Friday, April 14, 2017

Good Friday and Resurrection Day Blessings!

A joyous Good Friday to all of you!

Is this a special weekend for you? In a glorious way? A hopeful way? An everlasting way? I trust it is, because it IS a special weekend, and I don't mean in the way of bunnies and chocolate, although bunnies are cute and cuddly, and I consider chocolate to be another food group. I know lots of people will be enjoying that part of it and I would also, but I mean in a spiritual way.

And spring time is around the corner! For you it may be bursting and budding all over, but here we're still melting the last bits of winter (snow is hanging around the tree lines) and flowers are "just" starting to peek from the ground!

This photo is from two years ago and it is NOT what our yard looks like at this moment!  No siree, bob! Spring is always late here. It's almost summer when that happens. HA! If I showed you what it really looked like, it wouldn't be nice. This photo was probably taken the end of MAY or early JUNE! But I wanted to include something in the way of springtime for you to enjoy, even though MY spring is not yet enjoyable. Just muck and mire!

But to get back to my earlier point. As a believer in Christ, this weekend is the basis of my faith. Is it the basis of your faith?

In my notebook of blog post ideas of things yet to write, I did not peruse. Instead, I read a book! And that book was the inspiration for this week's discussion. Nevertheless, I do have some new items in my Etsy shop as you see here. Just click on the category "Brooches and Necklaces."

Last month for my birthday, my friend, Elaine O. came over to my house for our birthday dinner. She's a March baby, too. (Hi, Elaine! 😄) I always have her over for dinner, and we always exchange gifts. One of the items she gave me was a book. That book sat and sat on my dining room hutch, and until this week, I hadn't sat down to read it! I told myself it was time to read what lay between the covers. Indeed, I was a tiny bit timid because of the title and what I would learn from reading it. I'm weird like that, you know.

And I'm sure that when you see the title, that you will say - "Oh, yes, I've read that book! I know that story! I read it a long time ago! Where have you been?" (Okay, so if you did read it, did it change you in some way?)

Well, my life (maybe my mind?) has always meandered here and meandered there, even though there is purpose in what I do and what I have been doing all my life!  But I never seem to be "in the loop" in certain things - things pass me by and I never notice or I never hear - and only because of my friend, Elaine, have I discovered this I N C R E D I B L E story!!

And because of this incredible story, I decided to create a special necklace because of what this weekend means. You'll have to wait until the end to see it.

Here's the book!
I read this book in two sittings - probably taking me about two hours or so to read it. 

A M A Z I N G!!!  Pastor Don Piper died in a horrific car crash - went to heaven - and came back to earth to tell about! The LORD did not want to keep him in heaven! Although not right away, he was eventually persuaded to write down his experience. He was 38 years old, married, with three children. He was forever changed! Physically and spiritually! Even if you have already put your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ and have that assurance of eternal life, it will put a new perspective into your Christian walk with the Lord and your prayer life. I truly hope it does that for you. If you can't claim that assurance, I hope you will soon. It's a matter of life and death. The agony and the excruciating pain this man went through was unimaginable! I have to hold myself back and not go into the details or I'll ruin the story for you. This is a MUST READ! I'm sure any Christian bookstore would carry it, or you can find it online.

My past memories of Easter (Resurrection Sunday) came to mind this week. I miss being at our home church in Burlington, MA playing the organ and Pastor Helgerson leading the congregation in "Christ Arose!" And me pulling out all the stops! He poured his heart, soul, mind, and body into leading that hymn in just the right way to portray the agony of the cross and the resurrection of Christ. It gave us all goosebumps and tears each time!

When my husband and I were leading the choir way back when, my favorite John W. Peterson cantata was "Hallelujah! What a Savior!" The choir sang it several times and my favorite piece from that cantata was the solo "Father, Forgive Them" picturing Christ on the cross -  crucified for the sins of the world. My brother-in-law, Sam, sang that piece each time. I would love to hear him sing it again. (Hi, Sam!😁) I think if I heard someone else singing it, I would probably be disappointed. I'm serious. It was such a moving and passionate piece and he poured his heart into it.

"He Was Wounded For Our Transgressions"

"Who hath believed our report? And to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed?
 For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground:
 he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, 
there is no beauty that we should desire him.

He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief:
and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows:
yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.

But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities:
the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. 
All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way;
and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth;
 he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter,
 and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth."

These verses from Isaiah 53:1-7 were put to beautiful music (practically verbatim) in another of John W. Peterson's arrangements for SATB choir. It's one of my most favorites. I loved playing the accompaniment and hearing the choir sing it with such energy and emotion. Another snippet of sentimentality and of my passions and pursuits! But an important one as this scripture is why we as believers have life eternal! I wish I had the music for this choir arrangement even though I wouldn't be able to use it now. Whenever I read these verses, I sing this arrangement in my head. I do have an organ arrangement for it and that pleases me greatly.
sword (for the word of God) and freshwater pearls (for the gates of Jerusalem)

 "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places....
And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.... "
Ephesians 6:12,17
 
  "And I, John, saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband....

 And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God....
And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass."
Revelation 21:2,10,21

I encourage you to find the book "Ninety Minutes in Heaven" by Don Piper if you haven't read it. It is truly inspiring. My special necklace (here) depicts the pearly gates that Don Piper saw. He had difficulty describing all that he saw and heard. I N C R E D I B L E!

May you have a blessed Friday and special joy this Easter weekend! God bless!

2 comments:

  1. A truly beautiful post, dear Linda! Oh, what a JOY to worship and serve a RISEN SAVIOR! How thankful I am for His great love and His precious gift of salvation.

    Have a most blessed Easter. Hugs to you!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Stephanie! Yes, we can be very thankful for God's gift of salvation. Have a great Easter!
      HUGS XO

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