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“Chicken Fried Steak” Psalm 51:21

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“Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.”  Psalm 51:2

A Real Mess

A Real Mess

Look at that stove.  How did I ever get myself into this mess?  Just three hours ago if you walked into our home the fragrance of pine floated through the air but now if you sniff, you are greeted by the greasy scent of a country diner.   This lovely odor is entirely  my fault.  After I lost my mind this morning with a mysterious desire to clean the house, including the stove messy from a weekend of pancakes and bacon, my  “Suzy Homemaker” mode somehow continued.

As my husband entered the back door home from a hard day at work, I asked the dumbest question of all, “What do you want for supper?” You have to understand that I don’t cook that often. I mean really cook. I might grill outside, or gather stuff from the local grocery store, even warm something in the microwave on occasion, but that’s it.

I  decided when our youngest son headed off to college, cooking was entirely overrated. I can’t deny it, the only time I really cook is when we have guests or the kids come home for a visit. So you can imagine how taken aback my husband was by my inquiry. Totally shocked, my sweetheart meekly asked, “What are the chances of chicken fried steak?” I now reverted back to my normal self and responded, “Chicken fried steak,” three of the dirtiest and most dreaded words in the dictionary of any sane cook.” You’ve got to be kidding. The kids aren’t coming home so what possible reason do I have to cook that greasy, stinky concoction? It’s a mess and besides it’s Monday and my kitchen is sparkling clean.”

At some moment in time I vaguely remembered my Bible verse for the day, “Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin.” That morning, not being a Bible scholar, I looked up the definition of “iniquity.” Well believe it or not it means “sin or transgression, something done to hurt another.” So I rethought my actions, rephrased my words and said,  “What was I thinking, there’s nothing I’d rather do that cook chicken fried steak for you.” Crazy words for sure, but I certainly am glad when God looks at me some days and sees a mess He says, “Bring me some water and I’ll wash her clean AGAIN!”  And I am so thankful that He doesn’t say, “Not tonight, I can’t deal with a mess now, after all it’s Monday.”

Just in case you want to get messy here’s my recipe for Chicken Fried Steak…

You’ll need: cube steak, flour, salt, pepper, an egg,  milk and the most important ingredient, oil.  Pour the oil into the skillet and let it get sizzling  hot. Salt and pepper the meat, roll it in flour, dip it in the egg and milk mixture and roll it in the flour again.  Then place it in the hot grease.  When it’s brown and rising to the surface and the kitchen smells really tasty, you’ll know it’s time to take it out and get ready to chow down.  The most important thing to do after this is to offer a prayer of thanks that you didn’t burn down the kitchen.  Everything else is just gravy.

Points to Ponder:

1. What have you cooked lately? Did it warm your soul?

2.  Do your Bible lessons stay with you throughout your days?  What keeps them close to your heart?

3. Do you ever feel like a spiritual mess?  Why?

 

Pray with me:

To the Real Mr. Clean,

Thank you for being with us to wash us and clean up our messes.  We don’t always have to ask, because you know our hearts and a gentle reminder is enough.

I’m busy degreasing my life.

 

Its a Hot Flash!

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He asked them, ‘What are you discussing together as you walk along?’ One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, ‘Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?’”  “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.”  Luke 24:17, 18, 34Businesswoman in Menopause

It came on me like a hot flash.  Minutes earlier, I had strutted into First United Methodist Church in Ft. Worth with my family, parading down the aisle in my Easter finery, reveling in the compliment given to me by Alice, the greeter.  I could tell Alice was definitely a fashionista because of the lovely royal-blue hat with a snappy yellow bow that adorned her head.  I must admit that I felt a moment of envy, but since it was Easter, I quickly dismissed my covetous thoughts and continued my strut down the aisle.

When the minister began the service, we stood up, and I heard those words that we hear every Easter morning, “He has risen, He has risen indeed.”  Suddenly my lip began to quiver, and tears streamed down my face.  I was puzzled and asked myself, “What is the source of these unexpected and overwhelming emotions?”  I wasn’t sweating like my normal hot flashes, so I chalked it up to nostalgia of Easter holidays gone by.  Then when we began to sing “Christ the Lord is Risen Today”, the tears flowed again, and that same warm feeling surrounded my heart.  I couldn’t figure out what was happening.  Strangely, the answer came to me as if Cleopas and his traveling buddy were talking to me on the road to Emmaus.  “Where have you been, Debra Jean?  I can’t believe you don’t know what’s been going on!”

I guess an honest response would have been, “Well, if you must know, at the mall of course, searching for my dress and these essential purple shoes that I was told added a “pop” to my Easter finery.  Then I was assembling Easter baskets for the kids and sending cards to my friends.  What a dumb question!  It’s Easter after all, what am I supposed to be doing?”

But then I would have added that this year I also made time to go to church during Holy Week to hear the sermons, read the prayers, and thank Him for loving me.  Amongst the eggs, the bunnies and my new shoes, I managed to put Jesus smack in the middle of my life.  So what was it about this year that made my heart burst so?  Could it be that I fell in love with my Savior again?  I never thought it was possible to love my Lord more, but if this feeling were a true hot flash, I would have been fanning myself with the program, not drying my tears.

On this resurrection Sunday Jesus appeared to me like He did to Simon.  He came alive in me with three simple words, “Christ has risen.”  The thought of Him giving His life for me stirs my heart and penetrates my soul like the nails in His holy hands.

So there you go, Cleopas, I’m not so unaware after all.  I’m just reveling in His glory and love.  May He continue to be alive in all of us.

Points to Ponder:

1. Do you have a  Resurrection day story?

2. Is there something that makes your heart burst?

3. How is Christ alive in you? Do you feel Him or share Him with others?

Pray with me:

Dear Risen Christ, we strut through our lives sharing our glory, but how often do we strut for You? How often do we show the world Your glory?

Guide us to be walking advertisements of Your love, so others may see Easter in us everyday.

Holy Week ~ Saturday

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“It is no longer I who live, but it Christ who lives in me.”  Galatians 2:20Holy Week

We are, by the grace of God, equipped to be present for the others in our lives. Not just our friends and family, but the “others” who cross our path holding a sign in need of food, on the corner we pass each day.  God is present for us, may we let Him fill us so we can share His gift.  How is God present for you?

Pray with me:

Oh Holy of Holies,

“Truly this man was the Son of God!” were the words of the centurion as he stood in front of Jesus.  He was there and heard Your Son cry out to You, Father.  Open our hearts to let You live in us, so we can hear the cries of those around us who need Your love.  Help us to welcome Your presence and fill us, so we can share Your gift.

 

Holy Week ~ Good Friday

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“I pray that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”  Ephesians 3:19 Holy Week

To be filled with the Spirit, we first must be emptied, a frightening thought.  Only one thing satisfies the longing of the soul, the one thing Jesus said was needed, God.

Stand with your arms upraised.  Let the Spirit of Christ fill you, entering every cell of your body.  With each breath ask God to fill you.  With each exhalation let go of the ego desires that take up space in you.  Stay in the silence for a few minutes.

Pray with me:

Oh Tender One,

Empty us, Dear God.  We want to sit at Your feet like Mary, as Your Son hung on the cross. With lives full of distractions it is difficult to find room for You.  Help us satisfy the longing of our souls as we sit in prayer with You.

 

Holy Week ~ Tuesday

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“My people have forsaken me, the fountain of living water.”  Jeremiah 2:13Holy Week

Jesus invites us to be refreshed by the water that springs up within us.  As we drink deeply of the Spirit of Christ, we flourish in love and service.  In the innermost place of the soul we enter the most deeply intimate communion with God.  “Bread of heaven feed me ‘till I want no more fill my cup, fill it up and make me whole.” Kneel in your quiet space and open your heart to be filled with Him.

Pray with Me:

Dear Precious Son,

How could they have doubted You, much less mock Your goodness and spit on your damaged body?  It is because of You that the innermost sanctuary of our souls can  be refreshed by your living water that springs up within us. It is because of You that we can experience that sacred communion of body, mind, and Spirit with our very own Living Water. We will not forsake You.