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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Teenagers…Always

I remember being one…but it wasn’t like it is now. I can’t begin to imagine the pressure our teens feel. Everything is at their fingertips. They truly have to guard their minds and hearts at all times.

Having a teenager is AWESOME. I currently have two and a “tweeny” (11yr old describes himself that way). They are fun, funny, active, caring, witty…just all around amazing. We were always told teens were difficult. No one told us how much fun they would be to hang out with!

That doesn’t mean we don’t have tough times. Through all the battles they go through, my heart breaks for them frequently. That doesn’t mean I will take the easy road. That would be difficult in the long run, for allll of us.

I was talking with one of them over a challenge he was facing. Now that he is getting older, he couldn’t understand why I won’t let him dictate his direction. It’s a bit negotiable, but I am still the mom.

This is how I described it to him…

When he was a toddler, he loved eating with his hands. He would giggle and get food everywhere. There came a point when I need him to start learning how to use a spoon and fork. That made him FURIOUS! He would scream and through the utensils, then scream and throw the food! His actions showed how made he was because I didn’t understand that he DIDN’T WANT TO follow my direction. It was so much easier to just use his hands!

Now, though he is old and wiser, there are times where he will still feel like he really knows the best way to go, the best choices for his future. I could let him do whatever he feels like, however there are times when, as a parent, we need to step in and provide direction. He will get VERY made and get frustrated and maybe even not like us in the moment. All I can do is pray and stay strong. I can remember that little boy that threw a tantrum when he couldn’t see the path ahead of him. He only knew what he wanted in the moment.

I am like that with God. I think I know what would be best for me, and pray and pray that God will answer my prayers. When He doesn’t, I throw a tantrum. I do. I get so frustrated and think he doesn’t understand that I REALLY wanted it!

I know I have to realize that He knows what is best for me. He sees all the things I can’t see. I have to trust in Him and though I don’t understand His direction, I have to know He truly wants the best for me.

Remember –

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not in your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your path straight. Prov 3:5-6

What I learned today…I love my teens so very much. I have to remember, to parent them, even when it is hard. Each day I need to spend thanking God for being patient with me and constantly showing me mercy and pray I can do the same to those I love.

 

Get EXCITED About Jesus

Okay, Easter is coming. Working at a church, we are going through the process of branding, preparing, messages, projects, ministry opportunities, etc…

That does NOT negate the excitement we feel over why we celebrate Easter. We wouldn’t have a job if it weren’t for Easter.

Jesus rose from the dead after three days!!!!!

I leave myself little reminders each day that point to Jesus and all He did for ME. It is mind boggling.

As you walk into making plans for your Easter, where you will celebrate, where you will go to a church service, who is bring what food, what you’ll put in Easter baskets, if you’ll take a Spring Break, etc… Let Jesus settle in to your soul.

Remember, HE is the reason you have an opportunity to make all those plans.

He came and faced even more than you will ever face. Because He chose to. He chose to because He loves you that much.

He was ridiculed, beaten, deserted, mocked, etc…for Y O U.

Make sure you say a pray of thanks, then GET EXCITED ABOUT JESUS. So excited that people ask you about it.

Today I learned…To try and be the best reminder I can, helping people see Jesus in me and remind them what Easter is about.

READ THE STORY OF EASTER HERE!

 

Highs and Lows

I don’t know about you, when I have a REALLY good day, I forget that all things are temporary. On the same note, when I have a REALLY bad day, I forget the same thing.

This weekend was pretty amazing. Sitting down with someone I didn’t know who was able to take my life and remind me of the truth of how God made me. Coming off the high from the weekend, I forgot that I generally hit a low soon after.

Personally, I believe we can be such a positive force for good that evil has to throw a wrench in wherever he can. If I am loving how God made me, and sharing how knowing what you are built for puts you even closer to doing what God has for you, of COURSE there will be opposition. Today, it felt a bit overwhelming.

Now, I have a choice to crumble under the pressure of 3 things that happened today, that each on their own could be debilitating. I did take moments throughout the day to cry out to God. AND, to be honest, physically cry whether it be in my office, a stairway, or in my car. After each release and pause, I turned my face up, wiped away the tears, and carried on.

Though my day could have crushed me, I choose to be joyful and ask God to show me all the blessings around. He reminded me of what my husband shared in our small group, “If there is breath in our lungs, we have a chance to rejoice. God gave us another day and another breath”.

Today had it’s highs and lows. I am CHOOSING to take a moment and pray about the lows, asking for direction, guidance, support and wisdom. I am choosing to put another step forward and rejoice, thanking God for always being faithful.

Today I learned…I cannot control my families thoughts or actions. I can pray and keep praying. I have to remind myself that God loves my family even more than I do, though I can’t understand that!

1 Thessalonians 5:17 “Pray without ceasing”

So Very Discouraged

I have been going through a difficult season. So much that I can’t remember the last time I have felt so discouraged.
When I read Thessalonians 5:16 “Rejoice always.”, I want to yell at God, “HOW?!?! I want to, but don’t feel like I can!”.

Have you ever been there? Are you in the middle of feeling that now?

This is the perfect time of year to stop…and remember all Jesus did for us. How He took on more than we can even begin to imagine…all for us.

He was ridiculed.
He was doubted.
He was laughed at.
He was persecuted.
He was ignored.
He was beaten.
He was put to death.
All in front of friends, who denied Him!

He has gone through more than we can ever comprehend.

Let’s remember Colossians 1:15 – 23 (I know it’s long, but READ IT!!!)

The Supremacy of the Son of God
The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him.
He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.
For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him,
and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of[a] your evil behavior.
But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation—
if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.

This has changed my attitude from all self-consumed to being able to truly REJOICE in this beautiful season.

Take time to Thank God for sending us Jesus and thank Jesus for putting up with so much so that we have eternal life with Him.

I am praying that God reminds you that this is not the season to survive or get through…it’s the season of true, unconditional love. Praying that we all feel His love in big and small ways and thank Him for creating us to be a part of His family.

What I learned today…though I felt these things and wrote this down in December, I am glad that what it says is still true today. The more we write down and document what we go through, the more we can look back to see how God works in ALL that we go through. I am content.

I have never opened my Bible.

Lately I have heard soooo many people say they have never opened their Bible. GREAT people who have been going to church most of their lives and/or say they are a Christ follower.

There are some REALLY great books out there that will teach you HOW to read the Bible to get the most from it. My challenge to you is to START to read it by first opening it. Once you get in the habit of opening it, then get a book on how to study it.

I wanted to let you know how I got myself to open the Bible. The first is finding one you like and can carry. I have a small backpack NIV Bible that I started with. There are a lot of versions available. My suggestion is going to the YouVersion app or Bible Gateway and type in a verse that you like. Check out all the different versions and see what suits you. People around you will argue that their version is better, but I would rather YOU enjoy what you are reading…so you want to do it more. You want to make sure it is a size you can carry, so you can take it with you wherever you go.

Now, to start off, you will be tempted to buy Bible Tabs… I would suggest NOT doing that. As that will have you giving up on learning where the books are before you even try.

Next, once you have your Bible. Take a minute to “Google” search some of your favorite verses. Find them, then highlight or underline them.

Then, if you go to a church like mine, they hand out notes like these at service –

Fill-in Example

Your goal is to bring your Bible to church with you. As soon as you sit down, start digging in. Look at the first verse on the page, and look to see where you can find it in the table of contents. DO NOT BE EMBARRASSED that you have to look at the table of contents! Everyone has to start somewhere! Find the book, chapter and verse you are looking for and highlight or underline it. For example, I would start with the verse above, 1 Timothy 6:12a.

Now, you will see that there is an “a”. That means they are talking about the first part of the verse. the (NASB) is the version of the Bible they used for the verse. If you have a different version that is OKAY. I go to the verse and underline it, then if it is a verse like 1 Tim 6:12a I will put exclamation points, arrows, etc… as that is a GREAT verse to memorize! Now, if I like the verse, the way it reads in my Bible, terrific, if I like the handout’s version more, I will write ( checkmark + NASB ) which tells me to “check” the NASB version.

I go on to do all of the verses at the service. Above there are 26 verses included in this one lesson! If I don’t have time to underline them all, I do it in the car on the way home or during my time with God during the week.

After I have underlined all of the verses, I take the remainder of my quiet time that week to look at the verses before and after the ones that I really connected with. I underline anything that jumps out at me.

This method got me so very excited to look in to the Bible more! I was learning so much, which in turn lead to even more questions, so I purchased a Study Bible. In the Study Bibles, they have a lot of great information AND verses that reference other places in the Bible that are connected with the area I’m reading!

If you just read this and thought, “That is great, but I still won’t open my Bible”…don’t judge me for saying this…but you need a bathroom Bible. The bathroom is the one place WE ALL go to and spend time in. Put one on the back of the toilet and as soon as you sit down, open it. If you need more direction, put a Bookmark like THIS in it to give you suggestions on what to read. It’s another way to start to read it!

I hope, you see how easy this is can be with HUGE rewards. To have a good relationship, you have to work on getting to know the other person. To have a relationship with Jesus, you need to get to know Him through the Bible. YOU WILL BE BLESSED.

Here are a couple of great books on how to read the Bible that I would suggest –

Rick Warren’s Bible Study Methods

40 Days In The Word

To watch this service for the fill-ins and to practice CLICK HERE.

What I learned today…not to assume everyone reads the Bible. Ask and influence them to either read it or share what they were reading and learning. It is truly a game changer in life as all the answers we need are in it. We just have to open it and digest it!