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June 01, 2022

Let us also go, that we may die with him. John 11:16 

The hardest thing to own is death, particularly our own. The disciples of Jesus were afraid to go near Jerusalem because they had seen what had happened the last time they were there. Jesus was almost stoned to death, and there’s nothing to say that rocks may also fly toward those who are close to him. But Jesus makes his way there because of the death of Lazarus, and through Jesus, death is not to be feared. Thomas may not have been fully aware of the profound truth of his bidding, but it has been the bidding of the Church ever since. 

We risk because of all that our Lord risked for us. Jesus risked more than doing miracles of grace. He risked death on the cross, for our sake and for the sake of the whole world. And he has the scars of ownership of his own to prove that these are not to be feared. We face the risk for this truth and for its promising fullness for all who may hear it.
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Helping people live life with Jesus everyday,

May 31, 2022

If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me. Matthew 16:24 

Jesus never told his disciples to charge up ahead of him and face the opposition head on. That would have been setting them up for failure, and there is more than enough evidence that they, and we, have failed enough many times over. No, what he said is “follow me.” And following means that we do not take the lead. That place is reserved for him. 

His disciples struggled to hear about bearing the cross, as do we, his disciples today. There seems to be no victory in it all, only humiliation and death. It makes us look like losers. To which the gospel promise speaks, “Good! Now you can deny yourself and all false ambitions about being winners over others, and find instead that your real place is with the One who lost it all because he loved all who have found themselves lost at the bottom.” That is the path through death to resurrection, where winning comes by losing. 
 

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Helping people live life with Jesus everyday,

May 26, 2022

I am the vine, you are the branches. John 15:5 

It is important for us in grasping the true sense of ownership that we recognize our place. We are branches, attached to Jesus as the Vine. We find our source in the Vine and in the Vine alone. We are not in a position to boast. If the branches fall off or are pruned from the vine, they will wither and die. 

 Connections make a difference in our lives. We have parents, teachers, mentors and leaders who have all contributed to make us who we are today. Through them, some doors have been opened in our lives. Christ is the one through whom we become new people, born in baptism, nourished and sustained, and encouraged to branch out that others may find through us Christ’s love. Martin Luther said that “when the heart is born anew in Christ, fruits will follow naturally, such as the confession of the Gospel, works of love, obedience, and patience.” Share the great connection in Christ!
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Helping people live life with Jesus everyday,

May 25, 2022

Neither do I condemn you. John 8:11 

The woman to whom Jesus speaks these words is not a woman without a sinful past. Those who would condemn such acts were ready to pass judgment, though they also sought to see if Jesus would defend her. “Let those without sin cast the first stone,” Jesus said (John 8:7). He is the hope of Israel and the fountain of living water who comes for us all in our trespasses. As he writes in the sand, one by one the accusers leave the scene. No judgment is given, save one: “Neither do I condemn you.” 

 We have many sins that we know to be true. All of us deserve the judgment of death and condemnation, for we are all people who have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. But Jesus owns us in the midst of our condemnation. He stands with us as we face our time of trial. He is the Advocate who pleads for us, even with the scars on his hands and side on the cross. Life is his judgment for us, and life is the final verdict. “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1)
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Helping people live life with Jesus everyday,

May 23, 2022

Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:29 

We are often weary in our journeys in life. We have been wearied by the challenges of life, by hard decisions, difficulties at home or at work, disagreements, divisions and separations, and also by death. Who will help us in this time of weariness? Jesus says, “Come to me, all you that are weary and carrying heavy burdens, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28). 

When we are owned by Jesus, we are yoked with him. We are joined together with him to rest in his promise, and we are also joined with him to trust that the path forward for us is for good. We become people who begin to open our eyes to a world that has been burdened, hurt and beaten down—a world that is weary, much like we are. It is not a world to be shunned or avoided, but to be loved with Jesus’ gentleness and humility of heart. We trust that our crucified and risen Lord is with us in our yoked bodies for this challenge of love and life.
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Helping people live life with Jesus everyday,
 

May 24, 2022

One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see. John 9:25 

A man who was born blind would gain more sight than those around him. His accusers would shun him; his own parents would cower in fear and not defend him; but his sights were set on Jesus, who would not desert him. This is his confession, “One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see” (John 9:25). In spite of the stigma of his blindness, he trusts that Jesus is watching out for him. 

 Even when we have eyes to see, we can be quite blind. We can allow people, like this man born blind, to be shunned and disowned as we cower in fear. We do not see the evils that stir within us, nor the sufferings of many peoples, and are blind to our own injustice and sin. But Jesus takes the poor and the oppressed under his wings, and he gives sight to the blind. When Jesus graciously opens our eyes, we can own up to our blindness and then truly see. 
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Helping people live life with Jesus everyday,

May 19, 2022

Put your finger here. John 20:27 

Owning begins with the mark of the nails in Jesus’ hands and his pierced side. Jesus presents these to Thomas as evidence, the kind of proof that Thomas had demanded on a prior occasion. Thomas feels the scars; but as he does, he also feels the scars of his own doubt and unbelief. He owns this truth about himself, but he also finds that his Lord has owned him, taking his sins into death on the cross and giving, instead, the faith that death has been conquered in his own resurrected body. 

Owning begins by acknowledging the truth. We have had our own doubts and unbelief. But Jesus is not ashamed of us because of our sins, and he has the scars to prove it. He invites us to touch and feel him again as the One who now owns us as Lord. And in that exchange—our own sins for his own life—we are freed from our past and our unbelief. 
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Helping people live life with Jesus everyday,

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