Holy Wednesday or Spy Wednesday

Spy Wednesday is an odd name for a day during Holy Week or at least it seems to be for me.  There is no secretive or symbolic meaning.  It is just what it says it is about – a spy or traitor among Jesus and a His followers.

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Judas, we all know, was the one that betrayed Jesus to the Sanhedrin.  Luke 22:3-6 tells us:

“Then entered Satan into Judas surnamed Iscariot, being of the number of the twelve. And he went his way, and communed with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray Him unto them. And they were glad, and covenanted to give him money.  And he promised, and sought opportunity to betray Him unto them in the absence of the multitude.”

Did you realize that Satan entered Judas?  Of course, Satan always has his hand in bad things.  He uses people.  Twists words and situations around until evil doesn’t sound bad.  He is the master deceiver.

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Did you ever wonder why the Sanhedrin decided on paying Judas thirty pieces of silver?   In the Old Testament, Exodus states that the price for a slave that accidentally dies by an ox is thirty pieces of silver.  The Sanhedrin were paying the price of a dead slave to Judas for his deception.  It was an insult to Jesus that they thought Him worth only what a dead slave was.  Obviously Judas thought that, also.  Our Redeemer and precious Savior, whose value is beyond measure, was sold out for the price of a dead slave.

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There is something else that happened on Holy Wednesday.  It is the anointment of Jesus at Bethany.  Scriptures tell us that while Jesus was at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came in with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume.  It was made of pure Spikenard.  She anointed Jesus with this expensive oil and dried his feet with her hair.

Matthew 26:6-13:

“While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table. When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.” Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”

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Judas did not approve of this at all.  He thought the oil should have been sold and the money put in the treasury for helping the poor.  Satan used Judas’ love of money to gain a foothold in Judas’ life.  Don’t let that happen to you.

I hope today’s blog has blessed you and given you a little more insight into Wednesday of Holy Week.

 

Holy Tuesday, Jesus Teaches in Parables

Tuesday the disciples walked back by the fig tree from yesterday that Jesus cursed. It was now withered and dead. Jesus used that to teach them about faith, true faith. A person or nation that does not produce fruit for God (do His work) will wither and die all the way down to its roots. The tree had leaves so by first sight it looked like it was producing. A closer look revealed no fruit. Then Jesus cursed it so it withered and died.

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Are you producing fruit? Are you leading people to God? Helping them find salvation? Does the light of Jesus shine through you? Are you loving, kind, selfless, good, joyful, and have the fruits of the spirit? Don’t wither away. Grow tall and produce fruit. Increase in your faith. Flourish in your love for Jesus. You will be amazed at the things that will happen when you believe and have faith!

“Seeing a fig tree by the road, He went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then He said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered.” Mt. 21:19

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“Jesus replied, ‘Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also 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.” Mt. 21:21-22

They returned to the Temple and the religious leaders were upset at Jesus for establishing himself as a spiritual authority.  He had a large following now. Jesus evaded the traps the leaders set for Him with their questions.  He scolded them in Matt. 23 and compared them to tombs – beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people.

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Jesus took His disciples to the Mount of Olives and told them parables about end times and His return.  Those who wait for the Master’s coming—the wise and faithful servant (Matthew 24:45-51), the five wise virgins (Matthew 25:1-13), and the good servant who uses his resources wisely (Matthew 25:14-30) are a few of the ones.

Do you remember any of these parables from Sunday School or Vacation Bible School?  The point is to have faith and be ready for Jesus.  He is coming back just like He promised.  When?  Well, that is not for us to know.  We are just supposed to be ready at a moment’s notice.

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Reflections from a Word Nerd

Since I have been young, words have fascinated me.  Numbers do nothing for me, but words are exciting and powerful.  Okay, I will admit to being a word nerd.  Reading, writing, even listening to meaningful lyrics move me and put me in my sweet spot.  Even if you are a numbers person, words affect you.  Some words or phrases bring certain people to mind.

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My dear mother has a quaint way of terming kisses.  Our family doesn’t kiss each other we “give sugar.”  My hubby does not decide or conclude, he “reckons.”  When Dad is sincere about something, he states it “quite frankly.”  Pappaw Reeves was never hindered but “stymied.”  According to him, planets were never just in a straight line but in a “sygyzy.”  My Granddaddy was a Lockmaster at Dam 43 near us and my hubby worked in Engineering in a ship building company.  Many times both men replaced left and right with port and starboard, the nautical and aeronautical terms for left and right, respectively.79193B57-AC0C-44EA-9510-0B1FBE551571

Just think how important they are and moving in weddings.  In our wedding we had the song “Whither Thou Goest” sung.  Just hearing that phrase or the word whither takes me back decades to a church altar where I plighted my troth to my husband.  Isn’t that more romantic than saying at my wedding?  Words can be magical when used correctly and thoughtfully.  They have power to transform and transport.

For me, I love poetic, old fashioned words and Southern phrases.  Women in my family swoon over thing and say “I swan or swanee” because no proper lady should ever say I swear.  We don’t sweat but perspire.  One does not simply hug my Auntie June but must “hug her neck.”  Most importantly, never did I nor have I heard my grandparents, parents or aunts and uncles say what my Grandmother deemed “ugly words.”   Never.

 

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Ugly words or swearing abound in society today.  Using the Lord’s name in vain, cursing, and horrible four letter words are rampant.  Even name-calling seems to be at an all time high.  Tattoos are permanently imprinted on bodies with words that should not be written, spoken or seen.  14BC4EB3-1B26-459A-95DC-A93412EF1357Clothing prominently sports things that are “ugly” and offensive.  Even some “Christians” have attire proudly proclaiming “Yes, I am a Christian and I cuss a lot.”  What?!  So, I wonder how our Father feels about that?  Or if these people consider the example they are setting?  Ugly words take away from a person’s beauty.  They can sting and hurt.

When I think of my Savior there are many words that come to mind.  Beloved is the first and means dearly loved.  Definitely Jesus loves us dearly.  No doubt about that.  Redemption is another one.  It means being saved from sin or evil.  Christ sought us out before we were born and bought us with his blood on the cross.  He paid the entry fee to eternal life for us.  That fee was his own life.  Absolutely, freely given to us in love is our gift of salvation, which means deliverance from harm or destruction.

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Tell me about you?  What words do you relate to people?  Better yet, what words do you think people relate to you?  What if our words appeared on our skin?  Make them pretty words to inspire, bring about happy memories and smiles.  Don’t leave behind ugly words as your impression or influence on this world.  Let your children and grandchildren read “hug my neck” and “give me sugar” or remember you when they hear nice, virtuous, sweet words.  Don’t let #*@$ or worse be your legacy.

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Read a Book Monday: “My Heart Belongs in Glenview Springs, Colorado…Millie’s Resolve”

Do you like to read?  Obviously I do.  There is something relaxing for me to get lost inside a book.  I love traveling to places and making friends between the covers of a new novel.  Don’t you.  Well, today I have a really good one.  “My Heart Belongs in Glenwood Springs, Colorado…Millie’s Resolve” is a 256 page Historical Christian Romance written by Author Rebecca Jepson.  Published by Barbour it was the first book I have read 2B48CB54-1270-4592-9F12-99CB0D84D629by that author, but it definitely will not be the last.  This is a fresh delightful, emotionally packed historical Christian romantic fiction.  I enjoyed it so much I did not want to do anything else except read that book!
Glenwood Springs, Colorado is a town with a healing spa.  The story is set there in 1888 and is the tale of Millie Cooper.  She is a caring young woman running from her past.  Millie grew up in Nantucket as the daughter of a poor fisherman.  One summer she fell in love with the son of a wealthy family on vacation.  The results were heartbreaking for Millie and the book opens with her now in Glenwood Springs working beside dear Dr. Murphy.   Everything is going wonderfully until the brother of the man she fell in love with came into town and turned Millie’s world upside down.  He needs a nurse for his family and Millie seems to be the one.  This man prevented her from marrying his brother and now wants her to care for his mother and brother’s pregnant wife.  Oh my!
Author Jepson presents a fresh new story that I have not ever read.  It deals with forgiveness, regret, mercy, love, grudges, social classes, faith, illness, and trust.  The author tackles issues in 1888 that we can relate to now.  Her writing style is lovely.  The words just lowly effortlessly making the story easy to read and book hard to put down.  Twist and turns are added to keep readers on our toes. 9B1B3DF4-9C70-4265-A04E-C5EEE3D32768I was emotionally invested within a few pages. The descriptions were so good felt like a fly on the wall watching things happen.
The characters are so well rounded and defined that I felt like I knew them.  Not only did I become friends with the main characters but secondary ones, too.  I loved Dr. Murphy!  Some characters I scolded, others I had empathy for, and the majority I wanted to stay my friends.  I could travel to healing Glenview Springs and have coffee or tea with my new buddies.  The novel gave me the feeling we were that close.
“Millie’s Resolve” is a touching historical, Christian romance.  The lesson to trust God is prevalent throughout it.  I loved on page 192 the lines “The Master of the crashing sea was with her.  He was Lord…even of this storm.”  This beautiful message of faith is woven in the story so well.  Anyone will benefit from reading it and feel inspired.  Nonbelievers shouldn’t find it off putting or preachy.  This is just a great story.
I highly recommend this.  It is one of those books I wanted to finish reading, couldn’t put down, but did not ever want to be over.  What a dilemma!  It is a complete story, no cliffhanger.  I just loved it.  Any reading group would love discussing this delightful tale.  There are no discussion questions but just asking “what did you think” will start words flowing.  This gets a big 5 out of 5 star rating from me.  Loved it!
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Barbour Publishing and was under no obligation to post a review.41D8B9AB-D3BF-4C95-94F5-249C5BCB2C25

That’s a Sure Bet! Is it Really? Absolutely!

Living close to Louisville Kentucky makes life interesting around the first Saturday in May.  The racetrack, Churchill Downs is open and so are festivities in preparation for the Kentucky Derby.  It is a two minute horse race.  There are fireworks, hot air balloons, a steamboat race, parade, style shoes, vendor booths at a “Chow Wagon”, Thurby (the Thursday before), Oaks Day (the day before), and more than I even know.  D2412375-5B81-4566-80F6-0D56C813565C

On Oaks Day there is a  Survivors Parade around the racetrack of Breast and Ovarian Cancer Survivors.  That is touching to see.  A sea of pink with beautiful hats and smiling faces.  On the local news everything is Oaks and Derby.  They discuss the horses and if one looks like a favorite, sometimes going as far as saying it is a sure bet the horse will either win, place, or show.

Do you go to the horse races and bet on horses?  Some people study racing forms like a student before finals.  Others use the color method of choosing the prettiest silks or their favorite color.  Even the way a horse looks and acts play a part in betting.  7603B979-4416-494D-B92B-5668C32459B1Names came play a large part in it as can the jockey riding the thoroughbred.  Even asking people that work there or “know someone” for a tip is another way of deciding how to place a bet.
After placing a bet, it is off to watch the race.  Sounds like fun doesn’t it?  It is only if you win or haven’t bet.  If you have gambled some of your hard earned money on the horse you might not be smiling if it comes sashaying across the finish line.  Sometimes a horse wins by a wide margin while other times you aren’t sure if it’s still on the same track. 83369005-6FC6-46AD-924D-CEB84B0455B1 On television there are pictures of many clinched fists, gritted teeth, and frowns among a few smiling faces.  None of the ways people use provide a sure bet or 100% winner every time.  History shows very few people bring home the big buck instead leaving some of their own instead.
Wouldn’t it be great to have a 100% guaranteed sure bet on something?  It would wouldn’t it? Everyone loves to get something they didn’t earn.  Don’t you?  Come on now, we all do.  Well, I have some great news for you today. 0CB794E2-8222-45F8-816B-3201356F5748 Yes, I do.  I have a sure bet.  You do not need to invest any money and you will receive the greatest treasure.
Do you have any idea where this is going.  Jesus.  He is a sure bet.  You can bet your eternity on Him and win every time.  Do you know where you will spend eternity?  Are you certain?  Jesus wants you and me to spend it with Him.  He loves us fiercely and died to prove it.  I can almost see heads nodding.  That love is beyond imagination.  He carries us when we are too weak.  If we are lonely He reminds us that He is always there.  He gives us what we need when we need it.  He is our way to the Father.  Do you know Him?  If not, don’t wait because it is a sure bet He already loves you.
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Watch Out Where You Get Advice

For a parent, grandparent, aunt, or anyone that has a younger person in his/her life, there is seldom any feeling that competes with the joy felt watching them make good, Christian decisions. Right?  We pray for their success, salvation, and decision making..  It isn’t often we are fortunate enough to witness it in action.  Recently I was and it touched me so deeply I cried happy tears.

We have a beloved family member that is truly ill and frankly just not himself.  It is an ongoing issue that has lasted three years.  Talk about a test of faith!  Well, that’s an entirely different blog.  In this situation advice is overflowing on what others would do.  We are never at a loss for unsolicited, well meaning counsel. AB1DE8CF-BDD4-4FE3-8861-552A9E0B6EF2Much of the advice is tough love and some not even Biblically based.  Discussions with this sweet family member and others border on disrespectful.  It all breaks my heart.  How is that going to help?  Being disrespectful will never aid in any circumstance.
Last week I sought advise from my adult son.  He was raised in our Christian home so I decided it was time to trust my work and him.  Wow.  I was not disappointed and can honestly say I was overcome with joy.  His response to me was “My thoughts are to try to treat him like Jesus would.  You know, the whole What Would Jesus Do.  Isn’t that what we’re supposed to do?”  I was speechless as I nodded.
Leave it to my adult son to remind me of what I already knew.  There is no secret fix or magic involved to help a loved one.  Lift him up to God and love him.  Treat him tenderly.  Isn’t that what Jesus would do?  Didn’t he teach us by example that we are to love others more than ourselves?  Jesus did not teach disrespect, yelling, fighting, and leaving.  No, 0FBBC620-EBD2-4133-9665-C1E38AE7174CHe taught compassion, love, and caring. Any and all I needed can be found in my life manual, the Bible.  I just needed to think about what would Jesus do, and then do it.
I realized then that I had known all along what to do.  Like Jesus I needed to listen to God and obey Him.  I needed to be sweet, tender, caring and giving.  There is no place for disrespect in this situation.  Just respect and kindness.  Often when we are sick, we aren’t ourselves.  Having someone talk sharply can only make things worse.  Ignoring the sick person or withholding care is a horrible idea.  Leaving is definitely not the answer.  I can never go wrong with loving and praying.  Bet you won’t either if you ever need my two cents.
Try a little tenderness and honey instead of harshness and vinegar in your words.  My sweet Mammaw would say “you can catch more flies with honey than vinegar.”  How true.  We need to try some love and Jesus.  I know I will.  Thank you, oh wise son, for the reminder.  Out of all the advice, yours was right on the money.  Your advice is the one to follow.  In fact, I am going to look for my WWJD bracelet, too.
“Pleasant words are as an honeycomb, sweet to the soul, and health to the bones.”
Proverb 16:24 KJV
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Spy Wednesday and Thirty Pieces of Silver

We all know about Easter week starting with Palm Sunday and ending with Easter. Do you know what happened the other days? Traditionally today is called “Spy Wednesday” because on this Wednesday before the crucifixion Judas conspired to give Jesus to the soldiers.  Judas became a spy, an agent for those wanting to hurt and kill Jesus. He made a deal to betray Jesus. Judas was paid, IMG_2232given silver, to hand over Jesus. Hard to believe but true. Have you ever thought of Judas as a spy?  We don’t know exactly why Judas did what he did, but some guess he was trying to force Jesus to use His power and take control.

Scripture doesn’t say what Jesus did on that Wednesday. Scholars speculate He and His disciples probably spent the day in Bethany resting up from the activities of the past few days. Most likely the all were exhausted and Passover was soon. He might have spent it with His friends Mary, Martha, and Lazarus. Earlier Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead and the people of Bethany believed He was the Son of God. Mary of Bethany went to Jesus and anointed Him with costly perfumed oil. Judas, the treasurer of the group, objected to the extravagance saying that the money could have helped so many poor people, hungry people. Jesus rebukes Judas and says Mary has anointed Him for His burial. Wow. That would make the room quiet and minds start to spin.

The disciples are saddened to think about Jesus dying and leaving them. They believe He is God’s Son, and they love Him. They don’t want anything bad to happen to Him. Scholars believe Judas was trying to force Jesus into claiming His kingdom now. They guess Judas didn’t believe anything bad would actually happen to God’s Son.IMG_2230 It is sad to see a follower betray his leader, especially when that leader is Christ. Ironically Judas threw down the money.  He didn’t want it.  Judas wanted Jesus to have His kingdom and power now.  Giving up control is hard but God’s way and time are best.  That lesson cost Judas everything.

Have you sold Him out for something? Do you try to change His time and replace it with yours? I am so guilty of that. Has something taken His place as first priority? Maybe you treat Him like royalty and the Son of God that He is. Sometimes it is easy to let things get in the way of worshipping Him. It is easy to put our own wants before what we really need to do.

Me? When I was younger it was easier to skip church. The desire to be outside with family seemed to outweigh being inside a stuffy church. Ahh, then my soul grew up. Now I need to worship our Savior. The One that suffered, was beaten, crucified, died, and rose from the dead so that I might claim eternal life with Him is the One I long to worship. My soul needs to sing His praises more than my body needs an extra hour of sleep or to be outside in the sunshine. I need Him to know He is my priority since I was His. His love is priceless.

“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.” Matt. 26:14-16