Archives for : March2020

Life Is Filled with Unexpected Events

Life Is Filled with Unexpected Events . . .

Like the First Easter, for Example.   By Sharon Sheppard

This morning I pulled on my sweats, poured a cup of coffee, and without taking time to put on makeup or give a second thought to how I looked, I attended our Sunday morning worship service.

It was a whole different experience because today I participated while sitting at my kitchen counter, staring at the screen of my Mac, as our church’s Sunday morning service streamed live. Due to the coronavirus restrictions imposed by our Governor, it had just become illegal for more than ten people to assemble in one place—a law we never would have dreamed of three short months ago.

I was pleasantly surprised by what an uplifting, worshipful experience it was to sing along from home to Martin Luther’s words from “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God”: 

Let goods and kindred go, this mortal life also. 

The body they may kill; God’s truth abideth still. 

His kingdom is forever.

Luther wrote these words in 1529 following the lethal bubonic plague (a disease far more deadly than the coronavirus, since it claimed millions of lives throughout Europe.)

As we look forward to Resurrection Sunday, we can only imagine what an astonishing worship event took place after Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary the mother of James came to anoint the body of the dead Jesus with spices. These were women who had followed him and believed he was the Messiah—only to have their hopes dashed to bits as they watched him die a slow, agonizing death on the cross.

They were stewing around about how they were going slide that huge stone away from the entrance of the tomb, when a couple of men in dazzling garments quietly said to them, “Don’t be alarmed. He’s not here anymore. Remember how he told you he was going to be crucified by evil men, but that he was going to rise from the dead on the third day?”

 Then they remembered.

“That same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst, and said to them, 

“Peace be with you.’”  John 20:19, NKJV

 This was and is the pivotal event in all of history. It’s the event that gives us hope for our own life after death if we embrace what He offered when He gave His life as an atonement for our sins.

Happy, HAPPY Resurrection Day!

Creamy Lemony Vegetable Pasta Salad

March is the month most of us are really, really, ready for Spring.  And, in Minnesota, it is often a long time in coming! We are anxious to shed our three layers of clothing and enjoy some of the wonderful warm days ahead. Also, we find ourselves digging out our healthy recipes that will help us face the drudges of what the brutal long winter sometimes does to our bodies. Therefore, I thought I would share this delicious, nutritious, recipe full of veggies and a cinch to make. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. Pasta (any variety) 
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise
  • Juice and zest of one lemon
  • Garlic clove minced (optional)
  • 1/4 cup red onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • Veggies of your choice, I like peas, corn and broccoli
  • 1/2 cup nuts (optional) I like almonds

Instructions

  1. Cook the pasta as directed on the box
  2. Whisk the mayo, oil, and lemon juice and zest, salt & pepper in a large bowl
  3. Drain the pasta and rinse with cold water until completely cooled.
  4. Add the pasta and vegetables of choice to the mayo mixture. Taste and adjust your seasonings to your liking.
  5. Can be refrigerated up to four days or enjoy immediately!

JOY: My Word for the Year

JOY: My Word for the Year By Mary Zigan 

Like many of you who have adopted the “ONE WORD’ concept-choosing One Word you hold dear for a year, then seeing how that one word weaves itself into many circumstances of your life throughout the year–this is something I have personally practiced for several years. 

And since we at The Wise Journey have for the past months been featuring The Fruit of the Spirit: Attributes of God that we would like Him to develop more fully in our own lives, and since this month’s attribute is Joy, which is the one word I had chosen for the year, it seemed like a good time for me to reflect on Joy. 

The noun JOY is defined as gladness not based on circumstances. Joy comes from a deep conviction within us and is eternal. 

For the Scripture declares: “When the glory of the Lord rises upon us, our hearts are radiant and will throb and swell with joy.” How exciting it is to be a part of spreading joy all around us. I encourage you to read the 60th chapter of Isaiah. I also encourage you this month of March to feed on Scripture verses pertaining to joy or choose one or two of the following quotes I’ve included here to hold close to your heart. You will find yourself radiant with joy! 

  • Find a place inside where there is joy, and Joy will burn out the pain.
    -Joseph Campbell 
  •  Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls. 
    -Mother Teresa
  • If you carry joy in your heart, you can heal any moment. 
    -Carlos Santana 
  • Joy is the serious business of heaven.
    -C.S. Lewis
  • Find ecstasy in life: the mere sense of living is joy enough.
    -Emily Dickenson
  • To get the full value of joy you must have someone to divide Joy with.
    -Mark Twain

JOY? In a World Like This?

Joy? In a World Like This? You’ve Gotta’ Be Kidding! 

By Sharon Sheppard 

No doubt about it—joy seems like a pretty scarce commodity these days. 

As the political arena heats up, insults fly, tempers flare, and so much of the news is contentious. Add to this scenario issues like poverty, homelessness, global warming, the coronavirus, and so many other concerns, and the picture can look grim. 

Joy seems unattainable. Unless we start looking for it in the right places. 

I’m frequently reminded of the way my Dad began every. Each morning he would look out the window to see what the weather was like. And whether the temperature hovered at 40 degrees below zero or had climbed to a humid 80 degrees above, Dad would daily quote this verse: “This is the day that the Lord has made. I will be glad and rejoice in it.” (Psalm 118:24) 

Recently I was asked the question: “What brings you joy?”: 

I didn’t have to think twice about that one. Virtually every day I sit down at the piano and play. Sometimes it’s just five minutes. Sometimes it’s an hour. My fingers wander over the keyboard as I experiment with chords and different progressions. Sometimes I pull out a hymnal or my old 59 PIANO SOLOS book from college piano lesson days. I love everything from classical music to jazz, and making music lifts my spirits and gives me joy. 

There are many other things that bring me joy, too. Meaningful conversations with dear friends. The beauty and fragrance of flowers. Settling in with a really good book. 

Laughter lightens my heart. I still love hearing my son and daughter laugh when they get together at family gatherings. I love it when my grandsons tease me, because I’m good at giving it right back at them. (I’ve had lots of practice at this, having grown up as the only girl among three brothers.) 

Fortunately, joy doesn’t depend on having all the circumstances of our lives line up in the Favorable column at the same time. Joy is more of an attitude, an act of the will. It’s a habit worth cultivating. Savor the little things in life. And the big things. 

Talking to the God who created the Universe brings awe and a sense of peace and assurance that we can know the One who is in control. 

As we celebrate JOY in this month’s blog remember that”…the JOY of the Lord is your strength.” (Nehemiah 8:10)