Tag Archives: SOAP Journal

What did Jesus come to do?

  • Leviticus 13:1-59
  • Mark 6:1-29
  • Psalm 39:1-13
  • Proverbs 10:10

As long as they have the disease they remain unclean. They must live alone; they must live outside the camp.

Leviticus 13:46

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.

No visitors.

Wear your mask.

Isolation.

Quarantine.

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.

5He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. 6He was amazed at their lack of faith.

Mark 6:5-6

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.

if my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and forgive their sin and will heal their land.

2 Chronicles 7:-14

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,
  • humble ourselves
  • pray
  • 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.

But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you.

Hear my prayer, Lord, listen to my cry for help; do not be deaf to my weeping, I dwell with you as a foreigner, a stranger, as all my ancestors were.

psalm 39: 7 & 12

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”.

Right?!?!

Now it all seems like everyone is playing a political theater game or something.

Whoever winks maliciously causes grief, and a chattering fool comes to ruin.

Proverbs 10:10

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:

“A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.”

Mark 6:4

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?

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Just believe

  • Leviticus 11:1-12:8
  • Mark 5:21-43
  • Psalm 38:1-22
  • Proverbs 10:8-9

22Then one of the synagogue leaders, named Jarius, came, and when he saw Jesus, he fell at his feet. 23He pleaded earnestly with him, “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live. 24So Jesus went with him.

Mark 5:22-24

Jarius was a synagogue leader, which from my understanding, is a layman whose responsibilities were administrative. There was usually only one synagogue leader so they would be responsible for looking after the building, the administrative work and supervising the worship. This leader had an important role at the synagogue. Jesus had been causing quite an uproar amongst the people and church leadership, so Jarius had heard what Jesus was teaching and doing. Jarius would have likely heard quite a bit of scuffle about this miracle worker.

And Jarius’ daughter was dying. Church leader or not, his daughter was dying, and I can’t even imagine the desperation that brings on. Jarius had come to the end of all he could do, there was no hope left. She was dying.

Then in Verse 25…

25And a woman was there who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years. 26She had suffered a great deal under the care of many doctors and had spent all she had, yet instead of getting better she grew worse.

Mark 5:25-26

She had her menstrual period for 12 years. Uhhhhh….ladies, can you imagine? Ugh. Praise God, I’m past that time in life, but oh my goodness, do I remember the inconvenience of that! This could have been a post childbirth issue that never quite healed up, or she could have been like many women I know, that their menstrual cycles just don’t ever regulate. For us today, it’s quite an inconvenience and you can bet your sweet britches that I’d be seeing every doctor I could find to get this fixed!!

But in Jesus times….it was more than a complication. Post childbirth regulations and menstrual purification regulations were quite a sentance. In today’s Old Testament readings we see a portion of this:

“A woman who becomes pregnant and gives birth to a son will be ceremonially unclean for seven days, just as she is unclean during her monthly period…..If she gives birth to a daughter, for two weeks the woman will be unclean, as during her period. Then she must wait sixty-six days to be purified from her bleeding.

When the days of her purification for a son or daughter are over, she is to bring to the priest at the entrance to the tent….

In this way the priest will make atonement for her.

Leviticus 12:1-8

There’s a whole chapter in today’s readings dedicated to the uncleanliness of a woman after childbirth. When any animal is unclean or any human is considered unclean they were to be exiled from their community.

So for this poor woman, it had been twelve years of uncleanliness and isolation.

Twelve years in quarantine.

Twelve years of shut-downs.

When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, “If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed.”

Mark 5:27-28

Can you hear it? Can you hear her tears? If I can just touch his clothes. If I can just get close. If he will just look at me. If SOMEONE will just look at me. If someone will just HELP ME! I can’t take this anymore!

The synagogue leader and the outcast woman had one thing in common.

Desperation.

They were both at the end of their options.

They were both at the end of their rope.

All they had left was faith in this Jesus fellow that everyone was talking about. What else was left, ya know? It’s worth a shot, right?

While Jesus was still speaking, some people came from the house of Jairus the synagogue leader. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. Why bother the teacher anymore?

Mark 5:35

Can you say PEER PRESSURE!! It was his people that were pressuring Jarius to doubt. Notice that its Jarius FRIENDS bringing on the confusion to what Jarius believed to be true. And you know what….it was WHILE JESUS WAS STILL SPEAKING! These doubters couldn’t wait to cloud the testimony!

Overhearing what they said, Jesus told him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”

Mark 5:36

Lord, I thank you that you overhear the haters in my life that want to cause me to doubt. I thank you that you can be heard above the noise, if I just listen. For any reader that may be at the end of their hope today, I pray that you speak to their heart. I pray with you that each of us “Don’t be afraid.” I pray for the faith of the woman and the belief of the leader, give me that kind of hope. Give my readers that kind of hope. We need to hear you above the noise.

Have you lost hope friend? What needs healed in you today?

Do you really believe? Can you really trust in this Jesus?

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Scattering Seeds

  • Leviticus 9:7-10:20
  • Mark 4:26-5:20
  • Psalm 37:30-40
  • Proverb 10:4-7

26He also said, “This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. 27Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how. 28All by itself the soil produces grain – first the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head. 29As soon as the grain is ripe he puts the sickle to it, because the harvest has come.

Mark 4:26-29

Do you want to see our garden? Its so bountiful that it will produce much of our food for the upcoming year. Our garden is so fruitful that we get all of our family favorite meals. Everything from a quick pull together dinner of spaghetti to my grandson’s favorite vegetable green beans.We look forward to pumpkin pie from this garden at Thanksgiving. We will have plenty of side dishes to share at Christmas dinner. When its too hot to cook in the summer, we often just pull together a quick meal of salad, and all of our salad fixins come from here.

Out of all four gospel writers, Mark was the only one to have recorded this one. Other gospel writers seem to focus on the importance of the soil, in their writings, Mark focuses on the mystery of the seed itself. The seed itself is the miracle. Its true! That’s why I love gardening, its the miracle of the seed! A little packet of seeds cost somewhere between $1.00-5.00 and can produce food for a year! And it all starts with a man scattering seed on the ground.

Pretend the farmer goes to the store, buys a bunch of seed packets, and leaves them on the counter in the grocery bag. Would he have vegetables for his family for a year? No, I don’t think so. The farmer has to actually “spread the seed on the ground”. (26)

The Word of God is like that. The Word of God is the seed, these words are life, friends! When you read the Word and apply it to your life, to the garden of your soul, God will do the rest.

My family loves a variety of foods, squash, beans, tomatoes, eggplant, okra, cucumbers, lots and lots of delicious produce. If we were to just grow one kind of vegetable, we might get tired of it, right? Well, that’s and analogy of life, We all have choices of activities in life. We exercise, we read, we write, we work, we have activities, we go to church, and God created each of us different with different activities that bring us joy. When we plant a variety of seeds, and then honor God by applying Godly principles to them, “night and day, whether we sleep or get up, the seed sprouts and grows, though we don’t know how”. (27)

This friends, is the miracle. “All by itself the soil produces grainfirst the stalk, then the head, then the full kernel in the head.” (28) Is she cute?!?! She’s a little baby tomato plant!! Tomato plants are HUGE y’all! It seems like no matter how we brace them up every year, by the end of the season, they are falling over. And they are one of the most abundant plants in the garden.

This is us friends, we start out as a small little stalk when God first starts growing us in to the man/woman He intends for us to be. It takes faith to first believe it and plant the seed. I have faith in the miracle that God has a plan for this little guy, and for YOU and for ME. We will grow too. I don’t know how, but I have faith in the Truth of that.

Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth.

Proverbs 10-4

God will work the miracle, but I have to have diligent hands and do my part. Here’s my confession of the day. Over the past month or, maybe even 1 1/2 month, I’ve been lazy in my commitments to my health. The winter blues have gotten to me. I’ve been indulging in comfort foods and lazy nights on the couch with a blanket. This is a seed that I need to plant. Each day, when I follow my diet and exercise, God brings me wealth, which in this case is produced in a healthy body. When I don’t do that, inflammation and fat sets in. My bones and muscles ache, I get overweight and feel bad. I was definitely born with a fat gene and have to make the effort each day.

When I make the effort, God grows the miracle

God I thank you for the imagery of how you work in our life. Thank you for the daily miracles you create. This week Lord, I am going to make a better effort in my garden of life. I promise to plant a variety of seeds and to work with diligent hands so that you can grow me and complete me in to the Theresa you want me to be. I pray for the person reading this, that you speak to them individually and show them the seeds that you are wanting them to scatter in their life so you can produce miracles!

What miracles has God created in your life as a result of you planting the seed?

What seeds do you need to plant in order for God to work miracles?

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This Little Light of Mine….I’m Gonna Let It Shine

  • Leviticus 7:28-9:6
  • Mark 3:31-4:25
  • Psalm 37: 12-29
  • Proverbs 10:4-5

He said to them, “Do you bring in a lamp to put it under a bowl or a bed? Instead, don’t you put it on its stand?

Mark 4:21

Every since I came to accept Jesus as my Lord and Savior back in about 1995, I have felt a deep longing to know him more. In the beginning, I took classes at church followed by intense spiritual direction for about 5 years. During that time I began working for our church as an administration assistant, and developed friendships with pastors and learned the mechanics of church ministry. I have always studied the Word, from the very beginning. Then when I was introduced to the Bible in a Year through SOAP Journaling, I was hooked. I’ve been studying this way for about 10 years. I spend 1-2 hours every day, and longer if I can, reading, listening and journaling. I sense that most Christians aren’t like that. In fact, I think we who study the Word are a rare breed.

And really, that’s ok, there’s no prescribed time for reading and journaling. We are all put together differently, each with his or her own gifts. As for me, I have always felt a calling to go deeper in my relationship with God through His word. When I was on the Women’s Retreat Team, it grew even more when I was allowed to speak in public and could see the difference that God’s word made to the women. I am so grateful that God has called me to this role.

And yet, I judge a lot of people, including my daughters think I’m weird. They think I’m a Jesus Freak, and really I am. Have you ever seen one of those people that stand on the street yelling, “The Kingdom is near! Repent!” That’s NOT me. I am NOT a protestor you’d find in front of an abortion clinic. I am NOT leading revivals out on the beach, I can’t even get to those, or I would go to one for sure!!

But I will tell you what I am like…

You know those posts of peoples on Facebook, where they ask the general public for prayers? Well, most people put up the little praying hands, or say “prayers going up” or just say, “I’ll be praying for you.” Not me, I actually type out a prayer for the situation and for the person who’s asking for prayer. If I see you in the grocery store, and you tell me that your husband lost his job, I’m likely to ask you if we can pray, and stop my grocery cart and pray with you, if you’ll allow me to. If you come to my office and tell me that you’ve been diagnosed with cancer, and you’re scared. I will stop what I’m doing and ask if we can pray together, I am likely to lay hands on you and pray for healing. Covid or no covid. If you come to my desk, you’ll likely hear praise and worship coming from the computer speakers behind the billing software on my desk.

That’s me. I’m not in your face about what I believe in, shoving it down your throat, but God has called me to be a light, and I’m not going to hide it.

Consider carefully what you hear,” he continued. “With the measure you use, it will be measured to you – and even more.

It hasn’t been until the last couple of years that I’ve heard the call to write and that’s because I judge that God has spoken to me long enough that He wants me to speak to others about Him. In the beginning I was recovering from years of abuse, both other-inflicted and self-inflicted. I was in no condition to be talking to people about the Lord, because I didn’t know him well enough. I don’t know how to say this more emphatically other than to just say it.

God sent his only son, Jesus, to be born of a virgin, to live among us as a man, be horrifically crucified, die and rose again. He is CURRENTLY sitting at the right hand of the Father, interceding in our behalf so that we can spend eternity with him. He did ALL THIS before you were born, before you sinned, before you made ALLLLL those mistakes in judgement. Yes, EVEN THAT SIN. Yes, sisters and brothers. EVEN THAT one.

When you believe this, and put your trust in him, he will not only forgive you, but set you on the right path to fix whatever it is that is messed up in your life as a result. I PROMISE this is true.

We’ve been having some horrific weather in this part of the country. One day I woke up and it was -22 f. One day the windchill factor was -27 f. During times of inclimate weather, cows tend to get stressed out and have their babies during the bad weather. For instance, one year we had a mama cow birth her calf in the creek bed. I know many cattle men & women around here that lost calves this past weekend. Some farmers ended up bottle feeding or putting babies under heat lamps in hopes of saving them. Calves just don’t fare well going from a 125 degree mama to -26 degree snow and ice environment. Jeff and I prayed and prayed, I literally stood out in our cow lot praying for God to hold off the babies until after the snow storm and if they did come, to please perform a miracle and have them go to the barn that Jeff and I cleared out for them. I was believing in the promise that God has plans to prosper us, not to bring us harm. But always, not my will, but thy will be done.

Well it happened, miracle of miracles, yesterday a mama cow had her baby in the northwest corner of the barn. They NEVER do that, friends! That mama and her calf were waiting for us in the barn yesterday afternoon when we got off work. I almost cried. God really does hear our prayers, friends! It may not ALWAYS seem that way, but sometimes, like in this instance, it is very apparent.

The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; though he may stumble he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.

Psalm 37:23-24

I wrote yesterday that it was difficult to write the journal entry. I just wasn’t feeling very delightful. It was a sheer effort just get the writing done. Then I had to go to the grocery store yesterday, in the cold and snow. I had gotten into an argument with my daughters a few days ago because sometimes it just feels like they take me for granted, so I’ve been feeling very entitled and prideful. But I worked hard through yesterday’s “Take delight in the Lord” study. I prayed and thought through what it meant for YESTERDAY to be soft, dainty, delicate and pliable. Some days, like yesterday, all that means is NOT crawling back in bed and pulling the covers over my head. Sometimes it just means being obedient in the tasks ahead.

This is my lamp. This blog and, I pray, the book I intend to write. People are going to think I’m weird, and I don’t care. Well, wait, that’s not true. I DO care. I want everyone to have a relationship with the Lord, like I do! I want everyone to get saved! I want a community of believers like we find in the book of Acts

They devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer……All the believers were together and had everything in common.

Acts 2:42 & 44

So, I can’t say I don’t CARE if this is my vision. But you know, I would be naive if I didn’t admit there are alot of mockers out there that are going to ridicule me, and some of those are in my own family. But so be it. This is my only prayer for my writings today:

If anyone has ears to hear, let them hear. Consider carefully what you hear,” he continue. “With the measure you use, it will be measured to you – and even more.

Mark 2 23-24

Lord, you promise in Psalm 37:29, “The righteous will inherit the land and dwell in it forever.” I thank you for your promises and I know that I am only righteous when I put my faith and hope in You. Guard my heart and give me the courage to put the light you have put on my heart, on a stand for all to see. Give me strength to endure when my feelings get hurt by what others say, guide mto on the path toward learning how to put what is hidden in my heart in print. Guide those you intend to see it, to my writings. I know you have plans to prosper me and give me a hope and a future. If it be through cattle, through gardening, through writing, I receive your blessing.

Have you ever experienced rejection for your beliefs?

Where have you learned about God and his love for you?

What does it mean to you to know that God sent his only son to die for your sins. What does it mean to you to put your faith in Jesus Christ?

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Delight in the Lord

  • Leviticus 6:1-7:27
  • Mark 3:7-30
  • Psalm 37:1-11
  • Proverbs 10:3-4

Delight yourself in the LORD, and He will give you the desires of your heart.

Psalm 37:4

I’m finding this journal entry very difficult to write today and yet this verse penetrates my heart. When we moved to Southeast Kansas in 2013 to be close to our family, I felt God give me this verse to carry and use to become more intimate with him. Like this verse was written about my life, FOR my life. Like a slogan of sorts.

So to dig a little deeper, I looked up Psalm 37:4 on http://www.BibleHub.com to understand its original meaning. To be honest, I’m not FEELING very delighted today…its cold and snowy and icy. The weather has pretty much been awful for several days, and I’m feeling cooped up and isolated. The hot water is frozen in our kitchen. This morning the hot water heater wouldn’t stay lit long enough for me to take a hot shower. There are things I need to do like go to the grocery store and gym, and its too cold and miserable. My husband is stressed out because the livestock are needing a lot of attention, so we are bickering. Its just not a very fun time.

Delight yourself” is translated in to Hebrew as “Anog“, meaning to be soft, dainty, delicate. A verb would be “to be pliable”. Notice that it says TO BE soft, dainty, delicate, pliable. That’s an ACTION verb.

The past 12 months have been really hard on many, many people. Shut downs, quarantines, severe illness, deaths from covid, job loss. Its been horrible for many people around the world. Here in Piqua, we’ve been guarded from much of that, and for that I’m grateful. So really, a little hot water issue shouldn’t be that difficult to be pliable in. So how do I ANOG at times when life doesn’t FEEL very delightful? It all comes down to obedience. I have to BE soft and pliable in the hard times as well as the good times, trusting that He will give….

And he will give” is translated to “Nathan“, meaning to give, put, set, fasten, plant .

On days when we are out at our pond in the summer, enjoying a good day of fishing or when I am sharing a meal with my family of bounty that was 100% produced from by my own garden or livestock, I know that He fastened that joy on my heart. There is nothing more enjoyable that sitting on the back porch watching our cow-calf pairs graze. Only God could PLANT that level of joy in my heart.

I ANOG and God PLANTED….

“The desires” is translated to be “Mishalah” meaning “request, petition“.

I don’t remember actually verbally requesting this way of life. But if I go back in my journals I will find entries requesting that God somehow find a way for us to move to Kansas to be closer to family. I remember asking God to mold me and make me into the Theresa that he always wanted me to be. I would have NEVER dreamed this would be my life. I couldn’t imagine the joy of planting a seed and then 3 months later eating a tomato from the vine it grew. No one could have ever explained what it would be like to sit in our home knowing that we BUILT it with our own hands. These dreams and life that God has given me are so much more than I ever imagined possible.

Trust in the LORD and do good; dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness.

Psalm 37:3

So at times like this….when life isn’t so easy, I ask myself and I DOING GOOD? Am I DOING the work that God has asked me to do? I think of years past when we desperately wanted to move to Southeast Kansas, but felt we couldn’t. If we wouldn’t have done the work that God set before us at that time, we wouldn’t have had the means to move here when we finally did. I want a long healthy life to enjoy many years to come with my family, but am I eating right and exercising in order to stay healthy, like I know God has instructed me to do? I want a strong marriage but am I cultivating love and faithfulness with my husband, or am I just griping at him when the hot water doesn’t work?

Lord, I confess that sometimes I question your ways. It doesn’t always feel like delight, but more like obedience. Help me to not fret or be envious. Teach me to commit my way to you and trust you so that you will make my righteous reward shine like the dawn. Show me how to be still before you and wait patiently for you. I am trusting that the meek will inherit the land and enjoy peace and prosperity. Right here in Piqua, Kansas.

Have you ever taken a leap of faith?

Is your delight in the Lord panning out like you thought it would?

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Follow me

  • Leviticus 4:1-5:19
  • Mark 2:13-3:6
  • Psalm 36:1-12
  • Proverb 10:1-2

As he walked along he saw Levi son of Alphaeus sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” Jesus told him, and Levi got up and followed him.

Mark 2:14

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?

While Jesus was having dinner at Levi’s house, many tax collectors and sinners were eating with him and his disciples, for there were many who followed him.

Mark 2:15

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.

When the teachers of the law who were Pharisees saw him eating with the sinners and tax collectors, they asked his disciples: “Why does he eat with the tax collectors and sinners?”

Mark 2:16

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….

On hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It’s not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.

Mark 2:17

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?

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Very Early in the Morning

  • Leviticus 1:1-3:17
  • Mark 1:29-2:12
  • Psalm 35:17-28
  • Proverbs 9:13-18

Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed.

Mark 1:35

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…..

32That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon possessed. 33The whole town gathered at the door 34and Jesus healed many who had various diseases.

Mark 1:32-34

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 replied, “Let us go somewhere else – to the nearby villages – so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.

Mark 1:38

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.

A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, “if you are willing, you can make me clean.”

Jesus was indignant. He reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!

Mark 1:40-41

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.

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Happy Valentine’s Day?

  • Exodus 39:1-40:38
  • Mark 1:1-38
  • Psalm 35:1-16
  • Proverbs 9:11-12

They went to Capernaum, and when the Sabbath came, Jesus went into the synagogue and began to teach. The people were amazed at his teaching, because he taught them as one who had authority, not as the teachers of the law. Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an impure spirit cried out, “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are – the Holy One of God!”

Be quiet!” said Jesus sternly. “Come out of him!” The impure spirit shook the man violently and came out of him with a shriek.

The people were all so amazed that they asked each other “What is this? A new teaching – and with authority! He even gives orders to impure spirits and they obey him.”

Mark 1: 21-27

I said I was going to get deeply vulnerable in my online journal, so here it goes. I pray that all I write can minister to those who stumble across this writing and that God use it to draw each one closer to him.

Do you know that our battle in this world is not a physical battle but a spiritual battle? I do know this, deep in my soul. In fact, in times of stress, I have often prayed the words, “If there are any evil spirits in or around this person, or in or around this situation, I command in the name of Jesus that you quietly leave.” I hope that my kids will remember these words fondly, because they’ve heard me pray it many times. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are some pretty severe movies out there that go a bit crazy with demon possession & exercism, I’m thinking of the movie Sybil, with Sally Fields. Its an old movie that I really never could get all the way through. She’s a great actress, but I don’t recommend that movie. (Sorry Sally)

However, here is a documented moment in Mark 1: 21-28, where Jesus himself makes it very clear that we will meet evil spirits just about everywhere; even at church. Those spirits will confront or attack without warning! They may cause arguments and disagreements where otherwise there wouldn’t be. Like here for instance, here’s our friend Jesus, just hanging out and teaching the people at the synagogue. People were amazed at his teaching, so they must have been learning something, ya know? They were drawing closer and closer to God, beginning to recognize that this person Jesus was a new kind of teacher. This is another clue that its evil that’s disrupting the situation, its interrupting people involved drawing closer to their Creator. Teaching first, drawing closer to God next, then the temptation or impure disruption occurs, then the miracle of Jesus calling out the impure spirits! One observation I have, is that the evil spirit wasn’t identified, it was just a person talking smack, right? I can relate to being amongst a bunch of smack talkers. I’ve probably even been that person myself. *sigh* But Jesus recognized who it REALLY was. See that? Here’s a clue for us….ask Jesus what is causing all the conflict before reacting ourselves. Sound right?

In real life, I have an example. Here comes the vulnerable part. This is what, day twelve of my online journaling? My purpose is to put my reflections out on the web and to hopefully attract readers closer in their walk with the Lord. That’s the goal of THIS JOURNAL. I must be doing something right, because Jeff and I, this past weekend, bickered and experienced strain in our relationship. Seems weird, right? How could those possibly be connected?

Here in Southeast Kansas this weekend, we’ve had some severe winter weather. This morning we woke up to -7 f degrees and a real feel of -27 f, because of the windchill. This kind of weather will stress out livestock, and we have been a bit worried about our 10 pregnant cows. Having calves in this kind of weather, as you can imagine isn’t very good for them. So we’ve been shuffling things around here to make sure they have a place to get out of the wind. Jeff has been really worried, as have I. The 2 weeks before, Jeff had been putting in extra hours at work and he had been really worn out after work.

And then yesterday was Valentine’s Day. There were no Valentine’s cards, or dinners out. Well, actually there was a dinner out, at our local restaurant. The place was packed, but we saw Jeff’s cousin and his wife came in, so Jeff invited them to join us on our Valentine’s date. (grumble grumble) I had said that we would spend Sunday wrapped in blankets together, but then we had to go check cows every hour or so. So that didn’t happen, it really couldn’t happen, we were worried about our livestock, so they needed to be tended to. Jeff did write me a last minute note yesterday with promises that he’s made before to being more romantic and intentional about our relationship. Promises that he’s made before, but he just doesn’t seem to keep, in my view anyway. I didn’t keep my promise of cuddling under blankets either….I could have tried harder.

I just wasn’t feeling like he wasn’t putting our relationship first. And he probably was feeling the same, because by the end of the day, not only did we not cuddle in blankets, but I didn’t even cook dinner.

When I point to evil spirits, I don’t mean the weather, or cows, or cousins. No, that’s not it. Where I recognize demons is that our relationship was full of anger, self-righteousness, and resentment. Challenging times are going to come. They always do. Sometimes we can’t change our circumstances, but we can change our reaction to it. Work gets stressful, kids need running around, financial strains come. But God put us here TOGETHER, to work through those times, and love each other through them.

If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I posses to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered. It keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

1 Corinthians 13:2-7

#BIGFAIL. Yea, I pretty much failed at all this yesterday. I know my husband pretty well, and I judge he may be feeling some of this personal regret too. (humbly I admit, inside I am saying “he better be!” #bigfail again) GET BEHIND ME SATAN!!

For through wisdom your days will be many, and years will be added to your life. If you are wise, your wisdom will reward you; if you are a mocker, you alone will suffer.

Proverbs 9:11-12

Jeff and I have been married for 29 years and that’s not by chance. We have worked hard on our marriage and are wise enough to know that during times when we are on the right track with the Lord, the evil one is going to attack our relationship and cause tension. I wish I would have asked Jesus what was going on yesterday. Sadly I didn’t…..I just sat and stewed. I wish I would have seen this yesterday and swallowed my pride and been more appreciative of his last minute letter. Because there are no tomorrows guaranteed.

In the last couple of days there have been unprecedented ice storms in much of the United States. Because of these storms, there were two multiple vehicle accidents in Texas and in Oklahoma. At least 6 people lost their lives. That’s 6 husbands/wives; daughters/sons; mothers/father; sisters/brothers that did not come home. There will be a hole in those families FOREVER! I pray that there were many hugs, kisses and talks the last time these families were together.

As for me, I’m going to try and put my own attitude of entitlement aside and ask my husband for forgiveness. Cook a nice dinner, and by my husbands side, check cows every hour…..because there’s still circumstances to idle through. My relationship with my husband is too important to disregard. Besides, we must be doing something right if we are being attacked in our attitudes like this.

Contend, Lord, with those who contend with me; fight against those who fight against me.

Take up shield and armor; arise and come to my aid. Brandish spear and javelin against those who pursue me. Say to me, “I am your salvation.”

Psalm 35:1-3

Lord, I pray for my husband this morning. Calm his spirit in regards to work and our farm. Help him to know that You built this home and you will sustain it, no matter what. I pray for our relationship, that you use all circumstances to draw each of us us closer to you and subsequently, each other. Lord, speak sternly to any evil spirits that are in or around our home, and our relationship. Lord, I trust that you tell demons to be quiet and storms to calm. Search Jeff and me, point out any impurities that each of us needs to work on. I pray for the person reading this right now, that their relationships would be free of evil and that you would use any adversities to draw them closer to you.

Did you have a good Valentine’s Day?

How can you love yourself and/or your relationships today? Please don’t take tomorrow for granted.

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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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