No Doubt – Good News for April 19

19 04 2009

John 20:19-31

On the evening of that first day of the week, when the doors were locked, where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side.

The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you.
As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”

Thomas, called Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples said to him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands and put my finger into the nailmarks and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”

Now a week later his disciples were again inside and Thomas was with them. Jesus came, although the doors were locked, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands, and bring your hand and put it into my side, and do not be unbelieving, but believe.” Thomas answered and said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you come to believe because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed.”

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples that are not written in this book. But these are written that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that through this belief you may have life in his name.

The Daily Path: I was hard pressed and was falling, but the Lord helped me. My strength and my courage is the Lord, and he has been my savior. 

Imagine… my story was written in Scripture long, long ago. (Psalms 118:13-15) How can I doubt His mercy?

Room to Chat: Let those who fear the Lord say, “His mercy endures forever.

Fasting Backwards – Good News for February 27

27 02 2009

Mark 9:14-15

The disciples of John approached Jesus and said, “Why do we and the Pharisees fast much, but your disciples do not fast?”

Jesus answered them, “Can the wedding guests mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them? The days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them, and then they will fast.”

The Daily Path: I fasted almost non-stop for many years. While outwardly I never looked like Ghandi, on the  inside I was a wraith. I ingested everything that gave me pleasure. Fun, food, booze, drugs, sex, ego, greed, decadence. I was the original “Joy Boy” who couldn’t get enough.

You’re probably wondering what that life of endless indulgence has to do with my fasting. Let me tell you: The one thing I abstained from was God.

Oh, I knew He was there. I’d pay a brief visit now and again to “borrow the car” just like the son from Harry Chapin’s song “Cat’s in the Cradle.” Somehow God didn’t cut me off. He allowed me to attend the wedding reception and enjoy the party without going to the ceremony or meeting the bridegroom. Then, when He saw me stumbling down on the ground from too much life, God brought the bridegroom over to meet me. His Son reached down and picked me up. He hugged me and said “You’ve fasted enough. Now it’s time to eat at my table. Come on, I’ve been saving a special seat just for you.”

Room to Chat: Do the dishes. (“What’s the koo-koo suggesting now?” Stan Doubtsall) I don’t like to do the dishes. I can’t think of anyone who looks forward to the chore. What if you use that same time for something you do enjoy? Do you like to talk to God? Go grab your sponge and the pan with two-day old spaghetti sauce welded on. You can do a lot of talking while you scrub that mess. (Secret: It will seem like you got the dishes done in no time)

The Trading Bell – Good News for February 20

20 02 2009

Mark 8:34-9:1

Jesus summoned the crowd with his disciples and said to them, “Whoever wishes to come after me must deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake and that of the Gospel will save it.

What profit is there for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? What could one give in exchange for his life? Whoever is ashamed of me and of my words in this faithless and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of when he comes in his Father’s glory with the holy angels.”

He also said to them, “Amen, I say to you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the Kingdom of God has come in power.

The Daily Path: This morning, Jesus spoke at the New York Stock Exchange. There was absolute silence on the trading floor… 

How would that scenario play out? Would the silence penetrate hearts? Would it be a catalyst for real change? Or would the opening bell ring and the frenzy begin again… with the words of Jesus laying crumpled on the floor under so many feet? 

The analogy of Wall Street keeps the message at arms length… but the problem is right here in my life, too. I get caught up in the world. In possessions. In the greed of ME. And don’t be fooled. You can be just as greedy living in poverty as you can dashing about the country club.

I don’t want to be ashamed of God, nor do I want God to be ashamed of me. This is why I have to keep reminders of Him in my life  throughout the day. If I don’t… the trading floor frenzy will return and replace the silence.

Room to Chat: Today might be a good day to reflect on where greed has created a wound in our life.   Lord heal these wounds and make us whole again.

Beggers All – Good News for February 18

18 02 2009

Mark 8:22-26

When Jesus and his disciples arrived at Bethsaida, people brought to him a blind man and begged Jesus to touch him. He took the blind man by the hand and led him outside the village. Putting spittle on his eyes he laid his hands on the man and asked, “Do you see anything?”

Looking up the man replied, “I see people looking like trees and walking.”

Then he laid hands on the man’s eyes a second time and he saw clearly; his sight was restored and he could see everything distinctly. Then he sent him home and said, “Do not even go into the village.”

The Daily Path: “people… begged Jesus to touch (the blind man).”

During my re-conversion I’ve become acutely aware of the power of prayer. I’m convinced that it was prayer asking God to bring me home that eventually enabled that to happen. The vast majority of those prayers came not from me (the blind man) but from so many family and friends (the people). Many of those prayers came from a mother begging Jesus to touch her son.

My point here is that like the crowd who brought the blind man to Jesus, each of us has the opportunity to present someone to God for healing. I don’t suggest throwing them in the trunk of your car and driving them up the steps of the local Catholic church shouting chapter and verse. However, I do recommend you pray for their healing.

I’ve come to believe, through my own experience, that Christ asks us to tell Him what we want. Don’t be timid. Ask for BIG things. Present to Him ALL the blind, the sick, and especially the wounded in your life. Including yourself. Ask Him to lay His hands on those who need healing.

It may not happen overnight, so keep at it. Remember the blind man required a double dose from Jesus to fully restore his vision. So ask Jesus often… and as many times as it takes. He IS listening to you and all “the people” who beg Him to act.

Room to Chat: Can you find time today to quietly ask God to heal someone you know?

Do The Math – Good News for February 14

14 02 2009

Mark 8:1-10

In those days when there again was a great crowd without anything to eat, Jesus summoned the disciples and said, “My heart is moved with pity for the crowd, because they have been with me now for three days and have nothing to eat. If I send them away hungry to their homes, they will collapse on the way, and some of them have come a great distance.”

His disciples answered him, “Where can anyone get enough bread to satisfy them here in this deserted place?” Still he asked them, “How many loaves do you have?” They replied, “Seven.”

He ordered the crowd to sit down on the ground. Then, taking the seven loaves he gave thanks, broke them,and gave them to his disciples to distribute, and they distributed them to the crowd. They also had a few fish.
He said the blessing over them and ordered them distributed also.

They ate and were satisfied. They picked up the fragments left over—seven baskets. There were about four thousand people. He dismissed the crowd and got into the boat with his disciples  and came to the region of Dalmanutha.

The Daily Path – Seven loaves and a few fish to feed four thousand. The math doesn’t add up. But Jesus wasn’t teaching his followers any mathematic principles of this world.

In these challenging times so many of us feel as though we are down to our last few loaves with many days of hunger still ahead. But as the disciples and many thousands discovered that day, Jesus takes care of those who follow Him. This was a lesson for the ages.

No matter how bad your current situation, trust that God will satisfy your needs. The  “math” won’t add up. Don’t even bother trying. But do believe with all your heart that God will care for you. He will hear your prayer. He will feed you. He will bring abundance and joy into your life. He has done it for me and will also deliver for you. 

Room to Chat: Right now, before you do another thing, ask God to take care of you and your family.

Quiet – Good News for February 10

10 02 2009

Mark 7:1-13

When the Pharisees with some scribes who had come from Jerusalem gathered around Jesus, they observed that some of his disciples ate their meals with unclean, that is, unwashed, hands. (For the Pharisees and, in fact, all Jews, do not eat without carefully washing their hands, keeping the tradition of the elders. And on coming from the marketplace they do not eat without purifying themselves. And there are many other things that they have traditionally observed, the purification of cups and jugs and kettles and beds.)

So the Pharisees and scribes questioned him, “Why do your disciples not follow the tradition of the elders but instead eat a meal with unclean hands?” He responded, “Well did Isaiah prophesy about you hypocrites, as it is written:

This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me; in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines human precepts.

You disregard God’s commandment but cling to human tradition.” He went on to say, “How well you have set aside the commandment of God in order to uphold your tradition! For Moses said,

Honor your father and your mother, and Whoever curses father or mother shall die.

Yet you say, ‘If someone says to father or mother, “Any support you might have had from me is qorban”‘
(meaning, dedicated to God), you allow him to do nothing more for his father or mother. You nullify the word of God in favor of your tradition that you have handed on. And you do many such things.”

The Daily Path: Today I offer you the gift of contemplation. Quiet your mind and hear Him.

Renewable Energy – Good News for February 8

8 02 2009

Mark 1:29-39

On leaving the synagogue Jesus entered the house of Simon and Andrew with James and John. Simon’s mother-in-law lay sick with a fever. They immediately told him about her. He approached, grasped her hand, and helped her up. Then the fever left her and she waited on them.

When it was evening, after sunset, they brought to him all who were ill or possessed by demons. The whole town was gathered at the door. He cured many who were sick with various diseases, and he drove out many demons, not permitting them to speak because they knew him.

Rising very early before dawn, he left  and went off to a deserted place, where he prayed. Simon and those who were with him pursued him and on finding him said, “Everyone is looking for you.”

He told them, “Let us go on to the nearby villages that I may preach there also. For this purpose have I come.” So he went into their synagogues, preaching and driving out demons throughout the whole of Galilee.

The Daily Path: Have you ever tried to evangelize a market on your new product? Have you spent most of the day preparing a delicious new meal for your family and then have to convince them to try it? What about changing a process that has been part of the workflow for many years. You know this will make things better but because no one else has experienced it you have to convince everyone involved… over and over.

If you’ve done any of these you know it’s not easy. It takes a lot of patience and tremendous energy. Often times it requires more determination than we have. Sometimes we’re just worn out and too tired to keep it up. Over the past couple of weeks the Gospel has been filled with examples of Jesus tirelessly teaching and healing. Crowds pursuing Him day after day. Over and over he demonstrates God’s love and absolute power. Demons of every kind lining up to do battle and ultimately being driven out as Christ heals so many.

The accounts indicate Jesus only stopped when He would go to off alone and pray to His Father. My tiny brain can only assume that in his prayer Jesus was asking for patience and energy… a renewal to carry on with these weak humans.

I’ve learned that I must constantly ask God for strength. Going to God was a new workflow for me that I had no experience with. At first I resisted. I had to be convinced. Our life on earth is hard. There’s no such thing as Easy Street for any of us. Like Jesus and the Apostles in Galilee, we have to face daily demands. For years I faced the challenges on one tank of gas. Eventually the fuel ran out and there was no gas station in sight. Fortunately God was driving by and stopped to fill me up. I’ve learned that in God I have a renewable source of energy wherever and whenever I need it. That doesn’t mean that my engine always operates at peak efficiency. Years of running with no maintenance has left me with a clunker. Regardless, I have experienced that through prayer (asking God for strength) He won’t leave me stranded.

This is why I want to share my witness with you. I want you to see what God has done in my life. I want to encourage you to try something you may not have any experience with. Perhaps if I tell you about my failures and challenges you’ll see some similarities and be willing to try something new. Maybe you’ll take a chance and ask God to fill your gas tank. And maybe you will be amazed when He does… just as I was.  

Room to Chat: Talk to God today.