Daily Reading 28

"The soldiers and the governor took Jesus into the Praetorium. . . And they stripped Him and put a scarlet robe on Him. When they had twisted a crown or thorns, they put it on His head." -Matthew 27: 27-29

The thorns that were put on Jesus's head were a symbol of the effects of sin. They weren't identifying Jesus as a sinner, they were actually pointing to the fact that our sins are piercing Jesus. When a sin grows, it is sharp, pointy, and hurtful. What are some of the sins that were laid on Jesus with that crown? Shame. Disgrace. Discouragement. Anxiety. Worry. Guilt.
Before the thorns were laid on him, Jesus had never felt any of these emotions. He was without sin. When al of humanity's sin was laid on him, he felt them all. That is why he cried out to God for help, "My God, my God, why have you rejected me?" - Matthew 27:46 He actually felt and experienced all of those hurts, the agony, the pain. I think it is pretty amazing that he took all of that on himself.
You need to know that he did that FOR YOU. For each of us, but definitely FOR YOU.

The Shack

So I recently finished reading this AMAZING book called The Shack by William P. Young. It has really helped me to think through some of the perceptions I've had about God. You know the questions that most of us ask about why God allows bad things to happen or why did this have to happen to someone so good? I've realized that those questions are valid and that God is listening, that God is hurting because of those things, too.
Reading this story about a man who meets God was so refreshing. It helped me to see that even though people make choices that affect others in bad ways and that we often walk away from God, he is always following us, trying to have a relationship with us. God's plan involves trying to redeem all of those circumstances. He wants to help us to have a relationship with him even though those bad things have happened. He is not causing the bad things to happen to get us to notice him... He is trying to help us by continually shaping the choices we make into his ultimate plan to be our Father.
I don't know if that made total sense, but I really think that you should read this book yourself.


Daily Reading 27

"You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me." -John 16:32

"With Judas were many people carrying swords and clubs who had ben sent from the leading priests. . . Then the people came and grabbed Jesus and arrested him." -Matthew 26:47, 50

Mr. Lucado points out that this same story is told in another book of the bible, John. In John there is a specuific name for the group of people in the original language which means a group of 200 soldiers. Wow! 200 soldiers were sent by the religious leaders to find Jesus and arrest him! 200!
In that group, there was not one who stood up for Jesus. I wonder if any of them had heard him speak in church? Had a family member healed by him? Not a single one stood up for him that night. Even though he came to save them, they turned against him.
Those 200probably didn't know any better. But, what about his followers, the disciples? I can't believe what cowards they all were. "All of Jesus' followers left him and ran away." -Matthew 26:56 They ran away???
Jesus, unlike all of us, was not limited to the circumstances in front of him. He could see the big picture. His view was totally different. He was able to see purpose in this betrayal and pain. God was with him and he knew it.
In the middle of pain I am usually really mad or depressed. A lot of thse feelings are directed at God. I need to be continually reminded that even though crappy things happen, I am not alone.

Lent - Leaving Something Behind and Taking Something On

This morning at church, the message was about leaving behind selfishness and taking on living like Jesus. Lately I have been doing a bit too much talking about my frustrations with someone to people that really don't need to know about it. I have rationalized to myself that I am just venting, that this person is disrespectful and needs to change. I can't get over the way that this person drives me crazy! And I am near this person almost EVERY day.
Still, as I was thinking about what to let go of for lent (yes I realize that I am a bit late) this attitude of mine towards this person kept surfacing. Donnie referred to it as gossip. I guess on some levels that is exactly what it is. It totally pollutes me and keeps me from noticing anything positive in this relationship. I am going to try every morning to let this attitude go.
What I am planning to take on is meditation on scripture. Our church is doing this thing called "SOAP". Each day there is a reading from the bible to read. Reading the same thing as others is nice because you have a shared text to discuss. The other thing that I plan to do is to meditate on it, or spend time thinking about what it is saying. To let God talk to me through those words.

What are you letting go and taking on?


Daily Reading 26

Sorry I haven't been doing daily posts for the daily reading thing...

"Jesus... kneeled down and prayed, 'Father if you are willing, take away this cup of suffering. But do what you want, not what I want...' His sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground." -Luke 22:41-44
"Do not let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God; trust also in me." -John 14:1

Jesus is praying, alone with the exception of God. It is not going to be long before Jesus dies. And he knows it. He is totally showing that he is fully human here. He is afraid. And it is part of the bible, so we are given this story so that we can know that he was really afraid. Most of us, though, don't want anyone to kow we're afraid. He's not pretending to be strong for the benefit of others. He's actually asking FOR strength. He is going to his Heavenly Father. He is trusting Him.
It is amazing to me that Jesus went into the events of his death knowing exactly what was going to happen. He faced them. He was not alone, though.
We don't ahve to go through junk that happens to us alone either. God wants to walk with us, too. He also put us together onthis earth because he wants us to help each other. Don't go through life alone. Let God in. Tell Him your fears and trust Him. I'd love to help, too. Let me knowif I can. emillerk@gmail.com