Morning Musing: Matthew 26:39

“Going a little farther, he fell facedown and prayed, ‘My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

There are some parts of the Christian life that are pretty easy to sell. The love and forgiveness and eternal life practically offer themselves to newcomers. Having God on your side and with you all the time doesn’t hurt either. There are some parts, though, that are a little less customer-friendly sounding. One of those is put on display here in Jesus’ conversation with His Father shortly before going to the cross. Let’s talk this morning about what happens when our will and God’s will aren’t the same.

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Morning Musing: Mark 15:15

“Wanting to satisfy the crowd, Pilate released Barabbas to them; and after having Jesus flogged, he handed him over to be crucified.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

There are some characters without whom a particular story would simply not be the same. Now, of course the main characters are vital to the narrative, but I’m talking about the secondary characters. These are the men and women (or some other mythological or animal or alien creature) in supporting roles, but who play their role or are written into the role so well they make the story work. I’m thinking about characters like Samwise Gamgee from the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Frodo is obviously the protagonist, but without Sam, he never would have completed his quest. The story simply wouldn’t have been the same. There’s a reason one of the main Oscar categories is best supporting actor and actress. Well, in the story of Jesus’ crucifixion, Pilate plays this kind of a role. Let’s spend just a few minutes together this morning talking about him.

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Morning Musing: Mark 8:33

“But turning around and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, ‘Get behind me, Satan! You are not thinking about God’s concerns but human concerns.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Have you ever gotten more than you bargained for? Sometimes this feels like a very good thing. I once dropped four tokens on a Kung Fu Panda video game at an arcade where you had to punch these pads in the right sequence…and won it. The whole thing. Right in front of my kids. I was super dad. We got so many tickets all three boys went home with playground balls. If you know how arcade reward transactions go, you’ll understand we hit the jackpot. Maybe you’ve hit an actual jackpot. You put that one last nickel in the slot, pulled the handle, and filled up your bucket. (Disclaimer: I’ve never actually been to a casino, but that’s how it looks like it works on TV.) Sometimes, though, it doesn’t feel so nice. You playfully tease someone after a day that’s been much harder than you realize and instead of playfully teasing back, they bite your head off. What Peter experienced here was a bit more in line with this second situation. His getting burned, though, offers a lesson we do well to learn (spoiler alert: it’s not that we shouldn’t argue with Jesus).

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The Story of Salvation

We’ve been talking all month about the great plans of our faithful God. His plans were always for our salvation and this past Sunday we dug into exactly what that means. What does it mean for you and for me that Jesus came to save us from our sins. Read on to find out. Also, this will be the final entry this year. I will look forward to continuing our journey in Mark with you starting next week. See you then and Happy New Year!

The Story of Salvation

Well, we made it. Christmas has come and gone. And, should our Lord tarry, we are only a couple of days from kickstarting a whole new calendar year. Who’s ready for that? 2020 is almost in the rearview mirror. What a relief, right? Have you at least enjoyed the season we’ve been through? I mean, much of it hasn’t been the same as we would have preferred, but it was Christmas. How could you not enjoy Christmas at least a little bit? Some of you are thinking, “Easy. Try me.” Yet when we really understand what Christmas is all about, it really is pretty hard not to enjoy at least some part of it.

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All According to Plan

Have you ever made plans only to have them fall apart? I suspect you have. That’s part of life. Sometimes, though, when our plans fall apart, it isn’t because we’ve done anything wrong. It isn’t because anyone else has done anything wrong either. Instead, it’s because God has His own plans and He’s interrupting to make sure His plans happen. This kind of thing can be monumentally frustrating, but as we’ll see in this next part of our Advent series, All Planned Out, this always works out for our good. Thanks for joining me as we talk about how God makes sure things happen all according to His plan.

All According to Plan

There’s a pretty well-known children’s book that starts out like this: “I went to sleep with gum in my mouth and now there’s gum in my hair and when I got out of bed this morning I tripped on the skateboard and by mistake I dropped my sweater in the sink while the water was running and I could tell it was going to be…” If you know the book, say the next line with me: “…a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.” Now, what poor soul experienced all of that bad luck before breakfast? Why, Alexander, of course. The book is entitled Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.

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