A Prayer for this Memorial Day

A Memorial Day Prayer

 

Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. 

John 15:13, KJV

Father, thank you for all our armed service men and women. Thank you for the scores of men and women who have served on our country’s behalf. For those who have stood guard, charged ahead, and kept the peace in turbulent times. Today, we honor their sacrifice and that of their families.

Thank you for bravery in the face of fear, for fortitude when retreat seems logical, and for sacrifice of self for the good of fellow man and soldiers. No one can fathom the face of war unless they have looked into its dark eyes themselves. Likewise, none know the pain of heroism like the widows, children, and parents of the fallen.

Thank you for our freedom in America and for those who served and are serving. May we not give up what they fought so hard to provide and maintain.

Please forgive us our sins as a country and as the Body of Christ. Help us to turn from the bondage of sinful living and turn to the freedom found in obedience to your life-giving commands.  May we remember and spread the good news of your Son, Jesus, who also laid down His sinless life so that we might live in your presence in total forgiveness of sin.

In Jesus name we pray. Amen.

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The Meanderings of Motherhood

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The anticipated birth-day of each of our children come. Then as we are wheeled out to the car with our new little bundles in hand it is strange the feeling of surprise that there are no oaths to take or more papers to sign to take our child home and raise them. After all, foster care and adoption require nearly a left arm and two quarts of blood. Furthermore, many of us depart from the hospital with thoughts like are we ready for this?

I think those are feelings shared by most responsible parents when their children first arrive into the world from the safe confines of the womb. We count the days, weeks, then months of our children’s age to find that the years add up before we grasp the time with our minds, much less our hands.

As the years pass, the diaper bags are placed in the Goodwill or yard-sale pile. Next, the pack-and-play too finds a new home and the toys that we once tripped over have been replaced with big-kid toys we continue to trip over.

That’s the season of life we are in now. Legos have replaced teething-toys, and baby dolls and books have replaced boppy pillows and burp cloths.

I don’t carry a diaper bag anymore, but I rarely leave the house without a few snacks and a water bottle. Even though my children are five and seven, I think they still equate sight of me with hunger. Just ask my husband or the grandparents. The kids could have eaten minutes before I arrive home and one of the first sentences out of their mouths is, “Mom, I’m hungry.” Really?! It’s quite laughable.

Like the meandering path of a river, winding, bending, and curving its way to the sea, so too parenting is not a straight course. Sometimes our children will seem to be independent and free of their need for us in certain categories of life, only to need us greatly in similar categories once again. Occasionally, our well-developed children will hit a bump in the road and need us more than we anticipated at different points throughout our lives together.

I think about the choices my children will make as they grow. These are the easy years–I’ve been told, and I agree. The decisions they make at five and seven are far less reaching than at 12, 16, 18, 21, and even 35. Jesus wisely knows that as the course of our lives wind and bend to our final destination, that we will be prone to worry–not about the bend in front of us, but about the possibility of a twist in the rivers flow a few yards, or even a mile, down. He guides our worry with these words:

Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. Matthew 6:34, KJV

Prayer and praises to Jesus today, and prayer and praises to Jesus in the morrow. So the saying goes, and is good advice based on Matthew 6:34, One day at a time, sweet Jesus.

Prayerfully, our faithfulness in this day reaps rewards in the days to come. Therefore, we need not face this day with worry for the next that has not dawned.

The most precious gifts I have been given in this life are a result of one of the best choices I made in marrying their daddy. I am so grateful for the choices that led me to Ron and for the gift of being a mom to two of the most remarkable people I have ever met.

Happy Mother’s Day to each woman with children of your own and to all women of spiritual children in which you have invested love, prayers, and guidance. May this be a blessed Mother’s Day for you.

Take heart and fear not the morrow,

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Liberty, Freedom, and Love

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For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. 

For all the law is fulfilled in one word, even in this: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.

But if ye bite and devour one another, take heed  that ye be not consumed one of another.

Galatians 5:13-15, KJV

Liberty…freedom.

These words provoke feelings of patriotism in U.S. citizens, moreover, they elicit relief and celebration in Christian brothers and sisters. For those who live in free countries their hearts can swell at the mention of liberty, but how much more so those who have been set free and liberated from sin and death for all eternity?

This week’s protests in Baltimore and surrounding major U.S. cities have evoked different responses from citizens, news correspondents, and politicians alike. One will cry oppression and the next thug. Next the two will mull over the meaning behind the words and continue to put forth his or her views and, if we are lucky, actual facts concerning the situation at hand. Meanwhile, vandalism escalates and police are told to stand down and forget their training which would provide protection to the private citizens and business owners. Gang members gather and pursue face-time as the press seeks to bring us the latest on the breaking news in Baltimore.

Liberty…freedom.

Liberty and freedom ring loudest when the citizens are self-governing their moral and ethical obligations to their neighbors from a contrite heart who knows that it bears the image of God. The Imago Dei. Further that they will give an account of all their actions to their Creator.

Our society has fallen so far off the Biblical path that we are ignorant of the fact that we are created by a Someone, for a purpose, with an eternity after death. Insteadwe have a society largely comprised of people who believe they came from nothing, are going nowhere, and are held to no one’s standards or moral code than the one they choose for themselves.

Liberty and freedom are found at the threshold of obedience and discipline, not the scattered remains of crashed windows and looted goods. 

Government funds and legislation are not the answers to the problems in Baltimore, nor across the U.S. God is the answer to the problems. Once each neighbor realizes that he or she is created by God, bear His image, is held to His standards, will be judged by His premises, and can be saved and liberated from sin by His grace, then prayerfully,  they will live for His glory and obey His commands.

Our response as Christians to all the headlines of today’s news is evangelism and disciple making. Simply put, we are to fulfill the great commission and be ambassadors of Christ in our homes, our neighborhoods, and our places of work. We are to bear the image of Christ and spread His message on all street corners of America and the world.

The inner men must be changed before the outer actions of man become civil and just. Good Christians make for good citizens and good leaders. We must love God, and love our neighbor as ourselves, live within the law, and spread the gospel to stop the biting and devouring of one another in our country.

Another pertinent matter for prayer: in June, the Supreme Court of the United States will make a ruling concerning same sex marriage. Please be in prayer for the upholding of the biblical definition of marriage. You can follow the story from a much more knowledgeable source on legal matters than myself, Dr. Russell Moore, at his website (click here).

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A Lasting Legacy

I often find myself in second hand stores like the Goodwill or our local used library store. I love finding richness and bargains in the items others have deemed unnecessary or no longer useful. It is often a thrill to find a classic book in worn or like new condition.

I say find myself in such places, maybe lend myself to such places is a better way to put it. In any case, I like finding value and bargains in discarded items. The adage, “One man’s trash is another man’s treasure” is certainly one that my mom taught me.

About a month ago, I was using some alone time to peruse our local Goodwill. I don’t often check out the furniture section, but decided I would. Imagine my surprise when I spotted a stunning, dark wood piano. I heard my breath catch and my coffee cup quickly found its way to a resting place as I eagerly fingered each key to check and see if they worked.

To my delight, each key let out a beautiful note equal to the beauty of the piano. The cost…a meager one hundred dollars. An expense great in some measures, but a bargain in this case. Dare I text my husband to see if I could purchase the piece? I dared… and waited.  While I was waiting for a response from Ron, I lifted the piano bench to find several very old and well-used hymnals. As I already said, I love old books, but even more than old books, I love a life lived worshiping the Lord Jesus. This bargain piano had belonged to a woman named Faith, who had been praising the Lord on this very piano for, as it appeared, quite some time.

A Lasting Legacy

Sold!

I wavered a bit between texts with Ron and conversations with the manager about pick up details. Ultimately, I knew this piano was a gift from God. He had seen my sideways glances at our silver keyboard seemingly out of place in our dinning room area. He knew that I would love a piano even though I hadn’t even hoped to acquire one, much less ask. I know it is a luxury item when compared to the poverty stricken world, but a laughable pocket change expense to the richest in our land. Even so, it was a gift of affordable price from the Lord wrapped in the remnants of a life of worship played on its keys for years before.

I find it amazing, that the choices we make in this life echo long after our bodies return to the dust. Faith’s legacy was apparent, in part, by the choices in music she made and the pages of worship she left behind. Our actions preach beyond our present and our legacy lasts beyond our life’s breath. 

Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right.

Proverbs 20:11, KJV

Our life does not consist in the abundance of our possessions; but in the One who possess our very souls. We labor and toil and worry, and are liable to miss the point if we aren’t seeking to live the crucified and resurrected life of Christ. Yes, this means possessions will come and go, but how we use them, and for whom, is more the point.

For a person may labor with wisdom, knowledge and skill, and then they must leave all they own to another who has not toiled for it. This too is meaningless and a great misfortune.

Ecclesiastes 2:21, NIV

It is a misfortune if the only reason for which we have toiled is to acquire or to satiate our selfish ambition in this life. If we have toiled to bless and to be an instrument of God’s glory then we are working for eternal riches to be realized in heaven for eternity. As David Platt says in his new book, Counter Culture, we aren’t working for twenty years from now, we are working for twenty million years from now. Solomon wrote the above verse in light of the temporary. When we work for the eternal, then our work is never meaningless and whatever remains for others to use is not a misfortune. The rewards that matter most comes from work that is lasting and ultimately realized in heaven.

Some of the greatest composers of all time were men who loved God and penned lasting music for God’s glory alone, Soli Deo Gloria. Consider:

The aim and final end of all music should be none other than the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul.

Music is an agreeable harmony for the honor of God and the permissible delights of the soul.

Johann Sebastian Bach

What will those after us find when they open the boxes of our left behind possessions? Boxes filled with worldly remains or the remnants of a life well lived? In all that we say and all that we do we strive to do it Soli Deo Gloria. For the moments we fail there is grace found in faith through Jesus Christ. 

Praying we live a life of lasting legacy,

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Parting Words: Until We Meet Again

Parting Words: Until We Meet Again

All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age. (Matthew 28:18-20)

The wonderful part of looking at the parting words of Christ, is that Jesus did not ultimately say goodbye. Rather, He said, until we meet again. Essentially, Jesus parted with a promise and with directives and encouragement for His disciples. For all who would follow after Him. That’s the beauty of celebrating Easter, it is a reminder of the promises of God through Christ Jesus.

Easter is a reminder that the work of Christ is finished but the work for His Kingdom continues.

His finished work established our life’s work.

His purpose fulfilled, birthed our purposes revealed.

I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay everyone for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end. (Revelation 22:12-13)

His ascension was God’s plan to prepare a place for us and grow His Kingdom and message of redemption all over the earth. Does Jesus really need time to prepare a place for us, unquestionably no. However, this is part of making everything beautiful in its time. His time.

For those in Christ Jesus, no parting words would henceforth be forever. A reunion of saints now awaits after this life. What joy! Promised joy and a weight of glory unimaginable. He came and conquered death and He is coming back…next time as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords not as a suffering servant nor sacrificial lamb.

This life’s temporal goodbyes which separate the living from those in eternity continue to sting, but joy filled reunions will resound in heaven for those in Christ Jesus. Take heart and press on until such time.

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Parting Words: At the Tomb

Grand Canyon GTD Sept. 2012 1173

“Mary.”

She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher).

Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ “

Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her. (John 20:16-18)

Mary Magdalene was soaked with sadness as she approached the tomb. She had come to anoint Jesus’ body with spices, but could not cease her weeping as she mourned the loss of her Lord and Teacher.  Finding the stone rolled away and his grave empty, Mary knelt in the tomb anguished and assuming someone had taken Jesus’ body. Imagine what overwhelming joy was hers when she saw and recognized the risen Savior as he called her name, “Mary.”

Isn’t it comforting when someone close to you calls you by name? When someone you love and, or respect calls you by name without asking something of you, it prompts a feeling of being known and valued. Mary must have felt such feelings a hundred times over.

However, as Mary undoubtedly embraces Jesus, the Lord asks her not to cling to Him, but go and tell His disciples that Jesus is returning to the Father. Oh…and she also tells them that He is alive!

There are multiple opinions by theologians and scholars as to what Jesus meant when He asked Mary to refrain from clinging to Himself. I encourage you to go and study those for yourself. However, what the text is not saying is that Jesus was a spirit at this point. He was fully risen with a new human body–his resurrected body–which bore the marks of his crucifixion. As accounted in Luke 24:

As they were talking about these things, Jesus himself stood among them, and said to them, “Peace, to you!”  But they were startled and frightened and thought they saw a spirit. And he said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your hearts? See my hands and my feet, that it is I myself. Touch me, and see. For a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see that I have.” …“Have you anything here to eat?” They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate before them.(Luke 24:36-39, 41-42)

Jesus had risen in the flesh and Mary Magdalene was the first of over 500 that he would appear to. Mary, overcome with joy and emotion, wanted to worship her Savior and Lord, her Teacher and friend. However, Jesus wanted her to spread the word to His disciples because the mission was just beginning, and the advancement of the Kingdom was at hand.

May this Easter find you accepting Jesus’ words to the disciples and to Mary Magdalene: Peace be with you…go and tell.

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Parting Words: The Crucifixion

And when they came to the place that is called The Skull there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. 

~Luke 23:33

Imagine the scene unfolding, the Pharisees had seized the opportunity they sought. Jesus was finally receiving the repercussions for his blasphemous statements– at least that is how they viewed it. His disciples initially scattered both scared and confused. Of those within his intimate sphere we find recorded in the gospel at the foot of the cross, only his mother, John, and the women that had followed him left to observe the murder of their Lord. Considering that there are four gospel recordings of the events at the crucifixion, I believe it is likely that there were other disciples who were eye witnesses of the events of that day, although those disciples are not named specifically within the gospel accounts.

The people that had listened to his teachings and followed the murmuring in the streets and temple most likely watched the events unfold, but center stage were the Pharisees, the Roman soldiers, and the religious rulers mocking, “if you are the Son of God, then save yourself!” Were these crowds of onlookers the same Jews who had feasted at the feeding of the five thousand?Or the miraculously healed?  If so, it would seem they had forgotten the Lord’s words and works as quickly as their stomachs had digested the fish and bread. Or, perhaps they stood as followers of Christ, helpless to save their Savior, and broken over the plight of their beloved teacher.

Parting Words: Jesus at the Crucifixion

Finally, envision the criminals on his right and his left. These men had the birds-eye-view of all that unfolded from the time the nails bore into Jesus’ flesh and the spear pierced His side. As Jesus stretched out His arms for the nails to be driven into his wrists, He could not escape the reality, nor can we, that He was dying for the sins of wretched, but dearly beloved people, separated from God by rebellious hearts.

As the Roman soldiers nailed him to the cross, Jesus said,

Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. (Luke 23:34)

Then the soldiers cast lots for his garments and proceeded, business as usual, unknowingly slaughtering the Son of God.

The minutes and hours tick by and Jesus next takes care of His mother leaving her in the care of John. Quintessentially posturing Mary at the foot of the cross for the rest of history (See hereJesus says to Mary:

“Woman, behold, your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home. (John 19:26-27)

Next we see the dichotomy of man’s response to Jesus for the rest of temporal time. A mocking rejection of the Lord, and a proclamation of  Jesus as the sinless Son, Savior, and LORD:

“Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:39-43)

Following, we see a return to the ever present reality that Jesus was fully human and had physical needs even as He was divine. Additionally, we see the fulfilling of scripture as prophesied in Psalm 69:21,

After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” (John 19:28-30)

The hyssop branch is perhaps reminiscent of the blood dipped on hyssop to frame the door posts of the Israelites (Exodus 12:21-27) to preserve them from the wrath of God–from the destroyer that would kill those not covered by the blood of the sacrificial lambs. The final sacrifice for all who believe had been made, the final blood needed for the forgiveness of sins had been spilled and therefore, as recorded in three of the gospels, Jesus cried out with a loud voice:

“Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” Which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Mark 15:34)

“Father, into your hands I commit my spirit.” And having said this he breathed his last. (Luke 23:46)

This final act commenced an eternal reaction and a physical response from the earth and observers,

And the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!” (Mark 15:38-39)

The parting words of Jesus finalize the sacrifice needed for the forgiveness of our sins and remind us that it is through Christ alone that we find salvation. It is not fellow followers of Christ, his mother, nor any works that save us. His parting words remind us that it is in Christ alone we are forgiven. Amen and amen!

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Parting Words: Jesus to the Pharisees

Everyone leans in to  listen to a dying man’s voice.  His last words. His reflections and final thoughts.

Christ fully knew when His time had come. He calculated every word and deed to coincide with the exact day that His crucifiction would take place. Consider, close to the Passover, and before His murder, Christ spoke seven woes to the religious men of his day. The 7 Woes are  discussed in detail here.

The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses’ seat, so practice and observe whatever they tell you— but not what they do. 

The greatest among you shall be your servant.  Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

~Matthew 23:2, 11-12

As we approach Easter and consider the woes to the Pharisees and scribes, we should examine ourselves to see if Christ finds the same fault in us which He found in these self-professing God-followers. (For an overview of Pharisees and scribes click here   and here.)

While they would seem to be godly, they were neither sober nor righteous. We are really, what we are inwardly. Outward motives may keep the outside clean, while the inside is filthy; but if the heart and spirit be made new, there will be newness of life; here we must begin with ourselves. The righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees was like the ornaments of a grave, or dressing up a dead body, only for show. The deceitfulness of sinners’ hearts appears in that they go down the streams of the sins of their own day, while they fancy that they should have opposed the sins of former days. (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary at Christnotes.org,emphasis mine)

Pharisees point the finger and put the focus on the external and temporal.

Scribes are tempted to neglect the spirit of the Law while upholding the letter.

Clashing symbols both, don’t you think?

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint and dill and cumin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice, mercy, and faithfulness.These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. 

 Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you clean the outside of the cup and the plate, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence. You blind Pharisee! First clean the inside of the cup and the plate, that the outside also may be clean.

Matthew 23:23,25-26

Jesus’ final words to the Pharisees, the religious people of His day, were stinging. As a lifetime member of a church and a Christian over two decades, I default to the pharisee and scribe status if I am not very intentional. Christ’s parting words to me, not only include His parting words to the disciples, but sadly to the Pharisees as well. Those who are Christian are by default religious, and therefore should heed the seven woes.

This Lenten Season, what does pursuing justice, mercy, and faithfulness look like in your life…in mine? What filth needs to be cleaned out of the inside of the cup before the decay spreads to the outer portion? How should we stoop in service to follow the example of Christ washing His disciples feet? 

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Parting Words: Jesus to Judas Iscariot

Parting Words: Jesus to Judas Iscariot

 

Truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me; one who is eating with me. Mark 14:18

Friend, do what you came to do. Matthew 26:50

Judas was proactive in his betrayal of the Son of Man. (See Matthew 27:3-10)

The betrayal of Christ by Judas Iscariot reminds me that we will only be betrayed by someone in close proximity to us. We don’t call malice from an outsider betrayal; only that from someone close.

Jesus ate, slept, traveled, taught, and ministered beside Judas. Why would we think that couldn’t or wouldn’t happen to us? If it hasn’t happened to you, the probability is high that it will. If it has, then would you like to respond even more like Christ the next time? Me too. Additionally, I would like to see the warning signs earlier so that I don’t open myself up to as much hurt in the future as I have endured before. (See this great post here via iBelieve.com.)

For those of us without omniscience, which is all of us, we may have entertained the Judas unknowingly. That is, until the moment our betrayal was at hand. We may have postured for a Jonathon’s embrace only to be met with a Judas’ kiss. On the other hand, we may have simply been reluctant to see the warning signs and forged ahead with toxic relationships, that upon their end we wished we had never begun.

Christ knew that He would be betrayed by one of those closest to him. For him, it was only a matter of time. Yet, he chose to invest in Judas anyway. Why? What can we learn from that? What were his parting words to Judas?

  • Jesus parted without malice. We see no record or indication that Jesus slandered Judas or cast judgement on him. He warned him, however, that it would have been better for him that he would have never been born. (See Mark 14:21)
  • Jesus spoke the truth over the situation. (Mark 14:17-20)
  • Jesus’ omniscience ensures that he fully expected and anticipated betrayal and accepted that as the path towards the fulfillment of his life’s purpose.
  • Jesus continued to call Judas friend. (See Matthew 26:50)  Judas’ final act did not negate or erase the relationship that Christ had with him up until that point.
  • Judas, would you betray the Son of Man with a kiss?” Jesus, being fully human and fully God, hurt just as we do when someone hurts us. His heart was not protected from pain any more than ours. Yet he did not retaliate against Judas.

When someone with close, intimate proximity to us stings us with their malice, acts of betrayal, or apparent apathy, we can rest assured that Christ empathizes with us, sees our pain, and will one day bring justice to the situations we experience. Further, Christ provides an example of holiness for us to pattern with our parting words.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Living one day at a time; enjoying one moment at a time; accepting hardship as the pathway to peace. Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His will. That I may be reasonably happy in this life, and supremely happy with Him forever in the next. ~Reinhold Niebur

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Parting Words: Jesus Before the Cross

The Garden

It probably seemed a hairs breadth time between the calling and the cross for Peter, James, and John.

One day Simon Peter, Andrew, James and John were finishing an all-night fishing trip with no favor, when Jesus tells them, Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch. (Luke 5:4, ESV) That was the fishing trip that would change their lives. No longer would they be fishing for fish; they would become fishers of men.

It’s funny how we never know what hello will change our lives. What new acquaintance will be a God-appointed friendship waiting on which to embark. Luke 5, and the other gospel accounts, is epic in our view because we know the outcome. But, did the disciples feel in their souls the gravity of that day’s events as they unfolded? It’s impossible to know.

Spring forward three years, and we once again encounter Jesus and three of his first-called disciples sharing a world-changing moment together. However, this time, the setting is a garden, not the sea, the food is bread and wine, not fish, and the task is to watch and pray, not to cast their nets to the waves.

Sometimes watching and praying can be much more challenging than working and casting. The sleepy disciples bear witness to this. There is a weight in the waiting.

Jesus had finished his final Passover meal with his disciples. He foretold of His betrayal, his death, and his resurrection (See Matthew 26) and commenced to sing a hymn and depart to Gethsemane. In these final parting moments with his friends and disciples, Jesus behaved in certain ways that we can pattern as we draw to transition points in our own lives:

  • Jesus drew close to those closest to Him. Jesus took all the disciples to Gethsemane, minus Judas who was too busy betraying Him; however, He drew even closer to his three friends: Peter, James and John. Jesus took them further into the garden and shared more of Himself with them.
  • Jesus shared the burdens of His soul with trusted friends. Jesus’ future was not veiled to any of the disciples, but the agony with which He faced his destiny was shared with a chosen few. He confides in Peter, James, and John:

My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here and watch with me. (Matthew 26:38)

  • Jesus drew closest to the Father. While Christ invited His friends and disciples to share in His burden through prayer, He petitioned His Father alone further still into the Garden of Gethsemane. Jesus asked for the cup of God’s wrath to pass, yet ultimately he petitioned for the Father’s will to be done. We too can portray only so much truth to our closest friends and family–God is the only one who knows in fullness our joys and our sorrows.
  • Jesus used his fleeting time to continue to instruct His disciples concerning:

Their duty. Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak. (Matthew 26:41)

God’s power. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? (Matthew 26:53)

God’s will. …all this has taken place that the Scriptures of the prophets might be fulfilled. (Matthew 26:56)

It is comforting to me that even in partings, Jesus provides the way in which we can do so with the greatest impact.

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