Friday, January 29, 2010
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Monday, January 25, 2010
Friday, January 22, 2010
The Gospel of John (20:7) tells us that the napkin, which was placed over
the face of Jesus, was not just thrown aside like the grave clothes.
The Bible takes an entire verse to tell us that the napkin was neatly
folded, and was placed separate from the grave clothes.
Early Sunday morning, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the
tomb and found that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance.
She ran and found Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus
loved. She said, 'They have taken the Lord's body out of the tomb, and I
don't know where they have put him!'
Peter and the other disciple ran to the tomb to see.. The other disciple
outran Peter and got there first. He stooped and looked in and saw the linen
cloth lying there, but he didn't go in.
Then Simon Peter arrived and went inside. He also noticed the linen
wrappings lying there, while the cloth that had covered Jesus' head was
folded up and lying to the side.
Was that important? Absolutely!
Is it really significant? Yes!
In order to understand the significance of the folded napkin, you have to
understand a little bit about Hebrew tradition of that day. The folded
napkin had to do with the Master and Servant, and every Jewish boy knew this
When the servant set the dinner table for the master, he made sure that it
was exactly the way the master wanted it..
The table was furnished perfectly, and then the servant would wait, just out
of sight, until the master had finished eating, and the servant would not
dare touch that table, until the master was finished.
Now if the master were done eating, he would rise from the table, wipe his
fingers, his mouth, and clean his beard, and would wad up that napkin and
toss it onto the table.
The servant would then know to clear the table. For in those days, the
wadded napkin meant, 'I'm done'.
But if the master got up from the table, and folded his napkin, and laid it
beside his plate, the servant would not dare touch the table,
The folded napkin meant, 'I'm coming back!'
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Monday, January 18, 2010
Friday, January 15, 2010
Thursday, January 14, 2010
I Just Couldn’t Let Him Go
I walked onto the red stained deck of my workplace and was immediately greeted by the laughter of thirty energetic kindergarteners and thought it was going to be an ordinary day. I entered the adjacent playground and locked eyes with one of our “problem kids.”
This was no ordinary day.
Upon hearing me discipline him for misuse of the facilities, he screamed “Shut Up! I don’t care” and scurried to the corner of the slide. I had heard this broken record so many times, but today enough wwas enough. I leaned over and met his stare. I firmly stated “ I don’t want you to say ‘shut up’ to me anymore.” Before I could even say another word, he hurled a handful of woodchips at my face, one of which almost landed in my eye!
I’d seen this episode played out a million times. Same story. Same ending. Until today.
In that moment, I had a choice to make. I could either allow this behavior to continue and endanger the welfare of myself, the other staff, and 30 other innocent little bystanders, or I could change it. So I did.
Crossing his arms in front of him, I firmly and quickly dragged him to the edge of the fence. He kicked me, screamed “ You freak!” and tried to break free. With mud- caked pants and bruised legs, I continued to hold onto him.
I looked at him, and I immediately realized the reason for my restraint. I saw right past his tear –filled eyes into his soul. I saw fight after fight that he has endured and the fear that comes with family instability. I saw the baggage and self- rejection that was all too familiar. I saw a scared little boy, grasping for whatever attention he can muster out of anyone who will take a moment to care. Most importantly, I looked beyond him and saw an all too familiar face: mine.
It is the same in my relationship with Christ. When I am in sin, I struggle and try to break free from God’s convicting grip on my heart. In His loving grace and mercy, He never loosens His grip. “Endure hardship as discipline. God is treating you as sons. For what son is not disciplined by his father? If you are not disciplined ( and everyone undergoes discipline) then you are illegitimate children and not true sons… No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have trained by it.”( Hebrews 12:7-12 NIV).
In the face of my sin, I wriggle and squirm , hoping for an opportunity to run away and hide. God releases me, for a short time, to allow me room to breathe in my free will. When I come running back, His tight grip turns into a loving embrace, full of love and grace. I am so happy God has never loosened His grip on me completely, no matter how hard I struggle. I’m also glad that when I return to Him, looking for those arms of grace, ( and I will need them again), I am assured that they will be waiting there for me once again.
I couldn’t let him go. Because I may be the only Jesus this child ever sees.
I patiently waited as he slowly regained his composure . When he was calm, I let him go. I had done all that I could do for him in that moment. It was time to let him go. I loosened my grip, and released him. I not only released him from my grip, but also into the heavenly Father’s care so that God could do only what He could do with him.
I thought it was an ordinary day. But, instead I taught a little boy about the unending and unflinching grace of Jesus. All because I just couldn’t let him go.
Wednesday, January 13, 2010
The last thing I noticed in this movie was that the doctor, and the nurse and the orderlies, never gave up hope, even when those around them already had. Like in the initital scenes, the doctors care more about where the salt is on the table than about the diagnosis of these patients. It also would have been easy for the patients to give up too. They knew no one saw anything special in them. That their situation wasn’t going to get any better. Yet, they still believed that if this Dr. could help them, they had a shot at getting better. Turn to John 11:17-27. - On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. 18Bethany was less than two milesa]" style="font-size: 0.75em; line-height: 0.5em; ">[a] from Jerusalem, 19and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother.20When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.
On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. 18Bethany was less than two milesa]" style="font-size: 0.75em; line-height: 0.5em; ">[a] from Jerusalem, 19and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother.20When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.
21"Lord," Martha said to Jesus, "if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask."
23Jesus said to her, "Your brother will rise again."
24Martha answered, "I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day."
25Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; 26and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?"
27"Yes, Lord," she told him, "I believe that you are the Christ,b]" style="font-size: 0.75em; line-height: 0.5em; ">[b] the Son of God, who was to come into the world."
A different verse used on the concept of hope than you are probably used to seeing. But, to me, it is one of the best. Here is the hope, don’t blink or you’ll miss out. It is in 2 words in verse 22. The words are EVEN NOW. Even when I don’t understand what’s going on. Even when the situation isn’t getting any better. Even when I did everything you asked, and you were my friend and you didn’t do what I asked of you or expected of you. EVEN NOW I know who you are. Not only do I know who you are, I believe it. I think we can all take a lesson from Martha and her blind obedience to Christ.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
The second thing I observed from this movie is that the men and women could not move by themselves. But, as the nurse says, they “ borrowed her will” or the will of the tennis ball to help them move. They literally picked up the traits of the ball or the nurse, or the music, etc. to trigger that reaction. Continue in Colossians with me to Colossians 3:12
Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, humility, patience,and gentleness.
These people make the choice to respond to the moving object, or the music, etc. Their response is positive. As the orderly said, it wasn’t just anything, it was whatever “moved them.” If we have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us, isn’t that enough to “ move us?” What if we allowed the Holy Spirit to continue His work to refine us to become like the father ? How do we allow the Holy Spirit to work? Make a choice. Make a choice to wrap yourself in compassion, gentleness, humility, etc. Make that an automatic response. It will become natural to you and a habit after a while. Everyday we choose our clothes. We choose our shirt, pants, socks, shoes, etc. in colors that coordinate and make an impression to the world around us. In fact, our clothing makes a statement about who we are. We want the world to be impressed by us. What if we choose to make the impression from what is in our hearts, not what is on our bodies? I know many people who are very beautiful and attractive. But, when they speak and what comes out is pride, or arrogance, or ignorance, or filth, or insecurity, it makes that person less attractive to me. The bible is right “ From out of the heart, the mouth speaks.” If we believe in a God who loves people as He loves Himself, then we need to act and speak like He is a loving, gracious God.
Tomorrow I will wrap up my observation of this stellar film.
Monday, January 11, 2010
Has anyone ever seen the movie Awakenings? For those of you who have never seen it, it stars Robin Williams and Robert Deniro. It is a true story of Oliver Sacks work with patients who suffered from an encephalitis epidemic in the 1920s. In the movie, Robin Williams plays fictional doctor Malcolm Sayer whose dedication allowed him to find a temporary cure to wake these patients from their catatonic states. This disease had robbed these patients of their livelihoods. Everything in their lives were stripped away from them in a moment, and now these patients are trying to rebuild their lives. Although this movie is a bit dated ( it was released in 1990), it always inspires me that one person’s courage and determination helped others to regain their lives back.
There are a couple of things I observed as I reflected on this movie as a whole. The first thing I noticed is that the doctor, the nurse, played by Julie Kavner, and the orderlies believed that these people ‘s lives could be more than what they currently living. They believed they were not living to their fullest potential and worked tirelessly to enhance that potential. But, their belief didn’t just stay belief. It translated into action, It was through the actions of these select people, that caused the breakthrough medication that these people needed. Read Colossians 1:9-10.A few things about this verse. One is we always expect that the next Bible study, or if I do a