Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Oh My Soul

About a month ago I was having more bad days than good days. My body was exhausted, and each day was a fight to keep moving. I was growing weary of the constant battle with fatigue. During an especially challenging week, a friend sent this song to me. The video has a lovely depiction of beauty in the ashes. The song encouraged me, and I hope it encourages you today too.

If you are reading this in an email, please click over to the blog to see the video.

Oh, my soul
Oh, how you worry
Oh, how you're weary, from fearing you lost control
This was the one thing, you didn't see coming
And no one would blame you, though
If you cried in private
If you tried to hide it away, so no one knows
No one will see, if you stop believing
Oh, my soul
You are not alone
There's a place where fear has to face the God you know
One more day, He will make a way
Let Him show you how, you can lay this down
'Cause you're not alone
Here and now
You can be honest
I won't try to promise that someday it all works out
'Cause this is the valley
And even now, He is breathing on your dry bones
And there will be dancing
There will be beauty where beauty was ash and stone
This much I know 
Oh, my soul
You are not alone
There's a place where fear has to face the God you know
One more day, He will make a way
Let Him show you how, you can lay this down
I'm not strong enough, I can't take anymore
(You can lay it down, you can lay it down)
And my shipwrecked faith will never get me to shore
(You can lay it down, you can lay it down)
Can He find me here
Can He keep me from going under
Oh, my soul
You're not alone
There's a place where fear has to face the God you know
One more day, He will make a way
Let Him show you how, you can lay this down
'Cause you're not alone
Oh, my soul, you're not alone

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Christ Is Risen

stained glass window picture of empty tomb

Happy Easter! He Is Risen!

But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” And they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles, but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened. 
Luke 24:1-12

Christ Is Risen, He Is Risen Indeed
(If you are reading this in an email, you may need to click over to the blog to see the video.)

How can it be, the One who died,
Has borne our sin through sacrifice
To conquer every sting of death?
Sing, sing hallelujah. 
For joy awakes as dawning light
When Christ's disciples lift their eyes.
Alive He stands, their Friend and King;
Christ, Christ He is risen. 
Christ is risen, He is risen indeed!
Oh, sing hallelujah.
Join the chorus, sing with the redeemed;
Christ is risen, He is risen indeed. 
Where doubt and darkness once had been,
They saw Him and their hearts believed.
But blessed are those who have not seen,
Yet sing hallelujah. 
Once bound by fear now bold in faith,
They preached the truth and power of grace.
And pouring out their lives they gained
Life, life everlasting. 
The power that raised Him from the grave
Now works in us to powerfully save.
He frees our hearts to live His grace;
Go tell of His goodness. 
He's alive, He's alive!
Heaven's gates are opened wide.
He's alive, He's alive!
Now in heaven glorified. 
by Keith Getty, Kristyn Getty, and Ed Cash

Friday, April 14, 2017

It Is Finished

Today is Good Friday. It is the day that we remember the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. The Lord "laid on him the iniquity of us all" (Isaiah 53:6). Jesus suffered the wrath of God in our place. His suffering and death brought about great good - the salvation of all who believe!

Surely he has borne our griefs
    and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken,
    smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions;
    he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
    and with his wounds we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray;
    we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
    the iniquity of us all. 
Isaiah 53:4-6

"Tetelestai" - It Is Finished

Photo Credit: Full of Eyes
The Crucifixion 
So they took Jesus, 17 and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. 18 There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them. 19 Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” 20 Many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and it was written in Aramaic, in Latin, and in Greek. 21 So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but rather, ‘This man said, I am King of the Jews.’” 22 Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.” 
23 When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his garments and divided them into four parts, one part for each soldier; also his tunic.[d] But the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom, 24 so they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.” This was to fulfill the Scripture which says, 
“They divided my garments among them,
    and for my clothing they cast lots.” 
So the soldiers did these things, 25 but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” 27 Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home. 
The Death of Jesus 
28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” 29 A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. 30 When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. 
John 19:16-30

Sung by Caitelen
Animation by Full of Eyes

If you are reading this in an email, please click over to the blog to see the video.
It Is Finished 
See the God-man in the garden
Calling, "Abba"
The cold set in as his weary friends
could not keep watch 
His hands, they were open
And his heart willed to obey 
So they took him
and they struck him down
And they mocked him
with a thorny crown 
But his hands remained open
praying "Father, forgive them" 
Betrayed with an unholy kiss
Our curse became his heaviness
The Father's wrath upon his only Son
They pierced his side, blood and water flowed
The curtain tore and they laid him low
The sky went black, but darkness had not won 
It is finished!
It is finished!
Hallelujah! It is finished
It is finished! 
by Caitelen Schneeberger

Jesus bore the wrath of God so that you might never have to. Do you know Jesus as your Savior? If not, I'd love to talk to you about how you can be saved from the wrath of God and receive eternal life. 

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Just a Little Update

Lake Shetek

Hello friends!

It has been too long since I have written here! About a month ago I accidentally stopped blogging. I had planned to keep blogging once or twice a week as I had been doing in the fall, but this winter I struggled to keep up with writing. Now it has been so long since I have written here that I’m not quite sure where to start. Maybe the best place to start is a rambling update letter.

Blogging has been hard for me lately. On some days I’m just too tired to blog. On other days I have more energy, so I do something around the house or with my family, and then I’m too exhausted when I go to bed to be able to blog. And then there are days when I have energy in my arms to type, but struggle too much with brain fog to be able to write well.

I like to keep my blogging limited to times when I already have to be in bed resting. I have a very limited amount of energy, and I don’t want to spend energy on blogging if that energy could be put toward my family. I want to be a wife and a mom to the best of my ability, even when that means letting my blog go untouched for a while.

Adelaide, Rachel, William, and Frodo at Lake Shetek

Relatively speaking, my health isn’t too bad right now. I’m not doing as well as I was in the fall of 2016, but I think I’m doing slightly better than I was in the spring of last year. I am extremely tired on some days, and on those days it is a mental battle to push through the fatigue and make my body walk around the house. But I’m not crashing, so no need to worry that my lack of blogging is due to a crash. It’s just a combination of good days, bad days, brain fog, and needing to spend time with my family.

I do want to get back to blogging, but I think I need to keep it simple for a while. I am considering sticking with easy blog posts and more of the "old style" blogging. Blogging has become so professional, and I need to let go of the pressure to write mostly professional articles and instead just have fun with my blog and connect with others. Maybe there are readers out there who need to read a casual blog as much as I need to simply write a casual blog right now.

Due to brain fog I have not been reading blogs as much as I used to. There are several very good, encouraging, and helpful blogs that I used to read regularly, but the articles are so long that it has been difficult for me to read them lately. Maybe some of you also need encouragement, but are having a hard time keeping up with long blog posts too. If so, then maybe my need to write short and easy posts is just what you need too.

I will continue to write for The Irresistible Church blog occasionally. I will share a link on Facebook when my articles are published there. Later on I will republish them here on Cranberry Tea Time for those of you who do not see them on The Irresistible Church. Other than my articles for The Irresistible Church, I plan to keep it casual here for a while.

Adelaide, William, Will, and Frodo at Lake Shetek

So if I haven't been blogging, what have I been doing? Last month I went out for a little adventure with my family to a state park. The pictures in this post are from that outing in early March. I thoroughly enjoyed the time out and about with my family! I think it took me a week to recover from those few hours out, but it sure was fun!

In February I went grocery shopping with Will. It is amazing how fun grocery shopping can be when you are usually stuck at home! I had a whole lot of fun! Last week I was able to attend William's 5th grade choir concert at his school. They did a fantastic job.

I spend some of my time and energy each afternoon training Frodo. He's still a puppy, so we still have some work to do. He is also dealing with fears and anxiety, so he's a little harder to take care of than the average Morkie. It's exhausting for me on my bad days, but I do enjoy Frodo's company. We all love Frodo, and we are doing what we can to help him.

I still crochet as I am able, and I have a couple of projects to share with you in the coming months. I also have some good books that I have been reading (very slowly!), and I hope to review them here on my blog soon.

The other exciting thing for me is that I have been doing some ancestry research lately. That has been enjoyable, and it is something I can often do even when my arms are too tired to type. I just need a mouse to click around.

How are you doing, friends? What have you been up to this spring? What kind of posts would you like to see here on Cranberry Tea Time? What would you find encouraging or helpful?

Blessings and joy,

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

How to Pray for the Sick and Disabled

two women sitting on a sofa and praying together

When we know someone who is suffering from an illness or disability, our response is often to pray for healing. It is compassionate to desire relief for one who is suffering, and it is certainly appropriate to ask the Lord for healing. Our God is loving and compassionate, and He is grieved by the suffering of His children (Psalm 86:15, John 11:32-35). He is also a powerful God who is able to heal (Mark 1:29-34).

However, healing is not always God’s plan for those who are sick and disabled. Sometimes God chooses to heal, but sometimes instead He chooses to use a long-term illness or disability for the good of His people.

For this reason, it is good to pray for more than just physical healing. Let’s look to Scripture for examples of ways to pray for those who are suffering from an illness or disability.

  • Pray that God would comfort them (2 Corinthians 1:4).
  • Pray that they would “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18, NIV).
  • Pray that they would trust in the Lord and not lean on their own understanding (Proverbs 3:5).
  • Pray that they would grow in the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23).
  • Pray that they would suffer well. Pray that they would “commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good” (1 Peter 4:19, NIV).
  • Pray that God would grant them endurance and encouragement (Romans 15:4-6).
  • Pray that they would throw off sin and run with endurance. Pray that they would look to Jesus so that they do not grow weary and lose heart (Hebrews 12:1-3).
  • Pray that the Lord would provide for all of their needs “according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19, NIV).
  • Pray that they would thirst for God and that they would place their hope in Him (Psalm 42:1-5).
  • Pray that God would keep them in perfect peace (Isaiah 26:3).
  • Pray that they would “be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer” (Romans 12:12, NIV).
  • Pray that God would enable them to be content in whatever circumstances He places them in (Philippians 4:11-13).
  • Pray that they would hold unswervingly to the hope they have professed (Hebrews 10:23).
  • Pray that they would not lose heart, but that they would persevere and fix their eyes on what is eternal (2 Corinthians 4:16-18).

It is a great privilege to bring our requests to the Lord and be a part of the work He is doing. God chooses to work through the prayers of His people. Therefore, let us lift up our brothers and sisters who are suffering from disabilities, praying not just for their physical bodies, but for their spiritual growth and strength as well.

In what other ways should we intercede for those who are suffering from an illness or disability? If you are suffering, in what ways do you appreciate people to praying for you?

This article was originally published on The Irresistible Church.
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