Author Archives: Paula Davis

Selfies

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self·ie

noun \ˈsel-fē\

:  an image of oneself taken by oneself using a digital camera especially for posting on social networks.
We are a self-absorbed people. Everywhere we look or listen things are geared to our selfish desires.
For example, one chain restaurant has a jingle that encourages us to have “breakfast just the way I say”.
Years ago, a fast-food restaurant set itself apart by telling us to “have it your way”. No longer did we have to conform to ordering a standard sandwich but could choose our toppings at the drive-through.
And selfies have become a way of sharing where we are, what we are feeling, something new about ourselves, or just to say, “Hi – I’m still here!”
I’m not against selfies. I’ve taken a few, although I’m not very good at it. (there seems to be a talent to taking selfies that I don’t have)
selfies
It just got me to thinking. If we are always focused on taking the right photos of ourselves to share on social media could we be missing an opportunity to share something in our surroundings that might positively impact others or inspire them to look at their world differently?
As I pondered all of this I also realized that being focused on ourselves is not a new thing.
From the very beginning when Eve chose to eat the fruit that God instructed them to leave alone we have given up potential blessings because we do not look past the moment and our own desires.
When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.     Genesis 3:6
The next verse tells that when they ate the fruit their eyes were opened and they realized they were naked. When they heard the Lord walking in the garden as He did with them each day they were frightened and tried to hide from the One they loved. By choosing what looked good to them at that moment and craving instant satisfaction from the food that didn’t last Eve and Adam were cast from the garden and faced consequences of pain, suffering and hard work the rest of their lives.

The Israelites are another example of selfishness that led to suffering. They grumbled  & complained on the way to the land God had promised them, thinking only of their present state and what they were lacking instead of the blessings God had for them at the end of the journey.

For forty years I was angry with that generation;
    I said, ‘They are a people whose hearts go astray,
    and they have not known my ways.’
So I declared on oath in my anger,
    ‘They shall never enter my rest.’”  Psalm 95:10-11
The journey that should have taken 11 days (see Deuteronomy 1:2) took them over 40 years and only two of the people who were promised that land lived to reap the blessings God had for them there. Only Joshua and Caleb thought more about following God than their own desires and were the only two whom God allowed to cross into the land.
As Christians we are called to die to self.
I don’t think this means God denies us pleasure in things that we enjoy but rather that our focus should be on His desires for our lives and showing His love to others. By focusing outwardly on God’s creation or the good qualities in others our perspective changes. We are more open to God’s leading instead of being led astray by instant gratification.
Paul pointed out how easily we can be swayed in one of his letters to the Corinthians:
But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent’s cunning,
your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ.
2 Corinthians 11:3
Sharing our lives with others helps us keep in touch and can be inspiring. We can encourage others by our accomplishments and help change their perspective on their own abilities and challenges. It is when we focus more on ourselves than our devotion to Christ that we risk running into trouble and possibly miss the blessings God has for us.
As this weekend begins I’m going to work on focusing outward and less on myself. Will you join me?
Blessings and peace to you…
Paula

PRAY in Writing?

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Do you keep a prayer journal?

Perhaps the term journal is too intimidating. We can call it a notebook, or even a list if you like.

However it is referred to, keeping a record of prayers can benefit you now and in the future.

But what is a prayer journal and how do we use it?

Each person is different in their style of recording. Some who journal every day mix prayers into our daily written visits with God. Some keep a spiritual journal that is separate from a prayer journal. Others keep a notebook that is a list of needs, wants, names and dates.

Since this is your prayer notebook YOU decide what it looks like. Make it as simple or complex as you like only be sure it has two key components.

A prayer request with a date and a space to record the date the prayer was answered.

That’s it!

You can write more if you want but these two pieces are important.

DSC04852

Those who have kept prayer journals can share with you many benefits. Here are four to consider:

A prayer journal:

Preserves

Just as scrapbooks of photos and clippings of our lives preserve memories and remind us of our history, a prayer notebook preserves a history of our spiritual lives and a pattern of growth through the years. When we go back to our older journals we see where we used to be and how far God has brought us. We may see a change in focus as praying for ourselves and our wants matures into prayers for others and God’s guidance.

Reminds

As we record our hopes, dreams, plans and concerns for ourselves and others in our journal we are reminded that we are not alone in our walk with the Lord. Recording the needs of others as we pray for them reminds us both that we walk with other believers who share similar struggles and that our lives intertwine with unbelievers who need our prayers as well.

Keeping this record also reminds us to follow-up on requests and record how God has answered. We are reminded to never give up praying for others just as Jesus demonstrated when He was here on earth.

Assures

A prayer journal assures us that there is nothing too big or too small for God to care about. Reflecting on our prayers and answers over time reinforces God’s faithfulness to us. He hears the prayers of those who are faithful to Him and loves to pour blessings out on His people. At times when we doubt we can look back and assure us of His goodness.

Yields

Recording our prayers and their answers yields growth and takes us deeper in our relationship with the Lord. As we watch God answer prayer after prayer we doubt less, believe more and walk closer to Him.

DSC04969

 

So I ask you again: Do you keep a prayer journal/notebook?

If so, would you share ways it has impacted your spiritual life?

If not, would you consider giving it a try for a few weeks?

Don’t be intimidated, just start writing down what’s in your heart and the needs around you.

 

Blessings & Peace to you as you seek the Lord in prayer.
Paula

Feeling Far Away?

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Remember what it was like when you were a kid and you found wonder in things all around you?

Simple things became magical, like splashing in mud puddles, blowing bubbles, or swinging. I could spend hours just exploring and finding things I hadn’t seen before. Sometimes I would just lay in the yard and look up at the clouds, thinking about how awesome it all was.

SwingHave you lost that wonder?

I sometimes do.

I get so used to seeing things around me and forget how our world is so full of wonder and how awesome is the One who created it all.

As the days flow into weeks and the calendar page is turned to another month I too often get caught up in the challenges of each day and sometimes find myself drifting away from God and all that He is.

My beliefs don’t change mind you, and I still have faith in Him, but honestly sometimes I find my prayer time becoming rote instead of real. Prayers begin to just get tossed out to Him as I go through my day instead of carving out time to just spend with Him, not asking or seeking, just adoring Him and listening for His voice.

Think about the earthly relationships that are important to you. I can guarantee the healthiest are with those you spend time with, communicate with and appreciate. These relationships aren’t all about you but instead are a two-way street, listening and caring about the other person more than about what you want for yourself.

And when time or circumstances prevent you from spending that time together you crave it.

Sometimes I forget that my relationship with God should be like this too.

When was the last time you craved time with God? Time to just sit with Him or walk with Him and soak up all that He is and the wonder all around you? Being quiet enough to shut out the world and the problems inside & out.

make time

Sometimes I wait too long and it becomes difficult to know what to say. I wonder if God still hears me or if I’ve waited too long between visits. I feel an uncomfortable distance and don’t know how to bridge the gap.

There are times I fear I’ve messed up too badly, disappointed Him or strayed too far from Him and He has distanced Himself from me too.

Never.

The Lord is near to all who call on Him,
    to all who call on Him in truth.

Psalm 145: 18

 

This doesn’t mean sometimes, or when He’s in a good mood. God is always near those who love Him but He also needs each of us to cultivate our relationship with Him and not take it for granted.

If you find yourself feeling a distance has grown between you and God I encourage you to go back to the basics. Remind yourself of the wonder of God all around you. Find the awe in each flower, the design of the clouds or how the raindrops fall. Think of how He created you – not how your body is not what it ought to be – only concentrate on the wonder of His creation.

Tap into your inner child and begin to thank Him for every little thing around you; even the fact that you can breathe.

As you thank Him, begin to add words of adoration. Don’t look in your bible, just speak from your heart. Tell Him how grateful you are for your life and how much you love Him. Don’t focus on your problems, or even your needs. Just focus on God.

It all seems too simple you say.

I’m beginning to think God never intended for it to be any other way.

Give it a try and let me know what you discover.

 

blessings & peace to you as you seek to know Him better…
Paula

 

 

Blessings and Curses

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With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men who have been made in God’s likeness.
Out of the same mouth come praising and cursing.
My friends this should not be.
Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring?
                                                            James 3:9-10

 

I am a thinker — sometimes to a fault I guess. This passage helps me realize that sometimes I “think out loud” regarding a person and his or her actions. Perhaps I am frustrated or just don’t understand how/why they can act a certain way. I don’t mean malice against them.

But how does this “talk” sound to someone who hears it?

Does it sound as though I am speaking against a person…cursing them in a sense?

How many times would it be better to keep my mouth shut?

Quick to listen James 1-19

I have discovered that at times keeping my mouth shut will help diffuse a situation even when others around us are being critical. I find that offering an alternate opinion often actually adds fuel to the fire of complaining and criticizing. Listening to someone complain and not responding, or diverting the conversation in another direction will often stop the negativity.

Scripture also tells us

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up…
1 Thessalonians 5:11

If we concentrate on finding the good in others it doesn’t mean that we will never be frustrated with people or situations we encounter. It does however give us a different perspective and keep us from being outwardly critical. We will find that the atmosphere around us becomes less negative and more peaceful.

We will also find that as we are less outwardly critical we become more inwardly peaceful and positive as well. Our minds will begin to automatically think less negatively and more peacefully as we practice the presence of Christ within us.

We take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
                                                         2 Corinthians 10:5b

We can’t do this in our own power. It involves daily…sometimes hourly calling on the Holy Spirit to give us power that is not within our own human nature. His presence in our lives is what allows us to live peacefully in a world full of negativity.

It is what this world is hungry for, even if they don’t know it!!

As people encounter this peace they may question where it comes from. This opens opportunities to talk about Jesus with them!

I invite you to give this a try today and through the coming week. Begin to think about how little comments mean more than we give them credit for. And remember what it feels like when you receive a compliment or kind word. Even small kindnesses can add up to big blessings!

Blessings & peace to you as you bless others!!
Paula

Rest for the Weary

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Do you ever get to the end of the week feeling weary? Sometimes I am weary from a week filled with activity but other times weary and troubled in my mind or spirit from puzzles life has brought my way through the week or challenges and concerns that I haven’t found answers for.

Do you ever find yourself wishing you could call a “time out” at the end of a week like that?

In Scripture God promises rest for the weary. Not only rest for our bodies but also for our minds and the thoughts that spin through them without coming up with answers.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.
Matthew 11:28

What a wonderful promise! But His solution in the next verse can seem confusing:

Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart,
and you will find rest for your souls.
Matthew 11:29

Growing up on a farm that had been in the family for generations so I have always been familiar with yokes. (Watching every episode of Little House On The Prairie over and over helped educate me as well!) My grandfather and even my father and his brothers used yoked horses and oxen in their work in the fields or to pull wagons filled with people or things.  Yokes are designed for hard work. I really never thought of them as something I would voluntarily take on.

yoke

The yoke that Jesus is referring to here is a yoke designed for two animals to wear together. It helped them to share the burden of hard work that was ahead of them.

When a young ox or horse was going out in the field for the first few times it had no idea how to work with a yoke around its neck so the farmer would put the young animal next to one with more experience who could help guide it and teach it how to work with this burden. The teaching animal needed to be gentle and calm so as to have patience with the young animal who was apt to pull and jerk at the yoke, fighting it at first.

For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
Matthew 11:30

As long as the young animal pulled and fought the burden of the yoke it would find it heavy and the work very difficult but as it relaxed and allowed itself to ease into its share of the work the animal found the burden lightened as it was no longer carrying it alone. As the experienced animal worked beside the younger it also encouraged it to keep going even when the work was hard and it wanted to lay down and quit.

Jesus doesn’t promise that we will never have to carry burdens, only that we never have to carry them alone.

Jesus says we should take His yoke for it is easy. In this context easy can be translated to mean perfectly fit. Yokes were commonly used by the same animals repeatedly so the farmer would fit it to the neck of the individual ox or horse so that it didn’t rub or chafe. Sometimes the yoke needed to be planed down or built up in certain areas to fit the animal properly.

This is what Jesus is promising for us. When we take on our own yoke of carrying burdens that are not designed for us to carry alone the yoke is chafing and cumbersome. It is hard to move through the day or rest easy because of the weight we are trying to bear alone.

But when we take on God’s yoke we find it designed to fit us perfectly and find Him wearing the other part of the yoke. He takes part of the weight to make the burden easier.

And – God walks beside us as we carry the burdens together, assuring us we’re not alone and encouraging us along the way. When Jesus asks us to take on His yoke He is not asking us to accept additional burdens but to share ours with Him. Jesus’ yoke is designed for two and we can be assured He will never drop His side/portion of the yoke or quit in the middle of the struggle. God doesn’t always remove the burdens from us, but also never expects us to carry them alone. We can rest in the assurance and trust in His care.

God also created us to be there for each other.

Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.
1 Thessalonians 5:11

We should encourage people in our lives who are burdened and need an earthly friend to walk with them or a shoulder to lean on. In turn, we should ask God to provide us with people who will also be there for us when we are burdened.

The ultimate promise we can depend on when we are burdened and weary is the promise that some day it will all be behind us. There is an end to the struggles for those who trust in Jesus as our Savior and Lord. He tells us:

In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.
John 16:33b

If you are weary and burdened today take heart! Trust in Jesus and take on His yoke. Your burden will lighten and you will find encouragement along the way. Rest in His promises and listen for His encouragement.

If you need someone on earth to walk beside you and encourage you drop me a note. I will do my best to share your burdens and take them to the Father in prayer with you.

Find rest in Him this weekend!

Blessings and peace to you,
Paula

 

 

Potential

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What do you think of when you see this photo?

tulip potential

When I walked past this the other day the first thing I thought of was

POTENTIAL!

 

Ok, honestly I almost didn’t notice it at first. I stopped for coffee on my way to work and was rushing to my car as I glanced quickly down to see the tulips budding. After all I didn’t expect to see a thing of beauty at a thruway rest stop!

 

Then as my brain began to process I was magnetically pulled back wondering how many buds were actually there. WOW! Soon this is going to be covered with tulips!

 

After snapping a shot I again hurried to my car but with a new question in my head:

 

“How often to I pass up potential in my life because I’m in a hurry or not expecting it?”

 

I’m not necessarily talking about big potential of a new job or writing opportunity although I should be open to those as well. I’m thinking of the potential for blessing others or being blessed through interactions that I am either too busy for or not looking for the opportunity to engage.

 

And I wonder how many times I dismiss an opportunity because I lack the faith to see the potential through my earthly eyes.

 

It reminds me of the story of Jesus when He was teaching a huge group of people (see John Chapter 6). Nightfall came and Jesus asked His disciples how they were going to feed the people. The disciples were ready to send them away to find their own food. A boy came to them offering to share the lunch he had brought but the disciples all but sent him away. Despite the time they had spent with Jesus they didn’t have enough faith to see the potential in 5 little barley loaves and 2 fish.

 

Jesus did.

 

He asked His Father to bless the lunch and began to divide it into baskets. Everyone there (over 5,000 men plus women & children) had all they wanted to eat and the disciples collected 12 baskets of leftover pieces.

 

It’s easy for us to look back on a story like this and be critical of the disciples for their lack of faith when they lived with Jesus and consistently saw Him perform miracles and meet needs. But honestly how many times do we miss the potential to have our needs met because we don’t look beyond what is right in front of us? We see only through the limitations of our human eyes, forgetting that we have the power of the Holy Spirit waiting to assist us.

 

I encourage you today to look for opportunities that other days you might pass by. The potential for making a difference could be right in front of you:

  • the person in the grocery store who can’t reach something that you can reach for them.
  • holding the door for the person behind you…even if you have to wait.
  • paying for a cup of coffee, tea, etc. for someone not expecting it.
  • smiling at someone waiting in line with you, opening yourself to conversation – you never know where it might lead.

 

Being willing to see potential where others may not is attainable for all of us. We just need to practice and be intentional about looking for it everywhere.

 

We may surprise ourselves about what blooms in our lives and the lives of others!

tulip potential blooming

blessings and peace to you as you find the potential in this day!
Paula

 

Imagine BIG!

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Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,
Ephesians 3:20

Do you ever read a Scripture you’ve read many times before and suddenly God shows you something you didn’t see before?
The other day I was reading Ephesians 3:20 and had that experience.
Maybe you can also benefit from what God spoke to me that day:

“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine…”

How is your imagination these days?
Sometimes my imagination can take me to some pretty crazy places — goals, dreams, challenges…
Sadly I’ve noticed that as I get older I allow myself to imagine less. My dreams have become more manageable and I sometimes I settle for less because I put them in a human box too often.
God showed me that He isn’t interested in limitations. He wants me to let Him get ahold of my dreams.
If I let go and have faith, He will do even MORE than I was afraid to imagine!

“according to His power that is at work within us”

I realized the reason he will do MORE is that it is His power and not our own.
The idea of being pressed down, shaken together, running over comes to mind.

A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.  Luke 6:38

The context of this scripture is Jesus basically lecturing to those listening about how to treat others. He discusses loving our enemies, not judging, and being generous but it seems to me we can also apply it to how ourselves to Him. The more we give the more God is able to give back to us the blessings He is waiting to pour into our lives.
pverflowing
Giving over our imaginations to God frees us from earthly constraints but demands a faith that is beyond human understanding. It can be exciting and frightening all at the same time.
But we must DARE to believe that he can and ALLOW Him to!!
As you go about your day today allow yourself to imagine BIG through His power that is at work within you.
Exciting things will happen and I’d love to hear about them.
Blessings and peace to you!
Paula

Does the Doubter Get A Bad Wrap?

A week ago we celebrated the discovery of the empty tomb signaling the resurrection of our Lord. But as Paul Harvey would say, now let’s look at the rest of the story…

After hearing the women’s exciting news of Jesus’ empty tomb I imagine the disciples spent their day in a flurry of activity. Mary said she had seen Him but the others had not. As excited as they were there was still a measure of fear that those who hated Jesus might still seek them out and arrest them too. By evening 10 of the 11 remaining disciples were together again behind locked doors.

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.

Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”  John 20:19-23

Jesus was there in the midst of them! What a sweet time that must have been.

Thomas was missing that night. Yes, that Thomas. When they told him they saw Jesus Thomas replied:

“Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side,
I will not believe.”     John 20:25b

We don’t know why Thomas wasn’t with the other disciples or what caused him to not believe them about Jesus. But this is where I think he gets a bad wrap. After all we know the whole story and it can be easy to judge Thomas when we weren’t standing there after losing one of our closest friends and Lord.

But how many times do we doubt God?

Sometimes I find myself in a place where I don’t feel like I have any control over a temptation. Whether it’s a doughnut staring me in the face or something I can’t live without at the store temptations surround us. And yet

 1 Corinthians 10:13 says:
“And God is faithful;
He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.

It’s not uncommon to doubt that we can stand up against pressures to stay in a situation that God is calling us to move on from or walk away from a temptation we don’t think I can resist. That doubt can cause us to not trust in God’s promise that if we turn it over to Him we can stand up against temptation.

Do you ever find yourself in a situation you can’t control? Perhaps you don’t know how you’ll meet a deadline or have enough money left at the end of the month. We may doubt that something good can come from a troubling situation. God’s word also says:

Philippians 4:19 promises:
“My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” 

God doesn’t say He will pick and choose what needs He will meet. He promises to meet all of them.

Doubting is part of our human nature. It takes faith and trust to set that aside and believe in the promises God makes to us. When we do we find a blessed peace in the midst of the puzzles life brings to us.

And it might make us think that Thomas got a bad wrap.

 

blessings & peace to you…
Paula

 

 

 

 

He’s Alive!!

“He is not here;

He has risen, just as He said…”

Matthew 28:6a

 

Sabbath was over and the women just had one thing on their minds. They must prepare Jesus’ body for a proper burial. They left quietly as the men had finally fallen asleep after hours of discussion, debate and devastating sadness over the loss of their leader and friend. The women were also mourning but right now they had to set their grief aside for this important task.

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They left before dawn carrying spices and discussing how they would gain access to the body. A huge stone had been rolled in front of the entrance and sealed with the Roman seal. Even if they could get past the stone, breaking that seal would mean certain death for the women.

As dawn broke and they reached the tomb they stopped in amazement. The tomb stood wide open, seal broken and stone rolled away. Frightened and concerned that someone had taken Jesus’ body the women rushed ahead and found an astonishing sight inside the tomb.

Jesus body was gone!

Empty-Tomb-Picture-11

Before the women could process the thought they noticed there was someone there.

Two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them the men said to them, Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee:  ‘The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’      Luke 24:4-8

 

Then they remembered his words.

And they believed!!

The women didn’t stop to ask questions or wonder where Jesus was. They ran back, woke the men and told them the good news!!

Jesus is Alive!!

Jesus is Alive!!

The men followed the women back to the tomb and saw for themselves that Jesus’ body was gone, but the cloths He had been wrapped in for burial remained.

Their sadness turned to wonder and hope that Jesus was truly alive!

I pray that this Easter you will find Jesus in your heart. I pray you will know the hope of His gift for us on the cross and allow Him to bring you the joy of His resurrection every day of the year.

blessings and peace to you. He is Risen!!
Paula

Sabbath: Would I Have Believed?

“It is finished.”

They were the final words Jesus spoke on the cross.

Then He died.

Jesus was gone.

All those years spent with His disciples teaching, healing, loving, and helping them to know God in a way they never had before were just a memory now.

jesus-sealed-tomb

Jesus was dead and the Sabbath came so quickly they couldn’t give Him a proper burial. Today was supposed to be a day of rest and worship but all the disciples could do was cling to each other and try to understand what had just taken place.

Together they wept and mourned for the One who was their teacher, their Leader…and their friend. For years Jesus had talked about Heaven and His Father, and even about being betrayed and dying but the disciples never quite understood. He even said He would defeat death and would give eternal life to all who believed in Him and His Father.

Still, it never quite made sense.

Now some of it was sinking in but the sadness was so strong that hope was elusive. What did Jesus say about defeating death? He did talk about dying and being raised to life. (Matthew 16:21) In fact, just the other day before they entered Jerusalem He took the disciples aside and said it again:

“The son of Man will be betrayed to the chief priests and teachers of the law. They will condemn him to death and will hand him over to the Gentiles who will mock him and spit on him, flog him and kill him. Three days later he will rise.” Mark 10:33-34

Still it was confusing. Did Jesus mean he would come back to earth or that he would rise again in Heaven with His Father? How could they know for sure?

It must have been almost too much to process.

And I have to ask myself, “Would I Have Believed?”

Would I have expected Jesus to come back from the dead?

It’s so easy to be critical of the disciples and their disbelief when we read about the events of Holy Week. After all through the years they had spent with Jesus He kept telling them these things! Why did they mourn instead of standing strong and telling others to wait & see, Jesus would not stay dead?

Honestly I’m not so sure my Sabbath would have been any different. The reality of what I had seen would probably have overridden any truth I had heard from Jesus. The emotions would have been strong and sadness oppressive.

The truth is that even today with all the knowledge I have about Jesus and the power available to me through the Holy Spirit still I often don’t believe. Sometimes I weep and mourn over what I believe has been lost without allowing God the opportunity to resurrect it in His time.

Would you have believed?

When you face losses do you week and mourn or anticipate a resurrection to come?

God can do anything, if we only believe.

blessings and peace to you as you believe today,
Paula

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