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First Monday of Lent - The Cross

 First Monday in Lent... In 1st Peter, he says, "He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed." (2:24) When Peter spoke to the Jewish Council in Acts 5, he said, "The God of our fathers raised Jesus, whom you killed by hanging him on a tree." (30) The Bible opens in Genesis with human beings in a garden, where the tree becomes a focal point for their disobedience to God's word. The Bible ends in the book of Revelation where the picture of heaven reveals... "The angel showed me the river of the water of life, flowing from the throne of God and of the lamb through the middle of the street of the city; also, on either side of the river, the tree of life with its twelve kinds of fruit, yielding its fruit each month. The leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations" (22:1-2). In Lent, we remember our Christ-shaped heritage comes from our Savior, Jesus
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Thursday, week 1... I believe!

 Thursday in the first week of Lent.  Let's begin with this Gospel reading: Mark 11:12-25 12  On the following day, when they came from Bethany, he was hungry. 13  And seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to see if he could find anything on it. When he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. 14  And he said to it, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard it. 15  And they came to Jerusalem. And he entered the temple and began to drive out those who sold and those who bought in the temple, and he overturned the tables of the money-changers and the seats of those who sold pigeons. 16  And he would not allow anyone to carry anything through the temple. 17  And he was teaching them and saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all the nations’? But you have made it a den of robbers.” 18  And the chief priests and the scribes heard it and were seeking a way to destroy h

Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent

 Why Lent?  From the introduction and day 1 of my book, "A Lenten Sojourn"... Today begins the 40 days of Lent.  The word "Lent" comes from the word Lencten , which is an old Anglo-Saxon word for "Spring".  Lent begins a 40-day period that ends the Saturday before Easter (Sundays are not counted in Lent because they are considered to be days of celebrating the Resurrection, not the cross). Why 40 days?  Most likely it’s because the number 40 often appears in relation to things related to sin and temptation.  The rain fell on the earth for forty days and forty nights.  The children of Israel wandered for 40 years in the desert.  Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert to be tempted by Satan for 40 days.  During the 40 days of Lent, we have the opportunity to “think”, “remember”, and “reflect” on issues of sin, what Christ has done for us on the cross, and how we can live more clearly for Him.   Often Christians give up something for Lent.  Why?  Perhaps

A Shepherds Model for Joy to the World

Merry Christmas Day to you all. Let's read the timeless story and muse on what is next. In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger because there was no place for them in the inn. And in the same region, there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with g

Silent Night, Holy Night

A part of today’s reading comes from my book “An Advent Sojourn”.  It was from the date Christmas Eve: “One Christmas Eve, many years ago, I was pastoring a small rural church in Wisconsin. Our church building was an old white clapboard building with beautiful old stained glass windows that reflected brilliantly at night. The organ was an old wind-driven, bellowed organ that filled up the room with a sound that made everyone want to sing.  I came to our Christmas Eve service with great expectations. By this time I had fallen in love with Advent and Christmas Eve was the penultimate of our celebration of Christ’s birth. It came time for the service and all fifty or so of us were gathered. Then just before the service was to begin, the power went out. I stood there in disbelief, “No. Lord, do something.” But nothing happened…now what? The power stayed off.  It was time to begin our service, so I made a quick decision: “Get the candles out, pass them around, and we’ll do the service witho

The Inexpressible Gift

The one verse of Scripture that almost every person - believer or non-believer - knows is John 3:16:  “for God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten (i.e. one and only) son…”   It is a theme repeated throughout the Bible that God is Love.  While we love that God loves we sometimes forget that His love for us came with a terrible price - the death of His son. Love… a much-used word for many things and in many settings.  I love my spouse, and I love football…I love food, and I love God… I love God’s word, and I love fishing.  We use that word in so many different ways that it needs a context to be attached to it to have meaning. Paul, writing to the Corinthians said something about God’s love without using the word love: 2 Corinthians 9:15 - “thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift”. Did you ever get an inexpressible gift?  It’s a gift that leaves you speechless and in awe.  It means we have no words to attach to the gift that would do justice to what the gift means. An I

Our Advent Redeemer

After a few days of travel, I wanted to return to some of my Advent musings.  As I traveled I kept "musing" on the announcement of the angels to the Shepherds on that glorious night when Christ was born that the child is Christ the Lord, our Savior.  In the account of Luke the angels declare who Christ is: Luke 2:7 - 11 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn.      And   in   the   same   region   there   were   shepherds   out   in   the   field ,  keeping   watch   over   their   flock   by   night .    And   an   angel   of   the   Lord   appeared   to   them ,  and   the   glory   of   the   Lord   shone   around   them ,  and   they   were   filled   with   great   fear .     And   the   angel   said   to   them , “ Fear   not ,  for   behold ,  I   bring   you   good   news   of   great   joy   that   will   be   for   all   the   people .     For   unto   you   is