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It’s Monday…time to open our eyes…and see God!

54e14-jesus2bpraying

God, who am I?

The devotional thought of the day:

35 When Jesus heard that they had thrown him out, Jesus found him and said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” 36 He asked, “Who is the Son of Man, sir, so that I can believe in him?” 37 Jesus said to him, “You have seen him. The Son of Man is the one talking with you.” 38 He said, “Lord, I believe!” Then the man worshiped Jesus. 39 Jesus said, “I came into this world so that the world could be judged. I came so that the blind n would see and so that those who see will become blind. 40 Some of the Pharisees who were nearby heard Jesus say this and asked, “Are you saying we are blind, too?”
41 Jesus said, “If you were blind, you would not be guilty of sin. But since you keep saying you see, your guilt remains.”  John 9:35-41  NCV

Open our eyes Lord
We want to see Jesus
To reach out and touch Him
And say that we love Him
Open our ears Lord
And help us to listen
Open our eyes Lord
We want to see Jesus  (1)

445  If you abandon prayer you may at first live on spiritual reserves… and after that, by cheating.

The Pharisees struggled with this idea of Jesus healing a blind man. 

They had even more of a problem with this man showing them the obvious, that the one who healed them was the prophet promised by Moses, the One they were waiting for, the Messiah and Savior, not just of Israel, but the world. (they had trouble with that as wel!)

One of the earliest praise songs I can remember learning to play is in green above.  Simple lyrics, some might say too simple. They are a prayer we need to consider, to pray for ourselves, to teach others to pray.  

They are what Jesus is getting at, as he responds to the Pharisees, noting their blindness, a blindness so complete that they do not even realize they cannot see.  Some would read Jesus’ words as simply chastising the men, but that would overlook His love for them, and the mission He has been sent on by the Father. (Luke 4)  He is there to open the eyes of all the blind, the ones that cry out to him for healing, and those who don’t even know what it is like to see.  

If we only hear Him chastising them, as much as I hate to say it, we must realize that we are no better than them. We have become just like them.

My instinct is that it is then we have forgotten to love a life of prayer, a life not just studying about Jesus, but listening to Him, and realizing that we can tell Him that we love Him, that we adore Him.  We get judgmental, condescending and condemning when we’ve forgotten this, and yes it happens to all of us. 

We get spiritually dry, our reserves have been depleted, we’ve been overwhelmed, and in our dryness, justify and try to find comfort in our position, or our knowledge. We are better than them, whether they be those who are new to the Kingdom of God, or they are our neighbors, or our family, whoever is the one who reminds us that we cannot see God at the moment.

The blessing is that it doesn’t have to be that way.  Repentance isn’t far from us, and the opportunity to pray is always there.  You don’t have to take a number or remain on the on hold.  

God is with you… ready to cleanse and bless and comfort you and I

So Lord have mercy on us, and open our eyes… we need to see You!

(1)  A praise song by Bob Cull  1976

(2)  Escriva, Josemaria. Furrow (Kindle Locations 1975-1977). Scepter Publishers. Kindle Edition.

 

Have I Become What I Struggle Against?

Devotional Thought of the Day:
9  He told his next story to some who were complacently pleased with themselves over their moral performance and looked down their noses at the common people: 10  “Two men went up to the Temple to pray, one a Pharisee, the other a tax man. 11  The Pharisee posed and prayed like this: ‘Oh, God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, crooks, adulterers, or, heaven forbid, like this tax man. 12  I fast twice a week and tithe on all my income.’ 13  “Meanwhile the tax man, slumped in the shadows, his face in his hands, not daring to look up, said, ‘God, give mercy. Forgive me, a sinner.’ ” 14  Jesus commented, “This tax man, not the other, went home made right with God. If you walk around with your nose in the air, you’re going to end up flat on your face, but if you’re content to be simply yourself, you will become more than yourself.” Luke 18:9-14 (MSG)

For a legalist, spirituality is tantamount to saying, “I think the right way, live the right way, associate with the right people, read my Bible, pray, go to church, and avoid worldly ways; therefore I am spiritual.” This person might be a “good” person, live a straight and disciplined life, be a good friend and neighbor, and support the church and its ministries. But legalism is not true Christian spirituality, for in the end it looks to self to achieve a condition of spirituality by adhering to a predetermined set of rules and fixed doctrinal interpretations. It goes beyond what the Bible teaches and what the common tradition embraces.
Legalistic spirituality is not directly situated in God’s story of creation, incarnation, and re-creation. Legalistic spirituality is situated in derivative rules and doctrines determined by a particular cultural expression of the faith. This sort of spirituality, instead of contemplating the mystery of God’s vision and participating in the life purposed by God, measures a person’s spiritual state by the secondary rules and doctrines that ask: “Are you keeping the rules?” “Are you adhering to the doctrinal particulars espoused by this particular church?” Legalism focuses on the self and how well the self adheres to the group expectations.

As I read the Webber’s words, into my mind popped a number of legalists that I deal with, or have to deal with the consequences of their actions.  They frustrate the heck out of me, and to be honest, the consequences of their actions and their decisions scare me.  I’ve seen too many people give up on the church, and some even give up on God because of the legalism.

But as I re-read the words, I have to wonder, how often do I (and you can and perhaps should) turn into the very thing I struggle against, the same thing that frustrates me, the same thing that pisses me off.

Is it possible that I could become what Webber calls a legalist?   Have I become so antagonized by their actions that I justify myself in order to feel more righteous than those I can’t understand, or for that matter stand?

It is all too easy to become the Pharisee, to find the attitude inside myself that finds others less holy (usually those I catch doing that to others – but that doesn’t excuse or justify my sin)

As Webber says, I can be good, I can know all the right doctrines, I can express them fluently, but the moment I count out that to justify me, at least compared to them.

And that is the point, I stop comparing myself to Jesus, I stopped seeing my own faults, and therefore the need to cling to Jesus, who justify me and would justify them.  That’s what spirituality is to Webber, the reason he called the book the Divine Embrace.

It is there on the cross that I can find the peace I need, and the ability to love those that frustrate me, to realize that those who I find as legalistic I can find compassion for, and I can find the hope to not be legalistic.

For God is with us….. and therefore, there is hope!

Webber, Robert E. The Divine Embrace: Recovering the Passionate Spiritual Life. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2006. Print. Ancient-Future Series.

Raising Cain! A sermon on Genesis 4

Raising Cain
Gen 4:1-16

† In Jesus Name †

May the grace of God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ be heard in every part of you and transform your heart, your soul, your mind and your strength.

Raising Cain – What if….

As you look at this title and think back on the words from Genesis we heard read a few moments ago, I wonder what you are thinking.

I mean if I gave your “permission” to think about raising Cain, would you think I was encouraging you to do something evil?  To cause great trouble, to be rebellious, to behave ( as one person said) like loud protestors at some protest rally?

Or is there another option to raising Cain?

And what you do you think about Cain?  Is he another like Judas that is beyond redemption, that is condemned because of the evil he committed?  Do we write him off like Pharaoh, or like King Saul or Ahaz and that rotten women Jezebel?

Aren’t we glad that we certainly aren’t a sinner like that Cain…?

Or like that tax collector,

Are we more like that Pharisee than we want to admit, thanking God that we aren’t sinners like everyone else, picking our sins we are proud we didn’t commit and proud of the things we do that “prove we are righteous?”
Could it be that instead of encouraging riotous living, the idea of Raising Cain is about trying to see how God called Cain to repentance and offered him hope, and life?

When we can see God working in Cain’s life, it will give us hope, as we struggle in our brokenness, in the midst of this broken world?

Look at the chances!

One of the things I see in this passage is that God doesn’t easily give up on Cain.  Nor will he give up easily on us, and we need to know that.

But consider a few of these things.

As Cain is upset about the offerings, God comes to him and says,

“Why are you so angry?” the Lord asked Cain. “Why do you look so dejected? You will be accepted if you do what is right. But if you refuse to do what is right, then watch out! Sin is crouching at the door, eager to control you. But you must subdue it and be its master.”

And like Cain, God comes to us, as we are struggling and says similar things.  He tells us we are His, which we are accepted.  But Jesus also warned Peter about potential sin, and then Peter would describe Satan this way…

6  So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. 7  Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you. 8  Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour. 9  Stand firm against him, and be strong in your faith.. 1 Peter 5:6-9 (NLT)
Does that sound familiar?

God knows his heart, knows that Cain is being eaten up by the sin, by the jealousy, by the nature he inherited from his folks and made his own.

And as God prophesied – sin caught him, his anger and jealousy and attempted to devour him,

He killed his brother. He did something only God has the right to do, to take a life.

What happened next, he could never have foreseen.

Instead of God taking his life, he comes back to Cain, and calls him to repentance,

Afterward, the Lord asked Cain, “Where is your brother? Where is Abel?”

“I don’t know,” Cain responded. “Am I my brother’s guardian?”

10 But the Lord said, “What have you done? Listen! Your brother’s blood cries out to me from the ground!

As I read this, I had to ask, why does God ask where Abel is?  God is omniscient, isn’t He?  God asked the same question of Adam and Eve, where are you?  What have you done?

And of Peter on the beach, as Peter couldn’t get over denying Jesus three times, and three times Jesus asked, Simon Peter, “do you love me?”

We have to realize this; God didn’t give up on Cain.  He didn’t just take his life, as He should have. If God were only merciful and not just, he would have just taken Cain’s life.

But God cares for him, and for you and I when we fall into sin when we are trapped and in bondage.

Even when we realize we deserve to be punished for our sin and utter those words Cain did…

13 Cain replied to the Lord, “My punishment is too great for me to bear! 14 You have banished me from the land and from your presence; you have made me a homeless wanderer. Anyone who finds me will kill me!”

If we didn’t have a pharisaical bias towards Cain, would we hear this any differently? Would we notice that Cain added in something God didn’t say?

14 You have banished me from the land and from your presence;

God didn’t – he is still with Cain.  God is talking to Him.  God is with him, there, and Cain is in the very presence of God.

Whether we hear those words of Cain as complaining, or fear, or pleading for mercy, they are said to a God who is there, who is listening, who is both just and merciful…

Just as He heard us a few moments ago, when we confessed our sin, when we pleaded for God to show us grace…

Even as He did to Cain.

Look at the grace – and what it pictures

We don’t see it if we just skim the passage, but it is there,

15 The Lord replied, “No, for I will give a sevenfold punishment to anyone who kills you.” Then the Lord put a mark on Cain to warn anyone who might try to kill him.

 I think we usually see that mark as one of punishment – a stay away from this evil person.

But it is there to protect Cain, to let people know that he was under God’s protection, that (gulp) God was with him. That no one had the right to condemn him, no one had the right to punish him.  Just like the woman caught in adultery.

Just like the mark of our baptism,

3  Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient. We were misled and became slaves to many lusts and pleasures. Our lives were full of evil and envy, and we hated each other. 4  But—“When God our Savior revealed his kindness and love, 5  he saved us, not because of the righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He washed away our sins, giving us a new birth and new life through the Holy Spirit. 6  He generously poured out the Spirit upon us through Jesus Christ our Savior.
Titus 3:3-6 (NLT)

You and I, we were no different than Cain, we were rebellious and sinned, despite God’s warning it devoured us.  God came to us again, and called on us it, showed us what we deserved, and then reminded us we are marked….. in our baptism, and no one has the ability to condemn us.  Nor will we ever be banished from His presence.

You are forgiven, just like the tax collector, and Peter, Paul, David, and me.

So go, and live in God’s peace, for Christ will guard your heart and mind in that incredible peace. AMEN!

 

Forgiven much, so love much: A sermon on Luke 7

 

Forgiven Much, so Love Much
or Was our Debt the Smaller One?

A Sermon on Luke 7

I.H.S.

The grace of God our Father and the Lord Jesus will bring you such life that you will adore Him!  AMEN!

A New Title:

There are times where the biggest struggle in a sermon is found in coming up with a title.  This week, that was part of the struggle, not the only one, but a struggle none the least.

I mean, I couldn’t turn the gospel into a pastor parker parable, could I?  The Kingdom of God is like a …   Nah, that doesn’t quite work. Imitate a … well never mind, that still doesn’t work either.

But the title of the sermon sets where I am going with it, so I went with the Forgiven much, and was our debt smaller. It is a good simple basic sermon about forgiveness, basics for a Lutheran sermon.

On Saturday, I decided to put a Concordia spin on it, to focus more on the woman than on Simon, to see here as Jesus, and for us to see Jesus as she saw him.  Which changed the sermon to:

Healed of so Much, So Worship and Adore Him And Let the Tears fall!

The challenge of dealing with our brokenness  – Simon’s challenge

I should mention Simon the Pharisee for a moment, just to compose myself and explain why the prostitute at Jesus’ feet is more spiritually mature than he is.  And why, in a way, we need to be more like here than like the religious professional who invited him to a feast.

Yes, I believe the lady balling was more mature than the calm collected Pharisee, who was devoted to serving God, and dedicated to living life as holy as possible.

It is seen in the parable he was told, about the two debtors.  Not because he was able to guess correctly, that the one forgiven of much was the one who would love and adore more the man who forgave the debt.

He got that right.

What he didn’t understand is that he was the greater debtor.

We have a look into this as Simon’s thoughts are shared with us in verse 39

39 When the Pharisee, who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know what kind of woman is touching him. She’s a sinner!”
That is why Jesus tells the parable, and the mistake Simon makes is that Jesus knew exactly who the woman was.

Even more, he knew who Simon was, and that Simon’s debt wasn’t 1/10th of the lady’s debt, but that Simon’s debt was as great, therefore should his love for God should have been like the lady’s, and his welcome, as much in awe and adoration of Jesus, who comes into the presence of those who are sinners, of those who are broken.

The tears pour but why
This is what the spiritually mature lady knew, and I will explain why in a moment.  She knew he would welcome her; she knew she could go to him, she so valued this love Jesus showed in forgiving sins, that she poured out her life, the perfume that would cost more than a year of her life, just to bring comfort to his feet.

He didn’t just forgive her of her sins, He healed her of her inability to love, and now, able to truly love, she did.

With tears that didn’t just roll down her cheeks, but poured out of her. Enough to bathe his feet, not just rinse them.  She massaged those beautiful feet that brought her good news with her hair, again the cultural implications of this are staggering, for a woman’s glory was seen in long luxurious hair.

In her being forgiven of so much, she was healed to love so much.

To love without thought to cost or culture restriction, to love with every bit of her heart and soul.

That is what grace does.  That is what happens when God comes and lives with us.

She’s not the only one…
I mention a moment ago that this lady didn’t come to Jesus without.. encouragement., without expecting something to happen.

I didn’t get this till I looked at the end of the reading, the part that comes from the next chapter,

He took his twelve disciples with him,  along with some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases. Among them were Mary Magdalene, from whom he had cast out seven demons; Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod’s business manager; Susanna; and many others who were contributing from their own resources to support Jesus and his disciples.

You see, this lady wasn’t the first broken person that Jesus healed, she wasn’t the first sinner that was amazed at His grace and love. She wasn’t the first person who learned to adore him, giving of all she had and all she was, literally pouring it out at her feet.  She knew He was her hope, even if she didn’t know what hope was.  Someone brought her there, someone helped her, brought her into His presence.

I am not sure whether it was Mary Magdalene who led her into the courtyard at Simon’s house, or whether it was Joanna or Susanna or one of the disciples.

Her experience wasn’t a novelty; it wasn’t a single occurrence in the ministry of Jesus. There had been others before her; there have been millions since.

Who learned to love and adore Him, who learned to let the tears flow, who learned that worship happens, not in a controlled managed environment, but worship happens when we encounter the God, who dwells in our midst, and open to sinners coming to Him, and feasting with Him.  This is who we are as a church, a people who’ve found healing in Christ, while helping others heal… and

This is our Lord, and He invites you to come, and as you do, do not be surprised at the tears that well up inside, or the healing that takes place, or that you find yourselves loving him, far beyond what you could have expected.

For those who are forgiven and healed of much love much, and this is you and I.  AMEN.

Church Services. To serve God, or to serve people?

Devotional Thought of the day:

23  Jesus was walking through some wheat fields on a Sabbath. As his disciples walked along with him, they began to pick the heads of wheat. 24  So the Pharisees said to Jesus, “Look, it is against our Law for your disciples to do that on the Sabbath!” 25  Jesus answered, “Have you never read what David did that time when he needed something to eat? He and his men were hungry, 26  so he went into the house of God and ate the bread offered to God. This happened when Abiathar was the High Priest. According to our Law only the priests may eat this bread—but David ate it and even gave it to his men.” 27  And Jesus concluded, “The Sabbath was made for the good of human beings; they were not made for the Sabbath. 28  So the Son of Man is Lord even of the Sabbath.”  Mark 2:23-28 (TEV) 

Sunday, a friend of mine shared a article he read on FB.  It was on a topic near and dea to my heart – the topic of worship.  More specifically, the type of worship that happens when God gathers His people together and there is something called a mass, or a worship service, or church service.

Here is the article:   http://www.thewinedarksea.com/2013/10/27/can-perfect-mass-idol/

The thoughts in the article, though not my own, are so akin to it, that it might as well be.

You see, a mass, or church service isn’t about our impressing God.  It’s not something we do to gain points with God, and if we gain enough, then we get into heaven, or a better viewof God in heaven, or a nicer mansion.   It’s not about who sings the best, or how hip or how smooth the pastor or priest is, or how dynamic the “show” is.  I am not saying that any pastor, or any musicians shouldn’t do their best, we should, because it is often through us that people receive what God meant them to receive – the reveleation of His love and His mercy and His invitation to share in His glory.   Here is a passage that demonstrates that:

27  God’s plan is to make known his secret to his people, this rich and glorious secret which he has for all peoples. And the secret is that Christ is in you, which means that you will share in the glory of God. 28  So we preach Christ to everyone. With all possible wisdom we warn and teach them in order to bring each one into God’s presence as a mature individual in union with Christ. 29  To get this done I toil and struggle, using the mighty strength which Christ supplies and which is at work in me. Colossians 1:27-29 (TEV)

The point is this – that church is not about how well we do it.  It’s about our realizing the depth of God’s love, the lengths He will go to bring healing to our souls, to bring peace to our hearts. That can’t happen if we treat church, whether very anicent liturgy or very contempory service, (both can be high choreographed and rehearsed)  as if anything that distracts from what happens up fron is more important than any person there.

God wants to gather all people to Himself, to bring them inot our family, to make them a part of us.  All people. And so each one has a role in church, and in every event the church has, from Bible Studies to Potlucks.

The first and primary role, whether pastor or infant, the couple celebrating their 70th anniversary or the single mom, the people whose parents or grandparents were there when the church was built, and the family hasn’t missed a sunday since, or the person who immigrated to the US yesterday.. and wandered in accidently.  Every one of them belongs in God’s house.  Every one of them God wants to reveal His love to, whether for the first time, or the 10,000th. These times are about God taking care of His people, all of them, all He created.

That means it will be messy, because people are messy.  Sometimes visibly so, more often emotionally and spiritually so.  And all need the healing of their hearts and souls….which are butalized by sin and the world’s pressures.

That’s why He gathers us… and that’s why we praise Him.

Because of His great love for us.

May we remember that as we worship together, as we study together, and as we find those around us that need His love, and share it with them in their homes, or bring them home to church!

AMEN

Rules of Hospitality?

The Pharisees Question Jesus

The Pharisees Question Jesus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rules of Hospitality?

Luke 14:1-14

 † IHS †

 

May you realize the blessing of the Father being your host at the Banquet thrown for His Son, and may you welcome all those to the Banquet who your Father rewards you for inviting….

 

Jesus as Miss Manners? Or a spiritual Strategist?

When Jesus noticed that all who had come to the dinner were trying to sit in the seats of honor near the head of the table, he gave them this advice: “When you are invited to a wedding feast, don’t sit in the seat of honor. What if someone who is more distinguished than you has also been invited? The host will come and say, ‘Give this person your seat.’ Then you will be embarrassed, and you will have to take whatever seat is left at the foot of the table!

 

As we look at these verses this morning, we need to realize its context. Otherwise, we limit the gospel message to simply being a message about proper manners and etiquette.  The other way we often misunderstand this passage is that we hear it as a strategic lesson, where Jesus is giving us advice on how to get the best seats at a banquet, whether here on earth, or the banquet that is to come in heaven.

This conversation between Jesus and a Pharisee is not a conversation about manners. The reason Jesus came and dwelt among us and died on the cross is not about getting us to behave with great dignity and knowing which fork to use, or how to sit properly at the dinner table.    There is something far more important than that being taught…
It is not about realizing our proper place in society, or trying to strategically deal with a situation so that we find ourselves being glorified and elevated in a situation.

Yet, often this passage is used in those ways.  “If you want to be great in God’s kingdom,” some would say.. “This is the way to go about it.”  Serve now! be served later! Be the servant of servants, then when you get to heaven, you will have front row seats next to Peter and James and just across throne form Paul and Abraham!

Jesus’ lesson here is a lot deeper when we look at the context of his lesson, at why He was giving this advice…

You see, we like the Pharisees and those fighting for position overlooked not only a man in great need.  They overlook his healing as well.  In overlooking him, they miss their own healing.

Instead of helping – they were rushing to the best seat…

As all the guests are arriving, and the question of healing on the Sabbath is being discussed, there is a summons to dinner.  Well, let’s be honest, it wasn’t quite a discussion,  Jesus asked a question, there was silence, He healed the man with severe edema and probably congestive heart failure, and then asked another question… to which they responded with?  Well, silence.

The rush to dinner is on, the questions asked to the religious leaders and experts in the scripture disappears, as everyone was scrambling for the best seat.

Unlike other healings, there was no glorifying God, there was no question about where the authority came to do this kind of miracle or to confront the wisest Bible scholars of the day, and all is lost in the rush to the table. It was not just about the food – I mean, they probably were not having bacon wrapped shrimp.  It was about who was important, where do I rank in society.  The rush to find the right place answers the question of, who am I? The question asked, “What value am I?”

Think about it, have you ever been to a wedding reception and been disappointed by which table you sat at?  Or at the Thanksgiving family dinner, when at 38 you were still assigned to the kid’s table?

That is why this is not about some kind of etiquette strategy. It is not – take the bad seat to start and then you will get a better seat!  Jesus is challenging, as He has all month long in the gospel – the idea of priorities.  This is about the fact that they did not realize the man with severe pain and suffering was there; and they could be there for him.  They could have been the ones God chose to care and love him….they failed.

Be like Christ

As Christ shows up at the feast, he recognizes those in need.  The obvious is the man with edema, the one swollen up like a balloon, whose pain and suffering was not a pressing concern for the leaders of God’s people.  Some commentators even went so far as to suggest that people brought him only to see what Jesus might do, how Jesus would deal with him.  Whether Jesus would answer the question they were asking – could Jesus heal on the Sabbath, was there a limit to His position and authority.

The man with the swelling of his hands and feet was not the only one with a problem with something swelling, with something being puffed up. Jesus came to that dinner, not just to minister to the man, but also to minister to the Pharisee and his friends, to serve them and help them to see that in Christ, it is not about where you sit, but instead that you are invited, that you are called, that you have a place at the feast.

That is the point!  The model that Jesus sets for us.

When Jesus talks of inviting those who cannot pay, the poor, the crippled, the lame and the blind, He is preparing to walk that talk, to do the very thing He has asked us to do.

For we were the spiritually bankrupt, we were the ones broken and damaged by our sin and the sin of the world; we are the ones blinded to God’s presence by that same damage.  Into our lives, as He did with the Pharisees, Jesus comes and invites us to feast with Him, knowing we could never repay His kindness.  In this meal, He brings to us healing, brings us peace, and welcomes us, even though we could never deserve it!

He asks us to consider doing that very thing that He has done!  The same thing for His taking a seat at the back, a seat of a servant.  That is the model He is for us as well! We hear that because He did take the lowest seat, that He Humbled himself and became a servant, even as He served our needs to the point of dying on the cross, every knee shall bow and every tongue will confess that He is our Lord.

As I said above – this passage isn’t about etiquette, or about strategies to get ahead in the Kingdom of God.  It is about being Christ-like, about serving people as He has, about keeping priorities straight – and the priorities always have names.

We have on our church cards, and on other things the phrase – Concordia – where broken people find healing in Christ, while helping others heal.  This passage is an example of that very thought – as we are encouraged to be like Christ, to see what is going on around us, to look for those that need healing.
We cannot possibly do that unless we first realize that He has come to heal us… that He has taken the lowest place.

We help others heal, for In Christ we have encountered healing!
We forgive because in Christ, we have been forgiven.
We joyfully bring people who do not deserve to be in God’s presence, because we do not deserve to be there either, but Jesus has brought us into the presence of the Father.
We can bring peace into lives that are oppressed by fear, anxiety, and trauma, because we endure these things for Jesus has given us that very peace…

As He invites us to celebrate His taking the back seat, as He invites us to His table, to take a seat with God our Father…. To know we are loved…

You are invited to invite others… to share in this place, in this blessing, in this celebration of love….in this feast…

For the Lord is with you… and He loves you.

AMEN?

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