Thursday, February 28- Rest For the Weary

     I have heard it said that, once you lose sleep, you will never simply “make it up”. If you don’t actually SLEEP those lost hours, you will end up with what “the experts” call a Sleep Deficit. Makes sense. I don’t know if I actually AGREE with it, but it DOES make sense.
     From Fall of 1997 through Spring of 2000, I racked up a SERIOUS Sleep Deficit. I started serving my first church (half-time pay, 3/4 to full time work most weeks!) on the 15th of August in 1997. 2 weeks later, I started the 1st semester of my seminary career, taking a full load. I also had a wife and a son. So…my life was BUSY! 
     Along with simply having that many irons in the fire, 1. I knew NOTHING about pastoring a church, 2. I knew NOTHING about the Bible and 3. I hadn’t been a student for…ready?…14 years! I really felt I was behind the proverbial 8-ball all the time!
     By the time I graduated from seminary with a Master’s Degree in the Spring of 2000, I had a 2nd son AND I calculated that I had accrued a Sleep Deficit of 30 days. NOT hours…DAYS! I was the textbook definition of the word “weary”!
     Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
     Are you weary? Do feel like your yoke is heavy, cumbersome, overwhelming? Jesus has a solution for you- go to Him. That’s it. Go to Him. His yoke is easy, His burden is light AND He will give you rest. In a world that pulls us in SO many directions and then simply spits us out when we have been used up, it’s pretty refreshing to hear that Jesus has an answer! Come to Him!
     Thanks for stopping by- I pray you have a blessed day! Please make sure and come back again tomorrow, and stick with Jesus!
 Tomorrow- Lord of the Sabbath

Wednesday, February 27- Daily Bible Verse

Matthew 10:11-14 Whatever town or village you enter, search for some worthy person there and stay at his house until you leave. As you enter the home, give it your greeting. If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town.

Wednesday, February 27- Shake the Dust Off

    Who is it that you can’t stand to be around?Who is your LEAST favorite person? Come on…be honest. You KNOW there are people you don’t particularly care for. Sure we are SUPPOSED to love everybody…but some are harder to love than others!
     I have this interesting dynamic with God when it comes to this topic. ANYTIME (and I DO mean anytime) I designate someone as THE person I don’t want to be around…God makes SURE that I am going to be around that person! And God is PAINFULLY consistent with me- He does it EVERY time! And every time, I say, “OK, I get it. I’m supposed to love everyone!” But the truth of the matter is this- I DON’T really get it. How do I know? Because I continue to do it!
     Today, we look at a Scripture passage that SEEMS to find Jesus telling us it’s OK to not like people and leave them. Let’s look-
      
Matthew 10:11-14 Whatever town or village you enter, search for some worthy person there and stay at his house until you leave. As you enter the home, give it your greeting. If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town.
     So the disciples are being sent out with these instructions. And at first blush, they sound MUCH more pragmatic than we usually find Jesus to be. It sounds as if Jesus is simply saying, “Go to their house. If you don’t like them, kick them to the curb and move on.” Really? THAT’S what You want me to do, Jesus? No, not really!
     If you read it more carefully, Jesus says shake the dust off your feet and leave that home or town…IF (Darn it! There HAD to be an “if”, didn’t there? Just when I thought I was off the hook!) you first: A. enter (you have to actually GO IN, initiate the conversation), B. search for a worthy person (you actually have to actively seek out someone to initiate that conversation with) and C. stay. (You can’t simply do a “drive by”, confident that no one will be “worthy”, You have to actually spend time.) You then have to offer a greeting, offer your peace and wait to see if anybody welcomes you and listens to you. If NONE of that happens, THEN and ONLY then can you shake the dust off and go.
     Jesus wants you to make the effort. If you don’t…who will?
     Thanks for stopping by- I pray you have a blessed day! Please make sure and come back again tomorrow, and stick with Jesus!
 Tomorrow- Rest For the Weary

Tuesday, February 26- Daily Bible Verse

Matthew 9:18-22 While he was saying this, a ruler came and knelt before him and said, “My daughter has just died. But come and put your hand on her, and she will live.” Jesus got up and went with him, and so did his disciples.  Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.”  Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed from that moment.

Tuesday, February 26- Touch the Hem

    Do you have a lucky charm? Perhaps a rabbit’s foot or a flour-leaf clover? If you know me at all, you know I am a rabid baseball fan. And I would argue that there is NO sport as superstitious as baseball! Here are just a FEW:
     Spitting into your hand before picking up the bat is said to bring good luck.
     A wad of gum stuck on a player’s hat brings good luck.
     It is bad luck if a dog walks across the diamond before the first pitch.
     Some players believe it is good luck to step on one of the bases before running off the field at the end of an inning.
     It is bad luck to touch the baselines while running off and onto the field between innings.
     Lending a bat to a fellow player is a serious jinx.
     Some players actually sleep with their bat to break out of a hitting slump or stay in a groove.
     If a pitcher is throwing a perfect game or a no-hitter, never speak of it while it’s going on.
     The list, quite frankly, goes on and on. And the is, we are a superstitious people by nature. We don’t want to walk under ladders or have black cats cross our path. We knock on wood, cross our fingers and make wishes on wishbones. We don’t open umbrellas indoors, we only pick up found pennies that are lying heads up and we avoid Friday the 13th. We are very careful to NOT break the mirror and, of course, we ALL know that people die in threes!
     Today we look at a passage that almost smacks of superstition…but it actually works!
  
Matthew 9:18-22 While he was saying this, a ruler came and knelt before him and said, “My daughter has just died. But come and put your hand on her, and she will live.” Jesus got up and went with him, and so did his disciples.  Just then a woman who had been subject to bleeding for twelve years came up behind him and touched the edge of his cloak. She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.”  Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed from that moment.
    
Jesus is traveling through a crowd when an ill woman, desperate to be healed, touches the hem of His garment. The HEM! Not Him. Not even His robe, but the hem. AND…it works! She is instantly healed. But not without Jesus knowing what happened. He singles her out and tells her that her faith has healed her. her faith. Not some uber-magical property found in the thread of Jesus’ robe. Her faith. She knew that she knew that she KNEW…if she could touch the hem of His robe…just TOUCH the hem…she would be healed. And she was.
     There are superstitions…and there is faith. Superstitions are based on folklore and (what my dad called) “old wive’s tales”. Ladders, black cats and heads-down pennies are NOT magical. Period. They have NO power over you. Jesus, on quite the other hand, has power. And when you place your faith in Him, that power is available to heal you. Set aside the silly superstitions and place your faith in the Creator of all things!
     Thanks for stopping by- I pray you have a blessed day! Please make sure and come back again tomorrow, and stick with Jesus!
 Tomorrow- Shake the Dust Off

Monday, February 25- Daily Bible Verse

Matthew 9:14-17 Then John’s disciples came and asked him, “How is it that we and the Pharisees fast, but your disciples do not fast?”  Jesus answered, “How can the guests of the bridegroom mourn while he is with them? The time will come when the bridegroom will be taken from them; then they will fast.  “No one sews a patch of unshrunk cloth on an old garment, for the patch will pull away from the garment, making the tear worse. Neither do men pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.”