Mark 16:6-7 (NIV) 6 “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7 But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’
Jesus had been killed by hanging on a cross – falsely accused and misunderstood by the Religious authorities. And though he had followers, people faithful to him – few of them were with him when he died. Verse 1-5 in this 16th Chapter of Mark, tells us that once Jesus had died, his body was removed from the cross and placed in a tomb. 3 days later Mary Magdalene, Mary, the mother of James, and Salome made the journey to the tomb in order to anoint Jesus’ dead body with spices, but when they arrived, Jesus’ body was nowhere to be found. It was gone.
They saw that stone had been rolled away and they were greeted by a young man presumed to be an angel, who provides the verse for today’s Lenten scripture: 6 “Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. 7 But go; tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’
These believing women went to prepare his body, as was the Jewish practice of the time for final resting. I am sure that they were in some kind of pain – loss manifest itself in so many ways. How do you feel, when things are one way and then all of the sudden you see that it is totally different; surprised, lost, deceived, angry, hurt, remorseful, dumb; there is some emotion attributed to difference. For me, I get a nervous stomach and it is not proved to be too far off and then I have questions. There are times when I have to thoroughly examine my feelings, especially when all along I believed one way, only to find out it is not what I thought at all.
How do you feel when that happens, when something or someone you trusted in, is no longer there, your foundation, your rock is gone? Clearly now, in these economic times, and the recent act of sequesterian (I am a fed), the world for many is now turned upside down, and in a panic. I just wonder what expressions did these three faithful women show for the angel to tell them not to be alarmed; Jesus had made promises to never leave nor forsake.
Let’s just look at the scripture – Notice the angel tries to comfort them in their fears.
“Don’t be alarmed,” he says. Then, proceeds to give them information on what has happened. “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here.” Not only does he provides a confirmation as to the status of Jesus, he then points them in the direction to see Jesus, once again – “He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.”
Are you familiar with Jesus? Are you familiar with the promises, the miracles, and the parables? Is your relationship a familiar relationship, where you know that our Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit will never leave you or forsake you? John 3:16 tells us: 6 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (NIV) I so appreciate that scripture, but more importantly what touches my heart, and what I have lived with is John 10:10 “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life and that they may have it more abundantly” (NKJV)
I had to ask myself through this Lenten season, if I am willing to accept change by accepting what God will allow, know that every single of the reported 3,573 promises in the bible are true, even if circumstances do not line up? If I just hold onto one of those promises and believe that God is faithful, all will be well.
Take a moment for you and consider: Do you have the faith to believe Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. And when you do have questions, when your foundation has been shaken, when life has taken a turn and your pain is unbearable, and you just don’t believe weeping may endure for a night, because no Joy has yet to come in the morning; when your faith is weaken, are you willing to follow through with Jeremiah 29: 12-13 and believe the promise “Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. (NIV)
Listen to the angel and go for the familiar and that would the resurrected promise of Jesus. Hold on and look around and see that there really is only one set of footprints, and they are not ours. God Bless you.
Image “Sin is at your door” courtesy of Jordyn Williams on Flickr
6 Then the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? 7 If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” Genesis 4:6-7
By now we are nice and cozy in our Lenten Challenge. I’m sure some of us are doing fabulously, focused and sticking to our plans. But, I bet lots of us are not doing as well. Maybe we have not stuck to our food plans. Perhaps we have missed some workouts. It’s possible that some of us have not been very focused on Lent or the challenge at all. Do you fall into any of these groups?
I happen to fall into category 3, lack of focus on Lent. Lent is not a part of the spiritual practices that I grew up with. I’ve learned a little about it over the last few years. I like the idea of making a personal sacrifice and reflecting on Jesus’ sacrifices for us. As much as I like the idea of Lent, it is not a habitual practice for me. I find myself getting caught up in my normal routines and not focusing on Lent the way that I should.
Now, if you are like me lacking focus or coming up short in the diet or fitness area, it is ok. Do not have your face downcast. Do not be Angry with yourself. Maybe you have not done the right things in terms of your goals for this challenge. Our subject verse says if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.” Sin and temptation go hand and hand. You may be feeling very tempted to give up on this challenge and your Lenten goals. I urge you to not let any downcast feelings or anger control you, influence you, have you. Instead I ask you to simply let these feelings pass, rule over them and the temptation to quit.
Instead of focusing on what you have not done right thus far in the challenge focus on the beginning of verse 7, If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? Today, start over if you need to. Don’t focus on what you have not done well. Instead focus on what you have done right and what you can do right going forward. My answer to the question post to Cain is yes; if you do right you will be accepted. But that acceptance will come from within. We feel good about ourselves and accept ourselves when we know we are doing our best to do what is right.
So even if things are not going as well as we’d like within this challenge or even other areas of your life don’t let downcast feelings, guilt, or anger have you. Rule over it. Do not give into the temptation of quitting. Instead focus on getting back on track and doing what is right so you can accept yourself, flaws and all without guilt or self anger.
Do you need to get back on your food plan, exercise regime, or just refocus in general on the Lenten Challenge?
Arlett R. Hartie (Chasing Joy)
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Romans 12:2 (NIV) Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Transforming yourself is effort. To be more in line with what God wants requires focus, dedication and commitment. While striving for perfection, each of us will certainly falter. However, we will continue to improve as we make more adjustments.
At this point during the Lenten Challenge, you may be feeling as if you’d simply like to give up the things you decided to do at the start or you may feel that you have strayed so far from your plan that you might as well give up altogether. Instead of giving in to those feelings, decide to recommit yourself. Know that God loves you for what you’ve done thus far and will love you through each step.
Your efforts do require discipline in your commitment. This discipline will continue to grow with practice. Focus on your goal as you make corrections and make the next step. Continued discipline becomes habit and requires less effort to keep on track.
1 Corinthians 9:24 [ The Need for Self-Discipline ] Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize.
You are heading toward the prize today. Renew your mind with a focus on winning the prize!
Here came a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him. John 1:6-7 NASB
Every day we are yearning to know “How can good come to and out of our lives?” We live with dreams, visions, and goals to which we never pursue. Getting a better job, starting a blog, eating better, teaching and empowering others, etc. are some things we long to do. Taking time to understand what you are sent to this earth to do will help you with getting started with accomplishing your goals. Many times we are looking at everyone else accomplish and receive results in the things we sit and think about doing. It’s time to get moving and receive. The life you dream of is awaiting you.
John the Baptist was sent to this earth by God and so were you. John came to testify about the Light and he fulfilled his purpose. You came to fulfill a purpose as well. He fulfilled his purpose so many would believe in Jesus Christ and when you accomplish your purpose people will believe they can do it to.
You have everything inside of you to live the life you see. You would have never had the unction to desire those things if God wasn’t going to give you everything you need to fulfill them. He has already gone before you and paved the way for you to become your dream and live good. Go and fill out the application. Put down the cookies and pick up a carrot. Begin uplifting with your co-workers. Do something now. Do not wait until everything is in place because something will always come up. It’s time to push pass the thoughts of “I’ll do it tomorrow” and start now. Push pass the thoughts” I am to old”, you are still breathing. Push pass the thoughts “one cookie won’t hurt”, ten minutes of exercise won’t either. No more excuses. No more limitations, it’s time to fulfill your goals and live your dream.
Image courtesy of crossgrace.org
24 “If you can?’ retorted Jesus. ‘Everything is possible for one who has faith.’ At once the father of the boy cried out, ‘I have faith. Help my lack of faith!” Mark 9:24 (NJB)
I’m a believer and I feel blessed for all the great things that God is doing in my life but sometimes my faith wavers. I may have a problem that I’m unable to decide on the best resolution, instead of putting it in prayer and trusting in God to help me find the answers, I spend a lot of time stressing. Luckily I have a sister that constantly reminds me to hand my worries to God and have faith that my prayers will be answered. I’m not 100% there, but everyday as I see wonderful things unfold in my life my faith grows.
Being on this Lenten challenge has been a blessing, it has made me pay more attention to the word of God. Everyday I am being spoken to, on what I need to do to strengthen my relationship with God to receive my inheritance.
God guides me in seeking him out. He gives me the will power to abstain from sugar as part of the Lenten Challenge. He gives me the strength to exercise, to enable me to be strong for the physical demands of motherhood.
Whatever we are faced with, no matter how bleak things may seem we need to have faith in God. He will support and guide us through, till we come out on the other side. We need to place our troubles in his hands, in the knowledge that he will take care of it and us.
How strong is your faith? Do you stress over your problems or do you hand them to God? Thanks for commenting.
38 Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” (Acts 2: 38-39)
Now the reason you must be born again is because Jesus wants to transfer life. If we want to follow Christ we must do what the word of the Lord says, “repent and be baptized.” There has to be a turning away from a life of selfishness and rebellion against God’s law and at the same time a time to turn to Christ. We cannot save ourselves – only God can save us. Baptism identifies us with Christ and the community of believers. It is a condition of discipleship and a sign of faith.
Then sin says I am going to attack your body, begin to destroy the thing that God created. Fill you full of affliction and disease. That is how sin works. Sin wraps its fingers around your life and hangs on. Sins says I do all of that for one purpose. Sin eventually wants to get a hold of your soul where it can drag you to hell and work destruction on you for all of eternity. That is what sin has set its course to do.
But Peter said, “let me tell you what Jesus has come to do.”
Jesus has come to destroy the power of sin on your life. You do not have to live with your mind under continued attack. You don’t have to live with your emotions under continual attack. You don’t have to live with your body under attack. Jesus said in the book of John:
John 10:10 KJV The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. This is a word that has resonated with me personally during my weight loss journey. In the area of changing my eating habits. If don’t change the way I was eating and caring for His temple then I am going to die. That was one of the last things that I wanted to do, so I had to repent for my emotional eating lifestyle and asked God for help. He said in John 3:30 ‘He must increase and I must decrease.’ I had to learn to turn my frustrations, stresses, worries over to him and crave Him more and not food.
First of all, repentance is asking Him to be the Lord of every area of your life. Secondly repentance is admitting you are a sinner.
Inheritance means that it belonged to somebody else before it belonged to you. You have received something of great value. It is my prayer that after my 40 Day fast that many of my loved ones and new souls will receive this new inheritance and become part of the body of Christ.
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The Lord also shall roar out of Zion, and utter his voice from Jerusalem; and the heavens and the earth shall shake: but the Lord will be the hope of his people, and the strength of the children of Israel. (Joel 3:16)
Hope can be defined as the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best. In other words hope is where your expectations are centered. Your desires and expectations should be divinely centered. Ask yourself this question: Are my expectations aligned with the most high?
The unwise and unlearned place their hope in people, jobs and material things. People are mercurial, the economy is fickle and material things do not last. It’s time we dig a little deeper and place our hope in a steadfast foundation. This sure foundation is God.
No matter what you desire, place all your hope in the most high. You want to lose weight? You want to get fit? You want to be completely healed and restored? Put your hope in the Lord. You cannot do it alone. We are subject to error and mistakes. Eating that extra piece of cake or skipping the gym is a reflection of our weaknesses. Even with willpower we aren’t exempt from temptation and mishaps. Therefore trusting and hoping solely in your own strength is hazardous.
In your darkest and weakest moments, trust in the power of God. The lord will be the hope of your situation.
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Hebrews 4:15-16 (NIV) 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.
To think that Jesus understands what we are going through because he walked the earth like us and faced challenges similar to what we faced, is really amazing. Sometimes, it is really hard to comprehend that our Savior led a life similar to what we do. Jesus walked where others walked and addressed issues as others would.
Jesus took on this responsibility to be closer to us and that we could truly be connected our Lord. We should have a knowing that God truly loves us and always wants the best for us. Not only do we have the blessing of eternal life, we have the Lord everyday. The knowledge that the Lord is with us should make us bold even in times of our most dire need.
During this Lenten Season, we have the opportunity to grow and re-focus to prepare to do just as the Word says and approach the Lord with confidence. As we build our relationship with God daily, our connection to our source continues to grow. What will be able to accomplish with this power and when we are acting with the purpose that God has for us.
Trust! Do you trust yourself? Unfortunately I do not trust myself.
I am doing this Lenten Challenge a little differently from most of you. I have not given up any food items for Lent. I’ve also not committed to any new fitness regime. Why, you ask. Because earlier this year I set a resolution to stop weighing myself and to not start any diet or fitness program for at least the first quarter of the year.
I have realized that I am always on some sort of plan because I do not trust myself to take care of myself without any self imposed or diet imposed rules. I have lived fearfully worrying that if I were not on some kind of plan, that if I were left to my own devices I would eat myself into oblivion and become grotesquely obese. I’m talking cut a hole in the wall to get her outside of the house obese.
I have been overweight since around age 10. Somehow I got the idea and feeling that I could not control or trust myself in my head. Well I want it out!!! Luke 16:10 (NIV) says “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.”
My weight is such a “little” thing when I think of all that I want God to trust me with. I want him to trust me to be a good wife and mother one day. I want God to trust me to be a good blogger and leader encouraging people to Chase Joy. I want God to trust me to take care of my mom for years and years to come. I want God to trust me to be a good example and role model to others. If I cannot be trusted, can’t even trust myself to eat sensibly and be active without tons of restrictions and rules, how can I trust myself and expect God to trust me with all of the “Big” things that really are important.
So during this season of Lent I am paying closer attention to my body and learning to understand what it is saying to me. I am learning that when I can barely keep my eyes open late at night, my body is saying let’s go to bed, not let’s eat something sweet to perk up and stay up late becoming blogger extraordinaire. I am learning that feelings of anxiety attack my tummy and often feel like hunger. I’m learning that the calming effect that I receive from sugar is short lived and leads to more sugar. I am learning to trust myself to take care of myself and make healthy decisions. “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much.”
Honesty is the best policy. I am going to be honest with myself and admit that when I’m eating and feel a little full that means STOP EATING not let’s wash this down with a beverage and eat some more. I am being honest when I admit that I physically don’t feel very well, tired, acid reflux symptoms, and weighed down. I am being honest when I admit that being free of diet and exercise rules and not stepping on the scale is scary and does not feel freeing at all. “Whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much.”
I am new to the practice of Lent but my understanding is that it about reflection as well as sacrifice. Take some time to reflect on the traits of trust and honesty in your life.
Are there areas of your life where you do not trust yourself or where you are not honest with yourself? Have you thought about how the lack of trust and or honesty may be blocking your blessings? How can trusting yourself more and being more honest bring you more Joy?
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Image courtesy of darrellcreswell.files.wordpress.com
“Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.” Psalms 1: 1-2
If you want to walk in favor change your surroundings. Walk with God-inspired people. Psalms 1 reads, “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly”. Some times the very company we keep is the root of our adversity. Drama queens and negative Nancy’s can hinder us by distracting us from true purpose and our goals.
Align yourself with people who not only push towards your goals but also push you towards God. Remember the ultimate purpose is pleasing God. Once we please him he will give us the desires of our heart. There’s no adversity stronger than the favor of GOD.
Meditation is an efficient method to remove yourself from the natural world and negative surroundings spiritually. It initiates communication with the high realms of Heaven of in the Spirit World. The purpose of meditation is to discover our true purpose and true selves – a spiritual being residing in a physical body; and experience true joy by feeling free from the restrictions and influences of this physical world. To meditate is to connect with source.
When we keep our minds on God he keeps us in perfect peace. With peace comes clarity. Freed minds make better decisions. Whether your goal is a physical fitness and or spiritual fitness, meditate before and during the journey. God will give you insight that will not only get you going but it will sustain you.
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