Where Do You Find Great Joy?

Apr. 30, 2012

Luke 24:52-53 

Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.

So this is how the author of Luke’s gospel closes out his account of Jesus’ life. Despite all of the white-knuckle days, the confusion and despair, the “I can’t believe it” moments, at the end of the day, the disciples found great joy in their risen Savior.

And in the end, this is one important aspect Jesus wants us to discover as Christians: joy. Great joy, in fact. Being a Christian is not to be uggy. (Is that a word? I think I just made it up.) It should bring a smile to our face, it should be a highlight of our day, it should be a feeling that overwhelms us and gives us peace.

Some recent moments of great joy I’ve experienced as a Christian:

  • Watching four teens share their faith statements on Confirmation Sunday. I know they don’t have their faith all figured out. (I’m still trying to figure mine out and I could be their Mom!) Cole maybe said it best when he admitted that his faith would change in years to come. Amen.
  • When a song from Sunday worship swirls around in my head for days to come. Today’s version: “I choose Jesus. I choose Je-e-sus.” Thanks Carrie, for sharing yesterday.
  • Sophia’s excitement yesterday when she told me her Mom is pregnant. Sophia is 5 and her eyes could not have gotten any bigger or brighter when she told me her family is growing. I pray this little baby will be as healthy as possible, as Dad requested. A good weekend at the Nelson household, I do believe.

Can you name some recent “great joys” in your life? Pause for a moment. Thank God for these events that brings smiles to our cheeks and contentment to our souls.

Actually, the author of Luke’s Gospel doesn’t stop here. He actually writes a long epilogue. We know it as The Book of Acts. In Luke’s Gospel, he shares with us what Jesus did throughout his life and ministry. In Acts, we see the disciples – the 11 and many other new disciples – continue Jesus’ message into the known parts of the world at that time.

But the story doesn’t end there. Great joy does not have a cap. It continues today. We’re the hands and feet of this story today. We are the ones who can bring the joy of Jesus into this world today. It’s a message that needs to be heard. It’s a message that should be priority. It’s a message I pray we’ll share today and tomorrow.

Let us pray: He rules the world with truth and grace. And makes the nations prove. The glories of His righteousness. And wonders of His love. And wonders of His love. And wonders, wonders of His love. Amen.

Blessings –


Mid-February, I committed to blogging daily through Lent. As much as I enjoy writing a daily blog, it is not realistic for me to post daily all year. I’ll continue to post weekly or so. Please continue to share any blog that touches your heart with someone else. And keep in touch! I’ll continue to write and share but just not on a daily basis. 

Blessings Near Bethany

Apr. 29, 2012

Luke 24:50-51

When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven.

Jesus now goes with his disciples and probably a few other people to the area of Bethany. This is a little village just outside of Jerusalem. It was the home of sisters Mary, Martha and their brother Lazarus.

We know Jesus previously had been to Bethany several times. Each of those times, something interesting happened. One time was the fateful dinner, in which Martha scurries around, trying to get everything just right. When her sister Mary does not help and only sits at Jesus’ feet clinging to his every word, Martha gets exasperated. Finally, she goes and complains to Jesus, who chastises her for being more concerned about a meal than spending time with him. Ouch.

Another time Jesus visits Bethany is after Lazarus has died. Or at least appears to have died. Even though Jesus was aware that Lazarus was very ill, he waits and he waits before going to Bethany. I know the man was busy, but it’s just a couple of miles! Although Lazarus isn’t technically one of the disciples, he has been a pretty darn close friend. By the time he finally gets there, Lazarus has been in a tomb for four days.

Once again, Martha gives Jesus the berries. She is so upset once she hears he is finally coming into Bethany, she doesn’t wait for him to get to their house. She meets him enroute. She is convinced that if Jesus had come quicker, her brother would not have died. Deeply moved and after physically weeping for his dear friend, Jesus goes to the tomb and does the unimaginable. He brings Lazarus back to life. This story, found in John 11, is too much for the Pharisees. Right after Lazarus resurrection, some of the Pharisees decide Jesus must die. And soon.

Jesus is at Mary, Martha and Lazarus’ house just a few days later, only days before the Passover. The siblings must have some financial resources because on this evening, Martha serves another fabulous meal. But it’s Mary who takes a pint of outlandishly expensive perfume and anoints Jesus’ feet. Judas can’t take it. He thinks the anointing is a ridiculous waste of money. Little does he understand what will happen in a few days.

Should it surprise us that Jesus is back near Bethany when he ascends into heaven, according to Luke’s gospel? Not at all.Bethanyis just a few miles from the Mount of Olives, the site of Jesus’ arrest. He’s within a short distance of where the entire debacle began. This time on a different note.

Note what he does right before he leaves them: he blesses them. In fact, it says that while he was blessing them, he was taken up to heaven.

There’s no question in my mind that Mary, Lazarus, and yes, even Martha felt blessed to know Jesus. The 11 remaining disciples, while still trying to process all that had happened, knew their lives had been completely blessed because of one man. Cleopas and his friend: how could they not feel blessed despite not knowing who really was walking with them!

This is the question for today: do you feel blessed by Jesus? Maybe things do not always turn out as expected. Even if you are struggling with some part of your life right now, can you feel God’s blessing upon you? I pray that you can. Let us pray a blessing.

Let us pray: Christ be with me; Christ before me; Christ behind me; Christ in me; Christ beneath me; Christ above me; Christ on my right; Christ on my left; Christ where I lie; Christ where I sit; Christ where I arise; Christ in the heart of every person who thinks of me; Christ in the mouth of every person who speaks of me; Christ in every eye that sees me; Christ in every ear that hears me. Salvation is of the Lord. Amen.

Blessings –


Promises, Promises

Apr. 28, 2012

Luke 24:49

Jesus said, “I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.”

Promises are hard. We promise to do something, keep a secret, not doing something or to have contact with someone and share a piece of information. Sometimes we keep them; sometimes we don’t.

As I get a little older, I am more careful about the promises I make. I really do not what to overpromise and under deliver. Unfulfilled promises affect other people.

But what about promises I make to myself and don’t fulfill? Those are unfulfilled promises also. How many days do I say to myself, “Tomorrow, I promise to take care of this.” Or “Tomorrow I will get in a good run.” Or “Tomorrow I’ll make this phone call.”

So what did the Father promise to send the disciples? What is Jesus speaking about here? Did the Father deliver?

Jesus is speaking of the Holy Spirit. In another gospel, Jesus’ words are a bit clearer. He knows that the disciples will need inspiration and guidance from someone once he ascends to heaven. God the Father won’t leave them high and dry. The Holy Spirit will be intensified and always present with them.

I do believe the Holy Spirit had been very present before this day. The Holy Spirit was a part of Jesus’ ministry. What the Father is promising now is that the disciples will be very aware of the Holy Spirit’s place in their lives.

Let me share a little secret. Well, not really a secret but more of an observation. The Holy Spirit is still present with us today. God the Father does not want us to try to live our Christian lives alone. God wants us to partner and allow the Holy Spirit to go with us. It’s a promise God continues through today. Talk about a long-standing promise. But then again, God keeps God’s promises. Always.

Let us pray: Spirit of the living God, fall fresh on me. Spirit of the living God, fall fresh on me. Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me. Spirit of the living God, fall fresh on me. Amen.

Blessings –


Being a Good Witness

Apr. 27, 2012

Luke 24:45-48

Then he opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures. He told them, “This is what is written: The Messiah will suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, and repentance for the forgiveness of sins will be preached in his name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. You are witnesses of these things.”

Jesus loves a good witness. This isn’t the first time he speaks to the disciples being witnesses. As Jesus’ words in Luke’s gospel are wrapping up, his last words speak of them sharing with others what they have seen, heard and experienced.

According to Jesus, what would make a good witness? Must a good witness stand on a street and hand out tracks about Jesus? Must we go door-to-door and speak of our faith? Must we try to answer someone’s faith questions as they spill their guts?

I’m not sure this is what quantifies as a “good” witness. I believe actions speak louder than words. It’s not so much about the words I say that describe my personal faith. It really is more about how I conduct, act, and speak to others and whether or not my faith is lived daily and hourly in my life.

Recently, I met with a couple in preparation for their child’s baptism. As we reviewed the baptismal vows, the dad asked me, “How do we raise our kid so he will know about God?” What an important and wonderful question! I encouraged them to think of Christian faith development beginning in the home. Yes, it is important for children to be part of a faith community where they can participate in worship and Christian education. Yet, the basis still comes from the home environment. Its how parents act, talk, prioritize, and practice their faith that becomes the most important example and witness to children.

As grandparents, Rick and I often discuss how our actions and witness is important. Two of our grandsons were at the dinner table with us. One started to eat. The older grandson told the younger grandson to wait because “we always pray at Grandpa and Dianne’s house.”

I remember the first time I took these same boys to Midland the first time. They now realized what my job is. One of the boys stood behind the pulpit and asked, “You are the one who talks from back here?” Yes, I am. When staying at our house, they love to go to “Dianne’s church.” It warms Rick and my hearts when they ask early in our time with them if we’re going to go to church on Sunday. They expect us to worship together.

Yes, it is wonderful we worship together when possible. But our Christian witness also extends to the words we say in front of them, how we treat them and each other, the moral lessons we are able to express and discuss together through normal events that happen.

Sometimes it is actually easier for non-pastors to witness their faith with nominal or non-believers. People expect me to witness my faith because of my occupation. They expect me to have all the answers, even though I don’t. Non-pastors have relationships with people I do not and might never have access to. It’s not just about what you say about your faith. It’s about how you conduct your life, speak of others, the choices you make and the priorities you make and keep.

I think this is what Jesus expects from a good witness. And so, off we go to be witnesses this day. May we take the last of Jesus’ words to heart and continue His work.

Let us pray: I love to tell the story of unseen things above. Of Jesus and his glory, of Jesus and His love. I love to tell the story because I know ‘tis true. It satisfies my longings as nothing else can do. I love to tell the story! ‘Twill be my theme in glory. To tell the old, old story of Jesus and His love.  Amen.

Blessings –


Beyond a Shadow of a Doubt

Apr. 26, 2012

Luke 24:40-43

When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, “Do you have anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence. He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”

I’ve never been called to jury duty. I think it would be interesting and educational to serve. Early in our marriage, Rick’s name was drawn at the county level. For a month, he called in once a week to see if he had to report. One day, he had to report and sat on a jury. As he shared his experience, I conjured up what serving on a jury would be like.

When Jesus appears in the Upper Room, it is like the disciples are the jury and Jesus is desperately trying to proof he is really alive. This time, they do not believe because of their grief. This time, because of joy and utter amazement they stand in disbelief.

Lawyers often use shock and awe to impress juries. Jesus does the same, when he asks to eat a piece of fish. I find it interesting the author tells us Jesus ate broiled fish. Apparently, the fine art of Wisconsin fish fries had not been perfected in Jerusalem 2,000 years ago. Oh, yah, that’s right. It’s because of Jesus’ death on a Friday that the Friday night fish fry was developed and has become a mainstay on menus all over Wisconsin. We can thank our Catholic brothers and sisters for this.

Once again, Jesus says the recent events shouldn’t shock them. He has fulfilled everything foretold. He tried to help them understand before hand. Either they didn’t want to hear or chose not to listen.

It’s been over two weeks since we’ve celebrated Easter. By now, the chocolate bunnies and robin eggs have been eaten. The colored eggs have turned into egg salad or been thrown away. We have quickly returned to our pre-Easter cycle of activities. Today, we are the jury. Do we believe Jesus is alive? Do we experience with joy and amazement the risen and living Christ every day?

Too often we want to be shocked and awed. We expect “big” events to shape our Christian journey. But it’s the daily things we do that really guide us. It’s what we do day in and day out that makes the difference in how we view our risen Savior.

I share these words not as a person who has perfected my spiritual journey, but as one who struggles every day. I seldom feel I have had adequate quiet time with God. I pray every day before I roll out of bed and ask for God’s guidance with every decision I will make, only to forget this request 23 minutes into my day.

Too often, we are a jury that demands proof beyond a shadow of a doubt. We fail to see the proof often right before our eyes. Rather, we want a pastor or a spiritual leader to convince us of the need for a spiritual journey and then give us a Top 10 checklist for how to do it. When we fail to do #1 or #2 from the checklist, we do not want to be held accountable.  I know because I put myself in this group of challenged Christians.

Joy and excitement. Let’s go find some today. Let’s be awed by where and how we can see the risen Savior in action today.

Let us pray: In all the world around me I see His loving care. And though my heart grows weary, I never will despair. I know that He is leading through all the story blast. The day of His appearing will come at last. He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today! He walks with me and talks with me along life’s narrow way. He lives, He lives, salvation to impart! You ask me how I know He lives? He lives within my heart.  Amen.

Blessings –


Peace be with You

Apr. 24, 2012

Luke 24:36-39

While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.”

When you have been away from a loved one for awhile, it is great to anticipate reuniting with the loved one.

Rick’s work schedule is such that he works four nights in a row. Because of commute time and the necessity of adequate sleep, we’ve made the decision for him to stay at his folks during his work week. This also allows him to help them remain in their home.

This is our weekly routine. Rick leaves after Sunday church and does not come home until sometime on Thursday. While we talk on the phone, there is something about those first words when we get to see each other again. I’m usually being awoken in the early morning hours from sleep when Rick gets home. He’s usually dog tired. But we almost always share a few words so I know he is home. I find it most touching when he calls me one of his pet names for me.

The disciples have been holed up in a small room, trying to make sense of the last awful few days. The women showed up early Sunday morning and said Jesus was alive. But the men didn’t believe them. On Sunday night, two close friends ran back from Emmaus and told this unbelievable story. Jesus walked with them to their village as a stranger. It wasn’t until Jesus broke bread they realized it was him. And then he vanished.

Now, the disciples have no reason to doubt Jesus’ resurrection. He comes into their presence and stands with them. What would we expect his first words to be? “Look! It’s me!” or “Just believe them. Their story is for real.” Or “Hey dudes, what you doing?”

But Jesus does not pull attention to himself. He thinks of the disciples and their traumatic days. He simply wants to comfort them. He says, “Peace be with you.”

Peace. Is peace obtainable? Do we want peace? Can our lives be filled with peace? I think for most people, our responses would be, “Yes, yes and yes.”

The question becomes, “Where do we find peace?” Momentary peace can be found in a variety of places. Close our eyes and think of nothing. A relaxing bike ride. The touch of a loved one’s fingers gliding across your skin. For me, a lovely bubble bath.

But these are short-term windows of peace. Long-term peace comes only from one source: the loving arms of Jesus. This is what Jesus wants the disciples … and us … to discover. When we are troubled and doubts rise in our minds (look at the scripture passage; we’ve got good company), may we run back into Jesus’ loving arms. This is the source of true peace.

Let us pray: When peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll. Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say, “It is well, it is well with my soul.” It is well with my soul, It is well, it is well with my soul.  Amen.

Blessings –



Throwing Our Sandals On

Apr. 17, 2012

Luke 24:33-35

They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.” Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.

As soon as the men recognized Jesus, he vanished. The stranger was gone. Cleopas and his friend are so excited, their excitement is uncontainable. They have to tell someone. The news is too great to keep just to themselves. But who are they to tell? Why the 11 disciples, of course! But where are they? Back in Jerusalem, seven miles away.

They throw their sandals back on and run back to Jerusalem. We can imagine the two-hour walk being turned into a one-hour run. The long, arduous walk to Emmaus now became a short sprint back to Jerusalem.

I have done some running in my life. I’m not a great runner. I just run. Some days, I’m excited to get up and run. Other days, quite honestly, it seems like a bad chore. I know that running helps change my attitude and get my mind cleared. In fact, it often is a great time for me to problem solve, process what has happened, think about is coming up. On the days when I can sort through something while running, the run seems to go a bit better. This is probably because I’ve taken time to hash through these things with my Lord.

Based on this theory, the retracing of their steps back to Jerusalem would have been so different. We can imagine them hashing over every little detail when they should have recognized Jesus but didn’t. It no longer matters that darkness surrounds them. The news simply cannot wait. They reach the 11 disciples, out of breath, excited to confirm JC is alive.

Here’s the point. Jesus’ resurrection didn’t change the circumstances of the first disciples. They still felt grief. They still felt let down. They didn’t understand everything. What changed was their perspective. After an encounter with the risen Christ, their perspective was completely different. Jesus’ resurrection took defeated and disillusioned disciples and filled them hope, joy and peace.

This is what Easter can do for us today. Jesus’ resurrection does not remove us from our present circumstances. It changes how we see them. We will face adversity, illness and tragedy. With God, the awful things of this world will never have the final word. Through JC’s resurrection, death is defeated.

As we begin each day, no matter what we will face, let us remember that we have great cause to throw our sandals and run into our days knowing the risen Savior journeys with us. He can change our perspective. There is no guarantee that everything will be just right. There is the guarantee that Jesus will be with us throughout the day.

Let us pray: Opened eyes, renewed convictions, journey back to scenes of pain; telling all that Christ is risen. Jesus is through us made known.  Amen.

Blessings –


PS – I’m on vacation for the next several days and will be taking a break from the daily blog. Will be back next week!

Having Our Eyes Opened to Jesus

Apr. 16, 2012

Luke 24:30-32

When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”

Yesterday after church, I asked one of the Sunday School volunteers how the class she taught went. She taught the pre-kindergarten and kindergarten kids. She was amazed how much of the Walk to Emmaus story they understood. After hearing the story, they knew Jesus was the stranger walking with the men. When she talked about Jesus breaking the bread and giving it to the men, the 3-5 year old kids quickly realized Jesus was celebrating Communion with them. I believe this volunteer walked away excited and amazed at how quickly her little students discovered this story for themselves.

Why is Holy Communion important? When we take bread, bless it and break it, our eyes have the opportunity to be opened to Christ, just as Cleopas and his friend’s eyes were opened. This is a tradition that Christians have been celebrating for nearly 2,000 years. When the words, “remember me” are said, we have the opportunity to recall what Jesus did for us. We also have an opportunity to feel Jesus’ presence with us.

One of the ways we know Jesus lives is through worship. Matthew 18:20 says, “For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.” When these two men gathered with the stranger and watched him break the bread, they were worshiping God. It took them awhile to realize who they were worshiping with and that is why their hearts burned.

Worship is a unique experience we cannot get anywhere else. People sometimes say, “I don’t need to worship God in church. I worship God on the golf course, at the lake, or someplace else.” But here’s the problem. I’m not sure people actually worship God on a golf course or at the lake. I don’t do much golfing, but I’ve never actually seen anyone worship God on the golf course. I see more cursing than worship.

Worshiping God is not about coming to hear an excellent message. It’s not about hearing good music. Worshiping God is coming and being in Jesus’ presence. Every week, Jesus bids us to come and be with him. There’s an added bonus of worshiping Jesus. Jesus promises to walk with you the rest of the week. Worship helps keep perspective that we do not have to journey alone. Worship reminds us that Jesus wants to carry our burdens and celebrate our joys with us.

Why is worshiping God important? Through worship, we have a conversation with the risen Jesus and we remember. We can encounter Jesus through personal study time and prayer. This is important. But it’s also important to worship God through the unique experience of community worship with other Christians who have gathered to encounter the risen Christ.

Personally, I’ve discovered that I need to worship weekly otherwise I begin to forget the need for Jesus in my life and my need to remember him. I need to have my eyes reopened to the necessity of Jesus at least once a week. If the 3-5-year-olds can quickly connect the dots of whom Jesus was, why is it sometimes so difficult for us?

Let us pray: Day of sorrow is forgotten when the guest becomes the host. Taking bread and blessing, breaking, Jesus is himself made known.  Amen.

Blessings –


The Fork in the Road

Apr. 15, 2012

Luke 24:28-29

As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther. But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.

It had been a long walk. Darkness is upon the two men and the stranger. They come to a fork in the road. One path takes people into the town of Emmaus; the other path remains on the main trail. Of course, the two men want to return to their hometown. The stranger, aka Jesus, appears to keep going on the main path. Maybe he says, “See you all later. God bless you.” But the sun is setting. It’s getting dark and it’s dangerous for folks to walk at night by themselves. Cleopas and friend beg the stranger, “You don’t have anything to eat or drink. Stay with us.”

Did Jesus have some other place to go? Of course not. He was testing the disciples to see if they would practice what he had taught them: to love God and love your neighbor. He is giving them a pop quiz.

One time, Jesus shared a story about a man traveling to Jericho. He got jumped by robbers, beaten and left for dead. Two Jewish men go by but don’t stop. It’s a Samaritan that stops, cares for the man, gets him to safe lodging and promises to provide for his medical treatment as long as necessary.

Jesus told his followers this is how we are to love. We love our neighbors when we give them food when they are hungry, something to drink when they are thirsty, provide clothing when they don’t have enough and when we welcome a stranger into your home. When you do these things, Jesus said, it’s as if you were doing it to Jesus himself.

At the fork in the road, before Cleopas and his friend is a stranger with nothing to eat or drink. When they urged Jesus to stay with them, they passed the test. Imagine if they had let the stranger go on. They would not have seen the risen Christ.

Have there been times when we’ve had an opportunity to pass a pop quiz and failed? When did we have an opportunity to feed, shelter, visit someone or invite a stranger into our home and we chose not to? When we fail to do this, we failed to see Jesus.

If you desire to feel fully alive, help someone. This is a secret to mental health. Feeling fully alive doesn’t happen with wealth or more possessions. Feeling fully alive happens when you give of yourself.

Sometimes, people say, “I can’t help anyone else right now. I’m dealing with my own pain.” Read to this quote by Calvin Miller: “You are most mature when you minister to others in their pain, without reminding them that you yourself have problems. To minister to others even when you need ministry is to liberate your soul from small addictions to yourself.”

There is a huge difference between Jesus and us. Jesus was not addicted to himself. We are addicted to ourselves. We are most like Jesus when we are not serving ourselves, but serving others. We are most like Jesus when we serve others in the midst of our own suffering.

There are many folks in our roads. Will we pass the test?

Let us pray: Then we near our destination. Then we ask the stranger in, and he yields unto our urging; Jesus stays with us, unknown.  Amen.

Blessings –


It Should Have Been No Surprise … But It Was

Apr. 14, 2012

Luke 24:25-27

He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory? And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.

There is a difference between believing something … and believing it.

Should have it been a complete surprise that Jesus would be betrayed, arrested, tried, condemned sentenced to death and then crucified? No, considering that Jesus had spoken on this several times. In Mark’s gospel alone, three different times Jesus speaks of what will happen to him.

But sometimes, even when we hear something, we don’t always believe it. We hear what we want to hear. We believe what we want to believe.

Just in case these two men weren’t present when Jesus talked about what would happen to him, once again, he explains how the events of the previous few days had been predicted and prophesized. But here’s the kicker. The men STILL don’t know the stranger is Jesus! He’s telling them once again the historical predictions. Yet the men are so blinded by their own grief they cannot see who is walking with him.

When I received a call into ministry, it was rather forceful and dramatic. Jesus didn’t want me to miss the signs and symbols. He orchestrated it in such a way that I would not fail to see the call. After this happened, I’ve often wondered how many times Jesus tried to call me into ministry before this and I was so caught up in myself and my life that I failed to see the call. I can see how this happened to these guys because I’m confident it has happened to me.

We cannot go back and undo the times we’ve missed Jesus speaking to us or guiding us or encouraging us in a particular way. What we can do is keep our radar a bit more elevated this day and going forward. When those thoughts of “I should do this …” come into our minds, we should pause, thing about where this thought might be coming from and follow through.

One more thought for today. Jesus really wanted the guys to see him as the Messiah. That’s why he took the additional step and explained the Scriptures that anticipated the coming Messiah. Sometimes, Christians find it difficult to read and understand the Old Testament Scriptures. There are significant parts of the Old Testament I find challenging. Yet, there are so many wonderful passages that point towards the Messiah and help us understand what Jesus said and did. They give credence that Jesus is the Son of God. As much as I enjoy reading and learning the New Testament, I have also discovered I understand the New Testament more when I am able to know the Scriptures that Jesus knew as a Jewish man. What Scriptures are those? The Christian Old Testament.

Let us pray: In our trouble, words come from him; burning fire within our hearts tells to us the scripture’s meaning. Jesus speaks to us, unknown.  Amen.

Blessings –