29 April 2011

In the Still of the Night

“God’s peace is joy resting.
His joy is peace dancing.” - F. F. Bruce

At the beginning of this week I found myself in a “quietness” which I related to “being in the presence of God, rather than the absence of sound.” My quiet time has continued throughout the week and here it is Friday already, and I still feel surrounded by an unexplained “quietness.”  This doesn’t happen to me very often, usually it’s just the opposite.... chaos, chaos, chaos.

I love the quiet evening hours... it is my “peace” time. Some nights it is about quiet time to write, some nights it’s quiet time with God, and some nights it’s quiet time to curl up and read a good book. Tonight my quiet time has turned in to a time of reminiscing. I started writing and soon I was looking through some old family pics. Before I knew it, I was thinking about a quiet evening many years ago in the stillness of a wooded campground, when a “snore” turned a quiet, peace-filled night in to a “joy-filled memory.”

My mom, dad, and all seven brothers and sisters, along with their families (and some stray friends) had just hunkered down in their respective tents and campers after a long day of family activities. I have to set up the scene by saying that our half-a-dozen campsites were all within “hollerin” distance. Most of us had stayed up telling campfire stories and chatted long in to the evening (like an episode right out of “The Waltons”), so when we finally turned in, none of us really cared if we hit a comfy bed or a sleeping bag on the ground. Not a peep had been heard from anyone for about 20 minutes when all of a sudden a loud snore came flowing out from my parents tent. The chain of events that followed is hard to describe.... you almost had to be there... but here it goes. First there was a giggle from one tent, then a “shush” from another, then a louder laugh, then someone said “goodnight John Boy,” and everything went downhill from there. We all started laughing so hard, and one by one we came back out of our tents and gathered around the campfire... more stories, and oh, so much more laughter. All the while, dad was still snoring!

The best part of reminiscing is the feelings that bubble up when I ponder such precious moments. For me, when I think of the laughter of our family that evening, I also remember hearing my dad saying “Don’t worry, be happy” as he hiked around the campground early that same day. He had said it so many times, that every time one of us heard him say it again, we would all start laughing. What a legacy to leave the family.... togetherness and happy times!

Each of us remember our experiences in our own unique ways, but I believe God gives us the gift of these cherished moments.  I think He wants us to enjoy reminiscing and to also share our memories with the younger generations.  It is a special way that we can stay connected to family members who are no longer with us on earth, or those who live far away.... keeping us close at heart until we can all be together again someday.

It’s Friday, Let’s Sparkle... action required...  When was the last time you shared one of your cherished memories with family, or friends? Is there a special moment that you have been meaning to share with your children or grandchildren? Don’t put it off... take the time to find some quiet time to reminisce and share your heart with those you love. Do it today!

As I close this post, I have to laugh because once again my dad’s humor has surfaced... you see, he is probably looking down from heaven and saying, “What are you talking about, I don’t snore!”

Thank you God, for the blessing of a loving family.

God’s Peace, Donna Weaver

“Tell it to your children, and let your children tell it to their children,
and their children to the next generation.” - Joel 1:3

25 April 2011

Quiet Reflection, a time of Restoration

Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my thoughts.
- Psalm 139:23

Yesterday was a day of celebrating our Risen Christ. Hallelujah!

Today, I find myself asking the question, “Donna, have you really un-wrapped the gift of salvation or are you still just playing with the wrapping?”

As I write this post, I am sitting here in a quietness that is both peace-filled and unexpected. This “quiet time” is more about being in the presence of God, than the absence of sound. Sometimes God draws us to a quiet place and time to speak to us. Other times it may be God inviting us in to a conversation (through prayer). And sometimes the quiet time is a need for personal reflection... this is one of those times.... a reflective quietness.

I believe this time of reflection was prompted by the Easter sermon I heard. It was a message about Restoration, based on the words of Psalm 139, which contain some of my favorite verses in the Bible. The fact that God has searched me and knows me (vs. 1), that He created me (vs. 13) and that I am beautifully and wonderfully made (vs. 14), reminds me that He knows all of my faults and everything I was created to be. He knows my pains, my troubles, my dreams and my joys.

You see, I have learned that God wants to restore me, but first I had to be bought, and the price He paid to redeem me is more than I can begin to comprehend.  Isaiah 44:22 tells us, “I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you.”

Just as my Lenten season started with a time of self-reflection and prayer, I believe God has brought me full circle, to this time of reflective quietness. Sometimes quiet moments are needed for people to consciously reflect on relationships and other events in their lives. I have never doubted His gift of Salvation, but this Easter is different. I plan to embrace His restoration in me and make my daily prayer the words of Psalm 139:23-24, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”
My hope is that you too have un-wrapped the gift of salvation!

Have a blessed week...
God’s Peace, Donna Weaver

“I have engraved you on the palms of my hands,” says the Lord.
- Isaiah 49:16

22 April 2011

Making Earth Day Holy

“The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”
– Psalm 19:1

Did you know ... today is Earth Day? Earth Day should not only inspire us to be more aware of our environment and become the good stewards God has called us to be, but it should also be a time when we stop and thank God for all of His creation... the majesty and awesomeness of our world.

What scripture tells us about being good stewards of the planet ...

"The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden
to work it and take care of it.” – Genesis 2:15

“God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number;
fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air
and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” - Genesis 1:28

“It is a land the LORD your God cares for; the eyes of the LORD your GOD
are continually on it from the beginning of the year to its end.”
- Deuteronomy 11:12

As I was writing this story, I was doing some reading about different Good Friday observances and came across the words of a chant from an evening worship service. As I read the words, they triggered these thoughts about what Earth Day and Good Friday have in common...

Jesus, who hung the earth upon the waters, is the same Jesus that hung upon the Cross

Jesus, creator of plants and trees, thorns and thistles, the same Jesus who is King of the angels, was arrayed in a crown of thorns

Jesus, who created the colors of the rainbow and wraps the heaven in clouds, is the same Jesus who was wrapped in the purple of mockery

Jesus, who shows us His majesty with every sunrise and sunset, is the same Jesus who showed us His glorious Resurrection

It’s Friday, Let’s Sparkle ... action required ... As Christians, our priority is to share the Good News about Christ’s death, burial and resurrection, but until our time on earth is done, we are also called to be stewards of the earth that God created. This year since Earth Day happens to fall on Good Friday, I got to thinking about how we could make our Earth Day celebrations a little more holy.

Here are just a few ways we can incorporate some “earth day” ideas into our Easter activities...

Plant:  spring flowers or a small tree are great ways to make our yards come alive with the newness of spring... why not put some extra plants in small containers and share with your neighbors?

Clean Up:  gather a group of friends and do a quick clean up around the outside of your church building... just in time for the Easter crowds

Recycle:  it’s a great time to turn those bottles and cans you’ve been collecting in to cash, what better way to thank the Lord for all His goodness than to put a few extra coins in the offering on Easter morning ... or use it bless someone in need this Easter

Repurpose:  bring some of God’s creation to your Easter table.... gather some branches in containers and decorate with hanging eggs and crafted butterflies... add vases of flowers ... or what about decorating with eggshells repurposed into containers for jellybeans and votive candles

Give Thanks:  take a prayer walk with your family or friends and enjoy the perfect balance of God’s creation and the fellowship of loved ones ... or go on a nature walk alone, enjoying some peaceful time with God amidst His wonders

Learn More:  a great family resource is a book entitled “I Love God's Green Earth” by Caroline and Michael Carroll ... this book will attract eco-friendly kids and teach them how creation care can actually draw them closer to God. Each devotion includes a Scripture verse, a “Connection” section to help kids apply both the biblical and environmental lessons, and a “What Can I Do?” section with a takeaway activity.

For the past two years, I have enjoyed attending an outdoor sunrise Easter service. What an amazing way to feel connected to God’s creation and praise Him right in the midst of it all! No matter how you choose to celebrate Easter, I pray that you will remember our world is the place where we spend our days on earth until we can join the Resurrected Christ for all of eternity!

He died, He is Risen... He will come again!
Easter Blessings, Donna Weaver

Easter is a promise that God renews each spring.
May the promise of Easter fill your heart with peace and joy!

18 April 2011

Who Stole my Jellybeans?

“Never forget the three powerful resources you always
have available to you: love, prayer, and forgiveness.”
- H. Jackson Brown Jr.

Do you remember getting mad at your brother or sister when they bit the ear off of your chocolate bunny? Or what about your friend that ate all of your purple jelly beans? As kids we probably got over it the very next day (if not sooner). I think how silly those “crisis” seem now but somewhere along life’s journey, I’m sure we’ve each held on to something that someone has done to us that we’ve deemed unfair, or unforgiveable!

One of the last things Jesus said while hanging from the cross was, “Father forgive them, for they do not know what they do” – Luke 23:34. Then He died on a cross to pay for our sins, and on the third day He rose from the grave. Jesus showed us how He obediently walked the path in the plan that God had for Him.

This week as we begin our own personal journey through Holy Week, I’d like to ask you two questions...

1) Is there someone who you need to make peace with?

2) Can you follow Christ’s example and forgive those who have mistreated you?

Forgiveness is the key to serenity, but true peace is hard to find in a bitter mind. If Christ could pray a prayer of forgiveness for those who were putting Him to death, shouldn’t we be able to forgive others who have hurt or mistreated us? Despite what you may be going through today, can you look past your own problems and extend forgiveness to others? Forgiveness does not come easy, but the best reason to forgive is because Jesus commanded us to forgive.

“Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” - Colossians 3:13

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” – Luke 6:37

Jesus' dying words on the cross are a powerful example of how you and I ought to treat those who have mistreated us. Are you willing to follow His perfect example in every area of your life? Easter should be more than chocolate bunnies and jellybeans. This year will you make it about forgiveness? Will you extend forgiveness to those who don't deserve it, just like Jesus?

I challenge you to pick up your cross today… and live out the life of forgiveness Christ has given you!

God’s Peace, Donna Weaver

"Blessed are those to whom Easter is not a hunt... but a find;
not a greeting... but a proclamation;
not an outward fashion... but inward grace;
not a day... but an eternity."
- Anderson

15 April 2011

A-Tiskit, A-Tasket

“And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts.
For as members of one body you are called to live in peace.
And always be thankful.” - Colossians 3:15

A-tisket a-tasket
A green and yellow basket
I wrote a letter to my love
And on the way I dropped it,
I dropped it, I dropped it
And on the way I dropped it.
A little boy he picked it up and put it in his pocket.

The words of the simple children’s rhyme written above date back to the late 1800’s. I remember the first time I heard it was in elementary school. Standing on the playground in a circle with my friends, we’d joyfully sing the song while a person would skip around the outside of our circle and drop a handkerchief behind an someone unsuspecting. That person would pick up the handkerchief and chase the dropper. If caught, the dropper had to tell the name of their sweetheart. Oh, the joys of childhood... a time of innocence, fun and peace-filled days.

Times change, we grow up and life goes on.

This week my mind has been filled with thoughts of childhood games, Johnny-jump-ups, and memories of loved ones. Over the past few weeks, two very dear friends have each lost a family member. It’s an incredibly sad time for them, and my sympathy goes out to both families. As I thought about their loss, I realized that for me personally, my healing process has usually included the joy found in memories of times spent with the person I loved and lost.

When I was growing up, Easter was a time when both sets of my grandparents would come to visit and we’d all dress up in our Sunday best, worship together, take lots of pictures and enjoy some great food. I love looking at the old pictures and remembering our cherished times together. I find that God joins me in my memories and brings me peace. My prayer is that in time, my friends might also be able to find peace and joy in their memories.

It’s Friday, Let’s Sparkle.... action required... Back in the day, one of our typical Easter baskets would include such things as.... hollow chocolate bunnies, Peeps, silly putty, bubbles, a brand new jump rope, jacks, and plastic eggs filled with lots of jellybeans. It makes me smile just thinking about it!

Do you know someone that could use a smile... a bit of peace & joy? Why not make an Easter Blessing Basket and deliver it to a neighbor or a shut-in? It doesn’t have to be a fancy or costly basket... a little colored grass and a few treats, and maybe something just for fun... like silly putty! As you deliver your goodies you could also write a special message along the path with sidewalk chalk.

A-tisket a-tasket, let God fill our blessing baskets. Bring joy to someone this Easter and you may even find an opportunity to share the Good News of Christ along the way!

“Hippity-hopping” through the weekend with a bit of God’s joy!
Peace, Donna Weaver

Compassion is a beautiful thing....
when we feel the pain of others
we know our heart is right with God.
- Donna Weaver

11 April 2011

PEACE in the Midst of our Storms

“In our lives there is bound to come some pain,
surely as there are storms and falling rain; just believe that the one who holds the storms will bring the sun.” - Author Unknown

Today I’ve been thinking about all of the crazy weather and disasters that we have had in our world this year. I was reminded how life has its bad weather, too. Many of my friends and loved ones are experiencing storms in their lives right now. The storms of life can force us to deal with many emotions such as worry, fear and despair. Our lives can even be changed forever.

When we have bad weather in our lives, we need to remember that faith alone is not enough.  We need to be rooted in the promises and principles of God’s word, but  only God can carry us through the storms.

Worry ... can also mean troubled, anxious, and concerned. Anxiety is human, but our faith needs to remain strong. When we are worried it is easy to doubt God’s plan - we need to turn our worries over to the Lord. Do you sometimes think God is unaware of the storms in your life, or that He is unconcerned? Psalm 121 reminds us that He will not slumber or sleep. He will keep us from all harm. He watches over our coming and going, now and forever.

“Cast all your anxiety on God because he cares for you.”
- 1 Peter 5:7

“He gives power to the weak and strength to the powerless.”
– Isaiah 40:29

Fear ... can also mean terror, dread, and panic. The unknown is scary but we need to remember that sometimes God calms the storms ... and other times He stills the winds. He is always in control!

“He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!”
then the wind died down and it was completely calm.”
- Mark 4:39

“And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down.”
- Matthew 14:32

It’s okay to be afraid, but when fear overwhelms us, we can rest confidently in God’s promises...

“I am holding you by your right hand—I, the Lord your God.
And I say to you, 'Do not be afraid. I am here to help you.”
- Isaiah 41:13

Despair ... can also mean anguish, hopelessness and misery. We may question why the Lord is causing us to go through storms or deal with certain things.  If Jesus has power over heaven and earth, we can rest assured that He also knows all about our storms, stands with us through them, and is in control of our lives. Our comfort and HOPE can be found in His promises...

“When you go through deep waters and great trouble,
I will be with you.” - Isaiah 43:2

“Without wavering, let us hold tightly to the hope we say we have,
for God can be trusted to keep his promise.” - Hebrews 10:23

“We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed.
We are perplexed, but not driven to despair.” - 2 Corinthians 4:8

Change ... can also mean to adjust, alter, or transform. Sometimes God doesn't remove the storms in our life but uses them to strengthen our faith or improve our lives. And other times, the storm is devastating and changes our life forever.  I know all of us will experience stormy weather sometime in our lives, but Jesus promises that He will be with us no matter what, even when unthinkable, unexpected things happen.

“The LORD is close to the brokenhearted;
he rescues those who are crushed in spirit.”
- Psalm 34:18

“He set my feet on solid ground and steadied me
as I walked along – Psalm 40:2

It’s easy to be at peace and filled with hope and joy, when life is going well, but not so easy in the midst of life’s storms. Time and time again, the Bible tells us stories of storms in the lives of Christ’s followers.

MY PRAYER ... if God doesn’t remove our storms, may He glorify Himself through us as we become a powerful witness to those around us in the midst of the storm.

Rest in His Peace, Donna Weaver

“I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace.
In this world you will have trouble. But take heart!
I have overcome the world. “ - John 16:33

07 April 2011

I Love to tell the Story

“We will tell the next generation the praise worthy deeds of the Lord,
His power and the wonders He has done.” – Psalm 78:4

There is a song, taken from a poem that was written in 1866, about the life of Jesus. It became one of my favorite hymns when I was a young girl. I look back now and realize that it may have just been a sign of the journey my life would take. The song starts off with the words, “I love to tell the story of unseen things above, of Jesus and his glory, of Jesus and his love.” Oh, how I love to write stories, especially Christian children's stories. I also love telling others about Jesus. What about you?

The song goes on to say, “I love to tell the story, because I know 'tis true; it satisfies my longings as nothing else can do.” I love digging in to God's Word; reading my Bible and memorizing scripture. I get excited knowing that God is giving me commands, guidelines and instructions that will make my Christian walk stronger and bring me closer to Him. He also gives us many, many stories and parables, each containing wonderful examples of the journey's of the disciples and other biblical characters.   Some of my favorite childhood stories include: Noah and the Ark, Five Loaves and Two Fishes, Josephs’ Coat of Many Colors, Jesus Birth, Mary and Martha, and the Parable of the Lost Sheep. What are some of your favorites?

The song continues... “I love to tell the story, ‘twill be my theme in glory, to tell the old, old story of Jesus and his love." These words have become my personal mission... to share His stories with the next generations.

Click here and listen to Country Singer, Alan Jackson singing the classic hymn: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JzSL4Vdbxjc&feature=fvwrel

It’s Friday, Let’s Sparkle.... Action Required... I have written my Friday blog early this week, because as you are reading this post, I am on my way to a women’s spiritual retreat... a Walk to Emmaus. Below is the story of the disciples’ journey on the road to Emmaus. Is this a story you’ve heard before?

On the Road to Emmaus
Luke 24:13-24

“Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him.

He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?”

They stood still, their faces downcast. One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”

What things?” he asked.

“About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.”

When I was young I loved the Bible stories we heard in Sunday School class. Little did I know that those stories would become the foundation of my faith. In Exodus 10:2, the Lord said to Moses, “You will be able to tell wonderful stories to your children and grandchildren about the marvelous things I am doing among the Egyptians to prove that I am the Lord.” We have been called to pass along His stories to the next generation.... What are you doing to answer your calling? Check out your church library, local Christian bookstore or even your bookshelves at home... all you need is a Bible and/or storybook, a child or group of children, and a heart for sharing wonderful stories of Jesus and His love.  Make a difference in the life of a child... teach them the stories that will become the foundation of their faith!

‘til Monday,
God’s Peace, Donna Weaver

“Tell it to your children, and let your children tell it to their children,
and their children to the next generation.” - Joel 1:3

04 April 2011

Showing My Gratitude

“But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin,
so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ,
might be given to those who believe.” - Galatians 3:22

Paul uses Galatians 3:22, to tell us that our freedom from sin comes from grace alone, through our faith in Jesus Christ. He also restates this belief in the words of Ephesians 2:8-9 when he says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.” Paul’s message is just as relevant for us today, because we need to remember that our salvation cannot be earned. God’s grace in salvation is for all who believe that Jesus Christ died on the cross so that their sins would be forgiven and they would have eternal life.

God’s grace is not only unearned, it is undeserved, and unconditional. It is hard for us to comprehend this concept, because the worldview tells us that doing more gets you more, or that doing good will give you more “good” in your life. Too many people believe that if they have “good things” in their life, it is because they have earned God’s favor and blessings. We can use the follow acrostic to help remember that grace is a “gift” ...

G.R.A.C.E. can be defined as God’s Riches At Christ’s Expense

So, if we can’t earn grace, what should our response be to God’s “gift” as we grow spiritually and mature as disciples of Christ? God’s grace should move us toward repentance and faith, with the obvious response resulting in acts of service. As I thought about the importance of Paul’s words, I asked myself, “Do my acts of service reflect my gratitude and joy for my gift of salvation?”

In just a few days I will have an opportunity to serve as part of a team for a women’s spiritual retreat. The participants will come with empty hands and open hearts, to be filled with the immense power of God’s love and grace. The purpose of the weekend is to inspire, challenge and equip local church members for Christian action – in their homes, churches, workplaces and communities. There is almost nothing better than experiencing the presence of God, seeing Him at work in the lives of others and being part of his Master Plan. I look forward to spending time with my Sisters in Christ and believe that my “gratitude” for the gift of God’s grace is reflected as I serve others in His name.

“While they were talking and discussing,
Jesus himself came near and walked with them.”
-Luke 24:1

But, just as the disciples’ journey did not end on the road to Emmaus, my journey must continue beyond the mountaintop and into the valleys. We can’t get too comfortable in our “peaceful environment,” so again I ponder the question about what my actions reflect. Understanding the gift of God’s “grace” also helps me share my faith with non-Christians. Two things that we need to keep in mind as we witness to others: 1) You can never be good enough to earn salvation since it is of God’s grace and 2) You can never be bad enough to be ineligible for salvation since it is also of God’s grace. I can show others the “joy of my salvation” by being a living witness, letting my actions reflect my faith and bringing the Good News to un-believers. Only then, can I honestly say, “Yes, my acts of service do reflect my gratitude and joy for my gift of salvation!”

So, I ask you the question “Do your acts of service reflect your gratitude and joy for your gift of salvation?” I’d love to hear some of the ways you show your gratitude and express your joy through service and witness.

Peace be with you!
Blessings, Donna Weaver

“Let me tell you what He has done for me.”
- Psalm 66:16

01 April 2011

Standing at the Crossroads

This is what the LORD says: “Stand at the crossroads and look;
ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it,
and you will find rest for your souls.” - Jeremiah 6:16

Surprise everyone... today I’ve written a second blog post. I am participating in a group writing project and wanted to be sure to share my post with my readers. The topic of our group project is The Death, Burial and Resurrection – hope you enjoy!

Christians all around the world will soon be celebrating the death, burial and resurrection of our Savior. As a young girl, I grew up memorizing and repeating the words of the Apostles Creed, and Easter time always reminds me of the meaning behind those words that are so precious to me.

The Creed itself dates back to the very early times in the Church, about half a century or so from the last writings of the New Testament. The words of the Apostles Creed offer a summary of the fundamental teachings of the Bible. It is time-tested, rooted in biblical history and its simplicity makes it easy to share with others. The Creed was and still is my personal Declaration of Faith.

The Apostles Creed

I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
the Maker of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord:

Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,
born of the virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, dead, and buried;
He descended into hell.

The third day He arose again from the dead;
He ascended into heaven,
and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Ghost;
the holy catholic church;
the communion of saints;
the forgiveness of sins;
the resurrection of the body;
and the life everlasting. Amen.

In the preface of his book “The Creed,” Michael Bauman, asks readers the following questions:

• Can you define your Christianity?

• Do you know what you believe?

• What are the essentials of faith?

• Can you give an answer for the hope that is in you?

In speaking the words of the Apostles Creed, I know that my faith isn’t just an understanding of what I believe, but a trust in the One that I believe in. Jesus’ words found in John 11:25 tell us, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.” Christ took our place at the cross and because God chose to raise Him from the grave, I can choose to accept the same gifts that were found at the cross.

DEATH... If we repent of our sin and ask Jesus into our life, we experience a death... the death to our sinful ways, not a physical death but a spiritual one.

BURIAL... Just as the disciples had to move forward after Jesus death not knowing how things would turn out, I know that I can find some of the same courage and conviction that transformed the disciples.

RESURRECTION... The resurrection gives the believer assurance of eternal life. Death could not contain Jesus and Romans 6:8 tells us, “Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him." Through those words, I can experience the same anticipation of eternal life and victory found at the cross.

As Easter approaches I ask myself the question, “What is next for my Christian walk?” The answer is the same as it was when the Early Church was being established. The disciples continued their journey walking by faith. And so my journey continues... my next step may not be easy, there may be times when I am fearful, overwhelmed and at times, even terrified, but I know that Christ has called me to make a difference in the world.  Second Thessalonians 2:14 tells us, “He called you to this through our gospel, that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

So, as I stand at the crossroad, I rejoice in knowing that my hope comes from the Death, Burial and Resurrection of the One who leads me.

He has Risen....Hallelujah !
God’s Peace, Donna

Clean Windows

“People are like stained glass windows: they sparkle and shine
when the sun's out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is
revealed only if there is light within.” -Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

So, how has your Spring Cleaning been going? With the weekend approaching, we have more time to tackle the tasks at hand and we can’t forget to clean our windows. Washing windows is one of those not-so-fun jobs that takes a lot of energy and may seem like a waste of time. However, if you’re anything like me, between the time I wake up each morning and the time I arrive at the office, I look out many windows and I surely don’t want anything to distort my view of the glory of God’s morning light. There is nothing like a beautiful sunrise, or the sun peeking out behind the clouds in the early morning, or the sparkle of sunlight on the ocean.

Whether we’re looking out a bedroom window, a car windshield or through a pair of sunglasses, we need to make sure our view is clear. It’s important to apply the same principles to the way we look at life. We don’t want the worldview to distort the way we look at people, relationships, material things, or even our faith.

Some of the dirt and smudges that affect our view of life include: anger, hurt, negative attitudes, jealousy, pride, fear, suspicion, disbelief, doubt, worry, mistrust... and the list goes on and on.  Our perspective is important and to assure that our worldview is aligned with our faith, we need to remember that God is the light of the world and in Him there is no darkness.

Here is a prayer that can help keep the windows of our heart clean:

Dear God, Just as you have brought light into the world through your Son, Jesus Christ, we want to remember that Your desire is for us to shine as a witness in this sinful world. Help us to be clean, without sin and perfect in your eyes. Thank you for your grace, love and peace. Amen.

It’s Friday, Let’s Sparkle... action required... Take time this weekend to clean some windows (maybe even clean a neighbor’s windshield), enjoy God’s creation (invite a friend along) and share the Good News (tell a stranger that Easter is coming soon)!

T.G.I.F. (Thank God I’m Forgiven) – Have a blessed weekend.
God’s Peace, Donna

“I have come as a light to shine in this dark world,
so that all who put their trust in me will no longer
remain in the darkness” - John 12:46

Window Cleaning Tip:
Instead of harsh chemical sprays, get those windows and mirrors crystal clear with a simple solution of white vinegar, newspaper and a little elbow grease. You'll also save money and the hassle of needing to stock more cleaning supplies.  It's simple: mix 2 tablespoons of white vinegar with a gallon of water, and dispense into a used spray bottle. Squirt on, then scrub with newspaper, not paper towels, which cause streaking.