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Great Day Addendum



As I read through the Matthew 5 this morning, which documents the beginning of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, it occurred to me how much I needed to read and hear the Beatitudes.

I think that sometimes we all need to be reminded of how blessed we are. No matter what we may be going through. No matter our stage in life or or economic position, we are blessed if we belong to Jesus... if we are seeking Him first in our lives... then no matter what we might face or might be dealing with, we are blessed.

To me, the other cool part about the Beatitudes is what it say we should be like to be blessed:

Poor in spirit ~ God blesses those who realize their need for Him.
Mourn ~ Allow yourself time to mourn and heal, relying on Him for your strength
Meek ~ God blesses those who are gentle and humble (Meek doesn’t mean wimp) 
Hunger and thirst for righteousness ~ and justice for all
Merciful ~ Showing mercy and grace toward others like we have been shown mercy and grace
Pure in heart ~ clean hands and pure hearts, not lifting our souls to another
Peacemakers ~ Those who work for peace in our wold, in our nations, in our communities, in our families, in our lives
Persecuted ~ Blessed are those who are persecuted because they truly live for God

Not that we want to live in some of these ways (I would pass on persecuted when it is within my control), but when we are faced with such thing, how do we act and react... and who do we seek first?

Be blessed... Keep the Faith... Carpe Diem

“Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.
And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” - Matthew 5:1-19 ESV

Blind See

Blind See

“So they drew near to the village to which they were going. He acted as if he were going farther, but they urged him strongly, saying, “Stay with us, for it is toward evening and the day is now far spent.” So he went in to stay with them. When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed and broke it and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened, and they recognized him. And he vanished from their sight. They said to each other, “Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the Scriptures?” And they rose that same hour and returned to Jerusalem. And they found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, saying, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread. - Luke 24:28-35 ESV

There are many instances in the Bible where Jesus made the blind see. By speaking or touching, or even making mud and packing it on ones eyes, the blind began to see.

I can only imagine how they must have felt. From darkness to light. From nothing to the abundance of color and wonder and amazement.

In today’s passage, we see another kind of blindness and restored sight.

On the road to Emmaus, a couple of followers of Jesus began talking and walking with another man who is also walking their direction. On their journey, they began talking with this man about all that they had seen and taken in over the past few days. They shared about Jesus and how they thought He was the Messiah. They shared of the healings and the stories they had heard and seen. They shared of His trial, the beatings, the crucifixion... and they shared the story of the women finding the grave empty and were told by an angel that Jesus was alive, had resurrected.

Then Jesus began sharing with them about himself and how the Scriptures had pointed to all that would happen and had to happen to Him.

I’m sure the men were fascinated and intrigued by the man’s insight and sharing. Yet, they were still blind to the fact that they were walking with Jesus. That is until they convinced Him to stop with them in Emmaus and eat. It was there that Jesus began to break the bread. It was there that the men’s eyes were opened and they realized that they had just spent the day walking and talking with Jesus.

And suddenly, Jesus vanished. Disappeared. Gone.

And the men questioned themselves, wondering “did not our hearts burn?” as He spoke with them.

I wonder how we would have reacted. I wonder if we would have known or seen that the man walking with us was Jesus.

I know in my all too busy world that I am too often blinded to what God is doing around me. Blind to the need and the hurting around me. Blind (and deaf) to what God is trying to teach me and show me in the Scriptures and in life.

And there are moments when I wonder if I had just met, dealt with, walked by, as the song says, “Jesus in Disguise.” Moments when I wondered if even my heart burned inside my chest, somehow how knowing that person was holy, was sent from above, was maybe even Jesus walking with me on the road to Emmaus.

O Lord, help us to see. Help the scales fall from our eyes so that we might see as you see and do as you do. Help us respond to the tugging and burning of our heart. O Lord, help us see you at work around us and go there and be a part of it. O Lord, give us courage, then, to tell our little part of the world about you - about who you are, what you have done, and how you have changed our lives. O Lord, let us see. Amen.

Keep the Faith... Carpe Diem



“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” - 1 Corinthians 1:18 NIV

“For the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than human strength.” - 1 Corinthians 1:25 NIV

Where my family and I live, it looks like Spring has finally sprung… even with the latest cold snap and cold rain.

Cars have been covered with pollen. Folks are sneezing and wheezing and rubbing their reddened eyes.

Yet, at the same time, there is a sense of renewal that only Spring can bring. Flowers are blooming, birds are singing and nesting, the sun seems to be shining brighter (and longer) and, at least at times, the sky is cloudless and the breeze is sweetly blowing.

Days like this past week and weekend were few and far between in the Winter. But in the Spring, despite the pollen, in spite of the Spring Showers that blow in from time to time, there is this sense of renewal, new life, a new day.

Similar to a life a with Jesus. Renewal, new life, a new day. Sins forgiven and blown away by the breeze, washed a way by the redeeming showers. The sun shining and spurring rejuvenation. A new dawn. A new day. Jesus.

Today, let’s be reminded that God’s Not Dead. Reminded that His evidence surrounds us. The Spring serving as finger prints of His creation… the multicolored flowers, blue sky and greening landscape evidence of His creativity… the sunshine a reminder of His life giving voice.

The spring life reminding us of the joy of The Resurrection. Jesus leaving the tomb - Victorious! Arising as the flowers once again emerge from the ground.

God’s Not Dead - He is Risen! He Is Risen indeed!

His Spirit alive in all who believe. His evidence surrounding us as we live and breathe.

Keep The Faith… Carpe Diem



“When it was evening, he reclined at table with the twelve. And as they were eating, he said, “Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me.” And they were very sorrowful and began to say to him one after another, “Is it I, Lord?” He answered, “He who has dipped his hand in the dish with me will betray me. The Son of Man goes as it is written of him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for that man if he had not been born.” Judas, who would betray him, answered, “Is it I, Rabbi?” He said to him, “You have said so.”” - Matthew 26:20-25 ESV

We often talk about Peter’s denial. We often will read where Jesus predicted Peter’s denial. We read about the the rooster’s crow after the third denial. We will even take time to read how Jesus forgave & reinstated Peter (Feed my sheep).

However, on rare occasion do we spend much time on Judas Iscariot, the Betrayer.

We forget that Judas was one of the 12 that Jesus chose to be His disciples. He was the only non-Galilean. He was treasurer of the group and we know that greed was an issue for him. We don’t know a whole lot else about him.

It may have been confusion about what Jesus’ actual mission was. He could’ve been forcing Jesus hand to finally rebel against the Roman empire and be the “Warrior Messiah” that so many expected Him to be/become. Judas motives are not clear.

However, we do know that Judas allowed his desires (money, power...) to put him in a position where Satan could manipulate him.

Judas spent nearly every day and every hour for three years of his life with Jesus. Yet, he never knew Him as Savior. Never knew nor understood the hope, peace, grace, love, forgiveness that He brought to a dark world.

Our churches are filled with many who have grown up in the church, attending Sunday School, attending church events, giving tithes and offerings, maybe even taking leadership roles. Yet, they have never accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior. Have never asked Him into their hearts or lives. They attend but have not known Him as Lord, nor understood His mission and the hope, peace, grace, love and forgiveness that He brings.

Going deeper, I have come to understand that I too have the ability to allow my desires to get in the way of my relationship with Jesus.

It’s far too easy to put Him on a shelf or ask Him to stay behind as I go chase my goals and dreams... or my desires for the moment.

Peter denied Jesus. The rest of the Disciples abandoned Jesus. Judas betrayed Jesus.

What would you call what I do... what we do?

Denial... Abandonment.... even Betrayal?

Jesus forgave Peter and the rest of the disciples just like He forgives us when, in brokenness, we ask Him for forgiveness

Jesus would’ve forgiven Judas, if Judas had given Jesus the opportunity.

He did not.

Come to Jesus, the risen Savior... the forgiving Lord.

Keep the Faith... Carpe Diem

The Stolen Cell Phone - Return To Me

The Stolen Cell Phone - Return To Me

“Even now,” declares the Lord, “return to me with all your heart, with fasting and weeping and mourning.”
Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity.” - Joel 2:12-13 NIV

More than a few track seasons ago now, my daughter had her cell phone stolen. Suddenly all her pictures, contacts, and ability to communicate with her world was gone.

For me, it would have been anger-some, frustrating and disappointing. For a teenager, it was all that and then some. I felt bad for her and helped her investigate the situation and look for it (hoping it was just misplaced and not actually stolen.)

With modern technology, the phone was useless for the “new owner”. It was locked down and rendered incapable of usage. Nothing good could come from it except for maybe using the parts or the case.

And… I felt bad/sad for the one who did the stealing.

So much so, that I sent the phone a text message asking for them to return the phone. Knowing the message would come across the screen if they looked at it before it was completely shutdown. The message reminding them that God knew. And God would forgive. And the rightful owner would forgive and forget if the phone were returned.

In today’s passage, God is saying much the same to the people of Joel’s era.

The message is meant for us today as well... Return to God.

Instead of worrying and rending our clothing, we must rend our hearts. We must inspect our hearts and return them to God. Over time, we have allowed our hearts to be slowly taken by the world. Tempted by the enemy. Even taken by our own fleshly desires. Yet, God reminds us again and again to “return to Me.”

He wants us to return our hearts to Him. He wants us to return to Him with all that we are for He is gracious and compassionate and loving and slow to anger... He is worthy of our praise and our worship. He is worthy and able.

He stands and waits with the open arms of a loving Father.

“Return to Me.”

Keep the Faith... Carpe Diem

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