Thursday, March 31, 2016

remember...

"Has not the one God made you? You belong to him in body and spirit." Malachi 2:15

One of my favorite lines --

Remember who are...
and whose you are.

WE BELONG TO HIM!

Thank You, Father!

friend, we are loved and chosen by God,
veneal

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

a Mighty Word ~ ALL

"...God our Savior, wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth." 1 Timothy 2:3-4

With almost half of the school population in the performance, The Lion King awed and amazed the audience. All who wanted to participate were given the opportunity.  It was obvious by the wide smiles and twinkling eyes, the  performers found all their effort and hard work worthwhile.  How many times do you get to see over 300 students excited about extra work at school?

There is another invitation extended.  It's from our Father.  His greatest desire is for all to come to Him. Unlike the school play, it requires no work, no practice, no fancy costumes or sets.  One need only to accept the work of Jesus on the cross to reap the benefits of the Greatest Story Every Told... God's Love for us.  One day, as believers, we will experience the complete JOY of what God has in store for us, merely for saying "yes" to Him.

Thank You, Father!

friend, we are loved and chosen by God, 
veneal

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Showtime is coming!

"However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”— the things God has prepared for those who love him—" 1 Corinthians 2:9

The time is here.  Preparation of our school's performance of "The Lion King" has required endless weeks and days of dedicated work.  The tedious hours of practicing, painting and preparing is over. It's show time.  
 
All the sweat, tears, frustrations, excitement and determination poured into the show will surely culminated into a memorable experience beyond the expectations of the crowd.  I've witnessed a sliver of what's to come... all i can say is prepare to be bedazzled!
Other preparations are still being made.  

Jesus is preparing a place for us and is coming back for us.  Through the reading and studying of His Word, we glimpse a sliver of what's to come... we can only imagine.  Beyond a doubt, we will be bedazzled one day by the full glory of Him.  Thank You, Father!

friend, we are loved and chosen by God,
JUST YOU WAIT AND SEE!
veneal

Monday, March 28, 2016

the morning after...

"Stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain." 1 Corinthians 15:58

It's the day after Easter, and it's still a good day!  
Father, i am reminded you are among the living, not the dead.  May our lives reflect we believe that. You are reason enough for every day to be called Good.  Thank You for saving me.

Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!

friend, we are loved and chosen by God,
veneal

Sunday, March 27, 2016

a SPECTACULAR Sunday

"HE HAS RISEN!"  Mark 16:6

"But now in a single victorious stroke of Life, all three - sin, guilt, death - are gone! the gift of our Master, Jesus Christ. Thank God!" 1 Corinthians 15:57

It's Easter Sunday
The earth shook, the cloth was folded, His work finished.
And the glory of the LORD shone all around.

Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!

friend, we are loved and chosen by God,
veneal

Saturday, March 26, 2016

not a sound... Silent Saturday

"'Take a guard,' Pilate answered (the Pharisees). 'Go, make the tomb as secure as you know how.'" Matthew 27:65

It's Saturday
All is quiet.  The rush and excitement of the past week is on hold.  You can call it the silence before the storm.  Come Monday a frantic week erupts with 4 thrilling shows of The Lion King before our Spring Break kicks in.  Some rest and final preparations are taking place this weekend before the Lion King roars on to stage at school. How peaceful the silence!  But not for long.
Not all silence is peaceful, some is torturous.There is silence also at the tomb.  Jesus, the Son of God, the King of kings, is dead. His body now guarded in a tomb with a massive stone covering the opening. No one can possibly enter.  But, they forgot to consider the possibility of Someone coming out. "Hakuna Matata! Oh, ye, of little faith. There will be an awakening! What a glorious day to come!  Thank You, Father!

friend, we are loved and chosen by God,
veneal

Friday, March 25, 2016

choose your side... Friday's Forgiveness

"... there they crucified Him, along with the criminals ‑ one on His right, the other on His left. Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.'.. One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at Him... But the other rebuked him... Then he said, 'Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.' Jesus answered him, 'I tell you the truth, today you will be with me in paradise.'" Luke 23:33‑43

It's Friday
Jesus, weak and nearly unrecognizable from the lashings, could not drag His cross up the rocky path. Help came from a stranger, not His followers nor His disciples. The women followed in tears, the men scattered in fear.
  
Jesus' last walk on earth shook the ground with raw emotions, not with cheers but jeers... the people expected more. But, hold on!  The Last Act is yet to come. It will not only bring down the house, but will rip the temple's curtain in two from top to bottom!
 
Even at the very last minute on the cross, one criminal chose to acknowledge and accept Christ. One went to paradise, the other didn't. It's all about forgiveness. It's what Jesus was born to do. It's God's greatest gift and sacrifice to man.

We, like the criminals, are either on the right or left side of Jesus. With our speech and/or actions we are denying or accepting Him.  He humbly gave His all, so we may live. God is willing, waiting, and wanting to receive all into His Kingdom.  May we remember and honor His love for us by loving Him and others.

friend, we are loved and chosen by God,
veneal

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Tearful Thursday... by the light of the moon

Jesus prayer -
"
My prayer is not for them (the disciples) alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as You are in Me and I am in You." John 17:20

It's THURSDAY
Sweat rolling down His back and legs and tears spilling from His eyes, the dirt on His knees change to mud. The fury of the week left the disciples too exhausted to stay awake in the Garden. Three times Jesus wakes them... and later, three times Peter denies Him. Under the full moon, Jesus is alone on the path to the Cross.

The brilliance and beauty of the moon the past few nights is mesmerizing. So full and bright; it is breathtaking. How can anything so beautiful, hold so much sorrow too?

It was under that same moon, over 2,000 year ago, Jesus prepared to be betrayed and disowned by His own, and unjustly accused by others. In the Garden after the Last Supper, He committed His final act before captured -- He prayed.

 He prayed for Himself and the ability to be obedient...
Father, if You are willing, take this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done. He prayed for His disciples and their strengthening. And He prayed for you and me. His final prayer -- for us to be one in Him.

May you see the moon in a different light tonight... His eternal Light for all. The sorrow of this night will fade as His path fills with believers. Victory over darkness is guaranteed. Thank You, Father!

  

 
friend, we are loved and chosen by God,
veneal

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

SOLD OUT... Willful Wednesday

And Judas said...
"'What are you willing to give me if I hand Him over to you?' So they counted out for him thirty silver coins." Matthew 26:15


SOLD OUT

It's Wednesday
Jesus relentlessly pushes onward His final days -- performing miracles, praying, reaching people for God's Kingdom. The sweet perfume oil from Mary's fingers, drips from His head and puddles in the dirt. His disciples grumble over the waste. Is Jesus making a difference, just what is His real mission, is His time almost over for good?

The evening performances for our school play, "The Lion King" sold out in just a few days. The money paid for meaningful, needed items -- costumes, props and other necessities. Not all sellouts are as honorable.

 
Judas sold-out the whereabouts of Jesus for the mere price of a slave. Realizing Jesus' kingdom was of a spiritual nature and not of power or money, he sold Jesus' life for the immediate security of a few coins... coins offering temporary pleasure in place of eternal joy.
 
 
Are you still holding on to Jesus' Hand? Tomorrow the path we travel down is dark, difficult and necessary. And one He chose, so we could have eternal life.

friend, we are loved and chosen by God,
veneal

Monday, March 21, 2016

Turbulent Tuesday... cleaning up

Jesus said --
"...
Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world." Matthew 25:34

It's Tuesday
He's rattled the temple, He's called the Chief Priests out, He's comforted the prostitutes. It's fair to say Jesus kicked up dust on the path to the cross. Are you still holding on to His Hand? It's total turmoil, but with God, peace will fill our soul.

We are surrounded by deadlines at school and at home -- an incredible student production of "Lion King" starts next week with 4 shows, plus Spring break is around the corner. It's time to kick into high gear and focus on getting the job done.

Jesus found Himself with such deadlines, His last week on earth. Knowing His days were numbered, He unleashed many lessons --


To His followers He encouraged them to choose rightly and righteously.

To His critics, the religious leaders, He scolded them for misguiding His sheep. 
To the unbelievers, He gave warnings. 
He told believers about being ready and watchful, as He instilled in them the hope of things to come. 

Jesus holds nothing back for He has nothing to lose, and everything to gain... another believer, joining His family for eternity. He did and will do anything to reach one more. 

friend, we are loved and chosen by God,
veneal

The countdown is on... Monday Madness



As we leave behind the glorious entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem on Sunday, the palm branches and cloaks scattered on His path are also gone.  The bare dirt and pebbles along the path now squeeze between His toes.

Monday
Jesus' first stop in Jerusalem, the Temple...
Jesus entered the temple area and drove out all who were buying and selling there.  He overturned the table of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves... He said, "My house will be call a house of prayer, but you are making it a den for robbers."
Later that day, He tells His disciples...
"I tell you the truth, if you have faith and do not doubt,... you can say to this mountain, 'Go throw yourself into the sea, and it will be done.  If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer."  

Jesus' last week on earth was not a walk in the park; it was filled with difficult and trying work.  The Army wants a few good men, but God wants ALL to come Home -- to His amazing, saving grace and eternal life.  


Thank You, Father!

friend, we are loved and chosen by God,
veneal

Sunday, March 20, 2016

The Mightiest Week Begins


"They took palm branches and went out to meet Him, shouting, 'Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the King of Israel!'" John 12:13
 THE countdown is on...

I'm not referring to the countdown to the school play, nor Spring Break, nor the the finals in March Madness, but THE countdown of all countdowns. The countdown in remembering Jesus' final week on earth.  The countdown that sealed forever my future and yours. Through His death, burial, and resurrection, Jesus paid the penalty for sin, purchasing for ALL who believe in Him, eternal life in Christ Jesus

I wonder how Jesus felt His last week on earth?  After His triumphant entrance into Jerusalem, life took a dramatic turn.  Did He understand what would happen? Yes.  Did His disciples? No. On Sunday, the palm branches are swaying with shouts of "Hosanna", and by the end of the week shouts of "crucify Him" by the same lips.

With joy comes tears. With thanks comes humbleness.  Let's walk down the  path in hand with Jesus this week with grateful hearts, as we remember His sacrifice and unconditional love for us.

Hosanna, to God in the highest! Thanks be to God!

friend, we are loved and chosen by God,
veneal

Friday, March 18, 2016

a Mighty Word ~ friend

"A friend loves at all times..." Proverbs 17:17


Thank You, Father, for the touch of comfort through a word, a hug or a smile.  My friends... Your angels on earth.  Thank You.

friend, we are loved and chosen by God,
veneal