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While writing the “Passover and Easter” post, I got to thinking about some of the usual American Easter season traditions. I recalled my mother doing a thorough spring cleaning of our home around the time of Easter and a special Easter meal following church on Easter Sunday. We went to church every Sunday and had a nice Sunday dinner afterward. But Easter dinner was usually something special, sometimes with guests. My wife remembers similar traditions in her home.
But, where did these traditions originate? I haven’t researched their origins, but could spring cleaning be derived from the Jewish tradition of cleaning all the leaven from the home? (Leaven represents sin.) Could the special Easter Sunday meal be derived from the special family meal on Passover? I’m not sure how ham got into the picture, but we won’t go there today.
Just a fun thought to keep in mind as you observe your personal Easter Season traditions.
Until next time…“May the LORD bless and protect you…May He give you Shalom.” (Numbers 6:24-26)
Life is full of storms and troubles. The 2/20-21/2021 Stepping Stones devotion from Lighthouse Network addresses storms. I share it with permission.
Be Careful and Don’t Be a Storm-Chaser?
February 20-21, 2021
Some people get a high from drugs, alcohol, or even cutting themselves. But others find ways to get a natural adrenaline surge by putting themselves in challenging or even dangerous situations. Tornado chasing is one of these thrill-seeking activities made popular by the movie Twister, where both professional scientists and amateurs literally chased tornados hoping they would turn into life-threatening storms. The more dangerous the tornado, the closer they would get to being swept up into the funnel. At times they got so close that injuries occurred and their lives were definitely at risk. Obviously, some people are actually drawn to the storms. Most do it to take once in a lifetime photos. But those who do it solely for the thrill and the danger are adrenaline junkies.
One of our taglines at Lighthouse Network is “Guidance through life’s storms.” Many past Stepping Stones Devotionals reference “storms” in our lives. Storms are times of turbulence, anxiety, darkness, and usually, impending doom. The journey is tough and we might be pushed far from our intended course. The usual assumption is that storms come out of nowhere and hit us when we least expect them … that we have no early-warning signs or system. Oftentimes this is true.
But, if you look closely, there are certain people who actually create or chase after life’s storms. I have done that myself on occasion. Sometimes, we aren’t aware that we are creating a storm while making mistakes and poor choices out of ignorance. But oftentimes, we make conscious choices, knowing we are choosing the wrong fork in the road … addictions, eating issues, emotion management problems, sexual dalliances, gossip, tantrums, giving into temptation, staying up too late, etc. These behaviors lead us right into the eye of a storm. Not only do we create storms for ourselves, but the storms we create can also blast innocent bystanders.
Various reasons exist for repeatedly making these bad choices, but the bottom line is that we get some satisfaction or perceived benefit from them. The gain might not outweigh the downside of the decision. But in the moment we don’t care. That small gain is all we focus on. We feel we are invincible … or that the storm will blow in a different direction … or that we’ll be able to minimize the damage from this particular storm.
Some storms arrive without warning and we cannot avoid them: catastrophic illnesses, car accidents, a fallen economy. There are also storms created by our poor decisions. Of course, we know that the enemy is constantly trying to influence us to make bad choices that damage our lives and souls. However, we must also accept that we were created with this beautiful thing called free will. We can always choose to avoid a storm, or to step right in the middle of a tornado.
Today, be honest and examine yourself. Identify the areas of your life where you are a storm-chaser. Bad habits, a loose tongue, a caustic attitude, guilt, anger, anxiety issues, addictions, impulsivity, relationship problems with a spouse, kids, parents, or co-workers. These usually have some element of storm-chasing. Do you make choices that once again place you smack in the middle of a storm? Consider choices you could make to avoid a storm. Think about how you might create your own great sunny weather. WITHIN REACH will help you examine your decisions, helping you step away from storms and into clear sailing. Whether you avoid a storm or you step right in the middle of a life-interfering twister is your decision, so choose well. If you know someone caught in an acute storm and needs any kind of treatment, call 844-Life-Change (844-543-3242) and we can usually find Christian options for you.
Dear Father God, I humble myself under Your almighty hand. As I truthfully examine my past actions, I see I am guilty of creating and chasing storms. I no longer want to seek storms. I also know that You are my lighthouse in the storms I cannot avoid. Help me, Lord, to stop chasing storms and chase You instead. Help me run away from storms by constantly setting my compass toward You. I pray in the name of my early-warning system, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
“Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster. For I command you this day to love the LORD your God and to keep his commands, decrees, and regulations by walking in his ways. If you do this, you will live and multiply, and the LORD your God will bless you and the land you are about to enter and occupy. But if your heart turns away and you refuse to listen, and if you are drawn away to serve and worship other gods, then I warn you now that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live a long, good life in the land you are crossing the Jordan to occupy. Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the decision you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live! You can make this choice by loving the LORD your God, obeying him, and committing yourself firmly to him. This is the key to your life. And if you love and obey the LORD, you will live long in the land the LORD swore to give your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” Deuteronomy 30:15-20
You may also want to read “Got Trouble?“ by yours truly.
Until next time…”May the LORD bless and protect you…May He give you Shalom.” (Numbers 6:24-26)
Disclaimer: As mentioned in my Welcome post, I do not necessarily endorse authors or organizations that I quote or repost. This also applies to Lighthouse Network. I am blessed by many of the Stepping Stones devotionals and they give blanket permission to share them. However, I have not researched any of their help resources and, therefore, I cannot personally endorse them.
Something to ponder…
“When did you consent to the change from the government serving you, [which is what it was created to do and what elected officials are supposed to do,] to you serving the government and it ruling over you?” ( Jeremy Elliot, parenthetical stmt mine)
Disclaimer: I couldn’t find information on Jeremy Elliot himself, but I liked this quote taken from a podcast that was sent to me.