She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord's feet, listening to His word.

But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me."

But the Lord answered and said to her, "Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her." Luke 10:38-42

So many of us are forced in the role of Martha on Sundays. We rush to get to church. We've worked hard to prepare to minister in the choir, praise team, and worship arts teams; and how with some sense of the overwhelming task , we come to the front ready to serve and to help others worship, having not truly stopped to worship God ourselves.

Our minds are simply engaged in the lights, the notes, the details, and the performance. But truly we need to be Mary in the story above. Our job is to be prepared; get the clothes out the night before, go to be early, start worshiping before you leave the house, etc....It is important to sit at the Lord's word and pray before we honor Him with our worship. Only then do we truly understand the nature of the worship (declaring God's worth in our lives).

I found this prayer in Worship Leader Magazine. Kenn Guliksen prays this prayer before he writes a new song. I think it is very applicable for us to pray this in preparation for worship.

Our Father, as I slow down and come once again in this brief moment of prayer and worship, please calm and focus my mind and heart, so that my heart can agree with my words. Lord, I am grateful You've made me alive in Christ, and that You've filled me with the constant presence of Your Holy Spirit. Thank You calling your followers to Yourself, to know you and to hear the music of Your heart. Thank you for the privilege of serving You from the overflow of Your life in me-for just giving me Your Word, Your Music, Your Sacrifice.

Almighty God, I acknowledge, how often I find myself stressed, detached, and eve empty. I know I am to first seek Your rule, Your reign, and Your righteousness. I know I am to give you the first fruits of my life. Father, thank you for allowing the crisis of stress to come and remind me to not just visit You, but to abide with You. Allow for this worship time to be more about abiding and less about my desires.

Holy Spirit, thank you that You are a Spirit of Peace. Please remind me in the emptiness and stress to stop and yield to You. Just as Mary did on that day she paused at Your feet. Help me to bring my soul to the cross and give us my desires, biases, and will.

I pray then, in Jesus' name, that You forgive me for my foolish self effort. I pray for grace and reminders to seek You, to worship You in spirit and truth. Please birth in me a new strength, a new teaching, and a new drive to declare Your worth in my life to everyone I come in contact with. Please continue to bring to completion Your work in my life and reveal Yourself to me! Amen.

Praying for you and for all that God is doing in your love and life. Don

Monday, April 26, 2010

Those who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength. -Isaiah 40:31 (NRSV)

SOME years ago I realized that I was spending a good deal of my week just waiting: in lines, in offices, in traffic. In fact, I had grown accustomed to waiting -- but had done nothing to use that time for something constructive.

Waiting, however, does not have to be the same as doing nothing. I realized that waiting could also be an opportunity to turn attention toward higher ideals or God. I began to use waiting time as an opportunity to read, to pray, or to meditate.

In our fast-paced world, we often feel we don't have time to wait, though we do a lot of it. Our concern should not be about waiting but rather about what we can do while we wait.

The prophet Isaiah said that in waiting on God we find renewed strength. When we turn our attention to God, we discover that our inner self is refreshed. God inhabits not only our active times but our quiet spaces as well. We increase our strength when we rest in the presence of God.

I have found in many years of praying, waiting on God is demonstrating trust that He is listening. It is hard to wait, but it is easier when we wait together....so, whatever you are praying for, be confident we are waiting on God together - You know I love ya - Don

This devotion was written by Todd Outcalt (Indiana, USA)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Friday Funny - "30 years left"

Friday Funny ----

A middle-aged woman has a heart attack and is taken to the hospital. While on the operating table she has a near death experience. During that experience she sees God and asks if this is it. God says no and explains that she has another 30 years to live.

Upon her recovery she decides to just stay in the hospital and have a face lift, liposuction, breast augmentation, tummy tuck, etc. She even has someone come in and change her hair color. She figures since she's got another 30 years she might as well make the most of it.

She walks out of the hospital after the last operation and is killed by an ambulance speeding by. She arrives in front of God and complains, "I thought you said I had another 30 years." God replies, "I didn't recognize you"

Keep Laughing, Don

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Putting Prayer Off!

"Tomorrow," Pharaoh said. - -Exodus 8:10 (NIV)

WHEN Pharaoh refused to release the Hebrew slaves, God sent a plague of blood upon Egypt. Seven days later, Moses again asked for the Hebrews to be set free. When Pharaoh refused again, God sent millions of frogs hopping across the ground and into homes. Pharaoh changed his mind and asked Moses to pray to God "tomorrow" to remove the frogs. Why, I have asked myself, would Pharaoh choose to wait another day with frogs leaping into the beds and onto the tables?

Then I remember how often I intend to improve my poor habits. "Starting tomorrow," I tell myself, "I will do better. I am just too tired [or too busy] to make the change today." Yet when tomorrow arrives, I find an excuse to stick with my old ways.

How many of us choose to wait "just one more day" before we change our habits? We say that tomorrow we'll start to exercise, eat healthier foods, or spend more time reading the Bible. Like Pharaoh, we are willing to wait just a little longer before we take action. But God wants us to serve and to experience the blessings of serving today, not to wait another day. God promises to give us strength in our weakness, to help us when we must change our behavior so we can do what is right.

Praying for you - Don

P.S. - This is a devotion from Susan Stitch (Missouri, USA)

Monday, April 19, 2010

Authentic Prayer

Have you ever heard The Yuppie's Prayer? It goes like this. "Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray my e-mail to keep. I pray my stocks are on the rise and that my therapist is wise. That all the wine I sip is white and that my hot tub is water tight. That racket ball won't get too tough and that my sushi's fresh enough. I pray my cell phone always works, and that my career won't lose its perks. That my microwave won't radiate and my condo won't depreciate. I pray my health club doesn't close and that my Money Market always grows. And if I die before I wake, I pray my Lexus they won't take."

That's kind of a trite silly prayer, but one that in some form or another is probably prayed by a whole lot of folks. But when we talk about prayer, we're not just talking about prayer in general, we're not talking about the Yuppie's prayer, we're talking about authentic prayer. If a group of believers are to continue to be a faithful congregation, then we, as true believers need to be a praying congregation. Everything that we do needs to be preceded, and under girded, and then followed up by prayer. Everything needs to be bathed in prayer.

Jesus says "But when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites. They love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the street corners to be seen by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. When you pray, go into your room, close the door, and pray to your Father who is unseen. Then your Father who sees what is done in secret will reward you. And when you pray, do not keep on babbling like pagans, for they think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them. For your Father knows what you need before you ask Him."

The fact is that everyone prays. You don't have to be a believer to pray. Listen to the people around you during the week. Crisis hits somebody's life, and during their normal life they might not even give God the time of day, but boy, crisis hits and they hit that "Spiritual 911" button. "Oh God, help me!" Listen to other people around you: G-D this, G-D that. That's prayer. It's asking God to cast into hell whoever or whatever. Or some people seem to begin to pray but never finish. Jee-sus Christ. "Yes, go on, what did you want to talk with me about?" You don't have to be a believer to pray, everyone prays. Jesus assumes that. Look at the words above...He doesn't say "if you pray" he says "when you pray." Everyone prays. But the questions is this, the issue is not prayer. The issue is whether your prayers and my prayers are authentic or not.

I am learning this with a new appreciation. I am excited with the life applications of prayer that our Preacher, Dave Woods, is implementing in Solid Ground services. Yesterday was amazing. We encouraged each other. We were angels of mercy for each other and truly experienced the presence of God. His Spirit was energizing and restoring us to face a week of the world. It was amazing!

As we continue to learn about prayer, study God's Word concerning prayer, and watch for His answers...I want you to know that I am praying for you. I pray His blessings on you today! You know I love ya - Don

Friday, April 16, 2010

Friday Funny - "Prayer from the back seat"

This could be Matthew or Alice's prayer for the Old McDonald's as we call it:

As my five year old son and I were headed to McDonald's one day, we passed a car accident. Usually when we see something terrible like that, we say a prayer for those who might be hurt, so I pointed and said to my son, "We should pray."

From the back seat I heard his earnest request: "Please, God, don't let those cars block the entrance to McDonald's."

Have a great weekend! - Don

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

"Teach us to Pray?"

There is something within each of us that pulls us in the direction of God. There is a God-shaped empty place in us that will not be satisfied with anything less than God. Often we look for life in all the wrong places, only to discover that what Augustine said is true, “Thou hast made us for Thyself O God, and our hearts are restless ‘til they find their rest in Thee.”

God has given us the gift of Prayer as the primary means by which we make connection with God and send our roots into the meaning of life. Let me give you my definition of Prayer: Prayer is anything you do with a conscious awareness of God. It has been described as “practicing the presence of God.” Whatever you are doing, you are aware of God, and open to His guidance and His strength.

Clearly, Jesus was a man of Prayer. He was able to do the remarkable things He did only because He was plugged in to the source of meaning and power in life. Of course, I am talking about God. Prayer is where that contact took place. Jesus spent sizable blocks of time in intimate contact with God, through Prayer. In Prayer, Jesus was still and quiet and He experienced the “Godness” of God. He opened His life to the breezes of God’s Spirit. He prayed daily as a matter of custom. But especially when He had a decision to make, a difficult task to do, or a cross to face, He would first spend time with God in Prayer, and then go to do what He had to do. The disciples knew that Prayer was the source of Jesus’ power. That’s why they asked Him, “Lord, teach us how to pray.”

"This, then, is how you should pray:
'Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
Your kingdom come,
Your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one'." - Matthew 6:9-13

Prayer is a mystery, but the one thing I am sure of is that if you take Prayer seriously, it will change your life. It changes mine. Prayer is able to change the situation in which we find ourselves and Prayer is able to change the person who is praying. In Prayer, we receive love and guidance and strength.

You know I Love ya and pray for you - Don

Monday, April 12, 2010

Prayer is a Hunger!

The first beatitude of Jesus (Matthew 5:3) in the Sermon on the Mount speaks to this issue. “Blessed are the poor in spirit” is the traditional translation of this word. “How blest are those who know their need of God” is the way the New English Bible renders it. To know our hunger, our hunger for God, is the condition for entering the Kingdom, and for praying. The psalmist spoke the truth in unforgettable language.

“As a hart longs for flowing streams, so longs, my soul for thee, O God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and behold the face of God?” (42:1-2, RSV).

The Prayer language of the psalmist is worth contemplating as we consider our Prayer.

“My soul thirsts for thee; my flesh faints for thee” (63:1).

“For God alone my soul waits in silence” (62:5).

“O thou my help, hasten to my aid!” (22:19)

The psalmist poured out his soul to God – cried, even screamed, from the depths of his being. He was confident that his soul’s hunger could be satisfied only by the Lord. This confidence is dramatically demonstrated in the Prayer language of the psalmist:

“My God in His steadfast love will meet me” (59:10).

“I call upon God; and the Lord will save me” (55:16).

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (46:1).

“For thou, O God, art my fortress, the God who shows me steadfast love” (59:17).

So, Prayer is a hunger. It is also a confidence, a confidence rooted in the belief that we are not alone in the world, that there is help beyond our human resources, that the hunger within us will be satisfied. It is the confidence that God made us for Himself, and that our hearts will always be restless until we rest in Him.

Praying for you - Don

Friday, April 9, 2010

Friday Funny - "The Last Word"

It is Friday! Time to Laugh:
An elderly woman died last month. Having never married, she requested no male pallbearers. In her handwritten instructions for her memorial service, she wrote, "They wouldn't take me out while I was alive, I don't want them to take me out when I'm dead."
Enjoy a great weekend in His grace - You know I love ya, Don

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A Prayer in Spring by Robert Frost

A Prayer in Spring by Robert Frost
OH, give us pleasure in the flowers today;
And give us not to think so far away
As the uncertain harvest; keep us here
All simply in the springing of the year.

Oh, give us pleasure in the orcahrd white,
Like nothing else by day, like ghosts by night;
And make us happy in the happy bees,
The swarm dilating round the perfect trees.

And make us happy in the darting bird
That suddenly above the bees is heard,
The meteor that thrusts in with needle bill,
And off a blossom in mid air stands still.

For this is love and nothing else is love,
To which it is reserved for God above
To sanctify to what far ends he will,
But which it only needs that we fulfill.

I have always liked this poem by Robert Frost. I pray it blesses you today - Praying for you - Don

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Day after Easter

It is the day after Easter, carrying yesterday’s events in their minds, each of the disciples had doubts about what happened and of Jesus’ words. It appeared as if each one had given up hope after Christ’s crucifixion. They were drifting apart ready to give up. Adding to his musings, Simon Peter had to deal with the fact that he had denied Jesus three times. Peter was probably questioning his future. Peter was in turmoil and went back to that which he felt was comfortable and safe. He went fishing.

Note that their return to their comfort zone didn’t improve the situation. John 21:3 “Simon Peter said to them, "I am going fishing." They said to him, "We are going with you also." They went out and immediately got into the boat, and that night they caught nothing.” They tried to go back to the way things were before they met the Man from Galilee. Although they wanted it to be – it was not nor would ever be again – Business as Usual!

Jesus is amazing at meeting us where we are. Christ brought fellowship and provision to where they were. John 21:4-13:
The rest of them replied, "We're going with you." They went out and got in the boat. They caught nothing that night. When the sun came up, Jesus was standing on the beach, but they didn't recognize him.

Jesus spoke to them: "Good morning! Did you catch anything for breakfast?"

They answered, "No."

He said, "Throw the net off the right side of the boat and see what happens."

They did what he said. All of a sudden there were so many fish in it, they weren't strong enough to pull it in. Then the disciple Jesus loved said to Peter, "It's the Master!" When Simon Peter realized that it was the Master, he threw on some clothes, for he was stripped for work, and dove into the sea. The other disciples came in by boat for they weren't far from land, a hundred yards or so, pulling along the net full of fish. When they got out of the boat, they saw a fire laid, with fish and bread cooking on it.

Jesus said, "Bring some of the fish you've just caught." Simon Peter joined them and pulled the net to shore—153 big fish! And even with all those fish, the net didn't rip. Jesus said, "Breakfast is ready." Not one of the disciples dared ask, "Who are you?" They knew it was the Master.

Jesus then took the bread and gave it to them. He did the same with the fish. This was now the third time Jesus had shown himself alive to the disciples since being raised from the dead. (The Message Bible)

Today is the day after Easter. It can be so easy for Easter to be a moment in time and not a moment that changes time. Our experience with Christ should change our lives. We shouldn’t experience the resurrection and then just go back to the day to day lives we lead unchanged. Life should be different because of the grace of Christ.

Easter changed me this year. I am different. I am not sure I can articulate it yet, but I know God is working a new work and it is all because He is alive. Did Easter change you, or are you back to the daily grind? Jesus wants more from us than to just experience the joy of the resurrection - He wants us to live changed lives!

You know I love ya - Don

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Happy Easter - Happy Resurrection Day!

Easter, the greatest day that ever dawned from the greatest story in the greatest book ever written of the greatest life ever lived. The first day of the week and everyone began to whisper one name;

the name of love,

the name of victory,

the name of Jesus.

The name expanded into a phrase, and the phrase exploded into a cause. What thrilled Jerusalem there and then is still thrilling us here and now… JESUS IS ALIVE!

Happy Easter! You know I love ya - Don

Friday, April 2, 2010

Friday Funny - "Digging Holes"

Dave Fretz gets the credit for this one. "The best blonde joke in the world...." (You might be able to apply it to choir directors or maybe....sound techs.)

Two blonde girls were working for the city public works department.
One would dig a hole and the other would follow behind her and fill the hole in.
They worked up one side of the street, then down the other, then moved on to
the next street, working furiously all day without rest, one girl digging a hole, the other girl filling it in again.

An onlooker was amazed at their hard work, but couldn't understand what they
were doing. So he asked the hole digger, 'I'm impressed by the effort you
two are putting in to your work,

but I don't get it -- why do you dig a hole, only to have your partner follow behind and fill it up again?'

The hole digger wiped her brow and sighed, 'Well, I suppose it probably
looks odd because we're normally a three-person team.

But today the girl who plants the trees called in sick.

Have a great Good Friday and Easter Weekend! You I love ya - Don