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May 18, 2022

When Mary came where Jesus was and saw him, she knelt at his feet and said to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” John 11:32 

The words that Mary says to Jesus are the same that Martha had used previously (John 11:21): “Lord, if you have been here, my brother would not have died.” The difference is that Mary knelt at his feet. She worshipped Jesus. She knew the scars of death, and she would come to know the scars of Jesus’ feet. 

 We are so much more like Martha, impetuously rushing in our panic, maybe even blaming God in this hour of death, never fully grasping the truth of Jesus’ presence. But falling on our knees to the living God means giving these hard truths to God, who knows more about us and our situation than we could possibly understand. Jesus weeps with us in this hour. Death is an evil that angers Jesus because it has such a hold on his people. But it will not be the last word for us. Indeed, we may tweak the refrain of the old spiritual: “When I fall down on my knees with my face to the rising Son, O Lord, have mercy on me.”
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Helping people live life with Jesus everyday,

May 17, 2022

Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb? Mark 16:3 

The question of the three women making their way to the gravesite of Jesus seems like something that should have been considered before going on the journey—at least with their intent to anoint the body for burial. But the massiveness of the stone symbolizes something more for them and for us: the boundary between life and death is beyond our power to change or overcome. 

We are confronted with many limitations in life. We find ourselves exhausted and unable to gain the strength to face the obstacles in our way. We moan and groan and complain in the face of these limits. Death is the greatest and final limit that we cannot cross. There is no way we can reach beyond the grave. But we trust in the Lord of resurrection. We find that his stone is rolled away. And we trust that in his living power, we can reach out with love—his love—which bursts the limitations of this world and even death itself.
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Helping people live life with Jesus everyday,

May 16, 2022

Lord, do you want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them? Luke 9:54 

Perhaps there is no greater malice in the human heart than revenge. James and John, who are known for their thunderous zealotry, would have those who did not welcome Jesus be consumed by the wrath of God. But Jesus rebukes them. Vengeance and acts of violence are not— and never can be—answers of hope for a fractured and hostile humanity. 

 Violence, of course, still scars our world. It swells in our spirits when anger and rage get a hold of us. We come to reject others and to find all kinds of justifications for this hatred. But Jesus, who has set his face to go to Jerusalem, is not going there to perpetrate violence. He is going there to take the biting jaws of all violence away. Even James and John will come to a new and better spirit—that love is for all others, even for one’s enemies. 
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Helping people live life with Jesus everyday,

May 12, 2022

But we had to celebrate and rejoice, because this brother of yours was dead and has come to life; he was lost and has been found. Luke 15:32 

The parable of the prodigal son is all about relationships. The two brothers had a very distant relationship. Yet, as brothers, they really did share a lot in common. They are both prodigals—wasting the father’s gifts— one literally in a faraway land, the other right near the home, working as a “slave” even though he didn’t have to. The younger son came to his senses and returned home to the father’s embrace and a restored relationship. The elder son kept his distance from both his brother and his father. His heart was in a faraway land. 

Sometimes we put a lot of distance between us and the people we blame. Our hearts become cold, careless, hardened. We may even get jealous and envious, like the elder son. But the Father’s heart beats for all of his sons—and daughters. His heart beats with forgiveness and for mending our relationships. Our Father is always closer to us than we realize and ever present to offer joyous mercy.
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Helping people live life with Jesus everyday,

May 11, 2022

Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Luke 10:40 

Families are meant to care for one another and support one another. But family arguments can start at an early age between siblings and may even surface at the most inopportune of times—like when a loved one dies, and all that can be considered is who gets what and who deserves the most. We want special favors, like Martha who wants Jesus to tell Mary to help her in the kitchen. But there is more brewing here in Martha’s spirit than meets the eye. 

Jesus calls them “distractions,” taking our eyes off the prize—his death and resurrection, our freedom and our life. Truth be known, with Jesus in our midst, all the work is never left for us to do by ourselves. Indeed, there is work that he does that we could never do, and there are riches that he gives us that we could never achieve or deserve. That is where our tasks begin and end.
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Helping people live life with Jesus everyday,

May 10, 2022

Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Matthew 7:3 

Blaming never starts by pointing the finger at ourselves. We see the thing that others do as wrong, and we are quick to pounce on it. But we never take the time to reflect, let alone confess, how our own wrongs and failings are only magnified in this moment of blame. Ultimately, we may even come to laying blame at God’s doorstep: “It’s all your fault!” That’s where Adam and Eve finally sought an answer to their own transgression. 

Jesus’ ultimate counter to this is not simply to note, justly, the hypocrisy of those who seek to fault others. It ultimately comes to an end by God taking the blame to the cross. The hands, feet and side will be pierced, and the thorns of his crown make their way into his skull. But there will be no faulting in his voice, and his blood will be for us and for all the end of all faults. 
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Helping people live life with Jesus everyday,

May 9, 2022

Unless I see the mark of the nails … I will not believe. John 20:25 

It had been a week. Thomas was not with the disciples the first night of Easter. Where was he? Seeking an isolated shelter, away from the community of those whom Jesus had called?

More importantly, where was he now? When the others told him, “We have seen the Lord,” Thomas is unfazed and unmoved. He wants to examine the evidence himself with his own eyes and his own hands. Do his own doubts lead us to doubt also, to close the doors of our hearts again? 

We all have doubts. Our faith and our trust can waver and even fail us. But Jesus will still be there for us, seeing us with loving eyes even when we have gone astray, waiting for us with open arms. And as we come to trust him again, we hear his word of “peace,” and he gives us his scars from the cross as our very own to trust that no scars can keep the doors of our hearts closed forever.
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Helping people live life with Jesus everyday,

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