Heart of Stone

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Good morning, beloved,

One of the most difficult things about reading the Bible is understanding context, at least to me. The Gospel writers are telling the stories to their audience, of their day, of their time, knowing who will be receiving the letters. For instance, as I write this blog, there are certain ways, sayings, idioms that we understand, but to someone 2000 years from now, the meaning may be lost to them.

In the following story, so often, we are very hard on Peter. We criticize Peter for rebuking Jesus or for a lack of understanding. Let’s read and then we’ll discuss…or rather, I’ll discuss. I’d love to have your comments!

Mark 8

29 And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Christ.” 30 And he strictly charged them to tell no one about him.

31 And he began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 And he said this plainly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33 But turning and seeing his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are not setting your mind on the things of God, but on the things of man.”

34 And calling the crowd to him with his disciples, he said to them, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35 For whoever would save his life[d] will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and the gospel’s will save it. 36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul? 37 For what can a man give in return for his soul? 38 For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, of him will the Son of Man also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.”

So, in verse 29, Jesus bluntly drills Peter. Who am I? Peter knows the answer and without missing a beat…

You are the Christ. 

You are the Messiah. The long expected One, the One my ancestors have been waiting for, we have longed for..I’m staring right at Him. He’s here. And I’m telling Him to. His. FACE. Exit stage left. New scene…

Verse 31. Okay, so this could have happened right after. This could have been a couple of days later. We don’t exactly know. These are memories Mark is writing down, right? So, the next entry begins…

Jesus began to teach…

Verse 32. Peter amazes. You can see why Jesus said upon this rock I will build my church,(Matthew 16:18) right? I mean, it really does take a certain type of strength to pull the Son of Man aside and rebuke Him. Obviously, Jesus saw Peter’s heart. Jesus saw what Peter was doing and it was not after God’s interests, it was man’s. See the rest of these verses.

Peter, in his heart, was not setting his mind and heart on God’s interests, but man’s. Here’s the problem though, and Jesus knew this intimately. He explained this to the disciples before He left them. This was prophesied in Jeremiah. Peter and the rest of the disciples had hearts of stone. They were softening. They needed, well, look with me.

Jeremiah 31

33 “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the Lord, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34 They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the Lord, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”

The first covenant that the Lord made with His people Israel was on stone tablets. The Lord was telling Jeremiah there would be a covenant to come, a new covenant and He would put the law in them. Let me remind you of something Jesus said that the Last Supper…

Luke 22:20 And in the same way He took the cup after they had eaten, saying, “This cup which is poured out for you is the new covenant in My blood.

Know the Lord, for they will all know Me…The beauty of the fulfillment of Scripture! Let me show you this! :)

John 14: 

If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also; from now on you know Him, and have seen Him.”

Philip *said to Him, “Lord, show us the Father, and it is enough for us.” Jesus *said to him, “Have I been so long with you, and yet you have not come to know Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; how can you say, ‘Show us the Father’? 10 Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. 11 Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves.

for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more…Jesus, the Lamb of God, would come and take away the sins of the world by dying on that terrible cross. A scene that our beloved Peter, the redemption scene for Peter, for poor Peter, his story is not perfect. He denies Jesus. He falls many times before that church is built on his back. Let me share with you, Peter’s redemption…

John 21:15 So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus *said to Simon Peter, “Simon,son of John, do you [f]love Me more than these?” He *said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I [g]love You.” He *said to him, “Tend My lambs.” 16 He *said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you [h]love Me?” He *said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I [i]love You.” He *said to him, “Shepherd My sheep.” 17 He *said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you [j]love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you [k]love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I [l]love You.” Jesus *said to him, “Tend My sheep.

That heart of stone that we beheld in the beginning of this blog? Gone. It has been replaced. A beautiful transformation, all because of Jesus.

Pray on. Pray on.

John The Baptizer

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I must admit posting a video of Handel’s Messiah on the cusp of June feels a bit like walking into a store in October with Christmas decorations. Bear with me.

When our President comes to town, roads close, traffic comes to a halt. Here’s an example from a recent trip to Chicago:

The town prepares. I don’t even know what the Secret Service and government does. I’m not going to even try to research that.

When Mark introduces us to the Beautiful, he tells us about His messenger first. And He starts by reminding us about a prophecy in Isaiah.

This passage in Isaiah is a comfort passage. The Messiah is coming, beloved. Your God has not forgotten about you. Your God has not abandoned you. Make the roads ready. In the Old Testament times, when the people knew that their king was coming they would prepare the roads, fill in the holes, make the kingdom ready! They wanted to be ready for their king.

Well, John is the messenger. According to David Guzik,

John the Baptist’s was the one crying in the wilderness, and through his message of repentance, he worked to prepare the way of the LORD. We often fail to appreciate how important the preparing work of the LORD is. Any great work of God begins with great preparation. John wonderfully fulfilled this important ministry. “John was God’s bulldozer to build that highway.” (Steadman)

Who is John the Baptist?

The Prophecies

Malachi Behold, I send My messenger, and he shall prepare the way before Me. And the Lord [the Messiah], Whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; the Messenger or Angel of the covenant, Whom you desire, behold, He shall come, says the Lord of hosts.

But who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears? For He is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap;

He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and He will purify the priests, the sons of Levi, and refine them like gold and silver, that they may offer to the Lord offerings in righteousness.


We’ve looked at his parents in my earlier blog. John comes from a priestly heritage on both sides. Zacharias came from the division of Abijah. There were 24 divisions of priesthood according to 1 Chronicles 24. Elizabeth was a daughter of Aaron.


Matthew 3:This same John’s garments were made of camel’s hair, and he wore a leather girdle about his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey.

Jesus described John best. :)

Matthew 11

Then as these men went their way, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John: What did you go out in the wilderness (desert) to see? A reed swayed by the wind?

What did you go out to see then? A man clothed in soft garments? Behold, those who wear soft clothing are in the houses of kings.

But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I tell you, and one [[b]out of the common, more eminent, more remarkable, and] [c]superior to a prophet.

10 This is the one of whom it is written, Behold, I send My messenger ahead of You, who shall make ready Your way before You.

11 Truly I tell you, among those born of women there has not risen anyone greater than John the Baptist; yet he who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.

12 And from the days of John the Baptist until the present time, the kingdom of heaven has endured violent assault, and violent men seize it by force [as a precious prize—a [d]share in the heavenly kingdom is sought with most ardent zeal and intense exertion].

13 For all the Prophets and the Law prophesied up until John.

14 And if you are willing to receive and accept it, John himself is Elijah who was to come [before the kingdom].

His work

  • Temporary…Matthew 3 In those days there appeared John the Baptist, preaching in the Wilderness (Desert) of Judea

And saying, Repent ([a]think differently; change your mind, regretting your sins and changing your conduct), for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

This is he who was mentioned by the prophet Isaiah when he said, The voice of one crying in the wilderness (shouting in the desert), Prepare the road for the Lord, make His highways straight (level, [b]direct).

28 You yourselves are my witnesses [you personally bear me out] that I stated, I am not the Christ (the Anointed One, the Messiah), but I have [only] been sent before Him [in advance of Him, to be His appointed forerunner, His messenger, His announcer].

29 He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the groomsman who stands by and listens to him rejoices greatly and heartily on account of the bridegroom’s voice. This then is my pleasure and joy, and it is now complete.

30 He must increase, but I must decrease. [He must grow more prominent; I must grow less so.]

33 You yourselves have sent [an inquiry] to John and he has been a witness to the truth.

34 But I do not receive [a mere] human witness [the evidence which I accept on My behalf is not from man]; but I simply mention all these things in order that you may be saved (made and kept safe and sound).

35 John was the lamp that kept on burning and shining [to show you the way], and you were willing for a while to delight (sun) yourselves in his light.

The fame

Matthew 3

Then Jerusalem and all Judea and all the country round about the Jordan went out to him;

And they were baptized in the Jordan by him, confessing their sins.

Jesus heard. Jesus came. And just as quickly as John’s flame burst on to scene? It was swept away…

Luke 3:

19 But Herod the tetrarch, who had been [repeatedly] told about his fault and reproved with rebuke [h]producing conviction by [John] for [having] Herodias, his brother’s wife, and for all the wicked things that Herod had done,

20 Added this to them all—that he shut up John in prison.

John then spends eleven chapters of Matthew in prison and we hear nothing of John the baptizer. Then, we hear. John is having doubts. The man who pointed Jesus out to all of his followers in the beginning? He isn’t sure.

Matthew 11

When Jesus had finished His charge to His twelve disciples, He left there to teach and to preach in their [Galilean] cities.

Now when John in prison heard about the activities of Christ, he sent a message by his disciples

And asked Him, Are You the One Who was to come, or should we keep on expecting a different one?

And then…

Matthew 14

And he said to his attendants, This is John the Baptist; He has been raised from the dead, and that is why the powers [a]of performing miracles are at work in Him.

For Herod had arrested John and bound him and put him in prison [to [b]stow him out of the way] on account and for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife,

For John had said to him, It is not lawful or right for you to have her.

Although he wished to have him put to death, he was afraid of the people, for they regarded John as a prophet.

But when Herod’s birthday came, the daughter of Herodias danced in the midst [before the company] and pleased and fascinated Herod,

And so he promised with an oath to give her whatever she might ask.

And she, being put forward and prompted by her mother, said, Give me the head of John the Baptist right here on a [c]platter.

And the king was distressed and sorry, but because of his oaths and his guests, he ordered it to be given her;

10 He sent and had John beheaded in the prison.

11 And his head was brought in on a [d]platter and given [e]to the little maid, and she brought it to her mother.

Whoosh. That was a ton of reading. Hope you learned a little about John. All in one place.


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Shandrivs’kyi Falls Photo by Vovavovk1

Good morning, friend,

Today begins a new week. A fresh week, a fresh start. What are you thankful for this day? How do you begin this day today?

I am so very thankful today to have caught a Matt Redman concert on KLOVE last night as I drove to pick up my son from youth group.

I am thankful for Upwards basketball, HRK basketball and the impact both are having in my children’s lives this year. What a gift.

I am thankful for our church, to see our pews filling, see our children worshipping, my eldest up with me playing his guitar…we, as a church, voted to financially support TWR missionaries Mike and Wendy Lambert yesterday. If you haven’t had a chance to see the work that Mike will be doing in Guam for TWR, please check out his website. The need for Mike is critical. Right now, they have only one engineer working on the equipment that serves a huge audience of nearly two billion people and to work effectively the station should have three technicians. Please be praying.

What I am chewing on today…

a song that I heard for the first time last night by Matt Redman…Mercy. You know I have to share it with you. :)

May I never lose the wonder of Your mercy…

Do I ever just pause and wonder at the amazing depth and beauty of His mercy?

11 As high as the ·sky [heaven] is above the earth,
so great is his ·love [loyalty] for those who ·respect [fear] him [Prov. 1:7].
12 He has taken our ·sins [transgressions] away from us
as far as the east is from west.
13 The Lord has ·mercy [compassion] on those who ·respect [fear] him [Prov. 1:7],
as a father has ·mercy [compassion] on his children. Psalm 103 EXB

What sparks my interest, what motivates me, what keeps me studying are phrases such as we find in these verses in Psalms.

As high as the sky is above the earth (picture that with me) so great is His love…now, I think, we like to stop there. We like to stop with His love. So great is His love. And it is great. It is magnificent. And there are A LOT of verses about His love. Last night, Chuck Swindoll was talking about the reality of hell. Can I just be honest with you and tell you how badly, in the quiet of my house, I wanted to turn off the preacher and turn on worship music? It’s uncomfortable. I don’t like thinking about it. However, if we are going to think about His great love, we also have to think about sharing that great love with those that need to hear it most desperately?

So great is His love for those who respect and fear Him…

7 The reverent and worshipful fear of the Lord is the beginning and the principal and choice part of knowledge [its starting point and its essence]; but fools despise skillful and godly Wisdom, instruction, and discipline. Proverbs 1:7 AMP

So, reverent, worshipful fear of the Lord, starting with an awe of Him, going back to the song that started this whole journey of mercy for me.

I will kneel in the dust, at the foot of the cross, where mercy paid for me.

That’s the start, that’s the beginning, the best part of this knowledge of the Lord that He loves. And the blessings just flow, my friends, we give Him this reverent fear. That’s where we need to be, covered in His dust. Covered in His mercy.

As you begin this day, His compassion, His mercy covers you. Now, who can you show compassion to this day? Who can see the grace and love of the Lord Jesus this day?

Pray on..pray on.



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Island Archway on the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, Photo by DAVID ILIFF. License: CC-BY-SA 3.0

Good morning, beloved,

I think my favorite worship/praise/hymns have to be anthems. The songs begin slow, quietly and continue to build and with great feeling and emotion, crescendo. One hymn we taught our children early on, Battle Hymn of the Republic, rings in my ears.

In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me:
As He died to make men holy, let us live to make men free;
[originally …let us die to make men free]
While God is marching on.
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! Glory! Glory! Hallelujah!
Glory! Glory! Hallelujah! While God is marching on. Cyber Hymnal

Anthem: a rousing or uplifting song identified with a particular group, body, or cause. Hmmm, I need to be roused. To be lifted up by the truth, to remember this life, this time is so brief. All of it is a breath…I breathe in and realize I have stopped folding Sparky uniforms. I only have TNT jerseys (and up) to fold and give to children. This day, this family, this is my ministry. This is my day.

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body[a] and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But[b] God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness towards us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. Ephesians 2 ESVUK

Rise up, friends. What is before you? Where is your allegiance? His mercy reaches out. His great love calls to you, to me. You were dead. I was dead. Grace reached out. As I type I’m listening to Passion belt out a song. I am inspired, encouraged and moved to trust more, hope more..

Our minds are truly a battlefield. I sing to bring the truth to my mind. I sing to fight feelings. To fight fear, to remember, to state CLEARLY that the Lord Our God is faithful. Never failing. How can I doubt this? How can I wonder at what He is doing? Why do I forget to give thanks?

By grace we have been saved…

Grace…it’s all about Him. It’s not anything we have done. It’s all about what HE has done, is doing, and will continue to do. Save us.

So this day, as you walk through your day, as I walk through my day, let’s remember, it’s grace.

Once and for all times. We believe our God is Jesus. We believe He is Lord. We believe HE has saved us.

The power in His name..



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La Plana Novella (Olivella) Photo by DagafeSQVT

Good morning, beloved,

15 For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, 16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe,according to the working of his great might 20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all. Ephesians 1 ESV

I think the first thing I want to do with this passage highlight every instance of you or your and see where that takes me.

Paul is praying for the Ephesians. He has reports of:

  • their faith in the Lord Jesus
  • their love toward all the saints

What is it to you to hear someone is praying for you? For me, it is encouragement.  Paul does not cease to give thanks for them or stop his prayers for them. Then he begins to pray for them. They believe in the Lord Jesus. He prays for revelation.  Next, let’s take what we learn by highlighting all instances of God.

  • God of our Lord Jesus Christ-Paul is stating without a doubt that Jesus was sent from God. Jesus was not a false prophet or liar. He was of God. He is God.
  • Father of glory (doxa) “…in Eph 1:17, “the Father of glory” describes Him as the source from whom all Divine splendor and perfection proceed in their manifestation, and to whom they belong..” (Greek Lexicon,
  • God gives us the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of wisdom
  • God gives us revelation, knowledge of Him
  • Our God calls us to hope

Hope. Hope is a very crucial word for me. I find myself again and again and again putting my hope in my circumstances, or my bank account numbers, or my relationships. If one area of my life (that I can see), is not puttering along as I would expect, I begin to get teary, worried. Yuck. My eyes have been taken from the God of glory, the source of Divine splendor, perfection and I’ve climbed into the mud pit and centered my gaze on the mud. Blech.

He calls us to HOPE!

We have riches, friends! We have His glory in us. A glorious. GLORIOUS inheritance. Back to what we learn about God. :)

  • immeasurable greatness of [God’s] power toward us who believe.. oh God, help me in unbelief! Are there ever days when you spend more time as doubting Thomas? Immeasurable…I can’t measure His power. I can’t grasp it. So what am I doing doubting?

  • according to the working of [God’s] great might-“In Eph 1:19 and Eph 6:10, it is said of the strength of God bestowed upon believers, the phrase “the power of His might” indicating strength afforded by power. ” (Greek Lexicon)
  • [God’s] great might that He worked in Christ when He raised him from the much to ponder here.
  • seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places
  • far above all rule and authority and power and dominion

This …far above all rule, authority, power, dominion…just ponder that for a moment. What we see in front of us is a chain of command, right? Think of authority in your life. Whose has authority in your life? Maybe your parents (if you are young), the police (you see those flashing lights and you pull over), the judge presiding over your case, the senate, the house of reps, the President. Kings, queens, rulers, principalities have nothing on the God of glory. The God of immeasurable power makes it so that I never, ever need to be afraid. He’s above it all. Nothing escapes His rule and dominion.

It’s more than that. He holds this world together. I don’t want to oversimplify God. I don’t want to put Him in my box. Mold Him how I want Him to look. I woke up this morning thinking about my day. Thinking about what went right and why. It isn’t a formula. If I do this and that, then bam, it’s amazing, folks, blessing! However, understanding the incredible depth of blessing of keeping His word close, In repeating it over and over. In the music, proclaiming His power, His dominion over the world! In pausing before I speak, allowing the Holy Spirit to guide.

It’s His name..above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. ooooh! This is so cool! Let me give you some cross refs:

Matthew 28: 19 [e]Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you [f]always, even to the end of the age.”

Acts 4: 11 [j]He is the stone which was rejected by you, the builders, but which became the chief corner stone. 12 And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.” (BTW, catch there is salvation IN NO ONE ELSE. Just Jesus. All you need is Jesus to be saved)

Revelation 19:12 His eyes are a flame of fire, and on His head are many diadems; and He has a name written on Him which no one knows except Himself. 13 He is clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.

He is above every name. He is. What more needs to be said? Think the next time you are about to speak His Name. Pause. Reflect. His Name. Remember this day, you are the child of the one true King. Keep His word close to you today. Keep the music playing. Worship Him as you breath.

Pray on. Pray on.


Casting aside

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Panorama of Lake Bled Photo by Mihael Grmek

Good morning, beloved,

I walked out this morning and saw the stars. I saw the moon. It was beautiful. The earth is filled with His glory. His majesty. It is good to begin a day with praise. It is good to give thanks. To start my day soaked in the Word, to remember that there are no chains on me. No chains on YOU. Why?

I’m here to tell you, your heart can be free. Today, as I face my own flesh, I do not face that battle alone. I can remember that: In Christ, God has given us every spiritual blessing in the heavenly ·world [realms; places]. (Ephesians 1:3). We bless the Father by blessing His son, Jesus. We cry out to Him knowing everything we need can be found in Him. Do you know that this verse (v.3) repeats some form of blessing three times? We bless Him. He has blessed us. We receive every spiritual blessing.

 …of the place where Christ “sitteth at the right hand of God” (i.e., in a position of Divine authority), Eph 1:20; and of the present position of believers in relationship to Christ, Eph 2:6; where they possess “every spiritual blessing,” Eph 1:3; Greek Lexicon

Christ now sits in the position of Divine Authority. Where do we stand with Jesus? What are some of the spiritual blessings?

  • Chosen, holy people without blame
  • His kids
  • grace
  • set free, forgiven, redeemed
  • there is a plan (in this hectic, crazy world that FEELS as though it is spinning out of control, we can bank on the truth that..there is a plan

I remember as a child, waiting to be picked for a team by the captain. Standing there with the rest of the kids, hoping, I would be next. My breath would be shallow. I would be close to kneeling on the ground begging, not to be last.  Then when I was picked, a quick smile, a deep breath and then to watch the rest of the suffering souls.. Let me just say, that will never happen with Jesus. God the Father has chosen you. No need for worry. No need for shallow breathing. You and I are His kids!

I have written about grace. There is so much more to learn about grace. We have been given so much grace! If we have been given so much grace, how is it that we cannot extend it to others?

We have been wronged by a friend. Or leader. Or spouse. Or child. The pain we feel is extreme and we feel the wrong deeply. Perhaps even now, the person’s face is looming in your mind. It keeps you awake at night. You rehearse how you will behave and talk in the future conversation.

5 But he was wounded for ·the wrong we did [T our transgressions];
he was crushed for ·the evil we did [T our iniquities].
The punishment, which ·made us well [brought us wholeness/peace], was given to him,
and we are healed because of his ·wounds [lacerations;T stripes; 1 Pet. 2:24].
6 We all have ·wandered away [T gone astray] like sheep;
each of us has gone his own way [1 Pet. 2:25]. Isaiah 53 EXB

How strange. Isaiah doesn’t mention our neighbor’s sins. He declares our sin. Jesus was crushed. He was punished. Only through His wounds can we be healed, we have all wandered away. Not just our “sinful” neighbor, us. I bet you could make a list of all the sins and wrongs your neighbor has done. I bet you could rehash every last one. Me too.

7b He was like a lamb being led to be ·killed [slaughtered].
He was quiet, as a sheep is quiet ·while its wool is being cut[L before its shearers; Acts 8:32Matt. 26:63Mark 14:61John 19:91 Pet. 2:23];
he never opened his mouth. Isaiah 53 EXB

Are we quiet when we are sinned against? Maybe we don’t say anything to anyone, maybe we do, but our thoughts betray us.  Jesus’ thoughts NEVER betrayed Him.

14 [L Therefore] Since we have a great high priest [2:17–18], Jesus the Son of God, who has ·gone into [ascended to; or passed through]·heaven [or the heavens], let us hold ·on [firmly] to ·the faith we have[L the confession/profession; C of our faith]. 15 ·For our high priest is able[L For we do not have a high priest who is unable] to ·understand[sympathize with] our weaknesses. He was tempted in every way that we are, but he did not sin. 16 Let us, then, ·feel very sure that we can come before [L confidently approach] God’s throne ·where there is grace[L of grace; C as opposed to a throne of judgment and condemnation]. There we can receive mercy and ·grace [L find grace] to help us ·when we need it [L at the right time]. Hebrews 4 EXB

He knows. His grace is enough for all. We need Jesus. We need Him, who sits in a position of authority, to intercede on our behalf, to understand our weaknesses. We need Him. We have sinned just as much as our neighbor, if not more. God’s grace and mercy is available to you, first. Let us run our race…

Therefore, since we are surrounded by a great cloud of ·people whose lives tell us what faith means [L witnesses], let us run the race that is before us ·and never give up [with endurance/perseverance]. ·We should [Let us] ·remove from our lives [get rid of; cast aside] anything that ·would get in the way [impedes/hinders us] and the sin that so easily ·holds us back [entangles/clings to us]. 2 Let us ·look only to [keep our eyes on] Jesus, the ·One who began [Pioneer/Founder of; or Leader/Prince of] our faith and who ·makes it perfect [completes it]. He ·suffered death on [L endured] the cross, ·accepting the shame as if it were nothing [L disregarding/despising the shame] because of the joy that ·God put before [lay ahead for] him. And now he is sitting at the right ·side [L hand] of God’s throne [1:313Ps. 110:1]. Hebrews 12 EXB

Cast aside anything that impedes or hinders, the sin that so easily entangles for there is grace. Keep our eyes on Jesus. He has a plan. It is a most excellent plan.

Pray on. Pray on.



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Dushan Tappe, one of the suburbs of Tehran, (1899) Author: Kamal-ol-Molk.

Good morning, beloved,

Today, it’s grace that astounds me. I throw words around this blog. I write out struggles I have in my life. Rather, I hint around the roller coasters that abound in my life. My stomach settles from one coaster and life pushes me on another one. What astounds me: every time I look up, look over, look behind Jesus is there. I’m wearing my seat harness, seat belt strapped in for the ride of my life, white knuckled, and Jesus is there. For the very top of the ride, to the very lowest point, nothing can ever separate us.

As we dive back into school (the metaphors are astounding as well, yes?) , I am holding desperately to His hands. Asking God to give me, please give me, the patience, the wisdom, the sight to teach my kids. To teach them about the Word, to remember that when I start our day with the teaching of His Word, our day (while never perfect) can feel the palpable presence of His Spirit. This year I want to dedicate to teaching them about the Kings and the Prophets.

So it’s good with all my plans and ideas to remember this: I. am. loved. Period.

 Because of his love [C this phrase may go with the previous sentence], God ·had already decided to make us his own children [L predestined us for adoption] through Jesus Christ. That was what he wanted and what pleased him, 6 and it brings praise to God because of his ·wonderful[glorious] grace. God gave that grace to us freely, in ·Christ, the One he loves [L the Beloved]. 7 In ·Christ [L him] we ·are set free [have been redeemed/purchased] by ·the blood of his death [L his blood; C blood signifies his sacrificial death], and so we have forgiveness of sins. ·How rich is [or This redemption reveals the wealth of; L …according to the riches of] God’s grace, 8 which he has ·given to us so fully and freely [lavished on us]. Ephesians 1 EXB

Love. We are His kids. Grace. Free. Set free. Redeemed. Forgiven.

I take my job as teacher very seriously. I also want my house to look perfect. Ah, yes, there’s the rub. Teaching four kids at home, six people and a dog, busy schedules, the house takes a back seat. In my mind though, it brings me peace to have my house sparkling clean. So when I look around while working with the kids, I get antsy to clean up. I look around, see the piles and wonder who made that mess or that one. Frustration abounds.

I am loved.

I am set free.

So, my expectations the house being perfect, fretting about the little things does not teach my children the truths I am stating here. If I sing, Your Love Never Fails and yet, there is no hope in my speech. No laughter. No joy. What am I truly teaching? When one of my sweets goes about cleaning my Blendtec and hot soapy water shoots up like a geyser, when same child tries to make coffee and breaks the carafe, when the girl pierces her dolls ears, when their rooms look like hurricanes abound (I’m loving that word today), when laundry piles, when dishes, when books, when papers…

I am loved.

I am set free.

I can laugh. I can give grace which so freely is bestowed upon me. No chains on me. No chains on my beloveds.

You are loved.

You can be free.

Run after Him today!


288. For a book that reminds me to pause, lie down and look up at the stars.

289. For another year to teach and be with my kids.

290. For the youth ministry of Village Church of Gurnee.

Pray on. Pray on. Forgiven.