Archives for March 2013

Easter Is Not A Time…

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Easter is not a time for groping through dusty, musty tomes or tombs to disprove spontaneous generation or even to prove  life eternal.  It is a day to fan the ashes of dead hope, a day to banish doubts and seek the slopes where the sun is rising, to revel in the faith which transports us out of ourselves and the dead past into the vast and inviting unknown.  ~Author unknown, as quoted in the Lewiston Tribune

 

But from this earth, this grave, this dust,
My God shall raise me up, I trust.  ~Walter Raleigh

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On Easter Day the veil between time and eternity thins to gossamer.  ~Douglas Horton

The joyful news that He is risen does not change the contemporary world.  Still before us lie work, discipline, sacrifice.  But the fact of Easter gives us the spiritual power to do the work, accept the discipline, and make the sacrifice.  ~Henry Knox Sherrill

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The resurrection gives my life meaning and direction and the opportunity to start over no matter what my circumstances.  ~Robert Flatt

Easter says you can put truth in a grave, but it won’t stay there.  ~Clarence W. Hall

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Do You Need A New Beginning?

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This is the time of year where I have to exert the most self-control—Easter candy is my weakness.  Somehow the combination of pure sugar (jelly beans) and melt-in-your-mouth-chocolate (Hershey’s Eggs) just does me in.

I love the candy, but I also love the holiday.  Furry and chocolate bunnies (hopefully not the same) aside, Easter signifies a season of hope and renewal.  It comes a few days or a few weeks after the first day of spring, which naturally speaks of rebirth, new growth, and life.  Just like the resurrection of Christ.  The death of Jesus on the cross reflects many hefty themes, such as triumph over sin, God’s love for his people, and the significance of the empty tomb, but the one theme that speaks most to me this Easter season is:

A New Beginning

 

For it is with the death of Christ that all of humankind was given a chance for a new beginning  in a relationship with God.

Why are new beginnings important to me?  Because we all need them.  They signify a second chance, a fresh start, a life to be lived in the full.  God is our second chance.  It is through a relationship with Him that we will find the perspective and strength for the new day.

What do you want to begin anew in your life?

A renewed committment to your marriage?  A new beginning in your faith?  A new life breathed into your career?  A renewed spirit during a time of long-suffering?  A new hope and effort toward healing a strained relationship?  A new beginning for something that ended in a difficult way?

Our God is a God of second chances, because He is always pursuing us, hoping we will take Him up on His offer for a new beginning.

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Easter symbolizes a new beginning for me, a reminder again of what I know:

that daily I will fail but I am forgiven,

that yearly I will see God’s plan play out in my life,

and for eternity I will walk with Him in paradise.

 

In his final moments of life, Jesus surrendered himself for our sin, paying the price so that we have a clean slate before God, if we choose to accept this gift of his son, the gift of a new life.

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Will you celebrate this Sunday new beginnings with me?

…And then begin a new diet with me after my Easter candy epic splurge?

How Are You Doing With The Golden Rule?

My daughter Maddie and I have started another blog.  It’s called

MaddieMo and Mom.  Maddie is eleven, and has some thoughts of her own to share.  I weigh in at the end. I wanted to share a post from that blog on GraceFullhome:

The Golden Rule

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Maddie

“Treat others the way you want to be treated.”

The golden rule means a lot to me.  Mostly because Jesus followed the Golden Rule every day. For example Jesus gave love and grace and forgiveness to everyone he met. I am a Godly girl, and that means that I try to follow Jesus’s ways just as much as he  did.  That also means that I follow the Golden Rule with my friends my family and anybody else.  The way I follow the Golden Rule with my family is whenever I say something rude I say I’m sorry and I won’t do it again and hopefully they know I would them to say sorry to me sometimes.

 

Mom

This rule is so great, but not that easy to carry out.  Try this, put someone in your life in the “other’s” blank:

Treat _______________ the way I want to be treated

Treat my husband the way I want to be treated.

Treat my children the way I want to be treated.

Treat my neighbor the way I want to be treated.

 

Do I want to be treated with kindness and respect?  Do I want to be treated with forgivness and grace?  How about patience, and be given the benefit of the doubt? Yes.  Well then, I better hand those out like a clown hands out balloon animals to a crowd of children–freely and with a smile.

 

Blessings,
Amy

What is Unpleasant in Your Life?

We all have things in our life that aren’t perfect.  Things we wish we could change–maybe chronic pain, maybe a difficult marriage, possibly a wayward child.  You fill in the blank.  Sometimes we question God and ask why?  Why does this difficult circumstance have to be in my life?  In those times we need to remember that God has a much greater plan than our little eyes can see, and it often has to do with the shaping of our souls.

This excerpt from a devotional I recently read describes it well:

I see unpleasantness in life as a lot like the ingredients in a chocolate cake, which in its finished form is delicious.  Imagine eating the ingredients one by one–a cup of flour, a mouthful of chocolate, a couple raw eggs, a cup of sugar. Yuck! But when you blend those ingredients together in just the right proportions and put the mixture in the oven at t=just the right temperature, you get something delectable.

Likewise, when we love God and know He has called us to be His, He will take every “ingredient” f our lives–pleasant and unpleasant–and blend them together for good to fulfill the greatest purpose possible: to “conform us to the likeness of his Son.”   p.9, The Lighthouse Devotional

Your Future Self

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Yesterday I spent the morning in a business meeting.  It was a motivational meeting, one like you might experience if you were at a Tony Robbins seminar (although much much smaller).  The speaker, Scott, spent about an hour talking to us about where we would like to be in a year from now–our “future self.” The key word was “like” to be, not where we naturally would be.  You see, we naturally will be just an older version of ourselves in a year, because we are a machine of habits and limitations, as Scott pointed out.  We will keep doing what we always do, an object in motion that stays in motion unless something knocks it out of orbit.

So, Scott asked us to picture ourselves split in two–one self is who we are in a year if we just keep on doing what we always do–same habits, same patterns, same thoughts.  The other self is who we would be a year from now if we stepped out of our box, changed bad habits, fixed some relationships, took some risks, changed things up–all the time striving for the goal of being our best self.  We would do this by listening to our “personal trainer’s” voice.  Think the gym.  A personal trainer sees how we move then makes slight adjustments so that we are in our best form, and can get the most out of the work out.  The personal trainer in our head will help us make the proper changes to our lives so that we are moving toward the best “me” we can be.

Of course, as I sat in my chair listening these words of inspiration, which was focused on changing our financial lives, my mind translated everything he was saying to my spiritual life (when God is at the center of our soul, everything we see, do and hear filters into a spiritual dialect). What is keeping me from being my best spiritual self in a year from now?  If I believe that closeness with God equals peace and joy in my life, why wouldn’t I strive to get there?  Who doesn’t want peace and joy?  I can’t think of a single human.  Ask yourself these questions that I asked myself (I provided some general examples, and you can also fill in the blank)

What would my best “spiritual” self look like in a year?   (Close enough to God to hear his voice whisper in my ear, contentment with the path he has me on, sense of peace with my circumstances and relationships, ______________________________)

What habits would I need to change?  (less time on the computer, more  time in the bible, _________________________)

What new things would I need to do to break out of my box of habits and patterns in my walk with God?   (rearrange my hours in the day to set aside time for prayer, have a coffee date with God at Starbucks once a week, ________________________)

What negative thoughts about my walk with God do I need to release? (God can’t possibly love me because of my past mistakes, I’ll never be as good of a Christian as _______________, I can’t be forgiven for _____________)

In order to get to this “best spiritual self” we would need to listen to our personal trainer’s voice, which of course is God.  He will coach us through this process if we let him into our lives and ask him to help us evolve.  He will help us not be in the same place relationally with him that we are today.  But, we have to be willing to do this exercise of picturing where we want to be in a year from now.  What does that really look like for you?  I know I can become very complacent in my daily walk with God.  It becomes too comfortable.

The times in my life when I have experienced God to the full were times I took risks:  started a bible study in my sorority (scary!), worked at a Young Life Wilderness Camp for two summers where I was tempted and pushed to my physical and emotional limits, started a neighborhood bible study with ladies on my street who I barely knew (more scary!), etc.  Now, I think my risks would be letting go of some things I like to do first thing in the morning like checking email and instead opening the bible first. What risks would you be willing to take this next year to grow?  What small shifts in the 24 hours a day you are given would you be willing to take to become the best you that you can be?

Think about it….I am.

 

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