Digging in Deeper: Hebrews 4:14-16

“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens – Jesus the Son of God – let us hold fast to our confession. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has been tempted in every way as we are, yet without sin. Therefore, let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in time of need.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Confession time. Okay, we’ll just make it introspection time. That’s a little easier to do while you’re reading a blog by yourself. Have you ever struggled with a pattern of sin? I’m not talking about a sin you committed once and moved on. I’m talking about something you did once, then a second time, then a third time, and suddenly found yourself locked in a pattern where you kept coming back to it in spite of your best efforts and desires to quit it entirely. I suspect you have. That is, unfortunately, a trait humans of all shapes and sizes share. Even if you don’t accept a generically Christian definition of sin, you have some standard of right and wrong to which you’ve subscribed and which you violate on a consistent basis. How do you manage to break out of that? With grit, grace, no small amount of determination, and the reminder that you’re not alone in your efforts. Let’s talk about it.

Read the rest…

Digging in Deeper: Mark 15:37-39

“Jesus let out a loud cry and breathed his last. Then the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. When the centurion, who was standing opposite him, saw the way he breathed his last, he said, ‘Truly this man was the Son of God!'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Did you ever have anything as a kid that your parents made off limits to you? What was it? Sometimes parents put restrictions on what their kids can access as a matter of selfish convenience, but most of the time, they do it for an entirely better reason than that. My parents made throwing dirt clods from the garden at the shed off limits for me when I was growing up. If you’re wondering why they had to do that at all, just put yourself in the mind of an elementary-aged boy and you’ll understand. The explosion of dirt when those clods hit the wall of the shed was just so satisfying. I ignored this restriction, of course, and soon thereafter broke the window in the side of the shed with an errant throw. That was why they put that restriction in place, by the way. Other times a restriction is put in place because the thing on the other side of the line is genuinely harmful for us. There are fences and no trespassing signs around power substations. Those are to protect people from being electrocuted. Restrictions generally have reasons. Well, the people of Israel had a restriction around God. You didn’t go into His presence unless you were prepared for it. This restriction was actually put in place by God Himself. And it held until God took it down. Actually, He ripped it in half. I mentioned yesterday the tearing of the temple veil when Jesus died. This morning let’s dig a little deeper into just what that meant.

Read the rest…

Morning Musing: Mark 14:37-38

“Then he came and found them sleeping. He said to Peter, ‘Simon, are you sleeping? Couldn’t you stay awake one hour? Stay awake and pray so that you won’t enter into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Did you ever get caught sleeping in class? I’ll confess that I dozed in class a lot through college and grad school. I never got caught that I know of, and I never fell totally asleep like this girl in my eighth grade algebra class who actually fell out of her desk she was asleep so hard, but I definitely dozed. I would later laugh at my notes that got more meager and difficult to decipher the longer class went. The trouble with falling asleep is that we miss things. Now, if what we miss is just part of a lecture, that’s probably not going to be the end of the world, although it may make the midterm more challenging. Sometimes, though, sleeping through life can be entirely more problematic. Peter learned that the hard way here.

Read the rest…

Morning Musing: Mark 14:10-11

“Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went to the chief priest to betray Jesus to them. And when they heard this, they were glad and promised to give him money. So he started looking for a good opportunity to betray him.” (CSB – Read the chapter)

Why did he do it? When someone does something terrible, that’s a question that rings in the hearts and minds of everyone else. We want, no, we need to understand why evil happens. For instance, a few years ago a man opened fire from a Las Vegas hotel room window on a crowd of concertgoers below killing dozens and wounding many more. Before police could get to his room to put a stop to the horror, though, he had taken his own life. Surviving victims and onlookers alike were all asking the same question: Why did he do it? The tragic answer is that we’ll never know exactly why. That didn’t stop us from doing all we could to get as much of an answer as was possible. This same phenomenon is often applied to Jesus’ disciple Judas. Why did he betray his Lord? Let’s think on that a bit this morning.

Read the rest…

Digging in Deeper: Mark 9:19

“He replied to them, ‘You unbelieving generation, how long will I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring him to me.'” (CSB – Read the chapter)

If you are a parent, have you ever finally lost it with your kids? I’m not talking about a time when you fussed at them and they settled down from whatever tiff they were working out among them. I’m talking about a time when you finally blew your top. They had been at each other’s throats and argumentative with you over an extended period of time. You tried to be patient at first, but that ran out an hour ago. You upped the ante to sterner warnings and assurances of punishment if the chaos didn’t abate and that failed to take. At last you just erupted at them. Everybody got yelled at. Everybody’s feelings were hurt. Everybody was then sent to their rooms to sulk for the rest of the day and probably forever. My take is that if you haven’t hit that particular parenting milestone, one of three things is true: Your kids are too young and haven’t quite gotten to the age where that kind of thing starts happening; your kids are too perfect and you need to check to make sure they haven’t been replaced by body doubles; or you are Jesus. Actually, scratch that last one. As this passage reminds us, even Jesus hit His frustration max on occasion. Let’s talk about it.

Read the rest…