Fridays Are For Photographs

May 6, 2011 Leave a comment

Photo taken by Caitlin Brianne, a dear family friend. Awesome!

Sabbath Evenings – Resurrection Edition

April 24, 2011 4 comments

“The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here; he has risen, just as he said.” Matthew 28:5-6

He. Is. Risen.  Christ is Risen, indeed, alleluia!

I hope you are celebrating this wondrous feast day!

In addition to all the festive contemporary and traditional hymns to honor this day of days, here are a couple of my personal Easter favorites from Keith Green:

Categories: Sabbath Evenings

“I am the resurrection and the Life”

April 24, 2011 Leave a comment

A blessed Easter to you, dear Reader.  Our Brother, dearest Friend, and Savior Jesus has conquered death  The Father’s love is lavished upon His kids – we are free, indeed!
Christ Jesus has won new life for us!  Enjoy this Resurrection day and spread the most wonderful news ever!  The contrast between these two paintings from William Blake (1757–1827) give me cause for reflection,  contemplation and then, jubilation!  Notice how the first piece looks like the angels guarding the Ark of the Covenant.

Christ in the Sepulchre, Guarded by Angels

The Resurrection- The Angels rolling away the Stone from the Sepulchre

Categories: Art

Saturday of Holy Week

April 23, 2011 Leave a comment

And we wait . . .

Head of Christ in the Tomb by Jean-Jacques Henner (1829 – 1905)

Categories: Art, Devotional

Good Friday

April 22, 2011 1 comment

Friday’s Events


Before 6am

  • Judas betrays Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.  Jesus is arrested.  (Matthew 26:47-56; Mark 14:43-52; Luke 22:47-53; John 18:1-11)
  • The first trial before Annas  (John 18:13-24)
  • The second trial before Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin  (Matthew 26:57-68, Mark 14:53-65, Luke 22:54)
  • Peter’s denials  (Matthew 26:69-75, Mark 14:66-72, Luke 22:55-65, John 18:25-27)
  • The third trial before the Sanhedrin  (Matthew 27:1, Mark 15:1a, Luke 22:66-71)
  • Judas commits suicide  (Matthew 27:3-10, Acts 1:18-19)
  • The fourth trial before Pilate.
    • Jews accuse Jesus
    • Pilate questions Jesus “Are you a king?”
    • Jesus aswers “My kingdom is not of this world.”
    • Conclusion “I find no guilt in him.” (Matthew 27:2, 11-14, Mark 15:1b-5, Luke 23:1-5, John 18:28-38)
    • The fifth trial before Herod Antipas
      • Jesus Mocked and put in a royal robe and sent back to Pilate. No accusation (Luke 23:6-12)

After 6am

  • The sixth trial before Pilate
  • Pilot offers to release a man.
  • Crowd asks for Barabbas.
  • Jesus innocent of all charges. Luke 23:14
  • Jesus lead away to be crucified to satisfy the people.
  • Jesus is scourged and Mocked. Matthew 27:15-26. Mark 15:6-15,  Luke 23:13-25, John 18:39-19:16
  • Jesus led out to be Crucified. 9:00 am
  • Journey to Golgotha  (Matthew 27:31-34 Mark 15:20-23 Luke 23:26-33a John 19:17)
  • The first three hours of crucifixion. Jesus crucified between two criminals (Luke 23:33b, John  19:18)
  • Jesus’ garments are divided  (Matthew 27:35-36 Mark 15:24 John 19:23-22)
  • Sign over Jesus Head “this is Jesus the King of the Jews”
  • “Father forgive them; for they know not what they are doing” (Luke 23:23b)
  • Jesus Mocked
    • By those passing by  (Matthew 15:29-30)
    • By the Religious officials  (Mark 15:31-32 )
    • By the soldiers  (Luke 23:36-37)
    • By the other criminals  (Luke 23:39)
  • Jesus forgives the repentant criminal “Truly I say to you, today you shall be with me in paradise.” (Luke 23:40-43)
  • Jesus presents his Mother to John. “Behold your son”… Behold, your Mother” (John 19:25-27)
  • The Final three hours of crucifixion.
  • There was darkness from 12:00 to 3:00p.m. (Matthew 27:45, Mark 15:33, Luke 23:44-45)
  • 9th hour. Jesus uttered the words “Eli Eli Lama Sabchthani that is My God, My God, Why hast Thou Forsaken Me.” (Matthew 27:46-49, Mark 15:34-36 )
  • “I am Thirsty” (John 19:29-30)
  • “It is Finished” (John 19:30)
  • “Father, Into thy Hands I Commit My Spirit” (Luke 23:46 )
  • He breathed his last and died at 3:00p.m.
  • Responses to Jesus’ death.
  • Veil in the temple was torn from top to bottom  (Matthew 27:51,  Mark 15:38 , Luke 23:45)
  • There was a great earth quake  (Matthew 27:51)
  • Tombs were opened and dead saints walked around  (Matthew 27:52-53)
  • Centurion “Truly this was the Son of God!” “Certainly this man was innocent” (Matthew 27:54. Mark 15:39, Luke 23:47-49)
  • Multitudes beat their breast  (Luke 23:48)
  • Women watched from a distance (Matthew 27:55-56, Mark 15:40-41, Luke 23:49)
  • Soldier find Jesus Dead. Jesus’ Side pierced. “Out comes blood and water” Proof Jesus is dead  (John 19:34)
  • Jesus buried by Joseph and Nicodemus in the garden tomb (Matthew 27:57-60, Mark 15:43-46, Luke 23:50-54, John 19:38-42)Tomb is sealed and soldier stationed to guard the tomb (Matthew 27:61-66, Mark 15:47, Luke 23:55-56)

Old Testament Parallel

Isaiah 52.13-53.12

Psalm-Prayers

  • I cry out to you, O LORD;  I say, “You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living.” Psalm 142:5
  • Be my strong rock, a castle to keep me safe;  you are my crag and my stronghold. Psalm 71:3
  • O LORD, I cry to you for help;  in the morning my prayer comes before you. Psalm 88:14
  • My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?  and are so far from my cry and from the words of my distress? Psalm 22:1
Categories: Devotional

Maundy Thursday

April 21, 2011 Leave a comment

Thursday’s Events One of the most, if not the most intimate moments between Jesus and his disciples  (Mark 14:12-42)

  • Preparation for the Passover (Matthew 26:17-19, Mark 14:12-16, Luke 22:7-13)
  • Jesus eats the Passover with his disciples.
    • Jesus washed the disciples feet  (John 13:1-20)

    "Christ Washing Peters Feet" by Ford Madox Brown, 1865

    • Identified Judas as the betrayer  (Matthew 26:21-25, Mark 14:18-21, Luke 22:21-23, John 13:21-30)
    • Dispute over who was the greatest (Luke 22:24-30)
    • The First Prediction of Peter’s denial  (John 13:31-38)
    • Institution of the Lord Supper  (Matthew 26:26-29, Mark 14:22-25, Luke 22:17-20, 1 Cor 11:23-26)
  • Conversations during supper.
    • Question about his destination, the Father, and the Holy Spirit answered  (John 14:1-31)
    • Vine and the Branch  (John 15:1-17)
    • Opposition from the world  (John 15:18-16:4)
    • Coming and ministry of the Holy Spirit  (John 16:5-15)
    • Prediction of joy over His resurrection  (John 16:16-22)
    • Promise of answered prayer (John 16:23-33)
  • Jesus’ high priestly prayer  (John 17:1-26)
  • They sang a hymn and left the upper room for Mount of Olives and the garden of Gethsemane   (Matthew 26:30, Mark 14:26)
  • The Second prediction of Peters betrayal  (Matthew 26:30-35, Mark 14:26-31, Luke 22:39-40a, John 18:1)
  • Jesus three agonizing prayers in Gethsemane  (Matthew 26:36-46, Mark 14:32-42, Luke 22:40b-46)

(Christ in Gethsemane by Michael D. Obrien)

From the Movie The Passion of the Christ

Old Testament Parallel

  • Exodus 12.1-14

Psalm-Prayers

  • Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion,  which cannot be moved, but stands fast for ever. The hills stand about Jerusalem;  so does the LORD stand round about his people, from this time forth for evermore. Psalm 125:1–2
  • Make me understand the way of your commandments,  that I may meditate on your marvelous works. Psalm 119:27
  • Remember your word to your servant,  because you have given me hope. This is my comfort in my trouble, that your promise gives me life. Psalm 119:49–50
  • Do not let your hearts be troubled. You trust in God, trust also in me. John 14:1
  • In the evening, in the morning, and at noonday, I will complain and lament, and he will hear my voice. Psalm 55:18


Categories: Devotional

Wednesday of Holy Week

April 20, 2011 2 comments

The gospel writers do not tell us what Jesus did on this day sometimes referred to as “Silent Wednesday.”  I have thought about what Jesus might be doing today.  Resting.  Having dinner with his friends and disciples.  Praying alone. Healing. I don’t know.

Lots of movies have been produced over the years representing what Christ’s life might have looked like for some of us visual learners – and everyone else, too.  Lori and I watch Mel Gibson’s “Passion of Christ” on Good Friday night.  The movie is definitely not for the feint of heart, but I believe comes closest to picturing the reality of the gruesome and horrific death of our Friend.

The pictures below are from Matthew:  The Visual Bible.  When I first watched this video series which is word for word from the book of Matthew, I was captured by how Jesus was portrayed as a man of joy, laughter, warmth, relationship, and tenderness.  So very inviting!  We love you Jesus, thank you so much for loving us and showing us the love of the Father!

Old Testament Parallel

Isaiah 50.4-9 Coming face to face with the Passion of Jesus described in great detail.

Psalm-Prayers

  • O tarry, and await the LORD’s pleasure; be strong, and he shall comfort your heart; wait patiently for the LORD. Psalm 27:1
  • Show us your mercy, O LORD,  and grant us your salvation. Psalm 85:7
  • For you are my hope, O Lord GOD, my confidence since I was young. I have been sustained by you ever since I was born; from my mother’s womb you have been my strength;  my praise shall be always of you. Psalm 71:5–6
  • For one day in your courts is better than a thousand in my own room,  and to stand at the threshold of the house of my God than to dwell in the tents of the wicked. Psalm 84:9
  • Save me, O God, for the waters have risen up to my neck. I am sinking in deep mire,  and there is no firm ground for my feet. I have come into deep waters,  and the torrent washes over me. I have grown weary with my crying; my throat is inflamed;  my eyes have failed from looking for my God. Those who hate me without a cause are more than the hairs of my head; my lying foes who would destroy me are mighty.  Psalm 69:1–5
Categories: Devotional

Tuesday of Holy Week

April 19, 2011 Leave a comment

Tuesday Events A busy day for Jesus! He heads back to Jerusalem (Mark 11:20-14:11)

  • Disciples see the fig tree withered. (Matthew 21:19b-22, Mark 21:20-25)
  • Jesus’ authority questioned by the Chief priests. (Matthew 21:23-17, Mark 11:27:33, Luke 20:1-8)
  • The Parable of the Two Sons. (Matthew 21:28-32)
  • The Parable of the Tenants. A Parable against the Jews. (Mark 12:1-11, Matthew 21:43-46)
  • The Parable of the Banquet. (Matthew 22:1-14)
  • Questions to trap Jesus.
    • Paying taxes to Caesar with the Pharisees (Matthew 22:15-22)
    • Marriage and Resurrection with the Sadducees – exposes their ignorance (Matthew 22:23-33)
    • The Great commandment. (Matthew 22:34-40)
  • Jesus questions the Religious Leaders  (Matthew 22:41-46)
  • Jesus condemns the religious Leads for Hypocrisy (Matthew 23:1-33)
    • Jesus laments once again over Jerusalem. (Matthew 23:34 -39)
  • Widows offering. (Mark 12:41-44)
  • Two conversations answering two questions one about  Jerusalem’s destruction and the sign of the second coming. Both begin with the disciples amazement of the Temple’s stones. (Mark 13:1)
    • First conversation leaving the Temple focuses on the destruction of the Temple with some details about the second coming. The Disciples question concerns the destruction of the temple and the time that it will happen. This happened on the way out of the temple or in the temple.  (Luke 21:5-36)
    • Second conversation happened on the Mt. of Olives and was given to only Peter, James and John and Andrew.(Mark 13:3) The question this time is focused more on the second coming. (Matthew 24: Mark 13)
  • Three Parables about the second coming.
    • The parable of the 10 Virgins. Readiness. (Matthew 25:1-13)
    • Teaching on the talents. Stewardship. (Matthew 25:14-30)
    • The Sheep and the Goats.  (Matthew 25:31-46)
  • Jesus predicts his death. (Matthew 26:2)
  • Jesus anointed by Mary the sister of Lazarus (Matthew 26:6-13, Mark 14:3-9, John 12:2-11)
  • Religious leaders plot against Jesus (Matthew 26:1-5, Mark 14:1-2, Luke 21:37-22:2)
  • Judas agrees to betray Jesus to the Leaders. (Matthew 26:14-16, Mark 14:10-11, Luke 21:3-6)

(Painting by Daniel Gerhartz, b. 1965)

Old Testament Parallel
Isaiah 49.1-6 The commission and call of Jesus, the Messiah.  “A light to the nations.”

Psalm-Prayers

  • God has gone up with a shout,  the LORD with the sound of the ram’s-horn. Sing praises to God, sing praises; sing praises to our King, sing praises. For God is King of all the earth; sing praises with all your skill. God reigns over the nation;  God sits upon his holy throne. Psalm 47:5–8
  • Early in the morning I cry out to you,  for in your word is my trust. Psalm 119:147
  • Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your Name give glory; because of your love and because of your faithfulness. Psalm 115:1
  • For lo, your enemies, O LORD, lo, your enemies shall perish, and all the workers of iniquity shall be scattered. Psalm 92:8
Categories: Devotional

Monday of Holy Week

April 18, 2011 1 comment

[In place of counseling posts, each day this week is devoted to the events of Holy Week.  Take any part of these events, prayers or the art and consider meditating on them.  Read and reflect with heart, soul, and mind.]

After the triumphal entry in Jerusalem on “Palm Sunday,”  Jesus later wept over Jerusalem and predicted her destruction (Luke 19:41-44).  He also made a brief visit to the temple and then went back to Bethany for the night. Jesus had been staying in Bethany since Friday night.
(John11:55-12:1).

(Painting by James Tissot, French, 1836-1902)

Monday Events (back to Jerusalem from Bethany, about 2 miles)

  • Cursing of the fig tree.  (Matthew 21:18-19, Mark 11:12-14)
  • Clearing of the Temple (Matthew 21:12-13, Mark 11:15-18, Luke 19:45-48)
  • Healing at the Temple (Matthew 21:14)
  • Praise of the Children. Healing in the Temple (Matthew 21:14-16)
  • Greeks wish to see Jesus (John 12:20-22)
  • Discourse on the necessity of the Son of Man’s being lifted up. (John 12:20-36)
  • Jesus hides from the people (John 12:36-50)
  • Back to Bethany for the night. (Matthew 21:17, Mark 11:19)

More than likely  the disciples would have purchased a lamb for Passover on this day which was to begin at twilight on Friday evening (Exodus 12:1-6.) There would be thousands of people purchasing a lamb from the marketplace. The disciples would then care for and observe it for defects for four days. Any defect would eliminate it from being able to serve as a Passover lamb. If it proved to be worthy, the one year old lamb would be sacrificed as a remembrance of God choosing to “pass- over” those who had the blood of the lamb applied to the entrance of their homes ( Exodus 12:1-14).

Old Testament Parallel
Isaiah 42.1-9 emphasizing the mission of our Servant, Jesus.

Psalm-Prayers

  • Let my mouth be full of your praise and your glory all the day long. Do not cast me off in my old age; forsake me not when my strength fails. Psalm 71:8–9
  • O LORD, my God, my Savior, by day and night I cry to you. Let my prayer enter into your presence. Psalm 88:1–2
  • Show me your ways, O LORD, and teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; in you have I trusted all the day long. Psalm 25:3–4
  • Deliverance belongs to the LORD.  Your blessing be upon your people! Psalm 3:8
Categories: Devotional

Sabbath Evenings: Speechless

April 17, 2011 3 comments

Over the years I have meditated on the events of Holy week, which begins today — it is the week above all weeks — the week when the followers of Jesus end the 40-day season of Lent and enter into the most significant event in human history:  God’s saving work through Jesus. The week is now here and I am keenly aware of how the mood shifts quickly to “a full week of emotional highs and lows and the reconciliation of many terrible contradictions.” (Peter Giersch) Jesus in triumph and Jesus in agony is a compelling contrast that reduces me to silence.

Today is Palm Sunday and recalls Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem.  The atmosphere is anything but silent. Loud Hosannas.  Palm branches strewn along the way for the Son of David.  In worship today the words of Matt. 21.1-11 were read.  The words of v. 10 captured my attention:  “And when he entered Jerusalem, all the city was stirred, saying ‘Who is this?’ WHO IS THIS. I will not be silent here!  This is my Jesus!  “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!  Hosanna in the highest “Matt. 21.9.

Since this morning’s jubilant worship, the reality of a tragic week in my Savior’s life is settling in. I am quieted.  I wonder . . .

Do you remember a painful event in your life when you were silenced? When your world came to a deafening hush? Or do you remember receiving tragic news that left you speechless? Emotions were stirred; angst, confusion, disorientation, sorrow, and grief. And yet, the words would not come. Even if you wanted to protest and cry out, you couldn’t because disbelief and powerlessness were stuck in your throat.

This describes how Thursday, Friday and Saturday of Holy week impact me.

The ancient church, for hundreds of years has observed these three days to be the final events of Jesus’ life. On Thursday night Jesus launched The Lord’s Supper, washed the feet of his disciples, gave the new commandment of love, and was arrested.  Friday, or “Good Friday,” Jesus suffered a gruesome crucifixion and death. Saturday, we identify with our dear friend lying in the tomb meditating on His death and descent into hell to defeat Satan. “In ancient times, Christians would read from the Old Testament stories of salvation history all night long, and then celebrate resurrection with the dawn.” (Peter Giersch)

I have a tradition on Good Friday morning to stay in bed for several minutes. I lay there considering and meditating on the fact that by the time my alarm goes off, Jesus had been awake the entire night facing betrayal, mockery, and brutal scourging. “I offered my back to those who beat me and my cheeks to those who pulled out my beard. I did not hide my face from mockery and spitting.” (Is. 50.6)  He was bounced from court to court moving Him closer to His death. I feel a queasy pit in my gut. I feel the angst and shock that this would have to happen to my Lord. Even knowing that He was submitting to the Father’s will, and what the Easter resurrection would bring — I am disquieted.  “Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer,  and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering,  he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.” (Is. 53.10) All this for you – for me.  I’m silenced.

What language shall I borrow
To thank Thee, dearest Friend,
For this, Thy dying sorrow,
Thy pity without end?
(O Sacred Head, Now Wounded by Paul Gerhardt, 1607-1676)

“Let all the earth keep silence before Him.” Habakkuk 2:20

Honestly, it would be easier for me to dismiss everything I have just shared with you.   But I have learned that it is a right response to be offended and shocked speechless by the reality of the cross. I will turn away from pretending these days are the same as any other carrying on with my usual chatter and small talk conversation.  To be silenced by the events of the coming week may be one of the Christian’s deepest acknowledgments of God’s complete story of love and sacrifice. My soul needs quiet reserve before fully celebrating the glorious redemption at the end of these dreadful days.

I urge you to do the same, dear reader and enter once again into the meaning of it all.  Do not be afraid to think on such outrageous and scandalous events born out of a radical love for you and I. Take time to reflect on the Father’s  mighty act of salvation through Jesus, His only Son.  The Father had a beautiful purpose in giving up His Son.  You. Me. God.  Forever.

Francisco de Zurbarn (1598-1664), “Agnus Dei” (1635-40)

Categories: Sabbath Evenings