Wednesday, March 20, 2024

Here Comes Easter!

 Here Comes Easter!

            For most people in this part of the world, spring and Easter represent new life after a dormant winter. Plant life shows up as buds and blooms pop out and green grass appears proving there is life after death. It is almost like a message and reminder from God that resurrection is real. So where did Easter come from?

Centuries ago, the Jews’ hardened hearts and lack of devotion to their heavenly Father led to subservience in a foreign land. The blood of a lamb on their doorposts brought forgiveness and freedom from slavery. (Hebrews 9:22 [ESV] “Without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.”) Delivery was a reminder of God’s mercy and compassion. Today Passover is a solemn remembrance of that event. He provided a chance for a restored commitment to Him once again.

Easter season in the Christian community is similar to the Passover. Deliverance was provided for all of mankind through the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ through His shed blood on the cross.  Jesus, the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world (John 1:29), has given all of mankind a chance to receive forgiveness from sin by way of salvation. This act paid for our freedom around the time of Passover – our Easter. To all who choose to follow Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, there is hope and assurance of one day being resurrected even as Jesus was for eternity. 

Followers of Jesus, join the family of believers in celebrating Jesus' resurrection on this day. Once enslaved to sin and the devil’s schemes to defy God, we have been released from Satan’s bondage into the loving care of the one true God. This is indeed a day for thanksgiving and praise to the only wise God and forever King Jesus!

I Cor. 15:20-23 (NLT): Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died. So, you see, just as death came into the world through a man, now the resurrection from the dead has begun through another man. Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam, everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life. But there is an order to this resurrection: Christ was raised as the first of the harvest; then all who belong to Christ will be raised when he comes back.

Sunday, December 31, 2023

Time with Purpose

Time With Purpose 

The history of Queen Esther is recorded in the Old Testament of the Bible. She was born a simple Jewish girl, faithful to God and family. Her parents died while she was still young so her cousin, Mordecai, adopted her and raised her as his daughter.

During that time in history, the Jews had been exiled from Jerusalem. They found themselves integrated into a community under the reign of King Xerxes in the area of Susa. It happened that Mordecai reported an assassination plot against the king and so earned favor with Xerxes.

It was also around then that the king unseated his wife and queen for embarrassing him. So he looked for a new queen. Searching for a beautiful replacement, several women in the area were chosen to ‘apply’ for the job.  Enter Esther! After meeting the requirements and being accepted by the king (short version), her influence saved the Jews from being destroyed by an evil man and his plot.

Esther 4:14 reveals Mordecai’s encouragement to deal with an evil plot. It gave purpose and incentive for her placement and role as queen. If she chose not to intervene, there would be devastating consequences, and all Jews would be murdered.

If you stay silent during this time, deliverance for the Jews will come from somewhere, but you, my child, and all of your father’s family will die. And who knows? Perhaps you have been made queen for such a time as this. Esther 4:14 (Voice)

I wonder if she might have had the message Joshua received from the Lord ringing in her heart and mind!

Be strong and courageous! Do not be terrified or dismayed (intimidated), for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9  (AMP)

As we enter the new year of 2024, where do you find yourself in life? Tjoshua’s promise is true for us as well - the Lord our God is with us wherever we go. Have you been separated from family or friends, lost loved ones, are ill, or moved by unexpected circumstances to a new and uncomfortable home or job? Do you sense God’s purpose for your role and position? The challenge in each of our lives demands courage and faithfulness to what God has given to us or allowed for us. Perhaps you have been made _____ for such a time as this.

By Joy Pedersen

Wednesday, December 20, 2023

Christmas Peace

 Christmas Peace

Peace I leave with you; My [perfect] peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid. [Let My perfect peace calm you in every circumstance and give you courage and strength for every challenge.]  
John 14:27 (AMP)

We are barely past Thanksgiving expressing gratitude for the many things that God has graciously provided, and now it is time for Christmas. It is time to celebrate His greatest provision. “Merry Christmas” is on our lips.

With all the adversity in the world, it may make being merry seem out of reach. Distractions abound with busyness and pressure – shopping, partying, entertaining, and decorating. Things will die down after Christmas, but over-spending, loneliness, and/or emptiness –possibly even personal tragedy, medical problems, or unexpected relocation of job or home – interfere with a need for calm - peace.

Jesus made His appearance knowing all our struggles, giving us a clearer understanding of God, showing His deep love for us, and providing a way for salvation. Foretold by Isaiah (9:2-7) of the coming Messiah, Jesus was identified as Wonderful Counselor and Prince of Peace.  In the ninth chapter of Isaiah some of the purpose for His coming was revealed - giving light in this dark world; defeating oppression; and lifting heavy burdens. Jesus is the One we celebrate at Christmas!

This historic and heavenly event is journaled in Luke 3. Shepherds heard the announcement from not just one but many angels. Sheepherders were invited to visit the baby - to ponder Jesus' lying in a manger. There was adoration, astonishment, awe, and peace around the manger! Their encounter caused them to spread the word of His arrival to other people.

The world needs the Prince of Peace. This Christmas season take time to close your eyes and imagine gathering around that manager where Jesus lay with Mary and Joseph. What would you say, think, feel, and experience? May you know the power of His peace now and year-round as you trust Him and claim the peace that passes all understanding.

Merry Christmas!

by Joy Pedersen

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Good Morning, Family!

Good Morning, Family!

"Winds and waves will not spare us, but they will obey Him..." Spurgeon Hello Lord - Captain of my ship! My Anchor! My Navigator! In storms surrounding me, and in storms within me - perhaps even of my own making, ALL storms are subject to You. In helplessness and humility, I call on Your Name. I am blessed with Your peace knowing You are Captain at the helm - able to sail thru the storm, or to choose to command the storm to cease. You win ALWAYS! I win because I am in Your ship! I will not doubt Your ableness! 
Have a Hunker- Down-with-your-Captain day!

Saturday, October 14, 2023




Events of this last week alerted us to the devastating war in Israel. For many minds and hearts, questions and concerns arose. Are these the last days before Jesus’s return? Will God’s justice overturn the conflict against His nation, Israel, in this battle? What lies ahead for our nation and the possibility of wars moving forward? But, only God knows what is in store for Israel and ourselves.

Reading the thirteenth chapter of Mark, Jesus' prophetic words focused on the temple destruction in Israel. This must have created alarm and possibly fear when hearing this news. For us, it may also stir those same feelings as we reckon with current happenings and his forecast for the future.

When Peter, James, John, and Andrew privately inquired about the timing of such a fatality, they wanted to know what sign they could look for to show the coming of this event. However, Jesus began to expound on the tragedies that would grow beyond Israel affecting the whole world. It must have been beyond their imagination! They had barely begun to understand Jesus, His actions, and His deliverance for mankind. This revelation just didn’t seem to fit with all they were learning.

His telling was preparation for the calamities ahead, warning about deeper evil, and yet included instructions for peace.  He warned that deceptions, expansive devastations, persecution, betrayal, and abuse would take place. His words seem heavy. I wonder if it was a blow to their belief in God.

It may seem purposeless and avoidable to us. However, Jesus says it must take place (vs 7). Why? It is our opportunity to tell the world about the good news of Jesus Christ and what He has done for us on the cross and through his resurrection. It is time for us to grow strong in the Lord so we are ready to declare His love, power, and glory in the hard times – now and in the future.

Jesus gave instructions to keep watch (vs 35) for what is ahead. Watch for deceivers (vs 23) staying focused and attuned to Him.  He reminds us to have a mindset free of worry and panic. So what can we do about what lies ahead? Hebrews 12:1-2 (NLT) gives this instruction: “…let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.”

Beginning in verse 24 we are told that the anguish of these days will be followed by the the return of Jesus with angels to receive His followers out of the troubles.  That will be amazing. Clouds ablaze with heavenly beings, Jesus appearing in beauty and magnificence as victor over sin and death.

Let’s remember what Jesus said in Mark 13:33:  “Since you don’t know when that time will come, be on guard! Stay alert!”

Let us praise God for His work on behalf of mankind, and the victory we know He has already won in the battles we face. Let us pray for the salvation of all people – and especially Israel. 

by Joy Pedersen

Thursday, September 28, 2023

Good Morning Family

 Good Morning, Family

"One gives freely, yet grows all the richer;
Another withholds what he should give and only suffers want.
Whoever brings blessing will be enriched, and one who waters will himself be watered." Proverbs 11: 24-26
My Savior!
Thank you for new mercies in the morning - every morning! Your compassions are unfailing each day, and fresh hope rises upon waking. You invite me to step out in Your fields of blessing, your forests of peace, and your oceans of exhilaration and joy for a brand new day. Thank You, my Savior, thank You that you have come to give me life, and that more abundantly!
Be blessed; be a blessing today!
by Lisa Flanigan

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

About Good

 About Good

        I grew up with ‘Good’ as my last name. Recalling my high school days, one of my teachers (at the beginning of the school year) would ask me if I had lived up to my name. Each time I was irritated and embarrassed that he had singled me out. It was as though I was the only one who needed to answer that question. That in turn reminded me of times I had been disobedient and unkind to others.

Now contemplating that word, the meaning of good causes different thinking. David indicates in Psalm 37 that when our feet are planted on a foundation that is fixed on and guided by the Lord, we are right with God or good. When we believe in and accept salvation through Christ, our identity changes from world follower to Christ follower.

Being the child of God happens at salvation, and we commit to listen to the Lord by way of Scripture, meditation, prayer, and mature believers. Our focus is not to be on the world or its ways, but on the Lord and His intent for our life. And His desire for us was established at the beginning of time.

Verses 23 and 24 of this chapter are comforting. For when we are His children He delights in our steps while believing in and trusting Him - with belief being the first step.  Walking in agreement with Him he blesses us so that we are empowered through the Holy Spirit to move along with a desire to please Him above all else.

Even when we fail at being good, He sees us as His beloved child – good – holding on to us and helping us work through the steps that wounded our heart and soul. He never let’s go of His own and He ever helps us become spiritually mature with His guidance. How thankful I am that our Lord is aware of the failures and successes ahead of us. Grateful that He catches, rescues,  delivers, and helps us through this life as we keep in step under His watch and care.
by Joy Pedersen

Psalm 37:23-24 (AMP) 

  The steps of a [good and righteous] man [or woman] are directed and established by the Lord, and He delights in his way [and blesses his path]. When he falls, he will not be hurled down, because the Lord is the One who holds his hand and sustains him.