Sunday, April 08, 2012

Preparing for Easter ~ Grace

EASTER Sunday ~


Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, "Peace to you." But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit.


And He said to them, "Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts? Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have."

When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. But while they still did not believe for joy, and marveled, He said to them, "Have you any food here?" So they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb. And He took it and ate in their presence.

Then He said to them, "These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me." And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.

Then He said to them, "Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

And you are witnesses of these things. Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you . . ."

And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. Now it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven.

And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God. Amen. Luke 24:44-53 NKJV

As believers, we are transformed, made new in Christ. We are to be witnesses for Jesus. Just as He commissioned His followers Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you, we must go. And we must go in worship and in joy and in praise for the Promise of God is everlasting. GRACE ~ the incalculable, immutable, incomprehensible Promise of God ~ is ours! 

Our sacrifice of praise ~
Take the Promise of God into the world ~ in worship and in joy and in praise! ~dho

All rights reserved ~ used with permission of the author
Copyright 2010 by Donna Oswalt

For more information about this ministry visit ~
"May you be blessed by the Lord Who loves you best!”

Saturday, April 07, 2012

Preparing for Easter ~ Silence








Later, Joseph from Arimathea asked Pilate if he could take the body of Jesus. (Joseph was a secret follower of Jesus, because he was afraid of some of the leaders.) Pilate gave his permission, so Joseph came and took Jesus' body away. Nicodemus, who earlier had come to Jesus at night, went with Joseph. He brought about seventy-five pounds of myrrh and aloes. These two men took Jesus' body and wrapped it with the spices in pieces of linen cloth, which is how they bury the dead. In the place where Jesus was crucified, there was a garden. In the garden was a new tomb that had never been used before. The men laid Jesus in that tomb because it was nearby, and they were preparing to start their Sabbath day.
John 19:38-42 NCV

Buried in an empty, borrowed tomb, Jesus' body lay surrounded by darkness in the silence of earth. Separated from the Father by death, Jesus' body lay in the stillness. The Sabbath begins at sundown on Friday and nothing more can be done but honor the Sabbath.

Scripture does not say anything about this Sabbath Day. We learn nothing more about Jesus on the day after His crucifixion. As His followers go about their worship this particular Sabbath, one can only imagine the many recollections and questions that filled the minds of the disciples. There is silence in the Word of God on this day!

Our sacrifice of praise ~
In the silences of life, meditate on the assurance and the glory of God ~ because you know what tomorrow brings! ~dho

Friday, April 06, 2012

Preparing for Easter ~ Confession

Good Friday
Then the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. So when the centurion, who stood opposite Him, saw that He cried out like this and breathed His last, he said, "Truly the Man was the Son of God!"

Mark 15:38 NKJV

Today we must look to the cross of suffering that Jesus endured as a ransom for our sin. Until that day, the Jewish people, the Chosen of God, worshiped Jehovah with blood sacrifices and burnt offerings. At the time Jesus breathed His last breath and died, the High Priest sacrificed the unblemished lamb, preparing the sin offering of Passover. Only the High Priest could enter the Holy of Holies to place the blood offering on the Mercy seat for forgiveness of sins.

On this day, when Jesus died, the curtain of the Holy of Holies was torn from top to bottom. The Scriptures do not say what happened to the High Priest or the blood of the slain Passover lamb. We are not told the thoughts of the High Priest who witnessed the torn curtain that represented a veil between sinful man and the Holy God. Until this moment in history, the High Priest would have taken the blood sacrifice into the Holy of Holies as an offering for the forgiveness of sins for God's people every year at Passover, but now, the altar of the Lord was exposed.

These historic religious customs tell the God-story of Jesus, a Perfect Lamb slain for the forgiveness of sin. The once veiled Holy of Holies, the Presence of God, is now revealed. To all who seek a relationship with God, Grace is given through Jesus, the True High Priest. What remains? Our confession, "Truly the Man [is] the Son of God!"

Our sacrifice of praise ~
Who will you share the God-story of Jesus with today? ~dho

All rights reserved ~ used with permission of the author
Copyright 2010 by Donna Oswalt

For more information about this ministry visit ~
"May you be blessed by the Lord Who loves you best!”

Thursday, April 05, 2012

Preparing for Easter ~ Betrayal

Maundy Thursday
Maundy Thursday services celebrate the giving of the Lord's Supper to the Disciples of Jesus, but the evening of fellowship and teaching and prayer ends in betrayal. As Jesus prays in the Garden of Gethsemane, Judas, one of the twelve disciples, leads the arresting soldiers to Him. He identifies Jesus with a kiss ~ a kiss of betrayal. Perhaps the ultimate betrayal always comes from someone close to our inner circle.


And immediately, while He was still speaking, Judas came, one of the twelve, and with him a crowd with swords and clubs, from the chief priests and the scribes and the elders. Now the betrayer had given them a sign, saying, "The one I will kiss is the man. Seize Him and lead Him away under guard."

And when he came, he went up to Him at once and said, "Rabbi!" And he kissed Him. And they laid hands on him and seized Him.
Mark 14:43-46 ESV

Our sacrifice of praise ~
Let your tears of betrayal celebrate the Bread and the Wine ~ like Oswald Chambers wrote many, many times, "Be the broken bread and poured out wine." ~dho




All rights reserved ~ used with permission of the author
Copyright 2010 by Donna Oswalt

For more information about this ministry visit ~
"May you be blessed by the Lord Who loves you best!”

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Preparing for Easter ~ Plot



Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread drew near, which is called the Passover. And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to put [Jesus] to death, for they feared the people.
Luke 22:1-2 ESV


These religious leaders plotted to kill Jesus, the Son of God, yet they feared the people. How like them we are ~ plotting to have our own way, to do our own thing and do it the way we want. How like them we are ~ choosing a path that does not give God glory and worrying about what "people" will think.

As Passover drew near, a very special time for remembrance, they were not preparing for their own feast, rather they were scheming to take Jesus out of the picture. How like them we are ~ instead of preparing our hearts to celebrate the Risen Savior, we busy ourselves with Spring's garden needs, a new wardrobe, trips to the beach, gifts for Easter baskets, and Summer's plans. Today, the world still schemes and plots to take Jesus out of Easter, and we are its accomplices.

Our sacrifice of praise ~
In the busy schedules, remember Who this celebration praises! Put "Good Friday" and "Easter Sunday" back into your Spring Break. ~dho

All rights reserved ~ used with permission of the author
Copyright 2010 by Donna Oswalt

For more information about this ministry visit ~
"May you be blessed by the Lord Who loves you best!”


Tuesday, April 03, 2012

Preparing for Easter ~ Works


We thank You, God, we thank You -
Your Name is our favorite word;
Your mighty works are all we talk about.
Psalm 75:1 The Message

Unfortunately, this does not often reflect our lives. We simply do not talk about God's mighty works on a daily basis. The world denies and contradicts the character of God, and we silently disagree. The world boasts and mocks the holiness of Jesus, and we look down and away, quietly shaking our head in disbelief. If our hearts are thank-full and our souls grace-full and our minds wonder-full, while the world continues to shun God, we should begin to speak about His mighty works ~ all the time!

Our sacrifice of praise ~
Tell someone of God's mighty works in your life ~ tell your God-story! ~dho

Read and share the God-story of my nephew Thomas and the Lemonade Stand! http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/thomasmcgirr

All rights reserved ~ used with permission of the author
Copyright 2010 by Donna Oswalt

For more information about this ministry visit ~
"May you be blessed by the Lord Who loves you best!”

Monday, April 02, 2012

Preparing for Easter ~ Encourage




May the God of hope fill you up with joy, fill you up with peace, so that your believing lives, filled with the life-giving energy of the Holy Spirit, will brim over with hope!
Romans 15:13 The Message


I read a modern-day parable:
"Some time ago, an advertisement appeared in which the devil was putting his tools up for sale. On the day of public inspection, each one of his tools: Hatred, Envy, Jealousy, Doubt, Lying, Pride, and so on, was marked with its selling price. Set apart, however, from all the rest, was a harmless-looking tool, well-worn, but priced very high - it was discouragement!

Someone asked the devil, "Why is that one priced so high?" He replied, "Ah, that one is more useful to me than all the rest. With it I can pry open a heart and enter, when I cannot get near with any other tool. Once inside, I can lead the person any way I choose. The tool is very worn because I use it on almost everyone, since few people know it belongs to me."

Our sacrifice of praise ~
Encourage someone today! ~dho

All rights reserved ~ used with permission of the author
Copyright 2010 by Donna Oswalt

For more information about this ministry visit ~
"May you be blessed by the Lord Who loves you best!”

Sunday, April 01, 2012

Preparing for Easter ~ Expression

Palm Sunday
. . . the large crowd . . . heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem, [and with] branches of the palm trees, went out to meet Him and began to shout, "Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD. John 12:12-13 NASB


Hosanna, an expression of joy and praise for deliverance granted or anticipated, was the crowd's chant as Jesus rode into Jerusalem that morning. Hosanna was the word that meant, "Praise God and His Messiah, we are saved." The Disciples and other followers still thought that the Messiah would be an earthly king; the week's events would soon reveal their confusion. If we had stood along side the road, waving our palm branches, shouting Hosanna!, where would we be standing by the week's end?

Even believers, the very ones of us who profess the truths about Christ, discover places that merge with doubt and confusion. We find our prayers answered in ways that differ from our hopes. We meet circumstances face to face and waiver. We seek more from the world but need more from the Messiah.

As this Lenten series started with a Scripture in Hebrews, let's look at it again, see if we have learned anything about this sacrifice of praise.

Make sure you don't take things for granted and go slack in the working for the common good; share what you have with others. God takes particular pleasure in the acts of worship - a different kind of "sacrifice" - that takes place in kitchen and workplace and on the streets.
Hebrews 13:15-16 The Message

Our sacrifice of praise ~
When we stand along side of the road today as everyday people pass our way, let's shout Hosanna! and mean it! ~dho

All rights reserved ~ used with permission of the author
Copyright 2010 by Donna Oswalt

For more information about this ministry visit ~
"May you be blessed by the Lord Who loves you best!”