Pause for Poetry–An Eternal Legacy

meadow lakeAn Eternal Legacy

Frances Gregory Pasch

You could have come down from the cross

And spared Yourself great pain

For there was nothing stopping You…

Yet You chose to remain.

You knew that someone had to pay

The price for mankind’s sin.

You knew that if You turned Your back

The Enemy would win.

Despite the people’s jeering

And defaming of Your name,

You walked the road to Calvary

Enduring unjust shame.

You let them nail You to the cross

Without a word or sigh

So we could have eternal life…

In our place You would die.

The priceless legacy You left

Is filled with love and grace…

You promise that if we believe

We’ll see You face to face.

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You can find my April Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Frances Gregory Pasch’s devotions and poems have been published hundreds of times in devotional booklets, magazines, and Sunday school papers since 1985. Her writing has also appeared in several dozen compilations. Frances’ latest book, Greater Than Gold is available on Amazon. Her first book, Double Vision: Seeing God in Everyday Life Through Devotions and Poetry, which was published when she was eighty years old, is also available on Amazon. Frances has been leading a women’s Christian writers group since 1991 and makes her own holiday greeting cards incorporating her poetry. She and her husband, Jim, have been married since 1958. They have five sons and nine grandchildren. Contact her at http://www.francesgregorypasch.com.

Satan Entered

dark skyThen Satan entered into Judas.

It began with a suggestion. Betray Jesus. Go to the leading priests. Tell them you’ll hand Jesus over to them.

During that time, Accuser (Satan) wrapped himself around the heart of speaks Well Of (Judas), also called Village Man (Iscariot), who was one of the twelve followers of Creator Sets Free (Jesus). He went to the head holy men and the lodge guards and told them of his plan to turn against Creator Sets Free (Jesus). Luke 22:3-4 (First Nations Version)

The plot becomes action.

While Jesus and his disciples ate the Passover meal together, Satan entered Judas again. Up to this point, no action or follow-through was taken. That would soon change. Judas left the others. He went to the chief religious leaders. Details for accomplishing the betrayal of Christ were ironed out.

When Speaks Well Of (Judas), took the frybread, the evil snake took hold of his heart. “Go now,” Creator Sets Free (Jesus) said to him, “and do what you have planned.” John 13:26-27 (First Nations Version)

Satan entered Judas with a suggestion. The suggestion became a plot. The plot became action sealed with the kiss of a betrayer.

While Creator Sets Free (Jesus) was speaking, suddenly a crowd stormed in led by Speaks Well Of (Judas), one of the twelve. He walked up to Creator Sets Free (Jesus) to greet him. “Will you betray the True Human Being with a kiss?” he said to him.

“Why do you come at me with clubs and long knives as if I were a thief?” he asked them. “Did I not sit with you every day in the sacred lodge? Why did you not take me then? This is your time, and you have given the powers of darkness their day.” Luke 22:47-48, 52b-53 (First Nations Version)

At any time and at any point, Judas could have resisted Satan. He could have walked away. When Satan enters and whispers in our ear, we have the same choice. When he tries to wrap himself around our heart, we can resist. When we do, he will flee, because the One who is Greater is in us if we claim Christ as our Savior. We can take every thought captive and throw away everything the evil one sends our way.

Maybe we’ve allowed the deceiver’s words to make it through the initial suggestion phase, and we’ve started planning and plotting how to accomplish his design. Maybe we’ve even enlisted others to help us. There is still time to turn back. There is still time to tell Satan to get out of our life. 

Unfortunately, if like Judas, we don’t turn back before we follow through with the plan to betray Jesus, we place a kiss of betrayal on the cheek of the One who calls us friend.

But all isn’t lost. When we follow through with Satan’s suggestions and sin, there is still hope if we acknowledge our sin, turn to Jesus, and ask for his forgiveness. Then we must determine to shut our ears to the deceiver’s lies.

We aren’t strong enough to stand on our own against the enemy, and we don’t have to. When Satan enters, we aren’t defenseless. Far from it. We have an ally in God’s own son.

We have the Savior who stands before his Father, the Righteous Judge, pleading our case as our Mediator, Advocate, Intercessor, and High Priest on our side. We have the Spirit living inside us to strengthen us in our struggles.

We have a loving Father who allowed his beloved Son in whom he is well pleased, to be betrayed with a kiss, suffer excruciating torture, and die a sinner’s death. All so our sins could be forgiven and we could have a relationship with him as his  beloved child.

Satan is defeated by the power of Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection. Don’t ever forget that. You can be sure Satan won’t. That’s why Satan continues to look for ways to devour and destroy God’s people.

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Then Satan entered into Judas, called Iscariot, who was one of the twelve disciples. So Judas went off and spoke with the chief priests and the officers of the Temple guard about how he could betray Jesus to them. They were pleased and offered to pay him money. Judas agreed to it and started looking for a good chance to hand Jesus over to them without the people knowing about it. Luke 22:3-6 (GNT)

You can find my April Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Photo by Chris Barbalis on Unsplash

The Day After Christ’s Triumphant Entry

JerusalemJesus and his disciples entered Jerusalem the day before in a triumphant parade surrounded by shouts of “Hosanna!”, “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

When the religious leaders told Jesus to make the people hush, the Son of God replied that even if the people stopped their praise, the rocks and stones themselves would rise up and sing. I absolutely love that image and truth.

After a night in Bethany, Christ and his disciples returned to Jerusalem. There they found money changers in the temple. These men charged exorbitant fees. In doing so, they took advantage of the poor who came to offer their sacrifice at the temple. Merchants sold inferior animals at inflated costs. The commonness of a market replaced the holiness of the temple.

And Jesus was not pleased.

At the beginning of Christ’s ministry he encountered the same thing (John 2:13-16). During that incident, Jesus took the time to braid strands into a whip before he cleared the temple. Possibly he was counting to ten?

This time, however, there doesn’t seem to be the pause between anger and action. Jesus knew his time on earth was coming to a close. He knew by the end of the week Judas would betray him and Jesus would be handed over to the religious leaders.

He would be beaten beyond recognition. Suffer unimaginable pain. Be crucified even though no fault or crime was found. He would pay the penalty for our sins. Christ would drink the cup of his Father’s wrath.

My question for each of us is this. Are we like those money changers who defiled God’s holy temple?

How do we treat the things of God? Of Jesus?

Do we revere the Holy Scriptures, read them, take them into our heart, and apply them to our lives?

Are we regularly in worship services with other believers, praising our Lord’s name? Not only during significant seasons such as Easter and Christmas, but all year long?

Or do we treat God’s house as nothing more than a social gathering? A place to network to further our careers? A common market place to buy and sell commodities?

Each of us will be held accountable for how we treat the holy things of God. The next time Jesus clears the temple, I do not think he’ll pause to braid a whip.

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When they arrived in Jerusalem, Jesus went to the Temple and began to drive out all those who were buying and selling. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the stools of those who sold pigeons, and he would not let anyone carry anything through the Temple courtyards. He then taught the people: “It is written in the Scriptures that God said, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer for the people of all nations.’ But you have turned it into a hideout for thieves!”

The chief priests and the teachers of the Law heard of this, so they began looking for some way to kill Jesus. They were afraid of him, because the whole crowd was amazed at his teaching. Mark 11:15-18 (GNT)

You can find my April Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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She Did What She Could

woman prayingShe did what she could.

Some, like Judas, criticized Mary of Bethany for what they called an extravagant waste. However, Jesus, the One whose opinion matters the most, praised her. Jesus told Mary’s critics what she did was a beautiful thing. He told them it was something which would be remembered wherever the Good News is told.

The account of a woman in Bethany anointing Christ with oil the week before his crucifixion is told in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and John. The John account identifies the woman as Mary of Bethany, the sister of Martha and Lazarus.

While it seemed the apostles and others did not understand what Jesus meant when he said he would suffer and die at the hands of men, Mary understood. In that understanding, she took something of great value and offered it as a sacrifice to her Lord. In breaking her alabaster jar of precious perfume, Mary did what she could ahead of time to anoint Christ for his coming burial.

The cost of her gift mattered little to Mary. What did matter to her was that she show her deep love for the man she called Savior and Lord ahead of his death. Compared to what Jesus would do for Mary, she realized her gift was lacking.

Something I find interesting is the fact that in breaking her approximately twelve ounce jar of perfume, pouring it on Jesus’ feet, and wiping his feet with her hair, the fragrance Mary anointed Christ with would have lingered on her long after he left. It would remain as a reminder of the sacrifice Christ was willing to pay for her.

If you’ve ever spilled a bottle of perfume or cologne, even just a little, perhaps you have a small sense of the intensity of the nard oil Mary used to anoint Christ.

Mary willingly offered something of great value in love and gratitude to Jesus. She understood what his sacrifice on her behalf would cost him, and she did what she could, without counting the cost.

Are we willing to do the same?

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Six days before the Passover celebration began, Jesus arrived in Bethany, the home of Lazarus—the man he had raised from the dead. A dinner was prepared in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, and Lazarus was among those who ate with him. Then Mary took a twelve-ounce jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard, and she anointed Jesus’ feet with it, wiping his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance.

But Judas Iscariot, the disciple who would soon betray him, said, “That perfume was worth a year’s wages. It should have been sold and the money given to the poor.” Not that he cared for the poor—he was a thief, and since he was in charge of the disciples’ money, he often stole some for himself.

Jesus replied, “Leave her alone. She did this in preparation for my burial.” John 12:1-8 (NLT)

You can find my April Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Gluten-free Sausage, Eggs, and Cheese Breakfast Casserole Recipe

sausage, egg, cheese casseroleThis delicious gluten-free sausage, eggs, and cheese breakfast casserole can be prepared the night before, refrigerated, and cooked the next day to save time.

  • 1 (12 oz) roll breakfast sausage
  • 2 C shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • 1 package gluten-free country gravy mix (we use Pioneer)
  • 6 slices gluten-free bread, cut into 1-inch cubes

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Cook crumbled sausage in large skillet on medium heat until brown, stirring occasionally. Pour into 8-inch casserole dish.

Sprinkle cheese over sausage.

In medium bowl, make gravy per package instructions.

Beat eggs. Add to gravy. Beat with wire whisk until well blended.

Pour over cheese.

Arrange bread cubes evenly over mixture.

Drizzle butter over bread, if desired.

Bake, uncovered, 40 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean.

Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Enjoy!

You can find my April Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Trusting God in All the Things Book Review

blue flower petalsTrusting God in All the Things by Karen Ehman and Ruth Schwenk is a book of 90 devotions designed to help overwhelmed hearts find true calm. A calm that carving out daily time to connect with God provides.

Alternating between Karen and Ruth, these devotions touch on issues many women face each day. Some of the issues are disappointment, family, contentment, priorities, worry, plus much more.

Each devotion begins with a scripture. Following the scripture, either Karen or Ruth offers a devotional thought on how the verse applies to life. Two questions to ponder for personal reflection follow the devotional thought. A prayer with space to respond completes the devotion.

Through these short devotions, the authors offer the reader time to pause and reconnect with God for a little bit of calm amid the hectic of each day.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House for a fair and honest review, which is exactly what I gave.

Have you read this book? If so, what was your impression of it?

You can find my March Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Christ the Cornerstone

open BibleChrist the Cornerstone. The rejected stone. Everyone who stumbles over this stone will be broken.

When Jesus told a parable about evil tenant farmers, the Pharisees knew he spoke about them. Jesus knew what was in their hearts and thoughts. He knew they plotted to kill him, and they didn’t like it. Not one bit. In fact, they looked for a way to arrest him immediately.

In this parable, the owner of the vineyard kept sending servants to the tenant farmers to see how things were going. One by one, the tenants beat the owner’s servants.

Finally, the owner sent his only son thinking, surely, they will respect my son and not harm him. Instead of respecting the son, the tenants killed him, too.

In this parable the owner is God. The tenant farmers are Israel. The owner’s servants are the prophets God sent to his people. The owner’s son is Jesus.

As Jesus told this parable, he explained what would happen to the evil tenant farmers. The owner would come and kill them for rejecting and killing his son. Then he would turn the vineyard over to other tenants.

When the people heard this, they said surely the owner wouldn’t do that.

Jesus looked at them and asked, “What, then, does this scripture mean? The stone which the builders rejected as worthless turned out to be the most important of all. Everyone who falls on that stone will be cut to pieces; and if that stone falls on someone, that person will be crushed to dust.” (Luke 20:15-18)

When we, like the Jewish leaders, reject the truth of who Christ is-King of kings, LORD of lords, Messiah, Redeemer, Son of God, Cornerstone-we stumble over the truth. We reject the most important thing of all and are broken to pieces.

When the Pharisees realized Jesus spoke about them as he told this parable, instead of acknowledging the truth, they rejected Christ the Cornerstone. They allowed their stubborn pride to cause them to stumble and fall. As a result, they where shattered and crushed.

To the Jewish leaders, Christ was a stumbling block. He did not come in the manner they expected the Messiah to come.

To the Church, Christ is the Cornerstone. The foundation upon which the Church is built.

At the end time, Christ is the stone that will crush Gentile world dominion as depicted in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, recorded in the book of Daniel.

Just as the people who heard Jesus’ parable had a choice whether to believe in Christ the Cornerstone or not, we do as well.

We can reject Jesus and be crushed. Or accept him and be save. Our choice.

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For Jesus is the one referred to in the Scriptures, where it says,

‘The stone that you builders rejected
    has now become the cornerstone.’

There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved. Acts 4:11-12 (NLT)


You can find my March Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Are We Content?

pouting boyContent is defined as a state of happiness and satisfaction. A few words we might use as a synonym for content are fulfilled, cheerful, glad, restful, peaceful.

How often, I wonder, would we describe ourselves as being content? The apostle Paul went through many, many dreadful life-threatening situations, yet declared he knew how to be happy, content, no matter what.

Priscilla Shirer tells a story in her book, Awaken, about a family who went on a safari in Africa. Their goal was to check off the sighting of the “Big Five”; elephant, rhinoceros, buffalo, lion, and leopard.

Although they managed to check off four of the animals, they’d yet to spot a rhino.

This fact disturbed one family member. To the point he was miserable and unable to enjoy the magnificent beauty of the things that surrounded him.

He was not content.

Seeing the other four animals, and I’m sure there were many more spectacular sights besides the big five, wasn’t enough. He wouldn’t be happy until he saw a rhinoceros.

We may shake our heads and think, How silly. With everything God allowed him to see and experience, he’s gonna’ pout because he didn’t get to see a rhino?

True. To our way of thinking, perhaps we feel the experience alone should have brought joy to his heart. However, what about us? What is our level of contentment?

How many times do we pout and get all huffy because we don’t get that ONE thing we have our hearts set on?

How many times do we ignore all the good gifts God places in our life, and pine away for the ONE thing we don’t have?

When I look at my life, I’d have to say I’ve pouted over missing more than one rhino. I’ve pouted over many rhinos.

Right now I’m keeping my eyes open for one particular rhinoceros which I do believe God will shoo out of the bush into my field of vision one day. Until that time, I mustn’t lose sight of all the wonderful blessings God has already given and is currently giving.

What about you? Any rhinos you’re pouting over, and in doing so, missing out on all the other good things?

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

Not that I was ever in need, for I have learned how to get along happily whether I have much or little. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of contentment in every situation, whether it be a full stomach or hunger, plenty or want; for I can do everything God asks me to with the help of Christ who gives me the strength and power. Philippians 4:11-13 (TLB) 

You can find my March Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

Do You Have a Trouble Suitcase?

teddy bear in suitcaseDo you have a trouble suitcase? A place you carry all your troubles and cares that becomes so heavy and burdensome, you can barely go on? Is casting all your cares on God and leaving them there, something you have a problem doing?

It is for me. And apparently, it was for Corrie Ten Boom as well. In her book, God is My Hiding Place, she tells the story of a time she spoke about her trouble suitcase in a church in Tokyo shortly after World War II.

As an object lesson, she carried a heavy suitcase into the room where she spoke. She struggled to lift the suitcase, and placed it on top of a table. She said she was carrying the heavy trouble suitcase, and mentioned her heart was like that until she read 1 Peter 5:7, which reminded her to cast all her cares on the Lord.

To demonstrate casting her cares on God, Corrie opened her trouble suitcase. One by one, she removed each item. With each item, she mentioned a particular care, burden, or worry she carried. In the end of her demonstration, she closed the empty suitcase. She pretended to walk out of the room, suitcase swinging lightly at her side.

After the meeting ended, Corrie refilled her suitcase with all the items she removed and left the building.

While she was in Berlin years later, a man approached Corrie. He was in the church where she spoke in Tokyo. He told her every time he heard her name, he thought of her trouble suitcase.

Corrie was flattered. She told the man she was glad he remembered what she said that night.

To that the man replied, “It wasn’t what you said that I remember. It was what you did. After you finished, you put all the objects back in the suitcase and walked out just as burdened as when you came in.”

Oh, my goodness. We do that, don’t we?

We empty our trouble suitcase at the feet of Jesus, then we repack that suitcase right back up, and walk away carrying the same heavy weight we came in with. We might come to Jesus in the morning, tell him all the things which weigh heavy on our heart; all the hurts, troubles, concerns, problems, and worries. Often, though, thoughts of those concerns sneak back into our mind before the day ends.

Sometimes they don’t sneak, they rush in like a torrent intent our sweeping us clear away.

At the end of Corrie’s devotion, she suggested those of us who unpack our trouble suitcase and hand over our heavy concerns only to pick them back up again, ask the Holy Spirit to teach us how to pray. Teach us how to leave those burdens in God’s faithful care once and for all.

We know Jesus is able to take all our burdens and lighten our load. He tells us to come to him, all who are weary, and he will give us rest.

Yes, Jesus will carry our burdens, but we need to bring them to him. When we do, we need to stop grabbing them back.

How about you? What do you do to keep from repacking your trouble suitcase once you’ve emptied it at Jesus’ feet?

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

 Let him have all your worries and cares, for he is always thinking about you and watching everything that concerns you. 1 Peter 5:7

You can find my March Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy

Pause for Poetry The Bridge of the Cross

meadow lakeMan fain would build a bridge to God
Across the fathomless abyss
That lies between his earth-bound soul
And heaven’s perfect bliss.

He takes his knowledge, small and vague,
The great inventions he has wrought,
His mightiest efforts, finest plans,
And his profoundest thought.

He binds them with his strands of straw,
His strings of tow, his ropes of sand,
With all the power and the skill
Of cunning brain and hand.

Through swirling mists he strains his eye,
Above the unseen torrent’s roar
He pushes forth the makeshift thing
And hopes to touch the shore.

But when he seeks to cross the chasm
With eager heart and step elate,
He finds his bridge too short to reach,
Too frail to bear his weight.

Oh, baseless dream! Oh, useless toil!
Oh, utter and eternal loss!
For God has laid, to span the void,
His Son upon the cross.

And when man’s broken bridges fall,
And sink into the gulf at last,
Still wide and long and safe and strong,
The bridge of God stands fast.

Annie Johnson Flint

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

You can find my March Inspire a Fire post here. Please stop by and read it.

I wish you well.

Sandy