Monday, January 31, 2011

beatitude blessings

These beatitiudes are not the goals or ideals to fulfill the requirements of the law so one can have citizenship in the Kingdom of God. No, this is the Kingdom of God breaking through time and space into human history, coming down from heaven to earth in the person and work of Jesus Christ, who brings all of the promises and blessings of God with Him.

These beatitudes from the beginning of Jesus Sermon on the Mount are blessings,
they are promises spoken to his disciples, to you and me today as a present reality.

These words from Jesus are so radical to us today precisely because they are not commands, exhortations, or encouragements to "become blessed." Instead they are a statement of fact - they are a picture of a world turned upside down by the kingdom of God, where those who mourn are comforted rather than abandoned or pitied, where those who hunger and thirst for righteousness are satisfied - not ignored or shouted down, where the meek inherit the earth instead of being ground into dust, where the poor in spirit are blessed simply because they know Jesus is their only hope.

For He is the One in whom all of God's blessings are given and all of God's promises come true.
He is the one who became meek and lowly and poor in spirit for us, He is the one who mourned over sin,
He is the one who was truly merciful and pure of heart, He is the one who hungered and thirsted for righteousness, He is the ultimate peacemaker who was persecuted in our place for righteousness sake.

Friday, January 28, 2011

the beatitudes

Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them, saying:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.      (Matthew 5)

Thursday, January 27, 2011

24 hour picture of the sky

Click for rollover

(from earth science photo of the day)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Friday, January 21, 2011

galilee of the gentiles

When Jesus heard that John had been put in prison, he withdrew to Galilee.  Leaving Nazareth, he went and lived in Capernaum, which was by the lake in the area of Zebulun and Naphtali—  to fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah:
 “The land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali,
   the Way of the Sea, beyond the Jordan,
   Galilee of the Gentiles—
 the people living in darkness
   have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death
   a light has dawned.”

  From that time on Jesus began to preach, 
“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven has come near.”

As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.”  At once they left their nets and followed him.

Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

the temptation of christ

In the wilderness, the devil tempted Jesus to seek his own glory. But Jesus refused this path in order to walk the way of the cross. He did this in the place of Israel,  who had failed God's test in the past. He did this in our place, because we have failed God's test as well. Jesus is our substitute who has defeated Satan for us, setting us free from sin, death, and the power of the devil.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

life sunday

LFL145BI 72 dpi

Why would anyone want to keep children from the arms of Jesus? The disciples seemed to be doing just that in Mark 10: 13-16. Perhaps they thought they were doing Jesus a favor. After all, people were always crowding around Him and now all these children? Give Jesus a break!
But Jesus was “indignant” with His disciples over this. These children were precious. They were the work of His hands, knit together in their mothers’ wombs. Jesus uses these as a picture of all who are vulnerable and in need. Just as we are completely dependent upon Jesus for life, so we are completely dependent upon Him for the new life of His Kingdom. Jesus does not want anyone turned away. He desires to welcome and bless everyone.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Monday, January 10, 2011

baptism of our lord

As we mark the Baptism of our Lord, we're reminded that we are marked in our Baptism as well.
As Jesus stands in the Jordan River in our place to begin His ministry, we remember that He took our place on the cross as well, to live our life and to die our death.  That's why you were marked with a cross in your Baptism, upon your forehead and upon your heart, to mark you as one of those claimed by Christ the crucified. And just as Jesus rose up out of the water, just as He rose up out of the grave, you will rise to newness of life as well.

Friday, January 7, 2011

the season of epiphany

Epiphany and the days to come lead us on a journey with Jesus to the beginning of Lent.

In these days following Epiphany, it is time for one remarkable Jesus-prompted surprise and delight after another. Our minds boggle and heads shake at the insightful words Jesus speaks. Our jaws drop in amazed wonder to see him exercise power over nature, bring wholeness to broken lives, and restore vitality where death once reigned. Fear and dread knot our stomachs as cosmic conflict erupts. But Christ speaks with authority, and all is at peace.

These days also remind us that Jesus came to spread the light of love of God to everybody. Therefore, Epiphany is a wonderful time for the church to focus in a special way on the Missio Dei—God’s mission in the world. Hearing and seeing our Savior at work, we long that he would call us to join him in bringing salvation and shalom to others. We jump at the chance when we hear him say, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men”.

Leaving the “holy huddle,” we go out into the neighborhoods, towns, and cities where we live to relate, listen, befriend, help, comfort, support, and share Good News with those around us in Jesus’ name, in the authority of his Kingdom, and in the power of his Spirit.

(from the internet monk)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Tomorrow is the day of Epiphany, January 6th. "Epiphany” means to appear or make manifest. 

In the eastern church Epiphany is the day they celebrate Christmas. In the west we celebrate Epiphany as the visit of the magi, those mysterious men who came from the east to worship Jesus and to present their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 

Epiphany is called the “Christmas of the Gentiles,” because the magi were the first Gentile worshippers of the Messiah. Epiphany is proof that the baby born of the virgin Mary is for all the world.  

They say wise men still seek him, but the saying should really be "Wise God still seeks foolish men".

Monday, January 3, 2011

what a difference a day makes

What a difference a day makes.

Too often in our world, the nice day before turns tragically into the terrible day after.

Like the three college students who were out on a weekend jaunt. After a fun-filled day,
they decided to go for an evening drive in the country. Finding themselves on an unfamiliar road,
they took a wrong turn, and mistakenly drove into a pond and drowned.

Or the professor who had been dean of a college for more than 20 years.
He had been the pinnacle of health. He walked miles every day, ate a vegetarian diet, and always had
a smile on his face. Then one day the doctor turned to him and told him that he had leukemia.
All of a sudden, everything changed,and he found himself standing on the edge, fighting for his life
with all that medicine and prayer could offer. What a difference a day makes.

There was a day before these events. A day with no thought of drowning. A day before “leukemia.”
A day of work, chores, dinner, and bills. A day spent with family and friends.
A day with no thoughts of eternity or heaven. No thoughts of meeting your maker or meeting your
doom. The assumption was that tomorrow would be pretty much just like today.
Not a second thought about any unexpected turn of events.

We all live in those days before. We are living them right now.
There was a day before Pearl Harbor Day. There was a day before 9-11.
There was a day before the employer said “lay offs.”
There was a day before the stroke, a day before the tests showed there was cancer.
We are living out those days before. We are living them out right now.
Some of us are doing, for the last time, what we think we will be doing twenty years from now.
Some of us are on the verge of a very different life, a life turned upside down.

Some pastors are preaching their last sermon, some parents are saying “I love you” to their children
for the last time. Some are spending their last day without the knowledge of God or the reality of
eternal judgement. The sobering fact is that sometimes tomorrow doesn't always give us a second
chance. There may be a different tomorrow on our schedule entirely. We just don’t know it today.

So who are you going to be today, tomorrow, in this new year, before you're compelled to be someone
else? Who are you going to be, and what are you going to do? What are you living for?
And what are you prepared to die for? How will you show forth who you are and what you believe?
Your life is an accumulation of what you believe to be true each and every day.

Well, here's your chance. It's a brand new day. 2011 is a whole new year. As you bask in the glow of Christmas and look forward to the light of Epiphany, here are a few things to consider for your new life in this new year..

Lay down your sin and take up the good news of forgiveness and salvation in Jesus.
Spend time with Him in His Word and in prayer every day.
Strive to live your life each day this new year as if the Gospel is really true.
Commit to fully living out your new life in Christ each and every day.
Let go of old grudges and any nagging guilt. Live your life determined to be useful and joyful.
Live each day in a such a way that, should all things change tomorrow, you will give witness to the
unshakeable and unchangeable truth that Jesus Christ is your Savior and Lord.

After all, the whole reason Jesus came on that first Christmas was to give you a new life.
He was born of a virgin so that He could grow up to be a man and stand in your place, to do what you
couldn't do for yourself, to live a perfect life and die a sacrificial death for you on the cross,
to pay the penalty for your sins, and on the third day rise again, so that all who believe in Him
may be raised to new life as well. Oh, what a difference a day makes!

He comes to make all things new - and that includes me and you.

We have His promise this new year that He is Immanuel - God with us. We have His promise that He will never leave us nor forsake us. We have His promise from Romans, that if God is for us, who can be against us? Who will separate us from God's love? Will sorrow, hardship, persecution, hunger, danger or sword? No, in all this we are overwhelming victors through Him who loves us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor rulers, nothing the present nor the future, nothing above or below, nothing in all creation can ever separate us from the love of God in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Thanks to Jesus, this is the day of the Lord's favor - today is the day of salvation. It is a day of grace and
favor. A day of celebration and new birth. It is a day the Lord has made - for you.

So, what should you do today?

Repent and believe the Gospel... Embrace the new life God gives you in Christ.
Forgive anyone who has wronged you, and ask anyone you have wronged to forgive you.
Share the Good News of Jesus with a neighbor.
Go see the friends you haven't seen for a long time.
Write the letters that you always wanted to write.
Tell your brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, how much you love them.
Don't delay or postpone anything that could bring joy into the lives of those around you..
These are the things you want to be doing, if you knew your time had come.

And every morning God in His grace chooses to give you, tell yourself this is a special day..
This is the day the Lord has made - I will rejoice and be glad in it.

It's a special day because it is one of the last days, one of the days of God's new creation,
one of the days of God's salvation in Christ.

The Lord is at hand - His coming is near - The night is nearly over - the day is almost here...
And on that day, all those who are in Christ will surely say - What a difference a day makes!