Sunday, April 8, 2012

For you, is Easter 'just another day'?

     As I sit here and meditate on what that first Easter must have been like, I think of the general population and what that day must have been like for them.  The sun was just beginning to rise, soft pinks and oranges began painting the sky over Jerusalem and the hills around God's beloved city, the city that had just put His only beloved Son to death just 3 days earlier.  I can imagine the birds were joyously beginning to wake the day with their sweet songs, people rising out of their beds to begin what would have been their "Monday" morning - the first day of the week.
     Into the garden steal three women in solemn garb with jars of spices in their hands and sorrow in their hearts, for they were there to prepare the tortured body of their dearly loved Jesus for burial, something they hadn't had a chance to do the day before, because it was the Sabbath.  They were discussing among themselves who was going to roll away the huge stone that covered the entrance of that cold, hard, dark tomb, as tears wet their cheeks.
     In a dark room deep in the city, 11 men kept careful watch through curtained windows that they not be seen for fear the Jews would put them to death as they did their teacher and friend.  Deep mourning gripped their hearts as they wept and each one remembered the last three horror filled days and nights, still trying to wrap their minds around what had just happened and wondering where they were going to go from here.
     Another group of men arose as well, put on their religious garb and began their day, congratulating one another, secure in the knowledge that they have silenced the heretic who had been challenging them and stirring up people against them.  They could now go on without worry their position of power would be removed from them or the wrath of Cesar be taken out on them for not controlling the masses.  It may have taken unconventional means to get it done, but it was finished, nevertheless.
     In the streets the merchants opened their shops, servants ran to do the bidding of their masters, Roman soldiers patrolled the streets while groups of men sat at the city gates discussing the weekend's events being cautious to make sure their eyes didn't meet the soldier's and draw attention to themselves.  Women swept their houses and got kids ready for the day, leaning out their windows and discussing the same thing the men were talking about.  If they were followers of the way, they shook their heads in disbelief that this could have even happened, wondering where Jesus' disciples were and what they were going to do next.  If they were those who had screamed for His death, they were gloating over their success or maybe feeling guilty that they had gotten caught up in the mob mentality that had ruled the day.  Then there were those who just didn't care one way or the other.  They just wanted to go about their business, leaving others alone and wanting to be left alone.
     What none of them knew, was that in a few short minutes, an event would happen that was going to change for the world, seen and unseen, for eternity!  The ground began to tremble, then roll from the earthquake being caused as a strong, burly angel as bright as lightening ascended from heaven rolled the stone away from the face of that grave, and the Son of God emerged, healthy and whole with the exception of nail scars on His hands and feet, and very much ALIVE!  The Roman guards sent to watch over the tomb, having been blinded by the brightness of the angel and frightened to death, lay on the ground in a dead faint. The angel took up his place sitting on the stone he had just removed as two others took their stations, one at the head of where their Master had just risen from and the other at the foot, awaiting the women who were picking themselves up from the ground, making sure the jars they carried weren't broken.  Jesus, walked away to enjoy the beauty of the fresh morning in the garden and look forward to surprising a very unsuspecting women!
     In town, the disciples were also shaken from their mourning for a moment, but not remembering what their Lord and said to them just days earlier about His 'rebuilding the temple in 3 days'.  The merchants grumbled about the merchandise that had been damaged and swept up the remnants.  The religious leaders thought about how they could spin this to their advantage as a message from God they had made the right move, the women comforted the children and the believers wondered just what else could possibly happen to make things worse than they already were.
     We all know what happened next.  The women, arriving at the tomb, find not the body of Jesus, but a very live angel, telling them He isn't there and to go tell the disciples to meet Him in Galilee.  Leaving the tomb quickly, afraid but with joy filling their hearts, they run to tell the disciples this unbelievable news.  Which is just what they did, not believe!  Peter and John go flying out of their hiding spot and to the garden where just two nights before they had failed to stay awake and pray as Jesus had asked them, to lend Him their comfort on the worst night of their best friend's life.  To be followed by a nightmare of an illegal trial and cruel death on a Roman cross, no chance to say I'm sorry, no chance to say goodbye...but now, redemption?  Was what He had tried to tell so many times true?  John gets there first, stopping short, but Peter as usual rushes in, finding only the grave clothes, still not understanding what had happened.  It took Jesus appearing to them several times and explaining the scriptures for them to finally get it.  It took the angels reminding the women what He had told them about being crucified and rising the third day for them to understand.  It took Jesus' personal explanation to the two followers on the road to Emmaus that this had been God the Father's plan from the beginning, and had been put down in the scriptures since the start of history, right there for all to see!  But the religious leaders paid off the soldiers to keep them quiet, told them to lie about what had happened and went on twisting God's word for their own gain.  The regular people swept up the mess as best they could and went on.  The scoffers continued to scoff at those who said they had seen Jesus, the people who didn't care either way went right on not caring.
     So the question is, which one are you?  Are you remembering Him as man dying on a cross, dead in a tomb, fruitlessly preparing spices to anoint His body and cry over him, looking for the living among the dead?  Working, working, working continuously to prove you're worthy?  He is ALIVE!  He has poured out His grace on you and given you the GIFT of salvation for free!  God's Riches At Christ's Expense - G R A C E!  Do as they did when they finally remembered what He had said.  REJOICE!  Serve Him out of delight, not duty!
     Are you the frightened disciple, hiding in a room, afraid to share what He did for you?  That He suffered and died for your sins and for the others who are wandering around the world, lost and looking for the hope that YOU have?  Do as they did and remember God hasn't given you a spirit of fear!  Obey Him.  They left that room and went to Galilee like He told them, where He breathed on them, gave them the Holy Spirit and a commission to GO to ALL the world and preach the gospel!  Give the Good News!  Make disciples!  Teach them!  Baptize them!  Give them that blessed hope they are so desperately searching for.
     Are you one of those religious leaders who think you have it all together?  That you're better than others because you look perfect on the outside, dress right, say the right things, but twist the Word of God because you keep to the letter of the law rather that it's intent?   That you get to judge all those others who don't live up to the standards you yourself can't live up to? To put the Son of the very God you claim to serve to death by covering up all dead men's bones you have inside covered with the 'clothing' of piety, religiousity and legalism?  Repent!  Get rid of the self righteous attitude and accept the LIVING sacrifice that was given for you, so you too may live!  Drop the dead deeds and revel in the deLIGHT!
     Or maybe you say, I'm just a normal person, living a normal life and as long as I do the best I can and treat others right, obey the Golden Rule and do my best to live according to the Ten Commandments, I can hope I've done enough to get me into heaven.  Ok, if that's so, and there is some way we can do it on our own, answer me this.  Why did Jesus ever have to die?  You CAN'T do it on your own.  You'll NEVER be good enough, or do enough good things.  But the good news is, HE can!  The power that raised Him from the dead can raise YOU from the dead, because right now, that's what you are, dead.  Dead in your trespasses and sins because you've not admitted to God or yourself that you can't get there on your own.  Jesus suffered and died because of YOUR SIN, He willing went there for you.  He has loved you with an everlasting love and all you have to do to get it, is ASK!  Admit to Him and yourself that you can' do it on your own, that you're stuck in that filthy black mess that covers you.  Ask Him to use that blood He shed on the cross for YOU to wash you and make you whiter than fresh fallen snow reflecting in the brilliant SON!
     Or maybe your one of the scoffers, or you just don't care one way or the other, or one who revels in the evil you do.  The Bible speaks of you as well.
The Coming Day of the Lord
2 Peter 3:3 - 10
 "3 Know this first of all, that in the last days mockers will come with their mocking, following after their own lusts, 4 and saying, “Where is the promise of His coming? For ever since the fathers fell asleep, all continues just as it was from the beginning of creation.” 5 For [a]when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, 6 through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. 7 But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.
 8 But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. 9 The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.
 10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and [b]its works will be [c]burned up."      The day is coming, when the scoffers will be silenced.  When those who don't care one way or another will WISH they had cared!  When those who insist on reveling in their evil ways that they think are so fun and satisfying now, will reap the rewards of living that life for eternity.  Your fate will be sealed and there will be no chance of repentance!  You have no idea what you're missing.  You have no idea the healing that Jesus brings, the feeling of security, peace, cleanness, joy, love! The things the enemy is promising you are empty baubles that shine brightly for a time but leave you feeling unsure, unsettled, filthy, empty and unloved when it's all over.  He's waiting for you.  He's not willing that ANY should perish!  Hell was prepared for the Devil and his angels.  Judgement will come, and there's only one way to escape it! 
     So consider that first resurrection day.  Many people had their lives changed forever by that one, unbelievably beautiful moment!  But that One amazing person who defeated death for ALL of us!  But to many others, it was just a normal day to do normal things and be normal people, totally missing out on what that moment could have meant for them.  My prayer for you is that on THIS resurrection day, you will see yourself for where you are and what you are.  If that is as a follower of Jesus Christ who's life has been forever changed by that moment in time, then I rejoice with you!  If it is one who has lost their way and never experienced the true meaning of this day, I PRAY you will make this not only the resurrection day of our Lord Jesus, but YOUR resurrection day!  He is coming soon, the first-born of the dead, the one who died to give us life.  Are you ready?

Sunday, January 2, 2011


So, I spent some of the holidays going thru family photos.  Much to my surprise, I ran across an piece I wrote waaaayyyyy back in 1991 that I thought was long gone.  I take great pleasure in finding it once again and wanted to share it for posterity's sake.  It brought back a lot of memories for me and hope it does for you as well.  Enjoy!

     Christmas is a big deal in our family.  I sometimes think my husband Rick and I await its coming more than our son Justin.  In fact just the other day, almost three weeks before Thanksgiving, we were out driving aound in seventy degree weather , windows down, with Christmas blaring from the speakers.
     We're not the only ones who are pushing things a bit.  It seems the stores put out their trimmings earlier every year.  As we wandered around in these stores through a fantasy of greenery, garlands and twinkling lights, we came upon a platform of gaily decorated artificial trees.
     For the past few years, Rick and I have gazed at these imitations of beauty.  I could always tell the same thoughts were racing through our brains: less fire hazard, no pine needles to sweep, not vacuum, up.  (I learned my lesson on that when I destroyed the vacuum cleaner a few years ago!).   No more being skewered alive by razor sharp points while trying to put on ornaments and lights to strategically hide the bald spots.  Lastly, but most important, no more fighting to keep my balance with my 5 foot 2 inch frame buried in the middle of a 6 to 7 foot tree while my ears are assaulted with the muttered ravings of my beloved, lying under the tree.  "Keep it steady!"  "Pull it towards you!"  "Push it back!"
     Slowly, my satisfied smirk begins to fade as my inner nature begins to rebel.  Before my eyes flash precious memories I will NEVER forget.  My father and I trudging through a half foot of snow in the New York woods where I grew up.  He with say in hand, while I ran from tree to tree, trying to find just the perfect one.
     Back at the house, after we'd shaken off the snow, we'd take it inside and the whole family would decide on the perfect side and spot for our treasure.  As the tree warmed, the heavenly smell of fresh cut pine would entwine itself with the incense of my mother's holiday baking.  My father would string the large indoor-outdoor mulitcolored lights and silver garland, after which all of us would take out the glass ball ornaments, some of us not so carefully, and place them just so on each branch.  Next, the tinsel went on, not in bunches, but with several single strands placed on each branch, to reflect the steadily burning lights.  Of course no tree is complete without the flair of red and white candy canes, at least the ones that made it on the tree and not into our mouths!  Lastly came the final touch of that brightly flashing star on the utmost branch, the reminder of what the season is really all about.  The lights would then be turned out, the tree lights turned on, and our personal fairy land would commence!
      I have tried diligently to keep this special tradition alive and well in my family for eight years now.  I remember the thrill of having my first Christmas tree in my own home.  I remember the first tree after my son was born, my precious bundle strapped into the snuggle carrier in front of my, close to my heart, gazing rapturously at the bright white lights of the Christmas tree lot as my husband and I diligently searched for the perfect tree for our now perfect family.  The cold air was biting our faces, our hands were sticky with pine tar, but our spirits were warm and glowing inside of us.
     The ornaments have changed.  No longer just glass balls, but a mixture of gold plated scenes, unicorns and cats, wooden trains and toy soldiers, a few ornaments we made when we were young, along with the ones my son now makes at school.  The lights are smaller now and twinkle merrily along with the 'reminder' star on the top most branch, but the feelings and the memories are the same as they come flooding back all through our traditional trek.
     Back in the store, my husband says to me, "They're taller this year but they're still not as full as I'd like."  I quickly reply, "They are really expensive."  "I'd like to get one some day." he says.  "Some day." I repeat, as I think to myself, this imitation of beauty can never take the place of the real thing, and the feelings and memories it brings to my home...and my heart.  Merry Christmas, everyone, and may this next year be your best, blessed yet!

Post script:


Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Welcome to my blog!

Well, here goes! Don't usually do this or have TIME to do this, but I want to have a record of the craziness that is my life. I homeschool, I run the office for Cone Oasis Baptist Camp, I run the KITchen for Cone Oasis, I supervise the housekeeping AND I'm a mom and a wife. Also, my 11 year old son, Judah, has a severe case of ADHD and Aspergers - a form of Autism. I have a condition called Fibromyalgia which causes constant (although different) levels of pain and fatigue. So the sign that says it's a crazy life is true...but it IS our life!
There is some semblance of a schedule for us, but not what most people would call normal. A "normal" day for us is to get up about 10:00 a.m. (IF I can make it up by then), I get Judah his meds, take my meds, get Judah and myself something to eat and then get started on homeschooling. We homeschool (more or less when Judah isn't trying to get out of it!) until about 3:00 p.m. Sometimes it's as late as 5:00 p.m. Then it's dinner and chill out time!'s Wednesday when Judah has Awana and we have date night! It's also a short homeschool day as I have to travel 30 miles to my chiropractor for my appointment. Or Judah has to travel 30 miles to McAllen once a month for his appointment with his psychiatrist to get his meds redone. Now, I'm going to be going to a pain clinic (luckily only about 15 minutes away) to help deal with my Fibromyalgia. So we have a ton of Dr.'s appointments that interrupt homeschooling. Arrgg!
That's actually our winter schedule. During the winter, the camp has Winter Texans, retired people who come stay in their campers and help us out with construction, sewing quilts to be sent across the border, cleaning, maintaining the grounds...whatever skill they can bring. They're a real blessing to us! We get together with them every Thursday for themed dinner in the cafeteria. We've had Mexican night, Italian night, Christmas dinner and a fish fry. This Thursday is grill out night with hamburgers and hot dogs. They're a blast and what characters! :) Never boring here.
Spring break and summer are going to be a TOTALLY different story! The camp can hold up to 180 at a time aaaaand since I run the kitchen, the operative word is going to be RUN!!! Summer days start early and end late. We're also not going to have interns this summer as we were to late to apply for them, so it's going to be veeerrry interestingh! God always provides tho. He sends us people for a day or a week or a month to help out and they always seem to show up at the busiest times! Thanks Daddy! :) We'll make it, and the nice part is South Padre Island is only 45 minutes away now, not 3 hours! We always take about a week's vacation after the craziness of summer.
Well, so is my first attempt at blogging. Like I said, if you enjoyed it, I'm glad! If you follow us, I'm even gladder (is that a word? And I teach English. Right.) but even if no one does but me, I'll be able to look back and have an account of my crazy family and they'll be able to look back and say "Aren't you glad OUR family isn't like mine was?" LOL! We pray that each one of you (or just us) will have a blessed week and a less crazy life than ours! Hasta proximo!