He is Risen as He Said

He is not here. He is risen as He said.

If our Lord had died and had not risen, our hope would be in vain. Without Christ’s resurrection power, victory over sin would be nothing more than empty rhetoric with no hope of eternal life.

We would of all people be most miserable. But Christ not only died. He also rose again. Truly that is the reason for the victory.

If the joy of Easter is not a reality, you cannot be assured of anything but your earthly life. Today let the joy of Easter become reality.

He is risen as He said and is going before you into Galilee. There you will see Him (Mathew 28:7). Now we can sing with joy, “Christ the Lord is ris’n today! Alleluia.”

Emily Pippin, Guest writer

Joy In The Morning

Joy In The Morning

Today is the first day of the rest of your life.  So how will you begin it?  With joy?

Life is not always easy, but with the Lord everything is a blessing.  Sometimes we think the Lord isn’t fair.  We struggle and grasp for answers to what are seemingly sad moments, disappointments, and heartaches.  But be sure, friend: Nothing takes the Lord by surprise.  Nothing is a mistake.  No one is without hope.

When everything seems to fall apart, take hold of our dear Father and know that He is patient, loving, and kind. He will never make an error.  Rejoice in the Lord’s loving direction and guidance.  Then, every day keep rejoicing in His marvelous love and faithfulness.

Begin the first day of the rest of your life with great joy.

“So be truly glad!  There is wonderful joy ahead, even though the going is rough down for a while down here.  These trials are only to test your faith, to see whether or not it is strong and pure.  It is being tested as fire tests gold and purifies it—and your faith is far more precious to God than mere gold; so if your faith remains strong after being tried in the test tube of fiery trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day of His return.”

I Peter 1:6-7 TLB

Guest Writer: Emily L. Pippin

The Joy of Family

From the physical standpoint, this week has been rather difficult. Twice in the emergency room and then admitted to the hospital. But God has bestowed on me great joy as I have had not only my wife beside me but my daughter and son with me. They didn’t come because I needed them right now. Their plans for several weeks were to be here this week to visit. We were going to do a lot of things together. The Scripture reminds us that “I know the plans I have for you.” My plans involved playing games, having a home movie night, taking them to a special restaurant. God’s plans were to have them here for encouragement and for help for Emily. The Scripture reminds me that “In his heart man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.” Instead we have had some wonderful times to talk, to be with each other, to pray together, and to reminisce. Lots of treasured memories!

And I remember Exodus 15:26, “I am the Lord who heals you.”

What a great God we serve!

Haiku Images

I thought you might appreciate reading through the Haiku Cluster that the judges thought were worthy of first place winner in the competition. All of the haiku spring from the Scriptures related as listed.

Appropriate for the Easter season is “To say ‘I love you’ God sent a cross.” The truth that we are co-heirs with the eternal Godhead is incomprehensible, but the Scriptures certainly remind us how rich we are in Christ.

If a haiku or two moves you and you would like to share your thoughts, I would love to meditate on them with you.
I bequeath to you,                                                                   Romans 8:17a
every sunrise I’ve painted,
all originals. -God

Adam, while you slept,                                                           Genesis 2:21-22
God slipped Eve into your bed,
then he left, smiling.

To say “I love you,”                                                                  John 19:17-18
we send flowers or a card,
but God sent a cross.

Five little fingers                                                                       Luke 2:7
squeeze young Mary’s nose and face
as God lies on straw.

Often mothers ’ prayers                                                         I Samuel 1:27
mend the broken jars of clay
they molded from birth.

Silent, by a grave,                                                                   II Corinthians 1:4
arm around a friend, healing
a hole in the heart.

Before life’s bookends                                                         Amos 4:12b
squeeze away your last-held breath,
prepare for closure.

A Conference to Remember

Last week my wife and I had the privilege of attending the Florida Christian Writers Conference at Lake Yale in central Florida. What an exciting adventure from the moment we registered on Wednesday afternoon and picked up our room key until we left on Sunday afternoon after lunch.

The time was filled with speakers, appointments with publishers and critique personnel, continuing classes and workshops. I learned so much from them as I had opportunities to talk about my writing – haiku, memoir, devotionals, and Bible studies for small groups. Outstanding!

But the most rewarding experience was spending time with Christian people who have the same love for our Lord and want to share it through their love of writing.

Marti Pieper, chaplain for the conference, critiqued my memoir, Naked with Clothes On. Diane Matthews critiqued my devotionals and also taught 3 days of 2-hour classes honing our skills in devotional writing.

More about it next week. In the meantime, I would love to hear from you if you have ever attended a Christian Writers Conference, or any other Christian Conference. It’s a time of getting to know fellow believers who are also on life’s spiritual journey. What a time we are having on this earth, and we only see through a glass darkly until we are eternally with the Lord.

I am asking the Lord to help me improve my writing skills so that they can “Spur one another to love and good works” (Heb 10:24).

NOTE THE NAME CHANGE: The blog name has been changed from Umbilical to Guardedhearts.

Free, again

All sweet nectar’s gone.
Wings entangled in a net.
O to fly free, again.          dlp

Recently our small group Bible study sang “O Happy Day, O Happy Day, when Jesus washed my sins away.” We sang with exuberance and energy, but I sensed something was missing, desperately missing.

Maybe we’re like an American Copper butterfly, sucking dried up nectar from a Mexican petunia, enmeshed in a net, our delight, spontaneity, and purpose also dried up, and trapped by lethargy, indifference, and cooled-off-first love, not realizing we’ve entangled our wings. We fly ignorantly into the net, wiggle and squirm, entangling ourselves till our struggles wear us out. Then with all resources and energies expended, we finally cry out to you God in desperation, “Creator of the butterfly and petunia, Give me back the deep delight of your freedom.” (Psalm 51:12)

When all of life’s sweet nectar–its pleasure, newness, and daily praise–sis gone out of living, we’re left, desperately needing fresh wind under our wings and needing the spiritual boost of the Lord Jesus’ reassuring promise: “My joy might be your joy and your joy  fully mature.” (John 15:11)

Tender, understanding, patient Father, untangle life for us, cup us in your healing hands, and whisper reassuringly to us, “When the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” (John 8:36) Then we’ll fly off with renewed buoyancy–free in unfettered flight, findng that “our hearts leap for joy” again. (Psalm 28:7)  Amen

Have you recently felt that “leap for joy?” Please share. leonpippin@gmail.com