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Exemplify Online- May 2010

"In those days, much like our day in age, there where lines…dividing lines that placed families, friends, and acquaintances on opposing sides. Religion divided. Race divided. Social status divided. Gender divided. Marital status divided. Differences of opinion divided. And on and on the list could grow. Very seldom would one find these differing parties conversing with one another, unless it was to debate an issue or try a man, as was the case with Jesus.

As children of the Most High God, saved by His grace alone, this same commission is given to us this very day. God is calling us to go into our neighbors, our communities, our workplaces, our schools, our churches, our homes for the sole purpose of making new disciples. He is calling us to cross over those racial lines, gender lines, socio-economic status lines, those lines of religion and differing of opinions and share His message of hope and healing. He is calling us to flesh out our faith in Him by stepping out of our comforts zones, opening up our mouths and letting His message of healing flow from our lips." (Crossing Over the Lines that Divide, by Jenifer Jernigan, Exemplify Online Magazine, May 2010, pages 48-50)

To read "Crossing Over the Lines that Divide" in it's entirety and many more wonderful articles, hop on over to Exemplify. This month's theme...faithfulness.



In His Word Bible Study

For all of you local Raleigh, North Carolina ladies out there looking for something to do tonight, I'd like to invite you to In His Word Bible Study. Tonight we are wrapping up our study of "God...who are You & what can You do for me? Getting to Know the Almighty God".

For meeting times and location, please contact me at

Hope to see you all there!!



Live in Freedom!

"I have been entangled by the ropes of death. Not physically speaking, but there was a time in my life that the enemy had such a strong hold over me that my spiritual death was imminent. I had literally nowhere to go, no person to cry out to except God Almighty. It was either cry out to the only One who could breathe life back into my dying soul or close my eyes and give up. I was worn out and in no condition to continue fighting the enemy..."



God...who are You & what can You do for me? Session 10

By His Grace Ministry and At the Well...In Pursuit of Titus 2
are partnering together to offer you an online Bible Study.

I invite you to join us today as we wrap up our study
"God...who are You & what can You do for me?" Session 10.



And now...

back to our bloggin' break!!!!!!!!!!!! **smile**



She Speaks 2010...another scholarship opportunity

"She Speaks is a life-changing conference for women of every generation seeking to explore the tug on her heart to reach out to the world for Jesus. Through She Speaks, Proverbs 31 Ministries encourages and equips women who are called by God to share our mission to bring God’s peace, perspective and purpose to today’s busy woman. Sharing God’s truth with love is not only a holy calling but a remarkable responsibility. We believe by equipping women to become more effective at sharing the Word of God, we multiply our efforts to reach a hurting world with the life-transforming hope of Jesus." (

Would you love to attend She Speaks 2010, but don't have the extra funds this year? Glynnis Whitwer is hosting an awesome scholarship giveaway over at her blog Welcome Home!! Be sure to hop on over and check it out!!!



God...who are You & what can You do for me? Session 9

By His Grace Ministry and At the Well...In Pursuit of Titus 2
are partnering together to offer you an online Bible Study.

I invite you to join us as we open up the pages of Scripture
and unearth new Truths about who God is.

Over At the Well you'll find the
"God...who are You & what can You do for me?
Getting to know the Almighty God" session 9 download,
a video covering material for your ninth week's homework,
and a few other instructions for Bible study this week.

I do hope you will join us as we dig into God's Word and discover who He is
and what He can do for us.



We Interrupt this Bloggin' Break...

We gladly interrupt this bloggin' break to announce the winner of "This Little Prayer of Mine" by Anthony DeStefano.

Drumroll please...and the winner of "This Little Prayer of Mine" by Anthony DeStefano is... Kerri from Mommy4Him.

Kerri email me your address and I'll get this wonderful treasure of a book out to you for your family to enjoy.

If you were not the winner, you can purchase a copy of "This Little Prayer of Mine" here.


This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.

And now... back to our bloggin' break. See ya real soon!!!!!


Bloggin' Break

But, in the meantime...

Don't forget to enter for your chance to win a copy of "This Little Prayer of Mine" by Anthony DeStefano. You can get your name in the drawing HERE.

Your last chance to enter the giveaway will be Friday midnight (EST), April 16, 2010. One winner will be randomly selected and announced right here Saturday, April 17, 2010.



Some VERY Yummy Snacks!!

So...I've been in the kitchen lately fixin' up some yummy snacks for the fam. Take a look...

Peanut Butter & Other Stuff Granola Bars
1 c. packed brown sugar
1/3 c. peanut butter
1/2 c. honey
1 stick butter, melted
2 tsp. vanilla
3 c. quick-cooking oats
1/4 c. sunflower kernels
1/4 c. raisins
3 tbsp. wheat germ
1/2 c. semisweet chocolate chips

Combine brown sugar, peanut butter, honey, butter, and vanilla.
Stir in the oats, wheat germ, sunflower kernels,
and all the other yummy stuff.
Fold in chocolate chips.

Line a 15 x 10 in. cookie sheet (that has sides) with parchment paper.
Spray with non-stick cooking spray.
Press granola mixture firmly onto cookie sheet.
Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
Cool completely and then cut into bars.

Now...let me tell you the REAL beauty of this fabulous granola can add anything to it that your little heart so desires. I've added almonds, peanuts, dried cranberries, dried blueberries, dried cherries, etc...add whatever you like and enjoy!

Almond Honey Granola
3 c. quick-cooking oats
1 c. silvered almonds
1/4 c. wheat germ
6 tbsp. honey
6 tbsp. packed brown sugar
1/4 c. applesauce
2 tbsp. warm water
1/2 tsp. salt

a handful of golden raisins, or sunflower seeds,
or dried cranberries, or dried blueberries, or dried cherries,
or cashews, or ... get the picture...
you can add anything to this granola that you'd like

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

Line a cookie sheet that has sides with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, mix together oats, almonds, wheat germ, and any other nuts you'd like.

In a separate bowl, whisk together honey, brown sugar, applesauce, water, and salt.

Pour the liquid over the oat and nut mixture, and stir until evenly coated. Spread out on the cookie sheet. If you want some chunks of granola, squeeze small handfuls into little clumps.

Bake for 1 hour. Stir every 15 minutes so that the granola does not burn. After the granola is done cooking, mix in raisins, or dried cranberries, etc. Cool. Store in an airtight container.

My kids LOVE this for breakfast!!

Beef Jerky
2-3 lbs. Veal cutlets
1 c. Dales Marinade
1/4 c. Lea and Perrins Worcestershire Sauce
couple of squirts of lime juice
couple of shakes of garlic salt
5 cloves of garlic, chopped

Place meat in a Ziploc bag. Mix all ingredients together. Pour over meat. Let marinade for about 2 hours. Place in dehydrator. Set dehydrator according to it's directions for beef jerky.

This one is a winner for my hubby!!!

What kinds of yummy snacks do you and your family chow down on?



This Little Prayer of Mine

Anthony DeStefano does an excellent job of capturing child-like faith in his new book, “This Little Prayer of Mine.” The illustrations are absolutely beautiful, and the content is particularly appealing to this momma who desires for her children to grasp the concept of talking with their heavenly Father. One thing that I greatly appreciate about this wonderful book is the fact that it is a great conversation starter with my children. Each page presents a real life event in which one is able to look to God and rely on Him for strength, protection, guidance, unconditional love, or forgiveness. If you have young children in your life who you desire to see grow in their relationship with their heavenly Father, “This Little Prayer of Mine” is a must have!

And speaking of a must have...would you like your very own copy of "This Little Prayer of Mine"? Yes? Well...I am giving away a copy to one of you, my lovely readers. Just leave a comment on this post sharing some of your favorite children's books that point little one's to God. I'm always looking for great books to add to our library. You can also purchase "This Little Prayer of Mine" over at Random House.

Your last chance to enter the giveaway will be Friday midnight (EST), April 16, 2010. One winner will be randomly selected and announced right here Saturday, April 17, 2010.

But Jesus said, “Let the children come to me.
Don’t stop them!
For the Kingdom of Heaven belongs
to those who are like these children.”
Matthew 19:14, NLT


This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.


Exemplify Magazine April 2010

The April issue of Exemplify Magazine is hot off the presses. This month's topic...worship. Go grab yourself a yummy cup of coffee, find a nice comfy place and enjoy!!

"How can we come to know God in more real and intimate ways so that we are able to flesh out our trust in Him? The answer: by digging into His Word and unearthing the beautiful Truths He reveals about Himself." (Excerpt from "Preparing to do His Thang!", Exemplify Magazine, Apr. 2010, Jenifer Jernigan)

To find out how to dig into God's Word on a daily basis check out "Preparing to do His Thang!" on pages 52-55.

"1) The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it. The world and all its people belong to him. 2) For he laid the earth’s foundation on the seas and built it on the ocean depths. 3) Who may climb the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? 4) Only those whose hands and hearts are pure, who do not worship idols and never tell lies. 5) They will receive the Lord’s blessing and have a right relationship with God their savior. 6 Such people may seek you and worship in your presence, O God of Jacob."

Psalm 24:1-6, NLT




"27) Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands.
Put your hand into the wound in my side.
Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!”
28) “My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed."

Gaze upon Him today. Reach out and touch His hand. Don't be without faith.
Believe, for Christ has RISEN!!!!



A New Day is about to Dawn

"62) On the next day, which followed the Day of Preparation, the chief priests and Pharisees gathered together to Pilate, 63) saying, “Sir, we remember, while He was still alive, how that deceiver said, ‘After three days I will rise.’ 64) Therefore command that the tomb be made secure until the third day, lest His disciples come by night and steal Him away, and say to the people, ‘He has risen from the dead.’ So the last deception will be worse than the first.” 65) Pilate said to them, “You have a guard; go your way, make it as secure as you know how.” 66) So they went and made the tomb secure, sealing the stone and setting the guard." Matthew 27:62-66, NKJV

The tomb was sealed. The guards were in place. The chief priests and Pharisees thought they had won, BUT...a new day is about to dawn...


picture by James Tissot from Truthbook



By 9:00 last night I was completely exhausted. The kids and I had a very, VERY busy day. On our way home from being out and about all day we picked up some Chinese take-out for dinner, came home and munched down on it. Then it was off to bed for the kiddos. After I finished cleaning up the kitchen and tidying up a bit I sat down on the couch to relax. Wanting to get a tad bit more comfortable and relaxed, I stretched out horizontally and covered my feet with the quilt. "Ahhhh, much better," I thought to myself. Flipping through the channels I finally stopped on something that caught my eye. When the next commercial came on I decided to "rest" my eyes for a few minutes.

Well...those few minutes turned into 6 hours. YIKES!!! When I woke up it was 2:00 a.m. Guess I didn't realize just how exhausted I really was.

All day today my mind has been inundated with thoughts about being exhausted.

Webster's Dictionary defines exhaustion as the act or process of drawing off or letting out completely; the process of being emptied by drawing off the contents.

As I thought more and more about exhaustion, I couldn't help but think about the last Friday of Jesus' life here on earth. Talk about exhaustion!! The exhaustion I experienced pales in comparison to what Christ went through that day...

~an intense prayer time in the Garden of Gethsemane yielding to God's will for His life left Him sweating drops of blood

~betrayed by one of the twelve for a mere 30 pieces of silver followed by His being arrested

~trial number 1 under Annas, a former Jewish High Priest and the first physical beating

~trial number 2 under the current Jewish High Priest Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin and a second beating that leaves Him bloody and bruised

~trial number 3 where it is decided by the Jewish elders, High Priest, scribes, and Sanhedrin to pass Jesus off to the Roman government asking them to kill Him

~trial 4- the Roman Governor Pilate finds no fault in Him

~trial 5- hearing before Herod Antipas- Jesus is questioned but remains silent the entire time refusing to answer any of the questions that are posed to Him- Herod quickly returns Him to Pilate

~trial 6- Pilate tries to release Jesus but Jewish leaders object to His being released- in order to satisfy the Jewish leaders, Pilate has Jesus beaten beyond recognition- this beating is not enough for the Jewish leaders and they demand that He be crucified- Pilate eventually gives in to their requests

~the Roman soldiers take Jesus to the Praetorium where they mock Him, torture Him, and drive a crown of thorns into His head

~Jesus carries His own cross to Calvary where He will willingly allow the soldiers to nail His hands and feet to the tree that He created

~with compassion and love in His heart for His mother, He instructs the beloved John to take care of her

~still desiring to see the lost saved, He prays for those who persecute Him and grants salvation to the thief who hangs beside Him

~into God's hands He commits His spirit and breathes His last breath

Exhaustion. Completely emptied.

From the moment sin entered the world, the process of Christ's emptying out began. God had a plan from the very beginning that His One and Only Son who spill forth His life so that you and I could be brought back into right relationship with Him.

Exhaustion. Only the perfect Lamb who willingly walked down the road to be slaughtered could have withstood all that this day brought forth.

I'm having a hard time today grasping all that Christ went through that day. All that He felt. All that He saw. And the fact that it was all for me (and you). I moan and groan and even get a little grumpy when I don't get enough rest. But, Jesus...there was not a moan or groan within Him. Grumpiness? Nope...only love.

Exhaustion. The act or process of drawing off or letting out completely; the process of being emptied by drawing off the contents.

He was spent.



Emptied of His very life so that we could have new life.

That's grace, my friend. That's grace.

That's love.

That's compassion.

That's humble obedience to the Father's plan.

That's our Savior!!



Rejoicing in the Face of Death

Much occurred on the last Thursday of the Lord's life here on earth.

~The Last Meal Together
Jesus gave specific instructions to Peter and John as to how they were to prepare for the last supper He would have with the disciples. He greeted each of the disciples, including Judas His betrayer, with a kiss of peace as they entered the door of the upper room. Jesus sat around a table with the twelve men who had followed Him faithfully during His earthly ministry. I just imagine they laughed some, shared stories of all they had been through together, and tried their best to understand what was about to happen. Be it a strategic gesture or not, Jesus had Judas sit at His left side which was a place of honor. Was this one last chance for Judas to repent and pledge his undying allegiance to God's precious Son? I would like to think it was.

~Jesus Washed the Feet of the Disciples
At first the disciples wanted nothing to do with Jesus washing their feet. The washing of another's feet was normally done by the lowliest of servants. The disciples would probably have jumped at the opportunity to wash the feet of Jesus, but never in their wildest dreams would they have imagined Jesus washing their feet. This act on the part of Jesus displayed to them His humility and servant's heart. Not only was this a physical act, but it was also symbolic. Jesus washing the feet of His disciples symbolized to them that unless a person be washed and cleansed by the Living Water of life he can have no part in the kingdom of heaven.

~The Institution of the Lord's Supper
The broken bread would be a reminder to the disciples and all Christians of the broken body of Christ. The body of Christ was broken and given as payment for the sins of all mankind. The cup would be a reminder of the blood of Christ that was spilled out for the remission of your sins and mine. It was the blood of the new covenant. Covenants were ratified by the shedding of blood (Exodus 24:8) and the covenant of salvation that Christ was making with believers to come would be authenticated by the blood that would be poured out from His body.

~The Disciples Argue Over Who is the Greatest
Once again Jesus had to settle a dispute among His disciples as to who was the "greatest" among them. All those in the Kingdom of God are important and all have specific roles. These remaining eleven disciples who had walked with Jesus during His earthly ministry would later on be pivotal players in the growth of the church.

Through all the happenings of this day and the inevitable arrest of Jesus that was soon to come, Jesus closed this last supper with His disciples in song (Matthew 26:30). Scholars believe that most likely the hymn they raised their voices in unison to sing was Psalm 118. Today I leave you with those words; and as you read them imagine our Lord and His disciples singing praises to the God above as He faced rejection, great suffering, and death.

1) Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his love endures forever.
2) Let Israel say: "His love endures forever."
3) Let the house of Aaron say:
"His love endures forever."
4) Let those who fear the LORD say:
"His love endures forever."
5) In my anguish I cried to the LORD,
and he answered by setting me free.
6) The LORD is with me;
I will not be afraid.
What can man do to me?
7) The LORD is with me;
he is my helper. I will look in triumph on my enemies.
8) It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in man.
9) It is better to take refuge in the LORD than to trust in princes.
10) All the nations surrounded me,
but in the name of the LORD I cut them off.
11) They surrounded me on every side,
but in the name of the LORD I cut them off.
12) They swarmed around me like bees,
but they died out as quickly as burning thorns;
in the name of the LORD I cut them off.
13) I was pushed back and about to fall, but the LORD helped me.
14) The LORD is my strength and my song;
he has become my salvation.
15) Shouts of joy and victory resound in the tents of the righteous:
"The LORD's right hand has done mighty things!
16) The LORD's right hand is lifted high;
the LORD's right hand has done mighty things!"
17) I will not die but live, and will proclaim what the LORD has done.
18) The LORD has chastened me severely,
but he has not given me over to death.
19) Open for me the gates of righteousness;
I will enter and give thanks to the LORD.
20) This is the gate of the LORD through which the righteous may enter.
21) I will give you thanks, for you answered me;
you have become my salvation.
22) The stone the builders rejected has become the capstone;
23) the LORD has done this, and it is marvelous in our eyes.
24) This is the day the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.
25) O LORD, save us; O LORD, grant us success.
26) Blessed is he who comes in the name of the LORD.
From the house of the LORD we bless you.
27) The LORD is God, and he has made his light shine upon us.
With boughs in hand, join in the festal procession up to the horns of the altar.
28) You are my God, and I will give you thanks;
you are my God, and I will exalt you.
29) Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good;
his love endures forever.
Psalm 118:1-29, NIV



A Day of Preparation

"1) Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which is called the Passover, was approaching. 2) The chief priests and the scribes were seeking how they might put Him to death; for they were afraid of the people. 3) And Satan entered into Judas who was called Iscariot, belonging to the number of the twelve. 4) And he went away and discussed with the chief priests and officers how he might betray Him to them. 5) They were glad and agreed to give him money. 6) So he consented, and began seeking a good opportunity to betray Him to them apart from the crowd."
Luke 22:1-6, NASB

14) Then one of the twelve, named Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests 15) and said, "What are you willing to give me to betray Him to you?" And they weighed out thirty pieces of silver to him. 16) From then on he began looking for a good opportunity to betray Jesus.
Matthew 26:14-16, NASB

The Feast of Unleavened Bread, which is also called Passover, is a very important feast on the Jewish calendar. During this feast (14 Nisan on the Jewish calendar- the corresponding month on our calendar would be March-April) all Jewish men were expected to travel to Jerusalem to celebrated and remember the deliverance of the Israelites from Egyptian captivity (Exodus 11-12).

There were specific steps that were to be taken in preparing for the Passover Feast. For seven days the members of the home were to only eat unleavened bread. On the first day of the seven day period all leaven was to be completely removed from the home (Exodus 12:14-22). Leaven, known to us as yeast, changed the original form of the bread dough; it added additional ingredients making it impure. For the Passover Feast the bread was to be in it's purest form, that being without the leaven. This was to be a reminder to the people that their ancestors had fled Egypt in haste and were left to eat only unleavened bread.

Keeping in mind that leaven alters the original state of bread, Jesus warned His disciples to beware of the "leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees...the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees" (Matthew 16:11 & 12). Jesus didn't mean for them not to eat the physical, tangible bread of these religious leaders, but rather to be on guard against their teachings. The Pharisees and Sadducees had added their own set of rules and regulations, and thoughts and ideas to the Scriptures instead of teaching it exactly as it was; they had altered the true meaning of God's Word.

What was overflowing into the attitudes and actions of these religious leaders was a corrupted heart; a heart that had been tainted with evil. The Pharisees and Sadducees had done a good job preparing their homes for the Passover and getting things ready in the temple, but they had forgotten about the most important aspect, their hearts (Matthew 23:25-28). For a while now they had greatly desired to arrest Jesus and get Him out of the picture but had been unable to do so for fear of retaliation from the people. Judas, one of the twelve disciples of Jesus, would be their answer.

Judas, a man with a tainted heart himself, would betray Christ for a mere thirty pieces of silver. This small sum of money was mere change in comparison to the enormity of the actual price Jesus would later pay. Thirty pieces of silver was the price paid for a slave (Exodus 21:32). Seems rather ironic to me that Jesus, the one who would free us from the bondage of sin, was handed over for the price of a slave.

The plan of the religious leaders was in place. They would pay Judas to deliver Jesus to them and then take His life. But, their time of scheming and preparation would not prepare them for what was to come.

What is the condition of your heart today? Is it tainted with evil like the hearts of the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Judas? Are you handing over your time with the Lord for mere change? Are you giving in to the "pleasures" of this world?



Examination of the Passover Lamb

The last week of Jesus' life here on earth was not glamorous or easy by any stretch of the imagination. Each day brought with it a new challenge and greater pain. Yet each day brought Christ closer to the cross of freedom. Tuesday of this Passover week was no exception.

On this day the enemies of Jesus did their best to "trap" Him with a series of questions. Through the cleansing of the temple and the parables He used as object lessons, Jesus had exposed the evil intentions of the religious leaders and they were out to get Him; they were out for blood. They wanted so badly to trap Him into saying something that they could use to have Jesus arrested.

Beyond the scope of thinking on the part of the religious leaders, there was a much bigger plan for this time of questioning and examination of Christ; it was a God sized plan that their blinded eyes could not see. According to Exodus 12:3-6, each lamb that would be presented as a sacrificial lamb had to be carefully examined in order to make sure there were no blemishes of any kind on him before he was deemed an acceptable sacrifice.

3) "Speak to all the congregation of Israel, saying,
'On the tenth of this month they are each one to take a lamb for themselves,
according to their fathers' households, a lamb for each household.
4) 'Now if the household is too small for a lamb, then he
and his neighbor nearest to his house are to take one according
to the number of persons in them; according to what each man should eat,
you are to divide the lamb. 5) 'Your lamb shall be an unblemished male a year old;
you may take it from the sheep or from the goats.
6) 'You shall keep it until the fourteenth day of the same month,
then the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel is to kill it at twilight.
Exodus 12:3-6, NASB

From the tenth day to the fourteenth day of the month the people were to carefully examine the lamb making sure it would be an acceptable sacrifice. Little did the religious leaders know, Jesus was going to be sacrificed as the Lamb of God who would take away the sins of the world; THE perfect, unblemished sacrifical Lamb.

"The next day he (John the Baptist) saw Jesus coming to him and said,
'Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!' "
John 1:29, NASB

It was all according to God's plan that these religious leaders question Jesus in this public arena. If any fault had been found in Him, He would not have been the perfect sacrifice. They, themselves could find no fault in Him and as we will see, they pass Jesus on to Pilate. Pilate will also find no fault in Jesus and will pass Him on to Herod. Herod will find no fault in Him and send Jesus back to Pilate. And, once again Pilate will find no fault in Christ. Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God was without fault, without blemish. He was perfect in every way. He was sinless, righteous, holy, and just. He was the only perfect Lamb who could forever free His people from their sins.

The questioning of Christ that day wasn't so the religious leaders could trap Him, the questioning that day was part of God's plan so that all could see that this man, this King, this Lamb was the perfect sacrifice.



God...who are You & what can You do for me? Session 8

By His Grace Ministry and At the Well...In Pursuit of Titus 2
are partnering together to offer you an online Bible Study.

I invite you to join us as we open up the pages of Scripture
and unearth new Truths about who God is.

Over At the Well you'll find the
"God...who are You & what can You do for me?
Getting to know the Almighty God" session 8 download,
a video covering material for your eighth week's homework,
and a few other instructions for Bible study this week.

I do hope you will join us as we dig into God's Word and discover who He is
and what He can do for us.


Fig Trees & Temple Cleansings

12) The next morning as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. 13) He noticed a fig tree in full leaf a little way off, so he went over to see if he could find any figs. But there were only leaves because it was too early in the season for fruit. 14) Then Jesus said to the tree, “May no one ever eat your fruit again!” And the disciples heard him say it. 15) When they arrived back in Jerusalem, Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out the people buying and selling animals for sacrifices. He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves, 16) and he stopped everyone from using the Temple as a marketplace. 17) He said to them, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer for all nations,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves.” 18) When the leading priests and teachers of religious law heard what Jesus had done, they began planning how to kill him. But they were afraid of him because the people were so amazed at his teaching. 19) That evening Jesus and the disciples left the city.

Mark 11:12-19, NLT

As they left Bethany Jesus was hungry. I always find it intriguing to witness the human side of the Son of God. Here Jesus is fully God, yet fully man at the same time, and His belly ached from hunger pains. Amazing! Notice Mark tells us that Jesus didn't just see the fig tree, observe that it didn't have any fruit hanging from it's branches and keep on walking. Mark tells us that Jesus went over to the fig tree to SEE if He could find any figs on those branches that were blooming forth with leaves. Where there are leaves on the branches of a fig tree, there should also be figs. Instead of finding plump, ripe figs, Jesus found nothing but the appearance of a fruit that should have been there.

This account is significant to us for a number of reasons. Numerous times in the Old Testament the nation of Israel, God's chosen people, are associated with the fig tree (Jeremiah 8:13; Hosea 9:10; Nahum 3:12). Because they didn't get it then, some hundreds of years later, God sent His precious Son to earth the examine the what-should-be fruit of His chosen people, but Israel had failed the test yet again. They had nothing but the "appearance" of being about the business of God. From the root up (Mark 11:20) they were nothing but a rotten, dead people.

Not only were they rotten from the ground up, they were also rotten from the inside out. Upon Jesus' arrival to the temple, He found not a people busy about the work of His Father inside the temple gates, instead He found a people busy about the work of making themselves greater and richer at the expense of the poor and Gentiles. The court of the Gentiles, the only place within the temple gates available to the Gentile people, a perfect hub for the evangelization of the lost, had been made into a religious marketplace where Jews were exchanging monies and buying sacrifices. These market places were being run by, non-other, than the priests themselves who were benefiting largely from the buying and selling of these goods.

God's temple had become a "den of thieves" (Jeremiah 7:11). According to Campbell Morgan, a "den of thieves" is a place where thieves run to hide after they have committed their wicked deeds. The priests inside the temple were using the "religious services" of the temple to cover up their own personal sins.

Jesus would no longer stand to see His Father's house mocked and blasphemed. He over turned the money changers tables and the seats of those who were selling the doves (Matthew 21:12) and immediately went about His Father's business. Jesus began healing the lame and the blind and ministering to the poor and needy. He taught the Word of God to the people, offering to them the sustenance that would enable their roots to grow deep and strong.

The chief priests and elders of the temple questioned His authority. Jesus in turn questioned them about their authority to question Him; don't you just love it when He does that!?!. The priests and elders tried to trap Him, but He would not be trapped by man. His time had not yet come and so nothing they could say or do would hinder Jesus from being about His Father's business. When the time would come, they would still not be able to "trap" Him, instead He would give His life over to them willingly and without regret.

If Jesus were to examine your "fruit" today what would He find? Would He find fruit that's healthy and growing because it's roots are firmly plant in the Word of God? Or would He find a lot of "leaves" that appear to be bringing forth much fruit but instead, upon closer look, yield nothing but a few rotten pieces of shriveled up fruit?

What about your heart? Is it in need of a temple cleansing? Are there some "tables" in your life that need to be turned over so that you can be about your Father's business?



A Triumphal Entry & A Weeping Savior

28) After telling this story, Jesus went on toward Jerusalem, walking ahead of his disciples. 29) As he came to the towns of Bethphage and Bethany on the Mount of Olives, he sent two disciples ahead. 30) “Go into that village over there,” he told them. “As you enter it, you will see a young donkey tied there that no one has ever ridden. Untie it and bring it here. 31) If anyone asks, ‘Why are you untying that colt?’ just say, ‘The Lord needs it.’” 32) So they went and found the colt, just as Jesus had said. 33) And sure enough, as they were untying it, the owners asked them, “Why are you untying that colt?” 34) And the disciples simply replied, “The Lord needs it.” 35) So they brought the colt to Jesus and threw their garments over it for him to ride on. 36) As he rode along, the crowds spread out their garments on the road ahead of him. 37) When he reached the place where the road started down the Mount of Olives, all of his followers began to shout and sing as they walked along, praising God for all the wonderful miracles they had seen. 38) “Blessings on the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in highest heaven!” 39) But some of the Pharisees among the crowd said, “Teacher, rebuke your followers for saying things like that!” 40) He replied, “If they kept quiet, the stones along the road would burst into cheers!” 41) But as he came closer to Jerusalem and saw the city ahead, he began to weep. 42) “How I wish today that you of all people would understand the way to peace. But now it is too late, and peace is hidden from your eyes. 43) Before long your enemies will build ramparts against your walls and encircle you and close in on you from every side. 44) They will crush you into the ground, and your children with you. Your enemies will not leave a single stone in place, because you did not accept your opportunity for salvation.”
Luke 19:28-44, NLT

I spent some time today reading through each of the Gospel accounts of Jesus' triumphal entry. Luke's record of this day stands out most to me. Why? Because Luke, I believe, captures the broken heart of the Savior for His people. Luke is the only one who tells us that Jesus wept over the city of Jerusalem. The tears Jesus shed as He looked upon Jerusalem didn't slowly trickle down His face, rather the tears streamed from His eyes as He mourned over this city like one who would wail over the loss of a loved one.

It didn't matter which direction Jesus looked, He found reason for mourning. Looking back over His time with this people, He mourned because they missed the opportunity to know their Savior on earth. Looking within the hearts of the people, He saw that they were spiritually blinded. The way had been prepared for His coming through messengers and the message of the Word, but their hearts had failed to see.

There was religious activity all around Jesus. People everywhere were celebrating with feasts but had no idea why. The religious leaders of the day were out to kill Him. The temple, God's dwelling place, had become nothing more than a "den of thieves". And, looking ahead, Jesus saw the judgment that was to come upon this people whom He loved.

Jesus wept because the very people He came to save did not even recognize their Savior was among them. He walked down their streets and ate at their tables. He healed the blind and made the lame to walk. He raised the dead and the deaf He made to hear. Jesus performed miracle after miracle after miracle and yet they never really got it. They were looking for an earthly king who would come and rule the nations, not a Savior who wanted to rule in their hearts.

Even though they didn't get it, even though they expected more, even though they were about to nail Him to a tree, Jesus loved them. He loved them so much that He continued to walk in obedience to God's will for His life.

Matthew, Mark, and John record the people saying, "Hosanna!" as the Prince of Peace passed by them. "Hosanna" is a transliteration of a Hebrew word that means "give salvation now." Little did this crowd know that in just a few short days this King, their King, would lay down His life for them and all those to come granting salvation to all through His precious blood; the precious blood of the perfect Lamb of God.

Picture used with permission from All You Have to Give.



He Speaks through She Speaks

"She Speaks is a life-changing conference for women of every generation seeking to explore the tug on her heart to reach out to the world for Jesus. Through She Speaks, Proverbs 31 Ministries encourages and equips women who are called by God to share our mission to bring God’s peace, perspective and purpose to today’s busy woman. Sharing God’s truth with love is not only a holy calling but a remarkable responsibility. We believe by equipping women to become more effective at sharing the Word of God, we multiply our efforts to reach a hurting world with the life-transforming hope of Jesus."

This week Lysa TerKeurst of Proverbs 31 is giving away 3 Cecil Murphy Scholarships which will allow 3 ladies the opportunity of a lifetime to attend She Speaks. The value of this scholarship is $575 which includes conference materials, conference registration, 2 nights at the conference hotel and meals associated with the conference. Isn't that amazing!?!?!

I've heard from several of my friends how wonderful the experience of attending She Speaks is and I look forward to being able to experience it for myself. I am trusting God to prepare the way ahead of me if He sees fit for me to attend this year.

Without further adieu, my entry for the Cecil Murphy Schloraship Giveaway...

Once upon a time in a far away land there lived a handsome young prince. The handsome young prince lived with his father and mother in a beautiful castle atop a wide open field of lush green grass. Over the way there lived a fair young maiden who spent the days filling her mind with lovely stories from the many books that lined her library shelves.

Then one day, as fate would have it, the handsome young prince and the fair young maiden met at the ball of a neighboring countryman. Soon they found themselves head-over-heels in love and not long after were married.

The handsome young prince and his now lovely princess-bride built a castle of their own, filled it with the finest of things, had a rather large family, and lived happily ever after.

Can you relate to this fairy tale of a story? Me either! Well, maybe just a little. My husband IS a very handsome man, my knight in shining armor, in fact. But, that’s about as far as my fairy tale goes.

Living “happily ever after” was not even a thought in our minds during the first years of our marriage. Our honeymoon was over before it even began. My husband and I both brought a lot of junk into our marriage. I had suitcases filled with shame and guilt, bitterness and hatred. I was lonely and depressed searching desperately for someone to fill the hole in my heart. My husband had his own set of baggage as well. He was carrying wounds from his parents’ divorce and had chosen to deal with those wounds by drowning himself in alcohol each night. He too, was lonely and looking for someone to fill those empty places in his heart. So here we were, two messed up people who had no business saying “I do”.

Fate would have nothing to do with the miracle that would later take place in our marriage and lives. That miracle can only be attributed to the mighty power of the hand of God moving and working in and through us. God Almighty took two extremely messed up people, filled their empty hearts with Himself and then filled them up with a love for each other that can only come from Him.

God has given me more opportunities than I could have ever imagined to serve Him and various women's groups through one-on-one mentoring, women's conferences and retreats, group Bible studies, and different writing venues sharing our story of redemption and restoration. I have cherished each and every one of these moments of service. My heart’s desire is to serve with excellence all those He places in my life, whether it be through writing or speaking, I want to glorify Him in ALL that I do. Attending She Speaks would present me with the opportunity to learn and grow more in the ministry God has called me to.

My heart’s desire and life’s passion is to first and foremost seek after Him in all things. This journey that He’s got me on is more than I ever dreamed possible. I want to share with all those He places in my path His unconditional love, never-ending patience, abundant mercy, overflowing grace, and magnificent healing. For it is only By His Grace that I am what I am today.



Hope Springs Eternal Giveaway

Spring has sprung in my neck of the woods and not a moment too soon!!! The birds are chripping, the trees of budding, the wind is blowing every so gently, and the rays of the sun are bursting forth through the clouds. I LoVe it; spring is one of my most favorite times of year.

Spring brings forth new life. It brings to us a hope refreshed, a hope renewed, a hope eternal. About a month and a half ago I was truly humbled to join the awesome team of ladies over at the Internet Cafe as a Word Barista and the Cafe manager. I have been blessed beyond measure to serve alongside these wonderful, Godly women. They encourage, challenge, inspire, and spur me on to grow in my relationship with the Lord. I urge you to visit with us over at the Cafe. I can assure you that you WILL NOT be disappointed.

Right now we are hosting a "Hope Springs Eternal Giveaway" at the Cafe. Hop on over there today and enter for your chance to win some AWESOME gifts. The giveaway ends tomorrow, so get goin'!!!

"Flowers appear on the earth;
the season of singing has come,
the cooing of doves is heard in our land."
Song of Solomon 2:12, NIV