The darkest day that brought forth the greatest day.

Friday was dark and yet it was good.

Friday my Savior hung on a cross and bore my sins.

It was the darkest day in history and yet because of this day, I have seen the light and been transformed.

They mocked Him, beat Him, and nailed Him to a cross.

He could have saved Himself

He could have come down,

but He stayed.

He stayed to bring glory to the Father and salvation to you and me.

He stayed to fulfill the Scriptures

And when He saw that all was accomplished, He said

It is finished.

It is finished, the reason He had come was fulfilled

It is finished, there was no more work to complete

It is finished, salvation had come.

The curtain was torn into, the earth shook and

all who saw knew He was the Chosen One.

They beat their breast, cried out and walked away.

Yet the story wasn’t complete

The good news was yet to come.

For 3 days later, He defeated sin, the cross, and the grave.

So that all who trust in Him will be saved and have eternal life.

The greatest day, Resurrection day started with the darkest day and a cross.

Yet the darkest day led to the greatest day that allows us to be clothed with His righteousness and to stand forgiven.

Not because of anything we have done, but all because of what Jesus did on this day.

He bore our sins, He was pierced for our transgression, and crushed for our iniquities.

The punishment that He took, brought you and me peace.

For by His wound we are healed (Is. 53).

So let us celebrate this Chosen One, who died in our place and brought us peace.

Let us rejoice in the cross, for through it our Savior has brought forth our salvation.

Let us rejoice in the resurrection, knowing that death is defeated, the grave has no hold, and that one day He will come again to take us all home.

Have a blessed Easter remembering that it is only through His blood, we are forgiven and can be saved!

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Whom will you serve?!

 “choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord (Joshua 24:15).”

If you grew up in church, you probably heard this verse or memorized it or both. It is a popular verse, one made into plaques, signs, and house decor.

Yet, I believe there is coming a day when this verse will take on a whole new meaning.

Each time I turn on the news or read the news headlines for the day, I cringe, and wonder how it can get worse. Yet, I know it can, and that it probably will.

I believe we are living in a day and age where God is calling the Christians to take a stand for Him and His namesake. A day when we will in fact have to choose whom we will serve?

Will we serve the government, though it may ask us to go against what Scripture says?

Will we serve the enemy by going along with the world?

Will we serve ourselves, and want to just take the easy way out?

Each day we face the choice of whom we will serve that day.

We have to choose if we will serve family, friends, culture or the Lord.

Jesus never said it would be easy to follow Him, in fact He said the opposite, stating, that we should expect persecution and to be treated worse than even He.

Whom will we serve, whom will you serve?

It is easy to go to church on Sunday and Wednesday and be a Christian, but it is Monday through Saturday that show we are Christians.

It is the day to day, living what we preach that makes a difference.

How then do we show that we serve the Lord?

Simply put, by living out our faith.

Showing kindness, taking the time to notice the un-noticed, and being filled with the Spirit, so that Christ radiates through us.

It’s standing firm for what you believe in, even when it means going against what the world or your friends may say.

Its going the extra mile to help someone in need, even when it infringes upon your own time, resources, or both.

And it is really living what we say we believe.

It is past time that the church be the church. God has called us to be separate from the world and not to love the things of this world. Yet, far too often we look just like the world, and we lust after all the world has to offer.

So as the days grow darker, may we shine His light for all to see.

May we be His hands and feet, reguardless of the cost.

And may others see Jesus when they look at us.

As we choose each day to serve the Lord.

No greater joy

As a mom of two teen sons, and one almost teen daughter, I’m learning that being a mom to little kids though exhausting is totally different than being a mom to teens.

Oh don’t get me wrong. As a mom of little ones, it takes a lot of hard work, a lot of energy, and a lot of time. Yet, what your child does, where they go, and what they do is pretty much under your control.

Yet, as a mom of teens, it is a process of letting go and preparing them to soar on their own.

Our oldest graduates in May and our middle son the following year. And though it is exciting to see what God has in store for their lives, it is oh so hard to let go. Oh so hard to let them make their own choices and their own mistakes.

Thankfully, our youngest has a while left with us before she learns to fly, but I know that I will blink and it will be her graduating next.

As I have pondered the journey we are at as parents, I have realized that though I want them to be successful and to make it on their own. Though I desire that they find the ones their hearts can love, and make a life of their own. That the greatest desire of my heart is not any amount of earthly gain this world has to offer.

Rather, my greatest desire is to know that they are walking with the Lord and living for Him.

John writes, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth (3 John 1:4).”

This is my hearts desire. This is it.

For I know that if they are walking in the truth, if they are living for the Lord, then all the rest will work itself out.

Because the Lord will direct their steps and they look to Him.

He will open the doors for the job He has for them, because they are seeking to do His will.

The Lord will lead them to the one they are to marry, because they have chosen to wait upon Him rather than rushing into something not right.

And though this desire does not mean that they won’t have heartache. It doesn’t mean they won’t have trials, and it certainly doesn’t mean that they will be perfect.

What it does mean is that no matter what this world throws their way, they will have the assurance that the Lord is there with them no matter what.

So, I pray and will continue to pray as they step out into this dark world, that they will delight to know the Lord and to do His will. And holding on to the promise that, “He who began a good work in “them” will be faithful to complete it (Phil. 1:6).”

The God Who Sees

She gave this name to the LORD who spoke to her: “You are the God who sees me,” for she said, “I have now seen the One who sees me. (Genesis 16:13)

Isn’t it wonderful that there is nothing unseen to the Lord.

Our God sees and knows every struggle we face. He see’s the hurt we go through, He sees the anxiety, frustration, and the victories.

Though no one else may know what we are going through, He sees and He knows.

Though we may fool others, He is never fooled by our outward appearance, for He sees and knows our hearts.

Hagar was selected by Sarai to have a child for her. Yet, even though this was her idea, which seemed good at the time, once Hagar is with child, Sarai no longer wants her around. Suddenly she is jealous and treats Hagar with disdain.

Hagar flees in despair, and hides away.

But God, He saw her. He saw her heartache, He saw her struggle, and came to her at her point of need.

Hagar praised the Lord for being the God who sees.

Friend, can I just tell you that He is still the God who sees.

He sees the condition of our country and the corruption at hand.

He sees the isolation many are in, those who feel all alone, and though mourning loss.

He sees the pain your going through and the heartache you think no one knows about.

He sees it all and knows the struggle is real.

But, just as He was with Hagar, He is right there with you. You are not alone!

He sees, He knows, and He loves you.

He is willing and able to help, just turn to Him.

Cry out to Him, pour out your heart like water as the Psalmist tells us, and rest in His peace and His presence.

We were not promised a life full of roses, but He has promised that through the mountain tops and the valleys, that He will be with us.

Never forget He is there, walking beside you and at times carrying you through.

Beware, let you drift away.

Have you ever been sailing?

Years ago, my dad and I went sailing. I was expecting it to be highly exciting, but found it to be pretty dull . Our sailor managed the sails of the boat, and literally we just kind of drifted around. There were no fast moves, no race to the finish line, just a gradual drift in the direction we were to go.

Hebrews 2 verse one warns believers of their need to hold fast and to pay careful attention to what they have heard, lest they drift away.

Now remember drifting is a gradual move away from something or someone else. It doesn’t happen quickly or overnight, it is a slow process.

Which is exactly why the author warns us concerning drifting away.

In the past few years, I have watched online how so many spiritual giants have fallen. So many pastors have walked away from the ministry because of affairs, and so on.

How does this happen? How is it that so many who were once on fire for the Lord, serving Him with their whole heart, walk away?

It is their drifting hearts and drifting allegiance.

Sin has a way of creeping upon us, enticing us, and pulling us under.

Sin has a way of deceiving us.

And if we aren’t careful, we excuse it, we justify it, and we compromise for it.

Then one day we wake up and find that we are so far gone from where we once were.

A sailboat left to itself will simply drift wherever the wind blows it.

A life left to itself will do the same, tossed according to the ways of this world.

Therefore, we must pay careful attention to the fact that Jesus is supreme. He is everything, our all in all.

Most believers I know desire to live for the Lord, they desire to know and do the will of the Father. They long to live lives pleasing to Him.

My guess is if you are reading this, this is your desire as well.

Yet, the enemy indeed prowls about seeking whom he may devour. He knows our weaknesses, and knows what sins to entice us with. He hits us when we are weak, he gets us to doubt our Lord and to question His love.

And if we are careful, we can drift away.

Praise the Lord that if we belong to Him, though we may drift, He will draw us back and discipline us.

There have certainly been times in my Christian journey when I have walked closer to the Lord than at other times.

And usually when it seems the Lord is far away, it is because I have let the things of this world overcrowd my life, my thoughts and my days.

It is easy to drift, it takes holding firm to the anchor to live lives daily that are pleasing to Him.

Oh may we be careful to remember Whom we serve and why we serve Him. May we be careful to give thanks daily for our great salvation lest we take it for granted.

May we not only know He is superior, but may our lives display this for all the world to see!

What if…

What if God created you and me and placed us on this earth for just a time as this.

We certainly are living in a dark time in history, but Queen Esther also lived in a dark time. A time when her people were hated, mistreated and plotted against. So that she could stand up for truth and declare God’s glory and His power.

There is no doubt we live in troubled times, but there is also no doubt that the Lord God Almighty is still on His throne and that He is still in control.

And maybe just maybe, He has placed you and me here just now to be His salt and His light. To stand for truth and to declare His glory to a lost and dying world.

What if instead of complaining and worrying about things we can’t control, we chose instead to shine His light for all to see, to display kindness rather than hate, and to point the world to the One and only Hope we have, Jesus!

There is no what if or maybe to it, you and I are here, saved by His grace, for such a time as this.

May we then live our faith out loud for all to see. Standing firm until the end, and striving to look more like Jesus and less like this world.

Perspective and Contentment

It is hard to believe today is New Year’s Eve. I can remember a year prior watching the ball drop in NY Times Square with my dad. Little did we know at that moment in history, all that this year would bring.

I won’t lie, it has been a hard year for our family in the loss of my dad and Covid’s impact. Yet, as I sat and reflected in my journal concerning this year, I was reminded that it has been a year of blessing as well.

How easy it is to focus on the negative, but how much more blessed to give thanks for all of the good.

The Lord brought our family back from Nepal at just the right time. We knew little then concerning the why, but He did. We enjoyed a few good months with dad before all went downhill. And the Lord has allowed us to be near mom this past year, and spend quality time together as a family.

And though none of us really know what 2021 will bring, one thing we can rest upon as believers is that the Lord God Almighty is still on His Throne, and that He is in control.

What peace that brings.

I read this morning, Isaiah 61, which is entitled the year of the Lord’s Favor. It states that the Lord was anointed to bring good news to the afflicted, to comfort the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom to those in bondage, to announce this year as the year of the Lord, and to comfort all who mourn!

Many in this world are feeling hopeless, may we the Lord’s people declare this New Year, the Year of the Lord, and determine here and now that this is the year we will shine His light for all to see.

That this year we will seek to be His hands and His feet, bringing the good news of the Gospel to those walking in darkness. That this will be the year we strive to bring comfort to those who are hurting, and to proclaim freedom found in Christ to those in bondage.

As believers we have a choice each day whom we will serve. May we choose daily to serve the Lord and strive to make a difference in the lives of all who we encounter with the love and hope of Christ.

Truly this year has had both it’s good and bad days, and next year will have much the same.

What we must decide is how we will respond to both types of days. Choosing to have a heavenly perspective, and finding our contentment in Christ no matter what.

Happy New Year 2021, may this indeed be a year we seek to live for Him and His glory, no matter what!

Christmas that last…

This Christmas has been a bit different than most. It has had fewer gatherings, a lack of parties, and commercials on TV promoting celebrating Christmas online with family rather than together.

It has been different for our family in that there is a big whole left since my dad has gone home to be with the Lord.

And though things have certainly been different this year, none of the missing elements have made it any less Christmas.

The truth is despite the decoration or lack thereof. Despite the cold temperatures or sunny hot temperatures, it is still Christmas. Without the gatherings, parties, and caroling, Christmas still has come.

I’m sure if we had been there that first Christmas, it would be far removed from our normal celebrations, even our celebrations this year. For that first Christmas took place not in a nice comfy home with Christmas lights glowing. It took place in a stable.

That first Christmas wasn’t filled with family or friends, it was simply Mary, Joseph, some animals, and shepherds.

There were not fancy gifts, only the Gift, who came to save.

And there lacked any special traditions, mulled cider, or sugary sweets.

Christmas has become a lot of what we have made it through the years.

Growing up, our family would travel to my grandmothers house (over the mountains, and through the woods you know) every Christmas Eve. We’d celebrate Christmas with my grandmother, aunts, uncles, and cousins. Then we would travel back home. Once we arrived home, we’d turn on all the Christmas lights, light the candles, and turn off the overhead lights, so that the living room took on a glow.

My dad would strain to see the words on the pages of his Bible as he would read to us Luke 2. Then he’d close us in prayer, the lights would come on, the candles were blown out, and we’d each get to open one gift (yes, you guessed it, Christmas pajamas.) After changing into our new duds, we’d fine a Christmas movie to watch, and then call it a night.

Last night, we did all of the above with our kids as well, as we have done most of these same things year after year as they have grown up.

Why? Because this makes it Christmas? No, because even if none of the above took place, it would still be Christmas.

Truthfully, we put a lot of stock into Christmas, but tragically December 26 rolls around, and life goes back to “normal.”

I’ve always hated the day after Christmas, yet isn’t that sad. Because if Christmas day changes nothing, then we have missed the point.

Tonight as Eric read from Luke 2, he didn’t stop where my dad used to stop in the story after reading about the shepherds. He continued reading until the end. One thing struck me as he continued his reading. For in the same chapter which contains the story of Jesus birth, Jesus’ death is also for told.

Christmas is way more than traditions, it is far more than just the birth of our Savior. For if the story had stopped there, then we’d be no better off than the followers of various religions world wide.

But it didn’t end there, Christmas is simply the beginning. For because of Christmas, we have Easter, and because of both of these, we have the hope and the promise of the second coming of Christ.

At Christmas we celebrate the fact that He came the first time, but we should continue to celebrate because He will come again.

And until that day comes, we are to live in anticipation of His second coming, seeking to be His light in this dark, dark world.

In John 1, we are told that the light came, but the people walking in darkness could not comprehend it. Sadly, it is much the same today.

Yet, as believers, we have hope and we have the promise that He will come once more.

So though December 26th will most certainly come, may we not loose the hope of Christmas in the days ahead.

For we have hope because of our humble Savior who came that first Christmas, and who will one day come again.

A Reason to Rejoice

I love the old Christmas carols, especially the lyrics.

One song in particular I love, “God rest ye merry Gentlemen.”

Some of the lyrics are as follows:

God rest ye merry gentlemen, let nothing you dismay
For Jesus Christ, our Savior was born on Christmas Day
To save us all from Satan’s powers when we were gone astray

In Bethlehem, in Israel this blessed Babe was born
And laid within a manger upon this blessed morn
The which His Mother Mary did nothing take in scorn

From God our Heavenly Father a blessed angel came
And unto certain shepherds brought tidings of the same
How that in Bethlehem was born the Son of God by name

“Fear not then, said the angel, let nothing you affright
This day is born a Savior of a pure virgin bright
To free all those who trust in Him from Satan’s power and might”

Oh, tidings of comfort and joy
Comfort and joy
Oh, tidings of comfort and joy

Did you catch the words, such words of hope, such words of promise.

And though this Christmas will certainly be different than most, and though it has been a rough year.

We have reason to have comfort and joy because our Savior was born, to save us from our sins, and to free us from Satan’s grasp.

This is good news, these are indeed tidings of comfort and joy!

Tidings shared with the Shepherds, of whom shared it with others, and tidings now given to us to share.

To a world that is feeling hopeless, there is hope in the Savior.

To a world lacking joy, there is reason to rejoice.

To a world in pain and dealing with heartache and loss, there is comfort found in Christ.

Look to Jesus this Christmas and find hope, find joy, and find comfort.

Look to Jesus this Christmas and provide His hope, His joy, and His comfort to those you encournter.

Despite everything going on all around us, we should let nothing bring us to dismay, for our Savior has been born. He was born to save us, and one day He is coming again.

Oh we do have reason to rejoice!

Joseph’s Response

Try as I may, it is hard to imagine what Joseph must have been thinking or feeling when he found out Mary was to have a child. And though things are quite different in today’s world than in the days of old, I still believe there was shame involved in such a situation.

We know from Matthew 1 that Joseph was faithful to the law, meaning he knew what the law said about women found to be with child prior to marriage. Truthfully, he could have had her stoned. Reasonably. he could have divorced her publically, so everyone knew this shame was all on her. Yet, his response prior to his dream was to simply divorce her privately, taking on some of the shame himself, and moving on with his life.

Joseph went to bed that night with a plan, but God interupted that plan through a dream. What seemed good and right to Joseph, was not at all the best God had in mind.

In his dream, Joseph is told that this child is the son of the most High God, and that he should not be afraid to take Mary as his wife.

He should not fear what others might say. He isn’t to be afraid of how things appear. He isn’t even to be concerned for his reputation. For this child will save the people from their sins.

Ironically, this child whom some may have thought was conceived in sin, had in fact come to save such people from their own sin.

And all of this took place to fulfill the prophecy of Immanuel, God with us.

When Joseph awakens, the Bible doesn’t tell us that he shook off the dream as no big deal. He didn’t blame it on what he had eaten the night before, he simply obeyed.

Joseph’s response was similar in fact to Mary’s Response, in that, though what the Lord asked of him didn’t make sense, though it meant walking into a difficult situation that would in fact bring pain and shame. He was obedient to the Lord.

The Bible teaches us clearly that “If we love Him, we will keep His commandments.”

Obedience =Love

Joseph obeyed the Lord and did just as He said. He took Mary home as his wife. And if that wasn’t enough, they did not live intimately until Christ was born.

This was no easy task he had been assigned, yet it was a task he was obedient to.

What is God asking of you today? It doesn’t have to make sense, it doesn’t have to be easy. In fact what He may be asking you might take great faith and trust as the task given to Jospeh. Or it might be something simple. Reguardless of the difficulty or simplicity of what God is asking of you. I encourage you to step out and to obey.

You may be fearful of how all the details will work out, I encourage you, take the first step and watch the Lord provide what is necessary.

If your like me you want to see a five month or five year plan, but this is not the way the Lord works. For as we take one step, He shines forth the light to help us see the next, and the next and the next.

One thing you can rest assured of, is that God will bless your obedience to whatever He is asking of you.

The Christian life is a journey of faith, not a marathon or even a sprint.

A journey that flourishes with our faith in and obedience to rhw Loes.