Keeping watch

Christ in Gethsemane (Christus in Gethsemane),...

Christ in Gethsemane (Christus in Gethsemane), oil painting by Heinrich Ferdinand Hofmann (Heinrich Hofmann). The original is at the Riverside Church (Riverside Church, New York City). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, “Sit here while I go over there and pray.” He took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me.” – Matthew 26:36-38

On my online calendar, I have a spot to list people I want to keep in prayer. They know I pray for them daily. I remember the peace I was given when people were praying for me as I went through my cancer journey. As I pray for others, I humanly ask for their healing, for restoration, for whatever will make their life “normal” again.

When Jesus was asking the men to keep watch with him, was he asking for a change in the circumstances? His heart was set on doing the will of the Father. It was hard for he knew what was coming. I wonder what the disciples prayed before they fell asleep for they didn’t fully understand what was happening.

Could it be that Jesus was asking them just for their support in this difficult time? He wanted them to join him in talking with God and become strong from the events that would occur. He didn’t want them to be lazy in prayer, but to pray for strength to persevere. The death Jesus was facing was terrifying. The disciples needed to be connected with God so they would be able to stand strong with God’s message and not flee. Is that why we pray?

Prayer: Jesus, your journey to the cross was overwhelmingly scary. Only through the grip of grace can I stand strong in your message. I pray that today my connection with you makes a difference in my life and others. Amen

Faith Tip: Take some time to keep watch today.

The Foot Message

English: A pedicure in progress.

Image via Wikipedia

“No,” said Peter, “you shall never wash my feet.”

Jesus answered, “Unless I wash you, you have no part with me.” – John 13:8

I remember getting my first pedicure and thinking, how could anyone like doing this job? The woman that took care of my feet did such a wonderful job in such a caring way. The experience of having a pedicure truly made an impact on me to wash others’ feet. But how would I have felt if the Queen of England came in to wash my feet? It would be hard not to jump out of the chair and offer it to her and begin washing hers. She is the Queen after all.

We have an idea of how Peter felt when Jesus washed the disciples’ feet. Jesus was his Master, Teacher and Savior. Peter’s first reaction was to jump out of the chair and offer it to Jesus, but Jesus had a deeper purpose than just the task itself. The loving service he was modeling for them gave a perfect image of how they were to give loving service to others. They were to take on the role of a servant just as Jesus did to show impacting love that will multiply from one life to another.

Prayer: Jesus, thank you for giving me this example on how to serve others with your love and compassion. I pray that I can be part of the process of multiplying this servant attitude. Amen

Faith Tip: Today, make it a priority to serve someone taking on the role of a servant … just like Jesus.

 

New adventures

Travel

Image via Wikipedia

The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” – Deuteronomy 31:8

She had never driven a long way from home before. She was nervous. Determination to reach her destination gave her the fortitude needed to embark on the journey. Although the weather switched from sunny to rainy, the map was confusing at times, and the stays at hotels along the way were welcome when exhaustion overcame her, she made it. God had given her all she needed to answer his call for her to go.

It doesn’t matter if your name is Moses, Joshua, Peter or Paul, doing something that is out of our box is scary. Discouragement can be felt if the road we travel on is not going as we expect. Keeping the focus of God is imperative to making the journey. Believe his promise that he will never leave you nor forsake you. He goes before you, so there is no reason to be afraid. Stand strong and encouraged.

Prayer: Jesus, I thank you for the new adventures you call me to do in your name. My knees stop shaking when I focus on you and your call and trusting it. I pray that I listen carefully to your voice and follow obediently. Amen

Faith Tip: Is God calling you to do something new today? What is your response?

Who is he?

blank faces - who will we be?

Image by natalia & gabriel via Flickr

Once when Jesus was praying in private and his disciples were with him, he asked them, “Who do the crowds say I am?”

They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, that one of the prophets of long ago has come back to life.”

“But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?”

Peter answered, “God’s Messiah.” – Luke 9:18-20

God was always out there somewhere in Lisa’s life. She knew when struggles came, she was to pray and hope for the best. She daily lived her days working full time and caring for her two school-aged children. Life was busy, but she got by.

At church, the pastor was reading the Scripture where Jesus was asking the disciples who they thought he was. The message the pastor gave showed the importance of knowing who Jesus is to us. So as a response, they passed out pieces of paper to the congregation for them to write down who Jesus was to them. Lisa stared at the blank piece of paper, and then stuck it into her purse.

We know who people are to us in the relationships we experience. Mother, father, friend, mentor, coworker, son, daughter, confidant, and more are some of the people we interact with in life. We relate to them according to the role they play in our life. What role does Jesus have in our life?

Prayer: I praise you, Lord, for the role you have in my life. I pray that our relationship grows stronger each day as you journey with me through life. Amen

Faith Tip: Determine the role Jesus has in your life. Is there a need for change?

Courage in Christ

All right, everybody be cool, this is a robbery!

Image by Alex No Logo via Flickr

While Peter was below in the courtyard, one of the servant girls of the high priest came by. 67 When she saw Peter warming himself, she looked closely at him.

“You also were with that Nazarene, Jesus,” she said.

But he denied it. “I don’t know or understand what you’re talking about,” he said, and went out into the entryway.

When the servant girl saw him there, she said again to those standing around, “This fellow is one of them.” Again he denied it.

After a little while, those standing near said to Peter, “Surely you are one of them, for you are a Galilean.”

He began to call down curses, and he swore to them, “I don’t know this man you’re talking about.”

Immediately the rooster crowed the second time. Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows twice you will disown me three times.” And he broke down and wept. – Mark 14:66-72

“This sweater set would look perfect with my new skirt,” Ellie said as she held it up against her checking the sizing. Denise was shopping with her friends, Mae and Ellie, at the Vintage Mall.

“If you found just the right scarf, it would really set it off,” offered Mae.

They continued looking through the racks when they heard a buzzer go off.

“What’s that?” Denise asked as she looked around for a sign of the answer to her question.

Just then, a man and a woman came running in with rifles yelling for everyone to get on the ground. Women started screaming.

“Shut up! Get down now!”

Denise, Mae and Ellie got down. They held on to each other tightly shaking with fear. There was a man and a woman carrying the guns, and they began walking through the aisles of the store. The woman stopped before Denise and her friends. Pointing the gun at them, she asked sarcastically, “It looks like maybe you girls are praying. Isn’t that nice? I really don’t like Christians…a bunch of hypocrites. So do you believe in God?”

The three sat quietly…fear bound their tongues.

Prayer: Lord, I thank you for the opportunities we have to show our belief in you. I pray that your power will override any fear. Denying you is giving victory to the evil one, and I do not want to give evil any satisfaction. Amen

Faith Tip: When fear tries to kick in your spiritual door of faith, call on Jesus to strengthen you and help you stand firm.

Tracking points

calculator

Image by ansik via Flickr

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times” (Matthew 18:21-22).

I don’t count calories—I count points. That’s the new way Weight Watchers has established their healthier way of living program, PointsPlus. All foods and activities are given a point value. For the food, it is calculated by the protein, fiber, carbs and fat. All fruits are given a zero point value and most veggies are, too. The bonus is that there are 49 extra weekly points to use so that the person on the program doesn’t feel like they are missing out. I personally find the program working well for me so far, and truly enjoy the fellowship and tips at the meetings. Tracking points each day is becoming a habit for me.

Isn’t it interesting that there were a certain number of times given to forgive someone? I think the cultural score for forgiveness during Jesus’ time was below seven times, so Peter thought he would up the ante and say seven. Jesus helps him break out of that counting box by saying 77 times. Of course, he was saying to just forgive and don’t track the trespasses against you. I wonder if we struggle with forgiving seven times or even once. I wonder how many wrongs we have done against God, but I imagine a lot more than 77. Yet, God forgave us over and over again—he didn’t track. Jesus paid the cost for all of our sins. Making the habit of stop tracking the trespasses will enable us to live a healthier and happier life.

Prayer: Thank you, dear Lord, for forgiving me. I pray that I may forgive others freely and not hold on to any bitterness that will make me unhealthy and unhappy. Amen

Faith Tip: Forgive and be set free. Start today.