Surrendered Heart!

Join us at CBF Sunday April 3, 2016 at 10:30 am for special worship in music and the Word with Cindy Magzig and Surrendered Heart worship.

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Resurrection Sunday

cropped-sunrise21.jpgHe [Jesus] led them out of the city over to Bethany. Raising His hands He blessed them and while blessing them, took His leave, being carried up to heaven. And they were on their knees, worshiping Him. They returned to Jerusalem bursting with joy! – Luke 24:50-52

Jesus had been crucified, died before their eyes, and raised to life again. They had experienced days of despair and confusion, as well as, wonder and joy. But now what? Could they go back to the way things were before? What was “business as usual?” No, nothing would ever be the same again. Jesus led them out of the city – out of their comfort zone, out of familiar territory. He blessed them, giving them everything they would need to go on without His physical presence among them. Now it was up to them, they could either leave the “Easter experience” behind them or make this “Resurrection Sunday” the very beat of their hearts, the blood that would pump through their veins and sustain them. It was a new beginning which they started on their knees, worshiping Him, and the result was the ability to go back into their world “bursting with joy!” Will your heart beat with Easter tomorrow?

Prayer Starter

Hallelujah, You arose! Defeating death and despair so that I might have a life worth living. Thank you for Your love, Your grace, and Your intimate relationship made possible for me. I will strive to be worthy of all that You have sacrificed for me.

Delve Deeper

Don’t let this be the end of your journey. It is just the beginning. Review your Lenten journal and all that you have discovered during this time. Celebrate the joys and blessings you have experienced, acknowledge any disappointments or sorrow. Build on this experience. Continue reading the Bible, keeping communication open and seeking His will for your life. All of life is a journey and you have a final destination in mind. The paths you choose, the company you keep, the adventures you undertake, are all up to you. Choose wisely.

-Sue Breland, Journey Through the Cross: Meditations for Lent ©

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Forgiveness

Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. – Colossians 3:13 (NLBT)

We are so anxious to receive forgiveness for ourselves and yet we often neglect to forgive others. Holding hard feelings, grudges – the sin of UNforgiveness – can easily separate us from God. It grows and festers. The bitterness it leaves will eat at our souls, infect our attitude, and steal our peace. The Lord did not suggest that we forgive, He commanded it. If Jesus could pardon the actions of those who crucified Him – in the very midst of His death – how can we do less?

Prayer Starter

As You forgive, help me forgive; myself first and then others. Where I have caused pain, I will make amends and from this day, strengthen my endeavor to be worthy of the forgiveness I have received.

-Sue Breland, Journey Through the Cross: Meditations for Lent ©

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The Crossroad – Good Friday

Carrying the cross by Himself, He went to the place called Place of the Skull (in Hebrew, Golgotha). There they nailed Him to the cross… And Pilate posted a sign over Him that read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” – John 19:17-19

The time Pilate spent with Jesus is a heart-wrenching portrait of a man who desperately wanted to do the right thing, but didn’t. His logic, as well as his instinct, told him Jesus should not die. Pilate could see through the religious rhetoric that blew into his court, but he caved in to the political winds. Like any good politician he, at least, got the last word. Pilate came to a personal crossroad, and sent Christ to the cross. Where will your crossroad lead?

Prayer Starter

The day You chose to go to the cross was a crossroad in history. Your action changed the world and changed my heart. When I come to a crossroad, help me choose the right direction, the path that leads into Your arms.

-Sue Breland, Journey Through the Cross: Meditations for Lent ©

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In the Mercy Seat – Maundy Thursday

I will commune with you there and talk to you from above the Mercy Seat… From there I will give you my commands for the people of Israel. – Exodus 25:22

In the Old Testament, the “Mercy Seat” is described as the place where God would meet with man. Only there, could imperfect, unworthy human-kind connect with an omnipotent and holy God, without being destroyed by His power – where His mercy would protect them. God has always made a way for communion between man and Himself – but this was not personal enough. He went to extraordinary lengths to bring His mercy to everyone in all the world – anytime, anywhere. By giving Himself as atonement for our imperfections, covering us with His grace, He made it possible for us to commune with Him freely and without fear. To break bread with Him, the most human of acts, is mundane but necessary to life; to share His cup and drink Him in as friends is vital. From the Mercy Seat to the best seat in the house, communion with God has never been better!

Prayer Starter

Thank you for Your mercy. This day I am grateful for Your friendship; to sit at Your table, intimate and familiar. I am reminded that You came not only for the whole world of people, but for me.

-Sue Breland, Journey Through the Cross: Meditations for Lent ©

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Us or Them

Judas, the betrayer, knew this place, because Jesus had often gone there with His disciples. The leading priests and Pharisees had given Judas a contingent of Roman soldiers and Temple guards to accompany him. Jesus fully realized all that was going to happen to Him, so He stepped forward to meet them. “Who are you looking for?” He asked. “Jesus the Nazarene,” they replied. “I am He,” Jesus said (Judas, who betrayed Him, was standing with them)…- John 18:2-5

Just days before, Judas had been part of “us,” among the closest companions of Jesus. What a thrill it must have been to walk with Jesus as He entered Jerusalem for the Passover celebration; to witness the procession as an insider. Suddenly, Judas stood with “them” – on the other side – the outside. How empty he must have felt at that moment – separated from his friends, his Master, and surrounded by strangers. When Jesus “stepped forward to meet them,” Judas could have run into His arms, but his choice to remain among “them” sealed his fate and set in motion the final miles to the cross. We must each consider whether we want to be “us” or “them.” Now is the time to decide.

Prayer Starter

Lord, my God, I choose You. When my journey comes to a moment of decision, I choose You.

-Sue Breland, Journey Through the Cross: Meditations for Lent ©

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Joy

Then he said unto them, Go your way, eat the fat, and drink the sweet, and send portions unto them for whom nothing is prepared: for this day is holy unto our Lord: neither be ye sorry; for the joy of the Lord is your strength. – Nehemiah 8:10

After days of sorrow, despair and disbelief, Jesus returned to say cheer up! All is well and exactly as planned. Ours is a God that inhabits the best things in life and wants us to enjoy His bounty. We can respond by sharing His joy and His abundance – celebrating holy days with His contagious love, demonstrating how in even the most difficult of circumstances, the joy He brings can overcome it all.

Prayer Starter

Thank you for Your joy, the happiness that comes from within, not from a world of outward circumstances. When troubles attack, nothing can steal the joy that You have instilled to sustain me.

-Sue Breland, Journey Through the Cross: Meditations for Lent ©

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Question of Commitment

Peter said to Him, “Lord, why can I not follow You right now? I will lay down my life for You.” Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for Me? Truly, truly, I say to you, a rooster will not crow until you deny Me three times.” – John 13:37-38

Peter’s heart was in the right place, however, it takes more than good intentions to be a follower of Christ. Our impulsive, impatient character often ignites zeal for the moment, but only as far ahead as we can see. Jesus wanted to be clear that the commitment required of a Christian would extend far beyond what could even be imagined. We must consciously decide daily whether we are willing to sacrifice our very lives for Him.

Prayer Starter

May I weigh my commitment each day against the passion of my heart. I pray that my love will take action, that I will not only serve You in what I say, but also by what I do.

-Sue Breland, Journey Through the Cross: Meditations for Lent ©

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The Sixth Sunday of Lent – Hosanna (Holy Week Begins)

And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, “Hosanna; Blessed is He that cometh in the name of the Lord!” – Mark 11:9

“Hosanna” is a very familiar word in Christendom, yet it is only used a handful of times in the New Testament Gospels as Jesus came to Jerusalem. From the Greek and Hebrew translation, the word is both a cry for salvation and a declaration of praise. We know that many in the city who shouted “Hosanna” on that day were simply caught up in the excitement of the crowd and the heat of the moment – their adoration was short lived. What about us today? We still sing our Hosanna’s to the King with our mouths, but is Hosanna in our hearts? Do we really long for Him to save us on a daily basis from the challenges of our lives and praise Him for His faithfulness to respond? Are we really in touch with the King or just waving our hands in His direction? Let us acknowledge His power and His worthiness with our authentic lives, shouting “Hosanna” from our hearts today and every day!

Prayer Starter

Hosanna to Your name! I join in the chorus of praise throughout the ages glorifying Your power, Your love, and Your grace. Thank you for making my life sing when I’m in harmony with You.

Delve Deeper

Singing praise to God is found throughout the Bible. Music often has the ability to reach places in our mind and spirit that words alone do not. This week, particularly explore Christian music by listening in your free time, with your prayer time, or even in the background as you work. Sing if you like, but listen with your heart as well as your ears. Whether you like rock, country, gospel, contemporary, traditional cultural music or hymns, you can find Christian messages in any genre of music. You may have a Christian radio station in your community, or you can use Pandora internet radio (www.pandora.com) to find a broad taste of Christian artists for free. If you prefer, you may want to browse iTunes (www.apple.com/itunes) or your local music store for Christian artists and purchase music that will continue to move and inspire you for years to come.

-Sue Breland, Journey Through the Cross: Meditations for Lent ©

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Balance

When Jesus arrived at Bethany, He was told that Lazarus had already been in his grave for four days. When Martha got word that Jesus was coming, she went to meet Him. But Mary stayed in the house. Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if only You had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now, I know that God will give You whatever You ask.” – John 11:17&20-22

Martha would have been overwhelmed by the demands of the funeral for her brother, the needs of the mourners, the financial burdens and desperate circumstances of the future, but upon this visit, she dropped everything and went out to meet Jesus. She had learned that He alone was the answer to all her well-known worries, not the least of which was the death of her brother. Like Martha, we must balance the concerns of life with the care of the Savior. Go to Him.

Prayer Starter

So often the worries and responsibilities of life weigh heavily on me. You can bring lightness of spirit back into my step. As You bring balance to the universe, You can bring balance to my soul.

-Sue Breland, Journey Through the Cross: Meditations for Lent ©

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