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Gamma, I Love You!

When my 6-year-old grandson Ryan comes running to me and covers me with wet kisses, throws his little arms around me, and tells me “I love you,” it just warms my heart. Ryan is a disabled child with Luscan-Lumish Syndrome, an intellectual disability, kind of rare, not much is known about it. Ryan is a child of God. He prays and sings songs of praise by memory. He has a great smile that melts your heart.

I received a beautiful letter from Jedd Lapid, Vice President of Development at Bethesda Lutheran Communities for the $100,000 check received on March 20, 2018 for our mission grant, "Sharing Jesus with People with Disabilities." He thanked the ladies of LWML for their prayers and support as we continue the work of spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ to people with disabilities.

This mission grant is one that melts my heart because we sometimes forget that children with disabilities are God's children too! But not only the disabled. There are children out there who are hungry, who are homeless, and who are hurting. They need your support and prayers, please consider making an extra donation to LWML for mission grants.

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What’s on your calendar?

Has Spring fever hit your family? My husband is a planter, and the minute the warm days of April start to seep into our weather, he is buying seeds and raking ground for his yearly garden. I can count on a large crop of fresh vegetables for our table and to share with others.

Also adding to April traditions is preparation for each 2018 LWML District Convention. The first conventions will begin the weekend of April 13 & 14. Many of our sisters in Christ will participate in their district conventions in May, June, July, August, and September.

Your district is looking for you to join in the worship services, servant events, Bible studies, selection for mission grants, election of new officers, participation of Young Woman Representatives, Heart to Heart Sisters, and always fun and fellowship.

District webpages are full of information, just waiting for you to investigate and place the dates on your calendar. The LWML webpage lists all 2018 District Conventions with dates and themes, under the NEWS & EVENTS tab and Convention Central.

Mark your calendars! Keep your districts in prayer! Join in the fun!

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Dishwashing Fellowship

Looking back, I admit that the task of standing at the kitchen sink and hand-washing dishes after our family’s meal wasn’t my preferred chore. As the oldest sibling, that was my task, and it needed to be done without grumbling, according to my mother. However, she was an encourager for conversation. At first, washing dishes was a task completed alongside my mother, then later on with younger sisters. For the most part it was a pleasant time.

Our conversations included school, family, friends — you name it! However, things changed when the dishwasher arrived. It really wasn’t until I was on my own did I understand how much I missed those times for conversation. It had been my dishwashing fellowship. Unfortunately, I didn’t subject my boys to washing dishes.  I know now we missed out on some special conversations.

Don’t miss out, personally, specifically, publicly, and frequently engage a conversation about how to get involved with LWML, even if it is through washing the dishes. Many resources are available on the website.

Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing (1 Thessalonians 5:11).

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Christ is Risen!

Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand ... For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:1, 3–4).

In accordance with the Scriptures, Paul writes, with the note that the resurrection has a biblical foundation. What he communicates to the Corinthian congregation is founded in the Hebrew Scriptures and finds its fulfillment in Jesus of Nazareth.

Christ died for our sins Isaiah 53:12c
He bore the sin of many, and makes intercession for the transgressors. 

He was buried Isaiah 53:9a
They made his grave with the wicked and with a rich man in his death.  

He was raised on the third day Isaiah 53:10b
When his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days.

Paul received as of first importance this Gospel: for sinners, there is a Savior. Christ died, and was buried, and rose again on the third day, for everyone burdened by the weight of sin and death. He reminds the Corinthian people of this Easter truth and proclaims it from the richness of all Scripture. Christ is Risen. He is risen indeed! Alleluia! 

Dear heavenly Father, keep us grounded in Your Word, for Your Word is truth, and Your truth reveals Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior for All. During this time of celebration about the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, lift up our hearts by Your powerful Spirit to speak of our risen and living Lord. He died to bring us forgiveness of sins, life and salvation. May our confidence and joy be found in Your Holy Word as it rings out with the resurrection victory in Jesus. Amen.

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The Pain

What pain there must have been. I just can’t imagine. Can you? Hanging there on the cross, the pain must have been unbearable. Nails driven into the hands and the feet. Wearing a crown of thorns on the head. He hangs there, in pain. We just can’t imagine what it must have been like.

While that is true, that is not the pain that I am talking about. Can you imagine the pain of being separated from the heavenly Father? Jesus faced that as He hung on the cross. The pains of the cross were nothing compared to the pain of bearing the fullness of law on our behalf. “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matthew 27:46) Forsaken, not because He hung on the cross. Forsaken because He was facing what each one of us deserved. He was paying a price that you and I cannot pay. In doing so, He faced the greatest pain of all, forsaken by the Father on the cross.

That is what makes today such a Good Friday. I am often asked why it is called Good Friday when Jesus died on this day. Because of what Jesus did on the cross on that Friday long ago, through faith in Him alone, you and I no longer need to fear being separated from our heavenly Father. We receive the gift of eternal life in heaven instead of eternal damnation in hell. That all comes because of that which Jesus did on that day. Is not this a good thing? It truly is a Good Friday. On this day, the Son of God paid our ransom price.

In a hymn we sing:

“Here I might stay and sing,
No story so divine!
Never was love, dear King,
Never was grief like Thine.
This is my friend,
In whose sweet praise
I all my days
Could gladly spend.” (My Song is Love Unknown, text, public domain)

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The Greatest Love

Maundy Thursday, the last full day of Jesus’ life before His crucifixion. He spent it with His disciples, eating the Passover and teaching them one last time before His death. Jesus said “A new commandment I give you, that you love one another” (John 13:34a). Then Jesus says, “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13).  I am sure that the disciples had no clue what Jesus was talking about at that moment. They were struggling to figure out the washing of their feet and the words to Judas. Even with all of Jesus’ words of that which was about to take place, they had no clue as to the depth of what Jesus was saying.

Jesus goes on to show them the depth of His love. In John 19:30b we read, ... he bowed his head and gave up his spirit. Jesus doesn’t just say He loves us. He shows His love in the greatest way possible. You can see it as you look to the cross. There on the cross, you see His love. He gives up His sinless, perfect life for you and me, sinners that we are. He takes our place under the Law and pays the full price for our sins. That is the depth of His love.

The disciples didn’t understand what Jesus meant until after the resurrection. So often, we do not understand the depth of His love for us until that moment when we are in such need because of that which is going on in our lives. At that moment, we look to the cross, see our Lord’s suffering and death. It is then that we say, “There is His love for me.” Thank You Lord for Your love shown in Your death on the cross. 

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Road Trip Time

Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give a reason for the hope that you have (1 Peter 3:15 NIV).null

In a few days the calendar will turn to April — a month when LWML district conventions begin. This year there will be 75th anniversary celebrations in many districts. At these family reunions great memories will be shared, milestones highlighted, and stories retold. So,  get ready, take some sisters and brothers in Christ with you and rejoice in what God has done, is doing and will do through the work of the LWML.

nullJust as faithful women earlier served the Lord with gladness, today Lutheran Women in Mission continue to support the work the Lord has prepared for them with their hearts, hands, feet, voices, and treasure. Seventy-five years ago those treasures were pennies, nickels and dimes that supported mission work around the world.

In tribute to the rich legacy of the LWML, you might encourage those in your society and district to make donations to the 75th Anniversary Thank Offering. It would be amazing to see how much could be gathered if everyone in every district donated 75 cents, $7.50 or more?  Donate at www.lwml.org/donate-endowment-fund, or mail to the LWML Office, 3558 S. Jefferson Ave., St Louis MO 63118. Please note the donation as LWML 75th Anniversary Thank Offering.

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