Lord, help me be more Mary-like. Teach me how to just sit at your feet and listen to what Jesus said. In a world of instant communications, 24-hour newsreels, social media posts, and text messaging, show me how to just sit at your feet for ONE DAY and just listen.
What would you say to me?
What would you say about this world and how to live in it?
Would you give insight in to what’s happening?
What do I need to hear from you most today?
Would you tell me I’m doing ok or would you guide me to a better way of living?
Yep, this sounds more like me and my Martha-like self.
Distracted by all the stuff.
Because honestly, who’s going to do all this stuff if I don’t? After all, the only reason that Jesus was even in there was because Martha had “opened her home to him” in verse 38. There’s dinner to cook, house to clean, feet to get washed, a table to set, I mean really. You expect me to just sit there and listen, when there’s all this stuff to do?!?!?
How can I just sit and listen to you when the politicians are so loud?
How can I just sit and listen when the family issues seem to be getting ignored and growing worse?
How can I just sit and listen when there are eggs to color and dinner to cook? Or even worse, when there’s not, and the loneliness sets in?
How can I just sit and listen when there are children being abused, abandoned or even worse, killed?
Lord, don’t you care about all the things I see on social media? Don’t you care what so-and-so said? Don’t you care about what is happening to our economy? Don’t you care about ……………………………..?
How can I just sit and listen when there are things to do, places to go, people to see?
Lord tell them!!
As I sit here this morning at the feet of Jesus, in my best Mary-like posture of coffee and pajamas I hear Jesus say. “Today is Easter. Today is the day to celebrate that on the day I visited Mary and Martha, My Father had a bigger plan. On the day I visited Mary and Martha, I loved them both for their reaction to My visit. I love and appreciate you and your readers, in how you respond to your world today. I love Martha for her busy-ness and I love Mary for her sitting and reflecting. There is a time and a place for both the preparation and the listening.”
Friends, just for today, I choose to just sit at the feet of Jesus and reflect on what He has done for us. Before we were even born, before our ancestors were even born, he came to this world to teach us how to love one another, to die for our sins and then finally rise again. He is seated at the right hand of the Father, right this very second, praying for us, and preparing a place for us.
Just for today that no matter what happens in this world, rejoice that your name is written in heaven when you receive Jesus as your savior.
Father, I thank you for Martha and Mary, especially today. I thank you for the imagery of how to do Easter Sunday. There is dinner to cook, family fun to have, and the cross to reflect on. I pray for the person reading this right now, that they would take the time to read your word and listen to what you have to say to them. I pray for many who are less fortunate than I. I pray for leadership of our nation and world. I pray that miraculously each would turn to You and turn their decisions and lives over to You. Lord, I don’t know what the right answers to this world and its issues are, but you do. I trust that you have a bigger plan than what we see right now. Lord help us. Lord we are ready for your return.
Today is Good Friday, the day we recognize that Jesus, the son of God, was crucified on a cross to pay the price of repentance so that our sins would be forgiven. All we have to do is believe and trust in the fact that Jesus is Lord and then follow him. I am praying for each of us to grasp how deep and how wide the love of God!! Not only did he suffer the cruelest of deaths, but then Jesus rose again on the 3rd day. Today we celebrate that day as Easter!! He is currently seated at the right hand of the Father for YOU, my friend. He’s calling to YOU today.
As an illustration of what Jesus has done for us….let us consider some examples of sons and daughters. Some of these were before Jesus came to die for our sins in the Old Testament, and some are after Jesus paid the final price in the Gospels.
Who amongst us hasn’t been a drunkard or a glutton at some point or another. Who amongst us hasn’t kept on doing the wrongs over, and over, and over, and over again, even thought we KNEW that we knew that we KNEW that it was wrong? The evil in this world is overwhelming, and Satan is its ruler. We all fall into temptation. If you are recognizing a sinful behavior in your life, trust me when I say, you are not alone. You are not alone.
The word “sin” is a term used in archery to mean, “missed the mark”. No matter how far off the bullseye an archer is, its a sin. There’s no big sins or little sins, they’re just sins. Often we might find ourselves saying, “well, at least the thing I did wrong isn’t as bad as his/her wrong doing”. That’s off limits folks. Its not our place to judge, only repent for our own.
In the Deuteronomy readings today, there are various laws that Moses lists and the punishment is that the evil doer must be brought before the elders, and the person stoned to death. “You must purge the evil among you” is insisted upon for each.
But then Jesus came.
Jesus didn’t use the term REBELLIOUS Son, Jesus calls him “lost” in the Parable of the Lost Son. Oh, and the term “son” can be used for daughter too…..so ladies, this is for us, as well.
The son asked for his half of the estate inheritance. The only time we get an inheritance, is when someone dies, right? Well, so in essence, the son was telling his father, “you are dead to me! Just give me my money! I don’t need anything from you but my possessions.” Total rejection of the Father. How sad the father must have felt, right? How rejection of a child can be overwhelming. I know this from experience, its the worst feeling in the world, the rejection from a child.
But then, as could be predicted, the son squandered off all his possession in “wild living” in the distant land of drunkardness and gluttony. Just the way the first son did in Deuteronomy. He partied with his buddies in a way of life that was foreign to that in which he was raised. Then, of course, when it was all gone, where were his friends? Poof. Gone. So with no money and no possessions, the boy was forced to get a job. He took a job feeding pigs.
Nothing like feeding pigs to bring you to your senses, right? Have you ever fed pigs friends? Ugh, its the worst. My daughter had pigs in 4-H, and man-oh-man, those animals have a whole new level of stink. But, a man’s gotta eat right? When you get to the point of wanting to eat pig food….that my friends, is what we call rock bottom. The desperation of no where else to turn. Unfortunately, that’s what it takes sometimes to draw us back to the Father. Sometimes we have to experience the consequences of our choices. Our very own pig food and pig pen.
He came to his senses. He decided to swallow his pride and go home to the father. Maybe dad wasn’t so bad after all. Maybe dad had been right about a few things. Maybe this way of living isn’t what he thought it would be. Perhaps its time to go home. This son knew that he deserved to be purged from the family, as the reading from Deuteronomy describes. But he was willing to just go home and eat the crumbs of the servants.
But Jesus says something different. Jesus died to pay the ultimate price of stoning and purging and NOW…..while the son was still a long way off, his Father saw him, and was filled with compassion for him; he RAN to His son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. (Luke 15:20)
When we get up and go to the Father, He RUNS TO US, friends! By giving the son the best robe and putting a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet, the Father restored him to his place in the family. When we repent and turn to the Father, we are no longer outcast. When we go off and are doing our wild living, God calls us lost, and when we return, God calls us found. We were dead in our sinful behaviors, and now we are alive, in Jesus.
Friends, are you lost? No matter the sinful decisions, in sin, we are lost. We are all lost, but Jesus came to let us know that no matter what, we can just say the word, think the thought of returning to the Father and he runs to meet us. We don’t have to make a big production of it, go to a special place, put on a strong exterior, quit the bad habit, get cleaned up, go anywhere, do anything. All we have to do, right now, in each of our quiet hearts, say the words, “Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son/daughter.” (Luke 15:21) And God will come running to wrap you in His arms. Please do that today, friend.
Lord, I come to you in praise and gratitude for this Good Friday. I thank you that you came to seek us lost souls and redeem us to the family of God. Lord I pray for the person reading this right now. I pray that Peace be on their house. I know that those who promote peace, your peace will rest on them, and if not, it will return to me. I pray that if there is any illness or sin in which needs healing that You would heal them and cause them to follow you. I seek the same for myself, if there is any evil or sickness in or around each of us, that in Jesus name it would quietly leave and that the Holy Spirit fill its place. The kingdom of God has come near. The kingdom of God is near, I pray that this knowledge would cause us to get up, and go to You, Father. In Jesus mighty name. Amen.
Last year I participated in a program called My Transphormation Starts Today! Its a weight loss & fitness program. The company is called 1st Phorm and they also sell weight loss and health supplements. There’s a million companies like it, I chose this one because it was recommended to me by a friend. It works as an app and when you sign up, they assign you an advisor, who is an accountability coach that checks in with you each week. Its only like $48.00 per year, which is cheap comparatively speaking and how they make their money is with supplements, but they don’t “push” them on you. Its the accountability that works for many people, like me. They believe in hard work and the science of food. It really worked for me.
I recommended it to a few friends of mine and a few of us were going to work the program together. I was excited for our little local group. But it seemed that no one else in the group was taking it as seriously as I was, and I felt discouraged, like I failed my friends somehow. This was the first of my “falling off the wagon”. Then the political climate and stress moved me towards checking out of social media and I lost track of the online MTST group. All this together, has created a weight gain that I feel totally ashamed of.
I don’t tell this story for you to feel sorry for me, I do it as an illustration for the Proverb. See, I want to get “back on the program” but I feel ashamed to reach out to my advisor. I had goals and plans, and I fell off the wagon. So instead of asking for help I am “pretending” that everything is ok, and I don’t need help. I am being prideful in reaching out.
I used to tell my kids when they were in school to ask for help, if they didn’t understand a particular subject. Stay after school for extra help, raise your hand and ask for clarification, go to the teacher during study hall or go to a different teacher if they thought it would help. Worst case scenario, ask me for help! God knows, I’d try, but surely there’s someone smarter!! Sometimes they would, but sometimes they wouldn’t. Its embarrassing to be the kid who raises their hand, I think. So often times we go around pretending to have it under control, to pretend to “be somebody”.
But isn’t that really just called PRIDE?
And isn’t PRIDE actually one of the seven deadly sins?
Oh SNAP! There it is.
Yes, it is. This kind of pride is a sin. But why? Isn’t it ok to be proud of yourself when you accomplish something? Yes. Yes it is. When I was successful in weight loss last year, I felt so much pride because I was able to run longer, lift heavier, feel happier. I felt proud of myself emotionally and I felt healthier. Which REALLY is the end game goal. Right?
But the kind of pride that we feel which causes us to feel ashamed to ask for help….that’s a different kind of pride. That’s PRETENDING to be something we’re not. Which is actually separating us from community and isolating ourselves. Its causing us to “have no food“.
Say you’re a woman who’s been a stay at home mom for several years and decide to return to college. This semester you’re taking statistics. Your professor says, don’t use a calculator, all work must be shown on an excel spreadsheet. But because you’ve been out of the workforce for a while, its been a few years since you’ve used excel. How are you supposed to be successful? Well, you could consider asking a friend for help, someone who might know more about excel and perhaps this friend even offered to get together over a cup of coffee to see if she could help you. If you take this friend up on her cup of coffee, and get some one on one time on excel, then a couple benefits of this are available to you.
You get to spend time with a friend, where two or more are gathered in Jesus name, he is with them
You get free help, a servant
Better to be a nobody, better to be a beginner, better to swallow our pride and get the help we need AKA have a servant.
Dear Lord, I thank you for the practical application of this Proverb that you put on my heart today. I know thank you that it spoke to me. I pray that you take these words of mine and use them to speak to the person reading this right now. I’m sorry Lord for my pride. I pray for the person reading this right now, that you would speak to their heart and cause them to seek out the help they need today. If there are any chains of pretending, shame, fear or embarrassment, I pray that you would use my writings to break them and return each of us to you.
How can I be praying for you today?
What prideful habit of yours comes to mind with this reading?
I wrote this journal entry at the airport on the first day of my trip last week. Because I couldn’t get internet access while I was gone, I was not able to blog. This journal entry felt important, so I wanted to share it with you.
In Chapter 2 God tells Moses, “You have made your way around this hill country long enough; now turn north. Give the people these orders:” (verse 3-4) Then God warns the people to avoid the descendants of Esau who lived in Sier because he promised that land to them. “They will be afraid of you, but be very careful. Do not provoke them to war for I will not give you and of their land, net even enough to put your foot on. I have given Esau the hill country…..You are to pay them in silver for the food you eat and the water you drink.”
Then God warns them to “do not harass the Moabites or provoke them to war, for I will not give you any part of their land” (vs 9) because that land belonged to the descendants of Lot.
The Lord had given the descendants of Esau and the descendants of Lot their lands, just as he was giving the Israelites the territory of the Promised Land, the land East of the Jordan. They were to bypass Edom, Moab and Ammon because of their blood relationship to Israel. Don’t take something that is not yours to take. Trust that God will provide for you just like he did the Israelites, the Moabites and the Edomites. God is a God of His Word!
What are you being called to trust God for today?
This number Forty Years of provision, is absolutely true of my life. God brought it to my attention in the airport the other day that 40 years ago I was about 16 years old. I was attending church in Waller, Texas with a friend whose dad happened to be the preacher. I don’t know what my motivation was that day to go to the front and asked to be baptized. Maybe it was to fit in with someone. Maybe it was a powerful preaching. Maybe it was truly God preparing me for the wilderness I was about to walk through in life. Because after this baptism, my life took a turn for the not so good. My parents got divorced, my Grandma who was really an anchor in our family, died, and my Aunt Nora died. It was a year filled with tragedy.
My mom decided to move us back to the city so she could be close to her work, and for the sixth time in my nine years of education, I was the new girl in school. Only now I was an angry, frightened, emotionally abandoned teenager. While I didn’t know it at the time, God was with me and protected me starting at that baptism. Even while I was making poor choices in effort of fitting in, I never lacked what I needed.
The readings go on to tell us about how God guided them through the wilderness and was preparing them to “take possession of the land of the Amorites. Many of the nations and kings would be afraid of the Israelites and it would be easy to PASS THROUGH those lands. But the lands they were to TAKE POSSESSION of would be different.
So how do we know that a “land” is given to us? Because its hard. How do we know that a land is NOT ours to live in? Because the inhabitants are afraid of us….or its just easy to do. Its easy to be the smartest guy in the room, but being around successful people and those who are doing the right thing, that can be intimidating.
The first step in conquering something is to know that God will make its heart obstinate. That dream that goal that life plan that you have, that I have, that seems like its throwing us curveballs….perhaps that a difficulty that you have to overcome.
I read last years journal entry for 3/24/2020 in hopes of gaining some “wisdom” to share with my brother and his family on my trip. I read that I had asked God to keep me from bad habits, laziness, food addictions. And interestingly enough, I have been writing about the same thing this year. I am still asking God to give me a victory that He has already given me, but I must conquer it! Often times instead, I just insist on staying in the wilderness and whine about the effects of these habits that God has already delivered me from. Its my daily decision to step up and conquer them.
Having a healthy body is hard because it takes a daily decision to do the thing and eat the food required to have it. Sitting on the couch watching tv or playing candy crush feels more fun “right now”, but the hard thing is what God has in store for me to conquer. But what if its bigger than that…..
What if on the other side of this battle that I have with food and fitness are restored relationships? What if on the other side of this mountain is successful writing? A passionate marriage? What if these are the victories that God has in store for me if I will decide to get up out of the damn desert and conquer that which is hard!
Can I trust in God to deliver me from these sinful behaviors that separate me from a healthy Self that God designed me to be and have?
Didn’t God deliver me from cigarettes? Whew, that was hard, and yes, He did. But I had to choose NOT to smoke them.
Didn’t God make my Real Estate Career successful? Yep, more successful than I ever dreamed, but I had to make the choices for marketing my business and working it every single day.
Didn’t God save my marriage? Yes, thank God he did, but Jeff and I both had to make the decision to love each other through it.
Didn’t God save my Ashley from addiction and give me beautiful grandchildren? But she had to make the decision for sobriety and I had to make the choice to forgive and trust.
Didn’t God return my Dakota and I to a good relationship> Yes. yes. yes. But I had to choose to let her go….and trust that God would bring her back.
So why wouldn’t God deliver me from these new promises too?
How do we conquer the sinful behaviors? Well, it gets done each and every day we decide to make that happen. We have to decide that what we really want is more important than what we want right now. We get off work, and its time to go to the gym, do we go to the gym, or say….ohhh, it can wait till tomorrow (the tomorrow that never comes). Or its time to cook dinner, do we have pizza or gather the makings of a hearty salad?
God wants to bless you, friend. God wants to give you the Promised Land of freedom. What land is it that God has in store for you? Is it overcoming fear and going for the big career move or going back to school? Is it taking the next step in a relationship? Whatever land that God has in store for you…..I promise it won’t be an easy path or one that “most people” travel. It will be worth it though!
Lord, thank you for these years that you have provided for me. Thank you for the journey through the wilderness….even though it was hard. I pray for the person reading this right now, that you would guide them to their Promised Land, and give them the freedom that you had in store for them all along.
So, I’ve been absent for a few days. I went up to Michigan to visit my dad, my brother and my brother’s family. It was a great visit. We didn’t do a whole lot, just spent time together. Went shooting, did some shopping, did some crafting with my nieces, pretty much just hung out. Here’s some pictures.
I took my computer with me to be able to blog while I was away, and at the Kansas City airport, I logged in to the “free” airport WiFi. Well, I think something happened during that attempt at connection, because I have been blocked from the internet every since. I have a VPN that encrypts my internet activity from “the wicked”, and it would NOT let me log in to any of the WiFi’s that I tried to connect to.
Frankly, I’m not smart enough with computers, to know exactly what happened, I just know that I’m back now, and was still not able to log in to the internet, even on my home network. The plans of the “righteous are just“, and I was able to prevail by uninstalling and reinstalling my VPN.
In addition to my morning blogs, I have some plans for the future to expand my blog that I’m excited to share with you in the very near future. If you like crafting….stay tuned, because I’ve started what is called “junk journaling”. Which I absolutely adore. The concept is to take old books found in junk stores and paper scraps make them in to something beautiful…..kinda like how God took the scraps and junk that I had made of my life, and is making it into something beautiful. If that interests you…..I hope you will enjoy it, and perhaps start your own junk journals.
Also, I think I’m going to start blogging about my gardening…..not sure yet what that looks like.
Someone said they are interested in the Bible in a Year plan, so I’m going to create a separate page for the readings for the whole year….easy access to the daily readings.
This prayer today is taken from Joyce Rupp’s book “May I Have This Dance”. It is a reflection from A Prayer of Wonder.
Jesus calls his first disciples…..
I’ve been struggling for a few days regarding my blog. I began to get feelings of why bother? What’s the point? No one really cares about your reflections…there are thousands of writers out there, why would yours stand out? Its hopeless. It started when I was listening to a professional speak in a class that I’m taking. She said that there are thousands and thousands of book ideas sent to publishers and very few get chosen. So I kinda got discouraged.
Then this morning while praying God told me to pick up my first ever journal. In it was a prayer sheet that I got back in 1995. This was a reflective prayer given to me by Henry Campion and its based on A Prayer of Wonder, by Joyce Rupp:
Begin by thinking about all the ways you use your hands. Think about all that your hands do for you from the moment you first arise in the morning. How would your day be different if you did not have any hands?
Hold your hands in front of you and notice:
…..the texture of the skin on the palm and on the back side,
…..the feeling of the bones in the hands and the finger joints,
…..the fingernails (they protect the ends of our fingers)
…..the variation of color on the different parts of our hands,
…..the tiny pores for perspiration.
Look at the lines on the palm, notice your fingerprints, look at any spots, warts, hairs, wrinkles, or veins that are a part of your hands…..these are YOUR hands…..they tell much about who you are…..
Sit quietly and look at your hands. Hold your hands with palms up, open before you. Image your life in your hands….see there are many ways that these hands have been gifts to you….
Now close your eyes and picture your hand in the hand of God. Hold hands with God in stillness. When it seems that you have taken enough time with this, close by offering a prayer of praise and thanksgiving to God.
(Taken from Joyce Rupp’s book “May I Have This Dance?)
This was in the first few years of Jesus getting in my boat. The boat of my life. I didn’t plan it, I didn’t search for it. Jesus found me. It wasn’t some sort of moment of deliverance like some write about. It was a long journey of letting go and redemption.
Prior to this, I was a rebellious young woman. I worked hard at my job and was outwardly successful. Professionally, I had worked my way up from the hostess desk to general manager in the food service industry. I was self disciplined in my work, and worked long hard hours to earn “respect” from management.
I was always the life of the party and had many party “friends”. I would often work from dawn till late in the evening. Working late it seemed that all there was left to do was go to a bar and hang out till closing time, only to get up early then next morning and start all over again. I was strong and independent, so it appeared to outsiders. I had no problem being attractive to men, and there was never a dull moment in my romantic life. Men were just play things and easily sought and disposed of, that is until my husband came around, he wasn’t so easy to let go of….something made him a little bit more interesting.
What made Jeff more interesting, I know now, was his relationship with Jesus. Jesus drew me in….and I didn’t even realize it. Jesus, through Jeff got in my boat.
When Jesus got in my boat back in 1991, I didn’t know what hit me. Every since that time, I’ve had such a deep thirst for God, that it totally changed the trajectory of my life. It started with RCIA, which led to spiritual direction with Henri Campion. Part of what I wrote in my first journal entry was “I am starting something new today. This new way of prayer, (Henry is great, isn’t she?) This new sense of self, hopefully a new relationship with you……are you really there Jesus? I need to feel you.” The writings that is represented by “……” is actual real life stuff. It talks about a fight I was having with my husband, the counselor we were seeing at the time, something my dad said. You know….regular diary type stuff. It was the first CONVERSATION with Jesus that I wrote.
I remember very distinctly not knowing if I was doing this prayer thing right. I didn’t have the proper words, I hadn’t grown up in a religious home so I didn’t know what to do. I was learning on the fly. God sent Henri and the others to show me WHERE to cast my net. To show me HOW to cast it. Many friends along the way guided me through my uncertainty and guided me through the “how to pray” questions I had. If you have those questions, I would encourage you to open up the Bible App or better yet, a Bible and just see what scripture pops up. Then, just start writing, literally. Even if your first words are like mine. “I don’t know what to say………but (whoever) told me to start writing” See what happens. See what comes out. You might be surprised.
When I examined my hands through the Joyce Rupp reflection this morning it reminded me that my story is my story and for some reason, God calls me to write about it. Maybe it’s to practice writing, maybe someone will run across it and find hope for their own life. Maybe it’s just for me, to remind me how God has called me. If you are reading this….well, thank you and I’m sorry. I am sorry that it may be a boring story, or not well written. I thank you because you got this far and for some reason, God called you here, too. I thank you that you listened to the call of the partners that I let out, like Peter did. I stand astonished that God is using my writings to catch fish.
So I am choosing to be obedient in blogging. If I skip a few days, know that I’m struggling with this and I ask you to pray for me….that God speak to me clearly. I am a sinful woman, as we all are, and I fail at times. Back in 1995 I began my life of repentance. What I didn’t realize that this life of repentance lasts a lifetime! If you have some things in your past, that you need to release from those hands….all I have to say is let ‘er rip! Jesus does NOT want you to carry that crap around. You’re not strong enough, but He is. Its a long road, don’t let that garbage weigh you down for this journey of life.
That’s what I did, back in 1991. I pulled my boat up on shore….my professional life, my (everyday) partying, my rebelliousness, my independence-at-all-cost attitude, my whole self, and left everything and followed him. I had to face my demons and sinfulness of the past, and turn them all over to God. Back then I thought it would be a 1 time deal. But I was dead wrong there. I continued to fail and get back up, fail and get back up, fail and ask for forgiveness, fail and get back up. It took years of forgiving MYSELF and seeking the hand of God to lead me through recovery and redemption, and like blogging, obedience.
Lord I thank you that you speak so clearly to me, and again I ask that You use my blog for what You intend it to be. I pray for the person reading this right now, be with them in a special way, heal their hurts and calm their fears. Cause me and the person reading this right now to open our hands and fully grasp the miracle that you have created in each of us.
The setting for these verses is Jesus, Mary & Joseph had been to Jerusalem for the annual Passover Festival. They were caravaning back home when Mary & Joseph realized after about a day’s journey that Jesus was missing. They couldn’t find him anywhere so they hurried back to Jerusalem to find their 12 year old son. They found him in the temple listening and learning among the teachers. When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you.” (vs 48) The footnotes say that another interpretation for my father’s house could might be said as “be about my Father’s Business”.
So in response to Mary’s question, Jesus respectively reminds her that he has to Be About His Father’s Business. We all have business to be doing for the Father, don’t we?
This made me take a look back at all the people we meet in Chapter 2 of Luke. All of which, whether they realized it or not….were going about the Father’s Business.
The first person we meet is Caesar August. He issued a decree that a census should be taken, which catapulted Joseph and Mary to Bethlehem. Bethlehem, as we discussed yesterday, is where the Messiah was prophesied to be born. I’m sure it was not very pregnant Mary and her husband-to-be that thought it a good idea to make this trip back home….on a donkey, no less. Right? I mean would you?!?! So we must consider is it possible that Caesar who wasn’t even a Jew or God fearing man, a Roman couldn’t possibly be aware of what he had set in motion by this decree….was Going About The Father’s Business? Could that be? Could it be that Caesar was put in motion of doing God’s Business, just as God planned it? That’s a mind boggling thought, isn’t it? So if that’s the case….and we look around at our current world and see the politics and world systems that are in motion……are those also systems and people being played out to do The Father’s Business?
Wow. When I think about the mess our world is in, and could this actually play out to be part of the Father’s Business…..it feels a bit overwhelming.
Ok, lets move to someone a bit easier.
Joseph and Mary we meet a couple of times in this chapter. The first time, we think about poor Joseph having to haul Mary back home to take this census. So if this is his hometown, could he have had to explain to his family about his pregnant wife-to-be while he was there? Lots of people were in town and Joseph had to go around hotel to hotel finding a place to stay. Nothin. He would have to take Mary and stay in a barn! Then, the baby is born. Joseph who didn’t conceive this baby, and who is riding on a shoestring of faith, becomes a Dad. Poor guy. While I’m sure he’s ecstatic, sometimes Going About The Father’s Business isn’t very comfortable. Hats off to my friend Joseph, this was a tough day.
Then of course, we meet the shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. (vs 8) When all of the sudden angels show up! The Glory of the Lord shone around them and the shepherds were terrified. These lowly shepherds, just doing their job to the best of their ability, living out in the field watching over someone elses profit margin….Going About The Father’s Business.
Then we meet Simeon who was righteous and devout. He had been WAITING for the the consolation of Israel, the Word says. He’d been WAITING and the Holy Spirit was on him. It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. So he WAITED. Finally, he was moved by the Spirit and he went to the temple and when Joseph and Mary brought the child to be circumcised, Simeon was able to take the Messiah in his arms. WOW!! Simeon waited and was devout and righteous while he was Going About The Father’s Business. Has the Holy Spirit revealed something to you too?
Next we see Anna, the prophet. She had been married for 7 years and a widow until she was 84. She stayed at the church day and night fasting and praying for probably around 65 years!….Going About The Father’s Business….and was rewarded by seeing the Messiah. She gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem. She prophesied and she spread the good news, that was the Business that the Father set her about….and she was faithful in it.
Then we’re back to Mary and Joseph, this time I empathise with Mother Mary. She can’t find her son! He’s lost! “I thought he was with YOU”, were the thoughts in her head. Panicked she drags her husband back to Jerusalem to find the boy in the temple hanging out with the elders. Sheesh! “Son, why have you treated us like this?” She’s a mom, she was Going About The Father’s Business watching out for her son….Messiah or no Messiah, that’s her son, am I right ladies?
All of these men and women Set About Their Father’s Business. Some were aware of it, some were just doing what they do. I question myself all the time, if I’m doing what I’m “supposed to be doing”. Am I doing my Father’s Business well? I do find comfort in Verse 50:
So if Joseph and Mary, the parents of God, didn’t understand what he was saying at times….I can know that God gives me grace to just do my best each and every day.
Whenever I question I reach for Galatians Chapter 5.
There are boundaries to this freedom as Christ followers and they are listed in Galatians verses 19-21. Paul warns us to avoid acts of the flesh which are sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy, drunkenness, orgies and the like.
Instead, wouldn’t the WAITING be better if we were to live to produce the fruit of the spirit which are Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control? Wouldn’t it be best to Go About The Father’s Business with the work that produces these fruits?
Father God, thank you that you are patient with me when I judge other’s Business….and I ask, like Simeon, that you send the Holy Spirit to guide me to the way to King Jesus! I pray for the person reading this right now, that you would speak to their heart today….and show them the Business that You would have them go about.
How can I be praying for you today?
What is the Business of the Father in your day to day life?
In Chapter 2, Luke is especially interested to weaving the story of The Messiah’s birth into the events of world history. Ceasar August issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (Lk 2:1) Many say that Ceasar was the greatest Roman emperor of all time. I am not a studier of Biblical history, or any history for that matter. So I depend on the footnotes in my Study Bible, which say Ceasar replaced the republic with an imperial form of government, he expanded the empire to include the entire Mediterranean world, established the famed Pax Romana (Roman Peace) and ushered in the golden age of Roman literature and architecture. Augustus, which means exalted, was a title conferred on him by the Roman senate in 27 BC.
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there with Mary who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. (vs 4-5) This is where my kind of study begins…..the prophecies of Jesus. While Ceasar may have been a powerful ruler in the eyes of men, he only played a role in the prophecies that were already written hundreds and hundreds of years before the man Ceasar decided to have a census.
Isaiah 7:14 “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.“
Micah 5:2 “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”
Jeremiah 23:5-6 “The days are coming,” declares the Lord, “when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land. In his days Judah will be saved and Israel will live in safety. This is the name by which he will be called: The Lord Our Righteous Savior.”
King David was a lowly shepherd too. He was discovered by Samuel the prophet. Samuel had gone to the house of Jesse, by God’s instruction, to seek out the next king. When he got there, Samuel was introduced to six of Jesse’s sons, but Samuel didn’t recognize them to be The One. So Jesse said, well, I do have one more son but he’s out in the field tending sheep, he’s young, and doesn’t account for much, surely its not him you’re looking for! But Samuel said, let me be the judge of that….so Jesse sent for what was to become King David. If you would like to learn more about King David, read about his fantastic life in 1st and 2nd Samuel.
So why WOULDN’T the shepherds be the first to know about King Jesus? A decent of David by the lineage of Joseph.
More prophecy. I love it!!
So this brings me to wonder, how much of any of our lives do we REALLY have control over, or are we, like Ceasar, just role players in the Plan of God? Isn’t our whole purpose to do just what the shepherds did next….
All the plans we make for our lives and all the dreams we dream need to be in effort to hurry off and find Jesus! Every day we all go to work, and set about our business, and we need to do it such a way that the way live our lives exemplify that we are followers of this Christ child Jesus. Am I treating people with respect, even the “lowly shepherds” I meet? Do we return and glorify and praise God for all the things we hear and see in our actions, and the way we live? Not just on Sunday at church, but every single day?
Lord, teach me to treasure up all these things and ponder them in my heart every single day of my life. Teach me to seek you out, to not be afraid, to tell others, and glorify you. Lord, I pray for the person reading this right now, that today they would draw closer to you. Plant this seed in each of our hearts so that we can meditate and ponder on it. Lord teach us to be more and more like you to those around us.
I started reading my journals this past weekend, I just happened to pick up one of them, and had written some things that feel very uncomfortable. There’s some anger and hurt. Pain and betrayal. Disappointment in myself and others. I sure hope that I wrote about some happy thoughts somewhere within these uncovered writings of my past.
If there’s no happy thoughts, I don’t think that I can continue reading them.
The writing class I’m in says to get in touch with the “heart felt need” of my “target audience” and at this particular moment, I question who that really would be? Maybe this process is just for me?
Dear Lord, I thank you that you know me now, you know the me of the past and most importantly, you know who you created me to be and are molding me to be Her. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain. Lord, there are some unaddressed issues and hurts. I don’t know if I need to be revisiting that stuff….maybe just burn them like I said I would do eventually. But what about the book….? Maybe this writing is too raw for public view.
I pray for the person reading this entry today, I pray if there are hurts from the past that you can assure them that you love them, and me not matter what….that you have already died for the sins of each of our past, present and future.
All the days of our lives are the frame. All the way back from the time of our conception to our darkest moments, Your eyes saw each of our unformed-ness and no matter what, our days are written in Your book. All the way down to the very nitty gritty detail of this moment in time, you use to draw us closer to you. How can I fathom that? I can’t even wrap my mind around the fact that every detail of my life and the life of my reader, have led each of us right here, to this very moment of writing and reading together. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty to attain.