Read Pastor Tim’s post about Pentecost. Holy Spirit Timing, it happens to us all, you may have been thinking about a friend that you haven’t talked to in a while and that person calls on the phone, or you may have been lonely, and someone shows up at your hospital bed.Continue reading
“I ask not only on behalf of these, but also on behalf of those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one. As you, Father, are in me and I am in you, may they also be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. The glory that you have given me I have given them, so that they may be one, as we are one, I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. Father, I desire that those also, whom you have given me, may be with me where I am, to see my glory, which you have given me because you loved me before the foundation of the world.
“Righteous Father, the world does not know you, but I know you; and these know that you have sent me. I made your name known to them, and I will make it known, so that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”
Prayer in Song
Dorothy Norwood has a song that is titled “Somebody Prayed for Me.” Look it up on YouTube or listen here before you continue reading this post. I’ll wait…
The lyrics say:
Somebody prayed for me, had me on their mind,
They took the time and prayed for me.
I’m so glad they prayed. I’m so glad they prayed for me.
My mother prayed for me, had me on her mind,
She took the time and prayed for me.
I’m so glad she prayed. I’m so glad she prayed for me.
The preacher prayed for me had me on his mind,
He took the time and prayed for me.
I’m so glad he prayed. I’m so glad he prayed for me.
If you listened to that song, you are probably dancing in your seat right now. It is uplifting and inspiring and exciting. What makes it so exciting is that if we listen to the words then we realize that at this very moment…Somebody is praying for you.
How exciting is that?
Keeping Prayers Everyday
And if we read the text from John, we learn that the very somebody that is praying for us is JESUS. Jesus THE Christ himself is lifting us up in prayer.
So go about your day, your week knowing that no matter what you are dealing with, no matter what the struggle, no matter how high the mountain that you are staring up, you can take each step knowing that Jesus himself is there with you and lifting you up in prayer to God.
I’m so glad he did, I’m so glad he did, I’m so glad he prayed for me!
Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often have I desired to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!
Upon returning home from the family shopping trip, one of the children wanted to help her mom carry the groceries in from the car. As the child reached for one of the large bags, her mom said; “Let me help you with that.” The child was sure that she could handle it on her own and refused her mother’s help.
With the child teetering up the walkway, the bag’s balance shifted and, in a flash, the items spilled all over the sidewalk. The egg carton opened, and the eggs cracked. The flour bag burst, and flour spilled out everywhere. Even though mom had been afraid that this would happen, the first words out of her mouth were; “Honey, are you okay?”
In the text from Luke, Jesus is saying how much he wants to be there to help us as we travel through our world. God knows, that like that small child, we think that we can do it on our own. We think that we don’t need God’s help and we can handle whatever the task may be. However, far too often we realize that the load that we are carrying is a heavy one that we can’t handle alone and we need Gods help and guidance.
Here is the good news, God gives us the freedom to step out on our own, and when the balance of all of those things that we are holding shifts and it all comes crashing down, God is there like a mother hen, to wrap her arms around us and make sure that we know that we are loved and cared for and forgiven.
Jesus, full of the Holy Spirit, returned from the Jordan and was led by the Spirit in the wilderness, where for forty days he was tempted by the devil. He ate nothing at all during those days, and when they were over, he was famished. The devil said to him, “If you are the Son of God, command this stone to become a loaf of bread.” Jesus answered him, “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone.’ “
Then the devil led him up and showed him in an instant all the kingdoms of the world. And the devil said to him, “To you I will give their glory and all this authority; for it has been given over to me, and I give it to anyone I please. If you, then, will worship me, it will all be yours.” Jesus answered him, “It is written,
‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.’ ” Then the devil took him to Jerusalem, and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple, saying to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down from here, for it is written, ‘He will command his angels concerning you, to protect you,’and ‘On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.’ ” Jesus answered him, “It is said, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’ ” When the devil had finished every test, he departed from him until an opportune time. Luke 4 1:13
Have you ever had one of those days?
You know, one of those days where if it could go wrong it did. One of those days where it seemed as if the entire world had decided that on THAT DAY every single person was going to get on your very last nerve. One of those days when the light at the end of the tunnel was in fact the headlight of and oncoming train.We all have had those days, and we read in this text from Luke that even Jesus was having one of those days. He had just come out of the waters of his baptism, and he was driven into the wilderness where he came face to face with Satan. After forty days of fasting and walking, Jesus is met by the one who thought that he was weak and weary and that he would fold.
An Opportune Time
“Have some food…I know that you are hungry…”
“Have some power, Only I can give you real power”
“Become popular, and everyone will worship you…”
But Jesus knew that none of those things were true, and that only God had the real power. So the text tells us that the devil left him until a more opportune time.
Guess what folks? We are that more opportune time. Satan is trying to convince us that we are weak, that we are weary and that we should give up on God and simply follow his lead. He is causing us to have “one of those days” over and over again, so that we will give on on God and enjoy the promises that Satan has to offer.
But here is a fact for you. The battle for your soul has already been won. Jesus’ death and resurrection sealed that deal a long time ago, and you are free to live your life OUT LOUD knowing that no temptation, no matter how great the offer, will ever be able to separate you from the Love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
So shout, “Get behind me Satan!” and walk in the light of the Cross. Because that headlight in not an oncoming train, but it is the Light of Christ, coming after you.
Then he looked up at his disciples and said: “Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. “Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you will be filled. “Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh. “Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you, revile you, and defame you on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, for surely your reward is great in heaven; for that is what their ancestors did to the prophets. “But woe to you who are rich, for you have received your consolation. “Woe to you who are full now, for you will be hungry. “Woe to you who are laughing now, for you will mourn and weep.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. “Blessed are the merciful, for they will receive mercy. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.“Blessed are you when people revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
What hits you? What word or phrase stands out for you?
This is a portion of Jesus’ sermon on the mount (In this Luke version it is the sermon on the plain), which we call the beatitudes. It has kept scholars and theologians very busy because there is much debate about how to interpret them.
When St. Jerome translated the bible into Latin, the phrases each begin with the word “Beati” which translates in English as “Blessed” or “happy are they”. That’s why they have been called the Beatitudes.
Some scholars think that Jesus’ sayings were an intentional exaggeration to make a moral point while others think that they were standards for the original disciples only.
Martin Luther Reminds Us – We Can’t Keep the Law
Other scholars take this group of sayings as an absolute; a set of characteristics that followers of Jesus must strive for and still others, like Martin Luther, believe that the sayings are law, but a perfect law that we cannot keep.
According to the Luther understanding, Jesus’s intent, was to have the disciples and even the crowds see what they cannot accomplish on their own, and in turn, run to God’s mercy and grace.
Law or Gospel?
The Beatitudes can be read as law or gospel. As law, they are rewards for good behavior. As gospel, they are gifts that motivate good behavior. Consider the difference: The law says IF you are poor in spirit, THEN the kingdom of heaven is yours. The gospel says: BECAUSE the kingdom of heaven is yours, THEREFORE you recognize your spiritual poverty. The law says IF you are merciful, THEN you will receive mercy. The gospel says BECAUSE you receive mercy, THEREFORE you show mercy. The law says IF you make peace, THEN you will be called children of God. The gospel says BECAUSE you are children of God, THEREFORE you make peace.
So what do you think when you hear the beatitudes?
What do you think Jesus is saying to us today?
Let’s talk about this!
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Listen to Pastor Tim’s sermon about Living our baptism. John the Baptist has gotten us started, and he reminds us that the rest is up to us. How are we doing with that? Are we working hard in stepping out in faith and trusting that God with guide us.Continue reading
Pilate asked him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” – GOSPEL: John 18:37
One time I was driving from home to work, when at the last minute I decided to take a route that I had never driven before. I said you myself, “self, let’s see where this road goes.” As I was driving, I came upon a young woman walking by the side of the road. I rolled down my window and asked her if she was okay or if she needed help.
She looked over at me and when she saw my collar and started crying (Note: I don’t always have that effect on people). I got out and went over to her and she told me that her car had broken down, and that her cell phone was dead, she was from out of town, and that no one would stop to help her. She said that she was praying as she walked, and then God sent her a pastor. I told her that she was correct because I NEVER come down this road, but I was led down this street today, just for her.
The Big Picture
Have you ever wondered why you are here, what your destiny is or why things happen the way that they do? Have you ever stopped to think about the bigger picture and what God has in store for you?
When Pilate questioned Jesus he asked him if he was the king of the Jews. Jesus, then, told him about destiny. Jesus said “FOR THIS I WAS BORN.” For this very moment I came to this world, to testify to the truth. Jesus knew the bigger picture, he knew that the events that were happening were leading to something more. Jesus knew why he was here.
Things to Ponder
Sometimes things happen in our lives for unexpected reasons and they leave us pondering why. And sometimes the answer comes to us quickly, like it did for me and that young woman on the road, and sometimes the answer comes later, and we say “Oh, now I get it!” God knows the reason that you are here. God moves us to places where God needs us to be, and it is our destiny to serve God.
So, let’s follow our destiny and follow Jesus in testifying to the truth, then the question of “why am I here?” will become clear.