More Hope Resurrection Sunday: Easter 2018

Easter

Photograph by Donna Harris

Dear God,

We are adopted by you into your forever grace and our lives are forever changed because you rescued us once and for all through your son, Jesus … yet you continue to rescue us again and again by making a way for us to escape and to break free from strongholds that want to devour and destroy the peace and joy that comes with being a child of the King.

How thankful I am that you are my heavenly father. How thankful I am to be named a child of God. You are so gracious and so very generous with lavishing your love upon your children. You love us unconditionally, inviting us to sit with you around your banquet table. We come filthy and wearing dirty clothes; and you wash the dirt from our feet and dress us in clean and pure garments of righteousness. You serve us bread that is broken by you and we eat of it until we are full and we drink of the living water you pour into our cup until it overflows.

I am reminded that our children are comforted by the unconditional love we give them. They are kept. We will never let go of them. How much more awesome it is to thank you, gracious God for never letting your children go … we are kept.

With a humble heart I praise and pray.

He is Risen 1

Photograph by Donna Harris of Lake Wylie, Charlotte, NC

The resurrection of Jesus changes everything! His death is the death of death, and His resurrection is the resurrection of all things. He died for our sins and is raised for our justification. Oh, the wonder, marvel and gratitude that fills our hearts today. We are forgiven, we are beloved, and we are His!

Easter post 2015

Photograph by Donna Harris

“Getting found almost always means being lost for a while … Easter says that love is more powerful than death, bigger than the dark, bigger than cancer, bigger even than airport security lines.” ― Anne Lamott, Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace

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Photograph by Donna Harris

“Hello, sun in my face. Hello you who made the morning and spread it over the fields…Watch, now, how I start the day in happiness, in kindness.” ― Mary Oliver

An Easter morning painting  

Wednesday of Holy Week: Easter 2018

Psalm 27:13

Crescent Beach, Saint Augustine, FL  Photograph by Donna Harris

My prayer today is for laughter to fill our hearts and to believe that God is good and his plans for us are good. I pray to remain confident of God’s goodness, even if I don’t get the things I have my heart set on. By God’s grace, he is freeing me from a limited and small understanding of what is good so I can experience the huge and satisfying good that he has planned for us. It is tempting to associate the good life with something physical, yet when the physical breaks, it’s hard to see the good in that.

In Matthew 6, Jesus is instructing his disciples how to pray, telling them that the heavenly Father knows what they need before they pray. There’s not a moment Jesus is not praying for us, singing over us, and living in us. I’m called to trust that God sees what I see. In fact, he sees beyond what I see. Paul Miller writes in A Praying Life, “God sees the whole story and is completely trustworthy to be at work on a grand scale, in the minutia, and even in my own life.”

You are in God’s care, no matter what.
He is in control, not us.
He knows what being afraid feels like and tells us not to fear.
He has promised you will know His care and comfort.
He will not abandon you in your time of need.
He will let you rest. ―Emily Gibson

This is God’s goodness to us today … he filled our hearts with laughter. He replaced our tears with smiles and refreshed our countenance with joy. By faith and hope, I believe that we shall look upon the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living! (Psalm 27:13) We will laugh at the days to come.

One of my greatest joys in this world is to sing with all my heart songs of our faith, of the Mighty Work and Victory of Jesus Christ for broken people. I especially like to do so in the face of all the suffering, pain, death, diagnoses, weakness, confusion, darkness and so, through faith, to lift up my heart to Him-who-is-my-Hope and laugh at the days to come. ―Jason Dorsey, Lead Pastor, Redeemer Presbyterian Church (Redeemer Redmond), Redmond, WA

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“Laughter!” A collage by Donna Harris. Made from old watercolor paintings and magazine clippings. 

 

 

A Prayer for Palm Sunday 2018

palm sunday 2018

HOSANNA! Watercolor painting by Donna Harris

All glory laud and honor
To thee, Redeemer King
To whom the lips of children
Made sweet hosanna ring!
~”All Glory Laud and Honor”

“Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!” Matthew 21:9

Lord Jesus,

On this Palm Sunday morning, I’m overwhelmed with your humility, your sovereignty, and your generosity. I pray these shouts of hosannas will be filled with the sobering and gladdening news of the whole of this Easter Week. Lord, lead me into a transforming gaze of your cross, an overwhelming abundance of your grace and a longing for your kingdom.

As “Holy Week” begins, I ask you to fill these next seven days with much boasting in the cross. I pray that my heart would bubble over with exaltation for the hope, joy and salvation you generously give. You are the God who saves us from guilt and fear and hopelessness.

“Hosanna!” “Hosanna to the Son of David!” “Hosanna in the highest!”

Amen

Palm Sunday 2018

RESTLESS

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“It may be that when we no longer know what to do, we have come to our real work, and that when we no longer know which way to go, we have begun our real journey. The mind that is not baffled is not employed. The impeded stream is the one that sings.” —Wendell Berry

Refined by the Fire

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The world is indeed full of peril and in it there are many dark places. But still there is much that is fair. And though in all lands, love is now mingled with grief, it still grows, perhaps, the greater.
~J.R.R Tolkien from The Fellowship of the Ring

Refined by the Fire

Oh, to be brave and steely
as the three of faith and resolve
to embrace the shackles without fear of the fire
They are rescued by grace

Refined by the fire

When facing the furnace of the refiners fire
He sweats drops of red while I sleep
yet I whimper and cower when the rooster crows
I’ve grown accustomed to taking lightly this treasure of red

Refined by the fire

To wake up early to see the sunrise
To stay awake to watch the sun go to sleep
The fire in the sky is a safe place to find comfort
It stirs a longing

To be refined by the fire

I want to feel the red in my soul
To long for more of the refiner’s fire
To be made pure
Refined by the fire of grace

–donna harris

“I Would Take a Bullet For Her”

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Trenton’s wisdom is deep for such a young boy.  In describing his love for Lindsay, his sister, Trenton shared, “I would take a bullet for her.”  As he regained his composure after getting choked up, he added “She’s my best friend.  I would do anything for her.  My life would be nothing without her.”  These are not trite statements they emanate from his heart.

Lindsay has spinal muscular atrophy yet from her motorized chair she beams when she describes her older brother.  His example of love if followed would change the world!  Watch their story at https://youtu.be/9PM6uX4yGp4 and make sure to have Kleenex handy!

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MEDITATION ON 1 THESSALONIANS 4:9

1 Thessalonians 4:9—About brotherly love: You don’t need me to write you because you yourselves are taught by God to love one another.

Jesus took a bullet for us in large spikes and wooden beams.  This ultimate sacrifice was God’s greatest lesson on love.  Before dying, Jesus’ daily sacrifice painted what brotherly love looks like.  “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life—a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45).  If we are not periodically moved by His monumental devotion we are surely bewitched by the wrong things.

I would take a bullet for you.  My life was purchased by the blood of my Savior.  His love is what founds, fuels, and fires my ability to care.  Therefore it would be an honor to lay down my life as a brother for you.  It is an honor to serve you.  I identify with Paul, “I have become its servant [the church], according to God’s administration that was given to me for you, to make God’s message fully known” (Colossians 1:25).

Brotherly and sisterly love is the stuff of champions.   When you model love, you leave a stamp on lives that no soap can wash away.  Never tire of doing the simple acts of service to help others.  “I always thank my God when I mention you in my prayers, because I hear of your love and faith toward the Lord Jesus and for all the saints” (Philemon 4,5).  Thanks for making a difference and for your willingness to take the bullet.  [1]

INSPIRATION FROM DOUG POLLOCK

Love is a commitment you make to act in someone else’s best interest.  True love can only be known by the actions that it prompts.—Doug Pollock in God Space

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[1] ©2015 Daniel York  ARR.  Reveration is the weekly devotional ministry of First Cause.  If you would like to receive these devotionals go to http://www.firstcause.org and click on the “GET THE LATEST REVERATION FROM DANIEL YORK” box.  Unlimited permission to copy this devotional without altering text or profiteering is allowed subject to inclusion of this copyright notice.

The Rescue

Gift 4-2015

He reached down from heaven and rescued me. Psalm 18:16

God will not only deliver his people out of their troubles in due time, but he will bear them up under their troubles in the mean time.

Upon God’s faithfulness rests our whole hope of future blessedness. Only as He is faithful will His covenants stand and his promises be honored. Only as we have complete assurance that He is faithful may we live in peace and look forward with assurance to the life to come. He will ever be true to His pledged word. He will never remove His loving kindness nor suffer His faithfulness to fail.

God will always be himself, and grace is an attribute of His holy being. He can no more hide his grace than the sun can hide its brightness. God’s grace is infinite and eternal.

Instead of straining to comprehend this truth, it would be better and simpler to compare God’s grace with our need. We can never know the enormity of our sin, neither is it necessary that we should. What we can know is that where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.

He reached down from heaven to rescue us.

Gift 4-2015-

40 Gifts of Lent | The Rescue: Gift 4 | Quotations from: The Knowledge of the Holy, A.W. Tozer; page 87, The Faithfulness of God; Page 102, The Grace of God.