From “Hosanna!” to “Crucify him!”

Palm Sunday

Today was Palm Sunday, and as I read the text from the Gospels I was struck by a thought.  The same people who were shouting, “Hosanna!” on Sunday were shouting, “Crucify him!” five days later.  How fickle can a person be right?  But the thought that came to me next was even more frightening than the first.

The parade for Jesus was shortly after He had prayed for Lazarus.  Everyone now heard of the man from Galilee Who healed the sick and now recently raised the dead.  How easily these same peoples’ opinion were changed when a different opinion of Christ had been circulated!

My Pastor taught an excellent sermon recently.  He said that it matters not at all who other people say that Jesus is, instead it matters most who you say that Jesus is.  The Pharisees and priests decided that Jesus was a heretic, and at that point everyone else had to decide who Jesus was.

13When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?

 14And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.

 15He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?

 16And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

 17And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.

 18And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

As you can see what was important to Jesus was who His disciples thought that He was.

There is danger and trap for many of us, for we shout, “Hosanna!”  when things are going well.  We see Jesus as the King of kings and the Savior of all our circumstances.  But then, when circumstances change, we start to doubt who He is in our lives.  We turn our back on Him, ashamed of the cross, and the man on it.  Maybe difficult times have come, or disappointments in life; or perhaps a “new” doctrine is going around changing the very definition of who Jesus is.  We must not change how we identify with Christ based on circumstances or trendy “doctrine” or we are no better than the fickle Palm Sunday parade crowd.

As long as Jesus was healer and provider it was “Hosanna!”, but as soon as He asked to become “Lord” it was “Crucify Him!”

As long as it was about what He could do for them to make their life better, it was “Hosanna!”, but as soon as it became about what they could do for Him, it was either silence or “Crucify Him!”

The silence continues as people discredit our Lord and we stand by, not saying a word.  And our silence allows the One who paid the ultimate price for us to have His character and reputation questioned and “crucified” making Him nothing more than a Sugar Daddy and when the sugar is gone, we are not willing to identify with Him any longer.

Who do you say that He is?

Celebrating Who He is with dear Ann today:

218. The best Bible Study so far! Changed Lives.

219. My wonderful group of students.

220. An unexpected day out with a friend.

221. Homemade Chicago Hot Dogs…except I forgot the relish…:(

222. My oldest son home from college.

223. An amazingly beautiful bride.

224. Lacey Day continues….

225. Scholarship to Write To Publish!!

226. e-mail from Cecil Murphey!

227. Request for interview for my dream job!!

228. Heart-to-heart with college son.

229. Bringing a guest family to church!

230. Guest goes forward to give her life to Christ!!!!!!!Yay!

231. Finished Hunger Games trilogy so I can return to normal life.

…sharing a playdate with Laura:

…hanging out with L.L.: On In Around button

and a new face, Rebecca…Moms Against Manic Mondays

A Star, A Sage, A Shepherd and An Innkeeper – Day 12 Christmas Photo Scavenger Hunt

Blue starlight shafts through dark-and-dusty cave
illuminating child-yet-King.
The Heavens declare His glory.

Three wise men travel months, perhaps years
to find Him – experience Him,
bringing gifts fit for a King.

Shepherd’s work is interrupted abruptly
by skies full of angels
singing His praise.

An innkeeper misses the chance of a lifetime
to host the important human ever.
He shuts the door on opportunity.

“I can’t, there’s no room for you,” he objects
“I’m full already, and I won’t turn myself out.”
No Vacancy sign flashes red.

It never knocks again, this chance to host a King.
And I wonder…which of these four characters
am I?

Starlight declaring glory? Boldly announcing His coming?
Wise sage searching Him out? Bringing gifts?
A shepherd recognizing importance? Dropping everything to see?
or an Innkeeper full of everything and everyone? Turning Him away?

May I shine forth His glory to a dark and dusty world.
May I seek Him, no matter how long–until I find Him.
May I allow myself Divine interruptions to capture a moment.
May I never turn Him out of my home, because there’s no room for Him there.

Congratulations Dana from DRGT/Just Wondering. for your exquisite picture of your advent calendar…

There were no submissions for the prompt snowflake, but you still have until tomorrow for your submissions for a nativity…Can’t wait to see your pictures!

The linkup will be through 7Am tomorrow. I will go through the posts and gather the pics for the correct days. Thanks so much for your participation, this has been fun! Link up your post featuring a photo with a theme listed above. Include my blog button, and visit other “hunt” blogs. Stop by tomorrow to vote for your favorite “nativity” picture. Have fun! (Blog links must be provided before 7:00 AM CST, in order to be voted on 🙂 ) I have no idea why the number of links doesn’t update…There are participants!



Advent-ure – All Roads Lead To New Glarus (Even here!!) Day 10 Photo Scavenger Hunt


Advent – the coming or arrival of something extremely important.
What could appear less important than a baby born in a stable-cave?
and yet
the significance of this night moved stars to proclaim His coming.
the planets aligned, so to speak.

I have been on an adventure.
A Journey toward the coming or arrival of something extremely important.
This is why I most identify with the Wise Men in the Nativity Story.
I am searching and looking for Him.

Today’s prompt is to share a photo of your advent calendar. Whether you have a candle wreath, or pockets filled with felt objects to place in a nativity or on a Christmas tree, I’d love to see how your family marks the time until this coming of Someone extremely important.

I received this beautiful advent candelabra as a Christmas gift from my parents. It’s imported from Germany, but it was purchased in, you guessed it! New Glarus. Even this part of my journey from advent to epiphany follows the New Glarus road.

I’ve written a poem about this journey, called Journey From Advent to Epiphany.

There were no entries for the Salvation Army bell ringer.

The winner for the picture of the gift was Debbie from Heart Choices.

I know that this week will be busy for all of us, so I’ve decided to post the week’s photo prompts:

Wednesday – Advent Calendar
Thursday – Snowflake
Friday – Nativity

The linkup will be through Friday. I will go through the posts and gather the pics for the correct days. Thanks so much for your participation, this has been fun! Link up your post featuring a photo with a theme listed above. Include my blog button, and visit other “hunt” blogs. Stop by tomorrow to vote for your favorite “gift” picture. Have fun! (Blog links must be provided before 7:00 AM CST, in order to be voted on 🙂 ) I have no idea why the number of links doesn’t update…There are participants!



Hear Those Bells? – Day 9 Christmas Photo Scavenger Hunt

Salvation Army worker
Today’s prompt is a Salvation Army Bell Ringer. There’s nothing more “Christmasy” than hearing a Salvation Army bell ringer. I wonder if you’ll take a look at my past with me? A stroll down memory lane if you will…

I had the most beautiful upbringing in the whole world. Part of this heritage includes a family with its roots entrenched in the Salvation Army. My father, the eldest son of Salvation Army officers started his young family where his foundation lay…at the SA. My mother had her life changed when at 15, after a Billy Graham crusade, she filled out her followup paper work with SA for Saint Ann’s Catholic Church, and the Salvation Army showed up at her door. I have a plethora of family members that has served as officers of the Army and are now retired. As someone who has had the pleasure of watching their lives from the inside, let me tell you, they do the most good.

19970_263203121439_522631439_4012251_137751_n

My own spiritual formation took a turn when I was 14. An uncle from my mother’s side started a non-denominational church and we began attending there. However, there have been key moments in my life when I have found myself right back where I started…at the Army. Two times stand out in particular. Once was the Thanksgiving when my father encouraged my family to help serve Thanksgiving dinner at the corps they were attending. My children were all tweens at the time, and at first they were a little annoyed that our family traditions were going to be “interrupted”. But, by the end of the dinner, I can honestly say that they were truly more grateful for things that previously they had taken for granted.

The other time that stands out in my mind was around the same time as the first. We went to church with my parents who were then attending a Salvation Army church in Janesville, Wisconsin. The Army has much more conservative services than my children were used to, and the congregation there was much more…shall we say ecclectic? First, a lady with a FULL BEARD, stood up and gave a testimony. I gave the “look” to my boys, more than once, and eventually they were so intrigued by her praise to God and to the love and acceptance that the rest of the congregation showed that her that they were okay on their own with my evil eye. Next, a lady with an oxygen tank got up and played the accordian for special music. I’ll never forget my daughter whispering very sincerely and innocently in my ear, “This is better than a circus!”

…and then I realized. How many churches would celebrate these dear ones? Would mine? Even more importantly, would I? I am reminded of an old song we used to sing when I was in the Army. “To love the unloved, in the service of the Lord.” It is service to the Lord when I love those the world calls unlovely. And the unlovable aren’t just those who look different than we do…or those who smell different than we do. Sometimes they are the co-worker in the cubical next to us, or dare I say it, the person we are living with…

Please consider giving to one of the most nobel causes on the planet. The Salvation Army has made the world a better place in so many ways. Won’t you help them do it? If you are interested in contributing to my virtual kettle, you can click here.

Ham barely beat out turkey for most popular Christmas Dinner meat. Today’s poll is for the best picture of a Christmas present.

I know that this week will be busy for all of us, so I’ve decided to post the week’s photo prompts:
Monday – A Gift
Tuesday – Salvation Army Bellringer
Wednesday – Advent Calendar
Thursday – Snowflake
Friday – Nativity

The linkup will be from now through Friday. I will go through the posts and gather the pics for the correct days. Thanks so much for your participation, this has been fun! Link up your post featuring a photo with a theme listed above. Include my blog button, and visit other “hunt” blogs. Stop by tomorrow to vote for your favorite “gift” picture. Have fun! (Blog links must be provided before 7:00 AM CST, in order to be voted on 🙂 ) I have no idea why the number of links doesn’t update…There are participants!



Light Up The World – Day 7 Photo Scavenger Hunt

This is a home down the street from me…The really neat thing is that they are doing a hunger drive by. (There’s a huge tub to put canned foods in, in front of the house.)

I was thinking about outdoor lights, and how merry they make a neighborhood…and it reminded me of the scripture that says we are not to hide our light under a bushel, but we are to be like a light on a tall hill in the city. That kind of sounds like the Hollywood hill. There’s no question where you are when you see those letters on that hill. There should be no question with Whom others are with when they are with us. We are God containers. What a mystery! That God would want to be contained in flesh. I’m so thankful He came here, live and in the flesh! So shine your light today and everyday. By doing so, you show others Whose you are!

Hollywood Fog

Today’s prompt is outdoor lights. You may include a photo or a video.

Congratulations Frances at Frances for her picture of the huge gold star on top of her tree!

Now for today’s poll…

1. I’ve included a picture that a friend of mine took of my snow angel. Her blog, To Tell You The Truth is a wonderful combination of word, and if you look way back she has some amazing photos as well. She is one of my most talented face-to-face real life, lifetime friends. Please visit her!

2. Kateri over from Dandelion Haven has made another fine entry called Angel’s Wings! Don’t you just love the name of her blog? Her writing is beautiful as well.

Link up your post with a picture of a home decorated with outdoor lights! Include my blog button, and visit other “light” blogs. Stop by tomorrow to vote for your favorite “outdoor lights” picture, and find out what tomorrow’s photo hunt will be! Have fun! (Blog links must be provided before 7:00 AM CST, in order to be voted on 🙂 ) I have no idea why the number of links doesn’t update…There are participants!



Linking with:

Sunday Snapshot

and

Where Is My Star? – Day 5 Christmas Photo Scavenger Hunt

Please scroll down to vote on your favorite photo and/or participate in today’s photo prompt: Star

I want to find the Christ Child.
…to be the Shepherds, the Wise Men,
A donkey in the the stable, for all I care
I just want to be found there.

I want to see the blue light of night
pierced through with white star beam.
…to hear Heavenly hosts sing
the song of Heaven’s theme.

The religious were looking too
…looking for a man of power, a king.
But He came as humble God-man child
And they missed Him, looking past Him all the while.

It must have seemed so anti-climatic
after all their studying and seeking
A baby born amidst whispers of shame
and impropriety…without fame.

And hindsight’s 20/20
It’s so easy to see the handwriting in the sky
after history has been written.
…but in present blind eyes are smitten.

And I sweat to search
with every fiber of my being
I look, I peer…is He in History?
Literature, Science, Prophecy?

After all, the Magi found the path
to God in Science and heathen religion.
And Mary said yes to imagine
herself Mother of God and to the loss of her reputation.

The Wise Men still had to travel
through desert and discomfort
after the excitement of the start
and after their homes they departed.

Following yonder star
From afar. I am far
Far away from where I long to be.
Where is the star that will lead me?

Will I be willing? Willing to study
Hard and long?
Willing to travel far and wide?
Willing to put my reputation aside?

Am I willing to knock over sacred cows?
Put preconceived ideas away?
To find Who He really is,
And not Who I make Him to be?

Lord, give me the pure faith of Mary,
The simple trust of Shepherds,
The tenacity of Wise Men
Following Yonder star.

Please vote on your favorite ornament picture.

A little about the contributors.
1. Reflection is found at my friend Shanda’s place: A Pause On The Path

2. Frosted Church is found at Emilie’s place: Capturing This Lifesong

3. Homemade Ornaments is found at Elizabeth’s place: Just Following Jesus

4. Peace Pillow is found at Dolly’s place: Soul Stops

5. Nature’s Best is found at Kateri’s place: Dandelion Haven

6. Hello Kitty Ornament is found at Melanie Joy’s place: Our Journey Home

Link up your post with a picture of a star! Include my blog button, and visit other “star” blogs. Stop by tomorrow to vote for your favorite “star” picture, and find out what tomorrow’s photo hunt will be! Have fun! (Blog links must be provided before 7:00 AM CST, in order to be voted on 🙂 ) I have no idea why the number of links doesn’t update…There are participants!



storytellers button rust

The Blueprint of Your Life.

The lights are dim in the room. Dark walls accentuate the bright lights in the small chapel provided for the Saturday evening Contemporary Service. Leaders assemble an hour before starting time to be encouraged about their role in this dark world, and the young man speaks. He speaks to them about the name of this leadership meeting, Blueprint. He shares with them the process of making a blueprint, and their perspective changes. My “old heart” changes, because of these young ones.


He tell us that it all starts with a master planner. This architect or draftsman draws the plans he has for his project onto tracing paper. The final product is only a dream at that point, but he plans nonetheless, knowing that an action with no plan often causes more problems than no action at all.

He then takes a special white paper that has been treated with an inorganic chemical and places the tracing paper over the tainted paper.

Next, he shines a light onto the the tracing paper. Although a chemical process happens, it is invisible to the human eye until he chemically treats the paper a second time. This causes the light exposed areas to turn blue, while his plans remain white.

Isn’t this how it is in our lives dear friend? Our Master Planner has made a blueprint for our lives. He’s promised us each a plan of our own. (Jeremiah 29:11) He has drawn it out before we were born. But sin entered our lives, just like the inorganic or unnatural chemical on the “blank” paper. When we allow the plan of God (the tracing paper) to cover our sin, and His Word (the light), to penetrate our lives, it leaves a mark. Even if you can’t see it at first, it makes an lasting imprint. Eventually, after we’ve been continually washed in his Word, the light exposes our sin, but it exposes His plans for us as well.

So I have one question for you…Will you allow His plan to cover the sin drenched paper of your life? Will you allow him to make a beautiful sanctuary out of your life? Will you expose yourself to the light of His Word, even if it may be painful?

What kind of building results from an unplanned plan? Is it built on sand? A wise man counts the cost before he begins to build. God your Father and Master Planner has counted the cost for your life. He’s made a plan. The plan He made for you cost Him everything, so that you could become His beautiful treasure here on earth, His masterpiece, His work of art.

For more information on the process of a blueprint, click here.

Giving thanks with Ann today:

#41 – I am thankful for the most beautiful autumn I’ve ever experienced. It demands my attention.

#42 – So grateful for shorter days suggesting more rest and cozy nights of reading at home.

#43 – My husband, who always finds a silver lining

#44 – For my new doctor who encouraged me with, “You must live each day as a gift.” Wow!

#45 – That I get to be a servant to my sweet family.

#46 – For Dr. Renner sharing so freely with our congregation

#47 – For the 21 pieces of missing luggage being found for our Haiti missions team.

Linking with dear Michelle and Jen and Laura and Shanda:

Lessons Learned From a Jehovah’s Witness

It was an early Saturday morning and I had run to the grocery store just a few blocks from my house.  The sun was shining, and the air was scrubbed clean from an overnight shower.  With a to-do list as long as my right arm, I quickly loaded the contents of my grocery cart into the back of my truck.

A woman with a smile as bright as the sun walked toward me, a Watchtower in hand.  I sighed.  I really didn’t have time for this.  My home was on the Jehovah’s Witness blacklist already, but they didn’t know not to approach me in a parking lot.

“Hello!  How are you today?”  She was cheery and inviting.

“I’m fine, thank you, but you probably don’t want to bother with me because I’ve been banned by the Jehovah’s Witnesses.”  I tried not to sound rude, but it sounded that way anyway.  I just didn’t want to waste our time.

“Banned?  I doubt that.  Why do you say that?”

“Well, I invited the Jehovah’s Witness ladies who came by my house every week, to my house for a Bible Study so that we could discuss our differences.  After a couple of hours, we all had more questions than answers for each other, and they agreed to return the following week.  I baked some muffins and I cleaned my house, but no one showed up.  There hasn’t been a knock on my door since…and I’ve seen them on my block.  They just skip my house.”

We stood there discussing a few points.

And then she did it.  She looked at me and very sincerely said, “Why don’t you go door to door?  I’ve never had anyone (a Christian) come to my door.”

I have gone door to door, and I let her know that I have, but her confidence that I had never witnessed door to door alarmed me.  Because of our lack of evangelism, she was able to without a doubt in her mind, assume that because this is an American Christian before me, I can assume that she has never done any witnessing.

We wished each other well, and I concluded our conversation with, a touch on her hand and these words, “I sincerely hope that our differences don’t end up meaning that one of us misses out on the eternal life God has planned for man.”

I got in the car, and turned the key.  And the whole conversation made me wonder.  What if I had gone to her door?  What if I had beat the Jehovah’s Witnesses to her home?  She was obviously hungry for something the day they came by.  It almost sounded as if she wished someone had come to her home.  If I had, and she made a decision for Christ, I wondered what she would be doing that early Saturday morning.  Would she be standing in the parking lot too busy to talk to a Jehovah’s Witness?  Would she be making a to-do list more of a priority than a person?

 

Listing the graces I’ve recognized this past week with Ann.

#26 – Grateful for lessons learned from my Jehovah’s Witness friend.

#27 – For good doctor’s reports from friends and famliy

#28 – For the sticky goodness of pumpkin donuts

#29 – I am thankful for the beauty of an apricot sunset.

#30 – For the grace to live in the here and now.

#31 – For creative friends who change the world

#32 – For the warm glow of a bonfire on a cool October night.

and Michelle

and my lovely friend Jen

Belief Undefined

Believe.
Definition vague.
Ambiguous.
Full of empty, meaningless words.
I’m certain this word once had substance,
but I’m unsure of its current resting place.

I say that I Believe.
but..Do I?
How can I do something which I can not define?
After all, what does it mean,
this “believe”?

Just believe!  A popular slogan demands.
You got to have faith! Even the most ungodly suggests.
Believe Whom?
Have faith in what?
How carelessly we toss around
the very words that save our lives.

Trust.
Have confidence in.

Do I trust You, God?
On rare occasions, perhaps.
Do I have confidence not only in Your ability,
But also in Your yes answer?
…and Your no answer?

There are plenty of days I don’t “feel” like I believe.
or Have faith.
Does belief have a feeling?

Faith without works is dead.
Does faith and belief prove itself in action?
Is it works to think faith can be proved at all?
James didn’t think so.

I move small mountains,
Is this proof that I have faith?
Or is this only evidence of His mercy?
Is it His roar coming from behind this lion cub that I am?
and I am foolish enough to think my ferocity has scared away the enemy.
I bring a cake to a neighbor
because I want her to know Jesus.
Do I know Him?
I make it my determined purpose.
Knowing Him, that is.

Whatever belief, or faith is
I hope that I have it.
Faith is the substance of things hoped for.
I hope for faith. It is the anchor of my soul.
Faith now has substance;
Substance in small mountains,
Moved by His roar, and my trust in Him
as I hide my tear wet face in His mane.
Substance in frosted, sprinkled cupcakes
given to freckled crinkled noses.
I believe.

“I’m on Aslan’s side even if there isn’t any Aslan to lead it. I’m going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn’t any Narnia.” ~C.S. Lewis

Thanks to my new friend Rachel for reminding me of this wonderful quote!

and to Holly Wagner for the inspiration about lions!