One Easter season it occurred to me how Jesus Christ, while on this earth, experienced all the same basic human emotions and feelings as you and me! Yes, He is divine, being God’s Son, but He also came to this earth as a human. Have you really let the power and specialness of that sink in? To know that Jesus truly understands the different human emotions that we, too, experience?
The shortest verse in the Bible is “Jesus wept.” (John 11:35) Jesus wept when He found out that His friend Lazarus died. Some people say Jesus wept because He loved Lazarus so much; others say it was because Jesus knew that some of the people gathered around still would not believe He was the Messiah, even after Lazarus’ resurrection. Either way, in our humanity, we weep when our loved one dies, when our loved one isn’t following Christ, or when someone dear to us makes choices that take them down a “wrong” path.
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Did you ever stop to think how Jesus, the Messiah and King, was mocked and laughed at while on this earth? Satan tempted and mocked Jesus in the desert for 40 days and 40 nights. Jesus was always empowered to return Satan’s temptations with Scripture. Many people mocked and laughed at Jesus when he was hanging on the cross for you and me! I think Jesus’ heart must have been very heavy and saddened listening to the people mock and laugh at Him. Many of the people in Jesus’ hometown did not even believe what Jesus was preaching. Sometimes, people mock us and laugh at us when we stand up for our beliefs or our faith, or when we step out to share God’s love.
Often times when trials come our way, we pray to God that they may pass us by—just like the prayer that Jesus prayed in the Garden of Gethsemani before He was arrested. Ultimately, Jesus knew He was sent to earth for that very moment to set us free. In our trials, hopefully, before long, we, too, can say, “God, let Your will be done.”
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Do you ever feel that God has forsaken you? There was only one moment in Jesus’ life when He felt abandoned like that—that was the moment when Jesus, hanging from the cross, took on all the sins of the world. God promises to always be there—it’s we and our sin that turn away from Him. Hanging on that cross, Jesus gave up His spirit peacefully because He knew He came to do God’s will. He knew He was called by God, led by God, and empowered by God to sacrifice Himself to set all of us free from our sin!
Jesus also left us with a great example of loving one another. All along Jesus knew that Judas would be the one to betray Him, yet He had no bad feelings toward Judas. Jesus still loved him—and, that is the love we are called to have for one another.
This Easter season may you take time to reflect on Jesus’ humanity and how He can relate to our emotions and feelings. He understands and wants us to know we can rely on God to help us on this journey. I pray you have a blessed Easter celebrating the Risen Christ and living out the empowerment we have in Him!
Since the children have flesh and blood, He too shared in their humanity so that by His death He might destroy him who holds the power of death–that is, the devil. –Hebrews 2:14
My son had that experience this week and as a mom I think that was probably harder on me. We always want the best for our kids, and especially when we see them work so hard for something, it is heart-breaking if they don’t quite achieve that.
This son especially has a great love for the sport of baseball. Years ago he played soccer which was cut short his last year by a broken arm. (From jumping off a swing at a classmate’s birthday party!) At that time in his life, he was also plagued by asthma so it was harder on him running back and forth down the field. Through the years, he has also been involved with the sport of basketball. It used to be when he was in basketball, we would find him saying that was his favorite sport and during baseball, baseball was definitely his favorite sport.
That mentality seemed to change this past year. Baseball became HIS sport! In fact, he didn’t want to play basketball anymore so he could just do baseball all the time. The problem is it seems rare to be able to do baseball year round (due to our snowy winters), so he did continue to play basketball to keep more active.
This past fall, my son played fall baseball at an indoor complex so they didn’t have to worry about the weather interfering with play time. This is when it seemed like the spark in him became even stronger to pursue baseball and when he started saying baseball was his life!
Thankfully, a friend of his suggested to a coach of a travel baseball team that he should check him out. Well, the rest is history. My son has been practicing and playing indoor games ever since and can’t wait for the outside travel tournaments to begin. He loved the day he had practice, helped with another team, and had a double header! His passion is definitely with baseball.
This past week they had school, modified baseball tryouts. He so wanted to make the team this year. He tried out and didn’t make the team last year as they only took three players from his grade level. This year they took more players and sadly he was not one they picked. We’ve heard our school sports are pretty political in nature and as in most things, it seems to depend on who you know. That is definitely a disadvantage for us as he came into the school district as a 6th grader, and because of where we live, we usually go to another town for the recreational sports so he is not really on their “radar.”
One day as I was feeling all alone in this world, I had a vision–a different type of vision that made me ponder the true meaning of this life.
In the vision, I saw myself sitting outside, in the middle of a huge park. It was a beautiful, crystal clear day, and a soft, gentle breeze was blowing. People were scurrying all about, but nobody seemed to notice me, as I sat all alone, lost in the vision.
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I couldn’t believe my eyes, as suddenly, one by one, “things” began to disappear. First the trees, then the birds and the mountains. Houses once seen in the distance were erased from existence. Cars and buses were next–no longer to be found. Last but not least, the people, one by one, disappeared–no more family, friends or even strangers around. All the places where I had once seen God’s beauty in this world, suddenly vanished.
I looked around once more and there was only me surrounded by all this emptiness. But, within my heart and soul, I had only an unexplainable peace. I knew in my heart of hearts, that although all the “things” of this world were taken away, I still had “something.”
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You see, I was not alone–I had JESUS living in my heart–a treasure far greater than any earthly “thing.” It was then that I realized the true meaning of life.
And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. –Philippians 4:7
We must all search to find the special gifts that God has given us to share with one another. Sometimes we may not feel we have any gifts, but Paul says in Romans 12:4-8,
“Just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given us. If a man’s gift is prophesying, let him use it in proportion to his faith. If it is serving, let him serve; if it is teaching, let him teach; if it is encouraging, let him encourage; if it is contributing to the needs of others, let him give generously; if it is leadership, let him govern diligently; if it is showing mercy, let him do it cheerfully.”
We need to take time every now and then to evaluate the gifts we’re sharing, as well as where and how we are using them. It is possible that our gifts may be used in different ways depending on the circumstances of our life. God may be calling us to use our gifts in a different setting at various times in our life.
God may also call us to expand our horizons and develop other gifts that are needed at certain times in our life. He wants us to continually grow in our spiritual walk. Our giftedness will be a blessing for us, while also blessing the people around us.
Sometimes our gifts may be visible to others, and at other times nobody may see them. What is vital is that we let God use our gifts at each stage of our life for His manifestation, and not to worry if others notice our gifts. Then we can rejoice knowing we are serving Him and doing His will!
Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. –1 Peter 4:10
Isn’t it neat to think about all the things in this world that work together in harmony?
As humans, but made in God’s image, I think all the more WE should look for ways to work in harmony and make this world a better place for others.
I think that is how God wants us to be with one another…helping each other to live in harmony, whether through an encouraging word, physically helping another in some way, praying for another, or sharing some gift that we have.
This thought of how things work together in harmony occurred to me when I was attending a Philharmonic concert recently. Especially since I do not have the gift of music, it amazes me to think how, with the vast amount of instruments in an orchestra or band, and so many different people playing, that such great music is the result! I am in awe of how all of the instrumentalists, with their various instruments, know exactly the right time to come in and play their own parts. So many instruments and different people from all walks of life can work so well together and play some beautiful, harmonious music!
How about how God made all of nature to work together in harmony? From the trees, to the flowers, to the animals, to the birds of the sky, each has their own job and purpose on this earth. Snakes help reduce the rodent population and mosquitoes are actually a great food source for birds, fish, and frogs among other creatures. Again, they all live together in harmony.
Think about the huge oceans in this world and how the many creatures there live in harmony. Each creature in the sea exists to live in harmony and fulfill a purpose. Why there are even major ecosystems making beautiful coral reefs for our eyes to behold.
If you have a career, think about how much more smoothly things work when people all work together in harmony. Being respectful and caring in our interactions, rather than demanding or mean is one way to work more harmoniously. How about letting people think about and have a say in the way something could maybe work better? Maybe the “lowly” person in the company holds the key to improving a process and save the company some money! Working together in harmony is much more beneficial.
In your home, especially if you have children at home, life is so much better if you can find ways to live in harmony. If the kids are always fighting or arguing, life can be so draining and it doesn’t benefit anyone.
Our churches should be places where people feel welcome and a sense of community where love is the center of everything that is done. People praying for one another and helping each other in whatever way they need. No one should be in need for physical things. Having programs to enrich and grow in our faith are important things to help us live more harmoniously with one another.
Reaching out to a stranger through a smile at the store, inviting a friend over for dinner when you know they are all alone, or sending a card to brighten someone’s day can help us live in harmony. You just might be the one God uses to help another see something in a different light, and that just might change their life for the better enabling them to live a life of harmony.
I do think it is so cool how God can use every event and circumstance in our life to affect another. It might be to benefit you in some way or maybe it was just what the other person needed. God is so good and it is so powerful to see how everything is connected. I can help you, you can help me, and together we can glorify the Lord in all we do and say. It is awesome to be open to seeing the Lord working in all of creation and to live in harmony with one another.
Finally, all of you, live in harmony with one another; be sympathetic, love as brothers, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing. –1 Peter 3:8-9
Our lives can be parallel to that of a little tiny seed. That seed is just being planted into the dirt when we realize the true purpose and meaning of life—life in Jesus Christ.
Growth of the seed will continue when we read and share God’s Word and reach out to one another. This is the water and food that nourishes the seed.
In reaching out to others, we help ourselves grow, as well as bringing others to know and love Jesus more. This is the “sun” which, when it shines brightly, helps the seed to blossom into something beautiful.
At times, clouds and storms may come and shake us, but with the “Son’s” help and with friends to hold us up, the storm will pass, and soon the sun will shine again. These storms help us stand taller and be stronger than before.
Again, He said, “What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest see you plant in the ground. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds of the air can perch in its shade.” –Mark 4:30-32