I appreciate that this is a weird question & kind of a backwards idea to knowing the Bible. Nonetheless, I think it’s a really significant thought & definitely worth your consideration. I say this because I grew up with heaps & heaps of Bible content: my mom started memorizing Proverbs when I was around 8years old, I went to Sunday School every week, took Bible classes in high school, etc. I would say that I have a relatively firm grasp on the Bible.
But I don’t think that having a sturdy grasp on the Bible is as important as the Bible having a firm grasp on us. I say this because we can far too easily quote the Bible instead of live it, or let the Bible live through us.
I think about this in terms of Paul’s words in Colossians 3:16, about the Word of God living richly in us. If I’m going to let the Bible know me, then I need to give the Bible access to my thoughts, emotions, secrets, dark corners, painful memories, relationships, character, priorities, etc. When the Bible lives richly in me, when the Bible knows me, then I find that I grow & mature in being Jesus’ follower. Let’s not only know the Bible, but let’s allow the Bible to fully know us!
I was climbing up a ladder at 2am today, attempting to replace the dying battery on the blasted chirping smoke alarm. Needless to say, this wasn’t my ideal middle of the night wake up experience & for that matter, I don’t think there’s any ideal middle of the night wake up experience!
So how do I relate this to Jesus?
Jesus keeps us safe in unexpected situations – I don’t normally plan for ladder climbing & balance at 2am
Jesus gives us wisdom when we can’t figure out what to do – groggy thinking at 2am
Jesus restores us when we feel depleted – getting back to sleep wasn’t impossible
Because Jesus was a Jew when He lived on earth, I firmly believe that bacon wasn’t in His eating repertoire. However, bacon seems to be more than a little popular for the 21st century palate. Our appetites & eating habits have dramatically changed, some for the good & some not so much.
Which brings me to the question related to our appetites. What tastes good & what do you like to eat? Some of the things we like to eat aren’t good for our bodies just as much as some of the desires that we have aren’t good for our souls.
Let’s be sure to cultivate not only healthy appetites for our bodies but let’s also feed our souls sturdy, life-giving sustenance found through daily Bible & prayer time! Since we’re on the cusp of turning the calendar, let’s not wait for a New Year’s resolution to foster these appetites. Start now & you’ll likely keep a better routine going into the New Year than depending on a date change to facilitate a change in routines.
Some helpful tips could include:
set your alarm & get up rather than snooze it endlessly;
find a friend that can encourage & partner with some accountability;
keep track of the positives from staying disciplined;
This collage of pictures is from several weeks ago when my husband was in ICU recovering from a stroke. He’s fine now, thank ya Jesus! During those days, however, you can rest assured that I was seriously looking for Jesus & finding Him everywhere!
I found Jesus when He helped us by providing one of the best ICU nurses. Ever.
I found Jesus giving me deep peace & comfort when the neurologist was examining my husband & not finding any evidence of the stroke.
I found Jesus when I would randomly meander the hallways praying, asking for help & strength.
I found Jesus when my husband was released earlier than expected with no permanent damage.
We can find Jesus, even in the times that are filled with crisis & stress!!
When my kids were younger, we used to sing a song about the wheels on the bus going round & round, the wipers on the bus going swish, swish, swish, . . . etc. you get the gist.
Let’s be certain that we allow Jesus to hold our daily lives together. Indeed, we would be wise to come to Jesus everyday for maintainable, schedule tuning, workload help & of course regular oil changes with the Holy Spirit!
Jesus birth was a direct result of Heavenly Help. We know this because of Luke 1:35 where Gabriel tells Mary that the Holy Spirit will come upon her. This was his answer to Mary’s question about how she could get pregnant when she’s never known a man.
In this season, we celebrate the birth of Jesus, but let’s not forget that the Holy Spirit was directly responsible for Jesus’ physical existence. With this consideration, how can we let the Holy Spirit help us experience, see & find Jesus today? Let’s remember from John 15:26 that anytime we recognize Jesus it’s because the Holy Spirit is bearing witness to us about Jesus. So let’s think about the ways that we can get closer to the Holy Spirit to help us recognize Jesus more readily! Don’t forget to grab a few copies of Heavenly Help to give away for Christmas presents!
My husband was hospitalized several weeks ago for a stroke. This very alarming experience was something I’d prefer to keep on my un-bucket list. Nonetheless, I was intensely challenged to keep my eyes on Jesus during this crisis. Thankfully, it wasn’t difficult to see Jesus.
It seems to me that Jesus is not just willing to help in a crisis but more so, eager. In that experience, i found that I wasn’t strong, wise nor independent enough to hold it all together. But Jesus is. Learning to be weak & vulnerable with Jesus is helping me to grow closer & see Jesus more readily than I have in the past.
Jesus does ICU 🙂
One of my all time favorite platforms to recognize Jesus is in small groups, Bible studies & prayer groups. And it seems logical that this would be true based on Jesus’ words in Matthew 18:20 when He says, “Where two or three are gathered in My name, I am there in their midst.” Some of the things I love about these settings are:
Robust conversations about Jesus from various points of view. Different perspectives help me see & experience Jesus in fresh & new ways.
Prayer support in the group.
Recognizing Jesus words, presence, power, wisdom & loads more, like when Jesus walked along the Emmaus’ road & talked with His followers even though they didn’t recognize Him in those moments.
Seeing the Fruits of the Spirit in first person experience because there’s always some kind of conflict or rub whenever you bring people together 🙂
Let’s be sure to keep some fellowship with other followers of Jesus as part of our essentials routines!
I just had a plantar wart frozen, round two. I’m hopeful this time the freezing thing works, as these things aren’t pleasant. The problems with a wart on the bottom of one’s foot include:
It grows if you don’t kill it
It’s on the bottom of your foot so it’s easy to forget – not visible
It’s contagious & silently spreads
It can make a problem with walking
Seems to me that the wart thing is a lot like sin. It’s insidious, subtle & invasive. If we tolerate little pieces & nuances of sin, it’s like the plantar wart of my foot. Pretty soon it’s a whole lot bigger than what we thought & our ability to be effective in our day to day living gets compromised.
Let’s remember that Jesus came to help us walk successfully without the debilitating affects of sin!
I saw a mini-Jesus today & it was a nice reminder that Jesus isn’t limited to any size. Sometimes in the Christmas season we see Jesus as a baby in a manger & we can think that He’s small. On Good Friday, we see Jesus hanging on a cross & dying. Let’s remember that Jesus rose from the dead & His presence fills the earth, regardless of His humble birth.
Here are some possible applications for us today:
There’s no situation in our lives that Jesus cannot resolve
There’s no lack that Jesus cannot fill
There’s no death that Jesus cannot resurrect
Jesus comes in all sizes, so let’s not allow our expectations to limit His engagement throughout our lives!
I recently saw a FB post from a Christian about ditching needy, negative & ugly people. The post said something about eliminating these kinds of people from our lives & I was deeply unnerved, since the person posting this says they follow Jesus.
At any given moment, I can be needy, negative & ugly, so I guess I make the cut list for that person.
Thankfully, I’m not on Jesus’ cut list. Indeed, as followers of genuine Jesus, we would be wise to let His words shape our values, behaviors & words:
Matt 5:39-44, “But I say to you, do not resist an evil person; but whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. 40 “If anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, let him have your coat also. 41 “Whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. 42 “Give to him who asks of you, and do not turn away from him who wants to borrow from you. 43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you”
and the Cubs won the World Series last night, FYI 🙂
Yesterday, I had the awesome privilege of visiting the National Art Museum in Washington, D.C. – such an amazing place! My dad loved art, so I grew up visiting art museums & galleries, hence my appreciation for art. The thing about art museums is that everything is on public display except for the back hallways, security systems & inner workings of the building. These areas are not available for public access, nor should they be. They are kept for the employees, for keeping the art safe & for maintaining a reasonable environment for the art to be enjoyed by the general public.
Seems to me that an art museum is kind of how our walk with the Holy Spirit should be. Our public life should be regulated by the Holy Spirit in our private world. We should allow the Holy Spirit total access into the hallways of our thoughts. We should allow the Holy Spirit to protect us from the harmful efforts of the devil & we should let the Holy Spirit display the life & love of Jesus through us to the world around us. Let’s be certain to give the Holy Spirit total access throughout our lives so that we display the life of Jesus in all of His glory!
I’m deeply in love with Jesus, full stop. There are times, however, that I’m not so whippy on some of the things Jesus says & does. This used to rankle me, until I started thinking about Peter. One day in my prayer time, the Holy Spirit walked me through the various times & ways that Peter disagreed with Jesus:
At the very beginning when he told Jesus to leave him because he was a sinful man (Luke 5:8, after Jesus used Peter’s boat to preach a sermon to a crowd along the lakeshore).
A little later, even though Peter walked on the water to Jesus in Matt 14:30-31, Jesus reprimanded Peter for his doubt from watching the winds & waves & sinking into the water.
In Matt 16:22, Peter rebukes Jesus for talking about His upcoming death. This seems pretty audacious to me, considering that Peter had just declared that Jesus was the Christ / Messiah.
Peter again argues with Jesus on the whole betrayal thing at the last supper in Matt 26:33-35.
Peter disagrees with God with the heavenly vision in Acts 10:11-19 about eating unclean animals & preaching Jesus to the Gentiles.
Seems to me that it doesn’t make Jesus bite His nails when we disagree with Him, but let’s be abundantly clear that no matter what our opinion may be, Jesus has the final say, full stop. So let’s keep loving Jesus, even when we disagree with Him, from time to time 🙂
Jesus miraculously fed thousands of people on two occasions because of availability. On each occasion, everyone was in dire straights, but Jesus came through with a miracle of plentiful provision based on the simple principle of using what was available. Jesus used a meager few fish & loaves of bread, the provision that they had, along with His disciples as distribution agents. I would speculate that maybe one or two of the disciples thought it was crazy to be sent to feed thousands of people with such a paltry provision & yet because they were available, Jesus worked His miraculous provision through their available hands & feet. Jesus prayed for the provision & then told His disciples to go & give.
Seems to me that the same principles apply to us today. Jesus merely asks us to be available & then to go & give.
Watch this video of some magnificent peeps recently who did exactly what Jesus said & multiplied His love by being available:
This picture is from a pretty shady neighborhood in Phnom Penh Cambodia. When you go into this apartment complex, it can be super creepy & intimidating. But it’s full of people & this is why it’s great because Jesus loves people!
Doing love well is an essential ingredient to following Jesus based on John 13:35. But it’s not easy, sometimes. It’s not easy to love a drug addict mom who neglects her kids to feed her addiction. It’s not easy to love when your body doesn’t feel well. It’s not easy to love someone who can be prickly & cantankerous. It’s not always easy to love.
But this is what Jesus says is the defining mark of those who follow Him – that we will be recognized by our love for one another. Let’s choose to love & let God love others through us, even when it’s not easy 🙂
There are lots of benefits to following Jesus! We have access to healing, supernatural power, prosperity, favor & lots more. As Americans who live in a consumer culture, it’s easy to fall prey to the deception that being a Christian revolves around getting ones needs met, full stop. While being a follower of Jesus certainly affords some perks, the reality of following Jesus is that we are to lay down our lives, love Jesus & love others, a very sacrificial lifestyle.
Let’s be careful that we don’t get seduced by ease & convenience at the expense of mature & committed!
It is very disturbing to read the unfolding news about the mass shooting yesterday in Orlando. A muslim security guard, armed with a semi-automatic machine gun, entered a gay bar in Orlando and began shooting. He was confronted by an off-duty police officer and manuevered into the bathroom where he maintained a stand-off for three hours while the Orlando police and emergency services worked to protect and rescue victims from the carnage and violence. Of course this story is continuing to unfold in the news and I have no doubt more information will come to light over time.
In the political world, various leaders are advocating better gun control laws, some leaders are rallying support for the LGBT community and many leaders are blaming the immigration struggles with which the US is wrestling.
As a follower of Jesus, it is my sincere prayer that my community rallies around the words of Jesus more than the world of hate. There are some people who would try to explain that because this was an attack on a gay bar, God is expressing His judgement and wrath on the homosexual community. There are other folk who would seek to ostracize muslims because of this violent atrocity.
Seems to me that when Jesus was hanging on the cross, He didn’t ask the Father to get revenge on these wicked, violent and undeserving sinners. He asked the Father to forgive the people who violently beat, condemned and hung Him on a cross – the most innocent and pure human to ever grace the human race. May our words and actions be overflowing with the grace and love that have been so richly lavished on us. Let us freely give what we have so abundantly received. We need the Holy Spirit to work into our thoughts and actions the redeeming life of Christ.
“I am the greatest!” I heard Muhammed Ali say this when I was a little girl & I was really put off by his words. I remember thinking, “Why would a person be so obviously prideful? Did he really say that?” Then I watched him on TV and sure enough, he said it all the time with total conviction. Someone explained to me at that time that he was using his words to intimidate his opponents and a winning mindset creates winning outcomes. Once I understood the reasons Muhammed Ali said, “I am the greatest” then it made sense why he would make such a bold claim.
But as a little girl, even though I could understand the reasoning for such audacity, I always thought to myself, “No one but Jesus is the greatest.”
Being an amazing boxer doesn’t make a person the greatest.
Being crazy intelligent doesn’t make a person the greatest.
Being hyper rich doesn’t make a person the greatest.
Being drop dead gorgeous doesn’t make a person the greatest.
According to Jesus, the greatest person is the servant of all. Let’s align our lives with Jesus’ teachings and not fall for flesh fallacies.
I’m a big advocate of listening. I think it’s essential that we listen to our kids, our mate, our friends, teachers, supervisors, pastors, political candidates, etc. Listening helps us learn, develops patience & is an essential ingredient for connecting with people. But alas, we cannot emphasize listening at the expense of doing.
This morning I read Jesus’ brief parable that contrasts a wise man with a foolish man, at the end of Matthew 8. In this contrast, Jesus explains that the wise man listens to God & acts upon what he hears. The foolish man, however, listens but doesn’t do anything. Let’s allow God’s Word to inform & shape our actions. Let’s be “doers” & not just listeners 🙂
I think it’s part of our human experience to have a desire to be loved. We want to be valued, appreciated, recognized, affirmed . . . . not only for what we do, our looks, our talents, achievements & more. We went to be loved for who we are.
While I’m more than grateful for the many wonderful people who have been in my life from infancy until today, let’s be very certain that we’ll never find anyone who loves us with such purity & holiness as our Heavenly Father.
Today being Good Friday, this reminds us more than other day that the Triune God loves us. Today, we honor Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice of dying on the cross for us, a brutal, gruesome & barbaric death in contrast to the most pure & undefiled love ever expressed throughout the entirety of human history.
It is indeed a Good Friday to know that God loves us all the way through human depravity & death. You don’t have to keep looking for love. Let the Holy Spirit pour love into your heart, Romans 5:5