Martyrs

As we approach Easter weekend…Good Friday, remembering our Savior being beaten and killed for our sins, Resurrection Sunday…knowing He still lives and He has overcome, I thought reviewing this strong courage and faith seemed appropriate.

The strength, courage and faith of these 21 men could only be given by Christ.  They encompass what we all hope we would do in that situation.  They faced the fear, the pain, the anguish not with timidity, but with singing and praising the Lord.  And moments after, they joined their Savior in eternal perfection of Heaven.

Maybe the most amazing part of this story is that there was one man taken with the group of Christians who was not a Christian.  He, however, chose their same fate after seeing their faith.  He saw their faith and knew their God (our God, the only God) is real.  He gave his life to Christ moments before joining Christ in His Kingdom.

When we go into this weekend, we praise the Lord for giving us earthly examples of incredible faith.  We also praise Him for being the only One through Whom we can be saved.  He paid the ultimate price…pain, suffering, death on the cross, taking every sin of all of ours onto Himself.  There has never been greater pain, and He took it for us to offer us a way to Heaven.  He is the ONLY way.  Not anything good we do, but knowing we are not good enough and giving our lives, ourselves, to Him.

Remember His sacrifice this weekend, remember His love, remember His daily grace and mercy.  And talk to Him…thank Him…give yourself up to Him.

Faith

This passage from Rick Warren was part of an email message I received and I wanted to share.

Real Faith

I have the strength to face all conditions by the power that Christ gives me. Philippians 4:13 (GNT)

The key to a faith-filled life is not in trying harder. It’s not in psyching yourself up, but in relaxing in God’s grace, so he can do through you what he desires to do.

Paul says this: “I have the strength to face all conditions by the power that Christ gives me” (Philippians 4:13 GNT). Notice that it doesn’t say, “I have the strength for most conditions.” It says all conditions. That includes breaking bad habits and creating healthy ones.

—Pastor Rick Warren

Unbroken

I read Unbroken awhile back…I am sure if you look in my Books section you can find the precise date when I completed and blogged about it.  It was a tough read, a good read, an amazing TRUE story about an amazing man who was given an immense amount of grace and strength from God through the worst of circumstances.

I went to see the movie…a week ago…and it would be unfair of me to say it was a poor movie, because in fact it was not.  Almost every book is better than the movie…I know that…I go into movies knowing that.  This movie was made well, the actors did a great job!  And they put themselves through a lot to look the part of the 65 pound survivors.  If I had not read the book I would probably have thought the movie was a complete and accurate telling of Louis’ life.

However…when the movie ended I was stunned.  I felt as if it ended 2/3 of the way through the book.  I do wish they had included the last third of the book.  A lot of details were left out.  I promptly got on the computer after coming home and found several documentaries on Louis Zamperini that included these details and then some.  I would encourage everyone to read the book and then watch the movie and documentaries as a set.

Louis Zamperini was an amazing man who left an amazing legacy.

10.29.13

Blessed are those whose lawless deeds
are forgiven, and whose sin is covered.
Blessed is the one to whom the Lord
shall not impute sin.
— Romans 4:7-8

 

Those of us who have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, only because He first loved us, are BLESSED beyond even our knowledge.  We get the mercy and grace that we do not deserve and we do not receive the punishment we do deserve!  

5.27.13

There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.

John 15:13 NLT

 

Many thanks and true appreciation to the men and women who fight for our country, our freedoms and our protection.  Blessings to each one of them and the families who stand so strong and fight the fight at home.  Our heroes are amazing!

Choosing Joy and Begging For Mercy

The past week I have been grumpy.  And not just a little…I have not been a pleasant person to be around.  I let people get under my skin.  I am not one to enjoy drama, rudeness or intentionally hurting someone’s feelings.  I am not one to think it is ok to forget common courtesies…letting people know of a change of plans, doing what you say you are going to do, basic politeness.  I am someone who actually listens to people when they talk…something I fear is going by the wayside.  So…I get frustrated when people don’t seem to extend the same courtesies, do thrive on drama and attention, don’t listen.  (sigh).  I think the listening thing hits especially hard because I am with little people all day long who are still learning that listening is what you are supposed to do.  Plus, I am not one to drone on … I am generally pretty quiet.  So when I do talk…to an adult…I just want to be heard.

Anyway, my first problem (my problem, yes me) is that I let this little stuff bother me.  People all around me are going through HUGE life crises or at least life changing events, people around the world are suffering and dying, and I am concerned that someone didn’t listen to me…wow!  Can someone say selfish?

My second problem is, while people legitimately irritated me over the past week (in the secular world view) I still failed to choose joy.  I let myself be effected and in turn effect others who didn’t want to see my grumpiness.  Surely, surely, surely I was not a pleasing follower of Christ and that is and should always be my first priority.  How many people didn’t/don’t pay Christ with common courtesy, on top of all else they/we did/do to Him, and in His last breaths He was concerned and prayed for them and us.

My third problem is that being grumpy is exhausting and not fun!  It made me miserable and those around me and then I felt guilty and it was just bad all around.  If those people in my life want to choose drama and attention, my response to them should not be grumpiness, but pity.  How sad if someone needs to be that self centered.  How sad to want to feel miserable all the time.

And yet, I felt miserable for foolish things.  And I AM NO BETTER!  I am sure I drive people crazy, say things I shouldn’t, am selfish at times and just generally don’t act like others think I should.

So in my grumpiness I learned, I need to get closer to Christ, be more like Him, be kind to others, be respectful without being a doormat, and generally not let silly things change who I am.

I CHOOSE JOY!

And I beg God to forgive me for being selfish, judgmental and down right yucky!