The reading in Our Daily Bread magazine for September 16th was about being set free by Jesus, and asks the question, “What has Jesus set you free from? How can you share with others what He’s done for you?”
Over the many years I have lived, He has set me free from smoking, swearing, jealousy, worry, doubt, dread, anxiety, and perhaps some things I am forgetting.
However, there are two things He has not set me free from: procrastination and vanity.
I recently procrastinated my way out of some furniture for my new apartment, and when I finally decided to order it, the price was two hundred dollars higher and the delivery date three months down the road; neither was acceptable to me.
As for vanity…I fell face first down some stairs on September 1st and am still wearing some of the bruises. This has kept me from meeting and mingling with people in the retirement home I recently moved to. I wear my Covid mask even when not needed just to hide my face.
So, what has Jesus set you free from? Or not! Happy Sunday.
We’re here! The week that was has become the day that is. The triumphant entry into Jerusalem, the last supper, the scourging, the crucifying, the entombment…all are brought together in this one message. Jesus did not just live and die. Jesus died and lives. And furthermore we can be confident that life is worth the living just because He lives. Rejoice and be glad. Happy Easter.
As we enter into this Holy Saturday and look back on the week that was, we see Jesus riding into Jerusalem on the back of a donkey to fulfill his destination.
He has had the Last Supper with his disciples and given them this commandment: “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34,35
He has been tried, scourged, and nailed to a cross.
And now He is in the tomb; a tomb that is said to have belonged to Joseph of Arimathea, a wealthy Jewish follower of Jesus.
And so we wait, because it is not over. The best is yet to come. Happy Saturday.
The question always gets asked, why is it called Good Friday when that’s the day Jesus was nailed to the cross? One can only surmise that trusting the outcome of that dreadful day to be His resurrection three days later made the unbearable less so.
It was also a day of hope for the fulfillment of His promise in Mark 9:31… because he was teaching his disciples. He said to them, “The Son of Man is going to be delivered into the hands of men. They will kill him, and after three days he will rise.”
It started with Jesus riding into Jerusalem on a donkey. His devoted followers were waving palm branches, and spreading them on the path before him. According to Wikipedia, the palm branch is a symbol of victory, triumph, peace, and eternal life originating in the ancient Near East and Mediterranean world.
What the crowds did not know that day was that Jesus was riding towards his death. His death would fulfill the plan that He had come to earth for thirty-three years earlier; the plan that included a trial, a scourging, and a crucifixion; the plan that He agreed to, to save humanity from the power of sin.
We know today as Palm Sunday, and the week to come as Holy week, but after Easter it will be remembered as the week that was. Happy Sunday.
Some people don’t like reading the Bible because it speaks of fearing God. But the kind of fear it speaks of is a reverential fear; more like holding God in awe, not being afraid of him as we would be afraid of an axe murderer.
Whenever I am reading the Bible and come across the word fear I replace it with the word awe. In that way I know what it means to respect going against his teachings. Why would I want to? It is with awe that I view the universe and a newborn baby, both of which he designed and created. It is with awe that I read the words spoken by Jesus after being nailed to the cross, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing.” Who does that?
So, yes, there are two types of fear; the fear felt when confronted with the terrors of the world, and the healthy fear (awe) felt when confronted with the teachings of God who himself said to Jacob in Isaiah 41:10, “Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.’
Another of those teachings is about the birth of Jesus where we read in Luke 2:10-12: And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
One of the life questions I’ve been asked is, “How did you get the peace you seem to have?” Looking back over my life, there was a time in my forties and fifties, when my mantra was, “God loves me and has a wonderful plan for my life.” The one-liner was never far from my thoughts and became exactly what a mantra is…a statement repeated frequently.
One of my favorite songs at that time was “He Touched Me”. It was always the added touch I needed. Happy Sunday.
Do you sometimes relive your childhood? Does it make you feel glad or sad? How do we reconnect to that childhood? Here is one way gleaned from the Internet:
Start by deciding to abandon caution and to give this a try. Start by identifying the qualities of children you’d like to emulate: curiosity, play, living in the moment, abandoning worries, imagination, creativity, pure joy. Observe children. Watch how they play, how they live, how they create, how they ask questions.
And here is some of what the Bible says about children:
And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:3
“And he took the children in his arms, placed his hands on them and blessed them.” Mark 10:16
Job 8:21 He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.
This scripture prompted me to post some Sunday humor:
Haircuts and Walking
A young boy had just gotten his driver’s permit and asked his father if he could now use the car. His father made him a deal. “You bring your grades up from a C to a B average, study your Bible a little, get your hair cut and we’ll talk about the car.” The boy agreed and six weeks later his father said to him, “Son, I’m real proud. You brought your grades up and I’ve seen that you’ve been studying your Bible but I’m disappointed that you haven’t gotten your hair cut.” The son responded, “You know, Dad, I’ve noticed that in the Bible Samson had long hair, John the Baptist had long hair, Moses had long hair and even Jesus had long hair,” to which his father replied, “Did you also notice they all walked everywhere they went?”