Easter The Old Fashion Way

In the last few weeks there’s been a lot of controversies about the closure of places of worship due to the cornonavirus situation. Most places of worship have determined on their own to move their services online. Others have challenge the recommendations for social distancing.

I was watching pastor Rick Warren, from Saddleback Chuch in California, speaking on CNN and he said some things that really resonated with the way I view this issue.

He mentioned that pastors are not only responsible for leading the sheep, but also to protect it. And he also reminded people that on the first Resurrection day, the apostles were at home, in fear and Jesus came to them, right where they were.

While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.”

 They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”

When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence.He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.” Luke 34:36-44

The early church didn’t have a specific building to worship. The Holy Spirit is in us and the Word says that where there’s two or more of us together in his name, He is there. And if you’re like me, where there’s no other with me, the fact that I can join an online community makes it the “two or more of us” .

Here’s an article from Bible Truths that you may enjoy about the early church gatherings.

Is it different than worshiping with our friends and family? Yes, of course. At the same time, I don’t think we should place limits on God. How many people have gotten saved just by listening to an old teaching, or watching a TV show? The power of God is not limited by distance. We have the advantage to still congregate, just through other means.

Please be wise, for yourself, your family and those around you. Our celebration this year, will look a lot like the first resurrection day. Let the light of Jesus reach us where we are.

Stay safe!

Naty

Where’s my blessing?

Yesterday we celebrated the ultimate demonstration of Love. God in the flesh died for blessingsour sins, but didn’t stay dead, but conquered the grave to provide us with salvation and a new life. There are times when you don’t feel like you are living that life. You see others succeeding around you and here you are, serving the Lord and not getting what you believe to be rightfully yours.

I was reading the passage of Genesis 27:1-45. This is the story where Isaac is dying and tells Esau to make him dinner and he will bless him. Jacob and his mother plot against Esau, trick Isaac who ends up giving Jacob the blessing. Once the truth comes out, Esau feels defeated. The blessing was given to his brother and now he’s empty handed. His father tells him that now he can’t give him anything. Esau gets bitter and angry against his brother, but it was because he didn’t listen.

See, many times we’re in Esau’s position. We think about job that we want or the relationship that we’ve been in; suddenly they’re yanked out of our hands and we get bitter. It was ours we say. We’ve been faithful and working so hard. Why did my blessing go away?

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This is what we hear, “You will live away from the richness of the earth, and away from the dew of the heaven above. You will live by your sword, and you will serve your brother…” Everything was taken from us, now we have nothing but slavery to our pain and the yoke of seeing someone else enjoy what we believed to be ours. Here’s what I’m encouraging you to do today…keep reading!

See the next verse says,

“But when you decide to break free, you will shake his yoke from your neck”

In other words, you don’t have to live one single second in bondage. If you choose to break free right now, you will never be under that yoke, because you decided to break free. New mercies are waiting for you every day, and your blessings are intact. That what you thought was yours and stolen will be given to you tenfold, but only once you break free from the yoke of your brother. When you break the jealousy, the envy, the anger and unforgiveness, you will be set free.

This is your day beloved. Maybe it’s you who need a resurrection.

 

 

Home for Easter

As you have probably noticed, although some of the great authors from Grace and Faith Connection have done appearances at The Rising Muse, you have not heard much from me. I wish I could tell you that I was finishing my next book for your reading. Yes, I did some of that and the book is not yet ready. That has not been the reason for my absence. Life just got complicated. You can blame my 9-5, you can blame some health issues, but the reality is that at some point I had to be back.

I was born to write, and in these weeks when I was away, rather than resting I was wilting. It is this space that allows me to connect with you, to tell you how God is working in my life. More than my books, this is the place when I can share with you the message of hope. So I saw very fitting to resuscitate this blog on the most important day of our faith, Resurrection Day!

With that I know that life still happens and it’s always complicated, but one thing I’ve learned in my walk with Jesus is that you don’t need a lot of time, you just have to be intentional.

May the Lord Bless you this day and always. May his blessings be upon you. May the light and hope of his resurrection reaches your heart today.

HAPPY RESURRECTION DAY!

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A powerful story of redemption…

clip_image002[1] This book certainly held my interest straight through to the very emotional ending. Mary Anne Benedetto

With the ever-constant presence of her closest friend, Aimee, Desiree slowly makes her way to God and learns the greatness of His power and love. Cynthia

A very engaging story about faith, love, and friendship, and the trials and tribulations that life can bring you. Jersey Gina

Forgetting the Past

By Tracy Ruckman

Some days are beautiful and sweet and precious – days you wished could last forever. Then there are days that you wish you could do over. Days filled with problems and worries you wouldn’t wish on your worst enemies (well, maybe some of us wouldn’t, ahem.) Days – seasons of life – that seem to last forever, or perhaps just won’t go away.

Our pasts are like that too. Past failures, past mistakes, past choices that should have never been made. Although some pasts may be pretty, and filled with wise decisions, others – like my own – need a good washing in an industrial-strength machine.

But you know what? Paul wrote that we all sin, so all our pasts are actually dirty. So how do we handle all the guilt, shame, disgust associated with our past lives? How do we live a life that reflects joy and peace, and God’s goodness and mercy?

We must let our pasts go.

Seriously. It’s that simple. Or that hard. But we can do all things through Christ, can’t we?

Paul says, “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness” (Ephesians 4:22-24). We are to put the past behind us and put on the new self. Peter wrote about several qualities that we should have in our lives. He said, “make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love” and said that if we didn’t have those things we were forgetting that we have been cleansed from our past sins. (2 Peter 1:5-9)

Yes, as Christians, we are indeed new creations in Christ – Jesus went to that cross willingly, so that we might be free from an eternal death. Free from our past stupidity. Free from all our sin. He died for us. For you. For me. Period. No qualifiers, no exceptions. It’s done.

That is the message of this Easter season and that is the message of HOPE that we need to share with the world.

It is also the reason for Hope Tour 2012. My publishing company, Write Integrity Press, wants to take HOPE out into the world this summer, in a grassroots effort to connect readers and writers in a unique and fun way. Our purpose is to give HOPE to everyone we encounter, all along our journey. This world is dark enough – it’s time to share some of the Light.

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We need your help to make it possible though. The Hope Tour 2012campaign only has a few days left. Come on over and pledge a little or a pledge a lot to make this mission a reality. We appreciate your help, and hope to see you out on the road!

Bible verses taken from the New International Version.

SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Tracy’s book, Love Letters from the Heart, isLoveLettersCoverFRONTFREE on Kindle today!

From the back cover:

Friends, family, perhaps even strangers, have messages within their hearts they want to share with you, but never found the right time or the right place to speak them. Here, within these pages, you’ll find messages of hope, forgiveness, direction, and even prayers – written from caring, loving hearts directly to you and for you.
Know this – you are not forgotten or abandoned. You are not alone. You are loved – more than you can possibly imagine.
Who could love any of us that much? Turn the pages – we hope you’ll soon discover the answer.

Tracy headshot 0409 v2Tracy Ruckman is owner and publisher of two independent publishing companies, Write Integrity Press and Pix-N-Pens Publishing. She lives in metro Atlanta, and in 2010, returned to school as a full-time college student. She’s already looking forward to graduation in 2014, when she will finally be able to breathe again.

He’s alive!

easter-empty-tombIt is time to rejoice! There’s a party in heaven and in earth. The best party ever. They saw him bleeding, battered and bruised. Once he had exhaled and taken down from the cross his breathless body lied in the arms of his mother who cleaned his face with her tears. He was probably getting cold real quick as he had lost so much blood.

A friend of the family had a tomb that had not been used and gave it for them to put his body in there. Because it was the Sabbath and nobody was supposed to do anything, everyone left. The women came the next day to do the habitual embalming of that time and guess what? He was nowhere to be found.

Some thought that maybe someone had stole his body and they were starting to feel sadness, but then two angels told the women that he had risen as he had promised.  (Rephrasing from Luke 23 and 24)

If we think about the purpose for which we were created and how well we doslide-02 (not really) and that even then we obtain redemption because on a day like today he lives. 

If we think about other religions who worship someone who was a prophet, but there is an actual grave site where their body lies. Or those who believe that an unanimated object is their god. We have a living, breathing, Almighty, All Powerful GOD!!!!

In life, He won! In death, He won! The movie has a happy ending. Rejoice, he’s alive, he’s risen from the dead, he won it for us.!!

Happy Resurrection Sunday!!

The Real Easter

Sunday night I watched for the second time “The Passion of Christ” I still can’t get over all the things Jesus went through for our salvation. Watching the movie I was looking at those mocking him and when he was almost without strength kept beating on him and I admit I thought He’s God, he has the choice to say “you know what I’m done with all of you” Get up, kill them all and go home; but he didn’t.

This year I think I’m even angry with the peeps. I think I read a tweet that said no chocolate bunny gave their life for you and I totally agree! Easter is the culmination of a whole process that God created to lead us to salvation. Jesus was born with a mission, to save humanity. Before Jesus came the way to atone (purge, clean) our sins was through sacrificing animals. Blood covenant is the highest one as blood is life. (Hebrews 9:11-15 MSG) But when the Messiah arrived, high priest of the superior things of this new covenant, he bypassed the old tent and its trappings in this created world and went straight into heaven’s “tent”—the true Holy Place—once and for all. He also bypassed the sacrifices consisting of goat and calf blood, instead using his own blood as the price to set us free once and for all. If that animal blood and the other rituals of purification were effective in cleaning up certain matters of our religion and behavior, think how much more the blood of Christ cleans up our whole lives, inside and out. Through the Spirit, Christ offered himself as an unblemished sacrifice, freeing us from all those dead-end efforts to make ourselves respectable, so that we can live all out for God.

While I’m watching the movie I get a message on my phone from my blogger friend Adrienne McLeod who had written a blog post about Jesus choice to give his life for us. You should read its titled: Palm Sunday, Holy Week and the Gift of New Life

We now enjoy the benefits of that sacrifice. I’m sure God doesn’t want us to live in condemnation, but I can’t stop to think how for granted we can take the depth of his sacrifice.

Blessings!

Want Chocolate!

Various types of chocolate.
Image via Wikipedia

I heard from a local radio station that today was National Chocolate Day? First of all I’m really disappointed as a chocoholic that I didn’t get the memo sooner about such day even existed. I had been using Valentine’s Day, Easter, my birthday, Sunday and any other day to make it Chocolate day.

 Now, I don’t know if the people from the radio station have accurate information or my Google search does, but from what I found there are three National Chocolate days, which makes my outrage grow that I didn’t know such things…LOL! According to my sources there’s a Chocolate Day celebrated on July 7th. I wonder if that’s why my mother chose that day as her wedding date.

 Then there’s the US National Chocolate Day, which is celebrated October 28th. I can see that given that the colors of the fall are brown, beige and terracotta tones. Also the weather starts to cool off so hot chocolate is in order.  Chocolate fits right in.

 Finally is the World Chocolate Day, which is celebrated on September 4th. Pretty close to Labor Day, nothing better than some chocolate after a hard day of work.

 So mark your calendar my friends! If the radio station was wrong, it doesn’t matter, we’re celebrating Chocolate Day today too, for those of us who have discovered the passion for chocolate. If you were to ask my opinion on chocolate, if I have not made it obvious yet, let me just say… Any kind of nut covered with chocolate or anything that has raspberry and chocolate as an ingredient was personally made by the hand of God. : P

Now remember not to over indulge.

Enjoy!