Immorality. It can make even the most humble angry. That's what happened before Passover when Jesus went to Jerusalem. As he entered the Temple Courts, the sight of what he saw angered him: people selling cattle, sheep, and doves, and moneychangers who had set up tables to do business.
Making a whip from cords, Jesus drove out the buyers and sellers and turned over the tables of the moneychangers. According to Scripture (John 2:13-17), he said, "Get these out of here! Stop turning my Father's house into a market!"
Jesus took radical action against the sinful behavior of the people by clearing the Temple Courts. The sacred place was meant for worshiping God--and not to be used otherwise.
Sometimes we also need to turn the tables by taking radical action against things that do not honor God. We can overturn things that are not good, and that includes the things that may plague our daily lives, such as worry, anxiety, fear, depression, or other maladies.
But we don't have to do this alone, for the Lord's desire is for us to surrender such things to Him at the foot of the cross.
Jesus' death and resurrection turned the tables of worldly sin on its head. Jesus. Radical. Revolutionary. Loving Savior and Shepherd. Giver of Salvation. Believe. In. Him. Amen.
It was the beginning of a perfect day, basking in the warmth of the sun. There's nothing quite like feeling as if you are completely immersed in the beauty of your surroundings on the lake, with stately pines and green foliage, cotton-white clouds reflecting in the smooth, glassy water, and the gentle lilting of the boat that brings a smile to your face and a sleepy, easy feeling to your soul.
But, suddenly, you are jolted awake as a violent windstorm descends. The gale pushes against your boat as waves crash upon the deck. You brace for safety and prayerfully cry out for help.
(Okay, truth be told. Maybe you're on a paddleboard at a mountain lake, but the wind is strong enough to prevent you from returning to the dock. However, you are able to make it to shore safely and are not in any imminent danger).
But what if you were in a perilous situation? Imagine if you were in the boat with Jesus and His Disciples. Scripture tells us the plan was to cross to the other side of the lake. However, after setting sail, Jesus falls asleep and a violent windstorm hits. Everyone is filled with fear for their lives, as Jesus remains asleep. You cry out for help. Jesus awakens. He is aware of your fear. You watch in awe as he rebukes the wind and the waves (Luke 8:22-25; Matthew 8:23-27) and calms the waters. And He says to all, "Where is your faith?"
It is in our nature to fear when our lives feel threatened, just like the situation the Disciples faced. Yet the Lord's instruction is to not fear and to trust in Him. It was a lesson for the Disciples--and it is a lesson for us, too.
May we turn to Him when the storms arise--whether it's a violent windstorm that threatens our safety--or if it's just being out on a paddleboard in the lake when the wind is too strong for us.
A perfect day--and a perfect storm--make for a perfect time to build up our faith in God.
Of all the thoughts you had today, there is one that might have been a conscious one--but maybe not. Have you thought about your breathing today?
If you practice yoga or meditation, you are probably aware of your breathing as you do those practices. Likewise, if you participate in a sport or do exercise, you would be aware of your breathing. Or, even bending down to take in the sweet scent of a flower.
I haven't recently engaged in activity that makes me think of my breathing, although I did run to the mailbox the other day to catch the postman before the mail went out. Other than that, lately the only other time I think about taking in a deep breath is when I yawn. Sigh. Yep. I know. Poor excuse for not exercising!
Most of the time, unless we are engaged in activities that remind us to take in more air than normal, we are usually unaware that our body's autonomic nervous system is working 24/7.
Ironic, isn't it, that the processes that keep our bodies in sync are ones we rarely think about? Imagine if you had to think about how every system in your body worked, then had to manage those processes on your own. You'd be in big trouble and so would I!
Be in charge of the firing of millions of neurons? Regulate your brain function, respiration, digestion, kidneys, bladder function, skin temperature, taste, smell, swallowing, eyesight, hearing, speech, sense of balance, and the ability to move your limbs, walk or run? Manage your memory banks, regulate your endocrine system, enable the release of emotions, use language, engage with others, perform work, participate in hobbies, or make decisions? There are a million other things you could add to this list. Whew. The thought of being "in charge" of all of these things would be incomprehensible.
I'm so glad that God created our bodies to function without our having to be in charge of all of these systems! I am thankful that He created you and me--and that He gave us the gift of the breath of life.
So, just breathe, and may you be comforted in knowing that the One Above created you in a special and unique way!
"The Lord formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life and the man became a living being." - Genesis 2:7
The morning of my birthday I dressed in a favorite outfit and slipped on matching shoes. I tried to get my hair to do what I wanted (that didn't happen). Leaning into the mirror to apply makeup I noticed the tiny wrinkles above my lip had deepened.
When did that happen? I must not have been paying attention--or maybe my eyesight is worsening.
Later, as I sorted through an old box of photos when our girls were small, I couldn't help but notice how young I looked. I went to the bathroom mirror, staring at my reflection as I swiped at grayish strands of hair falling into my face. The changes were obvious, even though they'd taken place subtly, slowly.
I thought about what the Bible has to say about our appearance. Scripture says we are created in the image of God.
To be made in God's image is an act of love; we are created in His likeness. I decided I should be content with my appearance, the flaws included. I know they're there, but I think God sees beyond the wrinkles, deepening lines, and the imperfections.
When He looks at us, He sees something beautiful. Now, if we can just see ourselves as God sees us!
Our appearance--just as we are--means a lot more than we will ever know.
"So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them." - Genesis 1:27
"But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows." - Luke 12:7
"I'll never forget you!" my friend said as we parted ways. I echoed the words back to her as I boarded the plane from Buenos Aires to go home. I'd been most fortunate to spend a good part of the summer with a wonderful Italian family and made friends while attending school there. Before leaving, my friend signed her name in my journal.
Certain people touch our lives in ways that we will never forget. It might be someone we've only known for a little while or for a long time. Someone who makes a lasting impression on our hearts. Someone we cherish. Someone we will always remember.
When I was young, I used to write my friend's names on my hand. But one day when I did this at school, the teacher got mad and told me not to write on my hand anymore. She made me wash off the ink. I was disappointed. My friends were special to me, and writing their names on my hand was my way of keeping them close to my heart.
Now, imagine God's love. As human beings it is hard for us to fathom just how vast, deep, and complete His love is. We probably won't fully comprehend this until the day when we meet Him in Heaven face-to-face.
The Lord says, "Never will I leave you; I will never forsake you." - Hebrews 13:5 To not be forsaken means that God will never abandon us or neglect us.
In Isaiah 49:16, the Lord says, "I will not forget you. See, I have written your name on my hand." And His words from Matthew 28:20, "Behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age."
Isn't it a beautiful and comforting thought to know that the Lord has written your name in His hand? He will never leave you or forget you, and His love for you is unconditional and everlasting.
Friends are special. And there is one friend, as the Bible says, that is closer than a brother. The title of the age-old hymn says it all: "What a Friend we Have in Jesus."
May your week be Blessed, and may you be comforted knowing how much God loves you!
Through God's Word!"
Find inner peace through Positive Thought, through Faith in God and through God's Word.