Wednesday, November 18, 2015

What Was Jesus Doing?

I've spent the last two years or so journaling through the Gospels, a couple of verses at a time every morning. So far I've made it through Matthew and Mark. Now, I don't like "journaling" as a practice, because I can't think of anything to say. But reading the scripture over and over, often writing it out word for word, has been fascinating. 

I've been looking at a couple of verses at a time and meditating over it. I've asked "what was Jesus thinking?" "Why did somebody say that--what was their question or their pain that he needed to address?"  "Why did Jesus choose this action instead of a different one?" "What was the cultural background?" and a lot of other questions. 

Normally when I look at scripture I'm working on a sermon or something else to teach, and I'm asking some technical questions as well as the ones above. But when I'm journaling, using in-depth reading and meditation, it's for myself, not for others -- and the difference is, I'm asking for the mind of God to be clear to me, and when that is clear, then I get a lot of correction and direction from the Lord. And that's why I recommend the practice to others. Including you, since you're reading this. 

So if you haven't done so lately, I suggest reading through the Gospels very slowly. Maybe you'll want to choose one, then read through it a couple of times first to get the overview before you start. And, maybe you'll find that writing on the scripture isn't a good tool for you, and that's okay -- but I suggest giving it a try and see what you pick up. You may be surprised, as I have been, how much there is in those books that you never saw before! 

Monday, November 9, 2015

Darkness, and Jesus the Light

Waaay back in history -- around 1500 BC -- the children of Israel were in Egypt, enslaved by the Pharaohs, and working long hours under the lash, for no pay (and you think your job stinks!). The Lord sent Moses and Aaron to set them free, but it wasn't a simple process -- if it had been, the book of Exodus would be about three chapters shorter! Along the way, some of the events look

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Trick AND Treat?

Well, the little kids with their buckets and bags are gone, so it looks like we got through another Halloween celebration. It's one time of year people come to our front door all on their own, so The Lovely Joanne and I do our best to love on them. The "trick or treat" chant the kids used came back at me this morning when I was reading through Mark 14 and Mark 15, the account of Jesus' trial and crucifixion. There's an element here of trick AND treat in this story that has