The In-between Day

Today is the In-between day.

The day after the day, we remember the death of Jesus. The day before we celebrate his glorious resurrection.

The day between the cross and resurrection of Christ.

The Saturday, we remember as the day hope died for most of the followers of Jesus.

It’s the day after the torturous death of Jesus on a cruel Roman cross.

The depravity was beyond murder. It was shocking, criminal behavior against someone widely known, as ‘going about doing good.’

Have you ever thought about the in-between day? What it was like for those who loved Jesus?

Was it the day that hope died?

Grief was the overcoming emotion of the hours in between the cross and the resurrection.

During this time many forgot or never really understood that he promised to rise again.

They got the dreaded report. A loved one died. Except it was worse, the loved one did not die peacefully. He didn’t die quickly and by accident.

He died by the hands of sick, calculating Roman soldiers who did the unthinkable to a innocent man. They nailed his hands and his feet to a old rugged cross.

In broad daylight.

They weren’t just doing their duty. They spit on him, they mocked him, they did their best to humiliate him. They gambled for his clothes. It was to them a cruel game. It was morally corrupt, indifferent.

It must have been a sad relief for those who loved Jesus, when he took his last breath.

The suffering they felt, as he suffered, must have been beyond their ability to endure. Yet the love that kept him on the cross, kept them under the cross.

Then the next day, the in between day, when the shock is wearing off and the grief is unbearable. When the waiting, the unknowing of ” what happens next,” is the question.

What was that like?

As they waited in between times, when many felt all hope was gone, did they remember what Jesus said?

Did they remember all he did?

Did they remember the death of Lazarus, and the fact Jesus wept but he did not lose hope?

Did they remember how Lazarus came out of the grave?

As I reflect I see it.

It was there, smoldering beneath the surface. The love, the hope, faith.

It was a power instilled in them as they followed him. It was dwelling in each of them, rising, strengthening, empowering them.

It was Jesus with them, pouring love into their hearts. He had taught them faith, he had inspired hope. He had prayed for them. And, though they suffered for awhile, their hope revived.

That is what happened in the in-between day!

We know, because we also will have days of in-between.

The days when the worst happens. We lose loved ones. We experience set back after set backs. Dreams die! Life hurts!

What we can’t forget, is the in-between times are important for us.

We have to remember what God said. What Jesus did! We must know that Biblical hope is powerful! It is founded.

In those days we must remember, that suffering will always bring glorious blessing.

In those in-between days, when things are in between the lines, we may not understand it, we may not recognize it, yet, there is his character built into us!

We have his character, and when we hold on, we will rise again from the ashes!

Suffering is not a waste in the Kingdom of God. Suffering can, does, and will produce.

Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know it produces perseverance,character; and character, hope. Hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he had given us. Romans 5: 3-5

That’s how we get through and rejoice, even when the unthinkable, beyond unbelievable happens.

We have the character of God in us through the suffering of the cross.

Hope in the resurrection does not disappoint us!

We know tomorrow is coming!

We can get through the worst oppression, the worst depression, the hopeless tragedies in our lives through the hope of his Resurrection!

Because he lives we can face today and tomorrow! We can move beyond the pain and wrong, the worst that could ever happen.

Jesus did not stay on the cross! He did not stay in the tomb. He rose again by day 3!

We are third day disciples! We are third day followers!

A lot can happen in 3 days!

From the most excruciating pain on Friday, to the extreme hopelessness of Saturday, to the infinite glory of Sunday!

Sunday! The miracle of all miracles pushed through the veil between heaven and earth! What a glorious day!

The hope of all hope, the king of all kings , the savior of all mankind manifested once again!

He is alive forever more!

He redeemed us! When he came out of the grave, we came out of the grave!

It’s is the greatest story ever told! It’s not just His Story! It’s our story!

It’s the greatest story ever lived!

The cross still stands as a reminder. The in-between time helps to evaluate our hope and faith. The Resurrection is the day we celebrate!

On that day, the miracle of all miracles happened.

The best time to tell your story of redemption is today!

Stop trying to be good!

I love the passage in the Bible concerning the rich young ruler. Matthew 19:16-30

The young man had a desire for eternal life. He went to the right person, Jesus who was the way to eternal life.

He addressed him as teacher. He was specific with his question. Basically, he wanted to know what good thing he most do to get eternal life.

Jesus said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments”

Then the young man wanted to know which ones. Jesus names off about six of them.

Why didn’t he name all ten?

What did it matter? Could anyone obey them?

Jesus was creating awareness here. It should have awakened a sense of need for God’s mercy, grace and redemption in this person.

The law is great as it helps us understand the fact that we can’t be ‘good,’ enough. It’s not possible.

My challenge to those reading this, would be to name anyone in the Old or New Testament that ever obeyed all of the commandments?

Besides Jesus, there is none. That’s the point isn’t it?

We cannot receive eternal life through being good. The commandments show us that truth. Without God it is impossible.

Romans 3:10, 12 “As it is written, there is no one righteous, not even one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one.

It is a worthless attempt to be good on our own merit. It is impossible.

Impossible means unable to occur or exist.

There is no possibility we can get eternal life through doing good, or just obeying the commands.

The rich young ruler could not kept all the commandments. We cannot keep all the commandments. Again it’s not possible.

If he or we, were capable of keeping the commandments, capable of being righteous, Jesus would not have had to die on the cross.

The rich young ruler told Jesus that he obeyed all the commandments, but still he was missing something.

His next question was, “What do I lack?”

Jesus said, “If you want to be perfect, then go, sell your possessions and give to the poor and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come follow me.”

Want to be good? Obey all the commandments.

Want to be perfect? Sell your possessions

Want to have treasure in heaven? Sell your possessions and give to the poor.

Want eternal life? Follow Christ

The young man went away sad, because he had great wealth.

That wealth was his weakness. He was not willing to put Christ above his possessions. He left sad. He missed the truth.

Jesus made this statement to the disciples, “I tell you the truth, it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again, I tell you, it would be easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle.”

I can’t help but wonder, what would have happened, if the rich, young ruler laid it all down to follow Jesus?

I didn’t have to wonder long because the disciples ask a good question, “Who then can be saved?”

Jesus answered “With man this is impossible, but with God, all things are possible.”

God can enlarge the eye of the needle! Open wide the gate! And he did! On the cross!

Ephesians 2:8-11 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

There is such joy in following Jesus!

What’s possible?

Possibility…..I love this word. It means there might be a chance to use my faith.

Envisioning the potential of unlimited possibilities makes every day new and exciting.

Jesus promised in Mark 10:27 ” All things are possible with God.”

That’s even more motivating!

It should cause us to sit up and take notice.

Developing this outlook will inspire us to withstand short term, temporal storms in life.

Things formerly seemingly impossible with man, become very possible with God.

Inspiration for Motivation

A very motivated person said to me the other day, ” I need to stop being lazy.”

I had trouble agreeing with them. I did not see before me a lazy person. Normally, they are full of energy and creativity.

Lazy means unwilling to work or use energy.

I could sense low energy. I am a life coach, so it bothered me. As I meditated on it, I realized, we were not dealing with laziness.

This person had lost inspiration. They were uninspired.

Inspiration is so important! We need inspiration for motivation.

When we are uninspired, we show lack of care, and lack of energy. We slow down. We feel ho-hum.

Unchecked, we can mis-identify what we are feeling. We begin to dis ourselves. We feel dis-couraged, we become dis- appointed, and then we dis-respect, and criticize ourselves.

If you feel lazy today, I encourage you to evaluate your atmosphere first.

Are you uninspired?

If so, I challenge you to care for yourself! Take back your courage! Take back your energy!

Try writing 3 -4 things that would make you feel inspired!

For great inspiration read the Psalms.

You are not lazy! You are just low on inspiration.

Be inspired!

The Art of Preservation

I know the plans I have for you.

This is what the Lord of heavenly armies said to the captives through the prophet Jeremiah.

NLT Jeremiah 29

1Jeremiah wrote a letter from Jerusalem to the elders, priests, prophets, and all the people who had been exiled to Babylon by King Nebuchadnezzar. 2This was after King Jehoiachin,a the queen mother, the court officials, the other officials of Judah, and all the craftsmen and artisans had been deported from Jerusalem. 3He sent the letter with Elasah son of Shaphan and Gemariah son of Hilkiah when they went to Babylon as King Zedekiah’s ambassadors to Nebuchadnezzar. This is what Jeremiah’s letter said:

4This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says to all the captives he has exiled to Babylon from Jerusalem: 5“Build homes, and plan to stay. Plant gardens, and eat the food they produce. 6Marry and have children. Then find spouses for them so that you may have many grandchildren. Multiply! Do not dwindle away! 7And work for the peace and prosperity of the city where I sent you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, for its welfare will determine your welfare.”

These passages tell us so much about what God values and preserves.

Its a word to us about purpose even in captivity. We are to occupy, and grow.

In Family. In Peace. In Prosperity.

Marry and have children, find spouses for your children and encourage grandchildren. ( Calm down, I am speaking of praying. Ask God to lead them to the ones they should marry.)

He tells us to work to build houses, plant gardens, and eat the food we produce. He tells us to work for Peace and Prosperity for the cities we live in.

8This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: “Do not let your prophets and fortune-tellers who are with you in the land of Babylon trick you. Do not listen to their dreams, 9because they are telling you lies in my name. I have not sent them,” says the LORD.

10This is what the LORD says: “You will be in Babylon for seventy years. But then I will come and do for you all the good things I have promised, and I will bring you home again. 11For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.

I spent some time in France last Thanksgiving Holiday. My niece and I visited many museums. We saw beautiful architectural designs in the centuries old museums and churches throughout the city.

The furniture from the period of the Kings was detailed and amazingly well built. The paintings, the rugs, many of the Kings things, were well preserved for our century to view. We could imagine the lives of the Kings, as we viewed the historical displays, that were preserved through the centuries.

I thought about the Bible in history and how it records the stories of not only good things, the plans and promises, it tells you also about the things, that went wrong and were wrong.

Yet, the Bible does not release a sense of coldness, as the old churches and museums do. It feels alive!

As I looked at the history of the Kings, I saw the pomp and the circumstances. I saw the sadness of the eyes in the beautiful oil paintings.

I saw the Egyptian artifacts, the beautiful etchings on the jewelry. The burial boxes. I saw how they hoped to preserve life. I pray, they valued spiritual preservation as well.

I thought about how important history is to the next generation, and how we should never attempt to change history. The good and the bad must be clearly seen.

It warns us of deception, tricks, schemes, and dreams, of those not representing Creator God.

Mistakes should not be hidden, nor should accomplishments.

Through the viewing of history and the reading of the Bible, we can plainly see mistakes of the past. We should have no desire to repeat them.

We should have no goals to live as earthly kings. We should have no faith in a box preserving our body.

Riches do not bring health, or happiness. Focusing on preserving the physical body does not guarantee eternal life.

Knowing that God has a plan for your life, is the source of peace. Knowing there is hope of the future with him, is where we can place our trust.

We can build our lives around building a home, encouraging our children to find spouses and have children. We are told to multiply and enjoy life, not dwindle away. God has a good plan for us, to give us a hope and a future.

We must pray for the peace and prosperity for our city and the United States, for its welfare will determine our welfare!

As for Me personally;

The painting that I would like to preserve and hang on my mantle is priceless.

It speaks of a salvation so great, that the depiction of it, can’t even be drawn by a human hand.

It can only be written upon the heart by a unseen hand.

Unseen faith preserves my heart. It’s there, I feel it beating.

It’s a priceless heirloom. It’s my inheritance. It’s my legacy.

Therefore, I will wear it joyfully, and center my hope and future, in His salvation by grace, through faith!

I believe God will bring me home again.

My hope is that when my body ends up in a box, my faith will clearly be seen as having been lived out fully!

May it be said of me, “she believed God, and she lived like she believed.”

Be the Change

It’s a good saying, ” Be the change.”

Be the change the world needs!

I don’t know if the question is being asked, “what change does the world need,” but maybe it should be.

If I answer the question just for myself today, then I would have to say, “Overall, what the world needs most now is truth. “

The change most needed is for the true nature of Jesus to operate in each of us.

We need true relationship with the Father who honor’s the son, saying ” I commit all judgement unto the son,to which the son returns honor to his father and says, ” the son can do nothing of himself.”

(John 5:19-23 for more)

We need to be of those, who have the nature, and relationship of Jesus.

We need to be in true partnership with God to go to the next level, which is true ownership!

True ownership means to me that we rule our own lives well, own house well, and own our own mistakes first.

Rather being focused on pointing out the mistakes of others, we could be the change, through showing honor to God as we commit judgement to the Son.

The phrase, ‘get off your high horse applies here concerning judgement.’

I have heard that, ‘ though we may prepare the horse for battle, God prepares the victory.’

We need to be the change by being trained in righteousness through the exercise of our faith, and the learning of trust in God.

We truly can do nothing without God. He knows that, and when we know that, he invites us into partnership and gives us a desire to be servant leaders in the household of God.

Can we like be the change?

We can , but only if , we imitate Jesus. In doing that our focus will change and we will make of ourselves, ‘no reputation.’

That doesn’t mean we don’t have plans, or that we don’t practice authority over life, or that we don’t help guide people.

It means to me that’s we don’t set the agenda in other people lives.

We don’t seek to be the Lord of anyone’s live but our own.

We can’t change or control other peoples lives.

We can only be the change by being the example.

The example of servanthood. We have a servant leader in Jesus.

Being like him is a good work to desire. Being a elder of faith is good goal.

But the best elders have learned to exercise faith by waiting on God’s nature to form in them.

They best example is faithfulness through partnership, because we first experience God’s faithfulness in relationship.

The desire to hear: “Well done my good and faithful servant,” from God’s throne, should be foremost.

” Well said my good and faithful scholars,” may be more about pedestals we build trying to please man.

Oof. Right to the gut.

Because as I seek to influence others for the kingdom of God, as mother, wife, sister, writer, coach, I often have to step up on a platform. ( I am only 5ft. 2 in stature) but may I always remember to climb up to see Jesus, and for others to see Jesus, not to see me!

My prayer is that I know and remember, I am a recipient of His mercy and grace, as He gave his life for me as a ransom!

May I desire his affirmation over me, rather than affirmations of others.

Just thoughts today as I examine the true nature of being the change.

Prayer: Lord help me to be the change!

Roses and Noses

It’s a well known saying, ” stop and smell the roses.”

It was interesting to me that this phrase was probably first said by golfer, Walter Hagen.

That makes sense, as the game of golf is focused on staying on the fairway, and keeping the eye on the ball. If anyone saw roses at all, it means the ball took a different direction, than the one envisioned.

Golf has obstacles. Water, sand traps, and the wilderness, are just off the sides of the fairway.

If you don’t guide the ball properly, and you land outside the green, it can cost you extra strokes to get back in play.

It causes tension, and your approach to the next hole will be affected, if you don’t shake it off.

So the encouragement, ” Stop and smell the roses.”

Stop and smell the roses applies as we journey through our lives.

There will be days when we don’t guide things just right. Days that we end up in traps, over our head, and way off course.

We have to come back swinging! We have to take a deep breath and take another shot at it!

Your are going to go out of bounds some days. It’s a fact.

Taking time to smell the flowers along the journey is a powerful way to relax and let it go.

There are often roses right under our noses. ( I know, but I couldn’t resist. I will probably take a penalty strike for that one.)

When living life tries to subtract, counteract.

Stop and smell the roses. Look around and see the blessing of life and life abundantly. Get back in the game!