Foreign Relations – Good News for August 9

9 08 2010

Matthew 17:22-27

As Jesus and his disciples were gathering in Galilee, Jesus said to them, “The Son of Man is to be handed over to men, and they will kill him, and he will be raised on the third day.” And they were overwhelmed with grief.

When they came to Capernaum, the collectors of the temple tax approached Peter and said, “Does not your teacher pay the temple tax?” “Yes,” he said.

When he came into the house, before he had time to speak, Jesus asked him, “What is your opinion, Simon? From whom do the kings of the earth take tolls or census tax? From their subjects or from foreigners?”

When he said, “From foreigners,” Jesus said to him, “Then the subjects are exempt. But that we may not offend them, go to the sea, drop in a hook, and take the first fish that comes up. Open its mouth and you will find a coin worth twice the temple tax. Give that to them for me and for you.”

The Daily Path: I would like to think that I have dual citizenship as a child of God and as an American. One status is greater than the other. Even though I live in what so many consider to be the greatest nation on earth, I am first a follower of Christ. In essence I am really a foreigner here. So as not to offend I pay taxes. I am committed to meet my earthly citizen obligations until the time when I am called home.

This is an act of faith. As Peter was instructed by Jesus, I fish to find the means to meet my obligations and sustain my citizenship – but it’s my first passport that I’ve come to honor most. Yet holding entry status among those who pursue the kingdom of God is not easy. Like all of us, I am conflicted on a daily basis. Give unto God in what I am doing or give unto Caesar?

When I stand before the border guard between this life and the eternal, only one passport will gain me access. Will my faith have been strong enough to open the gate?

What Is He Saying? – Good News for May 13

13 05 2010

John 16:16-20

Jesus said to his disciples, “A little while and you will no longer see me, and again a little while later and you will see me.”

Some of his disciples said to one another, “What does this mean that he is saying to us, ‘A little while and you will not see me, and again a little while and you will see me,’ and ‘Because I am going to the Father’?” So they said, “What is this ‘little while’ of which he speaks? We do not know what he means.”

Jesus knew that they wanted to ask him, so he said to them, “Are you discussing with one another what I said, ‘A little while and you will not see me, and again a little while and you will see me’? Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy.”

The Daily Path: Most days I’m asking myself the same question as the Apostles did in this passage from John.

“What does Jesus mean when he says…?”

What I find truly amazing is how Jesus knows that I’m asking these questions. Same as with the Apostles, Jesus knows that I’m often unsure. And just as He knows that I hold these questions, so too does He provide answers… or at least enough additional information to lead me to many answers. Believe me when I tell you that I’m seeing this time and again in my journey.

Jesus may have departed the earth and ascended into Heaven, however, He is anything but gone from our lives.

Weepers – Good News for April 6

6 04 2010

John 20:11-18

Mary Magdalene stayed outside the tomb weeping. And as she wept, she bent over into the tomb and saw two angels in white sitting there, one at the head and one at the feet where the Body of Jesus had been. And they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?”

She said to them, “They have taken my Lord, and I don’t know where they laid him.”

When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus there, but did not know it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?”

She thought it was the gardener and said to him, “Sir, if you carried him away, tell me where you laid him, and I will take him.”

Jesus said to her, “Mary!”

She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni,” which means Teacher.

Jesus said to her, “Stop holding on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am going to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”

Mary went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord,” and then reported what he had told her.

The Daily Path: Mary is so wrapped up in her loss that she doesn’t recognize the fact that Jesus is standing right there in her presence. It’s good that she is grieving. So often we don’t fully grieve a loss in our life. Sometimes we hold on to that special friend or family member without ever saying goodbye and moving on. The same is true with other life changes, such as aging, job loss or status. Of course, we want to cherish the memories, but we can’t be bound by them, lest we become overwhelmed and lose sight of our journey.

I have experienced this in my own life. In fact, I’m still grieving a life change that has had deep impacts on me and my family. I’ve sat outside my tomb, or perhaps within it, weeping over my loss and the comforts/prestige I had come to know. The good news is that I’m finally letting go. And it is indeed the good news. Do you know how this return to life is coming about? I think you may be able to guess…

I’m handing my troubles (loss) over to God.

Just as Jesus was standing with Mary in her grief, He also stands here with me. Like Mary, I couldn’t recognize this. I was only wrapped up in the pain, blinded by my tears. There is still some pain, and the tendency to try and wrestle back control of my life. But gradually I learn to trust more each day. To let go, look up, and see the way.

As Christ asked of Mary, I move on to share what I have experienced… and continue on the journey God has planned for me. He is both gardener and a God of HOPE.

Breathe Through The Contractions – Good News for May 23

23 05 2009

John 16:20-23

Jesus said to his disciples, “Amen, amen, I say to you, you will weep and mourn, while the world rejoices; you will grieve, but your grief will become joy. When a woman is in labor, she is in anguish because her hour has arrived; but when she has given birth to a child, she no longer remembers the pain because of her joy that a child has been born into the world.

So you also are now in anguish. But I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy away from you. On that day you will not question me about anything. Amen, amen, I say to you, whatever you ask the Father in my name he will give you.”

The Daily Path: Recently a very good friend of mine apologized because he believed he was the cause of some anxiety in my life. What I found so surprising is that my friend, who by the way qualifies as a genius and remarkable visionary, couldn’t uncover the real story. For all of his smarts and vision, he couldn’t see his role in God’s plan to get to me.

Were it not for a series of events in which he did play a supporting role, I would not be writing this blog today or savoring the greatest source of joy in my life… God. If anything, I should be apologizing to him for not adequately acknowledging his critical role in this miracle. He was part of what the Father provided to me. He’s part of the joy.

Apology accepted. None needed.

Life will bring years of anguish and mountains of grief. No doubt about that. The question to consider is how these challenges fit into God’s plan for us. Is it only empty pain? Or will the pain pass, opening the door to great gifts and unimaginable joy?  

Step back and consider what is happening in your life. Look at the events. Watch for the signs. Put the pieces together. God IS active in your life.

Like a woman in labor, when life gives you contractions… KEEP BREATHING! Get through the pain by looking forward to the rejoicing.

Room to Chat: Many visitors to my Good New To-Go! blog click on the “Connect” link at the top of the page. Unfortunately, no one ever sends me a note. I wish they would. There are about 6 billion people who I would like to meet before I meet my maker. And I’m running out of time!

Please send me an e-mail and introduce yourself. Share your sorrow or send your joy.

Where Are You? – Good News for May 19

19 05 2009

John 16:5-11

Jesus said to his disciples, “Now I am going to the one who sent me, and not one of you asks me, ‘Where are you going?’

But because I told you this, grief has filled your hearts. But I tell you the truth, it is better for you that I go. For if I do not go, the Advocate will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you. And when he comes he will convict the world in regard to sin and righteousness and condemnation: 

sin, because they do not believe in me; 

righteousness, because I am going to the Father and you will no longer see me;

condemnation, because the ruler of this world has been condemned.”

The Daily Path: Some days I want to ask Jesus, “Where have you gone?” The problem is that Jesus has not gone anywhere. He’s a constant. Always there.

The problem is me. I’m the one who has gone somewhere. 

Room to Chat: Feeling grief? Disconnected? Now is the time to actively seek Christ. He’s right there.