To quote a not so famous author… “It’s been a helluva couple of years!” He had been up and down the road in these past two plus years and it seemed like no matter how hard he tried or how much he prayed… the bad stuff just kept winning!

He got to the place where he began to doubt everything that had been holding him steady for more than half a century! Every time those closest to him tried to help all of their effort on his behalf, their prayers, their tears… nothing seemed to make any difference.

Then one day as he sat trying to pen the next chapter to a book he was engaged to write he found there were no more words. What had come so easy to him for so any years were as if the well was dry… he had nothing left to say.

As he sad, frustrated, discouraged with no fight left, an old man from a poor upbringing, deep in the Appalachian hills who had maybe a elementary school level of education walked by, pulled up a chair next to this man and just sat. For what seemed like the longest time. Didn’t say a word.

Finally, the author looked over at the man and said, “Is there something I can do for you?”

“No. Thank ya kindly. I’m fine.”

The author went back to staring at the blank page in front of him and in exasperation said out loud to no one in particular… “I give up.”

The old man who had appeared to be sleeping slowly raised his head and said, “What did you say son?”

“I said I give up! I’m tired of trying no matter what I do everything turns out wrong.”

The old man leaned in toward the author and looked him in the eye. The old man’s face showed a lot of years of a hard life, eyes so worn out, it was like he had all that he could take. And he said, “Did you hear about that poor, teenage girl, got pregnant ‘fore she was married… she had dream that her baby was going to be somebody really special. She got encouragement once in awhile that maybe just maybe this little boy might be special. He was to her anyway. Not much after the boy was a teenager, the baby daddy died and Momma was all alone again, poor, more kids now and nothin’ seemed to go her way. Her boy he grew up and took off like most do… oh he’d stop by once in awhile and check on her but he was gone a lot. She heard rumors that he had either been arrested or he was wanted for somethin’… She still loved though and she believed he was gonna be something special. Still her heart hurt every day when he wasn’t there and she didn’t hear much other than he was in trouble again. Finally she heard he was arrested and whatever it was he had done he was gonna be executed for it. Her heart crashed. She was as broken as any mother could ever be. Everything she’d ever hoped for was gone. She was ready to give up. She even showed up on the day he was to be killed and she couldn’t talk to him, couldn’t get close to tell him just one more time how much she loved him. Then as she looked out across the crowd, she could see her son lift his head and look toward her… She wasn’t sure but she thought he smiled and he said… “Sunday’s comin'”

With that the old man leaned back in his seat and said, “You know, I’ve had kind of a tough life. Most of my troubles I brought on myself.” With tears streaming down his cheeks, he went on… “But I remembered that story about that young girl who got pregnant and every time I’d feel like the bad stuff was winning I just remembered her son’s not so last words to her… Sunday’s comin’,,,”

With that the old man got up and walked away. The author sat there staring out after him. He closed his laptop and set it aside and just stared out toward the horizon as the sun began to set. As he turned back he saw that the old man had left a small New Testament sitting on his chair. The author picked it up and read the note scribbled in a simple hand inside… Be Ready Sunday’s coming.


The perfect God/man, Creator of all things, the Son of GOd blackened by the most horrific sins imaginable. God the Father could not bear to look.

Those who know the Easter story, who know the biblical account of the crucifixion and who have perhaps dug deeper into the traditions that surrounded the gruesome yet beautiful event, will remember well the climax of the story. At least, it is the climax of the story from our viewpoint. Luke 23 beginning in verse 44 is where I want to begin.

” Now it [l]was about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. 45 Then the sun was [m]darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in [n]two. “

Jesus had taken on the sin of the world. All sin for all time. The perfect God/man, Creator of all things, the Son of God blackened by the most horrific sins imaginable. God the Father could not bear to look. God the Father turned His face away, His back toward His only Son. Jesus cried and asked, “Why have you forsaken me?” The anguish of seperation between two who for eternity past had been One, now torn… Jesus commits His spirit to the Father and from our viewpoint, the story of Good Friday and Christ on the cross comes to an end.

Right now its almost 5am on Easter Sunday morning 2019. Most pastors are getting up preparing for the sunrise services. Me, an old retired cop, just spent 5 hours on a security detail for my company and I’m preparing for bed, hoping to make the non-sunrise service. But, driving home, contemplating Easter morning I began thinking about what time it was that Jesus actually arose. We know the women came to the tomb at first light but how long had Jesus been back to the earthly domain? Had He stood over His mother Mary, as she fitfully slept in shear exhaustion, eager to comfort her? Maybe watching over His disciples, knowing their hurt and how joy would come to them this day.

As I thought on those things, I went back in my mind to Friday. Just after Jesus died. That was perhaps the most amazing and overwheling part of the story and we, for the most part have missed it! The picture above of Jesus in heaven is a nice picture but think about Jesus story of the prodigal son and how the father came running down the road to greet him when he returned.

AFTER God the Father had to turn His back on Jesus, His only Son, seconds later, Jesus is there with the Father and God turns back, His face now beaming at His Son! Can you imagine the embrace? Can you picture God the Father running to embrace His Son? Ah, Easter, thank God!

An Act of Love

Riggs Ministry Minute “When there is only a minute for ministry”
Rev. Ross L Riggs, D. Min. True North Ministries
A heavy anticipation, not the kind one gets when anxious to see a grand-baby for the very first time but an anticipation that comes from hurt, deep within the soul. They had been up throughout the night, talking, remembering, laughing and crying; all the while carefully preparing the mixtures of natural nectar, spices and aloes that would together anoint their precious Savior. Not being able to sleep nor could they fill that aching emptiness in their hearts. Perhaps they hoped seeing Him again, even though it was just his dead and badly beaten body and to tenderly sooth it with balm from Gilead.
As the sun slowly broke across the horizon, faint streaks of light began to seep into the recesses of the garden of Jesus’ tomb. The two sisters, Mary and Salome, Zebedee’s wife, held hands as they made their way with the others among the heavily scented flowers of the garden, still wet with dew. The chill in the air was enough to cause the other Mary to pull her shawl around her shoulders; even as she did a chill crept across her and she shivered almost uncontrollably, but not from the cold. Emotions boiled up with each of them. It was if their hearts were racing as they made their way through the shadowy morning stillness.
Suddenly, they were there, standing in front of the tomb where they knew Jesus had been buried. Why is the stone rolled away? Why are the guards so very still? Why is everything so incredibly silent? The birds had suddenly stopped their singing. Every early morning sound that normally fills the air was halted. It was if every living creature was standing completely still, expecting some amazing news and no one wanted to miss it. As everyone listened, a beautiful, incredible voice came from the direction of the tomb. Could it be? Was that an angel, a messenger from heaven actually here in this beautiful place sitting atop the large stone? This is too amazing, like the many miracles they had witnessed as they traveled with Jesus across the countryside. And then it was the angel’s voice the broke the stillness. The words he spoke seemed to answer every question while creating a dozen more.
“The Jesus that you seek… He is not here. HE IS RISEN!”
She thought her heart would explode within her chest! Could it be true? Could she really have heard what was the hope of every hope she carried within her? Suddenly she felt as if she had to get away, to find someone and tell them, to learn the truth, to find Christ! Mary made her way back through the dense flowers of the garden, sending splashes of cold dew across her face as she ran. She stopped. There stood a man. The gardener? “Sir, you must tell me where they have taken them!” She pleaded with him as she dropped along the path and took hold of his robe. As she stared at the cold ground beneath her where she knelt, her breathing was rapid and erratic as if mocking the jumble of feelings she had inside. Then suddenly, that voice, that soft, gentle, completely unmistakable voice… “Mary” and she knew.

The Garden Tomb outside Jerusalem

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