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Good Friday….A demonstration of love.

I have always thought it was an oxymoron for this day to be called “good”. What is good about a day that the One that was sent to lead us to a life of compassion, peace, forgiveness and love was brutally murdered by and as the people He walked amidst cheered the abuse on, the same people who had lined the streets singing His praises and celebrating His life days earlier were lining the path as He took the walk toward His death jeering Him, spitting and pelting him, all of this while His “friends” watched from a safe distance so as not to suffer the same violent demise? Each year this day dawns is an opportunity to reread the chapters that describe the actions, the pain, the betrayal, the courage displayed and the love that was laid down from the One who created world. It is an opportunity to remind ourselves just why this day is “Good”. Jesus demonstrated love through this hideous day by weaving it throughout the acts that transpired until His final breath. The strongest love was apparent from a Son to His Father, from a Father to His children, and between a mother and a child. Having been blessed to be a have my heart walk outside of my body in the form of a daughter and a son, I have learned first hand the intense power of a “mother’s love”. If there was or is any way I can prevent pain, aches and hurt from landing on the body or spirit of my children I will stand in that gap and do whatever I can to deflect it from them to myself. If I cannot prevent it there is nothing that would keep me from walking through the pain, challenge, burden or from standing by their side. There at the foot of the cross stood Mary broken, weeping, and watching the heart outside of her body about the leave her presence, her care, the world. If physical and emotional pain can be weighed the sum of that pain that Jesus experienced would scale to the pain that His mother sustained on that day. To lose a child is the greatest pain a parent can experience. To watch your child murdered by the very people He peacefully served, cared for and loved is an agony that only one mother has ever endured. Jesus knew the pain that Mary was suffering even through His own. “When Jesus saw his mother standing there beside the disciple he loved, he said to her, “Dear woman, here is your son.” 27 And he said to this disciple, “Here is your mother.” And from then on this disciple took her into his home.” ~ John 19:26-27 He saw and felt the pain, and compassionately and purposefully did what He could before He died, to comfort the one God bestowed to Him as “mother”. He demonstrated love. When the guards were dividing up His garments to keep as “souvenirs” of the occasion, He didn’t order lightening to crash from the skies and level them to the ground. Instead He prayed on their behalf: “Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” ~ Luke 23:34 He demonstrated love. When the criminal who suffered the same sentence and torture spoke up for Jesus defending Him proclaiming “this man has done nothing wrong” Then turning to Jesus, not asking for freedom from his cross but for forgiveness for he wrongs “Remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus compassionately eased the man’s remorse and honored his respect. “Truly I tell you, today you will be with me in paradise.” ~ Luke 23:43 He demonstrated love. The nails did not keep Jesus on the cross His love did. He could have committed the miracle of miracles and made the entire day not happen by reducing to ashes all who would and did condemn, abuse, and murder Him, but that was not the story of Love that was being written. He showed His love for His Father who was showing His love for the world, for you and I, by taking each painful step toward the cross. “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.” ~ John 19:30 He demonstrated love until His very last breath. And, as we now know, even beyond….. May you feel the presence and love, on this day and every day, of the One who didn’t just speak of love, but demonstrated love from His first steps to His last. May you feel moved to walk through the day, this day, every day, with Him in word, action and prayer bringing your heart and His closer together, as He had hoped would be the result of this day. Today is a “Good” day to revisit, to continue, to strengthen, or to start that walk.

Wishing you peace,
Terri

Terri O’Neill-Borders
Email- terri@hopeandfriendshipfoundation.com
Website- www.hopeandfriendshipfoundation.com
Wordpress- https://hopeandfriendshipfoundation.wordpress.com/

Holy Thursday, to humble yourself to serve, share and pray.

Pulling up to a table with delicious food laid out, the room filled with the aroma of the feast, and the table surrounded by the closest of friends sounds like the happy ending to any day.  Leonardo da Vinci captured the image with such skill that it is the Polaroid in our mind when we hear the phrase “Holy Thursday”.  Oh to be at that table.

However, the gift of that evening was not the food or the companionship that was to be shared, or the honor of being in the presence of the Lord it was the lesson prior to the meal that became a symbol and action that is repeated to this day more than 2000 years later; a symbol of serving, humbling oneself, and an expression of the deepest form of love.

“It was just before the Passover Festival. Jesus knew that the hour had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. The evening meal was in progress, and the devil had already prompted Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God; so he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him.” John 13:1-5

Then, the most valuable lesson, a timeless truth that I plan to write in my day to day calendar so I may remember a verse that I have many times read too quickly through:

“Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him.  Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.” John 13:16-17

To serve is to love.

To love is to humble yourself to serve.

The power and presence of the love that was demonstrated from Jesus to those whom He carried in His heart, from this earth to heaven, is a love that is not limited to the capacity of that room, it is only limited by the capacity of our heart.  The love Jesus validated and sincerely offered to His disciples is the same love that He offers to us every day from our first to our last.  When we allow that love to fill our hearts it radiates from us to everyone in our presence therefore casting a most powerful, humble, serving, unconditional love to all whom we are in contact with, bettering us, those within our walk, and thereby the corner of the world that we have been placed in.

Later Jesus would lie face down on the soil of the earth in the Garden of Gethsemane weeping, begging, and praying so fervently that blood vessels would burst and blood would ooze through his skin, all of this as those He just loved in action, deed, and sincerity slept unaware of the last moments with him they were letting slip away.  Jesus knew his final hours would be offered at a price that was far greater than 30 pieces of silver, He would walk the path that was set before Him and stretch out His arms for the last time offering the greatest act of love our world has ever known.

From arms that served and loved in the room, to arms that serve and love our world.  We are conduits of that love now with our arms, our hearts, with His love.

May you serve the world around you humbled yet empowered with the capacity of love shown by the one who didn’t just speak it but who demonstrated it with His hands, His arms and His life.

Be the servant.   Be the messenger. Be Blessed.

Wishing you peace,
Terri

Terri O’Neill-Borders

Email- terri@hopeandfriendshipfoundation.com
Website- www.hopeandfriendshipfoundation.com
Wordpress- https://hopeandfriendshipfoundation.wordpress.com/

Hope and Friendship Foundation
721 Hickory St, Lemont, IL  60439
630-816-4972

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute.  Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.”
Proverbs 31: 8-9

Holy Wednesday aka. “Spy Wednesday”. The heartbreaking feeling of betrayal.

“The worst pain in the world goes beyond the physical. Even further beyond any other emotional pain one can feel. It is the betrayal of a friend.” ~ Heather Brewer

I have often wondered if the 12 Disciples knew what a gift they had been given.  Did they realize that they were main characters in a book that would continue being told for thousands of years?  I know that they often just didn’t “get it” raising the blood pressure of Jesus when He was trying so passionately to communicate a message that their minds simply couldn’t grasp, yet there were times that Jesus was just thrilled with the breakthroughs and the correct answers to His soul searching questions.  The friendship that was formed over the years they spent with each other was of the deepest definition of bonding.  They ate together, traveled together, visited the sick as a team, stood as a unit when the Pharisees challenged and provoked Jesus.  They were the clear and true definition of “BFF” before the acronym was coined.  Do you have someone or some who you would consider yourself bonded to?  Do they know when you are smiling through the pain?  Do they stand next to you when you need support, behind you when you are needing a nudge and in front of you when you are being pelted by the world or it’s “Pharisees”? How would you feel if they betrayed you? Or maybe this has happened and you are completely related with Jesus right now.

Today one of Jesus’s select Bffs decided the riches of the world in his hands were more valuable than the wealth of riches that were already his and in his presence.  Judas conspired with those who were threatened by this man who spread peace, love, healing and spoke of His Kingdom inviting all who heard Him.  Judas betrayed his “friend” for 30 pieces of silver, roughly 120 days wages at that time.  He was the link they needed to begin the process that would lead to the death of the Son of God.

Have you felt your heart break hearing, seeing, or experiencing the gut wrenching feeling of trust leaving a relationship?

Have you been the betrayer?  Did you step into the situation feeling you were doing the right thing for yourself and later realize you’ve made a horrible mistake?

Judas didn’t get to spend, save, or enjoy that four months of wages because it was shortly after he committed the betrayal that he realized the graveness of his actions to a man who only showed him compassion, respect, trust and love.  Judas couldn’t live with himself or his action. Betrayal is an action that will eat at your soul.

Jesus would’ve forgiven him.  Why?  How?  Because as we know this was foretold.  Jesus knew if it wouldn’t have been Jesus it would’ve been another. To understand our pain, to pay the price for our sins Jesus knew His hours were numbered but to look in the face of one you love and know it’s the face of the one who traded your life for a fee had to be the first of the wounds that Jesus would suffer this week.

Around the same time the greatest pain was felt, Jesus was also a recipient of the greatest act of love and respect. Jesus’s dear friend, Mary, sat at His feet took the most valuable possession she had owned and poured the whole pint of this incredible performed ointment on the feet that would soon walk a most difficult journey, then she used her hair to wipe the ointment in and freshen the feet of the one that unconditionally loved her, her sister and her brother through life and death. The entire home had to be filled with the most amazing smell bringing everyone’s senses to full alert of the moment they were experiencing, simultaneously Jesus’ heart was filled with love and compassion for those who choose to honor him with such a privileged and humbling act. Everything stopped as Jesus took seized the opportunity to be in this beautiful moment. Ironically, Judas was present and protested the demonstration of respect and love scolding Mary for being so wasteful. “That oil could have been sold and the money given to the poor.”

“The poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.” ~ John 12:8

Today as we have reached the halfway mark of Holy Week may you be able to find a quiet place to sit and think of the 180 degree separation of betrayal and unconditional serving love. May you always love like Mary and have the strength, compassion and heart of Jesus to forgive the Judas’ in your life. May the walk of Jesus help us to be more concerned with savoring the beautiful moments that we will always have with us, rather than be sold to the pressures of the world’s treasures that will pass.

Wishing you peace & love,
Terri

Terri O’Neill-Borders

Email- terri@hopeandfriendshipfoundation.com
Website- www.hopeandfriendshipfoundation.com
Wordpress- https://hopeandfriendshipfoundation.wordpress.com/

Holy Tuesday, the day to just “be”.

After the roller coaster from Palm Sunday’s celebrity parade to the frustrations and anxiety of Monday, on Holy Tuesday Jesus went to where He felt comfortable…the temple.
Where is your comfort zone? When the world seems to be spinning out of control and you can not strap your feet in the ride before the day takes off, where or how do you settle in to regroup?
Jesus communicated so much to those around him in easy to digest stories (aka. parables). Their minds, our minds, sometimes just are not focused in to understand the gift of knowledge, truth and guidance that He has been offering us.
The key word is focus. I know my mind goes in 194 directions when I do just about everything. It is very hard to simple channel in on my task at hand, which means I miss many chances to be, live and experience “the moment”.
On this day those around Jesus had a last chance to be gifted His art of preaching and teaching and just simply “be”. They settled in, focused on and seized the opportunity to have a front row seat embracing “the moment”.
Just as there are always those around you who will criticize you, challenge you, try to distract your focus, there were those that were on guard awaiting Jesus to say and do the wrong thing. They tried desperately to find fault with Him engaging in psychological warfare with Him that He clearly won over and over and again on this day and at “this moment”.
(Matthew 21:23-27)
On this night I am going to challenge myself to turn off the noise of the world and do as those in the temple did so many years ago: stop moving, put down any distractions, and embrace the opportunity to be enlighten, inspired and lifted by His words, stories and wisdom and take the time to “be” with Jesus.
We are not promised the time to do this tomorrow and that is something this week should clearly communicate to us.
We have moved through yesterday and have yet to open our eyes to tomorrow, so today, Holy Tuesday, is the perfect day to focus our eyes, hearts, and our walk with Him beginning by taking time to just “be”.
I believe if you never had found your comfort zone, your escape from the chaos, before you might possibly find it here “in this moment”.

Wishing you peace, love and the chance to just “be in this moment”,

Terri

Terri O’Neill-Borders

Email- terri@hopeandfriendshipfoundation.com
Website- www.hopeandfriendshipfoundation.com
Wordpress- https://hopeandfriendshipfoundation.wordpress.com/

Holy Monday. One of “those” days.

Have you had one of “those” days?
One of “those” days that from your feet hitting the floor side of your bed you knew you were in “that” mood. Perhaps you had a project due, a person to deal with you didn’t want to, a unwelcomed doctor visit, a bill that was due that you knew would not, could not be paid, a death of a loved one that would culminate today and tomorrow with their wake and then the funeral.
Today was just going to be “that” day.
I pray I don’t cross you and that you don’t cross me on “that” day.

Today, Holy Monday, was “that” day for Jesus. His days were numbered, his followers were skittish, one of his closest friends had become his noose. After being celebrated and paraded through the city, as the Chicago Blackhawks were through Chicago the day before, he awoke on this Monday after having embraced that feeling of being loved, admired and hoisted onto the pedestal, that was now in the yesterday, today would be a difficult one and tomorrow would be one of His last.

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. “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.’” ~ Matthew 21:12-13
Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered.
When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. “How did the fig tree wither so quickly?” they asked.
Jesus replied, “Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt, not only can you do what was done to the fig tree, but also you can say to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and it will be done. If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” ~ Matthew 21:19-22

Jesus entered the temple courts, and, while he was teaching, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to him. “By what authority are you doing these things?” they asked. “And who gave you this authority?”
Jesus replied, “I will also ask you one question. If you answer me, I will tell you by what authority I am doing these things. John’s baptism—where did it come from? Was it from heaven, or of human origin?”
They discussed it among themselves and said, “If we say, ‘From heaven,’ he will ask, ‘Then why didn’t you believe him?’ But if we say, ‘Of human origin’—we are afraid of the people, for they all hold that John was a prophet.”
So they answered Jesus, “We don’t know.”
Then he said, “Neither will I tell you by what authority I am doing these things.” ~ Matthew 21:23-27

I have to confess when I read these passages I have to put a mandatory high-five up to Jesus for how He never ever waivered and never changed. How often would I have loved the opportunity to throw over desks, tables and files in front of those who were just simply annoying the snot out of me and the art of withering a plant I have down pat but to do it intentionally would be rocking cool!!! He was the ultimate “genuine” and I admire that. He had “haters” and he didn’t let them quiet him. He was the representation of “courage” and “valor”. He had a mission and a purpose and NO ONE was going to stand in His way. How I wish I could have that strength and tenacity in my simple and so less dramatic every day.

We know what we “should” do, yet we often give in to what the world “wants” us to do. When is the last time you upheaveled the table of the “money changers” and made them wonder what got into you??? The gossipers at work. The one who tells you “no one will know”. The voice in your head that says “you deserve this so don’t feel bad”.

Yesterday we raised our hands and proclaimed we knew Him and were of His “army of walking angels”. We were on the escalator to Heaven with our buddy Jesus. Today we see Him causing some disturbance and we cautiously step back a few steps and let him vent and air out His grievances without causing attention to us, or bringing us into His circle. What a difference a day makes.

Today I hope you stood your ground on something you felt strongly for. Today I hope you represented the indigent, the oppressed, the one the office staff was whispering about. If you didn’t today, know that tomorrow is another day.

Jesus has a rare gift for us, He loves us with an unconditional love. Had one of those money changers, the fig tree, or one of those chief priests bent His ear for His compassion they would’ve easily won His heart. He didn’t explode today for “no reason”, He had His fill of “no production, no love, no compassion, and no restraint” on selfishness and greedy living.

The days are waning and the hours are less for us to come to terms with the end of His walk with us on earth. He is imploring us to walk with Him and just simply frustrated with our lackadaisical and reckless attitude with what He knows is the severity of the numbering of our days. Not because He is judging us but because He wants to live forever with us.

Here we are on Monday having the choice to continue forward as we are or change our ways and follow the way He is leading us. It will not be an easy journey, but He guarantees at the finish line we will be rejoicing and He will be refilling us for all of eternity. It’s our choice. He senses the voice we are listening to and is turning tables upside down to capture our attention to turn our eyes to the path we may have missed in the chaos of “this day” so that we will be able to walk with Him for the “rest of our days”.

 

Wishing you peace and love.
Terri

Terri O’Neill-Borders

Email- terri@hopeandfriendshipfoundation.com
Website- www.hopeandfriendshipfoundation.com
Wordpress- https://hopeandfriendshipfoundation.wordpress.com/

Palm Sunday. Today He is the GOAT.

On Sunday, He rode into town on a very meager “ride” celebrated as the GOAT (Greatest Of All Times) hearing shouts of praise, appreciation, respect and adoration. The energy was amazing!!! Everyone became caught up in it. If you weren’t there, you heard about the celebration and wish you wouldn’t have missed the parade!
Five days later…..
He was the goat of their jabs, jokes, abuse, rejection, abandonment, violence, and betrayal. The energy was amazing. Everyone became caught up in it. If you weren’t there, you heard about it and wish you had been there but would it have been to join in the jeers or be one who hoped to see the tide turn and good conquer evil?
Today we can choose to begin our journey with Jesus through the final week of His life.
Sure I walk it every year, but this year I hope to walk it purposefully and intentionally and walk closer with the one who chose to walk it first never taking a detour from the inevitable ending.
Today I celebrate with the masses, tomorrow we begin the walk toward betrayal. How did He have the strength? How did He not run the other way?
That worry is for tomorrow.
Today He hears your voice cheering for Him.

Wishing you peace & love.
Terri
Terri O’Neill-Borders

Email- terri@hopeandfriendshipfoundation.com
Website- www.hopeandfriendshipfoundation.com
Wordpress- https://hopeandfriendshipfoundation.wordpress.com/

12 years of lessons shared in 12 days- Day 6- Hands meeting Hands on a most difficult day

12 days before Christmas

12 lessons I’ve learned from pulling together the

12 Hope and Friendship Christmas Dinner Delivery Days

It was 2 weeks from Christmas 2005. My eyes were opened to a need I had never felt or seen before only by having been broken. I had simultaneously experienced the end of a 16 year marriage due to a husband choosing another, as I walked with my father through his final 14 months on this earth, my best friend, the one who truly knew me being cut from his mold would not be at the Christmas table.

I drove through Lemont on Thanksgiving Night wondering who else dreaded Christmas Day. Only by being broken did my eyes see a need that I had so easily overlooked. God put an idea in my head and heart yet I ignored it for 2 weeks. Jonah had to be swallowed by a whale to comply; it didn’t take that drastic of a action, but close.

I dragged my feet, blocked the voice and ignored the call for 2 weeks. Then I gave in. Two weeks prior to Christmas I told a friend this crazy idea to host a dinner for those who had no table to pull up to. Then she told a friend and within those two weeks I was invited to speak at Lemont Junior Women’s Club, Lemont District 113a PTA, and other school and organization meetings. All I asked for was cooked food to fill a table and the invitation to join me was open to all who ached at the thought of dragging themselves through the day.

On Christmas Day twelve of us, including my mother (who lovingly supported and ventured into this crazy idea with me), gathered at a table and feasted on food prepared for us by friends. We laughed, we comforted, we shared stories and hugs. We united and enjoyed a beautiful meal on a day we all had dreaded to step into.

When we finished dinner we packed up all of the food that remained and delivered to a few other houses in our community that we knew were in a struggle as well as to the two Joliet Homeless Shelters.

What would have been a most painful Christmas Day turned into a beautiful union of friends who needed the companionship and comfort of another who understood the ache the day presented. We were gifted with a meal that nourished our body and spirit.

One week from today many more than 12 will gather to serve dozens of homes that are struggling right here and right now. Though there will always be need, if we are not attempting to meet the needs right here within our arm’s reach we are missing the opportunity to be love, hope, light and compassion to our very neighbor.

There is such a small degree, a short plunge, between being one that can offer assistance to the one that is in the storm. A divorce. The lost of a loved one. A job loss. A devastating health prognosis. Needs are not only financial, debilitating needs are physical and emotional. Life blows are unplanned.

I am so very thankful for all of you who join with me in recognizing and acting on the most simply yet most powerful gift of arriving at the door of a home that is hurting with the humble gift of a home cooked Christmas Dinner that will, and has, nourished countless bodies and spirits.

As a friend extends their arms offering the gift of a Christmas Dinner, another friend extends theirs’ humbling receiving it. For a moment, for that night, we are connecting, lifting and healing. Thank you for making that as important to you as it is to me to meet those on a most difficult day making it a most blessed and wonderful gift of unconditional love, hope and friendship.

Want to be a part of this year’s Hope and Friendship Christmas Outreaches? Email terri@hopeandfriendshipfoundation.com

Visit www.hopeandfriendshipfoundation.com

 

~ Sunday December 18, 2016