Our next walk, for the month of April will be on April 6th at 9:00am. This will be a one-way walk with a reward at the end!Continue reading
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!
We convince ourselves that if people want to know Jesus that they’ll just come to where we are. They see the signs they know the church is here and they’ll come find us.Continue reading
Listen to Pastor Tim’s sermon on a lesson from Isaiah. All of us are given a clean slate at the baptismal font. God is calling us into ministry. Will we answer like Isaiah – ‘Here I am, send me.’Continue reading
The Souper Bowl of Caring is an annual event at Grace bringing together everything that makes a great event – food, fellowship and a great cause. We gather to enjoy breakfast cooked by our youth and support the North Raleigh Ministries Food Pantry with our donations. This year’s event was no exception!
Here are a few pictures from this recent event that raised $ 1080.00 to fight hunger in our community.
The 2019 event was held on Sunday, February 3rd . We’ll catch you again on Super Bowl Sunday next year to do it all again.
The History of the Souper Bowl of Caring
Visit the Souper Bowl of Caring website to read more about the history of this unique movement and its impact in our world since 1990.
In February 2019 our Stewardship focus will be Habitat For Humanity of Wake County.Continue reading
Greetings from the Grace Health Team! Often when it’s the start of a New Year people come up with New Year’s Resolutions.Continue reading
Listen to Pastor Tim’s sermon on the Gospel from John about Jesus’ first miracle at the wedding in Cana. We are ordinary vessels, but God also uses us to do extraordinary things in this world. We are filled with spiritual gifts to do God’s work.Continue reading