Lent 2019 – Holy Week – Good Friday

Friday, April 19, 2019

“When he had received the sour wine, Jesus said, “It is completed.” Bowing his head, he gave up his life.” ~John 19:30

Death, it’s a subject that most of us do not like to think about or talk about. Our author, Juan Huertas remarks on the topic as one he deals with as a minister and states the obvious that “In some real ways we begin dying the moment we take our first breath.” My experience, personal and from a distance has led me to believe that death is hard whether it is expected or unexpected. I’ve experienced loss of grandparents, a parent, cousins, uncles, aunts, friends, distance relatives and coworkers. Each one affected me differently, I sometimes have wondered why? The why…death is part of life. The effects of someone passes depends on a lot of moving parts in life yours and the person who passed. The closer you are to the person the more is affects you. When my mom passed it shook me to my core for a very long time. It’s been nearly 7 years and I think of her every single day. I miss her absolutely but my thoughts are not filled with grief, the happy memories flow in and out all the time. Missing her is selfish, she’s happier with God and it was her time to go and God needed her more than I needed her. I can say that with confidence now but seven years ago I was angry and hurt that she was gone. It’s true what they say about grief, it’s not something you get over, it’s a process that last your entire life. It really is ebb and flow, and I’ve made peace with that.

Now how does any of that help with today, Good Friday? Well, Jesus had been preparing the disciples for his death, he even foretold the events leading up to his death and yet, they were completely taken by surprise by the acts and events. Even some of those who lived, walked and witnessed all the miraculous acts of Jesus, denied knowing him and betrayed him when things got difficult. It would be easy to judge but dare not to because they were human just like we are and we all would have don’t the same thing. We are weak and sinful, I am stating these as excuses but as facts. What separates humans is those who believe and seek forgiveness and those who believe they don’t need saving. We know that death will come and did come for Jesus but praise God, “The Son will Rise!” The Son DID RISE! We have salvation because Jesus endured the cross, accepted the price and paying for our sins – his life, he agreed to die for us. Death was a short victory for satan, Jesus overcame the cross and defeated death and sin, he arose from dead/resurrected and reigns forever as Lord and Savior!

Death where is sting?

“And when the rotting body has been clothed in what can’t decay, and the dying body has been clothed in what can’t die, then this statement in scripture will happen: Death has been swallowed up by a victory. Where is your victory, Death? Where is your sting, Death? ( Death’s sting is sin, and the power of sin is the Law.) Thanks be to God, who gives us this victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!” ~1 Corinthians 15:54-57

As Christians, death is not final we know that it’s a new beginning, being with God for all eternity. There is not shame in grieving, it’s a nature process for everyone and everyone grieves differently. Hold onto this truth, the work of salvation has been completed by Jesus, yes it was messy, scary, mysterious, yet completed!

Now we can wait in grief and hope, for only by dying can we be born again.

Accept the Lord Jesus today and live into the fullness of life, the life God created you for.

“…weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.” ~Psalm 30:5

Breath Prayer: May my grief…lead to life.





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Additional reading:


Lent 2019 – Holy Week – Maundy Thursday

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Today is called Maundy Thursday and is the Christian holy day falling on the Thursday before Easter. It commemorates the foot washing and Last Supper of Jesus Christ with the Apostles. It is the fifth day of Holy Week, preceded by Holy Wednesday and followed by Good Friday. 

I love the first sentence by our author, Juan Huertas, “So many of us are certified control freaks.” I literally laughed out loud after reading it because I definitely relate to it. For anyone who knows me or has read some of my earlier blog posts, you know that I have openly shared my thoughts and feelings about control and concern. I’ve learned over time that I have many things I have concerns for but in reality I have few things that are under my control. Juan goes onto tell a story about a lay person in her congregation that said this in response to Juan stating he’s not competitive. This person said this, “I don’t think that you are not competitive; I think if you are not going to win, you do not play.” What an insightful statement to make. How many of us are like that? Do we simply say, “Thanks but no thanks” when we see a situation or activity that has a “no win” possibility alignment(?). I am competitive and I like to win, but I’ve also lost at a lot of things and I mentally understand the logical involved in this process. Life is the lessons we learn from experiencing both, winning and losing. I do think we as a society can take wining and losing to extremes. We make the mistake of thinking winning as good and losing as bad, although they are contributing factors especially in sports, the logical of the game even before it starts is that someone will win and someone will lose. Losing is an experience we all absolutely need to experience. The joy of winning can only be filled felt and appreciated if you know what it feels like to lose. For ever action there is an equal reaction. High/low; up/down; left/right; light/dark; sweet/salty; hot/cold. This actual has a name, it’s called Newton’s Third Law of Motion.

There are two forces resulting from this interaction — a force on the chair and a force on your body. These two forces are called action and reaction forces and are the subject of Newton’s third law of motion.” The statement is more commonly stated this way: For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. Here’s a great song to help explain this better…

As we begin to think about Mandy Thursday and perhaps all a church service, this day is an annual reminder that our way is not God’s way. We live in a time and space where we think about life from a self perspective, self power; Jesus approached life by demonstrating servant hood. We think control and Jesus tells us to let go. We think about ourselves, living life as best as we can and Jesus shows us it is about dearth, death to self and selfishness.

A good question, we should be asking ourselves is, “Are we sure we want a part of in God’s way?” I certainly do, but I also fail every single day, I fall and I must ask Jesus for grace and forgiveness.

An accepted practice on Maundy Thursday also involves the act of washing the feet of other, just as Jesus did with his disciples a long time ago. We do this in remembrance of what Jesus did for his followers, his brothers. Most services of Maundy Thursday also include serving communion and in my church the communion table to open to everyone!

At the end of the day we need to understand that following Jesus means we must “LET GO.” We will also have to accept the fact that we will not win, at least not according to what the world thinks to be true.

Over the next two days we will be moving into, “The Growing Darkness. If you are interested the scripture passages are as follows:

• The Shadow of Betrayal Foretold (John 13:21-30)

• The Shadow of Betrayal (John 18:1-11)

• The Shadow of Denial (John 18:15-18, 25-27)

• The Shadow of Questioning (John 18:12-14, 19-24)

• The Shadow of False Accusation (John 18:28-40)

• The Shadow of Condemnation (John 19:1-16)

• The Shadow of Crucifixion (John 19:17-27)

• The Shadow of Death (John 19:28-30)

• A New Beginning (John 20:1)

Friends, over the couple of days let’s meditate upon the Acts of Humility and Service .

• An Act of Humility and Service (John 13:3-11)

• The Washing of Feet or Hands – An Example for All. (John 13:12-15)

• Witnesses To The “I AM” (John 13:16-20)

Remember God is has a plan, Trust the Plan! Amen.

Breath Prayer: Wash me…in your way, O God.




Lent 2019 – Holy Week

Wednesday, April 17, 2019


• to lead astray

• to deliver to an enemy by treachery

• to fail or desert especially in time of need

• to reveal unintentionally

• to disclose in violation of confidence


• treacherously abandoned, deserted, or mistreated


• the act of betraying someone

• the act of betraying something

• the fact of being betrayed

• violation of a person’s trust

• violation of a confidence, of a moral standard

• revelation of something hidden or secret

The scripture verse today is from the John and starting at verse 21 through 30 is annotated in my bible as the “Announcement of the betrayal”

Jesus knows that he will be betrayed and by whom. Jesus was “deeply disturbed” because he had provided safe places for his disciples along with intimacy and trust, and now one of his own disciples was going to be his betrayer. But what did Jesus do, he faced his betrayer with honesty, safety and love. I can’t even fathom how hurt Jesus was by this act.

Have you ever been betrayed?

Have you ever been a betrayer?

Have you fallen victim to a betrayal?

These are all difficult things to think about and even worse to experience.

Life can be cruel at times.

People can be cruel at times.

Will live in a sinful world, filled with sinful fallible humans. God has not orchestrated bad things to happen to us, but they do. Accidents happen, diseases occur, fortune and fame exist, famine and wars happen…I don’t have answers as to why these things happen to some and not others. What I do know is that God loves all! God commands us to love.

1 Peter 4:8: “Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.”

John 15:12: “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”

1 Corinthians 13:13: “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”

I have friends and family in my life who feel betrayed by their bodies. Young and old alike, diseases do not differentiate who it strikes. Death too is not particular who it comes calling for, but as Christians and children of God we know that death has no hold on us, our spirit is secure in God.

John 11:25, “Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live.”

2 Corinthians 5:8, “Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord.

Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

The scriptures also tells us that God is in control and that he has plans for each of us, plans for good not evil. “I know the plans I have in mind for you, declares the Lord; they are plans for peace, not disaster, to give you a future filled with hope.” ~Jeremiah 29:11

My message is a message of hope, place your hope and trust in God, no matter what you might be struggling in or with, He will be will you every step of the way. He truly loves you that much.

I had the honor of speaking with a friend yesterday who is currently fighting cancer, she is strong and brave and faith-filled! She told me a story that left me awe-struck and wanting a measure of her courage. She told me that when she is struggling with the pain of her cancer treatments she thinks about Jesus and the enormous pain he endured carrying his cross to Calvary and that he never gave up, and that encourages her to continue. Although Jesus could have said at anytime, no I don’t want to do this anymore, “He Chose The Nails”. He knew that the cross was the only way that we could be saved. To my friend and the many others struggling with things (losses, betrayals, illnesses, finances, relationships, addictions and so many more) please claim of the power of Jesus for your strength, comfort and peace. The more we practice circles of safety and love in difficult times, the more our trust will grow and we will become more effective in doing what Jesus does. Love is always the right answer.

Lord, open our hearts to love, help us to welcome adversities and life challenges knowing that you are always with us no matter what. ~Amen

Friends you are so very loved! 💙🙏🏻

Breath Prayer: In betrayal,…help me not become bitter.





He Chose the Nails: What God Did to Win Your Heart


Esther’s Circle – You Lift Me Up

Hello friends! For those who are unaware of “Esther’s Circle,” it is a women’s group at my church that I have the pleasure of being a part of. I’ve been involved with this unique group of women since joining the church. We meet once a month at one of our homes or at the church, our gatherings consist of great food, good conversation, a devotional or study lesson, offering and pray time. I love this group and the tapestry of faith displayed by each individual woman. We love and support one another by any means possible. We also participate in many aspects of our church from committees, deacon, elder, worship team, media, church growth, mission work local and beyond, and community support.

Our meeting tonight was a blessing and a shout out to each of them for the impact they are having on my life because of their faith and commitment to living like Jesus, doing what Jesus would do.

You are my friends, Circle sisters, and my family. 💙 Ann, Barb, Beth, Debi, Dora Faye, Freda, Laura, Lisa, Michele, Pat, Theresa 💗

Tonight, I shared two short stories for our devotional time and wanted to share them online with you. They are not original works of mine and I will provide the links for you to find more stories by these writers in you’re interested.

The first stories I thought everyone could relate to, given everyone has children and grandchildren, I believe.

The Hand of God

Little Bobby was spending the weekend with his grandmother after a particularly trying week in kindergarten. His grandmother decided to take him to the park on Saturday morning. It had been snowing all night and everything was beautiful.

His grandmother remarked…”doesn’t it look like an artist painted this scenery? Did you know God painted this just for you?”

Bobby said, “Yes, God did it and he did it left-handed.”

This confused his grandmother a bit, and she asked him “What makes you say God did this with his left hand?”

“Well,” said Bobby, “we learned at Sunday School last week that Jesus sits on God’s right hand!”

*Bobby was obviously listening very intently at Sunday School! HaHaHa!

The U in Jesus

Before U were thought of or time had begun,
God had stuck U in the name of His Son.

And each time U pray, you’ll see it’s true,
You can’t spell out JesUs and not include U.

You’re a pretty big part of His wonderful name,
For U, he was born; that’s why He came.

And His great love for U is the reason that he died,
It even takes U to spell crUcified.

Isn’t it thrilling and splendidly grand,
He rose from the dead with U in His plan.

The stones split away, the gold trUmpet blew,
and this word ressUrection is spelled with a U.

Jesus left the earth at His upward ascension,
He felt there was one thing He just had to mention.

“Go into the world and tell them it’s true,
That I love them all – Just like I love U.

So many great people are spelled with a U,
Don’t they have the right to know JesUs too?

It all depends now on what U will do,
He’d like them to know, but it all starts with U.

Will U pass it on?
JesUs Loves U!!!

Esther 4:14





Lent 2019 – Holy Week

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

“Very truly, I tell you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains just a single grain; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.” ~John 12:24

Hello friends and welcome to Tuesday!! The reading for today reflects on dying to the things that separates us from wholeness in Christ. Letting go of things that keep us from being fruitful and walking with Christ. My church is sponsoring such an opportunity for our congregation to participate in during Lent. We have a wooden cross in the Sanctuary and a table with index cards, some preprinted with words describing what might be causing separation from Christ along with encouraging bible verses and blank cards for people to write their own words on. We also have a basket at the foot of the cross where people can place their cards and the congregation will has been praying for these specific things (words) that seem to cause separation.

It has been a wonderful opportunity to come together and prayer for one another. We are all seeds in this earthly garden, just what kind of seed is up to us.

Seeds of faithfulness?

Seeds of discord?

Both can multiply!

The story provided today by Juan Huertas made me think of my own family. I was raised in the church but my parents did not always attend with me, by no means did that mean that they were not believers. My parents gave me many valuable learning opportunities and advice when I was growing up. They loved their families, friends, community and God, not necessarily in that order either. My parents taught me to work hard, to be honest, to be fair, to show respect and to love God. I am proud to be their daughter! Every day is a new day to serve God with a whole heart, may your day be filled with all you require. May you feel the presence of God in a real and powerful way today.

Thank you so much for sharing this Lenten journey with me. Let go and be fruitful!

Breath Prayer: Nurturing God, help me…bear fruit.

*Link to the lyrics is listed below.





Lent 2019 – Holy Week

Monday, April 15, 2019

“Then Mary took an extraordinary amount, almost three-quarters of a pound, of very expensive perfume made of pure nard. She anointed Jesus’ feet with it, then wiped his feet dry with her hair. The house was filled with the aroma of the perfume. Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (the one who was about to betray him), complained, “This perfume was worth a year’s wages! Why wasn’t it sold and the money given to the poor?” ( He said this not because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief. He carried the money bag and would take what was in it.) Then Jesus said, “Leave her alone. This perfume was to be used in preparation for my burial, and this is how she has used it. You will always have the poor among you, but you won’t always have me.” ~John 12:3-8

Welcome friends to a new week, Holy Week. Today, we read about Mary anointing the feet of Jesus with expensive perfume. She was questioned by Judas Iscariot, one of the disciples about using such an expensive item, but Jesus told him to leave her alone. Mary was honoring Jesus while he was still with them instead of waiting to use it for his burial preparations. Mary it seems from the writer, knew and believed what Jesus had been telling his closest followers, including her that he would soon have to die. Jesus goes onto to say in the following verse, “You will always have the poor among you, but you won’t always have me.” ~John 12:8. In response to Judas saying the perfume could have been sold for a lot of money and given to the poor.

Juan Huertas, the author of the pamphlet I am using, points out the human nature, human behavior of some individuals that believe they know the motives of other people. This is something I have struggled with most of my life. I make assumptions regarding people’s actions as being directed solely at me, with no supporting data whatsoever. If someone is a having a rough day, I used to take it personal, thinking I must have done something to cause this effect on that person. I certainly think a lot of myself, thinking that everyone’s behavior is a direct reflection on me and my interactions with them. As if the universe evolved around me and that I somehow have power over others!! Of brother!!! I’m not exactly sure how I came to believe such things but I’m thankful for caring people in my life showing me a better way to navigate life. There are many things we can do to try to convince others to act or feel a certain way but the true power is within the individuals themselves. We have the power of our own decisions. They may not be easy to but they belong to us. We really do not have the power to make people happy or sad, it must come from within. I lived many years thinking it was my job, my responsibility, my goal to make others happy. We can provide and offer support and even companionship but we do not have control only concern.

A great example, at least it has been for me is when driving and someone cuts you off in traffic. The assumptions I used to make was, “What a jerk!” Basically, summing the person up as rude and selfish. When in reality a million other things could be going on…maybe they were just given bad news, maybe they are rushing to the hospital, fleeing domestic violence, having a panic attack, daydreaming… The point I’m trying to make and that Juan is making is that we can’t read the minds of others and we need to stop making assumptions without evidence proving otherwise. We should be more loving and more accepting. We need to be more like Jesus.

Discipleship is doing as Jesus would do. It’s dying to self so we can live. During this Holy Week, let’s listen for the voice of Jesus. Let’s pause and ask ourselves, what would Jesus do(?). Are there things in your life that are tugging at you?

How is God getting your attention about the cross-bearing life? Prayerfully seeks God and his plans for you. ~Shalom

Breath Prayer: Faithful Lord,…help my unbelief.




Lent 2019 – Holy Week

Sunday, April 14, 2019

“Those in front of him and those following were shouting, “ Hosanna! Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord!” ~Mark 11:9

The darkest hour has long been used figuratively to mean ‘the lowest ebb’ and there are many such examples of it in print dating from the late 1700s.

The English theologian and historian Thomas Fuller appears to be the first person to commit the notion that ‘the darkest hour is just before the dawn’ to print. His religious travelogue A Pisgah-Sight Of Palestine And The Confines Thereof, 1650, contains this view:

It is always darkest just before the Day dawneth.

Today, we celebrate Palm Sunday, reading from the book of Mark chapter eleven, we read that people were happy and excited that Jesus was coming. The anticipation was overwhelming and people were singing and shouting “Hosanna!” They placed palm leaves and their own personal cloaks on the ground as Jesus make his way into the city. These people had either seen or heard all the things that Jesus had done and they wanted to be a part of it. They were seeking salvation, healing, wholeness and new life!

Do we receive Jesus in such a manner?

Do we get excited to go to church and worship with other believers?

Do we thirst for the Words of Jesus?

Today is a joyous time to celebrate Jesus and the salvation he offers to everyone who believes in him. As we journey onward through Holy Week and make plans for Easter let’s take time to experience each day as it comes. This week will be filled with very painful moments in history and difficulties in hearing the truths of Jesus’ sacrifice. Let’s pray for one another, for the strength and courage to face the challenges ahead and to restrain ourselves from the urge to skip over the parts of the story that are hard to grasp and comprehend. Jesus suffered for each of us so that we would not have to endure the pains that he did. As painful as this week may seem, let us remember that freely Jesus gave himself for us so that we could have everlasting life with him for all eternity. Just as the saying goes, it is darkest before the dawn; but as believers we know that JOY COMES IN THE MORNING! Hallelujah, Hallelujah Amen!

Breath Prayer: I am desperate for salvation;…Lord, save me.






Lent 2019 – Discipleship Is Not Easy

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Dear Friends, I hope you had a good week wherever you are in the world and whatever it is that occupies your time. It’s such a wonderful feeling knowing that I am blessed to be able to share my thoughts with others across the globe! God indeed has blessed me beyond my imagination. After reading today’s words by Juan Huertas, I found myself connecting with his examples. I can relate to the idea of avoiding death and dying, we live in a time where a huge portion of time is given to living and eating well to be healthy and prolong life. A large portion of my youth was filled with playing sports and being physically fit but as time passed other things took priority and now I concentrate of health issues that my doctor recommends. I know that life is short and for that reason I give myself permission to indulge, maybe too much at times. When I was younger I didn’t give a lot of thought to dying, life seemed like there was plenty of time to do everything I wanted to do. I look at my life now and think (?) where did the time go? The subject of death can be very complicated and affects us all differently. I can only share what has been my experience has been and in no way would I compare my story to anyone else’s. For me a turning point way the death of my mom, I just never imagined life without her. Recently, my church family has endured the deaths of three of our congregation members and we are feeling the void of their absence.

It’s the unknown that scares me about death, a better word I guess is that my faith, much like Thomas is weak and doubting. I’m my heart I believe that heaven is the immediate other side of death for believers. The Bible tells us, “We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord.” ~2 Corinthians 5:8 NKJV

The other thing that resonated from today’s reading is the part about knowing the story of Jesus’ life, death and resurrection and the temptation to jump forward in the story. It’s easy to jump from Palm Sunday to Easter, skipping the entire span of time in between. Personally, I struggle with this kind of thinking in my personal life, especially when it relates to tough topics. I’m ok with the beginning and the end but like to speed through the middle. I’m learning that the middle stuff, that’s the important stuff. It’s the learning stuff, the important contents. I like to speed through the process because I think it will be less painful, and that may be true. I’ve found that some of the most important lessons I’ve learned so far in life have come from the most painful experiences I’ve known. I’ve found meaning in the pain, the pain was for my good not to harm me. These experiences have strengthened my faith and trust in God.

“To everything there is a season, A time for every purpose under heaven: A time to be born, And a time to die…” ~Ecclesiastes 3:1-2a

“I know the plans I have in mind for you, declares the Lord; they are plans for peace, not disaster, to give you a future filled with hope.” ~Jeremiah 29:11

Let’s step into the whole story, the rest of the story…walk with Jesus and experience all that is available to us. Let’s pursue our discipleship and share in the story of Jesus’ death so that we can be born anew to a living hope and share the Good News of Jesus.



Breath Prayer: I will die with Jesus…and live in hope.




Lent 2019 – Discipleship Is Not Easy

Friday, April 12, 2019

“But the Twelve understood none of these words. The meaning of this message was hidden from them and they didn’t grasp what he was saying.” ~Luke 18:34

Discipleship is more than learning to be a disciple of Jesus and his teachings it is living his teachings. Being Jesus in the world, being the hands and feet of Jesus. Sharing the words of Jesus through words and our actions. When we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior we are changed from the inside out. We are called to immerse ourselves in the study of the Bible and the teaching of Jesus so we can understand what was once hidden. Just like the disciples with Jesus, they too did not understand or comprehend what Jesus was telling them. Much like learning a new skill or a new language, it seems so foreign to us at first and we feel like we will never understand it, but after practice and study and repetition it begins to made sense. When we immerse ourselves into daily living for Jesus by spending time in prayer and reading his word, we can easily transition into new life. The more we interact with other believers and trust in God’s Word, our eyes and our minds are more fully opened and we begin to grasp the enormity of God’s greatness and his love for us.

As we press on in our pursuit of Discipleship, let’s support one another through prayer, meditation and sharing of God’s love. With Easter quickly approaching and continue to read/learn the history of Jesus’ sacrifice, lets prepare to emerge with thanksgiving to be the hands and feet of Jesus in this hurting world, who is in need of a savior.

Discipleship Definition – Changing from the inside
“The important distinction with Christian discipleship is that we are not only called to learn the teachings of Jesus Christ, we are also called to live them. A disciple who bases his or her life on the teachings of Christ “like a person building a house, who dug a deep hole to lay the foundation on rock” (Luke 6:48). When we make our initial declaration of faith and ask Christ to be our Savior, He will begin changing us from the inside, giving us the ability to understand His word and the desire to live it.” *See reference article listed below

Breath Prayer: Immerse me…in your grace, O Lord.