Checklist for a Healthy Heart – Good News for February 10

10 02 2010

Mark 7:14-23

Jesus summoned the crowd again and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand. Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person; but the things that come out from within are what defile.”

When he got home away from the crowd his disciples questioned him about the parable. He said to them, “Are even you likewise without understanding? Do you not realize that everything that goes into a person from outside cannot defile, since it enters not the heart but the stomach and passes out into the latrine?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.)

“But what comes out of the man, that is what defiles him. From within the man, from his heart, come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly. All these evils come from within and they defile.”

The Daily Path: Just look at that checklist! Too bad we can’t see the same “healthy heart” label that’s plastered on so many food products, also applied to other facets of living.

“Stan, you’re not going to buy another can of envy! Remember what your doctor said? And put those arrogance buns back on the shelf!”





Leave The Olives Behind – Good News for March 30

30 03 2009

Neither do I condemn you…

John 8:1-11

Jesus went to the Mount of Olives. But early in the morning he arrived again in the temple area, and all the people started coming to him, and he sat down and taught them. Then the scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery and made her stand in the middle. They said to him, “Teacher, this woman was caught in the very act of committing adultery. Now in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” They said this to test him, so that they could have some charge to bring against him.

Jesus bent down and began to write on the ground with his finger. But when they continued asking him, he straightened up and said to them, “Let the one among you who is without sin be the first to throw a stone at her.”

Again he bent down and wrote on the ground. And in response, they went away one by one, beginning with the elders. So he was left alone with the woman before him.

Then Jesus straightened up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She replied, “No one, sir.” Then Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you. Go, and from now on do not sin any more.”

The Daily Path: The Mount of Olives in Jerusalem is referenced a number of times in the New Testament. Jesus taught and prayed there. The night before he was to be crucified Jesus went to the garden at its foot known as Gethsemane. He asked the Apostles to sit with him while he prayed to the Father asking to be relieved of the sacrifice that lay ahead.

It’s interesting that in John’s account of Jesus amazing act of forgiveness toward the adultress, that the Mount is again referenced. I think we all have our own Mount of Olives where we pray asking our Father to remove the burdens we carry. In some cases those burdens are sin. I’ve come to understand how sin lurks waiting to pounce in a moment of our weakness, allowing the evil one to claim temporary victory. Yet each time I fail, Christ is right there holding out the promise of forgiveness. And each time He picks me up and dusts me off. Like the woman accused in today’s Gospel, Jesus sends me back on my way asking that I leave those sins behind… like olives that have fallen off a tree to be trampled under foot. 

Room to Chat: Lord, please keep Michael close to you this day. Let your love provide the sanctuary he needs. (See Room to Chat: Come Out – Good News for March 29)





Hungry Man – Good News for February 11

11 02 2009

Mark 7:14-23

Jesus summoned the crowd again and said to them, “Hear me, all of you, and understand. Nothing that enters one from outside can defile that person; but the things that come out from within are what defile.”

When he got home away from the crowd his disciples questioned him about the parable. He said to them, “Are even you likewise without understanding? Do you not realize that everything that goes into a person from outside cannot defile, since it enters not the heart but the stomach and passes out into the latrine?” (Thus he declared all foods clean.)

“But what comes out of the man, that is what defiles him. From within the man, from his heart, come evil thoughts, unchastity, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, licentiousness, envy, blasphemy, arrogance, folly. All these evils come from within and they defile.”

The Daily Chat: I find myself growing increasingly hungry for a deeper understanding of the spiritual journey. The more I talk with God the hungrier I get. What once seemed so simple is gradually becoming more complex to me. Perhaps this is the weakness in me trying to once again take control of the situation. Maybe it’s normal for someone who has experienced a deep conversion. I don’t know.

One thing I clearly understand: how Jesus’ disciples felt. “Give us a break. We’re trying to understand as best we can.”

Room to Chat: Another hunger exists within me. The desire for more time to reflect. We move at hyper-speed in this country. I feel like a traveler on a Japanese bullet train trying to enjoy a glimpse of beauty just beyond my window. However, the train is traveling so fast it’s difficult to catch any detail of the surroundings. As long periods for contemplation are near impossible to find, the need for the mini-retreat becomes increasingly important to me. Moments of sanctuary to focus on God.