Lenten Meditation: Forgiveness Revisited

Lenten Meditation:  Forgiveness Revisited

Several years ago, I met with a group of moms to explore one of our Lord's first words from the Cross: Father, forgive them for they do not know what they are doing. Luke 23:34

As our discussion went on, we talked about the struggle we all have to forgive our offenders.  I shared a short section from a book that years before had an incredible impact on me in the area of forgiveness.

I used to think that the struggle to forgive was itself sinful...as well as the horrible feelings I had in the whole thing.  But I've come to realize that the struggle and the feelings are all part of the human condition on this earth. 

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Lenten Meditation: a Word of Forgiveness

Lenten Meditation:  a Word of Forgiveness

Alexander Pope (1688-1744), English poet, once said,To err is human; to forgive, divine.

So true...but we humans more readily echo what someone else has said,

To err is human, but to get even? THAT is divine.

We struggle so, with forgiving our offenders!  Perhaps that's why we are amazed and awestruck to realize that Jesus' first words from the Cross were ones of forgiveness.

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Lenten Meditation: Last Words and Conversations

Lenten Meditation:  Last Words and Conversations

The last words of a dying person are important.  They can communicate good or ill to those left behind.  Why?  Because the last words are so final...and so revealing of what was uppermost in the person's mind as he was leaving this earth to face his Maker. I've never been at the bedside of a dying person.  But I have been with a few people just days before their death.

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Lenten Meditation: Dust to Dust

Lenten Meditation:  Dust to Dust

I grew up in a liturgical church.  So from my childhood into my early adulthood, I observed the church calendar.   Ash Wednesday marked a real turning point in the calendar year.  It was a turn from comfort, frivolity, and enjoyment (think Mardi Gras) to a time of repentance, self-denial, and mortification called Lent. Ash Wednesday was a day when we all remembered that someday we would each die and face our Maker.  The priest would put the sign of the cross on our foreheads in black ashes and say,

Remember, Man, that thou art dust and unto dust thou shalt return. [based on Genesis 3:19]

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Celebrating Love, Life, & a Son, 20 Years Cancer-free

Celebrating Love, Life, & a Son, 20 Years Cancer-free

This month is a special month. This month I celebrate my darling son and his amazing, godly life that our sovereign Father God spared 20 years ago ... and not only spared, but brought to abundant fruitfulness inside and out! Can I tell you the story? 

Twenty years ago on February 13, 1998, my beautiful baby boy, Jeremy John Loyd, was diagnosed with thyroid cancer.  OK, he wasn't a baby at the time...he was 20 years old and a sophomore at Grace College.  But as every one of you moms knows, your baby is always your baby.

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Finding Rest: Wearing the Yoke that Fits

Finding Rest: Wearing the Yoke that Fits

Finding REST, yes! Oh yes!

Rest is my "word of the year," yet it is still a quest for me. You too? Actually, rest is both a gift and a quest while on this earth. Let me explain. 

When we come to Christ by faith, He gives us rest, in fact He Himself IS our Rest -- rest from the penalty and power and one day, the presence of sin. As a result, we are totally acceptable to God, born into His family, beloved children of His who live by His indwelling life. I am IN Christ, and He is IN me. And this rest is a free gift ... given! Not earned!  

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Letting Go of Enabling...especially in Parenting

Letting Go of Enabling...especially in Parenting

Helping or enabling? Enabling or helping? It can be difficult to know the difference. And knowing the difference can make or break a relationship ... and I might add, it may be the difference between being God's instrument in the life of another or blocking God's work in that same individual. 

Welcome again to my friend Tresca who clarifies the difference for us. She deals with the issue as it relates to our children. But if you are like me, you will also learn about healthy helping in other relationships in your life.

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A Hard Detachment: Letting Go of Our Own "Figuring It Out to Fix It"

A Hard Detachment: Letting Go of Our Own "Figuring It Out to Fix It"

Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take....

Catherine Marshall says the the hardest thing to relinquish is our will. But I might add that equally hard is yielding our own wisdom, our own understanding, our own abilities, our own "good intentions," to another, even to our Ultimate Other, the Lord Himself. Lately, God has been personally speaking to me again about this very issue. 

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Mentoring at its Best: Attachment that Detaches

Mentoring at its Best: Attachment that Detaches

I had an interesting conversation with a friend the other day. Somehow we ended up talking about mentoring. We marveled at how so many Christians we know, who have matured in the Lord through the help of a mentor, end up being rejected by that same mentor for not agreeing with them on minor points of doctrine or practice, or for moving on in a different direction in ministry, or for some other difference of opinion. How sad. But how common!

And it dawned on me that perhaps while we are talking about detachment here at A Branch in the Vine, it would be appropriate to address this issue of detachment in mentoring.

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Attachment: The Secret of Detachment

Attachment: The Secret of Detachment

Detachment, Relinquishment ... Letting go! No matter how you say it, it is hard but beautiful. And it is needed...needed, that is, in order to grow in the spiritual life. In fact, Jesuit Richard Rohr, says, "All great spirituality is about letting go." (Everything Belongs) Our Lord Jesus was the One truly spiritual Person on this earth. And He was detached in a healthy way. He was detached because He was attached to Another ... to His Heavenly Father. All through the gospels, especially the gospel of John, we see and hear this truth clearly. 

 

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Letting Go: a Healthy Detachment

Letting Go: a Healthy Detachment

Jesus lived with what I call a "healthy detachment." I discovered this years ago as I was meditating in John, chapter two. Even though people were "believing" in Jesus left and right because of the miracles He was performing, He didn't entrust the well-being of His soul to them. He knew human nature. Jesus deeply cared about people, but He knew the only One to whom He could safely entrust Himself was His heavenly Father.We need that healthy detachment in our own lives, don't we? But it is often difficult to know when and how to "let go" in a relationship. I am delighted to introduce you to my friend, Tresca Grannum, our Guest Branch for today. Tresca comes to share some helpful insights into this whole issue of "letting go."

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Soul Care: Just Breathe

Soul Care: Just Breathe

And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.  Genesis 2:7 KJV

Ah! How to care for our soul, our inner person? We so often neglect our inside self until we are ready to go over the edge with anxiety, exhaustion, depletion, hole-ness ... often caused by failing to read the signals in and around us.

So my friend and guest branch Mary Petzinger returns today with her helpful insights into this very issue.

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Quiet Places: Shared Wisdom from a Guest Branch

Quiet Places: Shared Wisdom from a Guest Branch

Today and next time here at the Branch in the Vine, I am honored to share words of wisdom from a new friend, Mary Petzinger. Mary and I met at the Billy Graham Training Center at the Cove in Asheville, NC this fall. As we shared with each other bits and pieces of our lives, we discovered that we had much in common humanly and spiritually. And our husbands also have a common interest, "Evidence of the Creator in the Creation" (Intelligent Design).

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The Wise Guys...Essential Oils, Part 2

The Wise Guys...Essential Oils, Part 2

Epiphany is over. 
Christmas trees are coming down. 
And perhaps in response to the awesome information shared in the last post by our family expert and my dear DIL, Cortney Solinger Loyd,
or even through previous contact with the "believers" in your life, 
you are exploring the gifts of the Magi...the essential oils, in particular myrrh and frankincense.

If you are among that number, you may be interested to look at Cortney's links below

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The Wise Men...gifts of Essential Oils?

The Wise Men...gifts of Essential Oils?

Magi, Wise men, Three Kings...those figures way at the end of the Nativity scene (I suppose because they were still traveling from afar)... In recent years, this trio (if it was a trio) have become my heroes. Think about it! People probably thought they were crazy following a star to God knows where. THEY probably thought they were crazy after a time. What courage! What perseverance! What joy in the finding!

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A Winter Deep Freeze is Perfect for Hybernating in God's Word

A Winter Deep Freeze is Perfect for Hybernating in God's Word

Baby, it's cold outside. Sub-zero temps; ice-covered ground; more white stuff on its way? A great time to hibernate. 

But it need not be cold inside ... especially inside your soul, as you bask in the warmth of God's loving truth. The Scriptures are ever old and ever new, and never out of reach. So the fire of God's Word is always accessible.

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A New Word for 2018... my word found me!

A New Word for 2018... my word found me!

...Now what about this year 2018? Well, my Word found me.

In the midst of some long-lasting, deep grief from life circumstances and relationships, my blood pressure has shot up again. It had been low and totally good for months and months. It was in the midst of this broken mess that my word came. I wasn't even looking for it.

 

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Post Christmas Comfort: Fear Not...Emmanuel Finally & Forever (Part 3)

Post Christmas Comfort: Fear Not...Emmanuel Finally & Forever (Part 3)

As the old year is coming to a close and the holiday glitz and cheer have dwindled, what is rushing in?  Anxieties and fears for today and the year yet to come? Then hear these words again from your Creator and Savior:

Fear not, for I am near you!

Fear not, for I am closely associated with you! I've gone through it all too!

And now finally and forever...

Fear not, for I am united with you forever...we are one!

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