Writing for Life-Open Mic

I attended a writing conference today called Writing for Life held at St. Luke’s United Methodists Church. Bucket List “Open Mic” ✅. God opened a door and gave me courage to step forward in faith and I read a poem of mine. It was s great experience and I felt courageous and wanted to “shout out” to my dear friend Margaret Mahan Grojean as well because of the poem I read, I felt your courage and support as well reading “In This Very Place.” God is good indeed!

In This Very Place

Your spirit is woven into the fabric of this very place

Every corner, every shelf reveals remnants of your special touch

Christmas gifts of long ago still adorn the walls of this sacred place

Family photos of yesteryears all with a story to tell

If only this were but a childish game running and laughing, all covered with love

I hear you in the chimes letting me know you’re near

Hummingbirds with their ease of flight…shows me the beauty and complexity of this life

As I hear the tick tock of the clocks, I can hear your laughter in the distance

Remembering the comfort and strength in your warm embrace,

Remembering your sacrifices in all you did, making life sweeter

Everything has changed, nothing feels the same, hard as I try reality continues knocking at my door

Go away, go away…Can’t you see you’re not welcome in this place.

This was hers, this was ours…wishes and dreams unfulfilled, it’s all left undone

Questions linger, the obvious one of why…it’s beyond our understanding.

Has she traveled to all the places she once dreamed of, was there a welcoming of those who had gone before?

No pain…walking and running freely, perhaps even flying or floating about.

Today as I looked in the sky, filled with billowing white clouds I paused to wonder…

Thinking to my self, and saying…can she see me, is she proud of me,

Am I doing and being the best person I can be? When will I see her again?

Mom, I miss you so very much and I love you more than I was ever able to show.

Until we meet again, you will always be in my heart, my soul…the very existence of who I am, always and forever…your daughter.

C.A.Robinson

September 19, 2012

1:23am

~Peace~

Lent 2019 – The Call of Jesus

“Now there was a Pharisee named Nicodemus, a leader of the Jews. He came to Jesus by night and said to him, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God; for no one can do these signs that you do apart from the presence of God.”

~John 3:1-2

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In today’s scripture verse today John is tell us about Nicodemus believing that Jesus was truly from God because of all the wondrous things he had done. The Bible provides many verses telling us of God delights:

Proverbs 3:12, “For whom the LORD loves He reproves, Even as a father corrects the son in whom he delights.”

Proverbs 8:30-31, “Then I was beside Him, as a master workman; And I was daily His delight, Rejoicing always before Him, Rejoicing in the world, His earth, And having my delight in the sons of men.”

Proverbs 12:22, “Lying lips are an abomination to the LORD, But those who deal faithfully are His delight.”

Proverbs 21:20, “The perverse in heart are an abomination to the LORD, But the blameless in their walk are His delight.”

Jeremiah 9:24, “but let him who boasts boast of this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD who exercises loving-kindness, justice and righteousness on earth; for I delight in these things,” declares the LORD.”

Isaiah 42:1, “”Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold; My chosen one in whom My soul delights I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the nations.”

The Bible also tells us that every good thing comes from God, “Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” ~James 1:17

And in Romans 8:28, “We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose.”

How wonderful and reassuring that God works all things for good and that he delights with you.  It is God making all things possible, without God nothing would be possible.  God makes love possible, good possible, compassion possible, reconciliation possible, and makes Himself known to us possible.  God’s intentions were for good it is we humans that mess things up by trying to do things without God.  When we exclude God from our daily lives things begin to go awry, when we leave God out by not praying and not reading the word our minds and lives get cluttered with “stuff” that causes us to forget that we are created beings, we are God’s children.  Lent is a time to be present, to discover, to rediscover and to connect and reconnect with God.  God spends all day, every day working for good in your life, in the life of your neighbor and in the life of the world.

How did you spend your day?

Did you invite God to join you, to be with you?

Pay close attention to how you spend your day, who you spend your day with and was it for good?

The good of yourself, your neighbor and your God?  You are so very loved, you are God’s BELOVED!

Peace to you my friends and family in the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.  Amen~

Breath Prayer: All day long, you…are working for good!

Quote from Abbey of the Arts

“We live in a time when our relationship to the natural world has never been more important to the survival and flourishing of all beings. Transforming our engagement with creation emerges from a deeply rooted contemplative practice where we come to know what Teilhard de Chardin called the ‘breathing together of all things.'”

 — Christine Valters Paintner, PhD, The Self-Study Online Retreat ~ Water, Wind, Earth and Fire: Praying with the Elements

~Peace~

References:

https://www.biblegateway.co

Lent 2019 – The Call of Jesus

Scripture verse for today is Luke 5:11, “As soon as they brought the boats to the shore, they left everything and followed Jesus.”

How many of us could drop everything we are doing and follow? Life is so crazy busy and there always seems to be one more thing that needs to be done before we can move onto something else or to even stop what we are doing. I like to think we all want to answer that call when it comes from Jesus. I’m not going to try to convince you of things you already know to be true or tell you that my life is busier than yours or that I’m anything other than this…I am a sinner, like all other humans in this world. I am in need of a Savior and I cannot save myself. We all approach and handle situations differently and for a variety of reasons and they all can be true. Some people have a need to plan things out to the most minute detail while others are all about the thrill of adventure and as some may say, “fly by the seat of their pants.” Neither are wrong, just different. I like to tell myself that I fall somewhere in the middle (HaHa!) *my friend’s should find some humor in that! Some might even say that I take things too seriously, I’ll admit that can be true but I love to have fun as well. The idea of getting in the car with little care and planning, heading out on an adventure is exhilarating to me, then after a few minutes my instinct for responsibility would kick into gear and I would start mentally preparing a list of “to do” items such as…do I have enough money, is the car ok, are the tires ok, what should I pack, do I need extra shoes and what about a jacket…see what happens!

Getting back to the scripture verse (full story can be found in Luke 5:1-11), try to imagine being one of the fishermen that Jesus was talking with, Simon Peter, James and John…they were exhausted fishermen who had been out fishing and had not caught any fish. They were washing their nets when Jesus got into Simon Peter’s boat so that he could speak and teach to the crowd that was with him. When Jesus had finished teaching he directed the fishermen to go back out to the deep water and throw their nets back in. Although they were tired, they did as Jesus requested and they witnessed a miracle! I for one do not think it was a mere coincidence that their nets were so full they began to break due to the weight of all the fish they had caught. After having a conversation with them Jesus told them that they would now be fishers of men! They left everything to follow Jesus and be a part of His ministry. These men left everything behind, took nothing with them, they relied upon their faith in Jesus!

Listening for Jesus’ call can be difficult when we allow the noises around us to drown out his voice. When we do not hear God, it’s not because he has stopped calling…we have not been listening intently for his voice. Give yourself permission to be still, to quiet your mind and your space. Calm your heart and release your fears about God and open the door and let him in. Dropping everything that is separating you from a relationship of fullness with God will be unique and just for you. This Lenten season is a perfect time to evaluate our lives and identify things that keep us from being all that we were created to be. God laid upon my heart the word “Peace” for 2019 and I have been looking at things that bring me peace and things that keep peace from me. And now during Lent my church is sponsoring an activity to focus on a word that help to define things  that are hindering our relationships with God, like what is keeping us from complete fullness with God. I am concentrating on Peace and the distraction that cause me a lack of peace. When I say peace, it comes in many forms such as:

• a calmness of spirit

• an easiness with confidence

• trustworthiness instead of worrisomeness

• love replacing discord

• acceptance of self in place of validation from others

• memories in place of regrets

• self-care in place of overextending myself

I know that I want to spend more time doing the things that bring me a sensation of peace and that includes doing this blog, spending time reading and studying God’s word, and spending time with my friends and my church family. For these things to happen I have come to the realization that I have to make room for them, so I’m watching fewer TV shows on my iPad and I’m playing far less video games on my iPhone and iPad. These are relaxing techniques I use, but most often they are nothing more than distractions. At times they keep me from my prayers, my meditation time, my writing time, my creative time but most importantly they keep me from listening for God’s voice. How can I become the person God created me to be if I’m not following his instructions. It’s like putting something together without reading the instructions, it is almost always a disaster!

Jesus is calling us to follow him, can you hear him?

Breath Prayer: Lord, help me … surrender.

I also wanted to share some on my photos that I have taken, I find peace through a lens looking at God’s creation.  I hope you like them as well.

~Peace~

References:

https://www.biblegateway.com

Luke 5:1-11 https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=Luke%205:1-11&version=NRS

Lent 2019 – The Call of Jesus

Matthew 4:19, “Come, follow me,” he said, “and I’ll show you how to fish for people.”

Greetings friends! Today, I am choosing to use two basic colors, black and white in hopes of being clear in my message. The message I want to share with you is that Jesus, wants and desires to be in relationship with you, with me…with all of us individually. The writer of today’s text I’m using plainly stated, “God always invites.” His invitation is always rooted in relationship, a desire to restore connection so that we can live into the fullness of God.  God wants to reconcile with us and journey with us on a new path. As in the picture above, we may not always know where our paths will take us, sometimes we can’t see what’s around the bend (corner), but we know for certain that God will be right beside us every step of the way. How wonderful is that to hear, we know for certain that we will never be alone. The season of Lent offers an opportunity for us to re-align ourselves with God’s will for our lives, a time to reconcile and perform a diagnostic and complete some fine tuning to our inner soul.

God has no need for manipulation, coercion or force, he’s waiting for our return and celebrates our coming home again!

I’ll be honest, this process is both easy and hard. You might ask, how can that be? Returning to Jesus is the easy part, He desires for all His children to return, seek forgiveness and to abide in His love. The hard part is our pride, pride makes us stubborn, it makes situations seem blurry and murky at best, but the Bible tells us this in 2 Corinthians 5:17-19,”So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us.

Friends, I pray for you as we journey together with Christ through this Lenten Season that our hearts will be open and our eyes will see clearly the path that God has set-up for us to follow, and as we follow, we will learn to fish for your people.

Breath Prayer: Speak, Lord,…and help me hear your call.

~Peace~

References:

https://www.biblegateway.com

 

 

Lent 2019 – The Call of Jesus

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Greetings and welcome to the first Sunday of Lent.  The scripture for today comes from Luke 3:22b, “…And there was a voice from heaven: You are my Son, whom I dearly love; in you I find happiness.”

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The brief message provided by the writer of the pamphlet I am using as a guide offers a story that I can only imagine, he shares a story of his son and the baptismal in their church.  When his son was very young he was fascinated by the water in the baptismal and as he grew the fascination changed to questions.  The beautiful part of the story is that when the boy was young the father would tell him to always remember that he belongs to God. Although the boy grew and his fascination changed, God did not.  No matter what age we are or what things change in our lives, we will always belong to God and God is pleased!  We are his creation and he loves us.  I do not have children but I can relate to the story, the story is relatable to all of us.  We are all BELOVED children of God.  I remember my baptism and the special occasion it was and that I was different afterwards.  How about you?  What memories are sparked when you think of your baptism? And if you have not been baptized, what questions might you have and what might be hindering you from taking that step?  I recently shared on this platform my second birth-day, the day I ask Jesus is to save me and become my Lord and Savior and my baptism celebration day!  I am grateful to all the people who helped to guide me and teach me the path to salvation.

In the scripture verse today, we are told the story of Jesus’ baptism and that the voice of God was heard exclaiming the good news of a proud parent as his son stepped forward in faith and was baptized by his cousin, John the Baptist. In Luke 3:21-22, we read that God, the Holy Spirit and Jesus are all present together at the baptism of Jesus.  Close your eyes and just imagine the scene, “Now when all the people were baptized, and when Jesus also had been baptized and was praying, the heaven was opened, and the Holy Spirit descended upon him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased.”

As this week continues may we all hear God’s call and remember we are all God’s BELOVED.

Breath Prayer: In me…you are well pleased.

~Peace~

References:

https://www.biblegateway.com

http://www.bobcornwall.com/2013/01/with-water-fire-and-holy-spirit-sermon.html?m=1

 

Lent 2019 – Changing Our Hearts and Lives

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“But when you give to the poor, don’t let your left hand know what your right hand is doing.” -Matthew 6:3

Who are the poor? The Bible tells us that it is a sin to despise one’s neighbor, but blessed is the one who is kind to the needy. Whoever oppresses the poor shows contempt for their Maker, but whoever is kind to the needy honors God. Whoever is kind to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will reward them for what they have done.  I have provided a link below for compassion.com and it provides many verses found in the Bible that speaks about the poor and our responsibilities to care for them.  In our world today, poor is characterized and seen in many ways.  Poor is not merely a lack of finances, it affects all aspects of a person’s life including their mental, emotional, physical aspects as well as their social economic and environmental plights in life.

1 John 3:17, “If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person? Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.”

Luke 6:20-21, “Looking at his disciples, [Jesus] said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who hunger now, for you will be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.”

Do you ever find yourself feeling overwhelmed by the news you hear and see everyday?  I certainly do, I work in an environment where my day is filled with sights and sounds of local, regional, and national news and it can be very discouraging.  Hearing stories of crimes, educational deficits, healthcare shortages and rising costs of care and medications, stories of abuse of all age groups, homelessness, hunger and the list seems to grow daily.  What and where to help given all these travesties.  A single person cannot fill the voids and give to each of these causes, although they are all equally important and vital causes.  So, what to do?

Hebrews 13:16, “Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.”

First, pray and seek God, listen for the Spirit’s call and then act.  Each of us were created for a purpose and given significant gifts to accomplish our purpose.  Some people are called to work with victims of abuse, while others are equipped to serve the homeless, others are educators, some are great listeners and other encourage, life cheerleaders, no matter what your gifts are use them faithfully for God, the rewards you will receive will bring you more joy than your heart can even imagine.  By helping the poor, anyone who is in need of help is serving God and connects us with God in a deeper and more meaningful relationship.

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Matthew 25:35-40, “For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when was it that we saw you hungry and gave you food, or thirsty and gave you something to drink? And when was it that we saw you a stranger and welcomed you, or naked and gave you clothing? And when was it that we saw you sick or in prison and visited you?’ And the king will answer them, ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.”

When thinking about the right hand not knowing what the left is doing, our “giving” is rooted in the understanding that when we see the poor, we are seeing Jesus.  When this occurs, we are changed, transformed, converted and renewed. We are living out loud,WWJD! What Would Jesus Do? Exactly…now go in peace knowing that the Lord Jesus Christ lives in you, through you and is always with you!

Breath Prayer: In the poor…let me see you. ~Amen

~Peace~

References:

https://biblegateway.com

https://www.google.com/search?q=helping%20hand%20poverty&tbm=isch&client=safari&hl=en-US&ved=0CBUQtI8BahcKEwjg9I2XvvTgAhUAAAAAHQAAAAAQBg&biw=375&bih=549

https://www.compassion.com/poverty/what-the-bible-says-about-poverty.htm

Lent 2019 – Changing Our Hearts and Lives

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Greetings –

Today’s scripture verse is from Isaiah 58:6, “Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and to break every yoke?”

The devotional topic today is about fasting.  Fasting is typically abstaining from food for a period of time.  The Bible provides many examples of this and we have seen it utilized by several people throughout history in order to call attention to something significant, one such person is Mahatma Gandhi, he fasted 17 times during India’s “Freedom Movement.”

Additionally, I found a website with at least forty references to fasting in the Bible and I have provided the link below, one example is Joel 2:12-13, “Yet even now, says the Lord, return to me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping, and with mourning; rend your hearts and not your clothing. Return to the Lord, your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and relents from punishing.”

When considering fasting it’s important to note that it does not necessarily have to be related to food, in the Christian life fasting is a way to have and develop a deeper and more meaningful life with God.  It is about abstaining from things that separate us from God, it is removing distractions so we can focus on our relationship with God.  Some of you may have already decided to fast or refrain from something in order to draw closer to God.  It might be food, it could be caffeine, or possibly the words we sometimes use, it can also be our jobs, our recreational activities, and our actions or inactions.  No matter what it is, remember that the purpose is to connect with God.  I’m choosing to do less of some things so I can do more with God, taking note that I am responsible for caring for my physical health and remembering that there is still only 24 hours in a day and postponing some TV and leisure time activities in order to more fully connect with God is always a “WIN-WIN” in my book.  It is all about perspective, connecting and reinforcing the meaningful things in life.

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What fast are you going to choose?

What might you abstain from?

Breath Prayer:  Nourishing God…I am hungry for you!

~Peace~

References:

https://www.biblegateway.com

https://www.biblestudytools.com/topical-verses/bible-verses-about-fasting/

Lent 2019 – Changing Our Hearts and Lives

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Greetings-

I had the privilege of attending an “Ash Wednesday” service at my church last night.  It was a small and intimate gathering of about 20 individuals.  We sang, listened to scripture and statement of purpose for the service.  We meditated upon “What Really Matters” and prayer over the ashes before the act of imposition of the ashes.  We ended the service with a responsive reading, “Act of Penitence and Reconciliation” followed by a hymn and prayer.  It was a beautiful experience and a wonderful way to begin the Lenten season.  I am looking forward to sharing the journey with you.  Lent provides opportunities to reconnect with God, time for us to reconcile with God, we are encouraged to spend time with God in prayer, meditating on His Word and strengthening our commitment to God.

The scripture verse for today is Matthew 6:6a, “But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.”

The focus for today and throughout this Lenten season is prayer.  Prayer is essential and is the primary practice of life in and with God.  Prayer is our connection to God, our way of communicating with and to God.  Prayer is both an intimacy with God and a communal action with others to God.

Matthew 6:5-15, Jesus gives us instructions concerning prayer.  He tells is how to pray and where to pray,  Jesus also provides a prayer as an example for us.

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“And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. “When you are praying, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do; for they think that they will be heard because of their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. “Pray then in this way: Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not bring us to the time of trial, but rescue us from the evil one. For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you; but if you do not forgive others, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

Many people are weary of praying because they feel as if they don’t know what to say or how to say things correctly and properly, prayers are the concerns of your heart.  Your prayers can be verbal, they can we written down and they can be your thoughts. Prayer is having a conversation with God, your creator, my creator.  God wants to listen to you, He wants to share in your joys and your struggles.  Nothing is too big or too small to take to God.  I struggle with prayer, praying I used to think was an act of kneeling with folded hands and elaborate words, while there is absolutely nothing wrong in praying in that manner it didn’t always work for me.  I now approach prayer, as a conversation with God that I can do at anytime or anyplace.  I practice breath prayers several times a day, I pray while driving, I pray when I’m nervous or scared.  I pray for others when I know they are nervous and scared. Prayer though very sacred can also be very flexible in place and delivery.  Don’t merely schedule time for prayers, be open to the Spirits call and practice an “open door/open heart” policy with God.  Be advantage of God’s 24/7/365 walk-in policy!

The writer of the devotional I am using suggests that we remind ourselves to take at least 5 minutes of our day to pray and connect with God.  He also reminds us that God is not a magician or a Genie passing out magic and wishes, prayer is about relationship with God, connecting with God.

Breath Prayer: Speak, O Lord…I am listening. 

~Peace~

References:

https://www.biblegateway.com

https://mailchi.mp/abbeyofthearts/daily-nourishment-from-abbey-of-the-arts-may2-2227953?e=128ba1455f

Ash Wednesday-Changing Our Hearts and Lives

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Today marks the beginning of Lent.  The scripture verse for today comes from the book of Mark.

“The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.” ~Mark 1:15

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Many believers celebrate “Ash Wednesday” the ashes represent a sign of hope and remembrance of ones baptism.  Baptism is a path where believers come into a community of conversion.  It’s a time of making promises to live our life in God and to follow Jesus Christ.  Life is ever-changing and therefore, we are always in a constant state of conversion.  Ash Wednesday, we surrender to and acknowledge our willingness to participate in change, this type of change requires trust and this trust requires safety and community.  Our communities of faith provide safe spaces where we can claim, reclaim or acknowledge our humanity and for our need for grace and forgiveness.  In these communities, we are supported and reminded that we are never alone and one this Ash Wednesday, we are especially reminded of this as we see our brothers and sisters with the mark of the cross on their foreheads and/or wrists.  Just look around, we can witness this great phenomenon of the frailty of our shared humanity and need of a redeemer not only on the hands/faces of friends, brothers and sisters but also on our foes, those individuals in which we convince ourselves that we have nothing in common with.  Truly, the kingdom of God is indeed among us!

Change can often be described as a dark path in many of our lives, the unknown and unfamiliar, I believe this happens most generally because we forgot that we are BELOVED children of God.  We are never too far gone or too far away from God’s love and forgiveness.  Darkness is nothing more than the absence of light.

“Just as darkness is the absence of light, evil is the absence of God.” ~Albert Einstein.

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Breath Prayer: Help me to trust you, loving God. ~Amen

~Peace~

References:

https://www.biblegateway.com

Lenten Season 2019

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Hello and welcome to my blog!  I am excited to share with you my Lenten journey this year.  I hope to post something each day to help and encourage you as well as share parts of my journey with you.  If you are new to my pages, thank you for taking the time to visit!  For those of you who follow me, you might remember that my focus and “One Word” for 2019 is “PEACE!”  I am seeking to listen to the Spirit of God leading me through this Lenten season and pray that my heart, mind and soul will be open to new revelations and possibilities.  I will be using a pamphlet distributed by Abingdon Press called, “The Sanctuary for Lent 2019.”  It was written by Juan Huertas a Pastor in Shreveport, LA.  The pamphlet is available online through Amazon and in some book stores.  I have some copies available, please contact me about obtaining a copy.  Each day offers a verse and short devotional and each week offers a specific theme.  I will also be utilizing a book by Max Lucado called, “He Chose the Nails.”

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A question was presented at my church this past Sunday…

What might be separating you from the fullness of God?

That question was followed by two possible actions…

1. This might be done by giving up something during lent.

-OR-

2.  It might be done by giving something to God during lent.

With regard to Max Lucado’s book, consider the crown that was placed on Jesus’ head, now imagine that the thorns on that crown represent our sins.  As you visualize the thorns, can you see them puncturing His scalp and skin, each thorn representing a sin, our sins.  Jesus, went to the cross, blameless and sinless, He did this knowingly and willingly to take our place so that we could have redemption.  This Lenten season let’s show our love for Jesus by surrendering at the cross those things that separate us from the fullness of His love.

I am looking forward to sharing my thoughts with you and journeying through this season of Lent with you.  I pray for open hearts, open minds and soulful contemplation.

~Peace~