In the Final Days of Lent

Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord:
though your sins are like scarlet,
    they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red like crimson,
    they shall become like wool. Isaiah 1:18, ESV

Spring blasts in a tempering wind. Warmth battles against icy crystals. 

Eventually, warmth prevails.

I savor the beauty of pure white snow. In late winter, it melts so quickly preventing it from piling up with sooty edges reaching up the sides of blackening banks.

How quickly the pure darkens with dirt. How quickly we need to reason with Him and pursue purity once more.

It is of the Lord‘s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness. Lamentations 3: 22-23~

He asks us to reason with Him. To be honest about who we are. Who He already knows we are. But we have to own our dirt in the reckoning.

Our bloody red sins will be as white as wool–wool that never darkens–never attracts dirt–never soils. Someday we will be as pure as the snow appears as it falls.

Clean as a pure white day. And staying clean forever.

Easter will be here soon. And with it will come the new life of spring. Vibrant colors.

Cold and harsh wind–a thing of the past–until next year.

Let us reason with Him and stay clean.

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Easter Has Come

“If man had his way, the plan of redemption would be an endless and bloody conflict. In reality, salvation was bought not by Jesus’ fist, but by His nail-pierced hands; not by muscle but by love; not by vengeance but by forgiveness; not by force but by sacrifice. Jesus Christ our Lord surrendered in order that He might win; He destroyed His enemies by dying for them and conquered death by allowing death to conquer Him.” A.W. Tozer

We are the people of paradox–the apparent contradiction that is not a contradiction at all because it is truth.

We live by dying to self. His strength shows in our weakness.

We are supposed to love our enemies, turn the other cheek, and rejoice when life has us down.

We are supposed to live without fear, to live with peace in our hearts.

Sometimes, we are the people of the wrong paradox. We fear when we should hope and trust. We lack peace because we fear.

He is the God of paradox. He won by losing.

When everyone else thought He was gone for good, thought His teaching was done, He won the greatest victory ever.

He won over death.

Don’t fear. Hold to hope. Find peace.

Easter has come.

Jesus will come again.

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Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. Restoring the Shattered is published through Morgan James Publishing with whom I do share a material connection. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Awakening Time

One of my very favorite passages from the Bible comes at the end of the book of Luke.

Two men are walking down the road discussing the crucifixion of their leader. Another joins them and asks what they’re talking about. They wonder at Him not knowing.

But they don’t realize that He’s the only one who actually does know what really happened.

He talks to them about prophesy. When they reach Emmaus, He indicates that He will keep going.

It’s evening, they say. Stay with us. When He breaks the bread, they recognize Him. Then He vanishes.

Did our hearts not burn within us? They ask themselves.

Often that’s where we stop reading. But what happens next?

Once they realize Christ was the One who talked with them, opened the scriptures (the prophecies he fulfilled) to them, and broke the bread, they don’t just go to sleep planning to react to their revelation the next morning.

They immediately return to the place they’d just left–Jerusalem. Walking, tired but exhilarated, filled with the adrenalin of realization, of fulfilled understanding.

Remember, it’s evening. Perhaps it’s even dark before they begin. They already walked and are walking again.

Imagine their arrival, very late, even in the middle of the night.

“Wake up! Let us in! We’ve been with Jesus! He has risen!”

The crucifixion had destroyed any hopes they had that Jesus would lead them in victory over Roman rule. They had been confused. They had lost all hope.

His resurrection brought a better kind of hope, a hope based in the true understanding of who Christ is–a God for life and eternity–not someone who came to get us off a hook of political oppression.

He came to free us from the consequences of being us. He came to give us this life and the next one.

Like the men who traveled to Emmaus and then returned to Jerusalem in joy, our next step cannot be to go to sleep.

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Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. Restoring the Shattered is published through Morgan James Publishing with whom I do share a material connection. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Every Day

“Therefore, go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28: 19-20 NIV)

On Thursday, He blessed and broke the bread.
On Friday, the Bread of Life let Himself be broken for us.
On Sunday, He defied death, sin, and oppression.
He rose.
Rise and stand for Him.
Bread of Life.
Living Water.
Messiah,
Lion of Judah.
Lamb of God.
Savior.
Returning King.

The King of kings is coming again.
The King of kings is with us yet.
Remember.
Worship.
Celebrate.
Easter is here.

The tomb is empty.

Not just Sunday. Every day.

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Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. Restoring the Shattered is published through Morgan James Publishing with whom I do share a material connection. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Easter Is Coming

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” 1 Peter 1:3~

“I remember too how spring came, just when I thought it might stay winter forever, at first in little touches and strokes of green lighting up the bare mud like candle flames, and then it covered the whole place with a pelt of shadowing green blades and leaves. And I remember how, as the days and the winds passed over, the foliage shifted and sang.” (Wendell Berry)

The last part of winter brings Lent, which can be a harsh season–even if you don’t choose to sacrifice something. This March brought us a medical emergency for my husband. Yesterday, not unusual for the first half of April in central Pennsylvania, it snowed.

The chill seems even worse since warm temperatures weeks ago fooled us into thinking spring was already here. Winter lingered. It seemed entrenched. We continue to feed the woodstove, but the time of piling blankets on the bed at night will soon end.

In a few days, the lavender-blue hills will reappear awaiting spring green soon to follow.

Life is a series of seasons. Some are beautiful, warm, and easy. Some are cold and trying. All hold the purpose of drawing us to God and shaping us for eternity, shaping us to live in a beautiful place outside time without sacrifice, without pain.

Shaping us for eternal spring. The Lenten season is short. Warmth and new growth lie ahead.

Easter is coming.

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Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. Restoring the Shattered is published through Morgan James Publishing with whom I do share a material connection. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Back in Church on Pentecost Sunday

To be back in church this week was wonderful.

It was Pentecost Sunday–the day Christians remember the Holy Spirit coming to Christ’s followers. The advocate Christ had promised to send arrived in the sound of wind and in tongues of fire.

The disciples had seen Christ ascend into Heaven. More than a week later, Holy Spirit came.

I wonder whether the days between were a time of uncertainty.

Long before, the Israelites questioned God’s faithfulness even after they crossed a dry seabed to escape their oppressors. They saw; they walked to the other side. In the unknown of the wilderness, they still doubted.

How like them we are. Human nature resists the unknown. We yearn for the predictable.

However, Robert Barron writes: “One of the principal Biblical metaphors for the Spirit is the wind, and indeed, on Pentecost morning, the Apostles heard what sounded like a strong driving wind as the Spirit arrived. But the wind, elusive and unpredictable, is never really known in itself, but only through its effects.”

Pentecost brings promise in unpredictability.

On the Day of Pentecost, the disciples gathered, perhaps in anticipation of the prophesied advocate, but definitely in celebration of the Jewish Feast of Weeks.

It’s a celebration of the early harvest. Harvest in the spring? Not typically what we think of as the time to gather crops.

But spring is when farmers harvest winter wheat that held the ground in place through rains and snows. It’s a harvest to plant new seed for the summer crops to be gathered in fall.

The God-Creator who formed us from dust became one of us. Christ, the Bread of Life, holds our ground in place during storms. He prepares the ground of our hearts for new planting in due season.

We are coming out of a strange winter. We had so little snow–no days off school, not even a delay to clear roads. Then came Covid-19.

Isolation, grim news, and fear followed. That was our in-between time. Between harvests. A cold spring after a warm winter. Not at all what we expected as season followed season.

Season: a time that begins and ends.

Now it’s June and the country is coming outside once more. We are coming out of the time for holding ground. But the season did more than keep our plot in place. It prepared us for the next season, the next planting, the next harvest.

In one way or another, we are always waiting, anticipating what we believe to be the predictable. But it’s the unpredictable that works in and through us.

Yesterday, we raised the Hallelujah that we weren’t able to express together at Easter.

The sense of celebration was palpable.

Even without elements, the communion meditation yesterday reminded us to cast our cares upon the Lord, for He cares for us. The message called us to be grateful. To ponder the true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent, and praiseworthy.

We go forward from here. To a new unknown season for eventual harvest.

We can’t control what follows. We can carry seed. We can ask the holy wind to disperse it. The holy wind we cannot see.

And we can watch to see the effects.

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Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. Restoring the Shattered is published through Morgan James Publishing with whom I do share a material connection. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Saving the Holy Innocents

“If a woman sees her baby on an ultrasound, there’s better than an 80 percent chance she will not abort her baby. If the dad sees the baby on an ultrasound, there’s more than a 90 percent she will not abort her baby.” Anthony Levatino, former abortion doctor~

The 40 Days for Life are over. God answers the prayers of His people. More than 15,000 babies are alive today because of that effort.

Now it’s Holy Week.

Christ entered the city to shouts of joy. But He knew what was ahead. A bigger agony than any other has ever known–physical anguish–plus the turning away of His Father. The sacrificial Lamb on the cross was alone for the first time in forever.

This was Christ who’d said, “Let the little children come unto me.”

But then Resurrection Day. And then Pentecost–the bestowing of God’s Holy Spirit.

And so came the Church.

We are His messengers. We carry the message of life. Physical life for the weak and voiceless. Abundant life for our spirits.

And we carry joy in our message, the joy of knowing such a Savior.

We carry the hope of light into a dark world.

Happy Easter! God bless!

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Photo Credit: Unsplash

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. Restoring the Shattered is published through Morgan James Publishing with whom I do share a material connection. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”