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.
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.
Pilate was the Roman governor who then ruled Judea, Samaria and Idumea. He wasn’t a Jew, and likely didn’t follow a religion at all. The only god he worshiped was Caesar. None other mattered because Romans ruled everything. Pilate has a conversation with Jesus and in all four gospels this conversation starts with the same words,
“Are you the king of the Jews?” (vs 2)
I imagine how this question might have been asked. Was it asked in curiosity? Was it asked in an accusatory way? Was it asked in doubt? Was it asked perhaps even with fear, because what if this REALLY WAS the “Son of God” or “King of the Jews”, as some of the “crowd” had indicated? It was such a tumultuous time, and perhaps Pilate was saying to himself, “Oh my, if this IS true….what does that mean for me if I send him to his execution? Can he really be the Son of God? Is there really a God like some say?”
What if someone goes their whole life not believing in God, and then is confronted with, “but what if it’s true….?” I mean, the story has lasted over 2000 years that Jesus died on a cross and rose again. The best selling book of all time is the Bible….so like, what if it is true?
I know how a doubter feels. I too at one time didn’t believe in God. Oh, I figured there must be “something”, but this God stuff couldn’t be for real!! Right? That was the Theresa from a long time ago. So I speak to the agnostic or atheist or perhaps to the one who may have just gotten a bit lost or off track. Perhaps you knew God some time a long time ago, but that was for kids. So for you, who have stumbled across my blog today, I say to you, “Welcome! I’m glad you’re here! This is for you.”
Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life! ITS TRUE! That little voice you hear in the back of your mind saying “what if it’s true?” The Word of God is Truth. Jesus did go before a doubter named Pilate that day for YOU. I too have heard those other voices that are trying to crowd out the Truth. Voices from the past and the present that say, “Jesus Freaks are just people needing a crutch” or “If there is a God would he have let such-and-such happen?” or “If there is a God, why didn’t he save me when……?” or “All the Christians want is my money” or “I don’t need no god, I can take care of myself”. These voices of unbelief are liars. I know they’re loud, I know they’re all over social media and the news and perhaps even, like me, within your family. But they are lying voices.
I ask you to just stay here a little longer. Come back again tomorrow. I’m writing to you, I was once in your shoes, and finally when I came to believe my life got better. Oh that’s not to say that I haven’t had my share of problems and didn’t make mistakes. Because, OH. MY. GOODNESS. Have I ever messed things up at times. But see, that’s why Jesus came! Jesus came to give us hope, friend. Our lives really CAN BE better with Christ at the center.
The anxiety and depression and fear and hopelessness that we feel without Christ in our heart doesn’t have to stay there. Jesus came to give us hope knowing that even when bad things happen, even when we make mistakes, even when we feel lost, we can rest well knowing that He loves us and will take care of us, no matter what. No matter what it’s going to be ok. I remember being in such a mess that I just held up my hands, literally and said “I surrender” I’ve got this thing called life so screwed up, that there’s no hope. Help me Lord!
We all have a God-shaped hole in our soul that we keep trying to fill up with things other than God. Medications, drugs, alcohol, men, women, sex, gambling, shopping, exercise, crystals, cards, work, activities, etc…..but until we fill that hole with the One True God, we will still feel incomplete. Like a puzzle missing a piece. Are you there yet? Are you ready to surrender yet? Pilate wasn’t just yet, I wonder if he did later after Jesus rose? Don’t wait, my friend. Reach out just call on His name. He’s there, and has forgiven you and loves you already. I promise.
Lord, I thank you for the Truth of the Gospel that you came, died and rose again to show us how much you love us. I can’t imagine where I’d be today if I had listened to the voices of the liar instead of believing in the Truth that set me free. I thank you that it all worked out. Lord, I pray for the person reading this right now that they would continue to listen to the voice of Truth. I pray that Your Word would reach those who most need it today to give a voice of hope and guide others close to You. Thank you Lord, use me and use my blog. In Jesus name.
How can I pray for you today?
Do voices of doubt ever drown out the voices of Truth?
Jesus is speaking with his disciples regarding the End Times. In Christian media there’s a lot of talk about us being in the End Times, right now. Some current day prophets speak openly about it, and perhaps its true. I don’t know. Even Jesus said, “But about that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.” (vs 32)
So no one knows if these are the End Times or not. Yes there is a plague, and there are rumors of wars, and there are wars, and there are persecutions, and there is famine in some lands, lots of “signs”. But NO ONE knows and its important for us to be careful to who and what we are listening too. Jesus said to them: “Watch out that no one deceives you.” (vs 5)
What I do understand is this….
Each of us has a job to do for the Master’s House….which is this earthly world. Are you doing yours? Are you sure?
I ask this to myself as well as you. And the answer is…………
I sure hope so.
I pray this that I am. To be honest sometimes I feel uncertain. I pray that the directions that I’ve heard are God guiding me in the right direction. Here’s how I discern:
I read the Word every single day.
I pray and ask God to guide me throughout my day and teach me His will for my life
I do my job which for today is:
Take care of my family
Do my farm chores
Go to my place of employment
Treat others around me with compassion and empathy and respect
Tithe to my church
Journal here on my blog
Pray for the people in my life, including those who follow and read my blog
That’s it. That’s all we CAN do, right? Pray, ask God for guidance. Then go do that.
The Israelites were in the desert after escaping from slavery in Egypt, by the hand of God. God was providing manna in the desert for them and had given them the 10 Commandments. Now all they had to do was obey them and live together in the desert. I say “this is all they had to do” like living in a desert wouldn’t be difficult. I mean, eating the same old manna EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. for FORTY YEARS probably got kind of old huh? But notice that the cloud looked like fire….it served as a light for the desert tenants to live by.
Clarity. Pray for clarity. Clarity comes when we can see, right? Like by fire. The Israelites KNEW when it was time to move from this place, this situation, this circumstance because the light was lifted. We have to TRUST that when the time is right, when the decision is right, God will make it clear…..like fire clear! It takes daily prayer and watchfulness.
When I decided to move forward with my “idea” of writing, I decided to clear out a room in my house and make it an office. I’ve never been a writer before, except in my own daily journals. This seems like an outlandish idea some days…..but I’m taking classes and learning. I started practicing by writing on this blog….I would have never dreamed that I’d be attempting this. But I have been receiving affirmations from several different places. One big one for me is from the fact that this FEELS right. I have some clarity that I’ve not had for a very long time. For a couple of years I’ve felt like I was supposed to be “DOING something”. Since I moved forward with my idea, I’ve felt a sense of joy and peace that feel purposeful.
Interestingly enough, when I started to decorate my frilly little office, the first thing I did was go look for paint. I was looking for a color of yellow. One of the color samples that I chose happened to be named, “Clarity“. Which is EXACTLY the word I use when I pray for God to guide me. Like I said, I’ve been feeling like I am supposed to be doing SOMETHING, and asking for clarity….and then clarity. Circumstance? I think not. Thank you, Lord.
So are you watching? Are you doing the thing you’re supposed to be doing while we wait for the Master to return? Do you need clarity? Pray for it friend, and I’ll be praying for you too.
Father God, I thank you for this reading today. Thank you that when we ask, you will provide clarity and direction in our lives. I pray for the person reading this that they would turn to you and receive you wholeheartedly in their lives, that it wouldn’t just be going through the motions, but that they’d be ALL IN, watching in hope and faithfulness.
Recently, I was asked to pray with and for a friend who is going through something terrible in her family. One of her close family members had a tough decision to make. My friend did all the right things, she supported and counselled her family member. She got some professional help for the family. She set up a Facebook prayer message with her church family, and included me in that group. A few of us fasted and prayed, others prayed. Some of the women put up the praying hands, some said words of affirmations to my friend and her family. Some prayed for a specific decision. And most agreed, “Thy will be done, Father.” I don’t know who these other women are, but some of them had the most exquisite prayers. I sat in awe at their raw-ness and humility. For several days we’ve been keeping Facebook Messenger vigil over this decision.
My friend had asked some of her family to be praying too, so there was also a completely separate prayer message going on during this time. All of us praying for the “good” outcome. Its really beautiful knowing that so many people pulled together to pray for this family, I felt honored and blessed to virtually meet with these souls and pour blessings over my friend and her family.
Finally, the day arrived for the decision to get made. Unfortunately, the choice was not what we had all hoped for. Human Free Will, given by God prevailed and the outcome wasn’t what we had thought or hoped would happen.
I found myself a little jarred by this. Like being in a car accident really, driving along thinking its a beautiful sunny day, what could go wrong with all these virtual friends by my side, and then WHAM! I get sideswiped by free will decision making gone awry. My friend was devastated. This decision made will alter the path of her family forever, and my friend has no control over it. She did all she could and has to live with the choice of another forever.
What do we do with that? What do we do when bad choices get made and they fundamentally change the way things are “supposed to be”? What do we do when someone close to us abandons the faith that they have been taught and raised in? Because essentially that’s what happened, the family member made a decision to do something that seems to be the opposite of “What Jesus Would Do”? What do we do especially when these decisions are made by our adult children, and you just want to grab their shoulders and shake them saying, “What are you thinking?!?! I taught you better than this!!”
Many of the women in my virtual prayer meeting said, “You love her unconditionally like Jesus loves us.” This is so true, absolutely, we’ve all done things and made choices that Jesus Wouldn’t Do or Make. (there should be a book like that) I totally agree. But if I’m honest, and I usually am, that’s not what my instinct says. My instinct is to put up my hand and walk away, saying you made your choice, now deal with it. Talk to the hand sis.
Love the Lord your God
with all your heart and
with all your soul and
with all your mind and
with all your strength.
Sometimes, friends, we have to break down the Words of Jesus in to baby steps. This is one of those times, because I my Enneagram 4-ness has a difficult time navigating feelings and thoughts in my daily.
Love is an action word. Its just that simple. We make a decision to love every time we cook dinner after work even though we’d rather just plop down on the couch with a cup of tea. Love is getting up early on Saturday morning for little league and staying gone till after dark because your kid is pretty good this year. Love is wiping snotty noses that are gross and slimy. Love is cleaning up the vomit of a loved one whose chemotherapy treatments are tough this week. That’s LOVE, ya’ll. Its not ALWAYS that mushy gushy feeling when we first meet the person we “fell in love” with, or the look on that sweet baby’s face when they’re asleep. LOVE friends, is an action word.
In scripture the Heart is talking about the very center of a human. A person’s will, intention, character are the Heart. Some of the reference on biblehub.com state that Heart refers to “the understanding, the faculty and seat of intelligence”. This again, isn’t that sparkle in the eye heart, this Heart is where decisions get made at. My husband and I of 29 years, talk often of how we have made the DECISION to love each other for all these numbers of years. That doesn’t mean we don’t have intimate mushy gushy times, but certainly there have been days where, my Heart was the seat of intelligence to Love him and while I think I’m pretty cool, I’m sure its been the same for him.
Soul is translated to greek as Psuche. Psuche is also described as the Breath of Life. The Bible tells us that when God created man he breathed life in to him, every creature on earth that God made, He breathed life it to. This is Psuche. The place where God lives. Our Soul. THAT is where we love from…we allow God to breathe in to us so that we are able to love when bad choices and decisions get made that make it really difficult for my humanness to love with.
With all your Mind. So this is the part where I have to take off my emotional cap and put on my thinking cap. Not really a strong suit, to be honest. This work in Greek is dianioa, it means intellect, thought, understanding. When I was thinking about all this situation yesterday and was madder than a wet hen about the choice that got made I remembered Matthew 5:
You have heard that it was said to people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgement. But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgement. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca,’ is answerable to the court. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.
Well, alrighty then! I guess my Mind better take over this Love I need to put in to action, right? This is the part where I repeat over and over and over and over in my Mind that Jesus came to this earth to die for me even before I was born to save me from the stupid decisions I made too. Don’t feel, just think.
Now let’s talk about what the decision to Love DOESN’T mean. This kind of Love DOESN’T mean sticking around for abuse or condoning bad behavior. When people we love do things that we don’t understand, are hurtful to ourselves or others, when we aren’t protected, sometimes requires Strength to let go. This decision to love takes Strength during times when life just doesn’t make sense. Sometimes it means sitting in a pile of tears watching them walk away in to their destiny with nothing but the clothes on their back. Sometimes people have to experience the consequences of their poor choices so that they can hopefully turn back to God, when those consequences get tough. And they will get tough. To Love someone enough to watch them walk away takes the Strength of an army. Loving someone sometimes means letting them go, even though the very cell of our being wants to hold on to them. This kind of Strength can only come through prayer and with the help of friends and family and perhaps even a support group.
So Lord, this is a long journal entry, and I didn’t even know where to begin when I started. But as always you walked me through it and I feel stronger than before. Thank you. Lord, teach me to love like this. Thank you for your patience and understanding. Thank you that you loved me, before I was even lovable. I pray for the person reading this that you would guide them closer to you through this writing, thank you that you brought them here today.
Have you ever had to let go of someone you love because of their bad decisions?
I looked out at the dark morning through the window in front of my desk, seeing only the reflection of me in my jammies and become aware of the fact that my shoulders were up around my ears. What in the world ya’ll?? Its 5:45 a.m., and I already have tension in my neck and shoulders? No wonder I have neck and shoulder pain all the time! Closing my eyes, I intentionally relaxed my shoulders and breath . I feel my whole body release.
Aaaahhhhhh, that feels better.
Ok, now you do it! Take notice of your shoulders…are they tensed up? Ok, relax them just for a second. Notice any difference? Ahhhh. Be still, and know that God is God.
I do have a tendency to carry stress and the worries of the world on my shoulders. Always a To-Do-List rattling around in my head. Forever wondering if the conversations I had yesterday were ok. Endlessly thinking about people, places and things for the future.
“Be still,” God says in my heart, “I WILL be exalted among the nations, I WILL BE exalted in the earth. And really, Theresa, there’s not much you can do to speed that up or slow that down. Its happening. Period.”
Jesus had just performed a miracle by withering up a fig tree that wasn’t bearing fruit and his disciples were amazed. Jesus reassures them that they can make stuff happen too….if they only believe.
And relax their shoulders.
Jesus had also just flipped tables in the temple courts. So he had been MAD too! Who wants to be the one to make God mad? Not me! I would definitely have had tense shoulders! So I read up on this flipping tables moment in time.
This happened in the temple courts which was the ONLY place that the Gentiles, AKA outsiders, could go to worship God and gather for prayer. They weren’t allowed inside the temple courts. The vendors coming to sell animals and exchange money set their tables up there in the ONLY place for these not normally included outcasts to worship. How is one supposed to pray and worship with goats bleating, doves cooing, and vendors yelling? These people were probably those who yearned for God. The desperate ones. The ones that took that last leap of faith. Yet, they had to compete with the oxen and pushy salesmen pushing their goods.
I’m a sucker for the underdog, ya know? When I see or predict a situation where an injustice is happening or when there is tension in the area….well….my shoulders get all tensed up, and I’m ready to go to battle.
But that’s not always my job is it? In this case, its God’s job. My job is to “Have faith in God….not doubt in my heart….believe” (Mark 11:22-24 abbreviated) But there is some requirements of me.
Forgiveness. Its trick isn’t it? While I am standing still, praying, take note of any forgiveness that needs to happen. God WILL accomplish miracles….in fact, God already has accomplished miracles. God already sent his only son, Jesus, to live among us, teach us how to love one another by dying for us, and was resurrected on the third day. Now He is seated at the right hand of the Father. That’s the miracle, the rest will just fall into place, whether I’m all tensed up or not.
Father God, I thank you for your Word that reminds me that you already have all this under control. No matter what I do, say, write or don’t write, Your Name WILL BE exalted in the earth. Help me to know what it means to be still today. I pray for the person reading this that You would speak to their heart, encourage each person with the understanding that You already have this under control. Lord, I desire to be part of your plan to bring glory to Your Name. Show me how to do that. Teach me Lord, how I can be part of your plan in such a time as this.
We sure have a competition issue in this world, don’t we? Everyone wants to be bigger, better, greater, stronger, prettier, more popular than the “other” person. This is a strange dilemma though, because I personally, don’t believe in participation trophies. It is my opinion that in every competition, there is a winner and a loser. You either get the job or you don’t. You either get first place, or you don’t. You either close the sale or you don’t. You either take that first step out the door in the morning, or you don’t.
A couple of weeks ago we were playing Candy Land with our 4 year old grandson. The first game we played, “Papa” won. Boyyyy did that make my grandson angry! He stomped off and cried. When he got done with his little fit, we explained to him that in every game, there’s a winner and a loser. I am forever grateful that the next game, my grandson won, (whew!!) and the illustration was complete, hat we just have to try again, and next time it may be our turn to win. We just gotta get back up and try again. (yes gotta is a word;)
So, how do we make sense of my earthly brilliance in “there’s a winner and there’s a loser” and also make sense of “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all?“
The disciples were arguing amongst themselves about who was Jesus’ best friend, who was being the most selfless and likely who had sacrificed more than the other, and who DESERVED to sit next to King Jesus. They didn’t understand the ultimate sacrifice that was about to come via Christ our Lord. And ya know what….Jesus DID know what they were arguing about already. He’d read the Pharisees and crowd pretty darn well so far, he was testing his buddies to see if they could be honest with him, and ultimately themselves. He was asking them to question themselves about what they actually “deserve” and if they were willing to work for it and stick with him.
So listen, lets talk about this competition thing. I don’t think that Jesus meant that we have to give in and give up in competitions. Paul in the Book of Corinthians says:
So really, its about disciplining ourselves to the training is where the competition is effective. Not against other people. To others we are to serve.
Serve like my cousin friend Mary served me today. She kindly commented on this post with the deep wisdom of a woman who knows the harsh realities and beauty that comes from competition. I walked away from this blog post earlier, unfinished thinking I would get back to it later. “No one is reading them anyway,” I said to myself. Mary’s words today are an example of ultimate servanthood. I’ve seen her give selfless support to her family in times of severe stress, and ask for nothing in return. She comments and brags on family on every social media post. People like Mary are #goals for those of us who obsessively compete against themselves, and sadly, at times, others.
Father God, thank you for keeping my competitive spirit in check. Thank you that you teach me to discipline and compete with servanthood. Lord, teach me what that means every single day, because like someone said, I’m just a “C+ student” in a world of A+ family and friend examples. I pray for the person reading this right now, that you would minister to them and help them stay encouraged, yet humble, strong, yet weak. Lord guide all of us to serve others through this life.
This was the prescription for defiling skin diseases. This was also the prescription for mental illnesses of all kinds. and other physical diseases. This was also the prescription for some levels of criminal behavior. These kinds of people were to be avoided and rejected by the community. God was present,visually and spiritually, in the tabernacle and in the camp where everyone else was at. So when a person got inflicted with a disease and got booted out of the camp, they were no longer in the presence of God.
Wear your mask.
I don’t have children at home any more but I see the effects of children and families regarding covid restrictions. It’s insane what we are doing to people! If you don’t agree with me, I am sorry, but this is ridiculous! The scientific numbers aren’t supporting the isolation that is taking place. The effects of addiction and depression have substantially increased since this quarantine mess has started. Criminal behavior has elevated to unprecedented rates, and frankly I wonder if its not the effect of stress, isolation and the economy. I see my grandchildren not being allowed to go to school, just because they were on the bus with a kid who had been exposed. My daughter was quarantined away from family and friends because she “tested positive”. She had no symptoms. Grandparents are not being allowed to go to sporting events of their grandchildren because of covid regulations. Seniors in nursing homes are even MORE isolated from their families than they were before, all in the name of coronavirus.
I do know people who’ve had covid, and some have gotten really, really sick. I know of 1 person who died. My heart goes out to families and friends who have lost loved ones because of this horrible disease. Also to the ones who have lost friends and family members to heart disease, cancer, pneumonia, sclerosis of the liver, diabetes, the flu. Its heart wrenching to lose someone we love. When someone is sick with any illness, they should stay home, rest, and respect others enough to not go around them.
I wonder though, if we are not killing more people with isolation than we are with covid. What are we doing people? We are killing our society and our economy with this desolation!!
I feel like we are back in the days of Leviticus with this isolation thing. Enough is enough! It is time to get on with life.
Sometimes I wonder if God isn’t trying to get our attention? We all know the high risk groups, right? Those with heart conditions, diabetes, lung disease, cancer and other pre existing illnesses. Also, it seems those who are overweight, who smoke, who drink alcohol excessively, don’t exercise or try to stay healthy are more at risk to getting sicker.
But then, I hear of people who are panicked and afraid to go outside for fear of catching covid but are excessively overweight. Other’s who are afraid to go inside the grocery store, except of course to get their cigarettes. During the shut down last spring, the government stopped allowing church services, but it was ok for liquor stores to be open, because after all we don’t want people to go in to withdrawals. We don’t allow community gatherings of more than 10 people, but riots in large cities are ok.
We have to return to God, friends.
Jesus is the real deal y’all! He CAN and WILL and WANTS TO heal our land. But we as a world MUST:
call on His name,
seek his face
repent AKA and turn from our wicked ways
Repenting seems like a crazy super Jesus freak word….but all it means is to turn away from, or change our minds. So if I’m heading down the road to a place and realize that I’ve gone the wrong direction, I can turn away from that direction and go towards the right direction. I repent. Its really just that simple. There’s no judgement there….just a changing of direction.
The Psalms teach us how to call upon God, they’re big and sometimes hard to understand, but there are verses in each one that are just a prayer…friends, I pray this for our world. I pray that God would hear my prayer, my cry for help. I turn on the news or read it on my phone and feel like a foreigner or a stranger in this land called America. There is so much violence and hatred. I don’t even go on social media anymore because its full of vitriol and anger. Its like people are spitting at each other.
Ashley said recently, “Mom, I wish we could just all go back to posting pictures and memes”.
Now it all seems like everyone is playing a political theater game or something.
Jesus was in his own home town hanging out with the kids he went to carpenter school with played on the football team with. His buddies. In todays world he may have been in his own Facebook group or his own Twitter feed when he said:
This change in the world, has got to start with one person. Then, like a drop of water in the still pond, it will spread. Turning away from this fear and hatred to the One who can do miracles will seem scary at first. People will doubt you, and they will wonder what got in to you. I even had one person years ago say, “Yea, your mom told me that you got religion.” When I heard that, it felt like being stabbed in the heart. My own mom. A friend. But friends, when Jesus came in to my life, it was worth it. I was able to leave behind some really bad choices and a terribly unhealthy lifestyle. Its not easy being the only one in your family or friend group who believes in this Jesus, but God will send people your way. I promise.
Lord, I am sorry for our lack of faith. I am sorry that you can not do any miracles here because of our sin and doubt. I repent in behalf of our world and nation. I pray that you lay hands on a few sick people and heal them, because they are out there. Lord, heal our land. Heal our world. I thank you that all things are possible for those who believe in you and call upon your name. I pray specifically for the person reading this today, that you would work on their heart, heal their body, mind and spirit and use all these things to draw them and me, closer to you.
How has coronavirus affected you? Can I pray for you today?
What does it mean to you for God to heal our land?
Levi son of Alphaeus is referred to in Matthew’s gospel as “Matthew”. Levi is a tax collector under Herod Antipa. Taxes were collected for the Roman government by Jewish agents, who were especially detested for helping the pagan conqueror. They were hated by most Jews as traitors because of their collusion They were notorious for cheating taxpayers. They were being used as pawns by their employers, and hated by their community. They didn’t fit in anywhere.
But Jesus called Levi to come follow him….and his band of Jewish friends. He likely didn’t fit in there either because who wants a bill collector around? Especially one who has the authority to take everything they own if their tab isn’t paid in full? So what does Jesus do?
So in today’s terms, who was there? Commercial fishermen, prostitutes and bill collectors. Who are the most outcast people in your community? The ones you avoid? The guy on the corner holding up a sign begging? The tweeker that everyone talks about in town? The prostitute on main street? The repo driver coming to collect your car? Yea them, that’s who’s there.
Part of today’s readings are three chapters from the Book of Leviticus. Did you read them? Or did you try to read them, but just couldn’t get through them? Many exhaustive regulations for hommage are written in this book, right? If you do this, then you have to do that….guilt offerings, sin offerings, if you are aware of your sin, or not aware of your sin, if they’re committed by a priest, or member of community, blood on this blood on that. Exhausting! These Pharisees, these teachers of the law were the enforcers of the book of Leviticus. They were good at instructing and requiring the sin offerings that are prescribed in these brutal chapters.
I’ll be honest with you, I am guilty of passing judgement on the girl with green hair or the tweeker down the road. My kids have called me on that numerous times. I repent for being judgement and prideful more often than I do just about any other sin because here’s what Jesus says about that….
To be included at the table with Jesus, I have to admit to being a sinner. I have to swallow my pride and look in the mirror at my own issues and not out in self-righteousness at others in judgement. I have to admit to my own unhealthiness in order to enjoy the healing nourishment offered at the banquet of Jesus.
Lord, forgive me when I look in judgement on others. I pray to be included at the table of your mercy. Search me and show me the area of which needs healing within myself. I pray for the person reading this that they will drop everything and follow you. May we be willing to leave behind any baggage that would hold us down from getting up and following you.
Is there anything holding you back from following Jesus?
Is there any area of your life where you are being a judge of others?
Jesus is the Great Physician. What needs to be healed within you?
It is my belief that Mark wrote this verse to show each of us that if Jesus needed alone time, so do I. So do you, my friend. But its hard to find that time isn’t it? Between the chaos of raising kids, work and other activities we may be involved in, taking a time out, SEEMS selfish.
OH but wait, This is starting of to sound like a 2019 journal! That’s right……we’re in 2021 and just survived 2020. You may have had quite a bit of alone time over the past 12 months….in the form of shut-downs and or quarantine. Maybe more than you thought you needed or wanted. How are you doing? Someone who followed me the other day, is in the middle of a shut-down….my guess is that this is day 4? How are you holding up?
Either decade, this post is for you, my friend, because we’re going to talk about Jesus! Jesus had to go off to pray to gather himself together, lets meet with him here, while it is still dark. Jesus had been in Capernaum with his friends at the home of Simon and Andrew. Simon’s mother-in-law was sick, they told Jesus about it, and Jesus healed her. Well, word spread and…..
It must have been quite a party right? Jesus became very popular, very fast. He had cast out demons and cured diseases. That’s what we want right? The miracle? The answer? The fix to our problem? I know I do.
I have had family members who fought addiction. Two members of my family have struggled with drugs and gambling but now seem to be in remission. My mom was an alcoholic and smoked cigarettes her whole life until she died an early death due to a massive stroke that came after many small warning strokes. I “32brought to Jesus all the sick and demon possessed“. So, why were two healed and one wasn’t? It just doesn’t seem fair. Being present when “34Jesus healed (my) many who had various diseases” was like a miracle! A miracle that I thought would never come! The gratitude and joy that I still feel to this day, is overwhelming!
So you can imagine the celebration going as the “33whole town gathered at the door,” The miracle maker was here! Aunt Lucy is cured! Cousin Susie is her old self again! Uncle John came home! The crowds gathered because they wanted more and more healings and miracles! Simon and Andrew, James and John were now local heroes for bringing Jesus to town. These outcast fisherman had finally made something of themselves by bringing in Jesus!
But then, Jesus snuck away, in the early morning. Our local heroes became panicked and went looking for Jesus saying, “Everyone is looking for you!” Where are you?
Jesus (and his friends also) had become extraordinarily popular in Capernaum, but he wasn’t interested in popularity. He came to proclaim the Kingdom of God to all of Israel. He came to preach and teach first, the miracles come as a result of the teaching. Think about it like this, God placed a God shaped hole in each of us, and the only thing that will make us whole is God in the form of Jesus. When we turn our lives over to him, seek his face through his word on a daily basis, he WILL fill that spot and miracles will happen. Until we do that, we will keep seeking to fill it with food, drugs, alcohol, sex, gambling, work, exercise, relationships with people…something to make us feel complete. I promise you, from the experience of my own addictions, the only thing that will fill that spot is God. That’s it.
Dear Lord, I come to you today to thank you for healing me of my own afflictions which separate me from those I love. I pray that you continue to fill that God shaped hole in my heart every day with you, so that I can be loved and love others like only you can. I pray for those struggling with illness and demons that are separating them from you and their community. Help all of us to know that we can come to you , JUST AS WE ARE, and that you will reach out your hand and touch us. Teach me Lord, preach to me, Lord, show me the way. In Jesus name. Amen.
Do you have a special place that you go to pray every day? Share with me where that place is.
Are you filling the God shaped hole in your heart with something other than God?
Are you afraid of going to God in “your current situation”? Trust him today, he already sees and wants you to come to him just as you are.