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Category Archives: Easter

Beatitudes

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. 2Then he began to speak, and taught them, saying:

3“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
5“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
6“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
7“Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy.
8“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
9“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
10“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11“Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.

12Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:1-12, NRSV)

This passage always gets to me.

Blessed are those Jesus starts each phrase with until the last one. Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you. Well, Jesus when this happens I don’t feel so blessed!

But that is what Jesus says because those that are doing this are not following after God.

So take heart that we are against the world, but we have God behind us, so which is better?

 

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children of God

14For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God. 15For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry, “Abba! Father!” 16it is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him. (Romans 8:14-17, NRSV)

We are children of God and joint heirs with Christ.

We are not to be slaves of the world but we are to be free so we can share the love God has showered us with with the world!

Let us freely give as we have been freely given, and show the world the love of God.

 

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Speak

When the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2And suddenly from heaven there came a sound like the rush of a violent wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them. 4All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability. 5Now there were devout Jews from every nation under heaven living in Jerusalem. 6And at this sound the crowd gathered and was bewildered, because each one heard them speaking in the native language of each. 7Amazed and astonished, they asked, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8And how is it that we hear, each of us, in our own native language? 9Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, 11Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.” (Acts 2:1-11, NRSV)

I have always loved this text because it seems that we can interpret it in 2 different ways just from the reading.

1. is that everyone was speaking different languages than they grew up learning.
2. is that everyone is speaking in their native tongue and others are able to hear them without interpretation.

So which is it?

I think the better question here is does it matter which it is and does it have to be one or the other, could it be both?

We get so hung up on the how we miss the why and the miracle God is giving us.

Just let God do what God will do and don’t worry about how it works, just bask in the love that God is showering us with!

 

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eternal life

31The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is of the earth belongs to the earth and speaks about earthly things. The one who comes from heaven is above all. 32He testifies to what he has seen and heard, yet no one accepts his testimony. 33Whoever has accepted his testimony has certified this, that God is true. 34He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for he gives the Spirit without measure. 35The Father loves the Son and has placed all things in his hands. 36Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, but must endure God’s wrath. (John 3:31-36, NRSV)

Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life!

Did you read? Read that line again.

Whoever believes, has. Not will get some time in the future, os when the end comes or someday, but believe and have.

Eternal life is not something we wait on, it is something we are living now.

So you have eternal life, what are you going to do about it?

 

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why so serious

7The end of all things is near; therefore be serious and discipline yourselves for the sake of your prayers. 8Above all, maintain constant love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins. 9Be hospitable to one another without complaining. 10Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received. 11Whoever speaks must do so as one speaking the very words of God; whoever serves must do so with the strength that God supplies, so that God may be glorified in all things through Jesus Christ. To him belong the glory and the power forever and ever. Amen. (1 Peter 4:7-11, NRSV)

The end is near, so be serious and discipline yourself… I have to be honest when I read this I thought of Heath Ledger’s portrayal of the Joker.

Why so serious? was a famous line from this portrayal. Because he was asked that by his father as a child and then had a smile cut into his face and he would do this to others. Not that God will cut a smile on our face, but sometimes we get so caught up in the end of times and all of the nastiness around us we get so serious. Not to say we shouldn’t be serious about things, I mean here Peter tells us we should be serious. And we should, but we also need to remember that in all things God is always with us.

God will see us through and being serious about our following of God is really all we need to be serious about. Because God will be with us to go through whatever we face.

 

 

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excess

Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same intention (for whoever has suffered in the flesh has finished with sin), 2so as to live for the rest of your earthly life no longer by human desires but by the will of God. 3You have already spent enough time in doing what the Gentiles like to do, living in licentiousness, passions, drunkenness, revels, carousing, and lawless idolatry. 4They are surprised that you no longer join them in the same excesses of dissipation, and so they blaspheme. 5But they will have to give an accounting to him who stands ready to judge the living and the dead. 6For this is the reason the gospel was proclaimed even to the dead, so that, though they had been judged in the flesh as everyone is judged, they might live in the spirit as God does. (1 Peter 4:1-6, NRSV)

What do we have in excess?

Or what do we partake of in excess?

We are covered with God’s grace, and we should therefore not join in the excess of this life. We should follow after what God commands us to do and be beacons of God’s hope and love for all the world.

Do we do that?

Or do we live in the excesses of this world?

Follow after and trust in God.

 

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Jesus prays

After Jesus had spoken these words, he looked up to heaven and said, “Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son so that the Son may glorify you, 2since you have given him authority over all people, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. 3And this is eternal life, that they may know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. 4I glorified you on earth by finishing the work that you gave me to do. 5So now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had in your presence before the world existed. 6”I have made your name known to those whom you gave me from the world. They were yours, and you gave them to me, and they have kept your word. 7Now they know that everything you have given me is from you; 8for the words that you gave to me I have given to them, and they have received them and know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent me. 9I am asking on their behalf; I am not asking on behalf of the world, but on behalf of those whom you gave me, because they are yours. 10All mine are yours, and yours are mine; and I have been glorified in them. 11And now I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world, and I am coming to you. Holy Father, protect them in your name that you have given me, so that they may be one, as we are one. (John 17:1-11, NRSV)

This is the chapter of the high priestly prayer of Jesus in John’s Gospel.

In these first verses He prayers for Himself. And asks God to glorify Him. Then He prays for the disciples and then for all of us.

Jesus models what it is to be in conversation or communion with God. How can we better be in communion with God and remember our sisters and brothers in prayer?

How can we pray?

 

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Is he going to kill himself?

21Again he said to them, “I am going away, and you will search for me, but you will die in your sin. Where I am going, you cannot come.” 22Then the Jews said, “Is he going to kill himself? Is that what he means by saying, ‘Where I am going, you cannot come’?” 23He said to them, “You are from below, I am from above; you are of this world, I am not of this world. 24I told you that you would die in your sins, for you will die in your sins unless you believe that I am he.” 25They said to him, “Who are you?” Jesus said to them, “Why do I speak to you at all? 26I have much to say about you and much to condemn; but the one who sent me is true, and I declare to the world what I have heard from him.” 27They did not understand that he was speaking to them about the Father. 28So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will realize that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own, but I speak these things as the Father instructed me. 29And the one who sent me is with me; he has not left me alone, for I always do what is pleasing to him.” 30As he was saying these things, many believed in him. (John 8:21-30, NRSV)

So because He said they could not come with Him they automatically think He is going to kill himself? Why is this the first thought?

We think because we do not know something that it must be bad.

But Jesus was merely referring to Him returning to the Father, and the reason they could not go was because they were not ready to go yet.

Sometimes we assume things because of what we know and what we can comprehend.

In matters of faith, we have to have trust and believe the promises we have been given.

Do you believe and trust God?

 

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by grace

You were dead through the trespasses and sins 2in which you once lived, following the course of this world, following the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work among those who are disobedient. 3All of us once lived among them in the passions of our flesh, following the desires of flesh and senses, and we were by nature children of wrath, like everyone else. 4But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us 5even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7so that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:1-7, NRSV)

By grace, you have been saved.

By gift. By nothing, you have done.

You have been given a gift.

Every day is a gift that is why it is called the present. (I know overused pun…)

But this passage made me think of my days when I would knock on people’s doors and tell them about Jesus and would try to get them to accept Jesus as their personal Lord and Savior. Now there is nothing wrong with helping people know who Jesus is, or how much God loves them. My issue comes in the questions we ask and the understanding. When I knocked on doors we would ask, do you know where you are going to spend eternity? And honestly, none of us could answer that question with any sort of certainty. Yes, we had prayed the prayer and asked Jesus into our lives, but we have all also backslide and so, were we in God’s good graces?

The question I have come to understand as a Lutheran is not where are you going to spend eternity, but you are alive today, how are you going to use this day?

You see we are all accepted because of what God has done, not what we have done, or what prayer we have or haven’t prayed. God loves you as you are, so what are you going to do about that today?

Are you going to spread God’s love or say people aren’t included for something you deem is wrong?

Love or try to play God?

The choice is yours on how you act, not about who God loves!

 

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Ascension

44Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you—that everything written about me in the law of Moses, the prophets, and the psalms must be fulfilled.” 45Then he opened their minds to understand the scriptures, 46and he said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Messiah is to suffer and to rise from the dead on the third day, 47and that repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48You are witnesses of these things. 49And see, I am sending upon you what my Father promised; so stay here in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” 50Then he led them out as far as Bethany, and, lifting up his hands, he blessed them. 51While he was blessing them, he withdrew from them and was carried up into heaven. 52And they worshiped him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy; 53and they were continually in the temple blessing God. (Luke 24:44-53, NRSV)

Jesus blessed the disciples and helped them understand that everything that happened was because of scripture and then as He was with them He was carried into Heaven.

Jesus left the disciples. And in history, this is before Pentecost. So the disciples at this point in Luke’s gospel have not yet received the Holy Spirit. They are without God. But not alone, for they are in the temple continually blessing God and worshipping.

What would we do if we were without God?

 

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