Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Just Quit

A big welcome to my friends from Encouragement Cafe! It is a joy to share my devotional with you today! If you'd like to read, "When You Want to Quit," click HERE. To continue with the quitting theme, I'm going to look at it from a different perspective. It's true we can't quit on our walk of faith, but as we follow Jesus there are things we must quit. Would you agree?

In September of 1999, I found myself in the bottom of a pit called depression and felt I'd come to the end. I'd believed those "No Quit" quotes when it came to sports, but applying them to life was more of a challenge. I was ready to quit the game of life, but God intervened.

Thankfully, He kept me from dying physically, but in the process He's led me to die to myself! He continually asks me to live out Galatians 2:20 - “I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me." 

I've been praying about what I should share here in response to my devotional and it seems God's led me to share some contrary advice, "Just Quit!" The basketball coach in me can't believe I'm saying that, but because Christ is in me, I know that's what I need to do. And friend so do you!

I'll share the list God has given me:

Just QUIT listening to lies so that you can hear the voice of Truth.
So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in Him, 
"If you abide in My Word, you are truly my disciples, and 
you will know the Truth and the Truth will set you free." 
John 8:31-32

Just QUIT worrying so that you can trust God with all your heart.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and 
lean not on your own understanding. Proverbs 3:5

Just QUIT living out of old insecurities so that you can be who God made you to be!
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: 
The old has gone, the new is here! 2 Corinthians 5:17

Just Quit busying yourself so that you can do what God ask you to do.
For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus 
to do good works, which God prepared 
in advance for us to do. Ephesians 2:10

Just QUIT holding onto bitterness so that you can forgive and be forgiven.
For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. Matthew 6:14-15

Just QUIT running after your dreams so that God's plan can unfold.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord
“plans to prosper you and not to harm you, 
plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11

Just QUIT striving for other's approval so that you can earn God's!
The fear of man lays a snare, 
but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe. Proverbs 29:25

Just QUIT living for yourself so that you can follow Jesus!
Then He said to them all: “Whoever wants 
to be my disciple must deny themselves 
and take up their cross daily and follow me. Luke 9:23

Advising someone to quit is not something I do too often, but I pray as you read this list you've been reminded there are somethings we need to just quit. The sinful, selfish stuff we do has to go if we truly want to die to self so that Christ can live. 

Today, I encourage you to spend some time with God, ask Him what you need to quit and then pray for the strength and desire to do just that! Friends, He died so that one day we will live with Him forever, but we can make the choice to die today so that He can live through us now!

Friday, April 24, 2020

Who's In Control

Does it feel like life is out of control? We turn on the news and it seems we see one bad or sad story after another. Closer to home, we make plans and a child’s sickness changes them. Day after day I’m reminded I’m not in control. Can you say the same? 
If you struggle with the battle for control, I invite you to join me at Encouragement Cafe where I'm sharing a devotional asking, "Who's In Control?" The answer just might surprise you and pray it encourages you! 

Join me, by clicking HERE

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Easter Greetings from our family to yours!

Happy Easter,
Greetings from the Beran family! We hope you and your family are doing well in the midst of Covid-19! We decided since we didn’t get a Christmas card out this year, we’d use this extra down time to share an Easter greeting with you. Like you, our schedules are clear, but we are grateful our reason to rejoice will never be called off or postponed. Our daily routines have changed, but the risen Savior we celebrate will forever remain.

Our family is doing well and though one child daily begs to “cancel school like everyone else,” we continue on our homeschool journey. J.D. is about to complete 11th grade, Joy 9th, Jaylyn 7th, Jed 3rd and Jesse 2nd. They are typically involved with sports, youth group and FFA. Life on the farm hasn’t stopped, so we stay busy with pig, calf and chicken chores along with prepping for planting. During this season of shutdown, we are also missing our extended and church family along with the regular activities we enjoy.

We realize this situation is new for all of us and we know it provides challenges as well. Some days we enjoy the changes more than others. This pandemic can create worry of what lies ahead, fear of getting sick and anxiety about the financial impact that’s sure to come. We’ve been reminded this is a great opportunity to live out our faith.

In place of the typical yearly update, we thought we’d bring a word of encouragement. Since the social distancing began, we’ve tried to find hope, wisdom and perspective in God’s Word. It provides a solid foundation when we’re shaky, peace in the storm and Truth to counter lies. We pray the words that have encouraged us, will do the same for you.

Jesse – “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) Good Friday is a picture of that love; may we rest in it always.

Jed – “Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers (and sisters) dwell in unity!”(Psalm 133:1) Timely truth for this time of isolation and family togetherness!

Jaylyn – "Look, I (Jesus) am coming soon! Blessed is the one who keeps the words of the prophecy written in this scroll." (Revelation 3:3) We need to be ready for Jesus’ return; do you know Him as your personal Lord and Savior?

Joy – “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7) Exchange your worries and fears for God’s peace and promises – PRAY.

J.D. – “For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven…” (Ecclesiastes 3:1) God controls the seasons and He also controls Covid-19.

Jill – “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6) We don’t understand all that’s going on and that’s OK, we can trust the One who does.

Job – “After he (Jesus) had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray…” (Matthew 14:23a) Follow Jesus’ example and use this time for prayer.

This April, we don’t just want to celebrate Easter, but more importantly experience the HOPE Jesus brings! We will continue to keep you in our prayers.                                                                  
Love,  The Berans

Friday, April 10, 2020


It's Good Friday and we continue our Holy Week posts. This day marks the hardest day in Jesus' journey here on Earth. As we walk thru our own difficult, which will truly never compare to what Jesus suffered, may we remember His obedience, sacrifice and strength. Prayers and blessings to you today friend.

From April 15, 2017

Is it easier for you to start something new or finish the work you've already begun? Personally, both situations present some challenges, but if I had to choose one it would be finishing. Carrying something thru takes time, work and endurance. We face temptations, wrestle with doubts and wonder if it really matters. But if we're truly called to start something, God also expects us to finish it.

I've been challenged and encouraged by the idea of finishing this Holy Week. I've spent time reflecting on Jesus - our Passover Lamb, been given an example by Mary to be a woman who does what I can and been reminded to be prepared. But yesterday as I read through the story of crucifixion and reflected on Jesus' sacrifice for me, "Finish" was the message I received.

In John 19:28 we read, "Later, knowing that everything had now been finished, and so that Scripture would be fulfilled, Jesus said, "I am thirsty." Friend, Jesus was hanging on the cross, He'd done his job of being sacrificed for sin, but yet He still submitted to the Father. He did what God sent Him to do.

John 4:34 states, "My food is to do the will of Him sent and finish His work." While John 12:49 says, "For I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me to say all that I have spoken." Even to the end, in unbelievable pain and distress, Jesus was obedient.

John 19:30 states this clearly, "When He had received the drink, Jesus said, 'It is finished.' With that, He bowed His head and gave up His spirit."

Stop and think about this for a minute. When it was hard, people didn't understand and the pain was unbearable Jesus didn't quit. Can you say the same? I can't, but I've been convicted, and encouraged, that I need to change. God equipped Jesus to finish what He started, I have to believe He can do the same for me.

Friend, He can do it for you too. Let's go to God and ask Him to help us persevere and let's look to Jesus as the example of One who finished well.

Heavenly Father,
Thank you for again speaking to me through your living and active Word. Use it to penetrate my mind and soul, transform me Lord so I can be like you. Thank you Jesus for finishing the work you started, for dying for my sins and fulfilling Scripture. May I learn from your example and be more like you. I'm also reminded that a wait followed the completion of your work, help me remember that and trust your timing Father. This Easter season may we celebrate your resurrecting power, our victory over sin and death and the reminder that finishing is important. Father God, you are good, your are mighty and you are worthy of our praise. In Jesus' Name I pray, Amen

Thursday, April 9, 2020

Easter Changes Everything

We're over a month into Covid-19 here in Iowa and I've been doing a lot of thinking. That's not always a good thing - like when I'm thinking about what I thought would be going on or wondering how long this is going to last. But when I find myself thinking about God's promises, Jesus' journey and my faith it is a very good thing.

Friend, this time away from what we had planned can be productive. If it allows, or maybe even forces, us to reevaluate our lives and ourselves God can use it for good. I know one thing it has made me think more about a is there will one day be another event that many never expect to happen. Jesus will return. Are we prepared? Perhaps this Easter will be the one that changes everything for you!

From April 17, 2014

As Easter draws near I find myself thinking about many things...what God did for me, the level of Jesus' obedience and the power of the resurrection. I'm thinking about what I should do next as we prep to host 30+ family members on Sunday. I also find myself praying and asking God to help my children understand the real meaning of the holiday. And it may sound crazy but this year I've also thought about hollow chocolate Easter bunnies.

Of all the Easter treats available this is not the one I'd choose, but the other day I started thinking about them. You see every year for as long as I can remember I, or my children, have received these from my grandma B and this is our first Easter without her. Ten months have gone by and I think about her often and this year those thoughts have me thinking about Easter more.

Easter 2013 - Grandma B giving Jesse his bunny!
The other day I read a simple but profound statement - "Easter changes everything!" A year ago I would have agreed with that statement, but now I know it and believe it. So take a minute with me and let's look at what Easter is all about...the best thing I can encourage you to do is read Luke 22-24 or John 12-20. Friend, God's Word is living and active and I know He will speak to you if you sit with Him.

I'm not sure it's possible for me to summarize the events of what we now call Holy Week, but let me share a few highlights - the Last Supper where Jesus modeled humility; Judas, one of Jesus' disciples, betrayed Him; Jesus prayed (even for you and me...see John 17:20-26); He was arrested; Peter, another one of His disciples denied Him; He was tried and crucified; He was buried and three days later rose again. 

That is quite a list of events, but can I share with you that it's more than a slice of history? Friend, I viewed it that way for years, but it's different now...I believe Easter, and the Jesus we celebrate, change everything! This holiday is about so much, but I want to focus on the resurrecting power of the God I serve. Jesus, the Son of God, died. He was buried and many grieved the loss of the One they followed and loved, but God. God intervened and fulfilled the plan He sent Jesus to live out. He resurrected Him from the dead and He lived again.

That alone is an amazing story, but it does NOT end there! Friend, God still has that resurrecting power. Romans 10:9 tells us, "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." God didn't just save Jesus, if we believe He will save us too.

Believing in Him and seeking a personal relationship with our Lord and Savior will save us for eternity, but again there is more. This power that God possess doesn't just make a way to heaven possible, it makes it possible for us to walk through life. A life that is hard, full of pain and can be depressing. A life that's kind of like that hollow chocolate bunny - empty and without much purpose. 

Friend, I've been thinking about Easters past and I hate to admit there was a time when it was just another commercial holiday, a vacation from school and a family get together. I'd serve at the sunrise breakfast and sing for Sunday School, but I didn't really focus on what it was all about. I knew in my head that Jesus died and rose again, but in my heart I really didn't understand.

If you find yourself in that place today, I want you to know this is so much more than another holiday! Jesus' life, death and resurrection have the power to transform you. If you find yourself empty, stressed or depressed, He can fill you, give you peace and purpose. He will dry your tears, purify your heart and change your life. He died so that we could live...forever in heaven and abundantly here on Earth!!

I want you to know trusting Jesus won't take the pain away and magically make your life perfect. My life still includes pain - I've even shed tears as I type...my first Easter without Grandma B will be different and Saturday the 19th, the day before Easter would have been our little ones birthday, but 5+ years ago we had a miscarriage. The truth is sometimes God doesn't use His power in the way we'd like, but I've come to believe He uses it in the way He knows is best!! 

So today, though my heart is heavy and my plate is full, I am grateful. I'm thankful I know Easter changes everything and friend my prayer is you can say the same!!

Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with Him. 
For we know that since Christ was raised from the dead, He cannot die again; 
death no longer has mastery over Him. The death He died, He died to sin once for all; 
but the life He lives, He lives to God. In the same way, 
count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 
(Romans 6:8-11 NIV)

Wednesday, April 8, 2020


From April 1, 2013

My husband and daughters returned home from a shopping trip...they'd left with the intentions of finding the girls' new Easter dresses. (This was my husband's idea.) They came home with what they were looking for and more. Excitement took over the house when they unveiled the dress they bought for me, the gal who's worn a dress once in the last 12 years. And that was to my wedding.

Needless to say I wasn't part of the excitement - the girls were thrilled, my husband just smiled and my oldest son was insistent that I wear it.

Anyway I decided to humor them and try it on. That's when the situation went from bad to worse. I looked at the tag and it was 3 sizes bigger than I normally wear. Instantly my mind took over, "That's the size he thinks I wear? Our baby's almost two I need to lose some weight." And the final thought that came was, "I am not wearing this dress."

So the next day came and I returned the dress. Knowing my kids were more than excited for me to wear a dress, I did exchange it, but the one I found in my size was different than the one my husband picked out. I really didn't think it was a big deal, but by the following night I knew something was wrong.

I asked my husband what was up and he said, "I don't know why this is bothering me, but it's the dress. And the fact you took it back. I didn't even know you didn't like it." I responded, "Job, I don't wear that size. It's 3 sizes too big!!" In return he says, "I know, but I know you don't like things tight and they looked so small. It looked nice on you."

I listened, but I'm not sure I really heard him. (If you know what I mean?) I simply said, "I'll take it back. Maybe we should just forget the whole thing; it's kind of a waste of money for something I'll never wear again."

Two days later, I took the dress back and thought: I'll be a good wife, buy the original dress, wear it and make everyone happy. Well, everyone but me!

So Easter morning arrives and I still had no desire to wear the dress, but I had 5 little people who were very excited about it!

We headed out the door with everyone smiling and me silently praying, "Lord, help me focus on YOU, forget about this dress and not worry about what everyone will say." And friend, I have to admit He answered my prayer.

Many people shared words about the dress...though no one said it was too BIG or that I looked funny! (Though I sure felt like I did!!) As we left the church yard a good friend said something about the dress and my husband replied, "You mean the one we bought twice?!?"

With that statement God had my attention as He quickly spoke to my heart amongst the chaos of a vehicle filled with 5 energized little people!

He whispered to me, "Jill, you were focusing on the label. That label means nothing...think about the love Job was showing. How about the love others shared as well with their kind words? What about your kids, they have no idea what size you are and they love you."

And then on Resurrection Sunday He continued, "Jill, the size label on your dress doesn't matter to me either. Neither do labels from your past or other people. You are who I say you are - Loved, Forgiven, My Daughter, a Gifted Girl and my Chosen Child. Those are the labels that matter! Today, you celebrate the day I bought you with the blood of My Son...Jill, that's something I only have to do once. My love and forgiveness is not something you can return or exchange, so please accept it. And daughter, do the same with the love your family is showering upon you as well!"

Friend, I don't know if I'll ever wear the dress again, but I don't think I'll ever forget the lesson it taught me. I pray you will join me in letting go of what the labels say and focus on who God says we are!

Tuesday, April 7, 2020

What will you do?

From April 11, 2017

As Holy Week continues I find myself still reflecting on the Passover Lamb and reading passages about Jesus' last days. This morning I was in the last few chapters of Mark and these words from 14:8 haven't left my mind - "She did what she could." 

This is a sentence Jesus spoke about the woman who annointed him. In other Gospels we learn this was Mary...sister to Lazarus and Martha. The one who had earlier sat at Jesus feet was now annointing them.

Stop for a minute and think about what she did and how she did it. She broke open a bottle of expensive perfume; some historians believe it was worth a year's wages. She poured it out, not saving any for herself.

She placed herself in a position that most likely would be questioned. As a woman, she was among men. She used her hair, a sign of her glory, to wipe Jesus' feet, a job reserved for the lowest of low. She had humbled herself and broke free from the fear of what others would think.

Friend, chances are you've read this story before, but have you let this story read you? I feel like God's been examining my heart all day thru the lens of this short story and even smaller sentence.

Mary did what she could. She didn't rely on her position, but took advantage of her opportunity. Do I do the same? Do you? Every day we have an opportunity to do what we can do, but do we?

Granted Jesus is not here in the flesh and His body no longer needs to be prepared for burial, but His people are here and His body (you and me) have gifts to use and roles to play.

When it comes to work, I'm not talking a 9 to 5 job, but the life you live - Are you doing what you can or simply what you have to or worse yet what you want to?

When it comes to worship, again not just a Sunday morning service, but in our daily life - Are we doing just what's necessary or are we doing all we can?

These aren't quick, easy answer questions, but they are important, powerful self-examination tools. As we prepare for Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday, may we quiet our hearts, ask God to examine them and prepare to give Jesus all of them.

Mary sacrificed her perfume and she also surrendered herself. May you and I do the same. Jesus did what He could, I pray we will too.

Our external actions may not change, but our internal attitude will...instead of a focus on self, may we live with the desire to serve. Rather than holding back and fearing what others think, may we walk in faith and set an example for others to follow. May we worship the One who's worthy instead of wasting time on idols that are truly worthless.

Friend, I don't know what these 5 words stirred in your heart, but I'm praying now for God to use them in your life to help you do what He created you to do. It cost Mary and we too will pay a price, but may we remember it's an investment that will never fail! Today let's do what we can do for the Lord we love.

Heavenly Father, I want to be a woman who does what I can. Help me stop being one who does what I must or have to, but one who serves You wholeheartedly. May I count the cost and be willing to pay the price. May I throw myself at your feet and love you without fear. Help me worship you without worry. Father God, thank you for drawing me close and helping me know You more. Your Word truly is living and active, continue using it to transform me. Father, I thank you for the gift of your Son and the filling of your Holy Spirit. May I do what you created me to do...glorify you. In Jesus' Name, Amen

Monday, April 6, 2020

The Passover Lamb

Welcome back for my Easter series! If you missed yesterday's post, "Part of the Crowd" click HERE. I hope these words about the passover lamb lead you to think about Jesus, the One who is our passover lamb. 

From April 10, 2017

"Do you want to try and sell those lambs?" My husband's words in the early morning had my attention. He had mentioned this briefly earlier in the week, but this time instead of going to my head his words went to my heart.

Our kids have been raising 4 orphan lambs and they will eventually grow up and be sent to market, but my reaction to putting them up for sale now, while they are still young and kind of like a pet, hit me. The thought of someone using them - Skittle, Beefy, Oreo and the lamb with a changing name, for a passover meal made me sad.

The conversation didn't go any further, but my thoughts continued to run and they led me to the Word. Friend, we are in the midst of holy week and for the first time in 41 years, I find myself thinking about the Passover lamb in a real personal way. I encourage you to do the same in the days to come.

Did you know during the original Passover, the lamb played a significant role? First of all in Egypt, a lamb was sacred, it was considered to be a god of sorts and was worshipped by the Egyptians. Clearly, the Lord had their attention when He commanded the Isrealites to "take a lamb for their family" (Exodus 12:3). The Isrealites exercised their faith and courage by obeying this command.

They didn't just take any lamb...it had to be a year old male without defect. (Exodus 12:5) These animals were in their prime and were the best of the flock.

The lambs weren't simply selected and quickly sacrificed...they were chosen on the 10th day and slaughtered on day 14. (Exodus 12:6) In between they were cared for...typically in the home. Think about what took place in that time. I'm sure there were messes and noise. There was also time to grow attached and hours set aside to inspect. The people were surrendering normalcy and eventually something they loved.

This story mirrors what took place years later in Jerusalem - Jesus rode into the city and was welcomed as the One who would save. For the next 4 days, He too was set apart and inspected. Just like the lamb, He was found to be spotless and without defect. (1 Peter 1:19) During that time, the people saw him work, learned from His teachings and grew to know Him more.

Friend, chances are you celebrated Palm Sunday yesterday and like the people of years gone by said, "Hosanna, blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!" You may have plans to attend a Maundy Thursday service or a Last Supper Remembrance meal later this week. Countless services are scheduled for Friday and Sunday of this coming week as well. These events are important and powerful, but I challenge, and encourage, you to treasure the days to come.

We will not be bringing a lamb into our home, but I've invited thee Lamb into my heart. In the days to come I long to learn from Him and grow closer to Him as I prepare to reflect on His sacrifice and praise my Savior. I hope you will consider doing the same.

Heavenly Father, 
Lord, thank you for continually speaking into my heart and revealing more of yourself. I'm humbled to know you care and know me in such a personal way. As this Holy Week unfolds, may it be a time of reflection and relationship building. Draw me closer to Yourself as I sit with you, study your Word and experience your presence. Thank you for being my passover Lamb - your sinless life saved me from the sin in mine. Increase my understanding of this and gratitude for it. Today I struggled with the thought of giving up one of our lambs for a meal, but Father God you gave up your Son for me - thank you. May I give up my life for you. In Jesus' Name, Amen

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Part of the Crowd

It's Palm Sunday - a reason to rejoice! This Palm Sunday looks different than any I've ever celebrated because in the midst of Covid-19, we are worshipping at home. I'm grateful though much has changed, some things remain the same. The Word of God is unchanging. Our reason to celebrate will forever remain. Our ever present God is always with us. 

God's put it on my heart to share a post each day this week. Reflections of the past. It's crazy to think I've been sharing on this blog for almost 12 years. Much has changed and my faith has grown. God led me to start it in 2008 and He's spoken to me through each and every post. He's led me to write because He knows I need to read it. And as the faithful God He is, He works through the work He asks us to do. I pray He continues that work as you join me this Holy Week to prepare our hearts for Resurrection Sunday. 

As you read, if He puts something on your heart, leave a comment. I'd love to hear what He's speaking to you. We can't gather together physically, but He's brought us here and we can praise Him for the work He's doing and seek Him together. Friend, I pray this week is a powerful one as you journey towards your Jerusalem with Jesus! 

From April 16, 2019

Crowds aren't my favorite thing. I'd rather visit with you one on one, but I've found in a big group of people it is pretty easy to blend in. In a crowd, it's tempting to go with the flow and simple to lose yourself in the masses. Friend, this holy week I'd like to encourage you to think about something that's been on my mind - Are you part of the crowd?

Jesus dealt with crowds as well and he was never wrongly influenced by them. Let's make sure we aren't either.

Mass groups of people played a role in Christianity back then and they still do today. Let's take some time and get a closer look. Matthew 21:6-11 paints the picture for us. Here we read -

The disciples went and did as Jesus had instructed them. They brought the donkey and the colt and placed their cloaks on them for Jesus to sit on. A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road. The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,
“Hosanna to the Son of David!”
“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”
When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?”
The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.” 

Did you notice a mention of crowds? What's your takeaway?

To me it seems Jesus' triumphant entry was met by many. They were welcoming him, cutting branches and announcing his coming. The whole city was stirred. That's a lot of people and activity and excitement.

In our world, Easter and Christmas morning might look a bit like this. We have more people than usual attending church services. Though Christianity is under attack, the world still recognizes these days and celebrates them as well. There is an excitement in the air and joy fills our hearts as we think of the newborn King and our risen Savior.

Let's fast forward in the story just a bit. Join me in reading Matthew 27:55-56 -

There were also many women there, looking on from a distance, who had followed Jesus from Galilee, ministering to him, 56 among whom were Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James and Joseph and the mother of the sons of Zebedee.

Let's also look at John 19:25 -  

Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.

Do you notice a difference? What has happened? Where's the crowd?

Friend, this may be a simple thing to overlook in the story of Jesus' last days, but I think it holds a lesson for us. The number of people at Jesus' side has surely changed and so have his circumstances.

What happens when our circumstances change? When the excitement of Christmas prep and Easter fun fades does our zeal for faith do the same? When trials come do we run from God or cling to Christ? When life is busy do we go with the flow and put our faith to the side? Are we content to be part of the crowd and praise Christ when it's convenient?

You don't have to tell me your answers, but I hope you take time to think about these questions. This holy week let's spend time reflecting on the Word and preparing our hearts for Resurrection Sunday, but may we also commit to following Christ wherever the road leads. Let's celebrate His coming and stay by His side always!