Day 3: Mount of Olives

Today our journey with Jesus through Holy Week takes us back to the Temple in Jerusalem and then to the Mount of Olives.

On Tuesday morning, Jesus and his disciples returned to Jerusalem. They passed the withered fig tree on their way, and Jesus taught them about faith.

At the Temple, the religious leaders aggressively challenged Jesus’ authority, attempting to ambush him and create an opportunity for his arrest. But Jesus evaded their traps and pronounced harsh judgment on them: “Blind guides! … For you are like whitewashed tombs—beautiful on the outside but filled on the inside with dead people’s bones and all sorts of impurity. Outwardly you look like righteous people, but inwardly your hearts are filled with hypocrisy and lawlessness…Snakes! Sons of vipers! How will you escape the judgment of hell?” (Matthew 23:24-33)

Tuesday afternoon Jesus left the city and went with his disciples to the Mount of Olives, which overlooks Jerusalem due east of the Temple. Here Jesus gave the Olivet Discourse, an elaborate prophecy about the destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the age. He taught in parables using symbolic language about end times events, including his Second Coming and the final judgment.

Scripture indicates that Tuesday was the day Judas Iscariot (iss-carry-ut) negotiated with the Sanhedrin (san hēdrin) to betray Jesus (Matthew 26:14-16).

 Read more – Matthew 21:23–24:51, Mark 11:20–13:37, Luke 20:1–21:36, and John 12:20–38.

What I learned today…Even Jesus had false friends and ones who would betray Him. Even knowing what Judas would eventually would do, He still loved Him and taught Him up until the moment of betrayal. I need to love ALL others better. Not just the people who are nice to me.

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Do you see the light?

My companions saw the light, but they did not understand the voice of him who was speaking to me. Acts 22:9

What a strong verse. Saul was walking with his companions, who were also non-believers in Christ. All of them saw the light and yet Saul was the only one who understood the voice of Jesus that was speaking.

Sometimes that happens in life, right? We hear God speaking clearing to us, yet those around us either can’t or won’t listen to His direction. At times it’s because they are non-believers and choose not to hear Him. Or because they refuse to listen. Or because they haven’t met Him yet.

There are many reasons we can sometimes hear God clearly and other times we feel like He has left us completely. In both He is at work. Thankfully, Saul turned to Paul, because He listened…and followed direction.

Whether we are seeing the light and listening patiently to His voice. We see someone else reflecting His light and we follow the lead He has given them. We can’t see His light and we look for it in His Word. At all times He is with us. He is shining His light so bright it would burn our faces! Whether we see it or not!

Remember God giving Moses direction through the burning bush? (Exodus 3)

Moses heard God, hid his face and said, there is NO way I could do what you are asking.

 Throughout the chapter we see God saying to Him,

I am God.

I will be with you.

I am sending you.

I who have sent you.

I AM WHO I AM

I know.

I will perform.

I will make.

Boy, Moses was stubborn! (I can relate). God was giving him pretty direct directions and Moses kept pushing back.

Do you do that? I do.

Let’s remember, that in order to shine our light…we need to be firmly planted in His Word and LISTEN to His direction, than follow it.

 Look at it this way…

He is God.

He is with you.

He is sending you.

He has sent you.

He is sovereign.

He knows.

He will perform.

He will make it possible.

May your light shine BRIGHT to all around you this week whether they be a believer or “pre-Christian” (non-believer).

What I learned today…We can only reflect His light if we are looking to Him. Stay connected through the Word.

I Am Fat

I am. I get it. Now, some will say, I’m not fat as they are bigger and others will say, yep, you are because they are much thinner.

In the past, I had gained weight with the kiddos and then lost it right away. It was easy as I was a VERY vain person, plus I saw the benefits of feeling healthy after exercising and eating right.

Now, to my “issues” I am working on. Back when I was thin…was before I started working at a church. I have actually gained over 55 lbs in the last 4 years. Why?

What I have been working on is realizing it’s because of my brokenness. In the world, to get ahead you either had to be a “wench” or “loose” to get anywhere. (I am being creative with my wording). I was an absolute wench, and I’d use my sexuality to get what I wanted.

Starting at a church, I thought I didn’t want to be noticed in any way. I started to observe that bigger people are over-looked and under-estimated. It’s true! Kind of like the different ways people treat you when you are driving a new Mercedes vs a 1994 Taurus. I realized recently, that I have been adding the pounds, to hide any part of the old me that could come through. I am now a MUCH nicer person, so no one could say I was succeeding because of my “wenchi-ness”, and with weight on, not to mention working at a church, no one could say I was using sensuality.

This is not an okay way to live! I realized as I looked in the mirror, enough is enough. I don’t even know what I’ll look like with less weight now. It’s been 4 years! Will I have more wrinkles? Probably. Will I be saggy? Probably. (Sorry, TMI). That doesn’t mean I should continue on this unhealthy path.

I am tired. At this point I can’t keep up with my boys. That SUCKS.

What I learned today…I need to start getting back in to a healthier lifestyle. I need to pray about my insecurities and get help. I need to remember, I have a God who loves me unconditionally. A God who is guarding and guiding me. I have a husband that has loved me through thick and thin (get it? BWHAHAHAHAH) and will be with me regardless.

What I learned today is I need to start to get back on track, today. Not next week. Today.

Will it be easy? No. Somehow I feel like I have aged more in the last 4 years than in the last 10 years! I miss looking in the mirror and liking what I see. I have let myself go in so many ways. I can’t wait to see how God can help me with this! I am putting it in to His hands.

 

EPIC Fail At Work

Okay, so yesterday was going great…until I failed in an EPIC way. Now, you might complete disagree with me, but just wait until after you hear it all… I even talked with a couple people about it, as they could tell I was “off” at an evening event…and they didn’t think it was epic…so you might not. BUT, it is to me.

At around noon I was invited to a meeting that started at 2:30pm concerning a project I am help with. I hit “attend” and didn’t think twice. When I arrived, there weren’t many people, and we weren’t waiting for many more per the leaders of the meeting. I thought it strange the leader of the project hadn’t shown up, yet, as he is fairly prompt.

I felt the nudge to call and see where he was.

I ignored it.

The meeting was about to start and I felt the nudge again.

I ignored it.

As they said, okay let’s get started, everyone is here – I felt the nudge…

Guess what?

I ignored it and thought he was probably called in to a meeting with people more important. (That can happen).

So, the meeting got started.

At the end of the meeting I went down to find the project leader and tease him for not being there.

He had not been invited.

UGH. Immediately I felt horrible. No, I wasn’t the one in charge of calling the meeting. No, typically I wouldn’t have looked at the invite list as I assume everyone is on the same page, BUT, it was very difficult to see the upset on his face and in his posture. Righteous frustration. I could understand that and I hurt for him.

Now, people have said, I had no epic failure here. A) I didn’t set it up. B) I wasn’t intentionally doing something wrong. The “miss” wasn’t mine to own.

I disagree.

The Holy Spirit was nudging me, and I ignored Him. I was being given clear instructions, and I wasn’t listening. I kept feeling that nudge and KNOW that 100% of the time, I am better off following through with whatever I’m getting nudged about it. I didn’t so missed an opportunity that hurt someone else.

Yes, my heart hurt for the frustration of the situation for my co-worker. But I felt even worse that I ignored GOD, who was trying to get my co-worker in to that meeting.

I failed.

What I learned today…Follow what the Holy Spirit is nudging me to do regardless of what I think. I am obviously not in the “know” like He is.

Love Is Not

10 Ways to Love

Love is not reciprocal; love is sacrificial. Look at the verses above. A lot of the time, a couple of those are REALLY difficult for me.

(If you have started opening your Bible, make sure you look up the verses and underline them!)

We all tend to love “if you” or “when you”… right? If you do this____I’ll be able to love you. You don’t love me…you never_____. Are you with me? We wait for something to allow ourselves to love. We want to make SURE that person will love us back. I think that’s mostly because we are in such a broken world. Most people have been hurt by friends or family and that has caused us to put up a wall.

“Try to show as much compassion as your Father does” Luke 6:36

Jesus asks us to love sacrificially. When I think of the word sacrifice. I think pain, hurt, uncomfortable. What do you think of? We ARE expected to love EVEN WHEN it is uncomfortable. Even when the person might not feel the same. Think of the people that are in Rwanda. They continue, through God’s love, to forgive each other in such amazing ways. A neighbor forgives another for killing HIS ENTIRE FAMILY. That is continually happening through Christ! Now, you can’t tell me (if you live in the US) there is no hope for you loving unconditionally. If God can help people love others who have killed there wives and children/ husbands and mothers, etc… Whatever you have gone through…It’s possible. Now, I’m not discounting what you have gone through. A lot of you have gone through death, abuse, rape, and the list goes on. I am VERY sorry for all you’ve been through and my heart breaks for your pain. Speaking from experience…it IS possible to forgive and love those people, as God’s children, again.

Remember, 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7. The Bible doesn’t say it’s the verse to use at weddings, thought it fits. These verses are to guide us with everyone, everyday.

1 Corinthians 13

What I learned today…I need to work on more of the above, daily.

Wanted

WANTED= A closer relationship to God.

Do you WANT a close relationship with God? How close?

I am a yo-yo dieter. I wish I could hold on to the first 2 weeks of a diet. That time when I feel SO good. When I eat all the “right” foods and stay away from the “wrong” ones. I have more energy. I move around more. I FEEL GOOD. Have you been there? Just by taking some of the stuff that’s bad for my body out of my life…I feeeeel better.

Now read this verse –  “But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with it’s practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in the knowledge in the image of its Creator.” Colossians 3:8-10

These are things we all struggle with. We need to realize, each “bad” thing you take from this list, as you become a new person and take off your old self…the closer you feel to God! With each layer that you take off, with each thing you work on…His light feeeeels a little warmer. You can hear Him a little more….All you have to do is start with a layer. What will the first layer be that you will remove? I PROMISE you won’t regret it. You will see a difference in your life.

Baby steps. Baby steps.

What I learned today…keep trying to do better. Every day.

Pruning not Punishment

 

Pruning

Let’s think about something today. Do we think what God is doing or letting happen in our lives mean He is punishing us for something? It is much easier to think that way, right? We call out to Him, Why, God? Why me? What did I do to deserve this?

If you are feeling this way, write it down. It is absolutely the best thing you can do in these circumstances. It enables us to go back during the tough times and see how God used them as times of “pruning” not of punishment. Sometimes He has to cut things in our lives way back, to the point of pain, so we can flourish in an even bigger way.

There is an exercise that I have done in that I’d LOVE for you to do at home sometime. Trace your hand…now on each of the fingers write a time in your life where it has been HARD….a time where you were so sad or alone, it was tough for you… it could be ANYTHING. Now, make lines showing how God changed you through those things. How did you grow? If you still haven’t let go of one of the hurts, why not? What is holding you back? God was with us in all those hard times, as he still is. Think of seeing life through a peep-hole in your front door. You can kind of see, but it’s not really clear. God can see the WHOLE picture…we can only see a tiny fuzzy little bit. Trust in Him EVEN THROUGH THE PRUNING.

What I learned today…This is a great exercise I need to do throughout my life as a reminder that God is with me. He is not punishing me, He is preparing me for the next leg of the journey.

I Am Not Who You Think I Am

I am a perfectly ordinary women, bent on spreading Jesus in any way I can.

I am not hip. I am original. Just like you.

I am not a special “chosen” person. I am a child of God. Just like you.

I am not a well connect person. I have the same Holy Spirit Guiding me as you do.

I am not striving to be a leader. I influence those around me. Just like you.

I am not striving to be a pastor. I just want people to see the hope there is in Jesus. Just like you.

I don’t want to climb a ladder. I want to honor God where He has me. Just like you.

Last night I was invited to a Vision Night for our Women’s Ministry. As the night began, I introduced myself to others that had been invited because of their heart for women, or their status in the church. As we broke in to focus groups, it was beautiful to see how God orchestrated who I was with. During our time of discussion, you could see the hearts of each start to focus in on their calling. One woman mentioned the need for prayer half a dozen times. Another one brought up reaching ALL God’s women not just the married ones. Another, how we need to market it all well.

It was beautiful. Why?

Everyone in that circle prays, however God gave one of the women an extraordinary passion for prayer. We all believe all women should be represented, God gave one of the women a passion to reach a certain people group. We all believe we should be communicating what we have available, God gave one the passion to get the word out.

Though we all believe in each area, God truly gives us a unique passion for different areas. That is why we A) Need to be confident in who He made US to be and B) Honor and listen to each other. When we do that we are allowing the WHOLE Body of Christ to work in the way they were fashioned to work. Just because one of the women was intent on making prayer a focus, that doesn’t mean the rest thought prayer was useless. Does that make sense?

We have the heart for Jesus. What we need to acknowledge as that each heart beats in a different way. When we acknowledge it, and work as a team, we are a POWERFUL force!

Can you imagine, if we allowed everyone around us to use their God given gifts in the way they were made to be used??? SO EXCITING!

Read 1 Corinthians 12:4-7

Who do you have around you? As a leader, you should have people around you who are strong in all the areas you are challenged. A baseball team would be useless if all they had only pitchers or only catchers. Each position is needed to make a winning team.

Read all of Romans 12  Here is a taste of Romans 12: 3- 8

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with youra faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead,b do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

What I learned today…I am NOT who you think I am. I am who God says I am. I don’t need to worry about labels, good or bad. I need to remember the best label is a Child of the Most High, Daughter of the King.

OWN WHO YOU ARE IN CHRIST! YOU ARE NEEDED, YOU ARE VALUED AND NO ONE IS ABOVE OR BELOW YOU IN THE EYES OF JESUS. HE WAS SENT FOR YOU, SO YOU COULD HAVE ETERNAL LIFE!!