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Tag Archives: live

Let those who unsettle you…

7You were running well; who prevented you from obeying the truth?8Such persuasion does not come from the one who calls you. 9A little yeast leavens the whole batch of dough. 10I am confident about you in the Lord that you will not think otherwise. But whoever it is that is confusing you will pay the penalty. 11But my friends, why am I still being persecuted if I am still preaching circumcision? In that case the offense of the cross has been removed. 12I wish those who unsettle you would castrate themselves! (Galatians 5:7-12, NRSV)

I wish those who unsettle you would castrate themselves! Wow! Paul really doesn’t mince words here, does he?

Those who stir up trouble should castrate themselves. But actually, this would be all of us at one point or another wouldn’t it? We all cause issues for others, but here Paul is specifically talking about those who lead you astray from following after God and being what God has created you to be.

We need to be aware of what is happening around us and focus our attention on Jesus, and let God be the focus of our lives, then we will not be lead astray. We will have the focus of seeing Jesus and following where God leads us.

A little bit goes a long way but God has protected our hearts and leads us in the ways of life. Follow and trust in God.

 

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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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Left alone

15”If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. 17This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you. 18”I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. 19In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. 20On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. 21They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.” (John 14:15-21, NRSV)

How many of us feel all alone right now? This would be week 11 of the season of Quarantine. If you live alone it is probably becoming unbearable. I spent about 3 weeks alone in March, my family was in Wisconsin while I was in Texas. It was rough. But then I could go out and see people and interact with people. Now if I was alone I would only be able to interact with people online. And that is not enough, even for introverts, it is getting to be too much. Which is why we have to remind ourselves that we are never truly left alone. God is always with us.

We need to remember that God said to each of us, “I will not leave you orphaned.” God will always be with us.

We are never alone!

 

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free under authority

13For the Lord’s sake accept the authority of every human institution, whether of the emperor as supreme, 14or of governors, as sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to praise those who do right. 15For it is God’s will that by doing right you should silence the ignorance of the foolish. 16As servants of God, live as free people, yet do not use your freedom as a pretext for evil. 17Honor everyone. Love the family of believers. Fear God. Honor the emperor. (1 Peter 2:13-17, NRSV)

Governments are put in place to help us and to govern us. Laws are there for good civil order and to help us live together as a society.

But in this there is freedom. Freedom to be who God created us to be.

So live under the civil authority and live under God.

 

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seeing isn’t believing

8Although you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, 9for you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls. 10Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied of the grace that was to be yours made careful search and inquiry, 11inquiring about the person or time that the Spirit of Christ within them indicated when it testified in advance to the sufferings destined for Christ and the subsequent glory. 12It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in regard to the things that have now been announced to you through those who brought you good news by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things into which angels long to look! (1 Peter 1:8b-12, NRSV)

This is what I was talking about in the last devotional. Seeing isn’t believing, believing is seeing. We have seen Jesus because we believe in the promises and the stories we have heard.

The truth of the promises overtake us and we believe with no discernable proof of the whole thing. But it goes back to that line from the Santa Claus 2, where Santa’s son Charlie is explaining to his high school principal that his father is Santa and that it is hard for adults to believe in Santa and the North Pole because we can not see it, but little children just believe, and therefore it is real to them.

Is Jesus real to you?

Seeing isn’t believing, believing is seeing!

 

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Raised from the dead

12Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say there is no resurrection of the dead? 13If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; 14and if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation has been in vain and your faith has been in vain. 15We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified of God that he raised Christ—whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. 16For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised. 17If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. 18Then those also who have died in Christ have perished. 19If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. 20But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died. (1 Corinthians 15:12-20, NRSV)

We have to believe that Jesus was raised from the dead. If we do not believe this then our faith is in nothing.

But if we believe that Jesus called Lazarus out of the tomb, why can we not believe that Jesus himself could walk out of the tomb?

You could say that we can’t prove it because we did not see it. There are a lot of things we can’t see but most of us still believe in. For instance, can you see the wind? You can see the effects of the wind, but we can’t see the wind. And even though I can’t see the wind I still believe it exists. And I know, you can see the effects of the wind, well I can see the effects of Jesus’ resurrection too. Life abundant all around me, and that is the life that walked out of the tomb.

Don’t be unbelieving of the resurrection of Christ. It is the foundation of our faith and the true hope of life!

 

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The Death of Jesus

16Then the soldiers led him into the courtyard of the palace (that is, the governor’s headquarters); and they called together the whole cohort. 17And they clothed him in a purple cloak; and after twisting some thorns into a crown, they put it on him. 18And they began saluting him, “Hail, King of the Jews!” 19They struck his head with a reed, spat upon him, and knelt down in homage to him. 20After mocking him, they stripped him of the purple cloak and put his own clothes on him. Then they led him out to crucify him. 21They compelled a passer-by, who was coming in from the country, to carry his cross; it was Simon of Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus. 22Then they brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means the place of a skull). 23And they offered him wine mixed with myrrh; but he did not take it. 24And they crucified him, and divided his clothes among them, casting lots to decide what each should take. 25It was nine o’clock in the morning when they crucified him. 26The inscription of the charge against him read, “The King of the Jews.” 27And with him they crucified two bandits, one on his right and one on his left. 29Those who passed by derided him, shaking their heads and saying, “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and build it in three days, 30save yourself, and come down from the cross!” 31In the same way the chief priests, along with the scribes, were also mocking him among themselves and saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. 32Let the Messiah, the King of Israel, come down from the cross now, so that we may see and believe.” Those who were crucified with him also taunted him. 33When it was noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. 34At three o’clock Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 35When some of the bystanders heard it, they said, “Listen, he is calling for Elijah.” 36And someone ran, filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a stick, and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.” 37Then Jesus gave a loud cry and breathed his last. 38And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. 39Now when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was God’s Son!” (Mark 15:16-39, NRSV)

Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani. This seems a weird thing for Jesus to say from the cross. Why would Jesus cry out, My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?

Well, it could be because Jesus feels like God is nowhere near Him and He has been forsaken or left by God. Saint Teresa felt this in her life and often commented on it as the dark night of her soul. Is that it?

I don’t think that is why Jesus says this. If you know your Hebrew Scripture, you would know that My God, My God, why have you forsaken me is the first verse to Psalm 22. And in my understanding in Jesus’ time when a person wanted to pray a psalm they only needed to say the first verse to call all of at that psalm to cover them.  And Psalm 22 starts out dark and like the writer had been left by God, but then becomes light and talks of God’s ruling over the world.

27  All the ends of the earth shall remember and turn to the LORD,   and all the families of the nations shall worship before you.
28  For kingship belongs to the LORD,   and he rules over the nations.
29    All the prosperous of the earth eat and worship;   before him shall bow all who go down to the dust,   even the one who could not keep himself alive.
30  Posterity shall serve him;   it shall be told of the Lord to the coming generation;
31  they shall come and proclaim his righteousness to a people yet unborn, that he has done it.

They will proclaim His righteousness to a people yet unborn, that He has done it!!! Jesus died to complete something that none of us could have done. And it is something we will not understand until it doesn’t matter.

But know that God never left Jesus and God will never leave you.

 

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The Last Supper

22While they were eating, he took a loaf of bread, and after blessing it he broke it, gave it to them, and said, “Take; this is my body.” 23Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks he gave it to them, and all of them drank from it. 24He said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. 25Truly I tell you, I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.” 26When they had sung the hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. 27And Jesus said to them, “You will all become deserters; for it is written, ‘I will strike the shepherd, and the sheep will be scattered.’ 28But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” 29Peter said to him, “Even though all become deserters, I will not.” 30Jesus said to him, “Truly I tell you, this day, this very night, before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times.” 31But he said vehemently, “Even though I must die with you, I will not deny you.” And all of them said the same. (Mark 14:22-31, NRSV)

Even though I must die I will not deny you.

How many times each day do we deny Christ?

Maybe not in our words, but in our actions?

And how many of us are just like Peter? Vehement that we will die for Jesus, but when the time comes we don’t?

Jesus just gave the disciples the meal we celebrate weekly, well we used to celebrate weekly, and some of us still are, while others are waiting to be together again. But aren’t we all together in this? We are all a part of the body of Christ and therefore connected to God and to each other. We are in this together, and we are always together.

Know that even when we deny Christ that Christ is always with us.

 

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The Son of Man Comes

24“But in those days, after that suffering, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, 25and the stars will be falling from heaven, and the powers in the heavens will be shaken. 26Then they will see ‘the Son of Man coming in clouds’ with great power and glory. 27Then he will send out the angels, and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven. (Mark 13:24-27, NRSV)

What would you do if one day the moon didn’t give light and the sun was dark?

Well, of course, the moon wouldn’t have light if the sun was dark because the moon reflects the sun’s light. But what would you do?

It would be super scary, kind of like being told to stay inside. Right, I type this on day 5 of my self-isolation for Covid-19. This is a scary time. But this reading says when the sun is darkened, that is when we will see the Son of Man coming in the clouds. Now we will not see Jesus coming in the clouds because of Covid-19 but Jesus is still in control.

No matter how dark it gets, or how scary it is, Jesus is in control.

 

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Eternal Life to Come

28Peter began to say to him, “Look, we have left everything and followed you.” 29Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, there is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields, for my sake and for the sake of the good news, 30who will not receive a hundredfold now in this age—houses, brothers and sisters, mothers and children, and fields with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. 31But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.” (Mark 10:28-31, NRSV)

It is not only about eternal life to come. It is about abundant life now.

Jesus says that those who follow will get a hundredfold in this age. We get life abundantly now.

Don’t just wait for it, live in it now.

 

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