Tag Archives: Jesus

Jesus has Risen!

  • Exodus 37:1-38:31
  • Matthew 28:1-20
  • Psalm 34: 11-22
  • Proverbs 9:9-10

After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.

Matthew 28:1

Here are these women again, caring for the needs of Jesus, going to the tomb. The place they last laid their savior. Mary Magdalene had been healed of seven demons in earlier chapters, where else WOULD she have been. And the “other” Mary, she seems to hang out with Ms. Magdalene quite a bit. Apparently she found hope in Jesus, too. Whatever, here they are devistated and lost doing the only thing they know to do. The only choice they have is to go to the only person, place or thing that ever gave them hope. Even though he is dead, maybe they can find some solice there.

I kind of imagine that the Eleven were a bit of a mess and that’s why they weren’t there. It may have been a little bit chaotic with them, so the women just left and went to the tomb. The men were sporadic on a good day when Jesus was there…but now that he was gone, they were a bunch of bumbling idiots. Who could blame them though? They had all left everything behind to follow Jesus!

NOW WHAT WERE THEY ALL SUPPOSED TO DO?!?!

There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

Matthew 28:2

This visual though!!! Right? These verses imply that the earthquake happened as a result of the the angel of the Lord coming down from heaven and going to the tomb, rolling back the stone and SITTING ON IT. To the guards the angel says, “Boom, boys! Get on out of here with your bully selves! Jesus is alive! There’s nothing for you to do here anymore! Your job is finished….but not the consequences.”

But as for the women….

The angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. He’s not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples: ‘He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.’ Now I have told you.

Matthew 28:5-7

just as he said.”….Jesus had warned them that the crucifixion was going to happen. He also told them that he would rise. They knew beforehand. But honestly, are we ever REALLY ready to lose someone we love? A beloved grandparent who’s time inevitably comes, or child who loses their battle with cancer, a loved one who can’t seem to overcome addiction. We know the time or consequences are coming….but we are just never ready.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Psalm: 34:18

Know this, friends. God is near when we suffer. Its hard to see at the tomb of grief. But he’s near, ESPECIALLY when we are brokenhearted. He’s there in the neighborhood friends that bring food. He’s there in the friend that chooses to sit with you while you cry. He’s there in the quiet of your morning tears. He’s there when you can’t sleep at night because you are panicked and don’t know what to do next. He’s there even when you can’t FEEL him there.

Suddenly Jesus met them. “Greetings,” he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me.

MATTHEW 28: 9-10

For Jesus to appear to the women first, much less for the gospels to be WRITTEN that way, is so not in character of the times in which this happened. Back then, women had ZERO rights. The only value they held was to produce children (male children at that) and provide dinner for their husbands.

But then, Jesus came. Jesus gives value to EVERY SINGLE PERSON, in particular the women. Especially the women who wait. These women stuck it out, they were there caring for his needs all the way to the end and beyond. He rewards their faithfulness with “Greetings!” The last time they had clasped his feet was to lay him in the tomb, and now he was here! So what else could they do? They worship him!! He’s ALIVE!!

Jesus tells them to go tell the brothers to do what he told them to do. Get back to the plan. Get back on track. “But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee.” Mt 26:32. Grieving is necessary and its part of the process of letting go. We have to grieve, get closure. But the time does come when we have to rise and move forward.

Grief comes in all forms, change of job, death of a loved one, moving to a new location, loss of innocence, loss of a friendship. Any time we lose one thing, and go to another, whether it be a decision of our own, or not, there is grief. Each person experiences grief in a different way. Sadly, some turn to familiar unhealthy habits (like eating, drinking, etc) Some may lash out in fits of rage or sit in depression and want to lay in bed all day. There may be a combination of all of these or more. Its hard to know when it will be time to pick up the pieces and move on. But I promise, the Lord is near and loves you more than you can ever know.

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.

Proverbs 9:10

The thing to do is spend time in the Word of God, possibly in community or with a trusted counselor or advisor. That’s where we find the ability to keep going. We spend time knowing that no matter what Jesus, the one who loves us more than life itself, the one that was willing to suffer this horrific death, had risen! He’s our only hope! He will guide us when we don’t know what to do next. He will give us just enough wisdom to know how to get through the next day, hour, or even just the next minute. Those women, they didn’t really know what the future held, and neither do we. But when they worshiped him, continued to care for his needs, he told them. One step at a time.

Father God, I thank you that when I seek you, you greet me. For the person reading this that is lost and grieving today, the one who doesn’t know what to do next, give them hope. Lord, I thank you for the time that you give us to rest and sit in our grief. I thank you that you love us and value that time of remembering and wondering. I pray that you speak to me and to the person reading this, that you speak clearly and give us wisdom and understanding. Teach us and guide us, Lord.

Are you feeling stuck? Dig in to the Word, my friend. I promise you, God will speak through His word. Be patient with the Lord, and with yourself.

What is Jesus saying to you today? Its in your heart. It won’t be an audible word, but you’ll feel it. Listen.

If the grief is too heavy, I pray that you will seek out the help of a Christian counselor or guide.

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My Name is Jealous

  • Exodus 34:1-35:9
  • Matthew 27:15-31
  • Psalm 33:12-22
  • Proverbs 9:1-6

Do not worship any other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.

Exodus 34:14

God offers different names for God’s Self throughout the Bible. Here, is one Name that God uses for himself – Jealous. That kind of struck me this morning, so today, lets talk about this Name that God uses for himself.

On a side note, let me say, I use a NIV Study Bible. I REALLY like it, in fact this past year I had to purchase a new Bible, because the study Bible I was given about 10 years ago, was literally falling apart. My husband had given me that Bible and I loved it because of its many expert written footnotes, maps, and charts. It has a thorough concordance and reference section.

The footnotes for Ex 34:14 refers us back to Ex 20:5 for more about God being “Jealous”. Back in Ex 20:5 is when we are given the 10 Commandments and told about the original tablets that God inscribed. You know, those tablets that Moses broke in his fury? Yea, those tablets. (insert cringe emoji here) By the way, I love how Moses owns that moment of fury in verse 34:1. Moses messed up the tablets that God had already written when he saw the sin of his people. He got pissed off when he came down from the mountain and found everyone partying around the golden calf. (can I use that American slang with you? I hope you don’t mind my bluntness here, but “angry” just doesn’t seem to cover that feeling well enough)

Exodus 20:5 footnotes explains a couple of explanations about “Jealous God”. One is that the Lord’s exclusive claim to their love and allegiance. Another is that Jealousy is part of the vocabulary of love. But my favorite is this, “In some of these passages the meaning is closer to “zeal”. Zeal?

Zeal: eagerness and ardent interest in pursuit of something.

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/zeal

For out of Jerusalem will come a remnant, and out of Mount Zion a band of survivors.The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this. -2 Kings 19:31

Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this. – Isaiah 9:7

Lord, your hand is lifted high, but they do not see it. Let them see your zeal for your people and be put to shame; let the fire reserved for your enemies consume them. – Isaiah 26:11

Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will now restore the fortunes of Jacob and will have compassion on all the people of Israel, and I will be zealous for my holy name. – Ezekiel 39:25

Then the Lord was jealous for his land and took pity on his people. – Joel 2:18

Then the angel who was speaking to me said, “Proclaim this word: This is what the Lord Almighty says: ‘I am very jealous for Jerusalem and Zion, – Zechariah 1:14

This is what the Lord Almighty says: “I am very jealous for Zion; I am burning with jealousy for her. – Zechariah 8:2

Have you ever felt so much love for something or someone that you were willing to fight for them? My youngest daughter, Dakota is dyslexic. She had struggled with reading her entire elementary career, and then when she hit Junior High, BAM! She hit a wall. I had ALWAYS known there was a problem, but the school system wasn’t catching anything other than perhaps a little “difficulty reading”. Dakota was a good girl, and she was really trying. I was working with her, her older sister was working with her, Jeff was working with her, but nothing seemed to help. Her grades were a mess!! But I didn’t care as much about her grades as I did about her self esteem.

I called & emailed her teachers, the counselor, the principals. Everyone. But the poor counselor was the one who had to experience this very ZEALOT mom. I was infuriated that she seemed to be falling through the cracks! Finally, they tested her, and guess what?? Sure enough, she was dyslexic. In fact, in the 6th grade, her silent reading level was at a 2nd grade. In their defense though, many students will find coping skills to cover up their difficulties and may not even realize it themselves. Later, I did apologize for being so pushy to the counselor. Her words to me were, “That’s ok, Theresa, you are just very passionate about your daughters well being.” Dang right I am!! I’m a downright ZEALOT when it comes to my kids!

Back to the footnote: “in some of these passages the meaning is closer to “zeal” (the same Hebrew word may be translated either way, depending on context). In Zecharia – BURNING with jealousy. (I can feel that….can’t you?)

So let’s relate to the New Testament reading. How does God show his jealousness for us in the New Testament way? We read that Jesus, the Son of God, God incarnate born in a stable, made some friends, did some miracles, told us he is going to create a new thing to show us His love for us. His zealous love. The God of the Universe, the Creator of all things, the Creator of YOU and me then stood silent as he was handed over to be flogged and crucified. Pilate, who wasn’t even a Jew “knew it was out of self interest that they (the chief priests) handed Jesus over to him.” (Mt 27:18)

He humbly took the form of a criminal to show you and me, the extent of his love. He was flogged, he was mocked, he was stripped, he was crowned with a crown of thorns. They spit on God and “took the staff and struck him on the head again and again.” (Mt 27:27-30)

Then they took the robe off of him and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him away to crucify him. (vs 31) Jesus could have called down a band of angels to save him, but he wanted to show us how much he loves us. He was willing to take the blows for our sins.

Jealous love. And that’s how he wants us to love. Not by rioting, not by hurting each other. Is it ok to go to bat for a cause we believe in? Yes, absolutely. We should do that, like I did my Dakota. But all this violence that we are seeing for particular causes in our society? That kind of zealotness….I don’t think that’s an example of Jesus’ love? Do you?

Lord, thank you for loving me enough to take the blows that I so often have deserved. I’m sorry that I take that for granted. Help me to know when the time is right to stand up for what I believe in, and the time is right to just wait in silence for you to act. Help me to love others the way you have loved me. Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord, the people he chose for his inheritance. – Psalm 33:12

What is the thing in your life that God is jealous of? What are you giving more attention, love and resources to than you are to God?

Take a moment to wrap your mind around the fact the God is so jealous for you, that he sent his only son to be beaten, mocked, and humiliated, for you. How does that make you feel?

Have you accepted and believed that Jesus is the Messiah, and He wants a deeper relationship with you?

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Small Town Drama

  • Exodus 30:11-31:18
  • Matthew 26: 47-68
  • Psalm 32:1-11
  • Proverbs 8:27-32

“Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.”

Matthew 26:52

We are at the point in the gospel of Matthew that Jesus is being arrested. The betrayer, “Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people.” Mt 26:47. Judas, his friend had gathered a crowd and come after Jesus. Jesus had been betrayed by someone he spent time with, worked with, ministered with, loved and trusted. Have you been betrayed, friend? If so, I encourage you to keep reading…..

Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: 
"The one I kiss is the man; arrest him."
 Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, "Greetings Rabbi!" and kissed him.
Jesus replied, "Do what you came for friend."
Mt 26:48-50

How do you like them apples?!?! This guy had just eaten the Passover meal with Jesus, even dipped his bread in the same bowl as Jesus (vs 23). Jesus had warned them all that one of them would be the betrayer, and HE knew which one it was. But my understanding of the scriptures tell me, that the other Eleven didn’t. At this point, not only did Jesus feel betrayal, hurt and anger, but the others did too.

So naturally, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear. vs 51 Wouldn’t you?

I have been known to have a hot temper. I’m not always proud of that, to be honest. You see, when I was growing up, we moved around alot. It was hard to make friends. Especially because of my appearance. I am 6’0 tall. That’s tall for a woman, right? Well, I grew this tall by the time I was in junior high school. We moved twice when I was in junior high school, so forever being the new girl, I got made fun of – ALOT. I really needed someone to come to my aid during those days, but of course, I was the new girl. It was a really difficult time.

Well, those childhood memories have created a warrior, of sorts, within me. One of the ways in which my temper can flare is when one of my friends or family gets hurt. When I see someone I love being betrayed, I can become a companion like Jesus and draw my sharp tongue and lash out at the betrayer.

Have you ever felt the need to draw out a sword to protect those you love?

Yesterday, actually God brought this verse to my mind, which I’m grateful for, because I remembered it when I needed it most. I live in a small town. Very small town. And there is a “feud” between two women in this town. There was some real betrayal by one of them toward the other. In fact, I’m sure that on both sides of that argument, you can find feelings of betrayal. One of them was being seen as taking advantage of a situation, the other came to the rescue of the situation. Things were said and done….and now 8-10 years later there’s still a feud. Because its a small town, these two women live near each other, they go to the same church, they share the same facebook friends, they shop at the same places, and visit the same venues. This conflict is like salt, it just keeps on rubbing and rubbing those wounds.

Well, I’m still kind of new here in this town, I’ve only lived in this town for going on five years, and so this situation that “everyone knows”, I have just come to know about over the past couple of years, and now I find myself right in the middle of it. One of the women has become my friend, and the other woman is stirring up hurt feelings and trying to “get back” at my friend.

Recently, very clearly during a conversation about the most current pot stirring, in my head I hear the words, “Put your sword back, Theresa, for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.” Which I did obey. I just shut my mouth. I must admit that I really wanted to say some stuff, ya know what I mean? Because, Lord knows, I can rant and rave at some people when you hurt my friends!! But Thank you Lord, for the reminder to be quiet.

In understanding today’s readings we see that this situation HAD to happen in order that the Scriptures be fulfilled:

But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?

Matthew 26: 54

But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled.”

Matthew 26: 56

I’m not saying or comparing the conflict between these two ladies as fulfillment of the Scriptures, no not at all. Jesus said “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:34. What I am saying is that Jesus knows our conflicts. In fact, He knows them even before they happen, just like he knew in advance about Judas being his betrayer. He knows our heart and he knows how we tend to react. This makes me think about Psalm 139:

You have searched me, Lord and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord know it completely.

Psalm 139:1-4

As we move forward through the gospel verses for today we find that in verse 63 “Jesus remained silent.” He knew the crucifixion was going to go through, just how God intended it. He knew every person and their heart, mind and soul in this entire upcoming horrific fulfillment of prophecy . He had told his disciples that in the end he would rise again. He’d already told them!

But friend, I’m with you. Its hard to remain silent sometimes. I promise you though, Jesus is present in your difficult situation. He knows it, even on the other side of the pain you are going through. He will see you through it, if you will just lean on him, and his promises of redemption and resurrection.

Oh Lord, I pray for the two women in our town, and I ask you to mend their hearts. In no way to I minimize their pain. If there is any evil in either of them or their households, I command in the name of Jesus that it quietly leave. Lord, I pray for a miracle of reconciliation between them. They were friends one time, a long time ago. I don’t know the whole story, but you do, Lord and I pray for you to give each of them exactly what they may need to heal. I thank you that you spoke to me yesterday and reminded me that YOU are in charge of this situation, and that I can rest in you, knowing that you make all things good for those who love you. I pray for the reader that stumbles upon this journal entry. I pray that it would minister to him or her in a very special way, and bring healing and hope for the future. Amen.

Is there a situation in your life that seems impossible to fix? Pray Psalm 139, I promise that God hears your prayer.

Is there a conversation in your life that needs to happen in order to bring reconciliation? I encourage you to read Matthew 5: 21-26, well, all of Chapter 5 really.

I’m praying for you, and all who read this. Is there something specific that I can pray for you? Comment below.

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