Showing posts with label Easter. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Easter. Show all posts

Sunday, April 17, 2022

What fills you on Easter?

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
April 17, 2022

When you think about Easter, what comes to your mind the most? Is it getting together with family and friends? Is it decorating, buying candy or hiding eggs? Maybe getting dressed up? Carrying on a family tradition?

For some, it is going to church and hearing about how Jesus walked out of the Sepulcher. For me it is thinking about all the people who believed that Jesus was the Son of God and then watching Him die on the cross. Imagine if you were there. Would you feel as if what you believed had just been proven wrong? Or, would you remember the other things you saw happen with your own eyes that Jesus did?

Would you remember seeing the lame walk, the blind see, the crowd being fed by five loaves of bread and two fish? Would you remember what it was like to hear His voice and feel the your soul being lifted up by His words? Would you still believe He was the Son of God and His life was not really over?

There are things we may think are impossible, until we see them with our own eyes. Still, when other things happen, we tend to forget about God turning hopeless situations into miracles. I imagine the people spent three days feeling as if an innocent, wonderful man, was put to death and that was the end of His story. His mission and life ended as far as they knew and with Him went their hopes.

Then think about what it was like for them to hear that the Sepulcher was empty and He lived. Think about those who were with Him and fearing for their own lives, and then seeing Him, hearing His voice, looking into His eyes and seeing the marks on His hands and feet. The impossible became possible. People knew that what they believed was actually true and the knew everything He said to them was true.

We all know what it is like to do the right thing and suffer for it. We know what it is like to be praised for helping someone by the same people who walk away when we ask for help. We know what it is like to want to visit the lonely people we know, call them and pray for them, as much as we know what it is like when no one is there for us.

We know what it is like to hunger for hope when it seems no matter what we do, how many times we ask for help or search for solutions, nothing changes. Then we wonder why we are left abandoned by those we stood by. Why were we left hungry by those we fed? Why are we not worthy of support by those we supported?

Jesus had served His Father and did what He was sent to do. He suffered for it but then was glorified. He knows everything we're going through, including getting angry, crying and struggling to do the right thing.

We celebrate His birth and His Resurrection, but we forget about how His life matters in our own. Nothing we go through is not known and experienced by Him. He knows what it is like when we lose hope, feel as if no one cares about us. When people do not believe what we say. When we are abandon and let alone. He knows what it is like to do what God wants us to do, and suffer for it. What it is like to help others, but no one will help us.

He also knows what it is like to feel being a part of miracles to others. He wanted to save everyone and heal everyone, but not everyone wanted what He had to give. That did not stop Him from doing what He could and nothing stop Him from doing what He can now.

No matter how lonely you are, because of Him, God hears our prayers. No matter how we are treated, God sees it and He will not abandon us. People walk away from us but The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are always with us. I know I am comforted by all the times when everything seemed so hopeless for me, but God turned it all around. Right now, I am comforted knowing no matter how lonely I feel, God is still there and trying to work things out for the miracle I've been praying for. He is there for you too.

This Easter Day, remember what this day is truly about and let it fill you with the hope of miracles in your own life everyday and let it guide you to being part of a miracle to others.

Kathie Costos author of healing PTSD books.

Latest books

The Lost Son

Part One

Alive Again
The Lost Son Part Two

Stranger Angels
The Lost Son Part Three

Sunday, April 5, 2020

His Love redeemed all of us!

Honoring those who risk their lives on Palm Sunday

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
April 12, 2020

For many Christians, today is Palm Sunday. (Sorry fellow Greeks but ours is next week.)

I spent most of the day thinking about Jesus and wondering what was going on in His mind when He was greeted by the crowd and palms laid down on His path. He knew His time on this earth was almost over and this day would be the turning point.
Matthew 21 New International Version (NIV)
Jesus Comes to Jerusalem as King
8 A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.

9 The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted,

“Hosanna to the Son of David!”

“Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”

“Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

10 When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?”

11 The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”

Jesus at the Temple
12 Jesus entered the temple courts and drove out all who were buying and selling there. He overturned the tables of the money changers and the benches of those selling doves.

13 “It is written,” he said to them, “‘My house will be called a house of prayer,’ but you are making it ‘a den of robbers.’”

14 The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them.

15 But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple courts, “Hosanna to the Son of David,” they were indignant.

16 “Do you hear what these children are saying?” they asked him. “Yes,” replied Jesus, “have you never read,“‘From the lips of children and infants you, Lord, have called forth your praise’?”

Yet knowing what was going to happen to Him, He still reacted with love and compassion. He still did what He could to heal those who needed Him. Nothing about Him changed.

His Love redeemed all of us!

Today we see so much suffering all over the world. No country has been spared from the pandemic. We see greedy people try to make whatever money they can, much like the money changers confronted by Jesus.  We see hoards of people taking whatever they can, leaving many to leave with nothing they need. We see crowds of people who want to see an event, even though they can become infected with the virus, spread it out into their own homes and communities.

There is a greater infection among us, and that is when people decide what they want to do is all that should matter to the world. They are special in their own eyes. Everyone else suffering for what they do is someone else's problem. Yet these same people will be the first ones screaming for other people to take care of them.

Today we also see more people acting like Jesus, risking their own lives to save strangers. We see them show compassion and courage. We see people act out of pure love doing whatever they can to make someone else's life better.

Too many times we hear people say that there are no more miracles. We see them all around us everyday when some decide to do what they want for themselves, and others, with the same ability to be selfish, turn around and do selfless acts, no matter what price they may pay...even if it costs them their own life.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Vietnam Veterans of America giving back to others for Easter

Veterans giving back to veterans

FOX 2 News
April 21, 2019

Detroit, (FOX 2) - Members and volunteers of Vietnam Veterans of America were spreading some springtime cheer this past Easter weekend.
 The day started with delivering care packages to patients at the VA Medical Center in Detroit.

"It's our way of giving back, to tell them thank you and we appreciate them," said Vietnam Veteran of America member, Paul Palazzolo.

The organization does this twice a year. Members and volunteers say back scratchers are always the most popular item.
read more here

Sunday, April 1, 2018

PTSD Patrol Empowerment Zone-Redemption

Getting the demon out
PTSD Patrol
Kathie Costos
April 1, 2018
You have this great vehicle and take pride in it. You make sure it is clean. You even go to have the body detailed, so it sparkles in the sunlight. If you do not take care of the parts that power it, then it will sit there and rust. The tires will go flat and you'll cover it, ashamed of what you let happen to it.

What about the vehicle the carries everything that powers you?

That wonderful spirit inside of you needs detail work too. After all, that spirit is what caused you to want to be of service to others. It is what enabled you to train to do it. Endure all the hardships that came with that job. It gave you the courage to rush toward what you knew could end your life. It is also what can help you heal your life.

How is it that you can find it so easy to believe that you were meant to do your job saving lives, yet do not believe you are worthy of saving your own? PTSD is fueled by the acid of doubt. It eats away at everything that is good within you.

The devil is in that detail. The demons are in control of every negative thought you have and they enjoy causing you pain.

You went to bed one night filled with hope long ago. So long ago, you cannot remember what it felt like. The sense of being wrong believing in the power within you became stronger. Now, you are not sure of who you are anymore.

It is time to see the miracle of redemption and the see that everything you need to heal is within your body. Time to work on that.
read more here

Saturday, April 15, 2017

No Greater Love Than to Serve Others

This time, you have to start with saving your own life
Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
April 15, 2017

Tomorrow is Easter for Christians around the world. The day Jesus defeated death after everyone thought He had failed to deliver on the promises He made. Think about that for a second. Think of those who knew Him best believing it was all for nothing.

Did they think He should have killed off the Roman soldiers and saved Himself to prove the power of His Father? Did they think they just wasted three years of their lives, enduring hardships as homeless travelers seeking the kindness of strangers as they tried to deliver the messages of hope, love and the promise of redemption?

Doing the right things for the right reasons is never easy. Jesus struggled with what He knew He had to do in the Garden but even as He accepted the decision of God to fulfill His mission, He was torn between what He had to do and what He wanted to do. Yet He was willing to pay that price.
Gethsemane 36 Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” 37 He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled.38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”42 He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”
43 When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes were heavy. 44 So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.45 Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour has come, and the Son of Man is delivered into the hands of sinners. 46 Rise! Let us go! Here comes my betrayer!” Matthew 26:36-46New International Version (NIV)

We seem to have a habit of forgetting even Jesus needed support. He was filled with sorrow.

There is a quote that has always bothered me because it seems so unfair.
What does the phrase "no good deed goes unpunished" mean?
Hyun Kim, former . at U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
Written 18 Feb
For Christians, being punished or persecuted by others — even by friends and family — for doing the right thing is just par for the course. It is the epitome of martyrdom and reminds me of the Beatitudes in Matthew 5: 10–12~

“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and celebrate, because great is your reward in heaven; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets before you…” (Matt. 5:10–12)

I also like the verse from James 1: 2–4~

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. “
But just as God had magnificent plans for Jesus and He completed the mission, God also had a mission for you. 
11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. 12 Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. Jeremiah 29:11-13
If you are risking your life for the sake of others, you need to be reminded that ability came as a package deal. Everything you needed to pull you into that direction, was within your spirit. You wouldn't have been happy doing something selfish or for the sake of money. Still there is one more thing that was also in you from the beginning. The ability to heal from doing what was asked of you.

"It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life."  John 6:63
There is a passage that speaks directly to you if you are among those chosen to spend your life dedicated toward saving the lives of others.
"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends."  John 15:13
That great love is why you feel so much pain within your spirit. You feel it all more than others. It is not "weakness" that consumes you, but the strength of your emotional core.

How is it that you can understand a regular person being stuck by PTSD from one event when you are enduring them over and over again but cannot understand your own pain?

The spirit within you is equipped to defeat the worst your mission did to you. You trusted the guidance of your spirit when you decided to choose the jobs as serving, protecting and defending strangers and you need to trust it now to heal.

As the followers of Jesus spent these three days in darkness, forgetting all He said would happen, so have you lived in the darkness of doubting the fact that those you served with were willing to die for you. As you did for them, but if you do not trust them enough to ask them for help to stay alive, then you need to ask yourself why you are above asking for help now when you spent your life helping others.

Do you think you are supposed to be stronger than Jesus?
38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
It is true that "no good deed goes unpunished" and no good do'er is ever left to pay that price by themselves.

Let this night be the start of your own resurrection and you awake to the promises being fulfilled in your own life so you can continue to do the mission you were sent here to do. There are many more lives you can save now, but this time, you have to start with saving your own life.

The Beatitudes
He said:
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Sunday, March 27, 2016

Easter The Day God Proved The People Wrong

Why Ask God Why?
Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
March 27, 2016

For the majority of the Christian World, today is all about remembering when God actually proved them wrong.

The night before this day, they went to sleep with a lot of questions. They wondered how the Man they thought was the Son of God ended up suffering such a horrible death. They would have run what Jesus said a thousand times in their mind trying to make sense out of what they thought was the end of the story. How could they have believed Him? Why did God let it happen?

They had no way of knowing what would happen on the day the tomb would be found empty even though Jesus told them it would happen that way. As if that was not a strong enough piece of information to give, there was also the fact that it happened when everyone thought that Lazarus was gone forever too. It was even foretold hundreds years before it happened to Jesus, but they still did not believe the end was not really the end, but the beginning of an awakening.

Isaiah 53 7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.

8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away. Yet who of his generation protested? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished.

9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.

10 Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.

11 After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.

It is easy to think they were happily shocked by the empty tomb. No one knows if any of them asked "why not" when they received word that Jesus lived again.

When something bad happens human nature takes over and we always want to know why it happened. Did we do something wrong? Did we deserve it? Could we have prevented it? Did God do it to us to punish us? How about, why did God spare us from it being a lot worse?

I am Greek Orthodox and we are known as Easter people because we celebrate the new beginning and rejoice over the fact that Jesus was willing to die for us but defeated death along with all our sins He carried on His shoulders. We will celebrate Pascha on May 1 this year.

Let this day be a new beginning for you.  A day when the person you were yesterday is let go of and take on a new life, free of sins and torment.  Free from asking "why" and you begin to ask "why not" for the future.

When you see a homeless person, remember Jesus was homeless too and depended on the kindness of strangers for food and shelter.

Do not look for miracles that did not happen for you, like hitting the lottery last night when someone else did, but look for the miracles that happen every day in great as well as small ways in your own life.

If you are grieving, then grieve knowing what is behind it.  Is it for the loss you suffered or is it because you believe you deserved it?  God does not send bad stuff into our lives but He does give us what we need to get through it.  Stop and think rationally about what you could have done differently and then actually think about if it would have really been possible to do it with what you knew at the time and within what your human abilities would have allowed you to do.

Veterans have a habit of thinking they could have done things that even a comic book super hero could not have done. Stopped a bullet? Jump in front of a buddy before the RPG was fired? Drive over a bomb before it went off? Spot a sniper before he pulled the trigger? Tell a buddy to duck?

So many things you may want to believe could have happened when it actually could not have been possible for you because no matter how much you love, no matter how courageous you were, you are in fact still just human like the rest of us.  Yet as a human, even you can defeat the death of all the good inside of you.

Remember that you were willing to die for the sake of someone else and that required the purest form of love.  Even in your grief, a part of you is still willing to sacrifice for those you lost.  That is from love.  Use that love to defeat what is haunting you and keeping you from rejoicing when you defeated death and survived combat.

Don't keep wondering "why" it happened and start asking what you can do with the rest of your life for others. Time to roll the stone away and defeat PTSD.  It does not have to win the rest of your life.  Yesterday cannot be changed, but today can start to change at this very second.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Discharged Marine Crucified Himself on Easter

Discharged Marine regrets crucifying himself in public
Marine Corps Times
By Hope Hodge Seck
Staff Writer
Apr. 23, 2014

Joshua Klohr felt that no one was paying attention to his claims of injustice.

So, the former Marine sergeant donned his old dress blues Sunday and hung himself on a ten-foot cross across from the state capitol in Denver, Colo., where 60,000 Coloradoans were celebrating 4/20, the unofficial holiday of marijuana users.

While serving as a Marine recruiter in Boulder, Colo., Klohr said he struggled to make recruiting goals, despite working 14-16 hours a day. He refused to “fraud” enlistees into the Corps by ignoring factors that would disqualify them from service, he said, and ultimately said he could not do what was required of him in the region, which his superiors interpreted as quitting. When he went to trial, he said, he was not allowed to testify in his own defense, and was quickly found guilty and harshly punished.

Klohr admits that he hid information about himself in order to join the Marine Corps. He enlisted despite having been expelled from school, having physical problems — including asthma — and a criminal record. According to reports from the time, Klohr was charged by Denver police in 2005 with setting a cat on fire and throwing it off a roof. He was 18 at the time.
read more here

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Pascha a new beginning for you

Pascha a new beginning for you
Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
April 20, 2014

Today we celebrate the day Christ defeated death and the stone was rolled away leaving the tomb empty. It was a new beginning for His followers after spending two traumatized days shocked by how it all turned out so bad. They lost hope, questioned everything they believed while suffering for believing that goodness and miracles from God were all false. After all, if God really sent Christ to them, then He would have not been nailed to the Cross and carried to that tomb.

Hope that they were forgiven for all they had done wrong in their lives was taken away from them. They saw with their own eyes that all Christ preached about led to His death. All the blessings He told them about resulted in this terrible ending.

Sermon on the Mount when He said:
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.
12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."
Christ even had mercy for a Roman Centurion. The Faith of the Centurion
5 When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help.
6 “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.”
7 Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?”
8 The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed.
9 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
10 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.
11 I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.
12 But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that moment.

Those words had filled them with love for others and had them believing they were loved no matter what was happening in their own lives, yet when He died, they believed His life had been wasted and He was not what they thought He was. How could they believe anything He told them? What about the miracles they saw Him do? Were they all some kind of magic trick? Was any of it real?

For those two nights they were filled with grief but afterwards they rejoiced knowing that what Jesus told them, what He stood for and everything He did was from God.
Jesus Appears to His Disciples

19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”

20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord.

21 Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”

22 And with that he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

Peace be with you? He said that after being betrayed, abandoned, beaten, mocked and nailed to the cross. He said "Peace be with you" to the people he called his friends and was willing to die for yet they ran from Him as soon as there was trouble.

There was a spiritual awakening that Sunday morning.

For Greeks the day is called Pascha, otherwise known as Easter.

Origins of Pascha and Great Week Rev. Alciviadis C. Calivas, Th.D has a good article on this and points this passage out.
"...purge out the old leaven, that you may be a new lump, since you truly are unleavened. For indeed Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, nor with the leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth" (1 Cor 5:7-8).

These people made new. It all meant more to them after Jesus defeated death. His last words of asking for God to forgive everyone for what was done to them changed the way they felt about the spiritual connection they had to the Creator.

There is a difference between religion and spirituality. Most of them were living under the religious rules of their Jewish heritage but Christ made it more personal to them.
Kairos is in play when things happen unpredictably, but at just the right moment. Eternity and clock time seem to intersect for human benefit and instruction. Such an experience, when something eternal appears to break through into everyday life, is an ‘epiphany'. Heaven and earth may seem briefly to coincide and... ‘Something happens'! Something new and profound, something inspiring and life-changing is revealed in an instant.

The new wisdom resonates powerfully with something already present, deep inside. It feels like a reminder and confirmation of something already known but forgotten. Such revelations herald a kind of awakening, a key moment of transition on life's journey towards spiritual maturity. As the fallen leaf never rises to rejoin the tree, so is this a point of no return. The significance of these experiences is re-enforced by ‘synchronicities' unexpected but meaningful coincidences; such as may occur when two people meet for the first time, who later become life partners.

Synchronicities and serendipities - unexpected discoveries - often go together. There is a kind of mystery about kairos. Kairos is spiritual time.
Spiritual Wisdom for Secular Times The search for meaning and faith Psychology Today by Dr. Larry Culliford

So what does all of this have to do with you?

You are not stuck where you are spiritually. You do not have to question everything you thought was the right thing to do for the right reasons because you are hurting today. The outcome of your life has not been written yet.

The followers of Christ were miserable after doing things for a good reason and out of love but ended up knowing that they were not wrong. Their suffering did not have to last a lifetime and they were not stuck in those dark days between the Crucifixion and Resurrection. You are not stuck where you are spiritually either.

In one week it all went to hell from Palm Sunday when Jesus was welcomed.
8 A very large crowd spread their cloaks on the road, while others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.
9 The crowds that went ahead of him and those that followed shouted, “Hosanna[b] to the Son of David!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!”[c] “Hosanna[d] in the highest heaven!”
10 When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?”
11 The crowds answered, “This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”
(Matthew 21)
To the night He was arrested and His friends abandoned Him, tried and people called for Him to be put to death to the day they heard the news the tomb was empty.

In 7 days the world changed for the people following Jesus but as you grieve now, know that the world can change for you as well.

Look at why you did what you did if the reason was from goodness, then forgive yourself as well as the people who did wrong against you. If you did it for the wrong reasons, ask for forgiveness and then forgive yourself. There is nothing you cannot be forgiven for. Christ not only asked for forgiveness for the people after they betrayed Him, He died for their sake and ours. Let Him heal your spirit so that you can rejoice again just as the people did when they heard the news they were not wrong believing that love lives on.

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Easter is more than what we get

Easter is more than what we get
by Kathie Costos
Wounded Times
May 5, 2013

It is Orthodox Easter and a good time to tell this story because of how much we get wrong when we may think we are not good enough just as much as when we think we are "too" good.

(This is fiction so please don't ask who the twins are.)

Soon after Jacob and Thomas were born, their young Mom put them up for adoption. The twins were born early and Thomas was the smallest. Jacob was adopted by a wealthy couple. Thomas was adopted soon afterwards by a middle class couple. The wealthy couple didn't want the extra burden of a sickly child.

Jacob was given everything he wanted accept being able to see his brother. As he grew older, the thought of his brother stayed with him and he always wondered where he was and what he was doing, but the bond the twins had was strong enough for Jacob to know that Thomas was doing ok.

Thomas' parents were hard working, loving and kind but never really considered themselves "Christians" because they did not attend church. Childhood experiences turned them away from the church their parents attended. The had a crucifix over the doorway and believed in God as well as believing Christ was in fact His Son. As for the rest of it, they didn't think that "religion" was for them.

Jacob went to church every weekend, attended all the religious training he was supposed to but to tell the truth he didn't act like a "churchgoer" the rest of the week. He was a spoiled young man, easy to anger and very judgmental. That he got from his parents.

Thomas and Jacob grew up living in a large city never expecting to see each other again. Strange thing about twins is that there is a physical tie as well as an emotional one. Jacob was rushed to the hospital when his appendix ruptured. Within an hour, Thomas was also on the operating table. A nurse was very puzzled when she saw Jacob in the recovery room because a few minutes before that she had transferred Jacob to his room.

She made sure the two men were in the same room.

While they were still sleeping, an angel appeared in their dreams. Jacob and Thomas were happy to see their brother but pretty terrified to be looking at a very large angel.

The angel talked to the brothers about their lives. To Thomas, he praised him for always being kind and thinking of others. To Jacob he admonished him for being so "nasty" to everyone around him. Then Jacob got angry and defended himself.

"I go to church every single week no matter if I feel like it or not. You just said my brother doesn't go at all. So how is it that I am the one being judged and you're praising him?

The angel said "You go to church but you visit Christ like a man going to a dead man's house looking for what you can get from his estate and not to see him. Thomas visits Christ everyday by what he does and how he treats other people. He goes to visit Christ for what he can do for the sake of Christ and not for what he can get for himself. Big difference. You treat Christ's words as if you are ordering from the deli with taking a little of this and some of that but leaving out the things you don't like.

Christ said the greatest commandment was to love God and the second was to love one another. You have time to change your life but first you have to change your attitude.

From that day on the two men spent most of their free time together. Thomas started going to church, not on Sunday but during the week to volunteer helping with missionary work. Jacob started a program to feed the needy with his own money and put Thomas was in charge.

Both men learned a lesson that church is not so much what you can get out of it but what comes out of you to be of service to others the same way Christ was and still is. Christ is very much alive as long as we live by His words and do for one another as He told us we should. Easter is not about what we got out of it but what HE did for the sake of all of us.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Easter treat to my biker friends

Biker dressed as Easter Bunny pulled over by California officers
By Daniel Arkin
Staff Writer
NBC News

Move over, Mad Max. Step aside, Easy Rider. The Easter Bunny rules the road.

A motorcyclist wearing a full Easter Bunny costume was pulled over by the California Highway Patrol early Saturday after officers on routine patrol spotted the costumed man traveling down Interstate 8 without a helmet, reported.
read more here

The Robe, epic movie on healing Combat PTSD

The Robe, epic movie on healing Combat PTSD
by Kathie Costos
Wounded Times Blog
April 1, 2013

One of my favorite Easter movies was on last night, The Robe. I love old movies especially movies telling the story of Christ. This one is very different from the others because it explores a side of what few others do.

It tells the story of one of the Romans responsible for nailing Christ's hands and feet to the Cross. It is also an epic movie on healing Combat PTSD. It was made before I was even born.

The Robe is not your typical Easter movie but above that it is not your typical Post Traumatic Stress Disorder movie either.
The Robe was released in 1953 but when you watch it, you notice the connection to our modern knowledge of war and PTSD.
This is the basic plot.

"Marcellus is a tribune in the time of Christ. He is in charge of the group that is assigned to crucify Jesus. Drunk, he wins Jesus' homespun robe after the crucifixion. He is tormented by nightmares and delusions after the event. Hoping to find a way to live with what he has done, and still not believing in Jesus, he returns to Palestine to try and learn what he can of the man he killed. Written by John Vogel"
In the first scene, Marcellus Gallo (played by Richard Burton) is a hot headed Tribune is arguing with woman. It is clear he only cares about himself until he reconnects with his childhood sweetheart, Diana (Jean Simmons) and he softens as soon as he realizes who she is.

Marcellus had gone to a slave auction because he wanted to buy set of beautiful twins but ended up in a bidding war with Caligula (Jay Robinson) and out bided by him. The next slave to be offered was Demetrius (Victor Mature) a Greek warrior. Marcellus and Caligula get into another biding war over him and Marcellus wins setting off Caligula's rage.

Just when you think Marcellus is a jerk, he has the handcuffs taken off Demetrius, tells him where he lives then trusts him to just go there.

Because Caligula was so angry, orders arrived for Marcellus to go to Jerusalem. Diana promised to go to Emperor Tiberius to have the orders changed.

Marcellus set sail and arrived on Palm Sunday as Jesus was being greeted with the palms and crowds. Demetrius had never heard of Him before that day. Soon orders came to have Jesus arrested. Demetrius heard about the orders and tried to warn him but he was too late.

Pontius Pilate had new orders for Marcellus as soon as he did one duty before he left. Crucify Christ. Marcellus won Christ's robe so when the storm began, he told Demetrius to put it over him. Immediately Marcellus freaked out believing the robe had a spell on it. Demetrius screamed at Marcellus and cursed him. From that moment one Marcellus was tormented.

Marcellus was an expert war fighter in hand to hand combat and the sword. He was no coward and a loyal Roman soldier. He felt guilt over the death of Christ, His blood on his hands and the fact Christ did not deserve to die that way. He felt responsible for killing an innocent man.

Emperor Tiberius had compassion for Marcellus and sent him to find the Robe believing it had magical powers and Marcellus could only be restored to sanity by it.

Marcellus' family loved him but could not understand what he was going through and he had the love of Diana to support him.

While searching for the Robe, Marcellus learned what forgiving, charity and compassion were all about and his transformation began as he saw things differently. Reunited with Demetrius and the Robe, Marcellus finally understood what Christ meant when He said in his last moments, "Father forgive them for they know not what they do."

If you are suffering from Combat PTSD or love someone who is, this is a great way to discover what it is, why it is and how to heal.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Soldier celebrate Easter in Afghanistan

Soldiers, civilians celebrate Easter with sunrise service
4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division Public Affairs
Story by Staff Sgt. Richard Andrade

LAGHMAN PROVINCE, Afghanistan – Before the sun began to rise over the Afghan mountains, music and prayer filled the air as service members and civilians gathered to celebrate Easter Sunday at Forward Operating Base Gamberi, March 31.
U.S. Army chaplain Maj. Steve Prost, (right), a native of Platte City, Mo., speaks with soldiers and civilians during the Easter sunrise service at Forward Operating Base Gamberi, March 31, 2013. Prost serves as the brigade chaplain for 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, based out of Fort Hood, Texas. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Richard Andrade Task Force Long Knife Public Affairs)
The early morning service began with the invocation by U.S. Army chaplain Maj. Steve Prost, brigade chaplain, assigned to 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, and native of Platte City, Mo., said there couldn’t have been more perfect weather.

The service featured a pastoral prayer, scripture reading, and a musical performance by U.S. Army Sgt. Amelia Shields, unit supply specialist assigned to Company C, 27th Brigade Support Battalion, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, based out of Fort Hood, Texas.

The native of Stone Mountain, Ga., said she was grateful to be asked to participate in the morning service. “I am honoured to be here amongst my fellow soldiers this glorious morning,” read more here

Eat, pray, love, forgive, heal

Eat, pray, love, forgive, heal
by Kathie Costos
Wounded Times Blog
March 31, 2013
Easter morning
27 Then he took a cup, and when he had given thanks, he gave it to them, saying, “Drink from it, all of you.
28 This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.
29 I tell you, I will not drink from this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father’s kingdom.” Matthew:26
Christ knew what was supposed to happen and that it would be for the sake of others. He was doing it out of love as He had said before that dark night.
13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. (John 15)

38 Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.”
39 Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.”
40 Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping. “Couldn’t you men keep watch with me for one hour?” he asked Peter. 41 “Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.”
42 He went away a second time and prayed, “My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done.”

The time had come where He knew His life would be surrendered but even in those moments, He had the choice to turn around, walk away and live. He made the choice of His own freewill to do as God wanted Him to do.

After His hands and feet were nailed to the cross, He looked at the people standing there, some mocking him and some believing the end was a failure as He was dying. Yet even in those moments His thought were for others.
34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. (Luke 23:34)

He knew what it felt like to be abandoned by God as God had to sit back and watch the suffering of His Son so others would know how to live, love and forgive as well as be forgiven.
45 From noon until three in the afternoon darkness came over all the land. 46 About three in the afternoon Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?” (which means “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”).(Matthew 26)

The followers of Christ felt as if they were wrong. They lost Jesus and questioned what it all meant because they couldn't understand that while they saw it all as a failure, the life of Christ was all about sacrifice and love. It was not until Sunday when they began to understand what it was all about and their grief was healing as the began to look at all of it a different way.

We all need to do the same. Our bodies need food to live, but we are not just flesh and bones. We need to pray so our souls can stay connected to God and gain the strength to go through our own struggles in life. We love. To love your children is easier than to love someone when they hurt you so you need to forgive them. It is harder when you believe you are the one that hurt someone else, so you need to also forgive yourself as Christ forgave the people who though they were right standing by the cross as He was dying.

You can heal your body but to heal what others cannot see, you need to look at things differently. Roll the stone away from your own eyes and see how much you are loved.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Army chaplain’s Passover seder a draw across Europe

Army chaplain’s Passover seder a draw across Europe
By Steven Beardsley
Stars and Stripes
Published: March 26, 2013

GRAFENWÖHR, Germany — Break out the Haggadah and crack the matza — Passover has arrived at this small Army garrison, where U.S. Army Europe’s only Jewish chaplain is holding services for the second straight year.

Capt. Andrew Shulman of the 18th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion guided participants in the first of four Passover seders on Monday, a meal that commemorates the Jewish exodus from Egypt and the tale of an angel of death passing over homes marked with the blood of a lamb.

The holiday began at sundown on Monday and continues through next Tuesday.
read more here

 On the subject of "your" Easter and "my" Easter (Orthodox) here's the answer on why it is different.
What differences are there between Easter and Orthodox Easter? The most obvious difference between “Western Easter” and Orthodox Pascha is the date. While the feast-days occasionally coincide, Orthodox Christians still calculate the date of Easter on the old calendar established under Julius Caesar, a calendar which many Orthodox Churches still employ. At St. John’s, we use the modern calendar for most of our “fixed feasts” (we celebrate Christmas on December 25 according to the Gregorian calendar, for example), but in order that all the Orthodox Christian churches may celebrate the great “Feast of feasts” together, we calculate the date of Pascha following the more ancient Christian tradition.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Celebrating Easter at Kandahar Airfield

U.S. and Canadian soldiers with the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force leave after Easter prayers at the Kandahar air base on Sunday. (SHAH MARAI/AFP/Getty Images)

Celebrating Easter at Kandahar Airfield

Canadian Press

March 23, 2008 at 10:31 AM EDT

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — It's a tiny, unassuming but immaculately maintained church, with thin plywood walls, a modest flower garden — and a gun rack where soldiers can check their rifles at the door.

Perhaps nowhere else is the notion of faith more important than in a war zone such as Afghanistan, where life itself can be a fragile commodity and a day's work is often shrouded in violence and death.

On this Easter Sunday, the pews at Kandahar Airfield's Fraise Chapel were filled with a multinational cross-section of Catholic and Protestant faithful as American padre Rev. Jim Connolly reminded the congregation that the work they do is for a greater good.

“You're living on the edge of life and death, and you've got to ask some hard questions,” Rev. Connolly said after Sunday's Easter service.

“On many occasions, people are saying, ‘Is it really worth it? Is it really this important?' My basic hope is that I can help them come to a sense that yes, it is important, it does matter, because every single one of us counts.”

Sunday's services capped a difficult three weeks for Canadian forces in Kandahar province where three Canadian soldiers lost their lives in three separate incidents.

The ramp ceremony commemorating the most recent death, that of Sgt. Jason Boyes of 2 Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, was one of four this past week alone for the multinational NATO coalition known as the International Security Assistance Force, or ISAF. Two Americans and a Romanian also died.

“Every time that we lose soldiers ... the whole coalition is losing soldiers,” said Rev. Bastien Leclere, who's originally from Edmonton and who assisted in Connolly's Sunday service.

“We're all in this together, and we all pray together, and we keep up each other. It is important that we support each other in this journey. It's a marathon, not a sprint.”
go here for the rest

I still say that if the troops were not sent to Iraq, I doubt there would be all of this still going on in Afghansitan. What happened to finishing the mission in Afghanistan? Do any of the elected even talk about it at all anymore?