Lent Day 39 The Torn Veil

Lent – Day 39

The Torn Veil of Victory

And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split. Matthew 27:50-51

Reading the phrase “the veil was torn in two” in 2022 doesn’t hold as much weight as it did in Jesus’ time. What comes to mind when you picture a veil? Possibly a bride? So, why would a veil have anything to do with Jesus dying on the cross?

In fact, this moment was monumental, and there is more to it than you may be able to see from your twenty-first-century perspective.

The temple was where God chose to make His home with His people. Within the temple, behind a heavy curtain (called a veil) was the Holy of Holies. Only the high priest could enter this sacred space, and only after following elaborate instructions for purification.

The ripping of the veil at Jesus’ death represents something profound. Jesus offered the final sacrifice for purification — Himself. The moment that looked like ultimate defeat, Jesus’ death, was actually ultimate victory because of what His death (and resurrection) accomplished.

The violent tearing of the curtain represents both Jesus’ gruesome death and sacrifice for our sin, as well as the removal of the barrier between people and God. Now that the curtain was left ripped and open, sinful people could enter into God’s presence. With sin taken out of the equation through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross, all people could finally come freely into fellowship with God (see Hebrews 10:19-22).

The moment you confess Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you step into an eternal relationship with Him. No longer does the temple hold the presence of God, but His presence lives in you. As the Holy Spirit empowers you over time, you will experience Christ’s redemptive work in every area of your life.

Reflect and Pray

Read the full account of Jesus’ death on the cross in Matthew 27:45-55.

Also read Hebrews 10:19-22. What is one way your life is different because Christ tore the temple veil in two?

Consider this prayer: “Jesus, I’m amazed by Your wondrous mercy and love. Clear my mind and help me to focus on You. Thank You for giving your life in my place and for opening the way for me to have a restored relationship with You forever.”

Lent – Day 38 Where You Look Matters

Lent – Day 38

Where You Look Matters

Peter said to Him, “Even if I must die with You, I will not deny You!” And all the disciples said the same.” Matthew 26:35

Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came up to him and said, “You also were with Jesus the Galilean.” But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you mean.” Matthew 26:69-70

Just as day was breaking, Jesus stood on the shore; yet the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. … When Simon Peter heard that it was the Lord, he put on his outer garment, for he was stripped for work, and threw himself into the sea. John 21:4, 7

Hours before Jesus’ death, Peter adamantly stated that he’d never leave Jesus. But in His darkest hour, Peter did.

Let me ask you a question: Where do you think Peter was looking at that moment?

Peter no longer had his eyes set on his friend, whom he said he would never deny. Peter’s eyes were shifting to the aggressive crowds on his left and on his right. I imagine Peter was afraid that he’d receive the same fate as his Lord. So he responded, “No, I don’t know Him!” His heart broke when he realized what he’d done.

But after Jesus’ death and resurrection, Peter took a fishing trip. When Peter heard that it was the Lord on the beach cooking breakfast, he didn’t even wait for the boat to dock. He dove into the water, looking straight ahead to Jesus. I imagine he had in mind the love, grace and forgiving nature of his friend. Now, Peter was running to Him alone.

Where you look matters.

If you want to grow into a faithful leader like Peter, you too must learn to keep looking at Jesus, even during fearful times. You can do this by making a daily habit of reading Scripture and talking to Him through prayer. As Peter would later say, “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of Him” (2 Peter 1:3, NIV).

So, where are you looking today? How can you fix your eyes on Jesus?

Respond

One of the primary ways you can focus on Jesus is through studying His Word. It can be a challenge to consistently do this, so you need to be intentional.

Before moving on, read the full account of Peter’s denial of Jesus in Matthew 26:69-75 and his joyful reunion in John 21:1-20.

Open your calendar and block out 15-30 minutes each day to help you keep your eyes on Jesus this week.

Lent Day 25 Pride, Humility and Surrender

Lent – Day 25

Pride, Humility and Surrender

“All the rich of the earth will feast and worship;
all who go down to the dust will kneel before Him — those who cannot keep themselves alive.” Psalm 22:29

“He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” Colossians 1:17

Many years ago I attended a women’s retreat at the beach. The library in the reading room was expansive. So I took advantage of a few days of respite to refresh my spirit. I finally landed on a book of Charles Spurgeon’s sermons. It wasn’t long until I was swept away not only in the manner of his words but the wisdom therein.

His paraphrase of Psalm 22:29 tugged deeply at my heart. In it, he says, “No one can keep their soul alive, not even for an hour.”

I was truly swept up in imagining the work of the God of the universe keeping me alive — body and soul.

At the end of the weekend, I had learned so much about myself. The speaker was a woman of grace, wisdom and humility. I was inspired to evaluate my own life that weekend. There were many things I had gleaned from the lessons, the other incredible women and my time lingering among the words of Charles Spurgeon.

When we think of pride or self-righteousness, we often conjure up images of the ultra-religious, who must do everything perfectly and believe that is their salvation. But, in truth, pride is more than that. It’s any desire to have control over our lives, rather than trusting them to God. Humility is realizing that God is the one who keeps our heart beating moment by moment — and He controls everything else as well.

In the years since, I have experienced the realities of my inability to control, manage, change or improve many things in my life. I continue to learn how to trust fully; to surrender control to the One who holds it all.

Reflect and Respond

Take a few moments now to sit in silence with God. As you close your eyes and breathe deeply. Notice what feels unmanageable to you. Imagine bringing yourself to Jesus, who has a look of compassion on His face. Rest a while with Jesus, knowing you are loved and you are safe with the One who keeps your soul alive. Talk to Him as you feel led, or simply enjoy being with Him in silence.

40 Days Of FaithFULL Journey To The Cross

Join me beginning March 2 for a faithFULL 40 day journey to the cross.

The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God, as it is written in Isaiah the prophet:

“I will send My messenger ahead of You, Who will prepare Your way” —

“A voice of one calling in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way for the Lord, make straight paths for Him.’” Mark 1:1-3

These ancient words call to us today.

Prepare, listen, pay attention. Repent and get ready for God to show up.

Lent is a time set apart for just these practices, and we’re glad you’ve chosen to spend it with us. We invite you to prepare, listen, pay attention, reflect and repent as you get ready to celebrate Christ’s resurrection on Easter Sunday.

Starting now, join us on a journey “From Ashes to Resurrection.” We’re exploring the ways Jesus delivered you through His life, death and resurrection.

When Jesus Christ saved you, He made you new. He flooded the dark corners of your life with purifying light and breathed the fresh life of His Spirit into you. And He is continuing His miraculous work in you every single day.

Spend these next weeks recounting the many ways Christ has changed you — and continues to change you — through life with Him, now and into eternity.

2022 MRO Community Center Schedule and Sponsorships

With the new Nascar season fast approaching, the Motor Racing Outreach Community Center and staff are anxious to pull into Daytona to start the 2022 season.

With scheduled maintenance complete on our equipment, we have scheduled the Community Center and staff for 22 races. We have missed being able to provide support for your families as we have always done before 2020 turned our world upside down. Our staff is excited and looking forward to seeing everyone more this season.

Would you please consider helping make our 2022 season possible by sponsoring the MRO Community Center for a weekend. It has been our joy to serve NASCAR families and community for 20 plus years.

Our operational costs, as I mentioned earlier, have already begun with the annual maintenance on our equipment. Weekly staff support and operational costs related to getting equipment to the track can only be met with your help financially throughout the season.

We are so grateful for your generosity though the years through race sponsorships, regular monthly donations, corporate sponsors and weekly ongoing Community Center supply needs. Please feel free to contact me to discuss how we can partner together in supporting your family.
Thank you!
Melanie Self 704.507.2624 http://www.go2mro.com melanieself@go2mro.com

2022 MRO Community Center Schedule

Daytona Atlanta
Martinsville
Bristol Easter Egg Hunt
Talladega
Darlington
Charlotte
Nashville
Road America
Atlanta
Pocono
Michigan
Watkins Glen
Daytona
Darlington Bristol National Anthem
Talladega Fall Festival
Charlotte Homestead
Martinsville

MRO Community Center

MRO Bible Club Kansas

God Loves You

The birds were singing sweet songs the day I made this video. I did not realize just how much until watching it back today. 🤗

I always loved spring. New life. Flowers of every color now warmed by the sun popping up through the cold, dark brown dirt of winter. Miraculous. Baby birds chirping as they await mama birds return with food. All of the many moments of spring remind me of time with my grandmother who was larger than life and a soul with more mystery and beauty than the brightest star I have ever seen.

From a young age, she would sing songs that I had never heard. One of my favorites songs she ever sang was one about sparrows. The discovery of a new nest each spring would stir the words and she would sing- “I sing because I’m happy. I sing because I’d free. His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches me.”

She taught me so much about Jesus, not always in words but with her life. I longed for the joy the smallest thing would bring to her. The wonder of it all still draws me to pursue Jesus daily.

She taught me about God’s love, the beauty of creation, to be grateful and give thanks in all things.

Jesus was truly her portion and constant friend. Could not share this video today with you and your children without thinking of her and living once again even for a moment in her gracious ways. I know God’s love and care because of moments walking right alongside of her. I can still hear her voice singing…..

When Jesus is my portion. A constant friend is He. His eye is on the sparrow and I know He watches me.

“Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they?” Matthew 6:26

You are so loved by God precious one!!!

DIY Easter Story Stones

Easter Story Stones

How to Make Easter Story Stones

Easter story stones (also known as resurrection story stones) are a fun and creative way to tangible engage with the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection. A wonderful way to help you tell the Easter story.

Easter is one of my absolute favorite time of year. We get to celebrate Jesus’ victory over sin and death, the promise of resurrection, and the promise that God will one day restore everything that is broken about our world.

One way to keep the real meaning of Easter at the forefront (instead of it getting lost amidst all those chocolate eggs and bunnies) is to tell the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection each year with your kids. If you do this in a fun and creative way, it will make the experience more memorable and more likely to stick with your kids.

Easter story stones are a great way to get your kids tangibly engaged with the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection. They can play with the stones, and they can use them to retell the story in creative ways.

What are Easter Story Stones

Easter Story Stones are small rocks, or stones, painted with symbols from the Easer story. They are super simple to make, even if you have little artistic skill, and they add a great visual and tangible element to telling the Easter story.

Here’s a picture of the Easter story stones.

DIY Easter Story Stones

How to Use Your Easter Story Stones

You can use your Easter story stones in all sorts of different ways that will get your kids engaged with the Easter story. Here are some ideas.

• Grab your favorite Children’s Bible Story book or read straight from the Bible.

• Use your Easter story stones instead of Resurrection Eggs and have an egg (rock) hunt in your backyard.

• Hide them around the house on Easter morning and have the kids find all the stones. Once they’ve gathered them all, you can use them to tell the Easter story.

• Make your ow Ressurection Eggs with those empty plastic eggs that you can buy at the dollar store) and use your story stones instead of scrounging up all the items needed for the eggs.

• Have the kids put the stones in the right order as you tell (or read) the Easter story.

• Have the kids play with the stones and make up their own version of the Easter story. (This is great for working on remembering the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection, and for putting it into your own words.)

• Make a set to give as a gift.

• Use your Easter story stones during Sunday school or other kids’ ministry to help tell the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection.

How to Make Your Own Easter Story Stones

Making your own Easter story stones is super simple. All you need to do is select some Bible passages and symbols (you’ll find everything that we used for our set below) and paint some rocks to help illustrate the story.

Materials needed:

• Rocks/Stones

• white paint if you are using dark stones

• Paint Markers or Sharpies

• pencil

• Fabric bag store your stones (optional)

• spray sealant or Mod Podge (Dollar Tree)

You can buy craft stones that are ready to be painted, or you can gather some stones from nature (which adds an element of adventure to your story stone project, and it saves you some money).

Directions:

Here are the stones that I included in our set, along with Scripture references for each symbol. You can use this as inspiration for your own set of story stones and make the same ones, or get creative and add your own symbols.

• donkey with palm fronds – Matt 21:1-9

• bread and wine – Matt 26:17-30

• praying hands – Matt 26:36-39

• money – John 18:2-3

• sword – John 18:12-14

• crown of thorns – John 19:2

• cross – John 19:17-18

• three crosses – Luke 23:32, 39-43

• temple veil – Mark 15:38

• boulder – Luke 24:1-2

• empty tomb – Luke 24:3

• angel – Luke 24:4-8

• fish – Luke 24:36-43

• risen Jesus – Luke 24:50-51

Gather all your supplies. Rinse your stones in warm water and let them dry completely. If you have darker stones (not the white ones), give them a few coats of white par stones using a pencil. You can purchase the white rocks on Amazon. They are ready to use if you’d prefer bypassing the painting.

Use your paint pens (permanent markers work too)to fill in the details of your stones. To makes your stones really pop, outline all your symbols with a black paint pens or permanent markers.

Beautifully DIY Easter Resurrection Rocks

Optional: once your stones are completed and dry, give them a coat with a spray sealant or Mod Podge. Your stones are complete! Now use them in creative ways to engage with the Easter story.

Keep them in a simple bag or box to create
an Easter tradition for many years to come!!

Telling the Easter Story with Story Stones

We like to use our Easter story stones to tell the Easter story from memory. You can use yours to do the same, or you can read the story from a Bible or your favorite age appropriate children’s Bible.

Here is the basic sequence of events in the Easter story, along with the corresponding Bible passages for each story stone.

Jesus’ Entry into Jerusalem (Palm Sunday)

Palm Sunday is the Sunday before Easter.  When Jesus arrived in Jerusalem, riding on a donkey, people laid palm branches on the road and sang “Hosanna”, which means saviour. (Matt 21:1-9)

The Last Supper

The night before Jesus was crucified, he shared a meal with his disciples and told them that one of them would betray him.  He shared bread and wine with them, and told them that the bread represented his body and the wine represented his blood.  His body would break, just like the bread, and his blood would pour out, just like the wine, but this is the way that God would rescue the world.  Through Jesus’ death, he would wash away all their (and our) sins, and heal God’s broken world.  (Matt 26:17-30)

The Garden of Gethsemane

After his last supper with his disciples, Jesus went with a few of his closest disciples to a garden to pray.  He prayed that he wouldn’t have to suffer crucifixion and death, but he also said that he wanted to do his Father’s will, and not his own.  Jesus said that he would be crucified if that was God’s plan. (Matt 26:36-39)

While in the garden, some soldiers came to arrest him, after Judas (who was bribed with thirty pieces of silver) told them where to find him. (John 18:2-3; 18:12-14)

Jesus’ Crucifixion

The soldiers led Jesus away to be crucified.  

They made a crown of thorns and placed it on his head, calling him “king of the Jews”.  (John 19:2)

They nailed him to a cross, between two thieves. (John 19:17-18)  

One of the thieves insulted Jesus, but the other one defended him.  The second thief asked Jesus to remember him when he came into his kingdom, and Jesus promised that that day, he would be with him in paradise.  (Luke 23:32;39-43)

When Jesus died on the cross, the veil inside the temple – the veil that separated the place where only the priests could access God from the rest of the temple – was torn in two, from top of bottom, signalling that there was now no barrier between people and God. (Mark 15:38)

A man named Joseph took Jesus’ body down from the cross, after he had died, and laid it in a tomb.  Roman soldiers rolled a giant boulder to block the entrance to the tomb and guarded it, to make sure that no one could get in or out.

The Empty Tomb

On the third day, just before sunrise, Mary Magdalene and some of the other women went to the tomb to wash Jesus’ body.  When they got there, they discovered that the stone that was blocking the entrance had been rolled away. (Luke 24:1-2)

When the women entered the tomb, they discovered that it was empty: Jesus’ body was not there. (Luke 24:3)

They encountered an angel who told them that Jesus was no longer there, that he had risen from the dead.  The angel told the women to go tell the other disciples. (Luke 24:4-8)

Later that day, Jesus appeared to the disciples.  He let them touch him to show that he was real, and he ate a meal of boiled fish with them. (Luke 24:36-43)

The Ascension

After Jesus stayed with the disciples for a while, he told them that he was going to leave and return to heaven, but that the Holy Spirit would come to be with them. Jesus blessed them and he was taken up into heaven. (Luke 24:50-51)