Sunday, April 21, 2019

He Is Risen

"He is risen, He is risen, tell it out with loud acclaim"


I think today of the sleepless night Mary must have had, grief and sorrow forcing her out early to the tomb. He came out of love, for her, to bind up the broken heart.

"Go to my brethren and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God and your God."


As the sun comes up this morning I am aware of the miracle of resurrection. I may not understand it but I am fully confident that it is so for all men. Of greatest comfort is that it is so for those I love who have died before me, and that it will be so, for me.


"Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?"


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Saturday, April 20, 2019

Waiting On The Lord

C.S. Lewis expressed the sadness of the time after the death of the Aslan, who is symbolic of the Savior, so eloquently in The Witch, The Lion and The Wardrobe".. 


"I hope no one who reads this book has been quite as miserable as Susan and Lucy were that night; but if you have been - if you've been up all night and cried till you have no more tears left in you - you will know that there comes in the end a sort of quietness. You feel as if nothing is ever going to happen again..."



Those who loved him endured an awful waiting. Waiting is a mortal experience. Uncertainty washes over us and our unruly minds go wild with the "what ifs". What if this is the end of the teachings of Jesus. What if the Jewish authorities come after all the new Christians? What if the Romans come after them? How will we live without the comfort of Jesus? What if?

What if........it is true?

What if tomorrow he rises from death?

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Friday, April 19, 2019

Good Friday

"Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."



Have you wondered what is good about this day in the life of the Savior? How can we say this sacrifice was good?





Is it good that he took my sins, my failings, and my misfortune onto himself? I would deny him if I said no. It was the focus of his whole life. To bring me with him back to my Heavenly Father.




I wince at seeing his suffering. Yet, I rejoice that he willingly submitted  for my sake. 




"Now there stood by the cross of Jesus, his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary, the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene."

To all the Marys who gave him so much comfort. Take heart. There will be Sunday. And he will be alive.

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Thursday, April 18, 2019

Easter Week- The Longest, Hardest Day

   "During the first of the days of unleavened bread, which was on Thursday, some of the Twelve inquired of Jesus where they should make preparations for the paschal meal."

While reading the story of Passover, going into the Garden of Gethsemane, and the betrayal of Jesus into the hands of the Jewish authorities, I marvel at the emotional connection Jesus has in the midst of anxiety ridden events. As I am learning more of wholeheartedness and integrating emotions into our very identity, I look at Jesus as the model of all I desire in wholehearted living. I'll be using some definitions of emotion to make my points. 




Anxiety- Uncertainty, overwhelming fear, competing demands on our time, or social discomfort.



For Jesus there was an awful certainty about what would transpire and I believe a God who can know us completely would be required to feel the all the emotions of mortality. I believe he felt fear and anxiety but was fully anchored in his sense of belonging and connection to His Father. His resilience was divine.



Resentment- An emotion we experience when we fail to set boundaries, when boundaries are ignored, or when expectations let us down because they were based on things we can't control, like what others think. what they feel, or how they're going to react.





Surely he felt some resentment towards others who responded awkwardly and deceptively to him, not fully understanding all that he was offering in this life and in the next. Yet, he responded with patience and love.




To me he fully exemplifies a wholehearted self. His thinking, feeling, and doing were fully integrated.











Heartbreak- More than just a particularly hard form of disappointment or failure. It hurts in an entirely different way because heartbreak is always connected to love and belonging.


I hurt for him because he hurt for me, fully submitting to carry my pain, suffering, lack, evil, and my just plain misfortune. In a desire for me to belong to him and connected to his Father, he knelt in Gethsemane and paid the awful price for justice to be served.



What an astounding day this was for him and for us all. And Friday will come next.

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Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Easter Week- A Day To Withdraw

"But now it is Wednesday and tomorrow is the day for the slaying of the thousands of Paschal lambs. Today is a day devoted to his intimate friends."


Jesus passed this day of rest and retirement with his disciples. How could they not know that the end of a perfect ministry was coming? He had proclaimed it 12 times in the the previous years.


  1. At the first Passover, three years before. "Destroy this temple and after three days I will raise it up. (John 2)
  2. To Nicodemus he said, "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up. (John 3)
  3. To the disciples of John he said, "The days will come when the bridegroom shall be taken from them ." (Matt. 9) 
  4. To the sign seeking scribes and Pharisees he said, "For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth." (Matt. 12)
  5. To the Twelve he said, "And he that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me, is not worthy of me." (Matt 10)
  6. In the Sermon on the bread of life he said, "And the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I give for the life of the world." (John 6)
  7. After Peter's stirring testimony it is written, "From that time forth began Jesus to show unto his disciples, how he must go uno Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day." (Matt. 16)
  8. On the Mount of Transfiguration he discussed his decease which he should accomplish at Jerusalem. (Luke 9)
  9. Coming down from the mount he said, "The Son of Man shall be betrayed unto the hands of men; And they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised again." (Matt, 17)
  10. En route to Jerusalem he said, "They shall deliver him to the Gentiles to mock, and to scourge, and to crucify him; and the third day he shall rise again." (Matt. 20)
  11. In the teachings of the Good Shepard he said, "I am the good shepherd; and the good shepherd giveth his life for his sheep.." (John 10)
  12. In the parable of the wicked husbandmen he said. "This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize his inheritance." (Matt. 21)


On this day alone with them he taught them all of his coming ordeal and what would result therefrom. 


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Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Easter Week- His Last Public Discourse At The Temple


"On the following day, that is on Tuesday, He returned to the temple with the Twelve, teaching all who would listen."


The chief priests and some of the scribes came upon him as a body. They asked him by what authority did he do his works. They knew the authority he claimed; their question was of sinister purpose. Jesus chose to answer their question with a question. Was the baptism of John from heaven or of men. Since the opinions of men swayed what the authorities would do they were forced into silence. "We cannot tell."



Jesus continued to teach, parable upon parable, all pointing to the self-betrayal of the chief authorities. The Parable of The Two Sons showed how true repentance was more effectual than lip service. The Parable of the Wicked Husbandmen pointed to the deceit of them that killed the son of the householder and stole his inheritance. Truly. how could they not get his message? Then he told the Parable of the Royal Marriage Feast. The guests refused to come and spurned their royal invitation only to be destroyed for heir lack of loyalty. If this story was to be an allegorical presentation of true events, then it passes into the future as the destruction of Jerusalem post dated Jesus by several decades.


This Parable was the last spoken by our Lord to the public. Jesus would now turn his attention on his apostles who he would instruct and support in the coming days.

"Many are called, but few are chosen. And why are they not chosen? Because their hearts are set so much upon the things of this world,..."

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Monday, April 15, 2019

Easter Week- Cleansing The Temple

" Now, within four days of the cross. He cleared the courts again by casting out all "them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves."



         



































    This act had strong emotion attached to the action. This was his father's house and it was also His house. Worldly commerce was not allowed because in this house the power of godliness was manifest. By that I mean, the sacrifices made, the prayers uttered, the promises entered into within these walls were done in similitude of the atonement, showing that only in Jesus could sins be made "white as snow' and all brought back into correct alignment with Heavenly Father.

     After the indignation came the calmness of healing those in the courts who were blind, lame and otherwise afflicted. His power was always used for binding, healing, and connecting. 

    As the common people gathered around him, the enraged officials were silenced by the press of the crowd. Little children. who perceived his power, spontaneously burst onto praise, calling him truthfully, the Son of David. 
   That evening he left Jerusalem and retired to Bethany. His hour was near, but not yet.


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Sunday, April 14, 2019

Easter Week- Palm Sunday

"Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion, shout, O daughter of Jerusalem, behold thy King cometh unto thee; and having salvation; lowly, and riding upon an ass, and upon a colt, the foul of an ass."
Zechariah 9:9



As prophesied Jesus entered the city to the tumult of praising. His pathway was strewn with clothing and palm branches. Some pharisees urged him to rebuke the outcry of his disciples but he answered them by saying that if he made them hold their peace even the stones would begin to cry out praise. Many would realize much later how the prophecies of the Old Testament were fulfilled that day. 

   Jesus knew his days were numbered and he urged his disciples to believe in the light while the light was still among them that they would be called children of light.


Believing, receiving, be open
To the truth which makes you 
Loving, and caring, and feeling,
That ye may be his child.

The savior said, "I am the light",
Come, follow me, just reach for my hand.
Your heavy burdens I will share,
My arms enfold you.

Believing, Receiving, Be Open
To the truth which makes you 
Loving, and caring, and feeling,
That ye may be his child.

His light illuminates the path
Warms every heart, each flickering shadow.
Go forth in faith, remove all doubt,
His arms enfold you.

Believing, receiving, be open
To the truth which makes you 
Loving, and caring, and feeling,
That ye may be the children of light.

Words to a song I wrote decades ago as a family motto. To be wholehearted has been a desire of mine for a long time. It seems, sometimes, to be just outside of reach but I do want to be a child of light so that the salvation Jesus brings is mine.

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Friday, April 12, 2019

Lack

What lack I yet?

The Easter story is unfolding again during these coming days. As I read the scriptures I am drawn to observing the reactions  of those around him-during Passover, in the garden, those who interact with Jesus during his interrogations, the road to Calvary. I notice the things they lack-commitment, desire, understanding, love.


Perhaps I see those things because I feel the lack of deeper love for Him. I decided this morning to stop fighting that empty feeling. It is appropriate to recognize and be with that realization. I see the light. It's coming from the East. There will be a resurrection and it will invite me to rise up with more faith.