John 11:33-35 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. “Where have you laid him?” he asked. “Come and see, Lord,” they replied. Jesus wept.
Thursday night I held a grieving mom who had only hours before received news that her 25 year old son had taken his life. We cried together that night, because there were no words. The entire ordeal, just didn’t make sense. In times like this, my comfort comes from Jesus. He understands. Jesus experienced grief when his friend Lazarus died. He struggled with the pain Mary and Martha were feeling. So this week as obituaries are written, pictures and songs are chosen along with all the additional arrangements, I will lean on Jesus to walk with me through the upcoming difficult days that just don’t make sense.
One more thing for any of you out there feeling desperate….. It is never that bad. Things will get better. And, YOU ARE LOVED!
(this weeks photo was taken by my daughter, Hannah)
Mark 10:13-16 People were bringing little children to Jesus to have him touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw this, he was indignant. He said to them, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. I tell you the truth, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” And he took the children in his arms, put his hands on them and blessed them.
Last week when visiting my parents, my mom jumped up from her recliner to announce “I have something to give you”. She went to their entry closet and pulled out the wool overcoat my Grandpa wore to church every Sunday! All of my childhood memories from the farm in South Dakota flooded back into my mind…. Riding the horses Maisie & Daisy, helping with chores, Sandy their St. Bernard, large meals together around the kitchen table, going into town on Sunday morning for church, and time spent on Grandpa’s lap. Those are my most fond memories of my childhood. When we were at Grandpa & Grandma’s house, they gave me their undivided attention. They were interested in my life and listened to what I had to say. They loved me unconditionally. They were always there for me.
Grandpa’s coat is so much more than a wool overcoat. It is a reminder to me of the security I felt when the arm in that coat wrapped me in love. Jesus longs to do the same for his children. Bring the children to Jesus to be wrapped in his love. He will give his undivided attention, is interested in our lives, will listen to what we have to say and will love us unconditionally.
Allow the loving arms of Jesus wrap you in his love this week!
John 15:1-6 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much faith; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.”
Our Minnesota town had a nasty storm roll through a week ago. City employees spent over a week cleaning up downed branches and debris from the streets. There is no way that much pruning and removing of weak branches could have happened without God’s help. No one was injured in the storm and the trees are actually healthier without the weight of the excess branches. Today the city boulevards look more beautiful than they did the beginning of July!
What branches in your life need pruning? Allow the gardener to prune the areas that are weighing you down. How do you react when a storm rolls through your life? Remain close to the vine, who will provide the strength, nourishment and stability you need to ride out any storm. You will make it through the eye of the storm stronger and more beautiful than when it began!
Romans 12:21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
This past week our world has been filled with evil. So many senseless acts of violence that are impossible to understand. Jesus instructs us to overcome evil with good. Good is not defined by the color of our skin or the vocation we choose. Good is in the way we treat others. How can you be the good in the world this week?
Believe there is good in the world.
Galatians 5:13 – You, my sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love.
Freedom is a gift.
Freedom to live in the United States of America.
Freedom from the old testament law’s authority.
Freedom to participate in the work of the Spirit.
Freedom to worship in the church of your choice.
Freedom to witness to others.
Freedom to serve in love.
Freedom to love one another.
John 7:33 Jesus said, “I am with you for only a short time, and then I go to the one who sent me.”
I just returned from a trip to Colorado where I visited our daughter at Colorado State University. I flew into Denver on an early morning flight, where I caught a shuttle to CSU in Fort Collins. The shuttle consisted of one other passenger who was only going half the distance, myself and the shuttle bus driver, Scott. I began visiting with Scott to find out he was celebrating his 39th wedding anniversary in August! He had moved to the Denver area from California where he retired from the police force ten years earlier to start up a new church. He had spent the night before doing prison ministry until 1:00am, went home where he napped until 3:00am so that he could make a couple round trips from Denver to Fort Collins with the shuttle bus before he went home to pack for a men’s Bible retreat in the mountains for the next 3 days. After hearing Scott’s story I was feeling guilty about wanting a few days away to write and relax. I asked Scott, how he found the energy to keep going. He told me there was a lot of work to do before he leaves this earth.
In today’s verse Jesus told the crowd, “I am with you for only a short time”. Our time here on earth is short. Only a blink in eternity. How will you spend your short time here on earth? Sort out the important and focus on that. Be diligent, like my shuttle driver Scott, to the work God has called you to do.
Luke 1:76-80 And you, my child, will be called a prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare the way for him, to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death to guide our feet into the path of peace.
And the child grew and became strong in spirit; and he lived in the desert until he appeared publicly to Israel.
We all have hopes and dreams for our children. Zechariah is filled with the Holy Spirit when he spoke of what his son John’s life would entail. As a new dad, I am sure he envisioned honor, praise and a lavish lifestyle for his new son who the angel had said would lead the way for the Lord. When in reality, John lived off the land in the desert until he was 30, and died a criminal’s death. What are your dreams for your children? Don’t be a road block for God to work in your child’s life. Pray that God use them in the way he intended and not as you dreamed.
Happy Father’s Day – especially to my incredible husband and father of our three children, who he continues to pray for daily.