Friday, October 29, 2010

Notes to the Lord:Tears


69Now Peter was sitting out in the courtyard, and a servant girl came to him. "You also were with Jesus of Galilee," she said.70But he denied it before them all. "I don't know what you're talking about," he said.

Lord Jesus--You knew from the first time that you met Peter that this night was coming in this life. This fall from grace was on his journey. You told him of it and yet he seemed unable to avoid it. The theological arguments continue to swirl as to if it could have been differennt. What is clear is the cost of this interchange.

Do the circumstances of our lives form who we are, or just reveal them? The make up of Peter was impulsivity, emotion and action all rolled up in one. His thoughts about his actions seem to have been somewhere along the road as he was looking in his rear-view mirror.

It was icing on the cake that he denied his relationship with you to a servant girl. The big, impulsive ex-fisherman could not tell the truth to a little servant girl. I wonder if Peter even noticed what he had done at this point in the events of this evening.

71Then he went out to the gateway, where another girl saw him and said to the people there, "This fellow was with Jesus of Nazareth." 72He denied it again, with an oath: "I don't know the man!"

Lord Jesus--I wonder when Peter started to get the feeling that he was dancing on a cliff with nowhere to fall but down? Was it when this second girl walked up to him? Maybe it was when he heard himself using the old language that had not been a part of his daily life while with you...I have to believe it was the old language coming out of his mouth.

73After a little while, those standing there went up to Peter and said, "Surely you are one of them, for your accent gives you away." 74Then he began to call down curses on himself and he swore to them, "I don't know the man!"

Lord Jesus--Thankfully we don't have the audio of this event. I am sure it would not be the kind of sound bite that could be used in worship.

This incident is so raw and excuses, no back peddling from the edge. Just the truth in all of its hurt and pain. Peter falling head long into one of the biggest hurts of his life. There would be other's...a church dinner in Galatia was coming...and a cross somewhere near Rome if church tradition is right.

But for now there are these three people each with a face that was etched into Peter's memory forever...this was Peter's reality.

Immediately a rooster crowed. 75Then Peter remembered the word Jesus had spoken: "Before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times." And he went outside and wept bitterly

Lord Jesus--I think I get the tears part of is after the fact when the truth of the reality and it's cost is setting in that emotion comes. His tears were cried alone somewhere outside the meeting of the place of the Sanhedrin. Did Peter ever walk by that corner and remember those tears? Did they change him? Without your grace they were just bitter tears.

Lord Jesus--Thank you for your forgiveness which reaches me right in the middle of my bitter tears.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Notes to the Lord:On Fair Hearings

Matthew 26
59The chief priests and the whole Sanhedrin were looking for false evidence against Jesus so that they could put him to death.60But they did not find any, though many false witnesses came forward. Finally two came forward 61and declared, "This fellow said, 'I am able to destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in three days.' "

Lord Je
sus--There were those who were listening to your teaching and twisting it...people can take anything that is said and twist it on it head. That is just a part of the deal.

You continue to speak to your people, work in our hearts and minds in a way that transcends logic and understanding. Work in power in this day. Use your word to make a difference in spite of those who stand and the side lines and twist. You knew what it was like to be attacked with your own words.

62Then the high priest stood up and said to Jesus, "Are you no
t going to answer? What is this testimony that these men are bringing against you?" 63But Jesus remained silent.

You didn't even have to respond to the lies. Their words stand in judgment against those who spoke them. Lord Jesus--In this day help me to spea
k words of grace given by you to those that surround me or help me keep my mouth shut.

The high priest said to him, "I charge you under oath by the living God: Tell us if you are the Christ, the Son of God." 64"Yes, it is as you say," Jesus replied. "But I say to all of you: In the future you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven."

Lord Jesus--These were words of prophecy you spoke to your accusers. These have not come to pass yet. Your return will be in power and glory and majestic wonder. There will be no questioning and no chance to interrogate you again. There will only be time for worship. These men did not hear the power in these words...they only heard an accusation to raise against you.

65Then the high priest tore his clothes and said, "He has spoken blasphemy! Why do we need any more witnesses? Look, now you have heard the blasphemy. 66What do you think?" "He is worthy of death," they answered. 67Then they spit in his face and struck him with their fists. Others slapped him 68and said, "Prophesy to us, Christ. Who hit you?"

I wonder if, in the coming years if those who struck you regretted it? Did they come to a new place in their view of you? Did they come to suspect anything when the tomb was empty? I wonder if they ever came to understand the injustice they showed the Lord of Creation. I hope so.

Lord Jesus--Help me to understand and work through the implications of the simple fact: that it was not fair for will not be fair for me. Yet, in the experiencing of that unfair hearing there is opportunity for God to work in power. Work Holy Spirit.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Notes to the Lord: On Following From a Distance

Matthew 26

57Those who had arrested Jesus took him to Caiaphas, the high priest, where the teachers of the law and the elders had assembled.

Lord J
esus--I wonder where Judas left the group? Or did he follow right back to his supposed friends among the elders. They had gotten what they wanted from him and and he was yesterday news.

He was paid for his work and his usefulness was finished. It was when he was alone with his thoughts that Judas had to face what he had done. When the guilt crashed in on him he had nothing to hold on to...b
ut a rope.

58But Peter followed him at a distance, right up to the courtyard of the high priest. He entered and sat down with the guards to see the outcome.

Lord Je
sus--Peter so often reminds me of myself. Like Peter I am drawn to you. There is a connection that time and the changes of life have only strengthened. Yet at the same time, I want to minimize the risk...or maybe a better word would be I want to manage the risk that you bring in my life.

That is
the rub isn't? You are the one who protects and guides and I am not the one who needs to worry about the outcome. Peter followed he could not stop himself and yet he was in the worst of all worlds because he followed at a distance.

I don't think that it was fear of physical suffering that tripped brother Peter up...I think it was more fear of the unknown. Fear of what would happen if
he owned his relationship with you. Fear of embarrassment?

What was the worst that could have happened? That he was on the cross next to you? He ended up on a cross anyway a few years later. Peter fo
llowed from a distance to see what the outcome would be and yet not be touched by it. It is just not possible to follow and not be changed by the following. There is no safe distance to follow you from and remain unchanged.

Forgive me
Lord when I distance from you. I can meander so easily and sometimes not even notice...and then there are those times when it is on purpose. Forgive me when I take my hand out of yours.

Lord Jesus--In the day that will start very soon help me to follow with grace and determination.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Notes to the Lord:Arrested

Matthew 26

47While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people.

I wonder if Judas thought for a brief fe
w moments that he was actually leading this group. Did he have the idea that he has some kind of power over what would happen other than his small part?

48Now t
he betrayer had arranged a signal with them: "The one I kiss is the man; arrest him." 49Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, "Greetings, Rabbi!" and kissed him.

Lord Jesus--The most important choices of
Judas' life really boiled down to a kiss. Would he betray the one who had taught him and who had lead him for three years.

50Jesus replied, "Friend, do what you came for." Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and a
rrested him.51With that, one of Jesus' companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear.

Lord Jesus--Luke tells us that the last miracle be
fore your death was the healing of this servant of the high priest. I wonder if his ears were ringing as the trial proceeded...did he touch his newly attached ear every few moments just to check it was still there? Did he go home and change his clothes to get the blood off of them?

Even at the point of arrest you reached out to stop th
e bleeding of others. Violence was not going to bring about the changes that needed to take place in hearts and lives.

52"Put your sword back in its place," Jesus said to him, "for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. 53
Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? 54But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?"

Lord Jesus--Was Gabriel looking over the edges of heavens gates to see if you would call for him? I wonder if he was rounding up the angelic troops as Judas was bending near to kiss you.

Lord Jesus--You followed the will of the Father right up to the cross. You did not call the legions of angels who were straining and holding themselves in followed the will of the Father. I wonder how many angels were astonished at what the Father would allow to happen to his only begotten Son.

55At that time Jesus said to the crowd, "Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day I sat in the temple courts teaching, and you did not arrest me. 56But this has all taken place that the writings of the
prophets might be fulfilled."

The prophetic in the middle of political infighting and jockeying for power...that is what is jarring and makes me continue to look for the prophetic being lived out in front of me. These people who were seek your death were educated and knew scripture. Yet they could not see the suffering servant right in front of their eyes. They wanted to look out for and lead God's people but missed the power of God at work among them.

Lord Jesus--Don't let that happen to me...don't let that happen in LSCC. Lead and guide your people, let the prophetic be seen and engaged with in a way that changes peoples hearts and minds.
Then all the disciples deserted him and fled.

Lord Jesus--The disciples knew that this was coming on some level and yet they could not keep their feet from walking away from you. Yet somewhere in the mix was John, Mary and your the distance, watching, praying, wanting it to turn out somehow differently than in their hearts they knew it would.

Lord Jesus--In this day help me to follow after you without hesitation in the middle of normal life, open my eyes to the prophetic.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Notes to the Lord:A Last Time of Prayer

Matthew 26
36Then Jesus went with his disciples to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to them, "Sit here while I go over there and pray."

Lord J
esus--I wonder about the steps of Judas during this time. Did he go straight to the temple to his back-room brothers? Were they confident strides that took him to those who were looking to kill you? Did he wander a bit and finally get there.

You asked the disciples to pray. It was late...I am sure there was no coffee on, and there had been constant movement for the last few days with the preparations of the passover being made. They just could not keep their eyes open.

Jesus there are times when prayer is just plain needed. I have the feeling that these men would soon learn this lesson of watching, and praying.

took Peter and the two sons of Zebedee along with him, and he began to be sorrowful and troubled. 38Then he said to them, "My soul is overwhelmed with sorrow to the point of death. Stay here and keep watch with me."

Lord Je
sus--You asked them to watch. There are times when the only things that can be done is to watch and aware of the leading of the Holy Spirit and to be directed by his gentle leading in the words, thoughts and feelings.

Lord J
esus--So often I want to be doing, action is a part of who I am...and yet there are times when watching and praying is what needs to be done.

Watch what?
Watch out for temptation...Watch for the activity of the evil for the next step of God to evidence...and pray for the energy and the strength to follow where that next step leads.

Lord Jesus--In the garden you were overwhelmed and filled with sorrow. There was sorrow for what was taking place even as you were praying. A soul was slipping away to a place beyond decision...Judas was making his choice. The leadership of the nation was making a choice that would impact the lives of many. There was sorrow for what could have been. The sorrow could have killed you.

Part of what You we
re asking the disciples to pray for was the physical strength for you to be able to do the will of the Father.

g a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, "My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will."

Lord Jesus--These words spoken in the middle of sorrow and pain must have ripped at the heart of the Father. You were willing to follow where ever the will of the Father matter what the cost was.

Help me to follow your chase after the will of the Father no matter what.

40Then he returned to his disciples and found them sleeping
. "Could you men not keep watch with me for one hour?", he asked Peter.

Lord Jesus--In the your hour of need the men who you specifically asked to watch and pray let you down. I think I understand how they might have felt. Activity somehow seems more importan
t than prayer.

You wan
ted them to pray for the events and people who would be engaged in the coming battle. They needed to pray for their interactions that the coming hours would lead them to. They needed to pray for you to meet what was just ahead in your journey. Prayer needed to be raised to the Father on behalf of what his children were facing. The powers of evil were in ful force.

41"Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the body is weak."

There are times when the most important activity that we can engage in is to watch with the eyes of our hearts and to pray with Spirit empowered clarity and wisdom. There are times Lord when there needs to be push to prayer not action.

42He went away a second time and prayed, "My Father, if it is not possible for this cup to be taken away unless I drink it, may your will be done."43When he came back, he again found them sleeping, because their eyes we
re heavy.44So he left them and went away once more and prayed the third time, saying the same thing.

Lord Jesus--You prayed repeatedly for the same thing...three tim
es for there to be an option to situation that appeared to be without options. You prayed and committed to the will of the Father three times, and the answer came with the entrance of the betrayer.

Answers to prayer come in many forms, help me to see the answers even when they come dressed in a betrayers clothes.

45Then he returned to the disciples and said to them, "Are you still sleeping and resting? Look, the hour is near, and the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 46Rise, let us go! Here comes my betrayer!"

Monday, October 11, 2010

Notes to the Lord: On Words of Prophecy

Matthew 26

31Then Jesus told them, "This very night you will all fall away on account of me, for it is written:

" 'I will strike the shepherd,
and the sheep of the flock will be scattered.' 32But after I have risen, I will go ahead of you into Galilee."

Lord Jesus--You know with intimate details included the course that awaits me. It is obscure, dark and down right scary to me at times, but it is clear and evident t
o you. You knew before it happened that this little group of students on the road to Kingdom Come would scatter with your departure.

It is interesting and telling that you prepared them f
or what was ahead of them. You gave them a next step after the worst had gave them a place and a time to re-group. Even in the middle of falling you remind these men to get up.

Lord Jesus--I wonder how many times you have
prepared me for the next step without me ever even realizing it. Every step of the way from here to Kingdom Come you have mapped out. Every twist in the road and twist in my heart is known to you.

You know there will be times when I will need to re-group. I will need to look for you in places that I know that you will be. You did not give up on these men who spent so much time with you. You continue to guide even in the middle of the dark continue to walk with me.

33Peter replied, "Even if all fall away on account of you, I never will."34"I tell you the truth," Jesus answered,
"this very night, before the rooster crows, you will disown me three times." 35But Peter declared, "Even if I have to die with you, I will never disown you." And all the other disciples said the same.

Lord Jesus--Peter was in the middle of beating his chest in pride about what he would never do on that night that he would betray you. I dare not judge Peter. I wonder if these words of warning were helpful to him? Maybe they were the words that kept Peter from Judas' end of the rope when he realized what he had done.

There is sadness in these words of warning. I can hear the empathy mixed in with the prophetic. The point of the prophetic words of warning were to create a place to follow even after denial had occurred.

Lord Jesus--There is hope in these words spoken to Peter. The preparation can only be seen in hind sight from Peter's vantage point. I will trust you Lord for the next step even when it is dark and all I know is the next place you promised to be

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Notes to the Lord: On A Meal To Remember

Matthew 26

20When evening came, Jesus was reclining at the table with the Twel
ve. 21And while they were eating, he said, "I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me." 22They were very sad and began to say to him one after the other, "Surely not I, Lord?"

Jesus--You know what is going to happen before it reaches me. You know the twists and the turns in the road that is ahead of me. You knew what was ahead of each of your disciples. John tells me that you prayed for us during this last time of teaching before the end.

You promised that you are the advocate to the Father on the behalf of your people. Thank you for the words to the Father on my behalf.

s replied, "The one who has dipped his hand into the bowl with me will betray me. 24The Son of Man will go just as it is written about him. But woe to that man who betrays the Son of Man! It would be better for him if he had not been born." 25Then Judas, the one who would betray him, said, "Surely not I, Rabbi?" Jesus answered, "Yes, it is you."

Lord Jesus--Even as each hours passing brought you
closer to the cross, you still took the time to warn reach out to him one last time to change his chosen course.

26While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, "Take and eat; this is my body."

The pieces of this meal that you asked us to remember and rehearse until your return are such simple ordinary things. Bread and wine are parts of many dinners. And yet they took on such a different and lasting meaning as the time ticked away to the cross.

27Then he took the cup, gave thanks and offered it to them, saying, "Drink from it, all of you. 28This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins.

You chose to pour out your life as an offering to the Father. You could have chosen differently. The pouring was at your choice for a single purpose.
There was mercy written all over your choice.

29I tell you, I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it anew with you in my Father's kingdom."

Still you are waiting for the celebration that all heaven is waiting for, when we will gather from the four winds and be brought to Our Father's House for the marriage feast of the Lamb.

Lord Jesus--Thank you for pouring out your life with intention at the direction of the Father.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

It Was Just A Room

Matthew 26 17On the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Where do you want us to make preparations for you to eat the Passover?"

Lord Je
sus--From the disciples view, this was just another passover...the festive season coming and preparations needed to be made. There were vague warnings of future malefaction from the Master but it was not clear. There were tensions within the group that were ill defined.What is up with Judas?

What the group knew for sure was that the Master would celebrate the high feast that remembered the exo
dus from slavery and the protection of God's people during the process.

18He replied, "Go into the city to a certain man and tell him, 'The Teacher says: My appointed time is near. I am going to celebrate the Passover with my disciples at your house.' " 19So the disciples did as
Jesus had directed them and prepared the Passover.

Lord Jesus--There are so many details that we just don't know. What was the name of the person whose house was so central to the story...where was it? How did you know this unidentified man. Would his life have been in danger if it had been known?

You referred to yourself as the teacher...and with a level of familiarity. There is an assumption in the question asked that the answer would be yes. Was he a foll
ower maybe from a bit of a distance? I wonder if he and Nicodemus ran in the same crowds.

Was he a part of the 120 that would draw ranks and form in the days just after your hiatus back to the Father? He was willing to have his home a center of the action for a significant period of time. I wonder if the Jerusalem church continue to meet in the upper room even after Pentecost? Did he ever get his house back? I have a feeling that it really didn't matter at all. If the Master needed, whatever he had, it was already His.

The owner of the upper room was not iden
tified...but it was an open secret to the people of the group. The people in early church did not need to have him named. They knew him. The open secret would serve to keep him safe in the coming years. It would only be a few years until it would not be safe to be identified as a follower of the Master.

Lord Jesus-- The more that I think about it...I want to be like this unnamed owner of a house in the right place at the right time. I want it to be assumed that whatever I have access to is yours without their ever being a direction question asked about it.

I want it to be an open secret that whatever you need I will give even if it radically alters the way that life flows for the near term and the long term in my life. Even if the open secret obscures my role as time progresses.

I am thinki
ng that this man's extra room at the top of the stairs and it's use were matters of holy pride...a reminder of right choices made at the right time. This room was a tangible place where this man could point to in his life where he had been used by the Holy.

What more could I ask for?After all it is just a bit of room that you in my in my in my and the opportunity to bring the Holy into the everyday.

Lord Jesus--Use my everyday and by that use make it different, changed and somehow holy.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Notes to the Lord:On Choices Made While Vultures Circle

Matthew 26

14Then one of the
Twelve—the one called Judas Iscariot—went to the chief priests 15and asked, "What are you willing to give me if I hand him over to you?"

Lord Jesus--There is a part of me that wants to judge Judas. After all he sat at your feet and heard the Serm
on on the Mount first hand. He heard the words of life and hope with his own ears. Many in my day would give all the concert tickets they have ever bought for just one day sitting in his seat.

What a gift he was given when you called him to be
your disciple...he was offered a chance. Just like I am offered a chance. To listen and to serve to grow and to make the journey from where you found him to where you were calling him to be.

Yet in the middle of his choices he chose poorly...twistedly. What was he thinking when he walking into the room with those he knew to be intent on your death. Was this choice triggered by the extravagant love expressed by this women. I know that kind of love changes the world that surrounds it. Sometimes propelling and sometimes expelling those who see it demonstrated.

Lord Jesus-- That is the part that I just don't get. How can I sometimes be so twisted in a knot? Sometimes I am just like Judas drawing back and expelled when I see real grace and love lived out. I want to control. I want to manage but you call me to walk in obedience one step at a time. You call me to be formed by extravagant love lived out in this mixed up muddled up world even when my small heart and hands can't hold it.

You knew the exact moment when Judas walked into the room with the vultures that were circling just within divine reach. What an act of love that you let him go to make his own choices...even hard ones...even twisted allowed Judas the room to fall from grace.

You loved Judas enough to give him the freedom of a turncoat's choice. After all he had sat at your feet through all of those teaching sessions...on countless dusty roads you had lead, talked and taught and he had followed.

You love me enough to allow me the weight of my choices. Sometimes they are just as twisted, wrong headed and wrong hearted as Judas' choice in that back room with the vultures.

So they counted out for him thirty silver coins.16From then on Judas watched for an opportunity to hand him over.

I wonder if those silver coins sat heavy in his money bag? Did they bounce against his body as he walked with suddenly more weight then they should have had?

I have no right to sit in judgment of Judas, really I am much like him. The weight of my twisted choices call out to me...much like the jingling of those coins must have called out to Judas as he followed you finding a time to betray you.

And then there is your undeserved in the middle of all my choices.

Lord Jesus--In this day that is just starting...let this be a day when love propels me toward You. Let my choices today be pushed by your grace and by the extravagant love that you have shown me. Remind me today of the weight of my choices and help me choose well.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Notes to the Lord:Beyond Weak Knees

Matthew 26
8When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. "Why this waste?" they asked. 9"This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor."

Lord Jesus--Are extravagant acts ever misunderstood? Yes! Here the disciples were pointing the accusing
finger at this woman. Maybe it made them feel uncomfortable?

Tradition says that it was Mary Magdalene who showed such gracious love towar
d You. Were they concerned for the poor or were they uncomfortable with an expression of love? What will people think? After all seven demons were cast out of her.

10Aware of this, Jesus said to them, "Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me.

What a great thing to be said of someone...what beautiful thing can I do for you today, Lord Jesus? That should be the goal for each do something that you consider beautiful, Lord Jesus.

1The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. 1
2When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial.

Lord Jesus--This is the part that pushes the envelope a bit...the needs of the poor are not depreciated, they are put in order of priority.

You were more important than the poor as the cross loome
d in front of you. You were on the way to the cross...I wonder if the smell of this perfume was still on your feet as you walked into the upper room? Was there the hint of a fragrance on you as you prayed in the garden?

13I tell you the truth, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her."

Lord Jesus --This same women whose actions were questioned as extravagant, was also with you when everyone but John left for safer places. Places where they did not have to watch you die. I wonder if Mary ever questioned these same men for their weak kneed response in the face of the cross.

I wonder if Mary caught just the hint of the fragrance of that perfume as she was standing at the foot of the cross. I hope so...mingled with the blood and the sweat her loving act was not forgotten.

That is the kind of love I want to live out with that is extravagant and enduring. Not an easy call Lord Jesus...strengthen these weak knees.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Notes to the Lord:On Extravagant Love

Matthew 26

6While Jesus was in Bethany in the home o
f a man known as Simon the Leper,

Lord Jesus--I wonder what the story is behind this man called Simon the leper. Was he someone who had been healed by you? Was he someone who had felt and experienced your healing and restoring hand of power on his life?

I wonder how long the church identified him by a condition that longer existed in his life. Did he ever come to be known as Simon the man who was touched by the master? Did he ever come to be known as the man that Jesus was willing to touch even though unclean?

Lord Jesus--Let me known not by the man I used to be before your touch, but by the way in which you brought change into this small, twisted heart.

7a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table.

Lord Jesus--At my end of the the tunnel of time...we don't know for sure which Mary this was that anointed you. We even debate if she anointed your head and your feet or if there were two incidents in which you were anointed or was it just one.

The de
bate misses the point. We miss the extravagant love that was demonstrated. Give me an extravagant love toward you and your people, Lord Jesus. For this woman, she loved you extravagantly. Somehow she sensed that you would not always be available to receive this simple act of love. She wanted to express the inexpressibly while there was still time.

Lord Jesus--In this coming day, give me the chance to show extravagant love that springs from your touch in my life while there is still time.