TODAY

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Today
I awoke
To rich life found in grace,
Strong faith that abides
And promise that makes me whole.

Today
I arose
With fresh hope in my heart;
New thoughts on my mind
and feelings I’ve never known.

Today
I composed
A glad song full of joy,
To sing of great love
And mercy that ever grows.

Today
I will give
An offering of true praise
To honor the One
Whose compassion fills me so.

Welcome

This blog is dedicated to expressing all of the good things of God.  It is specifically christian on purpose.

If you’re thinking, “Oh no:  Religion!”  Relax.  To quote a saying from the Jesus Movement, “Christianity:  Not a religion, a relationship.”  This is about knowing the loving god.  It is not about “do’s and don’ts,” doctrine  or dogma (sorry dogs!)  Do feel free to raise contravercial topics; just be respectful.  Please refrain from name calling, criticizing specific people and crude language.  Thank you.

 

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…”  1 Peter 1:3

 

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13

MIRRORS

I look in a mirror called opinion,
Set by people around me:
Oh, my nose is too big:
My belly is too fat;
I don’t think I’ll look at that!

Then I look in a mirror labeled “deeds:”
Set by my expectations:
I’m so long and skinny;
There are holes in my soul;
This mirror is too weird, so I’ll go.

I look in the mirror known as  Riches,
Set by commercials I see:
Oh, I don’t have enough;
I can’t begin to pay;
I will simply walk away.

I discover the mirror of God’s love,
Set here through His precious son:
I can see His likeness
Developing in me;
As He declares, so I’ll be!

LET ME FOLLOW

Let me follow you, Jesus:
Lead me to where we’re going next.
When you rest, help me to join you;
When you move on, help me to keep up.
If you turn left or right,
I want to do the same.
When work is done in one place;
When it’s time to serve somewhere else,
I want to be there with you.
Whether staying or moving,
Resting or working,
I want to follow you, Jesus.

WHAT GOD SAYS IS

Before something even happens, I announce how it will end. In fact, from times long ago I announced what was still to come. I say, ‘My plan will succeed.
I will do anything I want to do.’  Isaiah 46:10  NRIV

What God says IS.
He said, “Let there be…”  and it happened to His exact specifications.
God never says, “Maybe.”  The closest He comes is, “If you,…I will….”  Even then, His word is absolute and reliable.
With the exception of the time when Moses pleaded with Him not to destroy the children of Israel, He doesn’t change His mind; His “yes” is yes; His “no is no.
He always keeps His word.  anything He ever said He would do either has happened, is happening or will happen.
His plans always succeed.  He is never caught off guard by something He forgot or didn’t think of.
I find this tremendously comforting and encouraging:  I can depend on what God has said and rest in Him.  Whenever I am tempted to figure things out on my own; if I begin to worry, I can let go because God is so very faithful and able.  He has spoken concerning the really big things, such as the universe, time and all of creation; He also speaks to me and into my life.  His plans for me are good; He carries them out; my part is to believe and obey.
He is Personally interested in every aspect of my life.  He will do anything He wants to do, out of His great love, wisdom and knowledge of me.  That’s good news!

BUMPING ELBOWS

You are my neighbor
And I am yours;
We share common ground
And stories.

I see you each day
As you go by
On your way to work;
We say, “hi.”

We are also friends,
Living so near
To one another;
WE are peers.

As we bump elbows
In our shared place,
God’s love becomes clear;
We know His grace.

SON OF TIMAEUS

Mark 10:46 Then they came to Jericho. And as He was leaving Jericho with His disciples and a large crowd, a blind beggar named Bartimaeus was sitting by the road. 47When he heard that it was Jesus the Nazarene, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” 48Many were sternly telling him to be quiet, but he kept crying out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” 49And Jesus stopped and said, “Call him here.” So they called the blind man, saying to him, “Take courage, stand up! He is calling for you.” 50Throwing aside his cloak, he jumped up and came to Jesus. 51And answering him, Jesus said, “What do you want Me to do for you?” And the blind man said to Him, “Rabboni, I want to regain my sight!” 52And Jesus said to him, “Go; your faith has made you well.” Immediately he regained his sight and began following Him on the road.

There are at least four healings in the story of Bartimaeus that I can find:

Healing #1:
Begins when Bartimaeus cries out to Jesus, even though the crowd is telling him to be quiet (v 47.)
He is a beggar, and blind at that.  He had no voice or rights; the most common belief might have been that he was blind because of sin – either on the part of his parents or perhaps because of something he himself had done.  When he persists in calling out to Jesus, he is defying his “place
and identity.  He is expecting to be treated as a person by Jesus.
His healing continues when he throws off his cloak (v 50.)  He wore a garment that was issued to him by the synagogue officials, legitimizing him as a beggar.  The word used for “threw aside” is Apoballo, which means to throw away.  it is only used in one other Scripture passage:  “Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward.”  Hebrews 10:35
He had completely rejected his identity as a blind beggar; he was now acting as one who had rights and access to God’s goodness.  By the way, this was extremely risky on his part:  Begging was his livelihood; his means of support.  If nothing happened, he would not have the means to pay for food, shelter, etc..  The crowd could have injured or killed him for stepping out of line.
What is the “cloak” you wear?  You don’t need to be disabled, in the obvious sense, to have one that is not from God.  What do you need to throw off so that your identity and place are healed?

Healing #2
Is one for the community.  In the beginning of the story, they are regarding Bartimaeus as a cursed thing, a nuisance and a bother.  On one hand, there has to be something wrong with him or his family to make him blind; on the other, they are required to give alms to him.  I’m betting that he had to scramble to find more than one coin because people didn’t hand things to him gently and compassionately.

 

Then, Jesus speaks to the crowd, telling them to bring Bartimaeus to Him.  Okay, so He could have gone to the man Himself or told a disciple to go get him; He could have talked to Bartimaeus from where He was.  He didn’t.  He redirects the people.  Jesus’ words have power:  When He says, “Bring him to Me,” their whole regard and demeanor changes.  part of this might have been because they wanted to watch a miracle, but I think it was deeper than that.  For the first time in who knows how long, they are interacting with this beggar-become-person on a far more human level.  This simple act restores Bartimaeus to his people and them to him.
The power of profiling cannot be underestimated.  It can empower or undermine; it can bring dignity and recognition or characterize individuals and groups as undesirable, disqualified, unlovable,suspect or not quite human.  It can be a major factor in bringing success; it can be a prohibitive barrier that keeps people in poverty and oppression.
When we don’t know, we assume.  We are usually way off base, mostly because we draw on our own insecurities.
How do you need Jesus to heal your regard for other people?  What fears, self-doubts and insecurities are getting in the way of your ability to love your neighbors as yourself?

Healing #3
Is the physical healing of Bartimaeus’ eyes.  He evidently saw at one time: “I want to regain my sight.” (v 51)  It is a simple matter of telling Jesus what he wants, and it is done.
We do seem to make the matter of healing or any other provision from God more difficult than it is, don’t we!
There are plenty of situations in life that cause us to lose our sight, not just physically.  A short list would include abuse, trauma, betrayal, offenses, pride, accomplishments, money, status, isolation and busy-ness.
How have you lost sight of God?  Yourself?  Others?  Important things in life?
Tell Jesus you want to regain your sight; it will be done.

Healing #4
Is that Bartimaeus went from the powerless position of begging alongside the road to choosing to follow Jesus.  He moved on.  Whenever we are healed, we need to live according to the new reality.

There is one more thing about this story that has intrigued me for a very long time:  What was Bartimaeus’ name?  The one by which he is identified in this account means, “Son of Timaeus.”  I am sure that his father endured a great deal of disgrace, as indicated by this designation.  surely, his parents named him at his circumcision.  I’m confident that Jesus made sure he had a name again.
What is your name?  What does God call you?  How do you need God to change or strengthen your experience ofHim and yourself?