Faith

Originally faith meant we trust in God and follow the example of the Divine in all we do. Have we drifted away from that? Are we more focused on our schedules and our “stuff” than we ought to be?

Keeping Our Eyes on Jesus

There are millions of places that church people would have you looking for guidance. Few, if any, look to the words and deeds of Jesus.

Simply Trust…

I can only imagine the amount of difficulty that Jesus must have stumbled across with the disciples as He shared the words in John 14:1-14 with them. These words must have confused, been difficult to hear, and even more difficult to comprehend. There is just no way to understand what Jesus was saying.

He says He loves them all. He tells them one will betray, the other will deny. He tells them He has to go somewhere they are not invited to attend. Hard words in the confusion of the moment.

We have the same feelings when the messages we receive get tossed. We think God is a great and gracious God, but that comes sorely to the test when our prayers don’t get answered in the way we expected. If they even get answered. We struggle with the moment when it just doesn’t add up. I get where the disciples must have felt. I have been bedside many times with folks who were sick, and we prayed, but the results seemed less optimistic than we all hoped.

To all of this, Jesus is there to assure, even reassure us since He has already told us that He is with us each and every step of “the Way.” These words form the nickname for the early church, “The Way” which was code for being a follower of Jesus. Obviously, He was the bringer of salvation, the one and only way to find God and have that abundant life Jesus keeps talking about.

This side of heaven, we have a tough time having all the answers to all the questions we might have. I think even if we got those answers, it would force us to get even more questions that would need to be answered. Perhaps in the midst of the uncertainty, the unanswered prayer, the confusion and lack of clarity in any or all of our situations, we can understand this much-Jesus is there with and for us.

We cannot let the issues of any given moment overshadow what Jesus has done for us. He’s not a machine we go to and punch a button and walk away with what we ordered. We need to trust in His Word, His promise, His actions, and His love. Those are the things the disciples were a lot closer to than we are, but they still are the things that define our relationship with Jesus, and in turn, with the Father who is in heaven. We are blessed in Jesus, and we pray the Holy Spirit gives us the grace to face each day in complete confidence.

“Don’t let this throw you. You trust God, don’t you? Trust me. There is plenty of room for you in my Father’s home. If that weren’t so, would I have told you that I’m on my way to get a room ready for you? And if I’m on my way to get your room ready, I’ll come back and get you so you can live where I live. And you already know the road I’m taking.” Thomas said, “Master, we have no idea where you’re going. How do you expect us to know the road?” Jesus said, “I am the Road, also the Truth, also the Life. No one gets to the Father apart from me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him. You’ve even seen him!” Philip said, “Master, show us the Father; then we’ll be content.”  “You’ve been with me all this time, Philip, and you still don’t understand? To see me is to see the Father. So how can you ask, ‘Where is the Father?’ Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? The words that I speak to you aren’t mere words. I don’t just make them up on my own. The Father who resides in me crafts each word into a divine act.“Believe me: I am in my Father and my Father is in me. If you can’t believe that, believe what you see—these works. The person who trusts me will not only do what I’m doing but even greater things, because I, on my way to the Father, am giving you the same work to do that I’ve been doing. You can count on it. From now on, whatever you request along the lines of who I am and what I am doing, I’ll do it. That’s how the Father will be seen for who he is in the Son. I mean it. Whatever you request in this way, I’ll do.

Bunny Trax

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Is THIS the best the world can do for us as we celebrate the power of Easter in our lives?  This exemplifies the heartbreak of a hollow easter bunny in the easter basket.  Looks good, shiny, pleasing to the eye, but it isn’t what it claims to be.  You think you have been gifted with something really great.  Yet it is hollow.
I do not want to dig too far into the relatively pagan celebration of the Resurrection holiday so as to give it any credence.  We cannot even celebrate the holiday well.  Nor can the world.  It offers a hollow bunny for us to consume this Easter season, with the wonderful veneer of being solid, but that first bite on those ears or that tail will certainly break your heart as a child.
Unless we completely lose the celebration of the real meaning of Easter in all of the pastel colors and cute decorations, we need to be reminded that the first Easter was celebrated in a cemetery.  Decaying bones surround our personal pain of the loss of our dear Lord on the Good Friday cross.  It is not pretty.  It is a grief filled moment we cannot get around.  No amount of fancy decorations from the modern world can somehow silence man’s attempt to stifle God’s grace by “killing the messenger.”
Perhaps the world wants to clean up the distastefulness of the cross.  Maybe it is too distressing and we need to spin a new story.  Maybe we are not willing to confront our sin to realize why Jesus had to die in the first place.  Maybe we are not willing to give up control on our lives to the risen Lord.  Maybe we have 1000 other excuses.
Remember, Jesus was not passing out chocolate bunnies graveside.  He hid no Easter eggs in the cemetery.  His death and now the Empty Tomb gives new life to those who believe.  Let’s make certain we know exactly what we celebrate this beautiful Easter morning.  Certainly not a hollow bunny!