New Soul

I found this song as I was surfing the net and as soon as I heard it, I wanted to share it with someone else. CLick for video!
(I couldn't figure out how to imbed it myself...)


Daily Reading 25

"Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven." -Matthew 10:32

"If I don't wash your feet, you are not one of my people." - John 13:8

The story of Jesus washing the feet of his followers is in a few of the books of the bible. When I hear this story, the first thing that I think is, Why is he washing their feet? Shouldn't they be washing his? But nope. He takes the servant's robe off of the hook and grabs the water basin and towel.
The next thing that I think about is the nasty, smelliness of feet. Today especially, I know that I would not want Jesus any where near my feet. (I wore socks without shoes, and they are shoes that have been worn LOTS of times without socks. They are out there smelly!) I can totally see why Peter didn't want Jesus to be scrubbing those dirt covered, smelly things!
Some of the other guys were too busy fighting over who was best to even think about what Jesus was doing. Now how dumb is that? Doesn't it seem crazy to you that Jesus wanted to wash all of their feet? None of them would on trial, whipped by Roman guards, carrying their own heavy cross or be killed without reason. None of them.
BUT, this foot washing points out something about each of them and each of us. Some washing needs to be done. We need to confess that there have been times that we have hurt ourselves, others, and God.
Like Jesus said, "If I don't wash your feet, you are not one of my people." - John 13:8


I found a music player on another blog awhile ago and really wanted to have one for this blog. I noticed a link at the bottom and found that it was a free download! Click on the player below if you want to add a player to your Myspace, Facebook, or blog.

Any songs you'd like to hear on our Love Wins' player?

Daily Reading 24

"Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed." -Luke 5:16

Jesus gets it when we struggle with doing things that are not the best choices. Don't you think that he had lots of times when he was tempted to be the biggest and best? Most of the people that heard him call himself the Messiah wanted him to become a powerful king, an army general, and lead them to blast the other guys that were in power for so long over the people of Israel.
Jesus was tempted by arrogance, but he walked away to be alone.
Another time was when Peter didn't believe that Jesus needed to die. It would have been tempting for me to walk away from that situation.
Jesus shut down Peter's argument and said, "You have no idea how God works."
Another time Jesus was mocked. A little girl was really sick and the family had called for him. When he got there, she was already dead. The crowd taunted him, but Jesus just dismissed them. He told them to go outside. "The child is not dead but sleeping."

Most of the time, our reactions to temptations have to do with lack of impulse control. I know for me, eating a lot of sugar is one of those temptations. I usually try to talk myself out of it, but then I just give in and find something sweet. If I try to look at what Jesus did, I can see that he guarded his heart. He seemed to easily react in the opposite way that I expected. I wonder if he planned his reaction? Probably if I actually sat down and thought about it, I could be prepared with a healthier snack when I am tempted to eat sweets all the time.
I'm tempted by lots of other things too. I think we all are. Today, I'm going to focus on one of those things and try not to let my impulses always win.


An Ongoing Conversation

For the past 6 months or so, I've been talking with my friend, Emily about lots of things. Some things have been personal, some goofy, and some have been spiritual.
A long time ago, when I talked to people about spiritual things, it was a lot of, "Don't do that" and "Quit or else..." I remember seeing people I loved doing things that I thought they shouldn't and telling that it was wrong. I was trying to PUSH my beliefs onto them. Or at least what push onto them what I thought were beliefs. They were really just self imposed rules that I thought meant a person was okay with God. It was a simplistic way to try and fix everyone around me. It took me a bit to realize that my approach was WAY off. You see, I am naturally bossy and SOMETIMES people don't like it. (I know, I know, no one actually likes it.) I was obviously pushing them away.
My sister Casey has said that the way I behave toward people has changed A LOT. The way I see it, people really just want to know if you believe what you're saying. They don't want you to tell them that you believe it, they want you to SHOW them. AND it's not about following a list of DOs and DON'Ts. It's about allowing yourself to be imperfect and still be loved. That is the message that Jesus told. That is the kind of person that I want to be. One that loves God and others. One that loves without condition.
For several months, Emily pushed with lots of questions. She laughed about lots of things that I told her. She couldn't believe that I thought that God had a plan even though so much crap was happening around us and to us. She couldn't believe anything that I was saying for awhile. Then something changed... I'll let you read her thoughts about all of this on another blog.


Favorite Gift

My favorite gift ever was a framed piece of poetry that my husband, Donnie had written. He actually gave it to me when we were still dating. I think we were celebrating an anniversary. It could have been the anniversary of our first date. Actually, on Monday it will have been 10 years since that night.
This man is a person who is Jesus to me. What I first noticed about him was his compassion for others. I was impressed by how he had gotten a call from someone in our class who had car trouble, and went to help, even though he was pressed for time with practice and studies. And no, he wasn't doing it because he was trying to get a date with anyone! He is also passionate about following Christ. He wants God's best for his life and for others around him. Lots of people have told me that they feel like they can ask Donnie any kind of question and he doesn't make them feel stupid. He is a really good teacher, too.
Do you have a favorite gift?

Daily Reading 23

"Then Jesus said, 'Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?'" -John 11:40

Jesus was pretty good friends with this family. They were a brother and two sisters. At this moment, Martha is confused and seems to be ticked off at Jesus. Her brother had just died and she had expected Jesus to be there. I think she even expected him to prevent it. She even confronts him with it, "If you had been here..." -John 11:21.
I've had moments like this. I remember being 13 and standing on my front porch just minutes after my mom passed away. Yelling at God made me feel good. Anger and disappointment filled me completely. I didn't get it. Four girls ages 10-18 needed their mother. Didn't God understand that? Like Martha, I think that my impression was that if God had been there, there would be no death.
Jesus then tells Martha that her brother will rise again. I think I would have fallen off the porch if Jesus had told me that! I wonder if Martha thought that he was nuts! He tells her that she has a choice to make. She has to decide if she will believe him. "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die." -John 11:25-26. Martha had to choose to believe.
What I started to understand as I began this journey with God, is that he was there at those moments. AND he had something to offer me if I chose to take it. He offered continued life with Him even after we die. Even though my mom didn't come back to life when she passed away, I have hope that I will see her again in the afterlife. If God isn't my God in the face of death, how is he God any other time?


Daily Reading 22

"Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. -John 8:12

Do you watch court room dramas? You know the ones where the bad guy has a huge stack of evidence against him and the prosecution is calling witnesses who just nail him? (or her!) You know the ones I'm talking about: Law and Order, Boston Legal, etc. Well... this story is a bit like one of those dramas.
Picture a courtroom full of religious types in the jury, the public, and lawyers benches. Behind the defense table sits a woman in a sexy night time ensemble. She has just been dragged in by a bunch of men, who caught her in the middle of an affair with a man. Back in the time of the bible, this was outrageous. If the same Jewish laws were enforced today, the religious guys would have brought her into the courtroom screaming for her death sentence by lethal injection. They brought her straight to Jesus. He would be the judge. The men threw her in front of the bench and told him what she had done. They publicly tell Jesus that they dragged her out of the bed in the middle of the adulterous act.
So, they tell Jesus that the law of Moses commands that she be put to death by stoning. I don't know about you, but I think Jesus probably knew already the law... And what did he do? He started writing something down in the dirt. Then he looked up at all of the people, including the men who brought her in and said, "Anyone here who has never sinned can throw the first stone at her." -John 8:7 Whoa! Instead of telling this lady how horrible she is and publicly humiliating and degrading her, he turns it back around on her accusers.
You see, Jesus doesn't take any body's crap. He doesn't let anyone think that their sins are "less" than another person's. The people holding stones dropped them and walked away. This woman was left standing with no one left to accuse her. When he asked her where her accusers were, she said that there were none left. He replied, "I also don't judge you guilty. You may do now, but don't sin anymore." Jesus had entered a "Not Guilty" plea on her behalf. EVEN THOUGH there was evidence to prove that she had done wrong, he accepted her and gave her a gift of forgiveness. You can see at the end of the story that he wanted the best for her. He knew that the choices that she was making were causing her pain and hurt. He loved her as she was, but he also wanted her to make choices that caused her to feel love instead of pain.
I like to remember that ALL OF US have a "Not Guilty" plea in God's courtroom. Jesus has put one in for every one of us. I hope you know that he loves you, even when you mess up. Even if you've never followed him or believed in him before. Even if you've been going to church your whole life and you feel like right now you just don't know what to think or believe.

Daily Reading 21

"He looked up to heaven and with a deep sigh said to him, 'Ephphatha!' (which means, 'Be opened!')." -Mark 7:34

So there was this guy that Jesus had pulled aside from a big group in order to heal him. I think that it's interesting that he pulled him aside. He didn't want people to make a fuss about the fact that he was performing a miracle. (So Jesus wasn't like most of those TV preachers who want everyone to watch them perform miracles. He didn't get paid by people at home watching either.)
The bible tells us that this man could not hear or speak. People really wanted Jesus to heal him. They actually brought him to Jesus.
Something that didn't catch my attention when I read the verse above for the first time, was the word sigh. This is the point that Mr. Lucado brought to our attention. Isn't it a little weird that Jesus is sighing? He's not sighing because he is impatient or because he can't make someone understand. He is sighing because he could see the helplessness that the man felt. He sighed because he understood his frustration. I have a sister who is hearing impaired and she is often frustrated in a situation when hearing people all talk quickly and face away from her. I can only imagine that this man, who could not hear anything or speak clearly would be HIGHLY ticked on many occasions because he couldn't communicate.
Jesus is sighing to express to God that he gets this man's frustration. He is being a go between to God, sharing the man's concerns. The bible tells us that Jesus will go to God for us. When we're feeling lost, alone, confused, frustrated, angry, or even doubtful, we can tell Jesus. He gets it. He sighs for us and lets our Father know.


Daily Reading 20

"There was a woman in the crowd who had had a hemorrhage for twelve years." -Mark 5:25

"Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering." -Mark 5:34

What kind of hands do you have? This woman's hands were the hands of a public outcast. She wasn't wanted around because she was too sick. Bleeding all the time. The way Max Lucado describes her hands - they probably hadn't been touched by another person for a long time. She was on her knees crawling after Jesus when she saw him walking through town. She and a bunch of others had heard about him and were following him around. She came homeless, poor, sick, and probably with little hope left.
Whispers had told her that there was something that this Jesus could do, that he was different. She literally had nothing to lose, so why not try? Why not do something desperate? She thinks to herself, "If I can just touch his clothing, I will be healed." -Mark 5:28. Even though the crowd told her to move out of the way; even though she kept getting jostled by them, she moved closer. Then when she got close enough, she reached out and grabbed his robe.
She realized instantly that "the bleeding had stopped, and she could feel that she had been healed." -Mark 5:29. She had LIFE again. He gave her LIFE.
The cool thing is, he knew that it had happened. He tried to find her in the middle of the huge crowd to let her know that her act of faith was what made her better.
Life can sometimes be full of a bunch of crappy stuff that makes us feel really weak. We don't feel much hope when something takes our strength away. Maybe it is a family situation? A job that we feel like we have to keep doing? Maybe its a choice that we keep making that we wish we'd never even started? I don't know what might be making you feel weak. I do hear from this message though, that Jesus wants to hold our hands. When we reach through all of the people, he knows. "Yours is the hand he loves to hold."


Daily Reading 19

"A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped." -Mark 4:37

"Jesus got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, 'Quiet! Be still!' Then the wind died down and it was completely calm." -Mark 4:39

"Even the wind and waves obey him!" -Mark 4:41

Jesus and a bunch of the guys were on a boat in the middle of the Sea of Galilee. A storm quickly moves in and then turns violent. We're talking "A Perfect Storm" kind of weather. The twelve guys that have been following Jesus around, end up panicked and huddling around the mast soaking wet. Then someone realizes that Jesus is not with them. Not only is he not standing with them worrying about the storm, he is actually sleeping through it. Lots of thoughts must have been going through the disciples heads when they realized that he was snoring. Were they perplexed? Mad? Shocked?
I'm sure that none of that really mattered for too long, because as soon as he got up, he stopped all of the chaos. He ended the storm! Then the disciples had to deal with a whole other level of amazement! Sure they had seen him heal the sick, eat with a crook, and talk to outsiders. But, this had to do with power over nature! He actually was in charge of the wind and waves.

All of this makes me really think about what kinds of storms people are facing. Some of the hard things in life that happen to us ARE really big storms: infertility, addiction, abuse, loss, abandonment, and LOTS of other things. I do not believe that God is sitting out in limbo CAUSING them to happen. I do believe that He feels our pain and that he wants to be with us in the middle of our struggles and as we try to heal from them.
Today's story doesn't tell me that God will always stop those storms from coming. What I got from it, is that he was there in the boat, along for the ride. Yes he is powerful and can change things if he chooses to, but I think I needed to remember that he is in the boat with me.

Are you going through a storm of some kind? If I can help, let me know. emillerk@gmail.com


Snow Day!

So, I'm a teacher. Yesterday, my class along with 7 other classes had the chance to listen to Bryan Busby talk about weather. He was hilarious! One of the stories he told had to do with convincing the kids how much their teachers look forward to snow days. He talked about how we go home and flip channels, trying to find the meteorologist that is predicting the highest amount of snowfall. Then we walk around the house teasing and taunting everyone about having to go to work the next day... Only to wake up and see that there is barely any snow on the ground and have to face the fact that we really do have to go to work!
Well Mr. Busby, that 1-2 inches of snow that you thought was coming ended up turning into 3-4. (He also explained how difficult it is to predict how billions of molecules that you can't see with tons of other factors affecting them will act.) I know that this is not Cincinnati where you grew up with blizzards and mountains of snow, but I for one am not complaining about getting an early morning call that let me sleep in!

Daily Reading 18

I just have to start off by giving you the gist of the last part of Max Lucado's writing for today. If Jesus were just God he could not understand us. If he were just man, he could love us but never save us. Then he says, "But a God-man Jesus? Near enough to touch. Strong enough to trust. A next-door Savior."

In the reading from Luke chapter 7, Jesus is watching a funeral procession. A mother is burying her little boy. Instead of standing with his head down and eyes watering like most of us would be, Jesus is whispering to the mother. She looks shocked and then nods. Jesus tells the men carrying the casket to wait. Then he speaks to the boy, "Young man, I say to you, arise!" -Luke 7:14. He says it with power and authority. Kind of like when your mother uses your full name. He meant business. The boy starts to breath again, his skin warms up, and he jumps into the arms of his mother.

Amazing. Raising someone from the dead. Kind of creepy, too, but definitely amazing. After the funeral, Jesus is eating with the disciples and Peter realizes who is sitting beside him. Jesus is sitting there eating lunch, probably laughing and telling stories with the guys. Peter thinks back to what just happened and the reality of this powerful, Godly man hits him. He probably wonders why this man is not surrounding himself by kings and angelic beings. But that is the irony of Jesus. He came for everyone, not just the rich and powerful. In order to let people know who he was, he did lots of amazing things. But at the end of the day, he was also a man, who could understand people because he was living right there with them.


Winter Blues

Sometimes in the winter, I like to think longingly about summer things that I am missing. With the temperatures so cold this week, what a perfect time to imagine summer heat! (Don't worry, I know that in 6 months, I will be longing for the freezing temperatures again!)

-swinging at the park
-wearing flip flops all day!
-getting pink skin, that SOMETIMES turns brown
-the rising heat on the sidewalk
-the frogs that sing in the creek and jump on the sidewalk
-two months of vacation from work (I'm a teacher!)
-reading fiction for PLEASURE
-dipping my toes in the pool
-wearing bright colors
-taking walks in the evening with my hubby!
-diet cherry limeades from Sonic
-playing outside with my nieces and nephews at the park and pool

What are you missing right now about the summer?

Daily Reading 17

"Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool. . . Here a great number of disabled people used to lie." -John 5:2-3

This pool. mentioned above is in a place called Bethesda. Lots of people are walking around, not paying any attention to the activity that is going on around this pool. Some of the passersby are going to the temple to seek God. the funny thing is, Jesus (God as a man) is walking near the pool amongst a whole lot of sick people who want to be well. The purpose of this "pool" was to heal. Under the pool, the water source was a natural spring. When the spring bubbled up, people thought that the first person to touch the water would be healed. One man was sitting a bit away from the pool, paralyzed when Jesus noticed him. At the time, he was alone; no disciples watching or following.
When Jesus sees this man, he asks him what appears to me to be a silly question, "Do you want to be well?"
The cynic in me says, "DUH, Jesus! Of course he wants to be well. Why do you think that he's there?"
The funny thing is that the man replies with a problem. He has no one to help him get to the water when it starts moving. And Jesus doesn't even really acknowledge the problem. Instead, he changed the man's perception and did something that he did not expect. He showed him the power of faith. Instead of carrying the man down to the pool, he told him to get up and walk. The man did it! He didn't argue that he couldn't. He didn't give excuses that others wouldn't help. He did what Jesus said because he believed him.

A lot of times I am not sure how have faith every day. I'm not saying that I don't believe that God loves me or that he forgives me. It's kind of hard to articulate. I guess I get annoyed sometimes when people say, "You just gotta have faith." What does that mean? Does that mean that I am not believing hard enough to please God? I don't think so. I don't think that God is up there waiting for us to perform certain actions in order to supernaturally open all of these consecutive doors. I guess my prayer to God is, help me to, "Get up and walk" when you're telling me to. Help me to step into the unknown and be okay with your guidance and my lack of control...
What do you think about this man's faith?

Daily Reading 16

"I'm here to invite outsiders, not coddle insiders." -Matthew 9:13 (Msg)

This time we're talking about how Jesus hung around a lot of people that were not perfect. The very religious people, the ones who tried to tell everyone how wrong they were, did not like this about
Jesus. Pastor Donnie is actually preaching through the book of Matthew this year. It just so happens that one of the biggest outsiders of the church back then was a guy named Matthew. He was a tax collector. Most of the people that knew him considered him a dirty crook. I don't know about you, but I am not a great supporter of the people who work in the business of taking money from my paycheck anyways. I would definitely have some strong opinions about a guy that was also taking more off the top for himself!
And yet, this guy was one of the closest followers of Jesus. One day Jesus walked up to him on the street, while he was working his tax collector both, and said, "Follow me." When Matthew responds, he doesn't just follow Jesus, he invites him over to get to know him. He wants to know more about this God Man. I'm sure that we can all picture what the religious types did when Jesus went to eat at Matthew's house. They weren't happy about it at all. But do you think Jesus cared?
He was sitting at a table with Matthew. he was letting him ask questions. He was probably helping Matthew get over some doubts that he had. In this story, we can see that Jesus wasn't here for the religious. Those guys thought that they had it figured out already. Matthew, on the other hand was just the type of guy with whom Jesus wanted to share his message. Think about it. What would the religious types do with this message that said their laws weren't everything? Go and plan to kill Jesus! And what about Matthew? He would be able to share a life changing message with other people like him.
Who can you share this message with? If you were in church on Sunday, who did you put in your fave five?



Here are some quirky things about me.

-my right big toe pops when I walk
-I have a weird human trick I can do with my feet
-I hate the smell of rye bread
-I love to eat snow
-a few weeks after I get my hair cut, I want it to be different again
-I like to sleep with the blankets curled up under my chin
-I love all of the old , half-hour Christmas specials (Charlie Brown, Grinch, Mickey's Christmas Carol, Frosty, Rudolph, Santa Claus is Comin' to Town) even though I hardly ever catch them on TV.
-I am a frustrated perfectionist. (I always know how I want things to be arranged, put away, etc. but I tend to live in clutter!)
-Sometimes when people are talking to me, I tap the syllables of what they're saying on my fingers (Told you they were quirky!)
-I am VERY indecisive (My sister, Casey, was in a store with me once and said that I had to say that I wanted something three times before I could get an item I was looking at because I kept looking at it but not making up my mind. A clerk had to get it down, so she wanted to make sure I REALLY wanted it! We were probably in the store for at least an hour before I finally made a decision!)

What is quirky about you?

Daily Reading 15

"Master, we worked all night and caught nothing." -Luke 5:5

"They caught such a large number of fish that their nets began to break." -Luke 5:6

At this point in his walking around and preaching, Jesus had been attracting some consistent followers. Peter was one of them. He had heard Jesus preach, let Jesus use his boat, and Jesus had even healed his mother-in-law. Then after Jesus had finished preaching from the boat to people, Jesus tells Peter and his fishing buddies to go back out into deeper water to catch some fish. At this, Peter responded warily that they had been out all night and didn't catch a thing. They were worn out and wanted to go home and sleep. More work was not on the top of their priority list.

Even though he didn't want to, Peter and the other fishermen go out and do what Jesus says. they may have been muttering under their breath, but they did it. I wonder if Jesus had one of those just trust me looks on his face. Mr. Lucado thinks that maybe, "Jesus had a smile on his face thinking about how Peter was about to be half yanked into the water." When they men pull up the nets, they are overwhelmed by their catch! And Peter, a man who doubts himself a lot, finally sees who this Jesus really is. HE recognizes that Jesus is God as a human. Not just a teacher or talker. Not just a healer or miracle worker. He is God, himself.

When Peter realizes this, he immediately pushes Jesus away saying, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord." -Luke 5:8 Jesus does the exact opposite. He won't leave Peter. He stays with him, actually asks him to come with him and do some more fishing. Except this time, he wants Peter's help to "fish" for people. He wants Peter to let others know about who Jesus is and what he is all about.

I bet that all of us have felt like Peter. Tired. Needing rest. Doubting. Amazed. Self-conscious. Ashamed. Jesus encouraged him and accepted him. He invited him to be a part of what he was doing, even though Peter was not who he thought that he needed to be. He gives us the same chance.

Daily Reading 14

"Do not conform any longer to the patterns of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is- his good, pleasing and perfect will." -Romans 12:2

"They were astonished at his teaching." -Luke 4:32

Jesus had been through all of those days of temptation in the wilderness, went home only to be rejected, and then showed up in a town that completely swelled with excitement over his presence. He was in Capernaum. While there, all kinds of people came to him with requests, advice, and their own agendas. Jesus healed some of them, who had needs. But others, who wanted to tell Jesus what to do and how to do it were told what was up! "I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent." Luke 42-43

After 40 days of temptation, it would be hard to resist having a huge mass of people who were amazed by his teaching, wanting him to stay around and tell them more. But Jesus knew his purpose well. He could see the bigger picture. People in other places needed to hear his message, too. Even though there were a ton of people in this place who wanted him to stay, he knew his mission was to let EVERYONE know. He probably had to leave some people who still wanted to know more, or who needed to be healed. I wonder if they ever figured out that they could hear Jesus through others who had listened to him?

I can get caught up in what I think needs to be done, just like the people of Capernaum. Sometimes I wonder why God is not moving or acting like I think he should. Maybe I'm missing the bigger picture. Maybe there is something that is going to happen that shows that God really is a big deal in a way that I am not expecting. I do know that I can participate in His work. I am not going to just sit idly and wait for things to be done by Him. I am one of His followers and I want to help to let others know about His message of hope.

Daily Reading 13

"A prophet is honored everywhere except in his hometown and with his own people and in his own home." -Mark 6:4

"And he was amazed at their lack of faith." -Mark 6:6

So, I'm really far behind in my daily readings. It has been a week since I sat down to read and reflect. So, here we are, picking back up with the topic of Jesus' family.

I had never thought about Jesus' family much except for his mother and his father. He had siblings, though. Just like every family, they had their imperfections. I don't think that his family really was able to understand who he really was. I know that Mary and Joseph had been told that he was the Son of God. Don't you think they would probably have shared that with their kids?

When Jesus went out, no one from his hometown, including his family was very supportive. When he was being dragged off to die by people from his own community, his brothers weren't even around. Could it be that they knew who he was, but they were embarrassed? They didn't think the way that he did. They probably didn't agree with what he was doing by willingly going to die.

Lots of times, we wish that someone else understood. We have these ideas about how someone should act or think or respond to us. We do this a lot with family or close friends. I think what Jesus teaches us in this story is that we can't let the behavior of someone else control our own behavior. We can't demand that someone else think or feel or act the way that we think they should. Even family.

This is a hard concept to swallow. Jesus also tells us that we have family in our fellow believers. This is our spiritual family. When it comes to understanding each other spiritually, we can find that in others who are taking steps on their spiritual journey as well.

Even though it is hard sometimes to be in the middle of family stuff, we still have ways to connect with others and our Heavenly Father.


Daily Reading 12

"He knows me inside and out." - John 4:29

These words are talking about Jesus. The person who is saying them is not at all favorable in the opinion of many people... even some of Jesus' closest followers. If you think about who the woman is, she might remind you of some people that you have opinions about. She came from a place called Samaria. In this town lived a mixed race of Jews and Assyrians. Traditional Jews thought that the intermarriage meant betrayal. This woman was one of them. In the 9th verse of John chapter 4, the woman points this out to Jesus after he had asked her politely for a drink. "You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman," she says.

Besides being Samaritan, was in a public place which meant that Jesus should not be seen talking to her as a Jewish man. She was also known by all who knew her to be living in sin. Jesus told her everything about herself. Things that he shouldn't have known because he had never met or talked about her with anyone. But this was God in front of her. She had no idea to whom she was talking.

Then he started to tell her about living water. He was explaining the condition of our souls. Just like our bodies need food and water, our souls need to be filled with the good news that Jesus loves us and accepts us, even while we are still in the middle of our sin. When we drink this water, it lasts forever. His forgiveness just has to be accepted.

Doesn't that tell you something about Jesus, that he was spending time with this woman who needed to hear about his grace? He wasn't just surrounding himself with religious people. He loved everyone. He came for ALL of us to know. Do you know what this woman's response was? She ran to the village, knowing that everyone already knew about her past, and she told them about Jesus' acceptance of her. When they heard this good news, they ran out to meet him themselves. He then stayed there for two days, sharing his message of love and grace and salvation with many more.

I know for a fact that Jesus wants everyone to know about this good news. Do you know that he loves and accepts you?


Daily Reading 11

"Both Jesus and His followers were also invited to the wedding." -John 2:2

There is always some reason that a story is included in the Bible. This book called John is one of the four books of the bible called the gospels. They're given that title because they tell about the life and message of Jesus. Gospel means good news.
In my opinion, it is pretty good news that Jesus was invited to this wedding. You might say that He had just begun his "tour" and others had not really thought of Him as a celebrity, yet. A few guys had heard him talking about familiar things from the scriptures and wanted to know more about Him. But, at this time, Jesus was not doing miraculous healing or attracting a lot of attention. He was invited to a wedding, probably because the bride and or groom liked his company. He then walked a really long way - 90 miles to be at their wedding and His followers were invited, too.
It makes me smile to think that Jesus spent time at a wedding. He was very much God, but also did things to relate to us.


Daily Reading 10

"Rabbi where are you staying?" they asked. (John 1:38)

"Come and see." -John 1:39

"We have found the Messiah." -John 1:41

Two guys, John and Andrew were doing a lot of listening to John the Baptist. Then they heard about Jesus and started listening to his teaching. The way that we can tell that these guys looked to him as different is by thinking about the question they asked. They asked where he was staying because they wanted to be around him, to learn from him, and to really know him.

The response Jesus gave, telling them to come and see is really intriguing. You know that popular catch phrase, "I'll believe it when I see it?" Jesus actually invited these two to get up close and personal and find out who he was. He wanted them to come and hang out with him. How could they really figure out who he was without doing so? Of course this makes sense. He wanted followers who wanted to know and learn from him. They took the initiative to ask and he welcomed it.

I can relate to John and Andrew. I want to understand and "see" who Jesus is, too. Reading his words helps me to figure out how to be more like him. When I do get that figured out, other people around me can "see" Jesus in my actions.


Daily Reading 9

"He faced all of the same temptations we do." -Hebrews 4:15

"The Spirit led Jesus into the desert where the devil tempted Jesus for forty days." -Luke 4:1-2

"Well done, good and faithful servant." -Matthew 25:23

Today's entry deals with the concept of Jesus being tempted with all of the same temptations by which we are tempted. I am often tempted to be self-righteous, self gratifying, and glutinous. I can see how these temptations are similar to those that Jesus faced. AND I cannot imagine how tortuous it would have been to go through 40 entire days of any and all temptations that can be thrown at a person. He was starving and was tempted with the suggestion of food. Instead of taking the bait, he answered with what he knew to be true - that he cannot live on bread alone, but needed the word of God to sustain him. He was tempted with power and resisted.
You know what? The difficulty is that when I am faced with temptation, I sometimes give in.

As I read some more of the fourth chapter in Hebrews, I noticed that there were several mentions of the word rest. From these words, I can see that I can look beyond the moment of temptation to a time when I will no longer be stressed or worried over it. The 16th verse of Hebrews Chapter 4 says, "So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it." This is the place of hope. I have strength knowing that I can overcome those moments with God's mercy and grace. It is there because I need it.

I'm glad that I read those words today. Now if I can just remember them when I am tempted!