Verified

The truths of the Bible are verified by many witnesses, as can be seen below:

For forty days after Jesus had suffered and died, he proved in many ways that he had been raised from death. He appeared to his apostles and spoke to them about God’s kingdom.  — Acts 1:3 [CEV]

31 Then for many days Jesus appeared to his followers who had gone with him from Galilee to Jerusalem. Now they are telling our people about him.  — Acts 13:31 [CEV]

Now, brothers and sisters, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance[a]: that Christ died for our sinsaccording to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third dayaccording to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas,[b] and then to the Twelve.After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers and sisters at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me also, as to one abnormally born.

For I am the least of the apostles and do not even deserve to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. 10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me. 11 Whether, then, it is I or they, this is what we preach, and this is what you believed.  — 1 Corinthians 15:1-11 [NIV]

24 This is the disciple who testifies to these things and who wrote them down. We know that his testimony is true.

25 Jesus did many other things as well. If every one of them were written down, I suppose that even the whole world would not have room for the books that would be written.  — John 21:24-25 [NIV]

Sometime in our future there’s a party to end all parties.  The Lamb of God will invite us to a bash that rings out the old life forever and rings in a new unity with Him.  Hatred, fear, and pride will go suddenly stale, as we feast on love, joy and praise.  What a day that will be!  Hallelujah!  — One Year Book of Psalms

Finally, here are some Easter quotes from kids to brighten your day.

Have a great Resurrection Sunday this weekend!  It’s true!  He is risen!

 

Crucified

Here are the facts about Easter.  See for yourself:

16 The soldiers led Jesus away into the palace (that is, the Praetorium) and called together the whole company of soldiers. 17 They put a purple robe on him, then twisted together a crown of thorns and set it on him. 18 And they began to call out to him, “Hail, king of the Jews!”19 Again and again they struck him on the head with a staff and spit on him. Falling on their knees, they paid homage to him. 20 And when they had mocked him, they took off the purple robe and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him.  — Mark 15:16-20 [NIV]

22 They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means “the place of the skull”).23 Then they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. 24 And they crucified him. Dividing up his clothes, they cast lots to see what each would get.  — Mark 15:22-24 [ NIV]

29 Those passing by were hurling abuse at Him, wagging their heads, and saying, “Ha! You who are going to destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, 30 save Yourself, and come down from the cross!” 31 In the same way the chief priests also, along with the scribes, were mocking Him among themselves and saying, “He saved others; He cannot save Himself.32 Let this Christ, the King of Israel, now come down from the cross, so that we may see and believe!” Those who were crucified with Him were also insulting Him.

33 When the sixth hour came, darkness fell over the whole land until the ninth hour. 34 At the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which is translated, My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” 35 When some of the bystanders heard it, they began saying, “Behold, He is calling for Elijah.” 36 Someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed, and gave Him a drink, saying, “Let us see whether Elijah will come to take Him down.” 37 And Jesus uttered a loud cry, and breathed His last.38 And the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. 39 When the centurion, who was standing right in front of Him, saw the way He breathed His last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”  Mark 15:29-39 [NASB]

Kindness Matters

Here are a few more quotes from my “Word of the Year,” Kind:

So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son.  He is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom with the blood of his Son and forgave our sins.  He has showered kindness on us, along with all wisdom and understanding.  — Ephesians 1:6-8 [NLT]

In his kindness God called you to share in his eternal glory by means of Christ Jesus.  So after you have suffered a little while, he will restore, support, and strengthen you, and he will place you on a firm foundation.  All power to him forever!  Amen.  — 1 Peter 5:10-11 [NLT]

I have found my servant David.  I have anointed him with my holy oil…I will steady him with my hand; with my powerful arm I will make him strong…I will love him and be kind to him forever; my covenant with him will never end…  — Psalm 89:20-21, 28

People were being very kind to each other, being friends…It restores your faith…During the 36 hours that the train was stuck, younger passengers helped older ones reach their families to let them know they were OK.  A “Mom Brigade” was formed to take care of and entertain children.  — Passengers of an Amtrak train stranded in the Oregon mountains

Purim

Purim starts today and continues tomorrow.  What an amazing story this is from the Bible!  It reads like a melodrama — it has been a tradition to “boo” and make noise when you hear the name of the protagonist read–Haman.  For more fun traditions, complete with photos, check out this website.

What I love most about the celebration, is that God authorized it and said to give gifts to the poor on those days.  Isn’t that amazing?  To understand the meaning of Purim, you need to read the entire book of Esther.  It truly is a great (and true) story, and even humorous in many ways.  Here are a few excerpts:

When Haman saw that Mordecai would not bow down or show him respect, he was filled with rage.  He had learned of Mordecai’s nationality, so he decided it was not enough to lay hands on Mordecai alone.  Instead, he looked for a way to destroy all the Jews throughout the entire empire of Xerxes.  — Esther 3:5-6 [NLT]

Mordecai sent this reply to Esther:  “Don’t think for a moment that because you’re in the palace you will escape when all other Jews are killed.  If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance and relief for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die.  Who knows if perhaps you were made queen for just such a time as this?”  Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai:  “Go and gather together all the Jews of Susa and fast for me.  Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day.  My maids and I will do the same.  And then, though it is against the law, I will go in to see the king.  If I must die, I must die.”  — Esther 4:13-16 [NLT]

…Haman hurried home dejected and completely humiliated.  When Haman told his wife, Zeresh, and all his friends what had happened, his wise advisers and his wife said, “Since Mordecai–this man who has humiliated you–is of Jewish birth, you will never succeed in your plans against him.  It will be fatal to continue opposing him.  — Esther 6:12-13 [NLT]

Then Harbona, one of the king’s eunuchs, said, “Haman has set up a sharpened pole that stands seventy-five feet tall in his own courtyard.  He intended to use it to impale Mordecai, the man who saved the king from assassination.”  “Then impale Haman on it!” the king ordered.  So they impaled Haman on the pole he had set up for Mordecai, and the king’g anger subsided.  — Esther 7:9 [NLT]

Mordecai recorded these events and sent letters to the Jews near and far, throughout all the provinces of King Xerxes, calling on them to celebrate an annual festival on these two days.  He told them to celebrate these days with feasting and gladness and by giving gifts of food to each other and presents to the poor.  This would commemorate a time when the Jews gained relief from their enemies, when their sorrow was turned into gladness and their mourning into joy.  — Esther 9:20-22 [NLT]

 

 

Rachel’s Challenge

I come across my “Word of the Year” — Kind — occasionally, but usually in conversation rather than in print.  I’ve seen it on an electronic highway sign related to treating other drivers kindly.  I’ve seen it in obituaries and heard it at weddings and funerals.  Kindness is desperately needed day to day, but sometimes is hard to find.  Here are a few quotes I’ve seen with this important word:

But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives:  love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-control.  There is no law against these things!  — Galatians 5:22-23 [NLT]

Love is patient and kind.  Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude.  It does not demand its own way.  It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.  — 1 Corinthians 13:4-5 [NLT]

I have this theory that if one person can go out of their way to show compassion, then it will start a chain reaction of the same.  People will never know how far a little kindness can go.  — Rachel’s Challenge; Rachel Scott, (1st student killed at Columbine)

I pray…you will grow up to be a strong leader in your country using kindness and the love of God as your method of leadership!  — Chris Jarvis to sponsored child, Abel

God grants our prayer, [even if] he does not always respond to the exact form of our request…even when he does not comply with our wishes, [he] is still attentive and kindly to our prayers, so that hope relying upon his word will never disappoint us.  — John Calvin

Kind words can be short and easy to speak, but their echoes are truly endless.  — Mother Teresa

A Patchwork Quilt

The final quotes this week from my old notebooks come from my own mouth.  These are my own words, written down in times that I was really hurting or struggling.

Returning from Denver and my return from Arizona, I was troubled in spirit and pulled over at the rest stop in front of the Big Horn Mountains.  It was beautiful!  Sunlight and shadows.  Green fields.  A patchwork quit.  And God said to me, “You do not see the whole picture, but I do.”  And I imagined how the world must look to birds who can fly high above.  I may be in one of the shadows at the moment, or in a dark valley, but that will change.  He was telling me, again, to be still and trust Him.  He will take care of everything.  [4/30/07]

And yet another:

At the Fetterman Massacre site

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.  Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge…Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world…The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul…The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart.  — From Psalm 19

This is what I wrote after reading that scripture:

He was telling me to once again look to His word for promises, encouragement, wisdom — He does give promises (and I have discerned them correctly) but not in chronological order.  I need to leave the interpretation to God alone.  Even Isaiah didn’t know the order of his prophecies.  I walked across the hillside praying, and picked some flowers to remember these moments.  Seeing a cut-out of a guard on horseback (on a distant hill) reminded me of God’s presence.  Today He spoke to me in many ways — by His Spirit, through Betty & Hansi (Christian speakers & writers), by His Word, in creation, through circumstances.  Thank you Jesus!  [6/6/07]

The Stepped-On Part

Today’s quotes are from Ken Gire again.  The love of Jesus for this man is amazing; He knew his whole life story.

He is Zacchaeus.  A short man…Somehow this short man has survived growing up in a tall world.  Growing up the object of stares.  Growing up the brunt of jokes.  Growing up the kid who got pushed around…a part of his childhood was trodden underfoot…But…Zacchaeus learned to compensate — first, to laugh at the jokes and later, to fight back…At last, he made it to the top — chief tax collector…king of the hill, looking down over Jericho…But the stature he sought among others has eluded him.  And so has friendship.  Suddenly Jesus stops.  As He looks up at Zacchaeus, shafts of the Savior’s love filter through the branches.  A long-awaited dawn shines on a despised tax collector.  And a strange warmth begins to stir the cold darkness of his soul…For years he has rendered unto Caesar; now he must render unto Christ an account of himself.  And his soul knows that the account isn’t good…But the Savior isn’t looking for an audit.  He is looking for something else.  He searches Zacchaeus’ eyes to find that stepped-on part of his life.  And on it he sees every footprint, every heel mark.  Jesus is moved with compassion for the little boy who had to grow up in a big man’s world…Look closely.  Witness a miracle — a camel passing through the eye of a needle…centuries earlier, the walls of Jericho came tumbling down at the shout of Joshua’s men.  Today another wall comes tumbling down in Jericho.  This time, at the offer of a king’s friendship.  This time, the wall of a rich man’s heart.  — Ken Gire, Intimate Moments With the Savior, pg. 73-77

Mary, no doubt, had a stepped-on part to her life, too.  Here is Ken’s gentle recounting of her quiet moments with Jesus at His tomb.

Mary is left behind; tears, her only companions.  She takes those tears with her as she enters the tomb to take a look for herself.  And suddenly, the woman who was once possessed with demons finds herself in the presence of angels…[Then Jesus Himself appears].  Maybe the morning is foggy.  Maybe tears blur her eyes.  Maybe Jesus is the last person she expects to see.  Whatever the reason, she doesn’t recognize Him.  That is, until — “Mary.” … Overwhelmed, she throws her arms around the Lord she loves so much.  She had been there when He suffered at the cross; now He is there when she is suffering.  She had stood by Him in His darkest hour; now He is standing by her in hers…

How hard it is to see clearly when devastating circumstances fill my eyes with tears.  How blurry everything gets…

Where there is doubt, roll away the stone and resurrect my faith.  Where there is depression, cast aside the grave clothes and release my joy.  Where there is despair, chase away the night and bring a sunrise to my hope.  — Ken Gire, Intimate Moments With the Savior, pg. 132-133