Tag Archives: Easter

The Certainty of the Cross – Part 2

Wisdom from a country preacher series

– Matt. 16:21-28

Easter

The cross is an eternal symbol of an unadjusted personality in an evil world.

Daniel wouldn’t adjust to an evil world. John the Baptist wouldn’t, Paul wouldn’t and Jesus wouldn’t.

An Indian Chief sent four young Braves up a mountain to test their strength, bring back something to prove how high they got. The first brought back a spruce branch, the second brought a twig from a pine, the third brought an alpine shrub. And the fourth came back exhausted, feet bruised and cut, carrying nothing. He said, “I saw the sea!”

Oh, how we need people to see the sea! To see that holy, uncompromising life full of grace and truth. When you know the truth, the truth will set you free, free from the evils we deplore, set free to be all God intends you to be.

But it involves the certainty of a cross, believing the Jesus is the Crist and has the words to eternal life.

What is the sea? What is it Jesus went to the cross for us to see? By getting acquainted with Jesus we get a new concept of God. John says, “God is love.”

Love gives itself for others. Jesus is saying in verses 24-26, “I love you, I must go to Jerusalem and die for you.”

Jesus was certain of the cross. But he knew by his death on the cross, not for his sins but ours, we could have the Holy Spirit to melt our hard hearts so that we could love one another as God loves us.

How long has it been since you said or heard, “I am sorry.” “I am wrong.”  “You are right.” “I love you.” ” I forgive you.”

The certainty of the cross. There is a cross for everyone.

The Certainty of the Cross – Part 1

Wisdom from a country preacher series 

– Matt. 16:21-28

I feel privilegd to be able to share one of Dad’s Lenten sermons this Easter. Part 1 today, watch for part 2 tomorrow.

Good Friday

Think about the cross this Good Friday

Just as soon as Peter and the disciples  acknowledged who Jesus was he started telling them about his and their cross. The cross was a certainty.

In verse 22, Peter says, “Never, Lord!”

There was a great preacher who said, “I can bear much but there are four things I hate like poison: 1) tobacco smoke, 2) lice, 3) garlic, 4) the cross. Like Peter.

So many believe Christians should have things better, easier.

This scene probably occurred about six months before his crucifixion. Why did Jesus set his face to go to the cross? For the joy set before him he endured the cross, despised the shame, sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Heb. 12:2)

He could have compromised a little. Kept quiet, not been so outspoken, not stirred up the Jews. He could have gone to Syria. Did he believe in a divine rescue like Abraham and Isaac?

See verse 21, he knew his fate. Legend has it he picked up a beam in the carpenter shop one day and a shadow was cast of him on a cross. He seemed to know his fate. Right after the transfiguration, the Father began talking to him about his death. He told his disciples, “I, if I be lifted up will draw all men unto me.”

He wouldn’t let his friends talk him out of doing what he knew to be the will of God (vs. 22-23). he had to be about the Father’s business. He had a mission in life and so do we.

He never made personal comfort his ambition.

He never made security his ambition.

He never left relationships deter him.

A cross is certain when we follow Christ. Sometimes we fail to take up our cross. We fall in step with the world, alter our course to avoid being different. We may fail to change habits that ruin our witness.

You may say, “I don’t have a cross to carry.” Well, maybe everyone around you has a cross to carry because you always have to have your way.

The unbelieving world tries to squeeze us into its mold.

The cross is an eternal symbol of an unadjusted personality in an evil world.

Part 2 continued Saturday. Please share thoughts above, just under the title.

 A Hard Heart, Jesus Movement and Keith Green

Not many Christians of my generation can forget the impact a talented, bold , young Jewish man made on us. That sounds like Jesus doesn’t it — well, it’s not. It’s Keith Green. Keith was an outspoken Jesus follower who challenged us to live completely for God. To give out hearts, souls and mind to Jesus. He challenged us to live radically for Jesus. Maybe a little like Francis Chan today, but there was just something about Keith’s message, the urgency in his voice and words that captivated and convicted.

Keith not only spoke with power but his music was hauntingly deep and yes, captivating and convicting. I had the privilege of hearing his wife, Melody, speak yesterday in Elizabethtown, PA. She told stories of her life and challenged us to show compassion and really see those around us everyday, everywhere we go. It brought back so many memories of my late teens and early twenties when the Jesus Movement was happening. Many were making serious commitments for the Lord and coming to know Him. It made me long for that kind of spiritual outpouring to happen again.

I don’t know why God chose to take such an influential voice for Him home so early, why Keith had to die when he was only 28. But he left a lot of music behind, music that still stirs the soul and heart when I listen – and even when my Millennial children listen.

Here’s a couple of Keith’s songs I’ve been captivated and challenged by this week. I thought they might stir your heart, too.

And because it’s Easter- I must include The Easter Song:

Do you have a story of how Keith or his songs impacted your life? Please share by clicking ‘Leave a reply’ at the top of this post, just under the title.

Ode to Potatoes (A Poem for Lent)

English: Potatoes lyonnaiseOh potato I love you
No matter how you look

You can be baked
You can be loaded
You can be scalloped or mashed

Oh potato I love you
No matter how you look

You can be french fried
You can be hashed
You can even be chipped

But today dear potato
I’m laying you aside
For something more dear
Calls me to draw near

You are gone from my life
For the next 40 days
May each thought of you
Cause me to focus on Jesus’s ways

Happy Fastnacht (aka Fasnacht) Day!

Sugar doughnuts</p><p>639057When we moved to Lancaster County, PA six years ago, we were welcomed with some interesting local sayings from the heavy PA Dutch influence here, and a whole new day of celebration we had never heard of – Fastnacht Day!

My husband works for a large farm equipment dealer in the area, so he really does rub shoulders with the people who have lived in this region all their lives, some families living and farming on homesteads dating back to revolutionary times.  He came home our first year here with hole-less donuts and explained the tradition to me.

For those never hearing of the term, it’s actually Donut Day!  Well, donut day with a purpose.  Fastnacht Day occurs the day before Lent begins.  In order to prepare for the beginning of Lent and so as not to waste anything, the day before Lent women would make hole-less donuts called fastnachts to use all the lard, shortening, etc. that they would be ‘giving up’ for Lent.

So, I am sitting here today eating my fastnacht, not because I’m giving up lard or shortening for Lent, but because it’s tradition.  But it does get me to thinking what I might give up in this 40 days leading up to Easter Sunday.  Some say it’s not a necessary thing to give anything up, that it’s all tradition, but I think it’s a good spiritual discipline to observe.  We live in a culture where we have everything we need or want and then some.  It seems good to deny ourselves of a few things or one big thing that we really like in order to draw our minds to Jesus and what He denied himself of for us.

Happy Fastnacht Day and why not take a few moments today and do a little soul-searching.  Make a plan to give something up for Lent this year.  Then let whatever you give up be a reminder to pray or read the Bible or a devotional.  It might just draw you closer to Jesus and prepare you for a great Easter celebration.