- 5,881 hits
- Follow Heart of the Matter on WordPress.com
“When they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand. And they bowed the knee before Him and mocked Him, saying, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’ Then they spat on Him, and took the reed and struck Him on the head.”
“Then they crucified Him, and divided His garments, casting lots, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet: ‘They divided my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.’ Sitting down they kept watch over Him there. And they put up over His head the accusation written against Him: This is Jesus the King of the Jews.”
Today was the day that Jesus was mocked, beaten and tortured for you and for me. It was the day that he was marched to the the hill called Golgotha—the place of the skull—to die a criminal’s death on a wooden cross. Jesus could have called a legion of angels to rescue Him but he knew it was His father’s plan for the salvation of mankind. Take a moment today to say a prayer of thanks for the sacrifice he made for you. Take a moment to picture in your mind the glory that awaits us in heaven—our eternal home—because Jesus endured the cross for us.
Did you know that hundreds of prophecies exist in the Old Testament, written centuries ago, pointing to the the suffering Jesus endured on the cross and in the days leading up to it? Here are some examples:
Isaiah was written between 739 and 686BC! (Before Christ)
“He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet he opened not His mouth.” Isaiah 53:7 (Mark 15:5)
“He is despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised and we did not esteem Him. Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows.” Isaiah 53:3 (John 1:10-11)
“But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed.” Isaiah 53:5 (1 Peter 2:24)
Zechariah was written between 520 and 518 BC
“Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your king is coming to you; He is just and having salvation, lowly and riding on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey.” Zechariah 9:9 (John 12:12-15)
Psalm was written between 1400 and 500 BC.
“I am poured out like water and all my bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax; It has melted within me. My strength is dried up like a potsherd, And my tongue clings to my jaws; You have brought me to the dust of death. For dogs have surrounded me; The congregation of the wicked has enclosed me. They pierced my hands and my feet; I can count all my bones. They look and stare at me. They divide my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.” Psalm 22:14-18 (John 19:23-24 Luke 24:39)
(The number of prophecies fulfilled in the New Testament is really astounding! Check it out for yourself sometime.)
Today, even as we ponder the painful sacrifice made by our Lord, we look forward to celebrating the greatest day in all of history—the resurrection of our Savior!
Spend some time today reading the story of Easter with your family. Help them to understand the profound importance of this Christian holiday. God bless you all!
Now that so many of us are under stay-at- home orders due to Covid-19, we may actually have a little extra time on our hands—especially those of us who no longer have little ones at home. I know that those mamas (and dads) are very busy supervising distance learning, preparing several meals a day for their crew and planning outdoor activities to keep everyone from going stir-crazy. You may actually have less time than you did before the pandemic. And, I know that many of you are essential personnel continuing to go to work every day—some on the front lines of the battle against this terrible virus.
But, for those of us who do have some extra time and are stuck at home for what might turn out to be many weeks, here are a few ideas to help us make the most of it:
- Learn to play an instrument. Do you have a musical instrument lying around gathering dust or a piano or keyboard at your home? Have you always wanted to learn to play the piano? If so, why not take advantage of the many websites/apps that teach you how to play an instrument right there in your home. It’s as easy as googling “How to play the piano”. You’d be amazed how far you can get in a few weeks. I am a pianist but have always wanted to play the violin so, I intend to pull my daughter’s violin out of the closet and look up some “virtual” lessons. If you don’t have an instrument lying around, perhaps a family member or neighbor has one that’s not being used that you can borrow.
- Research your family tree. I have been a member of Ancestry.com for quite a while now and have really enjoyed researching my family roots. Since being home due to Covid-19 I have made a lot of progress, tracing my family all the way back to the 1600’s. There are other sites, as well, such as Myheritage.com and others, Most are very user friendly. It’s fun to learn the countries where your family originated. Mine are mostly from England, Germany, France, and Switzerland.
- Begin exercising or “up” your exercise game. Take this opportunity to become a more regular exerciser. Through word of mouth I have found online “Zoom” and “Facebook Live” exercise classes of all kinds–toning with weights, stretching, Zumba, yoga, etc. Also, remember, “outside” is not closed! Go out and enjoy nature. Take a walk, hike, or bike ride.
- Take up a new hobby such as painting, cooking, or gardening. You may have to order your supplies for some of these things online, of course, as most non-essential stores are now closed.But I can attest to the fact that Amazon and USPS deliveries are still happening, and if you haven’t tried it, online ordering is super easy.
- Play board games as a family. Family game night is one of our favorite things! It’s so rare in today’s busy, activity-packed culture to just sit across from each other and interact—to communicate without constant interruptions or having everyone on their phone. This is especially great for those of us who have high school and college kids at home with us right now. (Older kids may tell you they don’t like playing board games, but secretly they do!) And even older kids need their parents’ undivided time and attention.
- Keep a journal. These are unprecedented times in which we live. Some day, the world will need to know what day-to-day life was like for you during this pandemic. And if not the world, then future generations of your family. It can be handwritten or done on your computer. Just save your personal story for posterity. Be sure to include the blessings you experience as God walks through this season with you and your family. The blessings are there, believe me (!), you just have to look for them.
- Deep clean your home. I know, this one isn’t fun…unless you get joy from organization like I do! But just think of how marvelous you’ll feel in a few months when you open your linen closet to find all the towels and sheets folded in matching sets and organized by color! You might just jump for joy! Seriously, how long has it been since you climbed up on a chair and wiped the top of your refrigerator? Just do it. You’ll be glad you did.
- Write encouraging notes, cards or letters to someone who needs it. Many people are suffering through sickness, depression and loneliness during this time. An encouraging note from someone who cares could really make a difference to them. Maybe you could send a note to a family member who is unable to be with you due to travel restrictions. Or how about those in nursing homes who are currently not allowed to have even their family come for visits. Another idea is to write a note of encouragement to healthcare workers at your local hospital. It’s hard to imagine having to go to work in full protective gear and still have that gnawing fear that you may be bringing something home to your family. There are so many who could use encouragement right now. All it takes is a pen and a card or note.
- Start a home-based business. I know, this is a big one. But, if you have ever wanted to do this, now may be the time. By the time you get all the kinks worked out our country will be up and running again! Perhaps you could think of a business that addresses a new need that we’ll have post-Covid-19.
- Spend concentrated time reading the Word of God. (I saved the best for last!) Before the recent “stay-at-home” and “social distancing” orders, most of us had trouble finding time for prayer and Bible reading amidst our busy schedules and long “To Do” lists. We would wake up in a rush, gulp down our coffee and promise ourselves we would get to it later—but later almost never happened. Take this opportunity to dive deeper into God’s Word and truly learn who he is. Spend time in prayer—there is certainly plenty to pray about in these difficult days. There are many great online devotionals/Bible studies and apps that you can use if you’d like something to help guide you in your study. The point is to use this little bit of extra time to strengthen your relationship with the Father through prayer and the study of His Word.
For the last several weeks many of us have experienced a new kind of family togetherness as Covid-19 has forced us to huddle inside with our families. We find ourselves hunting for fun activities for our “littles” or thinking of ways to keep our college students from being bored that do not involve technology. (The challenge is keeping them off of their phone/computer when they are not working on school assignments.)
Some months ago I had the opportunity to create some family bonding with a fun activity to help our family step away from technology and to focus in on each other for a bit. I came up with this activity when our married son and his wife and our college daughter were home for a few days (well before the Corona pandemic), and I thought some of you may enjoy trying it with your own families.
This activity works for children over 7 or so all the way to adults as long as they have a basic grasp on reading and writing. You can be the judge of whether or not your own “littles” can do it.
First, gather around the table with some paper and pens or pencils. The name of the game is “Things I Love”! Designate one person to be the first “subject”. Give each family member (except the designated person)a piece of paper and a pencil. Everyone should make a list of 10 things that designated family member “loves”! It could be anything! Don’t give any parameters…it’s more fun that way! (chocolate, daddy, reading, planting flowers, me, the color red, etc.) After everyone has finished their lists they give them to the designated family member to read aloud. It’s so much fun to hear what everyone says! After that person reads them all, he/she can say who they think knows them best. (Be careful with the “littles'” feelings, of course!) Then it is another family member’s turn to be the “subject”. Each person takes a piece of paper and writes 10 things that person “loves”. Another take on this would be to mix up the papers and let the person try to figure out who wrote which list. We put our names on our lists, though, and didn’t do that. Don’t forget…the lists themselves are great keepsakes to file away and bring out some day in the future!
I hope this activity is as much fun for you as it was for us and that your family is a little closer (emotionally closer! No pun intended!) after doing it. Have fun and God bless!
On this day, known as Palm Sunday, Jesus rode into Jerusalem on a humble donkey to the shouts of the multitudes welcoming him as their long-awaited king. They, of course, were hoping for Jesus to establish a physical kingdom—to wear an actual crown of gold, and to vanquish their enemies. Little did they know his kingdom was a spiritual one—a kingdom that would never end and would forever vanquish sin and death.
“As they approached Jerusalem, Jesus sent two disciples saying to them, ‘Go to the village ahead of you and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.’ This took place to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet:
‘Say to Daughter Zion, See, your king comes to you, gentle and riding on a donkey, and on a colt, the foal of a donkey.'”
This was prophesied by Zechariah more than 500 years before it happened. Imagine that! Fulfilled prophesies within the biblical historical timeline are one way we can know that the Bible is true.
“The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. A very large crowd spread their cloaks along the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest heaven!'” Matthew 21:1-9 (NIV)
Have you welcomed Jesus as the king of your heart and life? Why not do so today so that you can experience the true meaning of Easter and the life-changing power of the resurrected Christ? There’s no better day than today.