Friday, May 31, 2013

Luke 24:9-12

v. 9-12 "When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others.  It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles.  But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense.  Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb.  Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened."

The women went to tell the disciples that Jesus had risen.  They must have been overflowing with joy.  How sad it must have been when the disciples thought they were talking nonsense.  When you want to share the love of God that is bursting from your heart and others dismiss you as a crazy person, it can make you pretty heartbroken.  Some that hear will need time to let this sink in.  It is a process.  At first they may believe it to be like any other story.  Then they will look into it for themselves.  Once you encounter Jesus for yourself then you know.  You can't experience this through other people, it is a personal relationship with Him. 

Peter had denied Jesus three times and must have felt terrible.  When the women told the disciples what happened Peter did not want to repeat the mistake he made before.  He ran, he didn't walk, he was desperate to find out what happened.  God wants us to be excited about Him and His word.  He wants us to come running to Him and He will wrap us up in His arms.  There needs to be a spiritual thirst that can only be quenched with His love.  Our job as a Christian is to tell others what Jesus has done in our lives and tell others about His love.  We will be considered crazy, insane or just plain loony, but that will not matter.  A long time ago I use to think it was strange for Christians to share about God.  I was a very quiet person and didn't understand the mission that was set before us all.  Silence of the Truth can only cause damage to the Kingdom.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Luke 24:1-8

v. 1-8 "On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb.  They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus.  While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them.  In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, 'Why do you look for the living among the dead?  He is not here; He has risen!  Remember how He told you, while He was still with you in Galilee:  The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.'  Then they remembered His words."

Early in the morning the women took the spices to take care of Jesus' body.  Their hearts were still broken yet they got up and did what they needed to do.  I can't imagine the scene as they came upon the tomb and the stone had been rolled away.  The stones used in front of tombs were massive slabs of rock so it would have been surprising to see it moved.  They entered the tomb to find it empty and angels appeared to give them the good news.  The angels asked why they were looking for the living among the dead.  This is different from other world religions, Jesus was alive after death.  The resurrection is the core of Christianity.  There are many different denominations who vary on beliefs and theology.  I like how Beth Moore says that there are rib issues and spine issues.  The rib issues aren't that important and you could still live if a rib was broken (when to baptize, thoughts on Revelations, etc), but spine issues are those that are vital to Christianity and would affect your life greatly (Jesus was the son of God, Jesus rose from the dead, He will come back again, etc).

With Jesus' resurrection:
  • it had begun, our salvation from sin
  • death had been conquered
  • heaven and earth collided
  • we have authority to spread the Good News
  • we can find meaning in great tragedy
  • we have hope for the future
  • Jesus is alive and well
The bible is not just an ancient book, it is alive and it shows us how to live our lives right now.  The sadness from the previous days had been replaced with joy.  Jesus had risen from the dead and the first to hear the Good News were women.  Don't let anyone tell you that women can't preach!  The news was brought to the ones who could never stand up to preach in synagogues.  How much more should we rejoice to have a King who is alive.  Going to church should not be like going to a memorial service.  Christians are supposed to be filled with joy because He lives in us.  Many today don't shine His light, they are consumed with the cares of this world.  The angels pointed out that Jesus told them what would happen to Him.  He didn't just tell the disciples, He made sure the women knew what would happen. 

Friday, May 24, 2013

Luke 23:50-56

v. 50-56 "Now there was a man named Joseph, a member of the Council, a good and upright man, who had not consented to their decision and action.  He came from the Judean town of Arimathea and he was waiting for the kingdom of God.  Going to Pilate, he asked for Jesus' body.  Then he took it down, wrapped it in linen cloth and placed it in a tomb cut in the rock, one in which no one had yet been laid.  It was Preparation Day, and the Sabbath was about to begin.  The women who had come with Jesus from Galilee followed Joseph and saw the tomb and how His body was laid in it.  Then they went home and prepared spices and perfumes.  But they rested on the Sabbath in obedience to the commandment."

Joseph was a rich man and was a member of the Jewish Council.  He did not agree with what they did to Jesus.  Sometimes we are powerless to stop cruelty.  He went to Pilate and asked for Jesus' body so that he could give Him a proper burial.  This could have cost him his position on the council, his position in society and he could be shunned by the other leaders.  When it is right to take action do so or you will miss a wonderful opportunity.  Joseph was a secret disciple of Jesus and when He died, Joseph decided to set aside any punishment from men to help Jesus.   Some might think this man was too late, that he should have stood up for Jesus before He died.  It is never too late to do the right thing.  It was tradition for bodies to be placed in tombs dug out of the rock. 

The women followed to see where the body would be laid to rest.  So that after the Sabbath they could come back with spices and perfumes.  Women could rarely do great things back then, they were limited to being a wife and mother.  So the act of taking care of the body after death was something they could do to show respect to Jesus.  Do not think that your contribution is small, you do what you can with what you have.  These women were not permitted to stand before the governor or religious leaders to defend Jesus, but if they were they would have been a positive witness to Jesus' life.  The women started to get things ready to take to the tomb, but had to stop because of the Sabbath.  The Sabbath started in the evening (at sunset) on Friday and ended Saturday evening.  They followed the law even thought they probably would have rather taken care of Jesus' body that day. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Luke 23:44-49

v. 44-49 "It was now about the sixth hour, and darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour, for the sun stopped shining.  And the curtain of the temple was torn in two.  Jesus called out with a loud voice, 'Father, into your hands I commit My spirit.'  When He had said this, He breathed His last.  The centurion, seeing what had happened, praised God and said, 'Surely this was a righteous man.'  When all the people who had gathered to witness this sight saw what took place, they beat their breasts and went away.  But all those who knew Him, including the women who had followed Him from Galilee, stood at a distance, watching these things."

It is hard to not tear up every time I read about Jesus dying.  He chose to die for people that He did not know, those of us who had not been born yet, those who are wicked sinners and even those that hate Him.  The earth grieved, darkness fell upon the earth.  There would have been no doubt with the events taking place that Jesus was truly the son of God.  The curtain in the temple was torn in two.  The temple was made up of three parts: court for all people; the Holy Place, only priests could enter; and the Most Holy Place where the high priest alone could go once a year to atone for the people's sin.  When Jesus died the curtain in the Most Holy Place was torn to break the barrier that stood between God and man.  We do not have to go through anyone to get to God.  I think we should learn from church leaders, but they will not be with us at judgment.  He offers us a personal relationship, all we have to do is knock and the door will open. 

Jesus called out to God for the last time as a man and was giving everything to God.  To our last breath we are should speak to our Father.  The centurion, who was the commander of the Roman soldiers, saw what happened and praised God.  The Romans in general were not believers in God, this man saw proof of something greater than himself.  The crowds were in agony because they also saw what happened and knew Jesus was something more than they thought.  Regret is a wicked tool of the enemy.  Bitter regret must have permeated their souls.  The people who knew Jesus stayed and watched from a distance.  There are many situations that we don't have control over and we feel helpless.  If we turn to God then we will not be helpless. 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Luke 23:26-43

v. 26-31 "As they led Him away, they seized Simon from Cyrene, who was on his way in from the country, and put the cross on him and made him carry it behind Jesus.  A large number of people followed Him, including women who mourned and wailed for Him.  Jesus turned and said to them, 'Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for Me; weep for yourselves and for your children.'" (Jesus was referring to the destruction that would happen in 40 years.)  "Then they will say to the mountains, 'Fall on us!' and to the hills, 'Cover us!'  For if men do these things when the tree is green, what will happen when it is dry?"

The Romans had criminals carry their own crosses after being severely beaten by being flogged.  They were to carry the cross from the flogging site to a place outside the city.  This would have been a very good deterrent to crime since everyone could see what happened to criminals.   Simon (not the disciple) was coming into town and got recruited by the guards when Jesus could no longer carry the cross.  In Jesus' most needed hour not one of His disciples were there to help Him.  Many will turn away from you when bad things happen, He never will.  This is a picture of what it looks like if we are to try and carry our burdens without Him.  We can't do it alone and are in need of help.  Jesus will help us despite our best attempts at our struggles.  The women in Jesus' life were following and weeping for Him.  Jesus told them to weep for themselves because He knew that Rome would destroy everything.  Jesus was in agony and still was able to speak to the women.  He cares for hurting people and will help if you let Him.  I love the verse about if men do these things when the tree is green then what will happen when it is dry.  When there is abundance there is evil so how much worse will it be when the abundance is gone?

v. 32-43 "Two other men, both criminals, were also led out with Him to be executed.  When they came to the place called the Skull, there they crucified Him, along with the criminals-one on His right, the other on His left."  Jesus said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing."  They divided up His clothes by casting lots.  "The people stood watching, and the rulers even sneered at Him.  They said, 'He saved others; let Him save Himself if He is the Christ of God, the Chosen One.'  The soldiers also came up and mocked Him.  They offered Him wine vinegar and said, 'If you are the king of the Jews, save yourself.'  There was a written notice above Him, which read: THIS IS THE KING OF THE JEWS.  One of the criminals who hung there hurled insults at Him; 'Aren't you the Christ?  Save yourself and us!'  But the other criminal rebuked him.  'Don't you fear God,' he said, 'since you are under the same sentence?  We are punished justly, for we are getting what our deeds deserve.  But this man has done nothing wrong.'  Then he said, 'Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.'  Jesus answered him, 'I tell you the truth, today you will be with Me in paradise.'"

The soldiers would cast lots (like rolling dice) to decide who would get the criminals clothes.  They fulfilled the prophecy in Psalm 22:18 (they divided my garments among them, they cast lots).  Jesus asked God to forgive the people since they really did not know what they were doing.  Here He was in pain and He wanted the people to come to God even at His demise.  They dared Jesus to save Himself, since He had saved so many other people.  They did not get what had to happen, if He saved Himself then we would never have a way out of sin.  With Jesus there were two other men dying that day.  One went along with the crowds, leaders and soldiers and mocked Jesus.  When you are in pain it is easy to lash out at others. 

"Let us go to Calvary to learn how we may be forgiven; and then let us linger there to learn how we may forgive."
                                                                                                                         Spurgeon's Sermon Notes

We see the love of Jesus enduring
  • to the closing act of human malice
  • to the extreme limit of personal suffering
We see that love revealing itself
  • love can use no better instrument than prayer
  • love, when in a death-agony, still prays
We see for what that love prays
  •  forgiveness is the first, chief, and basis blessing
We see how the loving Jesus prays
  • for His wanton murderers in the very act
  • for their full & immediate forgiveness
  • for no other reason except their ignorance
We see how He instructs from the cross
  • He teaches us to forgive the utmost wrong
  • He teaches us to pray for others to our last breath
                                                                                                                         Spurgeon's Sermon Notes

"No one has a right to claim the Christian spirit who refuses to forgive a foe, and even cement his forgiveness by some act of self-denying love."
                                                                                                                                The Biblical Treasury

The one man rebuked the other man and said Jesus was innocent.  This man despite his circumstance decided to turn to God at the end of his life and he got to be with Jesus in heaven that very day.  This one man had more faith than the crowds, even the disciples at the time who thought this was the end.  Even if you turn to God in your last days He will take you into His kingdom.  Wouldn't it be so much better to have Him in your life for decades than just at the end?  This man wanted Jesus to remember him in His kingdom.  All others thought that the Kingdom was coming to an end.  He could see through his pain to what mattered most.  Here many failed by going along with the crowd, they insulted Him from every direction.  When you were crucified they put a sign on the cross to show everyone what your crime was.  They said Jesus' crime was being the king of the Jews.  The sign was meant to be ironic, yet they had no idea how true this was.  Even in the darkest of places, all hope is not lost.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Luke 23:13-25

v. 13-25 "Pilate called together the chief priests, the rulers and the people, and said to them, 'You brought me this man as one who was inciting the people to rebellion.  I have examined Him in your presence and have found no basis for your charges against Him.  Neither has Herod, for he sent Him back to us; as you can see, He has done nothing to deserve death.  Therefore, I will punish Him and then release Him.'"  The leaders were furious, "Away with this Man!  Release Barabbas to us!"
(Barabbas had been thrown into prison for an insurrection in the city, and for murder.)  Wanting to release Jesus, Pilate appealed to them again.  But they kept shouting, "Crucify Him! Crucify Him!"  Herod asked for the third time, "Why? What crime has the Man committed?  I have found in Him no ground for the death penalty.  Therefore I will have Him punished and then release Him."  The people shouted all the more and demanded that Jesus be crucified.  Pilate fearing action from Rome granted their wish and released Barabbas. 

Pilate was trying to avoid killing this innocent Man.  The leaders were demanding that Jesus die and they would accept nothing else.  The leaders hated Jesus so much that they wanted to trade Him for a man in prison that had done what they claimed Jesus did (incite rebellion) and worse Barabbas was a murderer.  Barabbas was part of a rebellion against the Roman leadership.  He was probably thought to be a hero among the people for standing up to Rome.  How interesting that this man was set free in place of Jesus' life, just as we are today.  They kept on protesting and finally got their way.  Sometimes we compromise because we are tired of resisting the enemy.  Pilate was in charge, but he could have lost his position if there were complaints to Rome about his conduct.  He had already been warned and with all the Jews coming for the Passover he did not want any trouble.  He went against his beliefs to secure his job.  Pilate was a politician and wanted to keep the peace.  We are to stand up for what is right no matter the stakes. 

 I think by this time the leaders had spread their hatred to the crowds.  So the people also wanted to condemn Jesus.  They went right along with the leaders plan.  Peer pressure can be very damaging to our souls.  The right decision could have big consequences: social rejection, destroy your career/relationships or public ridicule.  Pilate wanted to punish Jesus then set Him free which could have killed Him.  By Jewish law it was permitted to be beaten with a three pronged whip up to 40 times.  This in itself was terrible, but the leaders wanted Him killed before those that would choose to defy their authority.  He was going to be made an example of those that defy the law, when in fact He was the Law.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Luke 23:1-12

v. 1-5 Then Jesus was lead to Pilate for the next trial.  The leaders spoke against Jesus to Pilate saying, "We have found this man subverting our nation.  He opposes payment of taxes to Caesar and claims to be Christ, a king."  Pilate asked Jesus, "Are you the king of the Jews?"  Jesus replied, "Yes, it is as you say."  Pilate's judgment was, "I find no basis for a charge against this man."  The leaders were upset and said that He stirred up the people by His teachings.

The religious leaders took Jesus before Pilate who was the Roman governor of Judea.  Pilate could either risk his political future by provoking the Jews to complain to Rome about his leadership or he could condemn a man he thought to be innocent.  Subverting means: to overthrow; cause the downfall, ruin or destruction of; undermine the principles of, or corrupt.  This is exactly what the leaders were doing to their beliefs by accusing Jesus of doing the same.  The leaders accused Jesus of opposing payment of taxes to Rome, which was a lie.  They thought that this would be an issue for Rome due to their collections throughout the entire empire.  They added on at the end that Jesus claimed to be a king, which might also upset the Roman leaders since they were in charge and would not have wanted any rebellion from the Jewish people.  Pilate did not see Jesus as a threat to the Roman empire nor to any local laws.  The enemy will make an appeal to those that oppose your beliefs to find the greatest insult to their beliefs.  The leaders were right that Jesus stirred up the people by His teachings, they were teaching some of God laws and many man made laws and Jesus was teaching the truth and God's love.

v. 6-12 Pilate asked if Jesus was a Galilean, when he learned Jesus was under Herod's jurisdiction he sent them to Herod.  "When Herod saw Jesus, he was greatly pleased, because for a long time he had been wanting to see Him.  From what he had heard about Him, he hoped to see Him perform some miracle.  He plied Him with many questions, but Jesus gave him no answer.  The chief priests and the teachers of the law were standing there, vehemently accusing Him.  Then Herod and his soldiers ridiculed and mocked Him.  Dressing him in elegant robe, they sent Him back to Pilate.  That day Herod and Pilate became friends-before this they had been enemies."

Pilate did not want to deal with this situation so he sent Jesus to Herod.  Herod had wanted to see Jesus perform miracles.  Why did Jesus respond to Pilate, but not Herod?  Pilate was trying to be diplomatic and Jesus answered him.  When Herod was asking Jesus questions He was silent.  Herod wanted a show and when he didn't get it he and his men started mocking Jesus.  Jesus knew that when hearts were hard there was no reason to respond.  Some situations we are to speak up and others we are to remain quiet, our task is to learn how to do this.  This was the same Herod who killed John the Baptist so there was no compassion in him.  The religious leaders were vehemently accusing Jesus of His "crimes."  They did not want to see Him set free so they continued with great hatred, hostility, and violent anger to prove they were right.  Herod sent Jesus back to Pilate as not guilty.  Until then Pilate and Herod were enemies.  Pilate replaced the spot formally filled by Herod's ineffective half brother.  Sometimes enemies will unite for a common reason, this issue brought them together.  During trials in our life we will face adversaries, many times it will be from all sides and repeatedly.  I wonder with as much effort people place on ruining other's lives what they could have done good with that energy instead.  Hatred is a lot of work and it will only ruin yourself in the end.

"Trial before Annas (powerful ex-high priest) - he may have still wielded much power 
Trial before Caiaphas (ruling high priest) - to gather evidence for the Sanhedrin hearing
Trial before the Sanhedrin - formal religious trial and condemnation to death
Trial before Pilate (highest Roman authority) - all death sentences needed Roman approval
Trial before Herod (ruler of Galilee) - courteous and guilt-sharing act by Pilate
Trial before Pilate - Pilate's last effort to avoid condemning an obviously innocent man"

"The verdict was predecided, but certain 'legal' procedures were necessary.  A lot of effort went into condemning and crucifying an innocent man.  Jesus went through an unfair trail in our place so that we would not have to face trial and receive the well-deserved punishment for our sins."
                                                                                                                                                  NIV notes

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Luke 22:54-71

v. 54-62 The men seized Jesus and led Him away into the house of the high priest.  "Peter followed at a distance.  But when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and had sat down together, Peter sat down with them.  A servant girl saw him seated there in the firelight.  She looked closely at him and said, 'This man was with them.'  But he denied it.  'Woman, I don't know Him,' he said.  A little later someone else saw him and said, 'You also are one of them.'" Peter replied, "Man, I am not!"  About an hour later someone else said, "Certainly this fellow was with Him, for he is a Galilean."  Peter said, "Man, I don't know what you're talking about!"  After he spoke this the rooster crowed.  "The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter.  Then Peter remembered the word the Lord has spoken to him: 'Before the rooster crows today, you will disown Me three times.'  And he went outside and wept bitterly."

This happened in the middle of the night.  The religious leaders wanted to get this done quickly so that they could celebrate the Sabbath.  Hard hearts will make actions seem right while actually disregarding the very laws they are supposed to follow.  When Jesus was led away Peter followed at a distance.  It had begun, the slow fade.  When there is a slow fade you don't notice the steep descent into the abyss.  Sin will creep in and when we compromise it will latch on to us with roots set deep.  The best time to banish sin is right at the beginning, once we wait it will multiply profusely.  We know Jesus gave Peter warning that this would happen and he still didn't see it.  Three people pointed Peter out as a follower of Jesus and he denied each one.  It is easy to speak a lie when it will spare us pain or danger.  Our words and our actions do not always line up.  Peter denied: knowing Jesus  (Woman, I don't know Him), being one of the disciples  (Man, I am not!), knowing what they were talking about  (Man, I don't know what you are talking about!).  When Jesus turned to Peter, he knew what had happened and wept bitterly.  He didn't just feel bad for disappointing Jesus, he had denied His purpose and turned on a friend.  But coming from this disaster, he grew stronger.  After this experience he was ready to truly follow Jesus no matter the cost.  The farther you fall the more you see the distance that separates us from Him and the more thankful you are that he would even think to pull us out of darkness.  Do not be so quick to judge this man.  This shows that when we turn away from Him, if we come back with a right heart He can do great things through us.  When you recognize your failure then He can work with you.

When we say we don't know Him, what a piercing sword we wield. 
When we say that we are not His, that is disowning you own family. 
When you say we don't even know what they are talking about, we deny His sacrifice.

v. 63-71 "The men who were guarding Jesus began mocking and beating Him.  They blindfolded Him and demanded, 'Prophesy! Who hit you?'  And they said many other insulting things to Him.  At daybreak the council of the elders of the people, both the chief priests and teachers of the law, met together, and Jesus was led before them.  'If you are the Christ,' they said, 'tell us.'  Jesus answered, 'If I tell you, you will not believe Me, and if I asked you, you would not answer.  But from now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God.'  They all asked, 'Are you then the Son of God?'  He replied, 'You are right in saying I am.'  Then they said, 'Why do we need any more testimony?  We have heard it from His own lips.'" 

Here the mob mentality takes over.  People can get very brave to act out if they are going along with others.  Here these men were mocking and beating Jesus.  When you are at a low point and are being beat down from all sides whether from fist, actions or words, remember He has been there before you and will be with you during your times of trouble.  Jesus' trial as a sham.  These men had already made up their minds to have Him killed and they had the trials to make them seem justified.  Jesus was referencing an Old Testament title for God, I AM.  For anyone else to admit this would have been blasphemy (saying they were God) and the penalty for this crime was death.  Jesus was not just anyone, He was God's son so He did not break any laws by saying this.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Quotes - Charles Baudelaire & Alice Cooper

"The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world that he didn't exist." 

Many know this quote from the movie "The Usual Suspects."  A French poet, Charles Baudelaire, first wrote this in 1864.  This was from a short story about meeting the devil.  Here is what lead to the famous quote:

"He did not complain in any way about the bad reputation he enjoyed all over the world, assured me that he himself was the person the most interested in the destruction of superstition, and admitted to me that he had only been afraid for his own power one time, and that was the day when he had heard a preacher, more subtle than his colleagues, shout out from the pulpit: My dear brothers, never forget, when you hear the progress of enlightenment vaunted, that the devil's best trick is to persuade you that he doesn't exist!"
He slowly creeps into our lives as to not alarm us of his presence.  His game is total destruction and has all the time in the world to work on us.  His goal is to separate us from God permanently.  He has many tools in his arsenal, but one of the most effective of all is the fact that many believe he doesn't actually exist.  That way he can move freely through the mind to plant seeds of darkness with no obstruction.  You might think that I talk about him too much.  I believe if you never talk about him then you are deceiving yourself and if you always talk about him then you don't give power to God to work.  The bible is full of examples of people making good and bad choices, we are to be fully prepared with all the facts.  The enemy is real, then why act as if he is a figment of our imagination?  If you never had knowledge of wolves then how would you know one was stalking you?
Here is a quote from Alice Cooper, I know you are probably think of old school Alice and the non God image he portrayed on stage.  I tell you he has got it on this subject. "When you believe in God, you've got to believe in the all-powerful God. He's not just God, He's the all-powerful God and He has total control over every one's life. The devil, on the other hand, is a real character that's trying his hardest to tear your life apart.  If you believe that this is just mythology, you're a prime target because you know that's exactly what Satan wants: To be a myth. But he's not a myth, of this I'm totally convinced. More than anything in the world, I'm convinced of that."

Luke 22:39-53

v. 39-46 "Jesus went out as usual to the Mount of Olives, and His disciples followed Him.  On reaching the place, he said to them, 'Pray that you will not fall into temptation.'  He withdrew about a stone's throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, 'Father, if You are willing, take this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.'  An angel from heaven appeared to Him and strengthened Him.  And being in anguish, He prayed more earnestly, and His sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground."  Jesus went back to the disciples He found them sleeping, exhausted from sorrow.  Jesus said, "Why are you sleeping?  Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation."

Jesus had a habit of going off to a quiet spot to pray.  We should do the same, even if it's five minutes in the car.  Jesus told the men to pray that they would not fall into temptation.  We are to be on our guard at all times.  When we are stressed, tired and weak that is when the enemy will strike since we are easy prey during those times.  Jesus talked to God and asked if God would remove what was going to happen to Him.  Was He trying to get out of His mission?  No, it is good to express our feelings to God.  God wants us to bring everything to Him, even if we are upset.  Jesus also said that God's will was over His will.  I think this is the model for our times of desperation.  We can ask that God will take it away, but ultimately we should seek His will above our discomfort.  An angel was sent to strengthen Jesus.  I believe that when we pray it is allowing the angels to do their work and that we have angels with us as we go about our day.  Jesus got a second wind and He started to pray with more depth to the point of His sweat being like drops of blood.  He was not giving a prayer to God so He could get it off His checklist.  This was a man determined and focused completely on prayer.  When Jesus went back the disciples had fallen asleep instead of praying.  Don't be found asleep when He comes.

v. 47-53 A crowd of people came to where they were.  Judas was with this crowd and he approached Jesus to give Him a kiss.  Jesus said, "Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?"  When the disciples saw what was happening they said, "Lord, should we strike with our swords?"  One of the men stuck a servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.  Jesus said, "No more of this!  And He touched the man's ear and healed him."  Then Jesus said to the chief priests, the officers of the temple guard, and the elders, "Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come with swords and clubs?  Every day I was with you in the temple courts, and you did not lay a hand on Me.  But this is your hour-when darkness reigns."

Judas had found his moment to betray Jesus.  In the darkness of night he led the priests to where Jesus was.  Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss, a sign of greeting in many parts of the world.  This was a hollow gesture because of what was behind it.  Are any of our religious practices empty gestures?  Sure we think, I would never do what Judas did.  When our acts of service or giving are insincere and are just meant for show then we are no better than this man.  Peter cut off the man's ear, he thought that he must defend Jesus.  God does not need to be defended.  The truth is, and that means that there is no reason to argue it.  Jesus was being betrayed and He wanted no harm to come to any of the betrayers.  Even in difficult situations we are to be kind, it does not matter how others treat us.  Jesus healed this man's ear who probably wanted Him dead.  Jesus was daily in the temple and they never bothered Him, yet here in the darkness the enemy came to Him with weapons.  Mobs are a scary thing, they incite people to do things that they would not normally do.  Even when it looks like the enemy has the upper hand, trust in God.  There is a plan that we probably will never know on this side of heaven.

Saturday, May 11, 2013


I was listening to a song late last night and hear the word compassion.  It is a common word heard in Christianity, but I started to break down the words within the word.  It was one of those light bulb moments, I was so excited that I wanted to call someone.  Who do you call in the middle of the night to talk about a word?  Compassion, I don't think I ever realized the words within (comp, compass, pass, passion).  When I started to look up what each word means I was so amazed. 


Compassion: feelings of deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, strong desire to alleviate suffering.

Compass: instrument to determine direction, the perimeter of an area, space with limits, proper limits

Pass: to omit the usual or regular payment, move past, to cause or allow to go through or beyond a gate, barrier, etc; to go across or over; cross, to endure, complete successfully, complete, transcend

Comp: service provided free of charge to specially chosen recipients

Passion: powerful or compelling feeling

To combine them you get: A powerful feeling of deep sympathy to alleviate suffering by providing free of charge an instrument to determine proper limits to live within and show us true North, which you will then pass beyond the gate successfully!  Can you see why I was so excited? 

Some of the compassion bible verses:
  • Exodus 22:27 social responsibility
  • Exodus 33:19 God has compassion on those He chooses
  • Exodus 34:6 God is gracious
  • Deut. 13:17 turn from evil to receive compassion
  • Deut. 33:3 God will restore you
  • 2 Kings 13:23 God shows compassion on the oppressed
  • 2 Chron. 30:9 God will never turn away from us
  • Neh. 9:17 God is slow to anger
  • Neh. 9:19 God will not abandon us
  • Neh. 9:27 God delivered His people from the enemy
  • Neh. 9:28 God is faithful to save us
  • Psalm 51:1 His compassion blots out our transgressions
  • Psalm 86:15 He is abounding in love and faithfulness
  • Psalm 103:13 a Father showing love to His children
  • Psalm 112:4 compassion is a light in the darkness
  • Isaiah 30:18 God longs to show us compassion, He is justice
  • Isaiah 49:10 God guides us
  • Isaiah 49:13 He has compassion on afflicted people
  • Isaiah 49:15 God doesn't forget us
  • Isaiah 51:3 He will restore our ruins
  • Isaiah 54:10 covenant of peace
  • Lam. 3:22 His love never fails
  • Mal. 3:17 we are His treasured possession
  • Mark 8:2 He will meet our needs
  • Luke 15:20 He ran to us with love
  • Eph. 4:32 we are to forgive others
  • Col. 3:12 give compassion away, be kind, and patient
  • 1 Peter 3:8 be humble
"Compassion will cure more sins than condemnation."    Henry Ward Beecher

"A religious man is a person who holds God and man in one thought at one time, at all times, who suffers harm done to others, whose greatest passion is compassion, whose greatest strength is love and defiance of despair."    Abraham J. Heschel

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Luke 22:24-38

v. 24-30 "Also a dispute arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest.  Jesus said to them, 'The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors.  But you are not to be like that.  Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves.  For who is greater, the one who is at the table or the one who serves?  Is it not the one who is at the table?  But I am among you as one who serves.  You are those who have stood by Me in My trials.  And I confer on you a kingdom, just as my Father conferred one on me, so that you may eat and drink at My table in My kingdom and sit on thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel'"

Jesus just got done saying that He was going to die and that one of them was going to betray Him.  So what did the disciples talk about next?  Which one of them was the greatest!  This is human nature to want to be at the top and ignore what is important.  We think how silly that they were being so selfish, they were just being like us.  They didn't seem to understand what Jesus was about to do.  What are you major concerns today?  When you look back 20 years from now will they seem like they were that big or such a small piece of life compared to God's kingdom.  Our world structure is very different from God's structure.  The greatest among us should be the least.  Jesus was setting an example for us to follow.  We are to serve others as Jesus would if He were here.  There are many leaders who let power go to their head.  They live in luxury and there is severe poverty in the streets.  Some kings in ancient times called themselves benefactors, there were many who did not live up to that title.  Jesus said that He conferred on them His kingdom.  Confer means to bestow upon as a gift, favor, or honor.  He has given us entrance to His home.  Will you accept the invitation?

"Where humility should have abounded ambition intruded."

Let us copy our Lord:
  • in cheerfully choosing to fulfill the most lowly offices
  • in manifesting great lowliness of spirit and humility
  • let self-sacrifice be the rule of existence
  • in gladly bearing injustice rather than avenge ourselves or grieve others
  • in selecting that place in which we receive least, and give most
                                                                                                                         Spurgeon's Sermon Notes

v. 31-37 Jesus predicts Peter's denial.  "Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat.  But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail.  And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers."  Peter replied, "Lord, I am ready to go with You to prison and to death."  Jesus answered, "I tell you, Peter, before the rooster crows today, you will deny three times that you know Me."  Then Jesus asked, "When I sent you without purse, bag or sandals, did you lack anything?"  They replied that they lacked nothing.  Jesus told them, "But now if you have a purse, take it, and also a bag; and if you don't have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one.  It is written: 'And He was numbered with the transgressors', and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in Me.  Yes, what is written about Me is reaching its fulfillment."

As I recall there are only a few times in the bible that some one's name is said more than once, what an emphasis!  Satan asked permission to sift Peter as if he was wheat.  Do you see?  Satan had to ask permission.  When we are under God's protection then the enemy has to ask permission.  If we are not under God then he does not need to ask, he will just go about his plan of destruction.  To sift the wheat you have to loosen the chaff from the grain.  In those days you put the grain on a stone floor and you beat it with a flail or had oxen crush it.  This is what the enemy wants to do to you.  He does not just want to separate you from God, he wants to annihilate you.  The definition of annihilate: to reduce to utter ruin or nonexistence; destroy utterly, to destroy the collective existence or main body of; wipe out, to annul; make void, to defeat completely; vanquish.  A flail is a wicked looking tool.  It looks like a stick with different implements on the end; chains, spiked ball, or heavy wood.  They were also used for war. 

After Peter denied Jesus he would become a powerful leader.  After we mess up and turn back to God that is when we are the most powerful.  Only then we will know what depths we sunk and how far God came down to get us.  Peter said he was ready for the ultimate sacrifice, yet he was not ready.  Jesus told him that he would deny Jesus three times.  How could Peter deny Jesus, you might be wondering.  I don't know how many times or years I denied Jesus so I know how Peter felt.  Judas and Peter both betrayed and denied Jesus, but only one repented.  There is always hope to change.  Jesus told the disciples that after He left they would need to be prepared.  They would face hatred and persecution and to be ready by having a purse (money), bag (supplies) and sword (a good visual for the trials they would face in the future).

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Luke 22:14-23

v. 15-19 Jesus told the disciples that He was eager to dine with them before He suffered.  "For I tell you, I will not eat it again until it finds fulfillment in the kingdom of God.  After taking the cup, He gave thanks and said, 'Take this and divide it among you.  For I tell you I will not drink again of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.'  And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, 'This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.'"

The lamb's blood saved the Jews when they were in Egypt and the angel of God passed over their homes.  Jesus' blood spilled out in order to save all people from the penalty of sin.  If you do not know Him then how could you remember Him?  This is supposed to be done daily, every time we eat we should remember Him.  This also implies that there is a tendency to forget.  It is so easy to get swept up in the cares of the world, then God is only a whisper in our lives which can fade away completely.  When we eat food for our body we should think of Him since He is food for our soul.

"It is the very nature of love to want to be remembered." Dr. Stanford

"In remembrance of Me."  We are to remember not so much His doctrines, or precepts, as His person.  Remember what He was, what He is, what He will be.  Remember the Lord Jesus at this Supper:
  • as the trust of your hearts
  • as the object of your gratitude
  • as the Lord of you conduct
  • as the joy of your lives
  • as the Representative of your persons
  • as the Rewarder of your hopes
                                                                                                                         Spurgeon's Sermon Notes

v. 20-23 Jesus said to the disciples, "This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.  But the hand of him who is going to betray Me is with mine on the table.  The Son of Man will go as it has been decreed, but woe to that man who betrays Him.  They began to question among themselves which of them it might be who would do this."

In the Old Testament people had to kill an animal to make a sin offering.  Jesus tells us that there is a new covenant because He was dying for our sins.  Jesus told the men that one of them would betray Him.  Wonder what was going on in Judas' mind, did he think it wasn't actually him or did he go over the reasons to justify his actions.  I don't know, but what I do know is that the skill in which the enemy will invade someone seems flawless.  People can lie to your face and show no sign of being nervous.  That is sad and scary all at the same time.  Do not think that just because someone has a Christian label that they can't be used by the enemy.  The devil uses many in the fold to drive others away.  Jesus was saying that He was going to go along with God's plan, but woe to the one who betrayed Him.  Woe in the bible is never good.  When you see it be sure to pay extra attention.  The warnings He gives are to help us to not go down the same road as those in the past.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Luke 22:7-13

v. 7-13 "Jesus sent Peter and John, saying: 'Go and make preparations for us to eat the Passover.'"  The disciples asked where they should go to prepare it and Jesus replied, "As you enter the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you.  Follow him to the house that he enters, and say to the owner of the house, 'The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?'  He will show you a large upper room, all furnished.  Make preparations there.  They left and found things just as Jesus had told them.  So they prepared the Passover."

The Passover meal included a sacrificial lamb because of the association of when the Jews were trying to leave Egypt they were to kill a lamb and paint it's blood on the door frame of their houses.  When the angel of God saw the blood it would pass over the house and no harm would come to them.  The disciples had to prepare the meat for food and get everything ready for the meal.  Usually women would go to get water so this man carrying a jar of water would have been very easy to spot. Jesus told the men exactly what was going to happen.  Sometimes He is exact and sometimes vague in letting us know things.  Either way we should have the same faith that He is in charge. 

Several years ago I started to pray for my husband's job.  His work was shutting down soon and I felt like I was supposed to pray that he would be back to work by the next February (this started around Feb/Mar 2010).  Sometimes I feel like the Holy Spirit will give me something to pray for and I know that I should pray even if it sounds impossible.  For a long time he kept telling me rumors at work or from coworkers.  Many thought that the plant here was going to be shut down for good, I knew that it was not going to be.  I ignored those rumors and said that God was in charge and I believed it completely.  The company shut down and he had to go to another plant to work and his report date was the last day of February 2011.  I was not surprised at that, but I was surprised that he had to go to TX for 7 months.  You see I prayed both for work in February and that he would be transferred to KY so that he was close to us.  I wanted KY and did not get that from the Holy Spirit.  So off to TX he went, the company then told him that he had to go to another plant for 6 more months after TX.  He got sent to KS and I wasn't sure of when he was actually going to be back since the company was not letting them know a date for coming back.  April 2012 was put on my heart and I prayed with faith that he would be back before the end of April.  His last work day was the end of April, but he took vacation to see us sooner.  This might seem small, but to our family it was big.  He was gone for 13 months which was hard on all of us.  I know that God was working in this situation the entire time.  He did not get the locations he wanted, but I knew the time frame and completely gave it to God.  It was stressful, but I had such an overwhelming sense of peace because I knew God was watching over us even if I did not understand the reasons. 

We do not have to know the why, just the Who.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Luke 22:1-6

v. 1-6 "Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread, called the Passover, was approaching, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking for some way to get rid of Jesus, for they were afraid of the people.  Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve.  And Judas went to the chief priests and the officers of the temple guard and discussed with them how he might betray Jesus.  They were delighted and agreed to give him money.  He consented, and watched for an opportunity to hand Jesus over to them when no crowd was present."

Jews from all over the Roman empire would gather in Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread.  The religious leaders were trying to get rid of Jesus and knew that the more people around the harder it would be.  They feared the people, not God.  They could justify murder in this case, yet would have felt no compassion for others who would do the same.  Satan entered Judas, this seems as if Judas had no control of his actions.  We are all responsible for the choices we make even if demonic forces are at work in us.  Judas had a choice to make, and he choose evil.  Why did Satan enter him and not one of the other disciples?  Judas was already going down a bad path.  Judas was in charge of the money for Jesus' ministry and he took money for himself.  John 12:6 "He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag he used to help himself to what was put into it."  Maybe Judas thought that since Jesus was talking about dying and not setting up a kingdom to overtake Rome that his work had been for nothing and he wanted to be on what he thought was the winning side. 

When we are weak in an area the enemy will come to try to get us to compromise.  Compromise is something that we usually don't see right away.  Compromise means: endanger, especially of reputation; suspicion, scandal, to bind by bargain or agreement.  To bind by bargain or agreement is a good picture of what happens when we compromise, we will be bound up with deceit.  The enemy sneaks in and we start to compromise over time so slowly that to us it doesn't appear to be a problem.  Do you have areas that you are compromising in?  I am trying to work on mine so that the enemy does not get a foothold.  Jesus knew that Judas was stealing and going to betray Him and did not say anything to him.  Why didn't Jesus stop Judas from betraying Him?  He was supposed to be betrayed, this is something that had to happen.  The leaders were delighted that they had a way to get rid of Jesus without it looking like they had anything to do with it.  Jesus had to be betrayed by someone close.  Psalm 41:9 "Even my close friend, whom I trusted, he who shared my bread, has lifted up his heel against Me." 

Friday, May 3, 2013

Luke 21:20-38

v. 20-24 Jesus said, "When you see Jerusalem being surrounded by armies, you will know that its desolation is near.  Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, let those in the city get out, and let those in the country not enter the city.  For this is the time of punishment in fulfillment of all that has been written.  How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers!  There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people.  They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations.  Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled." 

"The times of the Gentiles began with Babylon's destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. and the exile of the Jewish people.  Israel was no longer an independent nation but was under the control of Gentile rulers."                                                                                                                                      NIV notes

During the time Jesus was alive Israel was controlled by the Roman empire.  In 70 A.D. a Roman general destroyed the city, which is what Jesus was talking about in these scriptures.  Jesus was also saying that the domination of God's people by His enemies will continue until He says it will end. 

v. 25-28 Jesus said, "There will be signs in the sun, moon and stars.  On the earth, nations will be in anguish and perplexity at the roaring and tossing of the sea.  Men will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken.  At that time they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.  When these things begin to take place, stand up and life up your heads, because your redemption is drawing near." 
This picture of the future is gloomy and can cause fear.  We are not to fear because now until the end has been written already and God is in control.  We think that the natural disasters are bad now, I think that we have no clue to the massive forces that are going to be at work when this is happening.  I can not even imagine what it would be like to see Jesus coming back in a cloud!  When you believe, you have faith that you will be taken care of because you are on the winning side.  Jesus does not tell us to cower in fear when we see these things.  We are supposed to stand up and lift our heads to focus on God.

v. 29-33 Jesus said, "Look at the fig tree and all the trees.  When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near.  Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is nearI tell you the truth, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.  Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away."  There will be great signs that will let us know that the time has come for Jesus to come back to earth.  I think that when Jesus says that this generation will not pass away I think He means all of us because these events have not come to pass completely. 

v. 34-38 Jesus tells of remaining watchful.  "Be careful, or your hearts will be weighted down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life, and that day will close on you unexpectedly like a trap.  For it will come upon all those who live on the face of the whole earth.  Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man."  Every day Jesus would teach in the temple then go out to spend the night on the hill called the Mount of Olives.  The people came early every day to hear him speak.

We are to be on guard always.  We do not know when the end will come and that means we are to be ready at any moment.  Do not let your mind be distracted with the issues of this world.  There are so many that worry about things that take their focus off of Him.  Everyone that is living during this time will be going through the same things.  If there is a massive flood I think that Christian's houses will be destroyed just like non-believers houses.  I believe this means that at this point not even Christians will be immune from the violent changes to the environment and the earth.  Although we are supposed to pray that we may be able to escape and stand before Jesus.  The few days between when He road into town on a donkey and his death He kept teaching.  We should do the right thing no matter what our circumstances.  Every night Jesus went away from the busy town to a quiet hill.  Sometimes getting away from a situation will give you rest and strength. 

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Luke 21:1-19

v. 1-4 "As He looked up, Jesus saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury.  He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins."  He told those with Him, "I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put in more than all the others.  All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on."  Jesus was in an area of the temple call the court of women.  This is where the treasury was supposed to be located.  There were boxes in which worshippers could deposit their temple tax and boxes for freewill offerings.  It sounds like she was giving a free will offering.  Widows did not have the means to go out and make a lot of money so Jesus was pointing out her great sacrifice to give the money that she was supposed to live on.  She gave willingly.  Jesus was not impressed with what the wealthy gave because it was out of their wealth, this woman gave out of sacrifice and obedience.  It is wonderful when wealthy people give a great amount of money, but they usually do not give so much that they have to severely cut back their lifestyle.  If those rich people put 10% of their money into the offering box they must have felt good.  How much more did this woman feel for putting in 100%?  The requirement by the law was 10% so anything over that would be more of a love offering.  If we think that just giving 10% will be a great accomplishment we resemble those rich people in the temple.  This does not just apply to money.  The gifts God has given should be shared with a free will not thinking it is some sort of obligation.  Are you using the gifts God gave you for only the 10% offering or are you going beyond? 

"Here, Jesus was admiring generous and sacrificial giving.  As believers, we should consider increasing our giving-whether of money, time or talents-to a point beyond convenience or comfort."                                                                                                                                   NIV notes

v. 5-19 The disciples were saying how beautiful the temple was and commented on the gifts that were being dedicating to God.  Jesus replied, "As for what you see here, the time will come when not one stone will be left on another, everyone of them will be thrown down."  They asked Jesus, "When will these things happen?  And what will be the sign that they are about to take place?"  Jesus replied, "Watch out that you are not deceived.  For many will come in My name, claiming, 'I am he,' and, 'The time is near.'  Do not follow them.  When you hear of wars and revolutions, do not be frightened.  These things must happen first, but the end will not come right away.  Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.  There will be great earthquakes, famines and pestilences in various places, and fearful events and great signs from heaven.  But before all this, they will lay hands on you and persecute you.  They will deliver you to synagogues and prisons, and you will be brought before kings and governors, and all on account of My name.  This will result in your being witnesses to them.  But make up your mind not to worry beforehand how you will defend yourselves.  For I will give you words and wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to resist or contradict.  You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives and friends, an they will put some of you to death.  All men will hate you because of Me.  But not a hair on your head will perish.  By standing firm you will gain life." 

The disciples were admiring the temple, but Jesus saw destruction in it's future.  Do not let looks deceive you.  The outside may be nice, but the inside could be rotten to the core.  The disciples wanted to know when these events would happen.  We would love to know when things were going to happen in our lives, but then how would we rely on God if that were the case.  Jesus did not tell them the time frame only that they were supposed to keep from being deceived.  There have been so many in history who thought they were Jesus and were only a puppet for the enemy.  We are not supposed to follow them.  The bible says that ALL will know when Jesus comes back so until then, disregard all others as false.  We are not to be scared when war or fighting is going on, we should turn to Him for comfort.  Until the end there will be war, the bible says this many times.  There will be great natural disasters around the world and fearful events, but Jesus says that there will be great signs from heaven.  That part is exciting, great signs from God!  Maybe those are to show us His love during those times of turmoil.  Jesus told the disciples what it would cost them to follow Him once He was gone.  He gave warning that people that follow Him will be betrayed by their others at some point in time.  If people turn on you because of Jesus then you are on the right path.  Jesus says that all men will hate us because we choose to follow Him.  Being a Christian in some places can result in death or prison.  This price is not too high because the alternative is unthinkable.  Being a Christian is hard sometimes, but I would rather go through some bad days with God than the best days without Him.  When Jesus said that not a hair on their heads would perish, He did not mean on earth, but through all of eternity.  If you stand tall against defiance then you will gain life. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Can you hear above the noise?

I'm sitting here watching a show called "Preachers' Daughters" and this young man said that he was doing things to fit in with his friends because he thought that if he was someone else he would be liked.  He called himself: weird, awkward and stupid.  It made my eyes start to water, I know exactly how that feels.  God loves us so much, but how can we hear when the world is screaming otherwise.  Parents, friends, teachers, even pastors may be shouting what is wrong with you, God is waiting for you just as you are.  There are so many of our youth who feel that way.  The enemy is running the greatest con in history.  If he can get you while you are young there is a good chance he will keep you forever.  The enemy a lot to times will use those closest to you.  The closer the person the more potential for greater lasting destruction.  I remember what it was like to be a teen and it is a very lonely place.  I thought how can God love me because of the things I have done?  So I just went on going deeper and deeper into a pit of darkness.  I can see why there are some in this world shouting on rooftops, they feel like their hearts will burst because their cup has to pour out with love.  I feel like if I could just cram this into people then they will really get it and feel His love.  This world is dark and angry, but God's love is a brilliant light that will not be extinguished.  If you feel this way I pray that you will have peace.  If there is a young person in your live I hope that you will lift them up in prayer and show they that they are worthy of love.  The only counter to hate is love.

Song - Beautiful Beautiful

When God comes into the picture He makes your life beautiful.  The problem is we usually don't see what He has done because we are seeing with our eyes instead of His.

Beautiful Beautiful by Francesca Battistelli

Don’t know how it is You looked at me
And saw the person that I could be
Awakening my heart
Breaking through the dark
Suddenly Your grace

Like sunlight burning at midnight
Making my life something so
Beautiful, beautiful
Mercy reaching to save me
All that I need
You are so
Beautiful, beautiful

Now there’s a joy inside I can’t contain
But even perfect days can end in rain
And though it’s pouring down
I see You through the clouds
Shining on my face


I have come undone
But I have just begun
Changing by Your grace

To here a sample go to: