Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Who wants to die?

Hebrews 9:26-28
New King James Version (NKJV)
26 He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. 27 And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,
28 so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation
Let’s talk about death and dying.  Let’s go back a few verses in the Amplified Version of the Bible at Hebrews 9:24-28, with the focus on dying.
24 For Christ (the Messiah) has not entered into a sanctuary made with [human] hands, only a copy and pattern and type of the true one, but [He has entered] into heaven itself, now to appear in the [very] presence of God on our behalf.
25 Nor did He [enter into the heavenly sanctuary to] offer Himself regularly again and again, as the high priest enters the [Holy of] Holies every year with blood not his own.
26 For then would He often have had to suffer [over and over again] since the foundation of the world. But as it now is, He has once for all at the consummation and close of the ages appeared to put away and abolish sin by His sacrifice [of Himself].
27 And just as it is appointed for [all] men once to die, and after that the [certain] judgment,
28 Even so it is that Christ, having been offered to take upon Himself and bear as a burden the sins of many once and once for all, will appear a second time, not to carry any burden of sin nor to deal with sin, but to bring to full salvation those who are [eagerly, constantly, and patiently] waiting for and expecting Him.
If I call myself a Follower of Christ and, indeed, I am a follower of Christ, then I am called to do as Christ did. The popular phrase, “What Would Jesus Do,” takes on a deeper significance to me, especially in the area of dying.
Romans 6:5-7
Amplified Bible (AMP)
5 For if we have become one with Him by sharing a death like His, we shall also be [one with Him in sharing] His resurrection [by a new life lived for God].
6 We know that our old (unrenewed) self was nailed to the cross with Him in order that [our] body [which is the instrument] of sin might be made ineffective and inactive for evil, that we might no longer be the slaves of sin.
7 For when a man dies, he is freed (loosed, delivered) from [the power of] sin [among men].
What does this dying look like in reality?  How do I “wear” this death?
Does a dead person feel anything?  Does a dead person hurt anyone?  Does a dead person care what happens to them?  Does a dead person have an agenda?  Does a dead person control or manipulate?  Does a dead person fail in anyway?  Does a dead person disappoint?  Does a dead person sin?  Does a dead person know or care when they are rejected?  Does anyone even have the power to reject a dead person??
I begin to see how liberating it is to die.  I begin to understand how the success of a relationship, especially my marriage, depends on me dying.  Marriage is only completely successful when both spouses are dead.
Don’t laugh, even though the statement leads one to think that the only way a marriage works is if both are dead, literally.  In other words, marriage is doomed to fail if we are breathing.
That’s actually true and is the exact reason why each Follower of Christ has died to themselves.  Because I have died to my own will and way – crucified with Christ -- Christ has resurrected me with Himself into a new life, free from the bondage of sin.  When temptation knocks on my door, my response must be, “Don’t you see that door is closed? Go away.  That part of me is dead!  I am in Christ, I am surrounded by Christ, I belong to Christ and I choose not to open the door to you ever again.”
I told you! Death is liberating!
In my marriage, as a dead person, I am to always “do what Jesus would do.” 
In my life, 24/7, I am dead to myself and alive and controlled by the Holy Spirit.  That is my choice. 
I choose to be dead to myself each and every day. 
I choose to honor.
I choose to respect.
I choose to be an emptied vessel for Jesus. 
I choose to have no agenda, except His. 
I choose to never try to control or manipulate.
I choose to accept and love my spouse. 
I choose to serve. 
I choose to encourage.
I choose to guard my heart from sin. 
I choose to have no opinion of my own outside of the will of God.
I choose to die.
THESE ARE ALL THINGS CHRIST DID FOR ME AND MUCH MORE….. which answers the question, “What Would Jesus Do?”
Only in my choice to die is there abundant life for me in Christ Jesus.
Until I die to myself, I cannot be resurrected to follow Jesus.
I do not want to go anywhere without my LORD, my Master, my Savior.
My identity is in Christ.
My personality is in Christ…..
Romans 6:5-7
New King James Version (NKJV)
5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection,
6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.
7 For he who has died has been freed from sin.
Remember, it is appointed unto man, only once to die. (Hebrews 9:27) When I die to myself, when I have been crucified with Christ, I will never die again.  I will never be dead again.  I cannot ever be dead again. It is written:  It is appointed unto man, once to die.  Jesus only died once and He has promised that I can only die once. I have done that. I have died to myself and given my whole being, body, mind, heart and soul, to Him and HE has raised me up a new person alive for His purpose and plan, never to die again.  You may take my body, but you cannot kill me!! I have already died!! 
Wooo Hoooo!! Hallelujah!! \o/ \o/
Acts 17:31
Amplified Bible (AMP)
31 Because He has fixed a day when He will judge the world righteously (justly) by a Man Whom He has destined and appointed for that task, and He has made this credible and given conviction and assurance and evidence to everyone by raising Him from the dead.

Monday, April 14, 2014

A True Story I Read and Must Preserve Here for Myself

 A true story by Catherine Moore

"Watch out! You nearly broadsided that car!" My father yelled at me. "Can't you do anything right?"

Those words hurt worse than blows. I turned my head toward  the elderly man in the seat beside me, daring me to challenge him. A lump rose in my throat as I averted my eyes. I wasn't prepared for another  battle.

"I saw the car, Dad. Please don't yell at me when I'm driving."

My voice was measured and steady, sounding far calmer than I really  felt.

Dad glared at me, then turned away and settled back. At home I left Dad in front of the television and went outside to collect my thoughts. Dark, heavy clouds hung in the air with a promise of rain. The rumble of distant thunder seemed to echo my inner turmoil. What could I do about him?

Dad had been a lumberjack in Washington and Oregon . He had enjoyed being outdoors and had reveled in pitting his strength against the forces of nature. He had entered grueling lumberjack competitions, and had placed often. The shelves in his house were filled  with trophies that attested to his prowess.

The years marched on relentlessly. The first time he couldn't  lift a heavy log, he joked about it; but later that same day I saw him  outside alone, straining to lift it.. He became irritable whenever anyone teased him about his advancing age, or when he couldn't do something he had done as a younger man.

Four days after his sixty-seventh birthday, he had a heart attack. An ambulance sped him to the hospital while a paramedic administered CPR to keep blood and oxygen flowing.

At the hospital, Dad was rushed  into an operating room. He was lucky; he survived. But something inside Dad died. His zest for life was gone. He obstinately refused to follow doctor's orders. Suggestions and offers of help were turned aside with sarcasm and  insults. The number of visitors thinned, then finally stopped altogether.  Dad was left alone.

My husband, Dick, and I asked Dad to come live with us on our small farm. We hoped the fresh  air and rustic atmosphere would help him adjust.

Within a week after he moved in, I regretted the invitation. It seemed nothing was satisfactory. He criticized everything I did. I became  frustrated and moody. Soon I was taking my pent-up anger out on Dick. We began to bicker and argue.

Alarmed, Dick sought out our pastor and explained the situation. The clergyman set up weekly counseling appointments for us. At the close of each session he prayed, asking God to soothe Dad's troubled mind.

But the months wore on and God was silent. Something had to be done and it was up to me to do it.

The next day I sat down with the phone book and methodically called each of the mental health clinics listed in the Yellow Pages. I explained my problem to each of the sympathetic voices that answered in vain.

Just when I was giving up hope, one of the voices suddenly exclaimed, "I just read something that might help you! Let me go get the article."

I listened as she read. The article described a remarkable study done at a nursing home. All of the patients were under treatment for chronic depression. Yet their attitudes had proved dramatically when they were given responsibility for a dog.

I drove to the animal shelter that afternoon.. After I filled out a questionnaire, a uniformed officer led me to the kennels. The odor of disinfectant stung my nostrils as I moved down the row of pens Each  contained five to seven dogs. Long-haired dogs, curly-haired dogs, black   dogs, spotted dogs all jumped up, trying to reach me. I studied each one but rejected one after the other for various reasons too big, too small, too  much hair. As I neared the last pen a dog in the shadows of the far corner struggled to his feet, walked to the front of the run and sat down. It was a pointer, one of the dog world's aristocrats. But this was a caricature of the breed.

Years had etched his face and muzzle with shades of gray. His hip bones jutted out in lopsided triangles.  But it was his eyes that caught and held my attention. Calm and clear, they beheld me unwaveringly.

I pointed to the  dog. "Can you tell me about him?" The officer looked, then shook his head in puzzlement. "He's a funny one. Appeared out of nowhere and sat in front of  the gate. We brought him in, figuring someone would be right down to claim him. That was two weeks ago and we've heard nothing. His time is up tomorrow."  He gestured helplessly.

As the  words sank in I turned to the man in horror. "You mean you're going to kill him?"

"Ma'am," he said gently, "that's our policy. We don't have room for every unclaimed dog."

I looked at the pointer again. The calm brown eyes awaited  my decision.

 "I'll take him," I said. I drove home with the dog on the front seat beside  me. When I reached the house I honked the horn twice. I was helping my  prize out of the car when Dad shuffled onto the front porch. "Ta-da!   Look what I got for you, Dad !" I said excitedly.

Dad looked, then wrinkled his face in disgust. "If I had  wanted a dog I would have gotten one. And I would have picked out a better  specimen than that bag of bones. Keep it! I don't want it" Dad waved his arm  scornfully and turned back toward the house.

Anger rose inside me.. It squeezed together my throat muscles and pounded into my temples." You'd better get used to him, Dad. He's  staying!"

Dad ignored me. "Did you hear me, Dad ?" I screamed. At those words Dad whirled angrily, his hands clenched at his sides, his eyes narrowed and blazing with hate. We stood  glaring at each other like duelists, when suddenly the pointer pulled free from my grasp. He wobbled toward my dad and sat down in front of him. Then slowly, carefully, he raised his paw.

Dad's lower jaw trembled as he stared at the uplifted paw confusion replaced the anger in his eyes. The pointer waited patiently. Then  Dad was on his knees hugging the animal.

It was the beginning of a warm and intimate friendship. Dad  named the pointer Cheyenne . Together he and Cheyenne explored the  community. They spent long hours walking down dusty lanes. They spent  reflective moments on the banks of streams, angling for tasty trout. They even started to attend Sunday services together, Dad sitting in a pew and Cheyenne lying quietly at his feet.

Dad and   Cheyenne  were inseparable throughout the next three years. Dad's bitterness faded, and he and Cheyenne made many friends. Then late one night I was startled to feel Cheyenne 's cold nose burrowing through our bed covers. He had never before come into our bedroom at night. I woke Dick, put on my robe and ran into my father's room. Dad lay in his bed, his face serene. But his spirit had left quietly sometime during the night.

Two days later my shock and grief deepened when I discovered Cheyenne lying dead beside Dad's bed.  I  wrapped his still form in the rag rug he had slept on. As Dick and I buried  him near a favorite fishing hole, I silently thanked the dog for the help he had given me in restoring Dad's peace of mind.

The morning of Dad's funeral dawned overcast and dreary. This day looks like the way I feel, I thought, as I walked down the aisle to the  pews reserved for family. I was surprised to see the many friends Dad and Cheyenne had  made filling the church.. The pastor began his eulogy. It was a tribute to  both Dad and the dog who had changed his life.

And then the pastor turned to Hebrews 13:2. "Do not neglect  to show hospitality to strangers, for by this some have entertained angels  without knowing it."

"I've often thanked God for sending that angel," he said.

For me, the past dropped into place, completing a puzzle that I had not seen before: the sympathetic voice that had just read the right article ... Cheyenne 's unexpected appearance at the animal shelter ... his calm acceptance and complete devotion to my father …. and the proximity of their deaths. And suddenly I understood. I knew that God had answered my prayers after all.

Life is too short for drama or petty things, so laugh hard, love truly and forgive quickly. Live While You Are Alive. Forgive now those who made you cry. You might not get a second time.

[Many thanks to Bev Topper for sending this story to me.  I had so much fun searching the web for pictures to accompany this wonderful story.]

Friday, April 11, 2014


  For exact recipe, click here.


resurrection rolls

Recipe and Instructions for Easter Rolls that tell the true meaning of Easter, which is the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.

This is an inspiring family project that can be done on Easter Morning.
Ingredients needed:
Crescent rolls
Melted butter
Large Marshmallows
Preheat Oven to 350 degrees

Give each child one triangle of crescent rolls.

Explain that he crescent roll represents the cloth that Jesus was wrapped in.

Read Matthew 27: 57-61

1. Give each child a marshmallow.
This represents Jesus.

2. Have him/her dip the marshmallow in melted butter.
This represents the oils of embalming.

3. Now dip the buttered marshmallow in the cinnamon and sugar.
This represents the spices used to anoint the body.

4. Then wrap up the coated marshmallow tightly in the crescent roll (not like a typical crescent roll up, but bring the sides up and seal the marshmallow inside.)
This represents the wrapping of Jesus' body after death.

5. Place all in a 350 degree oven for 10-12 minutes.
The oven represents the tomb--while you are waiting for the rolls to bake, read Matthew 27:62-66.

6. Remove rolls from oven and let them cool slightly.

Now the children can then open their rolls (cloths) and discover that Jesus is no longer there! HE IS RISEN!!!!
(The marshmallow melts and the crescent roll is puffed up, but empty.)

~ Now read Matthew 28:1-10

Enjoy your warm rolls as you rejoice at the good news of Easter!
And then go and tell someone else the good news today!