While we were, he did…

He knew.

He knew how and when.

He knew and did it anyway. Jesus how and when he would die and yet he willingly stayed on the path that would lead to his execution.

“Matthew 26:1-5 When Jesus had finished all these words, He said to His disciples, “You know that after two days the Passover is coming, and the Son of Man is to be handed over for crucifixion.” Then the chief priests and the elders of the people were gathered together in the court of the high priest, named Caiaphas; and they plotted together to seize Jesus by stealth and kill Him. But they were saying, “Not during the festival, otherwise a riot might occur among the people.”’

If we Think of the worst person that we know, (most of the time, in my mind that is me). Remember all the wrong things they’ve done. Now imagine Jesus walking towards Jerusalem and his death looking through time at this person and saying, “I know what you have done and will do. I forgive you, I will die in your place”. That is what is going on here as Jesus continues down this road.

Paul said it so well in his letter to the believers in Rome.

Romans 5:6-11 For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.”

It’s Monday morning. Weekends hold many things for us, sometimes it’s a big box of regrets.

How about starting out this week trading boxes, trading a box of regrets for lifetime of forgiveness? Jesus knew what we’d be doing and died to forgive us anyway. He loves us that much.

Today is is good day to be forgiven. Forgiveness is a request away.

Why worry?

How big is God?

Is he bigger than my worries?

Do Not Worry

12:22-31pp — Mt 6:25-33

22 Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. 23 Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. 24 Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! 25 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life ? 26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?

One of my worries just became a reality. My hours are getting cut. The juicy money stuffed hours of overtime.

My question in a time of change is not will he provide for us but what have I added to my life that is extra and burdensome? What will have to go? God has always provided for our family.

Like the families that came out west on the wagon trains who realized that their precious stuff that they thought they needed was just a burden. The lighter the load the easier the journey. I don’t think God is as enamored with my stuff as I am. Hmmm.

Stay tuned to see what God will do.

(Update: our hours were cut back for short time but then we went back to our regular 50+ hour weeks. Now management is talking about cutbacks again. God has continued to bless and provide for us and we are slowly trying to shrink our load of debt.)

What is a weed?

Wikipedia says this about weeds. “A weed is a plant considered undesirable in a particular situation, “a plant in the wrong place”. Examples commonly are plants unwanted in human-controlled settings, such as farm fields, gardens, lawns, and parks. Taxonomically, the term “weed” has no botanical significance, because a plant that is a weed in one context is not a weed when growing in a situation where it is in fact wanted, and where one species of plant is a valuable crop plant, another species in the same genus might be a serious weed, such as a wild bramble growing among cultivated loganberries.”

The picture is of a a group of baby quaking aspens. We replanted a volunteer and now the first tree wants to start a family. I have been just sniping off the sprouts but in two Weeks or so I just have to do it again.

Sometimes sin in my life is like this. Its source is a root buried in my heart and every time it gets a chance it sprouts up. I can spend time sniping off the tops or I can dig down and get to the roots and yank it out by the source.

The writer of Hebrews mentions this while talking about how God disciplines us.

“Hebrews 12:9-16 Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed. Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled; that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal. ”

Some things I deal with have origins in my childhood, some go back generations in my family. Chopping at the tops doesn’t kill these. I have to dig down to the root of the issue.

Mixed up

Luke 13.

Jesus healed The woman after being doubled over for 18 years. And got in trouble for it.

First let’s be amazed at the healing power of God. Some chronic illnesses we have to adjust to. We have a condition and this is my life now. For the rest of my life. Then Jesus “put his hands on” and we are healed. I want that. I want that for Mary’s celiac and my diabetes. I will keep praying for those but in the mean time, I will keep showing up at church. That’s where she was. At church. Worshipping God in spite of being bent in 1/2. I will Contend for healing but I will not let my condition keep me from praising God. She walked to church bent in 1/2 and came home healed. Set free. God is amazing.

The pastor yelled at Jesus because he broke a man made rule about how we should act at church and on the rest day. People are amazing. How we can get so mixed up about what is important? Rules over relationship. It seems so obvious from this side of the story. That obviousness makes me question my own life. Where do I have blind spots? Where am I putting the established order of things in place of caring for people?

There is grace and healing for the sick and broken and bent in 1/2. Even for rigid misguided rule followers if they repent and seek the One who rules.

Why worry and yet…

Luke 12 exposes my weakness.

“22 Then Jesus said to his disciples: “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear. 23 Life is more than food, and the body more than clothes. 24 Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them. And how much more valuable you are than birds! 25 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life ? 26 Since you cannot do this very little thing, why do you worry about the rest?”

Do not worry. I break this commandment dozens if not hundreds of times a day. Sometimes if I’m not worried I worry that I’m too confident. I worry about worrying. Does that sound like I am man who believes in a loving and merciful God? I am that. I do believe that God provides for me, for Mary and me. He always has. And yet I worry. Forgive me Father.

Thank you God for always providing for us. Thank you for taking us to places that we never imagined.

Sheep-I-ness

He is watching.

Not Santa, Jesus, Jesus is watching. Not to see if i do wrong but to see if I do right.

Matthew 25s third story is about Jesus weeding us out, separating genuine believers from false believers.

“Matthew 25:31-46 “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left. “Then the King will say to those on His right, ‘Come, you who are blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’ “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.” ‘

My behavior counts but not in a points score. My behavior shows the condition and attitude of my heart.

If I want to change my behavior step one is a heart transplant.

Ezekiel says about God’s intent for us, “Ezekiel 11:19-20 And I will give them one heart, and put a new spirit within them. And I will take the heart of stone out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in My statutes and keep My ordinances and do them. Then they will be My people, and I shall be their God.”

What are the statutes and ordinances?

“Matthew 22:37-40 And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” ‘

I have accepted Jesus as my savior, his death and resurrection cover my sin and make it possible for me to be counted as a sheep. The way I treat others will show Jesus my sheepness.

Bold persistence

Luke 11. Jesus teaches what to pray.

2 He said to them, “When you pray, say: ” ‘Father, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come. 3 Give us each day our daily bread. 4 Forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And lead us not into temptation. ‘ ”

Then he taught us how to pray.

Then he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and he goes to him at midnight and says, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, 6 because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him.’ 7 “Then the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children are with me in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ 8 I tell you, though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is his friend, yet because of the man’s boldness he will get up and give him as much as he needs. 9 “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”

Persistently, boldly pray.

Why?

11 “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

I pray because I have confidence in the One to who I am praying. (Probably supposed to be whom).