easter

Rooted

Rooted.

At the end of last year, the painting “Rooted” had found a new home. This week, I finally had the opportunity to see it in its new context and frame. By this I mean not only the spatial frame but also the picture frame. The owners happened to have this beautiful old frame that matched the picture and now it shines in new splendour in a place of honor in their reading and video room.

Rooted Acrylic Painting - SOLD
Rooted Acrylic Painting – SOLD

Rooted – fitting for Good Friday

The picture “Rooted” is very fitting for today. Today is Good Friday and we commemorate the crucifixion of Jesus Christ on the cross at Golgotha. His sacrifice on the cross enables us to receive forgiveness for our sins and reconciliation with the Almighty God. Jesus’ willingness to be treated as a felon is described in the Philippians’ letter:

Though he was God,
    he did not think of equality with God
    as something to cling to.
Instead, he gave up his divine privileges;
    he took the humble position of a slave
    and was born as a human being.
When he appeared in human form,
    he humbled himself in obedience to God
    and died a criminal’s death on a cross.

Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor
    and gave him the name above all other names. (Phil 2:6-9 NLT)

Out of love for us, Jesus went the not at all easy way into death and into the distance from God. He himself compared this in advance with a grain of wheat:

I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat is planted in the soil and dies, it remains alone. But its death will produce many new kernels—a plentiful harvest of new lives. (Jn 12:24 NLT)

Jesus died to bear fruit. We are this fruit. Those who follow Jesus and live rooted in Him are thus part of this fruit and contribute to Jesus’ joy.

Rooted – A Reason for Joy

The anticipation of these effects helped him to endure when he was confronted with suffering, contempt, shame and injustice.

Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne. (Hebr 12:2 NLT)

Finally, a last quotation from Isaiah, where Jesus’ death was predicted in a prophetic word:

Yet it was our weaknesses he carried;
    it was our sorrows that weighed him down.
And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God,
    a punishment for his own sins!
But he was pierced for our rebellion,
    crushed for our sins.
He was beaten so we could be whole.
    He was whipped so we could be healed.
All of us, like sheep, have strayed away.
    We have left God’s paths to follow our own.
Yet the Lord laid on him
    the sins of us all. (Is 53:4-6 NLT)

Jesus’ sufferings and death on the cross, sad and terrible as they are, eventually became a source of joy and peace for him and for us. He died so we could have peace with God. In this sense, I wish you all, HAPPY EASTER!

Good Friday – It is finished

Good Friday

Joh 19,30
When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

Mt 27:50-54
50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice and yielded up his spirit. 51 And behold, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. And the earth shook, and the rocks were split. 52 The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, 53 and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many. 54 When the centurion and those who were with him, keeping watch over Jesus, saw the earthquake and what took place, they were filled with awe and said, “Truly this was the Son of God!”

Poor or rich?

The Rich Family In Church

(by Eddie Ogan)

I’ll never forget Easter 1946. I was 14, my little sister Ocy was 12, and my older sister Darlene 16. We lived at home with our mother, and the four of us knew what it was to do without many things. My dad had died five years before, leaving Mom with seven school kids to raise and no money.

By 1946 my older sisters were married and my brothers had left home. A month before Easter the pastor of our church announced that a special Easter offering would be taken to help a poor family. He asked everyone to save and give sacrificially.

When we got home, we talked about what we could do. We decided to buy 50 pounds of potatoes and live on them for a month. This would allow us to save $20 of our grocery money for the offering. When we thought that if we kept our electric lights turned out as much as possible and didn’t listen to the radio, we’d save money on that month’s electric bill. Darlene got as many house and yard cleaning jobs as possible, and both of us babysat for everyone we could. For 15 cents we could buy enough cotton loops to make three pot holders to sell for $1.

We made $20 on pot holders. That month was one of the best of our lives.

Every day we counted the money to see how much we had saved. At night we’d sit in the dark and talk about how the poor family was going to enjoy having the money the church would give them. We had about 80 people in church, so figured that whatever amount of money we had to give, the offering would surely be 20 times that much. After all, every Sunday the pastor had reminded everyone to save for the sacrificial offering.

The day before Easter, Ocy and I walked to the grocery store and got the manager to give us three crisp $20 bills and one $10 bill for all our change.

We ran all the way home to show Mom and Darlene. We had never had so much money before.

That night we were so excited we could hardly sleep. We didn’t care that we wouldn’t have new clothes for Easter; we had $70 for the sacrificial offering.

We could hardly wait to get to church! On Sunday morning, rain was pouring. We didn’t own an umbrella, and the church was over a mile from our home, but it didn’t seem to matter how wet we got. Darlene had cardboard in her shoes to fill the holes. The cardboard came apart, and her feet got wet.

But we sat in church proudly. I heard some teenagers talking about the Smith girls having on their old dresses. I looked at them in their new clothes, and I felt rich.

When the sacrificial offering was taken, we were sitting on the second row from the front. Mom put in the $10 bill, and each of us kids put in a $20.

As we walked home after church, we sang all the way. At lunch Mom had a surprise for us. She had bought a dozen eggs, and we had boiled Easter eggs with our fried potatoes! Late that afternoon the minister drove up in his car. Mom went to the door, talked with him for a moment, and then came back with an envelope in her hand. We asked what it was, but she didn’t say a word. She opened the envelope and out fell a bunch of money. There were three crisp $20 bills, one $10 and seventeen $1 bills.

Mom put the money back in the envelope. We didn’t talk, just sat and stared at the floor. We had gone from feeling like millionaires to feeling like poor white trash. We kids had such a happy life that we felt sorry for anyone who didn’t have our Mom and Dad for parents and a house full of brothers and sisters and other kids visiting constantly. We thought it was fun to share silverware and see whether we got the spoon or the fork that night.

We had two knifes that we passed around to whoever needed them. I knew we didn’t have a lot of things that other people had, but I’d never thought we were poor.

That Easter day I found out we were. The minister had brought us the money for the poor family, so we must be poor. I didn’t like being poor. I looked at my dress and worn-out shoes and felt so ashamed—I didn’t even want to go back to church. Everyone there probably already knew we were poor!

I thought about school. I was in the ninth grade and at the top of my class of over 100 students. I wondered if the kids at school knew that we were poor. I decided that I could quit school since I had finished the eighth grade. That was all the law required at that time. We sat in silence for a long time. Then it got dark, and we went to bed. All that week, we girls went to school and came home, and no one talked much. Finally on Saturday, Mom asked us what we wanted to do with the money. What did poor people do with money? We didn’t know. We’d never known we were poor. We didn’t want to go to church on Sunday, but Mom said we had to. Although it was a sunny day, we didn’t talk on the way.

Mom started to sing, but no one joined in and she only sang one verse. At church we had a missionary speaker. He talked about how churches in Africa made buildings out of sun dried bricks, but they needed money to buy roofs. He said $100 would put a roof on a church. The minister said, “Can’t we all sacrifice to help these poor people?” We looked at each other and smiled for the first time in a week.

Mom reached into her purse and pulled out the envelope. She passed it to Darlene. Darlene gave it to me, and I handed it to Ocy. Ocy put it in the offering.

When the offering was counted, the minister announced that it was a little over $100. The missionary was excited. He hadn’t expected such a large offering from our small church. He said, “You must have some rich people in this church.”

Suddenly it struck us! We had given $87 of that “little over $100.”

We were the rich family in the church! Hadn’t the missionary said so? From that day on I’ve never been poor again. I’ve always remembered how rich I am because I have Jesus!

(received from Mikey’s Funnies, go there to read several responses to the story and an interesting discussion about the difference between poor and broke)

Jesus had no Servants

Jesus had no servants, yet they called Him Master.
Had no degree, yet they called Him Teacher.
Had no medicines, yet they called Him Healer.
Had no army, yet kings feared Him.
He won no military battles, yet He conquered the world.
He committed no crime, yet they crucified Him.
He was buried in a tomb, yet He lives today.

~unknown

Resurrection day

We had a wonderful Easter celebration at church.  I was part of a large Easter choir and we sang in four services, two on Saturday afternoon and evening, and two on Sunday morning. It was quite an experience to sing in a choir of 50 people. We had a blast and celebrated with all out heart the victory of Jesus. The following is one of the songs we sang, probably written by Tommy Walker:

We give thanks for resurrection day
That Sunday morn when heaven and earth did say
He’s risen! He’s risen! He rose to set us free
No greater victory the world will ever see

We give thanks for resurrection day
That blessed morn when heaven and earth did say
The tomb is empty! He is the King of Kings!
No greater victory the world will ever see

This day changed everything
This day changed everything
The world was lost in sin but now can live again
This day changed everything
This day changed everything
All hell has finally lost so guess what now ………. WE WIN!  WE WIN!

Thank you Jesus for resurrection day.

It was an awesome celebration which the words of this song can convey only partly. Wish you could have been there. I hope you had a joyous celebration, too.