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FRIDAY, APRIL 21, 2017

CHRIST'S RETURN

I THESSALONIANS 4: 15-18
15 According to the Lord's word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words.

HEBREWS 9:28
So Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.

REVELATION 1:7-8
Look, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him, even those who pierced him; and all the peoples of the earth will mourn because of him. So shall it be! Amen. "I am the Alpha and the Omega", says the Lord God, "who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty."

REVELATION 22:20-21
He who testifies to these things says, "Yes, I am coming soon." Amen, Come, Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God's people. Amen.

"Let us be alert to the season in which we are living.  It is the season of the Blessed Hope, calling for us to cut our ties with the world and build ourselves on this One who will soon appear.  He is our hope-a Blessed Hope enabling us to rise above our times and fix our gaze upon Him."
"When He returns is not as important as the fact that we are ready for Him when He does return."
A.W. Tozer, Preparing for Jesus' Return: Daily Live the Blessed Hope
"The second coming of Christ will be so revolutionary that it will change every aspect of life on this planet. Christ will reign in righteousness. Disease will be arrested. Death will be modified. War will be abolished. Nature will be changed. Man will live as it was originally intended he should live."
"We are to wait for the coming of Christ with patience. We are to watch with anticipation. We are to work with zeal. We are to prepare with urgency. Scripture says Christ is coming when you're least expecting him. Coming as a thief. He said, 'Be prepared. Get ready. Prepare to meet they God. Are you prepared?'"
Billy Graham

Thank you for joining us this Lent Season.  We will be back in the fall for a season of Thanksgiving and Advent.
Music & Arts at 3Crosses Church

ARTWORK:
ROME, ITALY: The fresco of Christ the Redeemer in Glory with the Heavenly Host by Niccolo Circignani II Pomarancio (1588) in main apse of church Basilica di Santi Giovanni e Paolo.
 

THURSDAY, APRIL 20, 2017

THE ASCENSION OF JESUS

SCRIPTURE:  LUKE 24: 50-53  
50 When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. 51 While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. 52 Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. 53 And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.

A SONNET FOR ASCENSION DAY by Malcolm Guite
We saw his light break through the cloud of glory
Whilst we were rooted still in time and place
As earth became a part of Heaven’s story
And heaven opened to his human face.
We saw him go and yet we were not parted
He took us with him to the heart of things
The heart that broke for all the broken-hearted
Is whole and Heaven-centered now, and sings,
Sings in the strength that rises out of weakness,
Sings through the clouds that veil him from our sight,
Whilst we our selves become his clouds of witness
And sing the waning darkness into light,
His light in us, and ours in him concealed,
Which all creation waits to see revealed .

QUOTE by Augustine
“Today our Lord Jesus Christ ascended into heaven; let our hearts ascend with him.  Listen to the words of the Apostle: “If you have risen with Christ, set your hearts on the things that are above where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God; seek the things that are above, not the things that are on earth.” For just as he remained with us even after his ascension, so we too are already in heaven with him, even through what is promised us has not yet been fulfilled in our bodies.   
…We cannot be in heaven, as he is on earth, by divinity but in him, we can be there by love.”

PRAYER
Grant, we pray, Almighty God, that as we believe your only-begotten Son our Lord Jesus Christ to have ascended into heaven, so we may also in heart and mind there ascend, and with him continually dwell; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen
 
STAIN GLASS WINDOW in the German Church in Stockholm, Sweden depicting the Ascension of Christ.

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 19, 2017

JESUS APPEARS TO THOMAS

SCRIPTURE:  JOHN 20:24-29
24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, "We have seen the Lord!"
But he said to them, "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."
26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, "Peace be with you!" 27 Then he said to Thomas, "Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe."
28 Thomas said to him, "My Lord and my God!"
29 Then Jesus told him, "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."

MUSIC:  O SONS AND DAUGHTERS OF THE KING

O sons and daughters of the King,
Whom heavenly hosts in glory sing,
Today the grave has lost its sting!

That Easter morn, at break of day,
The faithful women went their way
To seek the tomb where Jesus lay.

An angel clad in white they see,
Who sit and speaks unto the three,
"Your Lord will go to Galilee."

That night the apostles met in fear;
Among them came their master dear
And said, "MY peace be with you here."

When Thomas first the tidings heard
That they had seen the risen Lord,
He doubted the disciples' word.

"My pierced side, O Thomas, see,
And look upon my hands, my feet;
Not faithless but believing be."

No longer Thomas then denied;
He saw the feet, the hands, the side;
"You are my Lord and God!" he cried.

How blest are they who have not seen
And yet whose faith has constant been,
For they eternal life shall win.

On this most holy day of days
Be laud and jubilee and praise:
To God your hearts and voice raise.

by Jean Tisserand
Translation by John Mason Neale

ARTWORK:  CARAVAGGIO – THE INCREDULITY OF SAINT THOMAS 1601-1602 Neus Palais, Potsday

TUESDAY – APRIL 18, 2017

ON THE ROAD TO EMMAUS

SCRIPTURE LUKE 14:13-32
13 Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles[a] from Jerusalem. 14 They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. 15 As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; 16 but they were kept from recognizing him.
17 He asked them, "What are you discussing together as you walk along?"
They stood still, their faces downcast. 18 One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, "Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?"
19 "What things?" he asked.
"About Jesus of Nazareth," they replied. "He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. 20 The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; 21 but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. 22 In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning 23 but didn't find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. 24 Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus."
25 He said to them, "How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?" 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.
28 As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther. 29 But they urged him strongly, "Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over." So he went in to stay with them.
30 When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. 31 Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. 32 They asked each other, "Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?"


When Jesus found the two men walking along the road, with their heads down, sad and confused, Jesus gently rebuked them for not knowing what Scripture had foretold about Him. If they had known the Old Testament promises better, they would have understood that what happened on the cross, and at the empty tomb, where all part of God's amazing plan.

In the same way, God's word, the Bible, is the best way for us to know Him. Jesus said to abide in Him by remaining in His word (John 15:7). When we know God's word, we know God. Jesus, Himself, used God's word to explain who He was to the men. We can also share the truth about Jesus by sharing His word with others.

ARTWORK:  ROAD TO EMMAUS by HE QI

MONDAY, APRIL 17, 2017

CHRIST AROSE

ACTS 1:3
After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God.

After His resurrection Jesus appeared many times to His disciples showing conclusively that He had indeed risen from the dead.

The story does not end there as today the Lord continues to reveal Himself to us by His Holy Spirit. Jesus is in our hearts today if we will only search for Him. He desires to fellowship with us, guide us, and empower us to live for Him through the Holy Spirit that indwells us.

He is alive today…..look for Him!

HYMN:  CHRIST AROSE
Lyrics and Music by Robert Lowry, 1826-1899
Chorus:
Up from the grave He arose,
With a mighty triumph o'er His foes,
He arose a Victor from the dark domain,
And He lives forever, with His saints to reign.
He arose! He arose!
Hallelujah! Christ arose!

The Easter Lily is the traditional flower of Easter and is highly regarded as a joyful symbol of beauty, hope and life. The lily has come to symbolize the resurrection of Jesus because of its delicacy of form and its snow white color. The flower retells the resurrection story with its life cycle.  The bulb represents the tomb of Jesus, the white trumpet-like flowers symbolize His life after death.  The white color stands for the purity of the Divine Savior and the joy of the resurrection while the trumpet shape signifies Gabriel's trumpet call to rebirth and new life.

EASTER SUNDAY – APRIL 16, 2017

HE IS RISEN!!!

JESUS HAS RISEN

LUKE 24: 1-8
On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but 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.' " Then they remembered his words.


MUSIC:  HALLELUJAH CHORUS
George Friedrich Handel – Oratorio – Messiah, HWV 56 Part 2, No. 44 Chorus

The text for "Hallelujah" comes from the book of Revelation in the New Testament.
Revelation 19:6 "Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth."
Revelation 19:16 "And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, King of
Kings and Lord of Lords."
Revelation 11:15 reads, "And he shall reign for ever and ever."

DAY 40 – SATURDAY, APRIL 15, 2017

HOLY SATURDAY

MUSIC:  STABAT MATER DOLOROSA
By Giovanni Battista Pergolesi (1710-1736)

"The grieving Mother
Stood weeping beside the cross
Where her Son was hanging.

Through her weeping soul,
Compassionate and grieving,
A sword passed.

O how sad and afflicted
Was that blessed Mother
Of the only begotten!

Who mourned and grieved,
Seeing and bearing the torment
Of her glorious child.

Who is it that would not weep,
Seeing Christ's Mother
In such agony?

She saw her sweet child
Die desolate,
As he gave up His spirit…."

STAINED GLASS WINDOW:
COLOGNE, GERMANY: Mourning window in Dom of Cologne, Germany. This stained glass depicts the mourning of the dead Christ.

ROMANS 6:3-11
"Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his.  For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with that we should no longer be slaves to sin because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.

Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, he cannot die again; death no longer has mastery over him. The death he died, he died to sin once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God.

In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus."
 

DAY 39 – FRIDAY, APRIL 14, 2017

GOOD FRIDAY

JOHN 19:1-3
Then Pilate took Jesus and had him flogged. The soldiers twisted together a crown of thorns and put it on his head. They clothed him in a purple robe and went up to him again and again, saying, "Hail, king of the Jews!" And they slapped him in the face.
v. 16-18
Finally Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified.  So the soldiers took charge of Jesus. Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgatha). There they crucified him, and with him two others-one on each side and Jesus in the middle.

POETRY:  THE TEMPLE (1633), by George Herbert:

GOOD FRIDAY.
O My chief good,
How shall I measure out thy bloud?
How shall I count what thee befell,
And each grief tell?

Shall I thy woes
Number according to thy foes?
Or, since one starre show'd thy first
Breath,
Shall all thy death?

Or shall each leaf,
Which falls in Autumn, score a grief?
Or can not leaves, but fruit, be signe
Of the true vine?

Then let each houre
Of my whole life one grief devoure;
That thy distresse through all may runne,
And be my sunne.

Or rather let
My severall sinnes their sorrows get;
That as each beast his cure doth know,
Each sinne may so.

Since bloud is fittest, Lord, to write
Thy sorrows in, and bloudie fight;
My heart hath store, write there, where in
One box doth lie both ink and sinne:

That when sinne spies so many foes,
Thy whips, thy nails, thy wounds, thy woes,
All come to lodge there, sinne may say,
No room for me, and flie away.

Sinne being gone, oh fill the place,
And keep possession with thy grace;
Lest sinne take courage and return,
And all the writings blot or burn.

ISAIAH 53:1-5
"Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.
Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed."
 

DAY 38 – THURSDAY, APRIL 13, 2017

THE ARREST OF JESUS

MATTHEW 26:14-16
Then one of the Twelve - the one called Judas Iscariot - went to the chief priests and asked, "What are you willing to give me if I deliver him over to you?" So they counted out for him thirty pieces of silver. From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over.

Excerpt from the book JUST LIKE JESUS by Max Lucado

….Judas arrived with an angry crowd.  Again from the perspective of an observer, this crowd represents another crisis.  Not only did Jesus have to face unanswered prayer, but he also had to deal with unfruitful service. The very people he came to save had now come to arrest him.

Let me give you a fact that may alter your impression of that night. Perhaps you envision Judas leading a dozen or so soldiers who are carrying two or three lanterns. Matthew tells us, however, that "many people" came to arrest Jesus.  John is even more specific.  The term he employs is the Greek word speira, or a group of soldiers" (John 18:3).  At minimum, speira depicts a group of two hundred soldiers. It can describe a detachment as large as nineteen hundred!

Equipped with John's description, we'd be more accurate to imagine a river of several hundred troops entering the garden. Add to that figure untold watchers whom Matthew simply calls "the people," and you have a mob of people….

"Judas…was a thief. He was the one who kept the money box, and he often stole from it" (John 12:6). The man was a crook. Somehow he was able to live in the presence of God and experience the miracles of Christ and remain unchanged. In the end he decided he'd rather have money than a friend, so he sold Jesus for thirty pieces of silver. I'm sorry, but every human life is worth more than thirty pieces of silver. Judas was a scoundrel, a cheat, and a bum. How could anyone see him any other way? I don't know, but Jesus did. Only inches from the face of his betrayer, Jesus looked at him and said, "Friend, do what you came to do" (Matt. 26:50). What Jesus saw in Judas as worthy of being called a friend, I can't imagine. But I do know that Jesus doesn't lie, and in that moment he saw something good in a very bad man….

Those who betray us are victims of a fallen world. We needn't place all the blame on them. Jesus found enough good in the face of Judas to call him friend, and he can help us do the same with those who hurt us.

Not only did Jesus find good in the bad, he found the purpose in the pain. Of the ninety-eight words Jesus spoke at his arrest, thirty refer to the purpose of God:
"It must happen this way to bring about what the Scriptures say. "All these things have happened so that it will come about as the prophets wrote." (Matt. 26:54,56)

Jesus chose to see his immediate struggle as a necessary part of a greater plan. He viewed the Gethsemane conflict as an important but singular act in the grand manuscript of God's drama….

God never promises to remove us from our struggles. He does promise, however, to change the way we look at them. The apostle Paul dedicated a paragraph to listing trash bags: troubles, problems, sufferings, hunger, nakedness, danger, and violent death (Rom 8:35). These are the very Dumpsters of difficulty we hope to escape.  Paul, however, stated their value: "In all these things we are completely victorious through God" (v.37). We'd prefer other prepositions. We'd opt for "apart from all these things," "away from all these things," or even "without all these things." But Paul said "in all these things." The solution is not to avoid trouble but to change the way we see our troubles….God can correct your vision.

"There are two things that I want to always remember about the Garden of Gethsemane. One is that when Jesus faced temptation He was able to stand firm through His knowledge of scripture and through prayer! The other truth that I don't ever want to forget is that when He was in the garden He knew my name! It had already been written in the Lamb's Book of Life and the cup that He would drink would include my past, present, and future sins! May my gratitude for His sacrifice demonstrate itself in the way that I live, the way that I speak, and the way that I think!   (Quote from "And the Angels Were Silent" by Max Lucado)

ARTWORK by Michelangelo Merisi da Caravaggio " The Taking of Christ" (1602), it is housed in the National Gallery of Ireland, Dublin.

DAY 37 - WEDNESDAY, APRIL 12, 2017

THE LAST SUPPER

LUKE 22:19-20
And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me."  In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.

The blessings that we enjoy as Christians come at a cost. Christ's body was broken, and His blood was shed so that we could forever enjoy sweet fellowship and communion with Him. It is always appropriate that we should remember the death of our Lord, and worship Him in the beauty of holiness. To know that we are all loved in such a sacrificial manner should prompt each of us to worship at the feet of Jesus. How encouraging it is to know that this promise that Christ has given to us will continue on through eternity.


ARTWORK:   LAST SUPPER
VIENNA – Mosaic of Last Supper by Giacomo Raffaelli in the Minoriten church from year 1818 as a copy of the Leonardo da Vinci work.

Leonardo da Vinci's mural painting known as THE LAST SUPPER was created during the period 1495-98. It is one of the best-known works of Christian art.  The painting illustrates the scene from the last days of Jesus Christ, as described in the Gospel of John 13:21.  Flanked by his twelve apostles, Jesus has just declared that one of them will betray him. ("Very truly I tell you, one of you is going to betray me.") The picture depicts the reaction of each disciple to the news.
 

DAY 36 – TUESDAY, APRIL 11, 2017

THE CROSS

THE COLLISION OF GOD AND SIN by Oswald Chambers

I PETER 2:24 "Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree."

"The Cross of Jesus is the revelation of God's judgment on sin. Never tolerate the idea of martyrdom about the Cross of Jesus Christ. The Cross was a superb triumph in which the foundations of hell were shaken. There is nothing more certain in Time or Eternity than what Jesus Christ did on the Cross: He switched the whole of the human race back into a right relationship with God. He made Redemption the basis of human life, that is, He made a way for every son of man to get into communion with God.

The Cross did not happen to Jesus: He came on purpose for it. He is "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." The whole meaning of the Incarnation is the Cross. Beware of separating God manifest in the flesh from the Son becoming sin. The Incarnation was for the purpose of Redemption. God became incarnate for the purpose of putting away sin; not for the purpose of Self-realization. The Cross is the center of Time and of Eternity, the answer to the enigmas of both.

The Cross is not the cross of a man but the Cross of God, and the Cross of God can never be realized in human experience. The Cross is the exhibition of the nature of God, the gateway whereby any individual of the human race can enter into union with God. When we get to the Cross, we do not go through it; we abide in the life to which the Cross is the gateway.

The center of salvation is the Cross of Jesus, and the reason it is so easy to obtain salvation is because it cost God so much. The Cross is the point where God and sinful man merge with a crash and the way to life is opened – but the crash is on the heart of God."

DAY 35 – MONDAY APRIL 10, 2017

PASSOVER
The Feast of Unleavened Bread

The first Passover (seder) begins on the evening of Monday April 10, and the second Passover seder takes place on the evening of Tuesday, April 11.

One of the most significant Jewish holidays, Passover, or Pesach in Hebrew, recalls and rejoices over the Israelites' redemption from slavery in Egypt. The symbolic elements of the feast cause us not only to look back and remember what the Lord did for our people in the past; they also foreshadow a greater redemption through Jesus, the Passover Lamb.

The Old Testament Passover was a memorial of God passing over the houses of the children of Israel when He killed the firstborn of Egypt.  The New Testament Christian Passover is not a memorial of Israel's exodus from Egypt but a memorial of the death of Jesus Christ. Christians eat and drink in remembrance of Jesus' sacrifice.

"For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord's death till He comes" I Corinthians 11:26

By connecting Passover, Holy Week and Easter, we bridge the Old and New Testaments and can see the overarching theme of God's redemptive acts on behalf of His people.

EXODUS 12: 25-27

When you enter the land which the LORD will give you, as He has promised, you shall observe this rite. "And when your children say to you, 'What does this rite mean to you?' you shall say, 'It is a Passover sacrifice to the LORD who passed over the houses of the sons of Israel in Egypt when He smote the Egyptians, but spared our homes'" And the people bowed low and worshiped.

JOHN 13:1

It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love.

I PETER 1:18-20

For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake.

SUNDAY – APRIL 9TH

PALM SUNDAY (OR PASSION SUNDAY)

ZECHARIAH 9:9

Rejoice greatly, Daughter Zion! Shout, Daughter Jerusalem! See, your king come to you, righteous and victorious, lowly and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

"HOLY WEEK begins with the sixth Sunday in Lent.  This Sunday observes the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem that was marked by the crowds who were in Jerusalem for Passover waving palm branches and proclaiming him as the messianic king. The Gospels tell us that Jesus rode into the city on a donkey, enacting the prophecy of Zechariah 9:9, and in so doing emphasized the humility that was to characterize the Kingdom he proclaimed. The irony of his acceptance as the new Davidic King (Mark 11:10) by the crowds who would only five days later cry for his execution should be a sobering reminder of the human tendency to want God on our own terms.
…This Sunday is also known as Passion Sunday to commemorate the BEGINNING OF HOLY WEEK and Jesus' final agonizing journey to the cross.  The English word passion comes from a Latin word that means "to suffer," the same word from which we derive the English word patient."
Excerpt from an Article by Dennis Bratcher
Christian Research Institute.

Philippians 2:5-11

Have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in a very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death-even death on a cross!

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
 

DAY 34 – SATURDAY APRIL 8, 2017

THE TRIUMPHAL ENTRY

SCRIPTURE REFERENCES
MATT 21:1-11; MARK 11:1-11, LUKE 19:28-44; JOHN 12: 12-19

Jesus Christ was on his way to Jerusalem, knowing full well that this trip would end in his sacrificial death for the sin of humanity. He sent two disciples ahead to the village of Bethphage, about a mile away from the city at the foot of the Mount of Olives. He told them to look for a donkey tied by a house, with its unbroken colt next to it.

Jesus instructed the disciples to tell the owners of the animal that "The Lord has need of it." (Luke 19:31, ESV)

The men found the donkey, brought it and its colt to Jesus, and placed their cloaks on the colt. Jesus sat on the young donkey and slowly, humbly, made his triumphal entry into Jerusalem. In his path, people threw their cloaks on the ground and put palm branches on the road before him. Others waved palm branches in the air.

Large Passover crowds surrounded Jesus, shouting "Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest!" (Matthew 21:9, ESV)

By that time the commotion was spreading through the entire city. Many of the Galilean disciples had earlier seen Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead. Undoubtedly they were spreading the news of that astonishing miracle.

The Pharisees, who were jealous of Jesus and afraid of the Romans, said: "'Teacher, rebuke your disciples.' He answered, 'I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.'" (Luke 19:39-40, ESV)

POINTS OF INTEREST
When he told the disciples to get the donkey, Jesus referred to himself as 'The Lord,' a definite proclamation of his divinity.

By riding into Jerusalem on the colt of a donkey, Jesus fulfilled an ancient prophecy in Zechariah 9:9: "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; righteous and having salvation is he, humble and mounted on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey." (ESV) This was the only instance in the four Gospel books in which Jesus rode an animal.

Throwing cloaks in the path of someone was an act of homage and submission. The people were recognizing Jesus as the promised Messiah.

The people's cries of 'Hosanna' came from Psalm 118:25-26. Hosanna means "save now." Despite what Jesus had foretold about his mission, the people were looking for a military Messiah who would overthrow the Romans and restore Israel's independence.

QUESTION FOR REFLECTION
The crowds refused to see Jesus Christ as he truly was, placing their personal desires on him instead. Who is Jesus for you? Is he someone whom you want to satisfy your selfish wants and goals, or is he Lord and Master who gave up his life to save you from your sins?

By Jack Zavada (Sources: The New Compact Bible Dictionary, edited by T. Alton Bryant; New Bible Commentary, edited by G.J. Wenham, J.A. Motyer, D.A. Carson, and R.T. France; and the ESV Study Bible, Crossway Bibles.)
 

DAY 33 – FRIDAY, APRIL 7, 2017

MATTHEW 26: 1-5
When Jesus had finished saying all these things, he said to his disciples, "As you know, the Passover is two days away-and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified." Then the chief priests and the elders of the people assembled in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, and they schemed to arrest Jesus secretly and kill him. "But not during the festival," they said, "or there may be a riot among the people."


MUSIC:  ST. MATTHEW PASSION  BMV 244
by Johann Sebastian Bach (1727)

PART I – 1-4b  Recitative - Evangelist
"There assembled themselves the high priests and the scribes together, and the elders of the people within the palace of the chief priest, whose name was Caiaphas; and there took counsel, how with stealth they might capture Jesus and put him to death. They said however:  Not upon the feast, lest from it there be an uproar among the people!"

 
“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.”
By A.W. Tozer, Preparing for Jesus’ Return: Daily Live the Blessed Hope

The ST. MATTHEW PASSION is divided in scenes or "stations" that follow the dramatic action of the Gospel account. Bach's large choral composition was written to present the Passion, as told in the Gospel of Matthew, in a vespers service on Good Friday.  Bach took the Gospel text for the composition from Martin Luther's German translation of Matthew 26 and 27.

DAY 32 – THURSDAY, APRIL 6, 2017

EXTRAVAGANT LOVE

JOHN 12:3
"Mary brought in a pint of very expensive perfume made from pure nard. She poured the perfume on Jesus' feet, and then she wiped his feet with her hair. And the sweet smell from the perfume filled the whole house."

Artwork:  MARY ANOINTING JESUS' FEET by Peter Paul Rubens

Excerpt from THE FINAL WEEK OF JESUS (Highlights from "And The Angels Were Silent") by Max Lucado

She was the only who believed him.  Whenever he spoke of his death the others shrugged, the others doubted, but Mary believed. Mary believed because he spoke with a firmness she'd heard before.

"Lazarus, come!" he'd demanded, and her brother came out. After four days in a stone-sealed grave he walked out.

And as Mary kissed the now-warm hands of her just-dead brother, she turned and looked. Jesus was smiling….and in her heart she knew she would never doubt his words. So when he spoke of his death, she believed.

And when she saw the three together, she couldn't resist. Simon, the healed leper…Lazarus, the resurrected corpse, ….and Jesus, the source of life for both. "Now is the right time," she told herself.

It wasn't an act of impulse. She'd carried the large vial of perfume from her house to Simon's.  It wasn't a spontaneous gesture.  But it was an extravagant one. The perfume was worth a year's wages. Maybe the only thing of value she had. It wasn't a logical thing to do, but since when has love been led by logic?

Logic hadn't touched Simon. Common sense hadn't wept at Lazarus's tomb. Practicality didn't feed the crowds or love the children.

Love did. Extravagant, risky, chance-taking love.  And now someone needs to show the same to the giver of such love.

So Mary did. She stepped up behind him and stood with the jar in her hand. Within a couple of moments every mouth was silent and every eye wide as they watched her nervous fingers remove the ornate cover….she began to pour. Over his head, Over his shoulders, Down his back. She would have poured herself out for him if she could…."Wherever you go," the gesture spoke, "breathe the aroma and remember one who cares."….

Jesus' message is just as powerful today as it was then. Don't miss it; "There is a time for risky love. There is a time for extravagant gestures. There is a time to pour out your affections on one you love. And when the time comes-seize it, don't miss it." Go the effort. Invest the time. Write the letter. Make the apology. Take the trip. Purchase the gift. Do it. The seized opportunity renders joy. The neglected brings regret….

Jesus promised, "Wherever the Good News is preached in all the world, what this woman had done will be told, and people will remember her."
 

DAY 31 – WEDNESDAY, APRIL 5, 2017

SANCTIFICATION

Matthew 21:12-13

And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, and said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves.

It was important to Jesus that the temple be a holy place.  The religious leaders of His day had turned it into a place of business and trade. We can see how important this issue is with Christ.  Today we don't have a physical temple, but we do have a spiritual temple which is our body.

1 Corinthians 3:16

Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?

What God wants most in our lives is holiness and righteous living that glorifies Him and shows others the blessings of having God's Spirit at work in us.  Lets dedicate ourselves to being the kind of people who have Christ like character and cast out everything in our lives that would displease Him, and whole heartedly follow Jesus.
 

DAY 30 – TUESDAY, APRIL 4, 2017

POWER OF THE CROSS

Ballad of Mary’s Son
by Langston Hughes

It was in the Spring.
The Passover had come.
There was feasting in the streets and joy.

But an awful thing
Happened in the Spring –
Men who knew not what they did
Killed Mary’s Boy.
He was Mary’s Son,
And the Son of God was He –
Sent to bring the whole world joy.
There were some who could not hear,
And some were filled with fear –
So they built a Cross
For Mary’s Boy.
To His Twelve Disciples
He gave them of His Bread.
He gave them to drink of His wine.
This is my blood, He said.
My Cross for you
Will be a sign.

1 CORTHINIANS 1:18

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

"Life is wasted if we do not grasp the glory of the cross, cherish it for the treasure that it is, and cleave to it as the highest price of every  pleasure and the deepest comfort in every pain. What was once foolishness to us - a crucified God - must become our wisdom and our power and our only boast in this world"                                                                   John Piper

COLOSSIANS 2:14

Having cancelled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.

Love was compressed for all history in that lonely figure on the cross, who said that he could call down angels at any moment on a rescue mission, but chose not to - because of us. At Calvery, God accepted his own unbreakable terms of justice."                  Philip Yancey

“God proved His love on the Cross. When Christ hung, bled, and died, it was God saying to the world ‘I love you.’                                                                                                       Billy Graham

DAY 29 – MONDAY, APRIL 3, 2017

STATIONS OF THE CROSS
The Stations of the Cross or the Way of the Cross, also known as Way of Sorrows or Via Crucis refers to a series of images depicting Jesus Christ on the day of his crucifixion and accompanying prayers.   This pilgrimage is generally observed during the Lent Season. The Stations of the Cross are celebrated in Jerusalem each year by thousands of Christian pilgrims along the Via Dolorosa. The object of the stations is to help the people make a spiritual pilgrimage through contemplation and prayer of the Passion of Christ.

Commonly, a series of 14 images will be arranged in numbered order along a path and people will travel from image to image, in order, stopping at each station to say the selected prayers and reflections.  Historically these images have been sculpture or paintings but can be anything from banners to various kinds of art or plaques in most any medium.

Some Protestants use an expanded form of the Stations to maintain the traditional fourteen stations but still include only events with a biblical basis. This usually requires beginning the stations with Jesus' prayer in Gethsemane.

FIRST STATION:                  Jesus prays alone
SECOND STATION:             Jesus is betrayed by Judas and arrested
THIRD STATION:                 Jesus is condemned to death
FOURTH STATION:             Jesus is denied by Peter
FIFTH STATION:                  Jesus is condemned to death by Pilate
SIXTH STATION:                  Jesus scourged and crowned with thorns
SEVENTH STATION:           Jesus carries his cross
EIGHTH STATION:               Jesus is helped by Simon of Cyrene
NINTH STATION:                 Jesus meets the women of Jerusalem
TENTH STATION:                Jesus is nailed to the cross
ELEVENTH STATION:         Jesus speaks with the thief on the cross
TWELFTH STATION:           Jesus cares for His Mother
THIRTEENTH STATION:     Jesus dies on the cross
FOURTEENTH STATION:   Jesus is placed in the tomb


PRAYER
O Lord. Forgive us for our sometimes faltering steps. Show us more clearly the Way. Shine anew the light of your presence into our lives so strongly that a new love for You will be kindled. Light within us a love beyond emotion and sentimentality, a love that is willing to lay aside all privilege and self-centeredness. Grow within us a love that is willing to surrender all our fears and uncertainties to you, that desires nothing more than to love God with all our being and to love those around us with the same faithfulness with which you love us.
Now, as we begin this journey of the Cross, we open our hearts and minds to you.  We lay aside for these moments the trivialities of our life and bring ourselves into your presence.  Speak to us what we need to hear.  And help us to hear, not just the words that are spoken, but your Word spoken afresh in our hearts.
 

SUNDAY APRIL 2, 2017

GIVING

"Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly of under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver."
2 Corinthians 9:7

"Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act."
Proverbs 3:27

"For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him would not perish, but would have eternal life."
John 3:16

"As base a thing as money often is, yet it can be transmuted into everlasting treasure.  It can be converted into food for the hungry and clothing for the poor.  It can keep a missionary actively winning lost men to the light of the gospel and thus transmute itself into heavenly values.  Any temporal possession can be turned into everlasting wealth.  Whatever is given to Christ is immediately touched with immortality."
-- A.W.. Tozer
"Earn all you can, save all you can, and then give all you can. Never try to save out of God's cause; such money will canker the rest.  Giving to God is no loss; it is putting your substance into the best bank.  Giving is true having, as the old gravestone said of the dead man, 'What I spent I had, what I saved I lost, what I gave I have.'"
-- Charles Spurgeon
"It's not how much we give but how much love we put into giving."
-- Mother Teresa

DAY 28 – SATURDAY APRIL 1, 2017

GOD OF ALL CREATION


"Imagine a world without poetry, dance, song, comedy, film, architecture, painting, stories, symphonies, theater or sculpture. Such a world would be bland. Art brings vibrance and beauty to our lives. Creativity is both a fully human and fully divine experience. It is an acknowledgement that something eternal and full of truth lies behind the temporal world in which we live. It focuses our eyes on the pain around us, the injustice in front of us, the joy abounding within us, and the pull we feel towards meaning and significance. Music moves us. Poetry connects us. Paintings shout at us. Dance energizes us. Art draws us back into the fold of humanity when we wander out full of pain, discouragement, and bitterness. It whispers, "You are not alone."
RELEVANT--Article Excerpt: Why Art Should Matter To Christians by Melissa Kircher (9/22/10)

It says in Colossians 1:16
"For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him."

What an amazing thing it is that the God of all creation, who designed "The Arts" and gave them to the human race as a great source of blessing, expression, and worship, was not recognized by His people when He appeared on earth.

John 1:10-12
"He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.  He came unto his own, and his own received him not.  But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.

As we near Easter let us never forget that our Lord, the God of Creation, the Giver of all good gifts, gave Himself for all of His creation, that we might know Him, and fully utilize the forms of art that He has given us in sincere praise of His Holy Name.
 

DAY 27 – FRIDAY, MARCH 31, 2017

MUSIC:  EASTER ORATORIO, BMV 249 by Johann Sebastian Bach. (1725) Sinfonia
"Come, hurry, run, you speedy feet
reach the cavern which conceals Jesus!
Laughter and merriment
Accompanies our hearts
Since our Savior is risen again!"  (Aria T B)

ARTWORK:  THE EMPTY TOMB by He Qi
Dr. He Qi is the first among Mainland Chinese to earn a Ph.D. in Religious art after the Cultural Revolution (1992).  He is also a member of the China Art Association and a former council member of the Asian Christian Art Association (1998-2002). He received 20th Century Award for Achievement in recognition of outstanding achievements in the field of Religious Art Theory and Christian Art Creation of IBC in Cambridge UK.

JOHN 20: 1-18
"Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb and we don't know where they have put him!"

So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb.  Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first.  He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in.  Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb.  He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus' head.  The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen.  Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside.  He saw and believed. (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.)  Then the disciples went back to where they were staying."

DAY 26 – THURSDAY MARCH  30, 2017

THE WORK OF HIS HANDS

ISAIAH 64:8
Yet you Lord, are our Father, we are the clay and you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.

Excerpt from "The Work of His Hands" by Ken Gire

"The Pietá, as resplendent as it is, is only a rough-cut rendering of the God who came to us, as one of us, to die for us.  Yet even looking at a mere rendering of his love lightens the load of our sorrows.  And our questions.

Before that moment in his mother's arms, at a moment when he felt most forsaken, Jesus gathered what strength was left in him and cried out to the darkness that had overcome him.  What he cried out was a question.  That in itself should give dignity to our questions.  However inadequately we word them, however intensely we express them, our questions have a place in our relationship with God.  It is a sacred place.  It is also a necessary place.  We have to pass through it, completely and honestly, if we are ever to get to that most sacred of places, that place where we can say with Jesus: 'Father, into Thy hands I commit my spirit.'

Trusting himself to the hands of his Father meant that Jesus would fall into other hands along the way.  Hands of the betrayer.  Hands of a prosecutor.  Hands of an executioner.  Hands that would grab him, push him, strip him, beat him.  Hands that would put thorns on him, impale him.

Trusting ourselves to the Father's hands doesn't mean we will not fall into other hands along the way.  It doesn't mean we will be embraced by those other hands, or even protected from them.  It doesn't mean we will survive them, let alone triumph over them.

What it means is that behind all of those hands are His hands.  It will be His hands that will one day bring those other hands to justice.  That is what Jesus believed.  And that is what gave him the strength, while being reviled on the cross, not to revile in return (I Peter 2:23)."

PRAYER
Dear man of Sorrows, so acquainted with grief,
Help me not to recoil from your wounds,
not to fear touching them or to be touched by them.
Help me to understand that in my suffering
I am not only nearest to you,
but nearest to becoming like you….
Thank you for being in the midst of those sorrows,
transforming them into blessings
and filling them with meaning….
Keep the hands you have allowed to strike me
from shattering me,
and use them instead in shaping me.
Amen.

DAY 25, MARCH 29, 2017

GLORY OF THE CROSS

HYMN: BENEATH THE CROSS OF JESUS
By Elizabeth C. Clephane
Pianist: Judi Thompson, Friends & Family of 3Crosses Church

Elizabeth Cecilia Douglas Clephane was born in Scotland in 1830 and died in 1869. She lived most of her brief life near Edinburgh. Though in frail health most of her life, Elizabeth found the strength to help the poor and sick in her town. She and her sister gave all that they could spare to charity including, it is said, selling their horse and carriage for the benefit of the needy. The townspeople of Melrose referred to Elizabeth as "the Sunbeam."

"Beneath the Cross of Jesus," focusing on the shelter of the cross, was first published three years after the author's death in 1872 under the title "Breathings on the Border," perhaps a double entendre referring to a geographical location near Melrose, the Scottish Borders, and a reference to the border between life and death. One source suggests that this hymn was written within one year of her death in 1868.

Beneath the cross of Jesus
I fain would take my stand,
The shadow of a mighty Rock
Within a weary land;
A home within the wilderness,
A rest upon the way,
From the burning of the noontide heat,
And the burden of the day.

Oh, safe and happy shelter!
Oh, refuge tried and sweet!
Oh, trysting place where heaven's love
And heaven's justice meet.
As to the holy patriarch
That wondrous dream was given,
So is my Savior by the cross
A ladder up to heaven.

There lies beneath its shadow,
But on the farther side,
The darkness of an awful grave
That gapes both deep and wide;
And there between us stands the cross,
Two arms outstretched to save
Like a watchmen set to guard the way
From that eternal grave.

Upon that cross of Jesus
Mine eye at times can see
The very dying form of One,
Who suffered there for me;
And from my smitten heart with tears,
Two wonders I confess,
The wonders of His glorious love
And my own worthlessness

I take, O cross, thy shadow
For my abiding place;
I ask no other sunshine than
The sunshine of His face;
Content to let the world go by,
To know no gain nor loss,
My sinful self my only shame,
My glory all the cross

GALATIANS 6:14
But as for me, may I never boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

DAY 24 – TUESDAY, MARCH 28, 2017

JESUS FEEDS THE FIVE THOUSAND

Matthew 14
When Jesus heard what had happened, he withdrew by boat privately to a solitary place.  Hearing of this, the crowds followed him on foot from the towns. When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them and healed their sick.

As evening approached, the disciples came to him and said, "This is a remote place, and it's already getting late. Send the crowds away, so they can go to the villages and buy themselves some food."

Jesus replied, "They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat."

"We have here only five loaves of bread and two fish," they answered.

"Bring them here to me," he said. And he directed the people to sit down on the grass. Taking the five loaves and the two fish and looking up to heaven, he gave thanks and broke the loaves.
Then he gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the people.  They all ate and were satisfied, and the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over. The number of those  who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.

There are serious needs all around us. No matter where you look you will find people in need. The question becomes, who will take care of their needs?  In the account given in Matthew 14 there were 5,000 people who needed food, and only 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish to go around.  That's not much to take care of all that need.

Our God is one who does miracles, and what is asked of each of us is not "how much we have" but are we willing to give "what we have."  No matter how limited our resources, when we offer them to a miraculous God, He can take them and make them more than sufficient to supply all the needs around us.  God has asked us to be His hands and feet on this earth.  No matter what we have, no matter how small, it will be enough to accomplish God's purpose.  So the question is….what will you give?

iStock-609831340.jpg

DAY 23 – MONDAY, MARCH 27, 2017

LIVING WATER

JOHN 4: 9-10
The Samaritan woman said to him, "You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?" (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.)  Jesus answered her, "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you LIVING WATER."

We all know what it is to thirst. On a hot day if you have not had water, you will know how badly you need refreshment.  There is a kind of thirst that goes well beyond our need for physical water... it is the need to have God water our souls with the Holy Spirit, which brings spiritual refreshment so that we will never thirst again.  Living water comes to us each day as we ask God to be filled with His presence and love. We will never thirst again when we ask God for that which can never be taken away.... are you thirsty today?

JOHN 4:14
But whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a fount of water springing up to eternal life.

ARTWORK: Brescia, Italy – Painting of Jesus and Samaritans at well scene in the church Chiesa di Santa Maria dei Miracoli by Enrico Albricci (1749-1754)
 

SUNDAY MARCH 26, 2017

SABBATH REST

Be still and know that I am God.
Psalms 46:10

By the seventh day God had finished the work he was doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.  Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy; because on it he rested from all the creating he had done.
Genesis 2:2-3

Remember the Sabbath and keep it holy.
Exodus 20:8
 

DAY 22 – SATURDAY MARCH 25, 2017

SCRIBBLING IN THE SAND

SCRIBBLING IN THE SAND
Amidst a mob of madmen, she stood frightened and alone
As hate-filled voices hissed at Him that she should now be stoned
But in the air around Him hung a vast and wordless love
Who knows what luminous lesson He was in the middle of
At first He faced the fury of their self-righteous scorn
But then He stooped and at once became the calm eye of the storm
It was His wordless answer to their dark and cruel demand
A lifetime in a moment, as He scribbled in the sand
It was silence.  It was music
It was art. It was absurd
He stooped and shouted volumes
Without saying a single word
The same finger of the strong hand
That had written ten commands
For now was simply scribbling in the sand
Within the space of space and time He'd scribbled in the sand
They came to hear and see as much as they could understand
Now bound by cords of kindness they couldn't cast a single stone
And Jesus and the woman found that they were all alone
Could that same Finger come and trace my soul's sacred sand
And make some unexpected space where I could understand
That my own condemnation pierced and broke that gentle Hand
That scratched the words I'll never know
Written in the sand

"Our encyclopedic books, our magnificent paintings, our grand symphonies, all the art ever done in his name since that day cannot hope to be more, and should not be allowed to be less, than Jesus' scribbling that morning in the sand.  If what we create, write, dance or sing can open up such a space in time through which God may speak, imagine the possibilities! Painting might become a window through which a confused world looks and sees the sane order of God's creation.  Music could become an orchestrated echo of the Voice the tired ears of humankind have longed for ages to hear. This is art through which God is seen and heard, in which he is incarnate, is 'fleshed out' in paint and ink, in stone, in creative movement. From the flat, gray point of view of the fallen world they are only scratches and scribbles in the sand, but in the light of eternity they become the occasion for divine revelation. What more could we ever hope for, and once we've seen this new possibility, how could we ever settle for less?"
SCRIBBLING IN THE SAND, Christ and Creativity by Michael Card

JOHN 8: 6b-11 (NIV)
But Jesus bent down and started to write on the ground with his finger. When they kept on questioning him, he straightened up and said to them, "Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her." Again he stooped down and wrote on the ground.  At this, those who heard began to go away one at a time, the older ones first, until only Jesus was left, with the woman still standing there.  Jesus straightened up and asked her, "Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?"  "No one sir", she said. "Then neither do I condemn you," Jesus declared. "Go now and leave your life of sin."
 

DAY 21 – FRIDAY, MARCH 24, 2017

SOLITUDE
Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
Luke 5:16

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up,
left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.
Mark 1:35

Find rest, O my soul, in God alone.
Psalm 62:5

In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.
Isaiah 30:15

QUOTE
"Let him who cannot be alone beware of community… Alone you stood before God when he called you; alone you had to answer that call; alone you had to struggle and pray; and alone you will die and give an account to God….

Let him who is not in community beware of being alone…Each by itself has profound perils and pitfalls.  One who wants fellowship without solitude plunges into the void of words and feelings, and the one who seeks solitude without fellowship perishes in the abyss of vanity, self-infatuation and despair….

The mark of solitude is silence, as speech is the mark of community.  Silence and speech have the same inner correspondence and difference as do solitude and community.  One does not exist without the other.  Right speech comes out of silence, and the right silence comes out of speech….

Silence is nothing else but waiting for God's Word with a blessing.  But everybody knows that this is something that needs to be practiced and learned, in these days when talkativeness prevails.  Real silence, real stillness, really holding one's tongue comes only as the sober consequence of spiritual stillness."

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Faith in Community (Excerpts from Ch. 3 "The Day Alone")  1954

DAY 20 – THURSDAY MARCH 23, 2017

SILENCE: LISTENING TO THE SHEPHERD

A Lent Devotional for 3Crosses Music & Arts
by Susy Flory

From John 10 (The Message Version): "The shepherd walks right up to the gate. The gatekeeper opens the gate to him and the sheep recognize his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he gets them all out, he leads them and they follow because they are familiar with his voice."

A few months before he headed up to Jerusalem that final time, Jesus told this story about the sheep who knew their Shepherd's voice. Jesus is the Good Shepherd, and if we are familiar with his voice, we can follow him more closely. But it's difficult to learn the sound of his voice in our hearts and spirits if we're busy talking, texting, or listening to the other voices in the noise of our culture. During this Lent season leading up to Easter, think about setting aside a day to practice silence, or "solitude," as its called in a book about the spiritual disciplines called Celebration of Discipline (by Richard Foster). Consider unplugging from social media and all forms of electronic entertainment and spend an entire day without speaking. Devote yourself to prayer and study, and ask God to speak to you. You might be surprised and delighted at the results as you tune into the Shepherd's voice.

"Settle yourself in solitude, and you will come upon Him," said Teresa of Avila.

"I'll be explicit, then," said Jesus in John 10. "I am the Gate for the sheep…I am the Gate. Anyone who goes through me will be cared for—will freely go in and out, and find pasture. "

DAY 19 – WEDNESDAY MARCH 22, 2017

LAMB OF GOD

REVELATION 7:16-17
'Never again will they hunger; never again will they thirst.
The sun will not beat down on them,' nor any scorching heat.
For the Lamb at the center of the throne will be their shepherd;
'he will lead them to springs of living water. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.' "
Jesus not only takes away our sins, but as the Lamb of God He comforts us, and takes care of us each and every day.  His mercy knows no bounds and His love for His children is endless.  Today be encouraged to seek the face of the one who gave Himself for you, and sustains you by His mighty power. As believers we have The Good Shepherd to watch over us all of our days, whose promises are sure and whose mercy is everlasting.
PIE JESU is a song from AN AMERICAN REQUIEM written by Laurey Berteig and Jon Lugo in 2002 in remembrance of the victims of 9/11.

Presented by the family and friends of 3Crosses Church
Jeannie O'Brien and Judi Thompson

"Pie Jesu"
Merciful Jesus, Merciful Jesus, Merciful Jesus, Merciful Jesus
Father, who takes away the sins of the world
Grant them rest, grant them rest

Lamb of God, Lamb of God, Lamb of God, Lamb of God
Father, who takes away the sins of the world
Grant them rest, grant them rest
Everlasting, everlasting, rest

DAY 18 – TUESDAY MARCH 21, 2017

LUKE 3:22
And the Holy Spirit descended on Him in bodily form like a dove. And a voice came out of heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.”

EASTER WINGS By George Herbert

Lord, who createdst man in wealth and store,
Though foolishly he lost the same,
Decaying more and more,
Till he became
Most poore:
With thee
O let me rise
As larks, harmoniously,
And sing this day thy victories:
Then shall the fall further the flight in me.

My tender age in sorrow did beginne
And still with sicknesses and shame.
Thou didst so punish sinne,
That I became
Most thinne.
With thee
Let me combine,
And feel thy victorie:
For, if I imp my wing on thine,
Affliction shall advance the flight in me.

George Herbert’s “Easter Wings” is a celebration of Christ’s resurrection, which is presented as the means by which humankind overcomes sin and attains freedom. The poem consists of two ten-line stanzas of varying line lengths, which in their printed form on the page resemble the wings of a bird.
The poem tells of the poets desire to fly with Christ as a result of Jesus’ sacrifice, death and resurrection.

PSALM 55:6
I said, “Oh, that I had wings like a dove! I would fly away and be at rest.

DAY 17 – MONDAY, MARCH 20, 2017

PERSEVERANCE AND PRAYER

Our Lord Jesus loves us with an eternal and sacrificial love.  In Hebrews 12:1-2, it says, "And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfector of faith. For the joy set before Him, endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."  Jesus knew the agony that was ahead of him on the cross, but He also knew the joy and glory that would follow.

Christ was victorious on the cross and now and for all eternity he sits on the right hand of God the Father, and is able to help all who call upon His name.

MUSIC:  CHRIST ON THE MOUNT OF OLIVES, Op. 85 is an oratorio by Ludwig van Beethoven portraying the emotional turmoil of Jesus in the garden of Gethsemane prior to his crucifixion.  The final chorus is this song "Hallelujah".

Luke 22:39-44 (NIV)

Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and his disciples followed him.  On reaching the place, he said to them, "Pray that you will not fall into temptation."  He withdrew about a stone's throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, "Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done. An Angel from heaven appeared to him and strengthened him.  And being in anguish, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground.

SUNDAY – MARCH 19, 2017

PRAYER

THE LORD'S PRAYER
Matthew 6:9-13 (NIV)
This, then, is how you should pray:
'Our Father in heaven, hallowed by your name,
your kingdom come, your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
As we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.'

John 15:5 (NIV)
"I am the vine; you are the branches.  If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing."

Our leadership has decided to call on our various community groups to lift up in prayer a few important things during this Easter season.  Please remember to pray for the following:

*Pray for unsaved family and friends to meet Jesus and respond to His love.
*Pray for courage to invest in relationships with those who are far from God (spend time over a meal, or in some meaningful activity).
*Pray for boldness to invite those God puts in our hearts to one of our Easter outreaches or on Easter Sunday.
*Pray for a harvest of souls throughout this season of remembering Christ's passion and resurrection.

DAY 16 – SATURDAY MARCH 18, 2017

CHRIST THE REDEEMER

Psalm 19:14
May these words of my mouth and this meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.

Isaiah 47:4
Our Redeemer, the LORD of hosts is His name, The Holy One of Israel.

Ephesians 1:7
In Him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of  our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.

Colossians 1: 13-14
For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

QUOTE:
The work of redemption was accomplished by Christ in His death
on the cross and has in view the payment of the price demanded by a holy God for the deliverance of the believer from the bondage and burden of sin.  In redemption the sinner is set free from his condemnation and slavery to sin.
John F. Walvoord

The Art Deco statue of Jesus Christ in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, created by French sculptor Paul Landowski and built by the Brazilian engineer Heitor da Silva Costa, in collaboration with the French engineer Albert Caquot.  Romanian sculptor Gheorghe Leonida fashioned the face.  The statue is 98 ft tall, not including the 26 ft pedestal, and its arms stretch 92 feet wide.
The statue is located at the peak of the 2,300 ft Corcovado mountain overlooking the city of Rio.  A symbol of Christianity across the world, the statue has also become a cultural icon of both Rio de Janeiro and Brazil, and is listed as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.  It was constructed between l922 and 1931.
 

DAY 15 – FRIDAY MARCH 17, 2017

LOVE OF CHRIST

SCRIPTURE
Ephesians 5:2
Christ loved us and gave himself up for us,
A fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

Ephesians 5:25
Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.

Galatians 2:20
He loved me and gave himself for me.

50 Reasons Why Jesus Came to Die by John Piper
Excerpts from Chapter 6: "To Show His Own Love For Us"

"The death of Christ is not only the demonstration of God's love (John 3:16), it is also the supreme expression of Christ's own love for all who receive it as their treasure.  The early witness who suffered most for being Christians were captured by this fact: Christ  "loved me and gave himself for me" (Galatians 2:20). They took the self-giving act of Christ's sacrifice very personally.  They said, "He loved me.  He gave himself for me."

Surely this is the way we should understand the sufferings and death of Christ.  They have to do with me.  They are about Christ's love for me personally.  It is my sin that cuts me off from God, not sin in general.  It is my hard-heartedness and spiritual numbness that demean the worth of Christ.  I am lost and perishing.  When it comes to salvation, I have forfeited all claim on justice.  All I can do is plead for mercy…………

"Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved" (Acts 16:31)
"Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved" (Romans 10:13)
"Everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name" (Acts 10:43)

My heart is swayed, and I embrace the beauty and bounty of Christ as my treasure.   And their flows into my heart this great reality-the love of Christ for me.  So I say with those early witnesses, "He loved me and gave himself for me."………….

In his suffering and death "we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth" (John 1:14).  We have seen enough to capture us for his cause.  But the best is yet to come.  He died to secure this for us.  This is the love of Christ.
 

DAY 14  – THURSDAY MARCH 16, 2017

LOVE

SCRIPTURE

I John 3:16-18
This is how we know what love is:  Jesus Christ laid down his life for us.  And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters.  If anyone has material possessions and sees a brother or sister in need but has no pity on them, how can the love of God be in that person?  Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

POEM by St. Francis of Assisi
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
Grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
To be understood, as to understand;
To be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
And it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.
Amen.

DAY 13 – WED - MARCH 15, 2017

DIVINE GUIDANCE

Hebrews 11: 1-3 (NIV)
Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.  This is what the ancients were commended for.  By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God's command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible.

Just like the sailor at sea trusts the stars for guidance, we trust the "Bright and Morning Star" Jesus Christ to guide us safely to the shore.  We believe and trust in God's promises even though we may not see fulfillment of those promises for a season.  The sailor that watches the stars and follows them knows in his heart that if he continues to faithfully follow those lights that eventually he will safely arrive on land.  As Christians even though all of God's promises have not been fulfilled in our lives, we follow Christ's light and know that it will surely lead us safely home.

This Easter season let each of us put our total faith and confidence in Jesus Christ.  He is that sure foundation that will never fail us.

Art Song by Franz Peter Schubert (1797-1828)
Lied eines Schiffers an die Dioskuren

https://vimeo.com/208444128

Presented by
Ricardo Garcia and Judi Thompson

"You comfort me on the ocean
With your mildness and your watchfulness."

DAY 12– TUES - MARCH 14

FORGIVENESS

POETRY
A Hymn to God the Father
BY JOHN DONNE

Wilt thou forgive that sin where I begun,
Which was my sin, though it were done before?
Wilt thou forgive that sin, through which I run,
And do run still, though still I do deplore?
When thou hast done, thou hast not done,
For I have more.

Wilt thou forgive that sin which I have won
Others to sin, and made my sin their door?
Wilt thou forgive that sin which I did shun
A year or two, but wallow'd in, a score?
When thou hast done, thou hast not done,
For I have more.

I have a sin of fear, that when I have spun
My last thread, I shall perish on the shore;
But swear by thyself, that at my death thy Son
Shall shine as he shines now, and heretofore;
And, having done that, thou hast done;
I fear no more.

SCRIPTURE
In Him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace
Ephesians 1:7

Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ god forgave you.
Ephesians 4:32

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.
I John 1:9

DAY 11 – MONDAY, MARCH 13

FORGIVENESS

Forgiveness is one of the sweetest teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ.  The Bible teaches that we are to forgive all who trespass against us even as God has forgiven us.  No matter what has been inflicted on us it pails in significance when compared to our sins against god.  If god can forgive us of such great sins it seems only reasonable that we can forgive others.  Forgiveness not only benefits those upon who it is bestowed, but also cleanses our spirits from all bitterness and resentment, and allows us to love as Christ does.  During this Easter season, place forgiveness as a top priority of your life, and in doing so you will become more and more like Jesus.

Ephesians 4:32 (NIV)
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Franz Joseph Hayden – The Seven Last Words of Our Savior on the Cross

"Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do"

Choral by the London Philharmonic Orchestra & Choir
https://youtu.be/DCniMFAxW1c?list=PLp7kusyvGhYnSYztIWhL47BPExfHtXWJN

Instrumental by Navarra Quartet at the City of London Festival
https://youtu.be/3CsM4UxPkxI
 

SUNDAY – MARCH 12

FASTING

Matthew 6:16-18
"When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to who others they are fasting.  Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.  But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

QUOTE:
"Prayer is reaching out after the unseen; fasting is letting go of all that is seen and temporal.  Fasting helps express, deepen, confirm the resolution that we are ready to sacrifice anything, even ourselves to attain what we seek for the kingdom of God."
Andrew Murray
 

DAY 10  – SATURDAY MARCH 11, 2017

TRADITION, ART, AND PASSION

OBERAMMERGAU PASSION PLAY is a dramatic presentation depicting the Passion of Jesus Christ: his life, trial, suffering, death and resurrection.  The Passion Play is performed every 10 years in the city of Oberammergau, Germany.

The Passion Play began in 1633 when Oberammergau was suffering from the Bubonic Plague.  The surviving villagers appealed for Divine intervention to save their families.  They vowed that if God were to spare them, they would perform a Passion Play every ten years.   Miraculously the village was spared and the villagers planned the first Passion Play.  Keeping their promise, the people of Oberammergau performed the first play in 1634 and have continued to do so through out the centuries.

Since the first performance the Passion Play has only been cancelled twice.  Once in 1770 due to Elector Maximilion III's general prohibition against religious plays in Bavaria and in 1940 during the Second World War.

Today, many of Oberammergau's residents still take part in this powerful work of art featuring dramatic performances, beautiful music and choral accompaniment.   It involves over 2,000 actors, singers, instrumentalists and technicians, who are all residents of the village.  Anyone born in the village of Oberammergau or who has lived there for at least 20 years can participate in the Passion Plays.  The cast spends almost two years rehearsing every detail of the story.

The Passion Play runs from May to October with over 100 performances.  Over half a million people will journey from all over the globe to experience the Story of Jesus Christ.

Preparations are already underway for the next Passion Play in the tiny Bavarian hamlet of Oberammergau.  The production is in 2020.  To preview see link below:

THE OBERAMMERGAU PASSION PLAY 2020/Trailer
https://youtu.be/2KeVtnndSsc

Isaiah 55:11
So is my word that goes out from my mouth; it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish which I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

Matthew 24:35
Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.
 

DAY 9  – FRIDAY MARCH 10, 2017

SACRIFICE

HYMN:  O SACRED HEAD, NOW WOUNDED

SCRIPTURE:
John 3:16
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.

HYMN:  O SACRED HEAD, NOW WOUNDED
The words to this hymn were penned by Bernard of Clairvaux who lived from 1091-1153.  Bernard founded the Cistercian order of monks in the early 12th century.  The words come from his poem Salve Mundi Salutare.

The poem had seven sections, each focusing on a different part of Jesus' body: his feet, knees, hands, side, breast, heart and head.

Paul Gerhardt, a German hymn writer from the 1600s translated the last section of the seven from Latin into German.  The music was composed by Hans Leo Hassler, who wrote it for a funeral.
The hymn appears in a 1656 hymnal.  John Sebastian Bach used the tune 5 times throughout St. Matthew's Passion.

This hymn is a reminder of what Christ sacrificed for us to free us from sin and give us eternal life.

O SACRED HEAD, NOW WOUNDED
O Sacred Head, now wounded
With grief and shame weighed down,
Now scornfully surrounded
With thorns, thine only crown:
How pale thou art with anguish,
With sore abuse and scorn!
How does that visage languish
Which once was bright as morn!

What thou, my Lord, has suffered
Was all for sinners' gain;
Mine, mine was the transgression,
But thine the deadly pain
Lo, here I fall, my Savior!
'Tis I deserve they place;
look on with thy favor,
vouchsafe to me thy grace.

What language shall I borrow
To thank thee, dearest friend,
For this thy dying sorrow,
They pity without end?

O make me thine forever;
And should I fainting be,
Lord, let me never, never
Outlive my love for thee.

QUOTES:
When I consider the cross of Christ, how can anything that I do be considered sacrifice?
Amy Carmichael

He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose.
Jim Elliott

No sacrifice should be too great for Him who gave himself to us.
Harry Ironside

Refer to Michael W.Smith's album - Hymns II for a recording of O Sacred Head Now Wounded
 

DAY 8 – THURSDAY MARCH 9, 2017

TEMPTATION

SCRIPTURE
Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. – Luke 11:4

ARTWORK
Temptation of Christ sketch by Rembrandt (1650)

Devotional by C.H. Spurgeon
What we are taught to seek or shun in prayer, we should equally pursue or avoid in action.  Very earnestly, therefore, should we avoid temptation, seeking to walk so guardedly in the path of obedience, that we may never tempt the devil to tempt us.  We are not to enter the thicket in search of the lion.  Dearly might we pay for such presumption.  This lion may cross our path or leap upon us from the thicket, but we have nothing to do with hunting him.  He that meets with him, even though he wins the day, will find it a stern struggle.  Let the Christian pray that he may be spared the encounter.  Our Savior, who had experience of what temptation meant, thus earnestly admonished His disciples – "Pray that you enter not into temptation."

But let us do as we will, we shall be tempted; hence the prayer "deliver us from evil."  God had one Son without sin; but He has no son without temptation.  The natural man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upwards, and the Christian man is born to temptation just as certainly.  We must be always on our watch against Satan, because, like a thief, he gives not intimation of his
Approach.  Believers who have had experience of the ways of Satan, now that there are certain seasons when he will most probably make an attack, just as at certain seasons bleak winds may be expected; thus the Christian is put on a double guard by fear of danger, and the danger is averted by preparing to meet it.  Prevention is better than cure: it is better to be so well armed that the devil will not attack you, than to endure the perils of the fight, even though you come off a conqueror.

Pray today first that you may not be tempted, and next that if temptation be permitted, you may be delivered from the evil one.

DAY 7 – WEDNESDAY, MARCH 8, 2017

GREATNESS OF GOD

SONG:  As If I Were The Only One To Love
Music is presented by the family and friends of 3Crosses Church.
Tiffany Ross accompanied by Judi Thompson

SCRIPTURE
ISAIAH 40:26
Lift up your eyes on high and see who has created these stars, The One who leads forth their host by number, He calls them all by name; Because of the greatness of His might and the strength of His power, Not one of them is missing.

JEREMIAH 32:17
Ah Lord God!  Behold, You have made the heavens and the earth by Your great power and by Your outstretched arm!  Nothing is too difficult for You.

QUOTE
"It is about the greatness of God, not the significance of man.  God made man small and the universe big to say something about himself."                                      John Piper
 

DAY 6 –  TUESDAY, MARCH 7, 2017
REPENTANCE

Psalm 32: 1
Blessed is he whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered.

POETRY
PSALM  32 – Part I
Repentance and free pardon.

Blest is the man, for ever blest,
Whose guilt is pardoned by his God;
Whose sins with sorrow are confessed,
And covered with his Savior's blood.

Blest is the man to whom the Lord
Imputes not his iniquities;
He pleads no merit of reward,
And not on works, but grace relies.

From guile his heart and lips are free;
His humble joy, his holy fear,
With deep repentance well agree,
And join to prove his faith sincere.

How glorious is that righteousness
That hides and cancels all his sins,
While a bright evidence of grace
Through his whole life appears and shine!
Isaac Watts

QUOTE:  J.I.  Packer
"Repentance means turning from as much as you know of your sin to give as much as you know of yourself to as much as you know of your God, and as our knowledge grows at these three points so our practice of repentance has to be enlarged.
 

DAY 5 –  MONDAY, MARCH 6, 2017

REPENTENCE

Remember Not, Our Offences
Requiem in D Minor, Op 48
John Rutter

REMEMBER NOT, LORD, OUR OFFENCES

Repentance is changing our minds to agree with God.  Where once we could do anything we wanted, and thought it was acceptable, now as God's children we change our direction and behavior to be in alignment with the Word of God.  We clearly recognize that we need a spiritual doctor (Jesus) to help us and guide us into His truth, and to leave behind our former sinful ways.

Luke 5:31-33 (NIV)
Jesus answered them, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.  I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.

Psalm 51: 10 (NIV)
Create in me a pure heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit with me.

Artwork- Repentance of St. Peter by Gerard Seghers

SUNDAY  MARCH 5, 2017
WORSHIP

SCRIPTURE:  PSALM 100
Shout for joy to the lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
Come before him with joyful songs.
Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
His faithfulness continues through all generations.

SUNDAY WORSHIP SERVICES AT 3CROSSES CHURCH
8:30 a.m. & 11:15 a.m.

DAY 4 – SATURDAY MARCH 4, 2017

HOLINESS

Artwork: Disputation of the Eucharist by Raphael (1511) Vatican Museum

Holy, Holy, Holy – The History
Holy, Holy, Holy has been sung in Christian churches since the 1800's.  Over the centuries, this hymn has blessed people throughout the world.  Its inspiring words are the work of Reginald Heber (1783-1826) and John Bacchus Dykes (1823-1876) wrote the hymn tune, Nicaea, commonly sung to the words "Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty."  In this hymn, Heber's most enduring gift to the church echoes the worship by heavenly beings.  Holy, Holy, Holy offers a melodic revelation of eternal principles of Christianity:
1.    God is three in One

2.    God is Most Holy

3.    God's Creation reflects His glory

The song Holy, Holy, Holy, is one of the most loved hymns in the church.  It is no doubt inspired by several scriptural verses and profoundly proclaims God's attributes of Holiness, Creation, and Trinitarian nature.

Let the Lord of Glory have full control of your life today.

1 Peter 1:15-17 (NIV)
But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written:  "Be holy, because I am holy."  Since you call on a Father who judges each person's work impartially, live out your time as foreigners here in reverent fear.

Isaiah 6:2-4 (NIV)
Above him were seraphim, each with six wings:  With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying.  And they were calling to one another;
"Holy, holy, holy is the Lord Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory."  At the sound of their voices the doorposts and thresholds shook and the temple was filled with smoke.

Revelation 4:7-9 (NIV)
The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle.  Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under its wings.  Day and night they never stop saying: "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come."  Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever…..

DAY 3 – FRIDAY, MARCH 3, 2017
HOLINESS

"MERE CHRISTIANITY" by C.S. Lewis
"Imagine yourself as a living house.  God comes in to rebuild that house.  At first, perhaps, you can understand what he is doing.  He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised.  But presently he starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make sense. What on earth is he up to? The explanation is that he is building quite a different house from the one you thought of-throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards.  You thought you were going to be made into a decent little cottage; but he is building a palace.  He intends to come and live in it himself."

SCRIPTURE:
But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: "Be holy, because I am holy."
I Peter 1:15-16

Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.
Hebrews 12:14

Search me, God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
See if there is any offensive way in me,
and lead me in the way everlasting.
Psalm 139:23-24

QUOTE
"How little people know who think that holiness is dull.  When one meets the real thing, it is irresistible"
C.S. Lewis

DAY 2 – Thursday, March 2, 2017

PASSION OF CHRIST

Reims, France.  Marc Chagall created this stained glass for the Cathedral at Notre Dame.  These images depict the history of Abraham and the last moments of the earthly life of Christ (the Passion and the Resurrection).

PRAYER

Breathe in me, O Holy Spirit, that my thoughts may all be holy.

Act in me, O Holy Spirit, that my work, too, may be holy.

Draw my heart, O Holy Spirit, that I may love only what is holy.

Strengthen me, O Holy Spirit, that I may defend all that is holy.

Guard me, O Holy Spirit, that I myself may always be holy.

                                             Augustine of Hippo (AD 354-430)

SCRIPTURE:  Psalms 42:1,2

As the deer pants for streams of water, my soul pants for you, my God.  My soul thirsts for God, for the living God.  When can I go and meet with God.

DAY 1 – LENT The Lenten season is a time when many Christians observe a period of fasting, repentance, sacrifice, and spiritual discipline.  The purpose is to set aside time for reflection for Jesus Christ - his suffering and his sacrifice, his life, death, burial and resurrection. Jesus Christ is our example of love and sacrifice and during this season we have a great opportunity to deepen our walk with Christ and our service to others. Lent begins with Ash Wednesday and ends on Easter Sunday.  The length of the Lenten fast was established in the 4th Century as 46 days (40 days, not counting Sundays).   During Lent, participants eat sparingly or give up a particular food or habit. Join us as we celebrate and prepare our hearts during this beautiful season.  Each day we will be sharing artistic expressions through Art, Music, Photography, Poetry, Dance and Scripture to focus your mind and thoughts towards Christ's sacrifice for us and our response to Him.  Ephesians 5:1-2 New International Version (NIV) Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.

DAY 1 – Wednesday, March 1, 2017

LENT

The Lenten season is a time when many Christians observe a period of fasting, repentance, sacrifice, and spiritual discipline.  The purpose is to set aside time for reflection for Jesus Christ - his suffering and his sacrifice, his life, death, burial and resurrection. Jesus Christ is our example of love and sacrifice and during this season we have a great opportunity to deepen our walk with Christ and our service to others.

Lent begins with Ash Wednesday and ends on Easter Sunday.  The length of the Lenten fast was established in the 4th Century as 46 days (40 days, not counting Sundays).   During Lent, participants eat sparingly or give up a particular food or habit.

Join us as we celebrate and prepare our hearts during this beautiful season.  Each day we will be sharing artistic expressions through Art, Music, Photography, Poetry, Dance and Scripture to focus your mind and thoughts towards Christ's sacrifice for us and our response to Him.

Ephesians 5:1-2 New International Version (NIV)

Follow God's example, therefore, as dearly loved children and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.