you are

Therefore, get rid of all ill will and all deceit, pretense, envy, and slander. Instead, like a newborn baby, desire the pure milk of the word. Nourished by it, you will grow into salvation, since you have tasted that the Lord is good. Now you are coming to him as to a living stone. Even though this stone was rejected by humans, from God’s perspective it is chosen, valuable. You yourselves are being built like living stones into a spiritual temple. You are being made into a holy priesthood to offer up spiritual sacrifices that are acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. Thus it is written in scripture, Look! I am laying a cornerstone in Zion, chosen, valuable. The person who believes in him will never be shamed. So God honors you who believe. For those who refuse to believe, though, the stone the builders tossed aside has become the capstone. This is a stone that makes people stumble and a rock that makes them fall. Because they refuse to believe in the word, they stumble. Indeed, this is the end to which they were appointed. But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people who are God’s own possession. You have become this people so that you may speak of the wonderful acts of the one who called you out of darkness into his amazing light. 10 Once you weren’t a people, but now you are God’s people. Once you hadn’t received mercy, but now you have received mercy. (1 Peter 2:1-10, CEB)

You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people who are God’s own possession.

You belong to God and are growing deeper in relationship with God every day.

Continue to walk this path and grow in faith and love with God and share what you are getting with the world around you.

Loving People. Loving God.

healed you

46 Jesus and his followers came into Jericho. As Jesus was leaving Jericho, together with his disciples and a sizable crowd, a blind beggar named Bartimaeus, Timaeus’ son, was sitting beside the road. 47 When he heard that Jesus of Nazareth was there, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, show me mercy!” 48 Many scolded him, telling him to be quiet, but he shouted even louder, “Son of David, show me mercy!” 49 Jesus stopped and said, “Call him forward.” They called the blind man, “Be encouraged! Get up! He’s calling you.” 50 Throwing his coat to the side, he jumped up and came to Jesus. 51 Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” The blind man said, “Teacher, I want to see.” 52 Jesus said, “Go, your faith has healed you.” At once he was able to see, and he began to follow Jesus on the way. (Mark 10:46-52, CEB)

Go your faith has healed you…

What do you want Jesus to heal you from?

Do you have the faith that Bartimaeus did? They answer to that is we don’t know what his faith was. How much he had, how much he didn’t. Now we could say Jesus knew, but Jesus could have also been assuming (you know what happens when we assume…) that Bartimaeus had faith that Jesus could give him his sight. But we have no clue from the text what Bartimaeus believed or had faith in.

So do not think you do not have enough faith. You do.

God loves you as you are and sometimes God’s healing is different than our understanding of healing.

Always go:

Loving People. Loving God.

Trees

22 Jesus and his disciples came to Bethsaida. Some people brought a blind man to Jesus and begged him to touch and heal him. 23 Taking the blind man’s hand, Jesus led him out of the village. After spitting on his eyes and laying his hands on the man, he asked him, “Do you see anything?” 24 The man looked up and said, “I see people. They look like trees, only they are walking around.” 25 Then Jesus placed his hands on the man’s eyes again. He looked with his eyes wide open, his sight was restored, and he could see everything clearly. 26 Then Jesus sent him home, saying, “Don’t go into the village!” (Mark 8:22-26, CEB)

Ok. What is the point of this?

I mean we know Jesus can heal, but why this story where Jesus spits on the blind man, but doesn’t get it all the way the first time and has to go in for the second try?

Why didn’t it work the first time?

Did his spit not cover the man’s eyes?

Did the man not believe it would work?

Were his eyes not opened all the way?

Because it says Jesus placed his hands on the man’s eyes again, He looked with his eyes wide open and his sight was restored.

Jesus can always heal us. It doesn’t matter whether we believe that or not.

Jesus heals us. maybe not how we want to be healed, but how God needs us to be healed.

Loving People. Loving God.

better covenant

11 So if perfection came through the levitical office of priest (for the people received the Law under the priests), why was there still a need to speak about raising up another priest according to the order of Melchizedek rather than one according to the order of Aaron? 12 When the order of the priest changes, there has to be a change in the Law as well. 13 The person we are talking about belongs to another tribe, and no one ever served at the altar from that tribe. 14 It’s clear that our Lord came from the tribe of Judah, but Moses never said anything about priests from that tribe. 15 And it’s even clearer if another priest appears who is like Melchizedek. 16 He has become a priest by the power of a life that can’t be destroyed, rather than a legal requirement about physical descent. 17 This is confirmed: You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek. 18 On the one hand, an earlier command is set aside because it was weak and useless 19 (because the Law made nothing perfect). On the other hand, a better hope is introduced, through which we draw near to God. 20 And this was not done without a solemn pledge! The others have become priests without a solemn pledge, 21 but this priest was affirmed with a solemn pledge by the one who said, The Lord has made a solemn pledge and will not change his mind: You are a priest forever. 22 As a result, Jesus has become the guarantee of a better covenant. (Hebrews 7:11-22, CEB)

Now hold on. What is this? A better covenant?

This is an interesting thought and one I’m not sure I really thought about before.

A new tribe means that the old law is done away with and a new law is put in place. And Jesus is a priest in the line of Melchizedek, which means the Levitical law is done away with. But Jesus said he came not to abolish the law and that not one jot or tittle would change. So what does this mean?

And if there is a better covenant, does that mean the old covenant is no longer valid?

We need to follow the life that Jesus showed us and love as Jesus loved, and welcome as Jesus welcomed us.

Love all.

Loving People. Loving God.

priest

This Melchizedek, who was king of Salem and priest of the Most High God, met Abraham as he returned from the defeat of the kings, and Melchizedek blessed him. Abraham gave a tenth of everything to him. His name means first “king of righteousness,” and then “king of Salem,” that is, “king of peace.” He is without father or mother or any family. He has no beginning or end of life, but he’s like God’s Son and remains a priest for all time. See how great Melchizedek was! Abraham, the father of the people, gave him a tenth of everything he captured. The descendants of Levi who receive the office of priest have a commandment under the Law to collect a tenth of everything from the people who are their brothers and sisters, though they also are descended from Abraham. But Melchizedek, who isn’t related to them, received a tenth of everything from Abraham and blessed the one who had received the promises. Without question, the less important person is blessed by the more important person. In addition, in one case a tenth is received by people who die, and in the other case, the tenth is received by someone who continues to live, according to the record. It could be said that Levi, who received a tenth, paid a tenth through Abraham 10 because he was still in his ancestor’s body when Abraham paid the tenth to Melchizedek. (Hebrews 7:1-10, CEB)

It was written into the texts of the Bible that the people would support those called by God to witness to and take care of the people. A tithe or tenth of all the proceeds of earnings would go to the priests to fund their living and allow them to work for the people.

I believe it is important for us to help those who help us or can’t help themselves. We are blessed by God to be a blessing to the world and hoarding what we have is not being a blessing.

Bless others.

Loving People. Loving God.

Not all, but all

Before the Festival of Passover, Jesus knew that his time had come to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them fully. Jesus and his disciples were sharing the evening meal. The devil had already provoked Judas, Simon Iscariot’s son, to betray Jesus. Jesus knew the Father had given everything into his hands and that he had come from God and was returning to God. So he got up from the table and took off his robes. Picking up a linen towel, he tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a washbasin and began to wash the disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he was wearing. When Jesus came to Simon Peter, Peter said to him, “Lord, are you going to wash my feet?” Jesus replied, “You don’t understand what I’m doing now, but you will understand later.” “No!” Peter said. “You will never wash my feet!” Jesus replied, “Unless I wash you, you won’t have a place with me.” Simon Peter said, “Lord, not only my feet but also my hands and my head!” 10 Jesus responded, “Those who have bathed need only to have their feet washed, because they are completely clean. You disciples are clean, but not every one of you.” 11 He knew who would betray him. That’s why he said, “Not every one of you is clean.” 12 After he washed the disciples’ feet, he put on his robes and returned to his place at the table. He said to them, “Do you know what I’ve done for you? 13 You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and you speak correctly, because I am. 14 If I, your Lord and teacher, have washed your feet, you too must wash each other’s feet. 15 I have given you an example: Just as I have done, you also must do. 16 I assure you, servants aren’t greater than their master, nor are those who are sent greater than the one who sent them. 17 Since you know these things, you will be happy if you do them. (John 13:1-17, CEB)

This reading is usually found on Maundy Thursday, where in the gospel of John there isn’t a last supper because Jesus is the paschal lamb and in John we get the new commandment to love one another as I have loved you. And here Jesus shows that love to the disciples by doing the roll of a servant. He ties a towel around his waist and washes the feet of the disciples. Peter tells Jesus he will never wash him, but Jesus responds with if I do not wash you you have no part of me, Peter then wants everything washed. And this little side adventure seems to distract us from the fact that Judas is still here.

The text tells us, “The devil had already provoked Judas, Simon Iscariot’s son, to betray Jesus.” But Judas has not left yet. Judas is one who is washed by Jesus. Jesus said not everyone of them was clean but all of them were cleaned.

We need to remember that Jesus served the one who handed him over. We don’t choose who we serve for God. We are called to love and serve all.

Loving People. Loving God.

Godself

13 When God gave Abraham his promise, he swore by himself since he couldn’t swear by anyone greater. 14 He said, I will certainly bless you and multiply your descendants. 15 So Abraham obtained the promise by showing patience. 16 People pledge by something greater than themselves. A solemn pledge guarantees what they say and shuts down any argument. 17 When God wanted to further demonstrate to the heirs of the promise that his purpose doesn’t change, he guaranteed it with a solemn pledge. 18 So these are two things that don’t change, because it’s impossible for God to lie. He did this so that we, who have taken refuge in him, can be encouraged to grasp the hope that is lying in front of us. 19 This hope, which is a safe and secure anchor for our whole being, enters the sanctuary behind the curtain. 20 That’s where Jesus went in advance and entered for us, since he became a high priest according to the order of Melchizedek. (Hebrews 6:13-20, CEB)

Since God made a promise with Abraham and couldn’t swear on anything bigger than the Godself, God swore God would bless Abraham and multiply his descendants.

God’s promises are sure and we can take them to the bank. We can count on God because what God has promised always happens.

Trust in God and share that grace with everyone.

Loving People. Loving God.

Keep growing

So let’s press on to maturity, by moving on from the basics about Christ’s word. Let’s not lay a foundation of turning away from dead works, of faith in God, of teaching about ritual ways to wash with water, laying on of hands, the resurrection from the dead, and eternal judgment—all over again. We’re going to press on, if God allows it. Because it’s impossible to restore people to changed hearts and lives who turn away once they have seen the light, tasted the heavenly gift, become partners with the Holy Spirit, and tasted God’s good word and the powers of the coming age. They are crucifying God’s Son all over again and exposing him to public shame. The ground receives a blessing from God when it drinks up the rain that regularly comes and falls on it and yields a useful crop for those people for whom it is being farmed. But if it produces thorns and thistles, it’s useless and close to being cursed. It ends up being burned. But we are convinced of better things in your case, brothers and sisters, even though we are talking this way—things that go together with salvation. 10 God isn’t unjust so that he forgets your efforts and the love you have shown for his name’s sake when you served and continue to serve God’s holy people. 11 But we desperately want each of you to show the same effort to make your hope sure until the end. 12 This is so you won’t be lazy but follow the example of the ones who inherit the promises through faith and patience. (Hebrews 6:1-12, CEB)

Just keep moving forward in all things. Even when it seems others around you are moving away or falling back, we need to keep growing in faith and working towards sharing grace and mercy in every and all things.

When the rain comes, the ground is blessed and through our giving love and mercy to all we are also blessing those around us by shining God’s light into a world that is dark.

Let us always seek to be the light and to show love so others see the mercy that is available for them.

Loving People. Loving God.

asking

35 James and John, Zebedee’s sons, came to Jesus and said, “Teacher, we want you to do for us whatever we ask.” 36 “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked. 37 They said, “Allow one of us to sit on your right and the other on your left when you enter your glory.” 38 Jesus replied, “You don’t know what you’re asking! Can you drink the cup I drink or receive the baptism I receive?” 39 “We can,” they answered. Jesus said, “You will drink the cup I drink and receive the baptism I receive, 40 but to sit at my right or left hand isn’t mine to give. It belongs to those for whom it has been prepared.” 41 Now when the other ten disciples heard about this, they became angry with James and John. 42 Jesus called them over and said, “You know that the ones who are considered the rulers by the Gentiles show off their authority over them and their high-ranking officials order them around. 43 But that’s not the way it will be with you. Whoever wants to be great among you will be your servant. 44 Whoever wants to be first among you will be the slave of all, 45 for the Human One didn’t come to be served but rather to serve and to give his life to liberate many people.” (Mark 10:35-45, CEB)

Why were the other disciples angry? Because James and John did what they were thinking?

And do James and John actually know what they are saying when they say they are able to drink the cup that Jesus will drink? Or are they ready for the baptism Jesus will get?

And honestly if we think about what we profess in our faith, through the Apostles’ Creed what John and James are asking for really takes a twist. Right? We confess that Jesus ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God, the Father. So if Jesus is sitting at the Father’s right hand, who is at Jesus’ left hand? The Father. So either James or John are taking the Father’s seat…

Yeah, ain’t none of us good enough to sit in that seat!

But Jesus says to the disciples as he says to us. None of you will get any where by wanting to have the honor seat. You get there by following me and serving every one.

Jesus came to serve and to model for us the life we are to live.

Loving People. Loving God.

Servant

24 An argument broke out among the disciples over which one of them should be regarded as the greatest. 25 But Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles rule over their subjects, and those in authority over them are called ‘friends of the people.’ 26 But that’s not the way it will be with you. Instead, the greatest among you must become like a person of lower status and the leader like a servant. 27 So which one is greater, the one who is seated at the table or the one who serves at the table? Isn’t it the one who is seated at the table? But I am among you as one who serves. 28 “You are the ones who have continued with me in my trials. 29 And I confer royal power on you just as my Father granted royal power to me. 30 Thus you will eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and you will sit on thrones overseeing the twelve tribes of Israel. (Luke 22:24-30, CEB)

If you want to be the greatest in the kingdom of God you will be a servant to all.

We need to give up the seat of honor and lower ourselves to the place of helping those in need, because that is what Jesus did and calls each of us to do.

Be a servant and don’t look for honor. But in everything you do share love.

Loving People. Loving God.