Spiritual Directors Message
Do you remember the time when Jesus took the disciples to Caesarea Philippi and asked, “Who do
people say the Son of Man is?” None of us were there, of course, but we might as well have been
because the answers given are some of the same answers we hear today. Everyone has an opinion
about who Jesus is: a good moral teacher, a deceiver, a madman, God. But then Jesus gets close and
asks an even more penetrating question: “Who do you say I am?” This is the moment when Peter “gets
it” and declares, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus affirms Peter in this but only a
short time later rebukes Peter for protesting the necessity of the cross. And that is the lesson for us to
The cross and empty tomb are integral to what it means for Jesus to be the Messiah. You can’t take the parts you want (Jesus healing the poor) and leave other parts behind (Jesus’ claims of divinity). Many today view Jesus as a good religious teacher but nothing more, that what happened to Him was a tragedy and not God’s mercy for us. As C.S. Lewis said long ago, “A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice.” Yes, Peter got it partially right at Casarea Philippi, but he lacked the most important understanding about how the Messiah would save. Not through a triumphant military conquest of Rome but the defeat of death by His broken body on the cross.
Today Jesus asks us, “Who do you say I am?” Do we trust that He is who He says He is? And if we claim to believe this, do we live it out in our daily lives? The one thing we cannot believe with integrity is that Jesus was merely a good moral teacher. As the church, we must not allow ourselves to be divided on this issue because it is the truth of the gospel that sets people free from their bondage.
Spend time this week in quiet, alone with the Lord. Ask Jesus to reveal more of Himself to you and ask that you would respond to His invitation to take up your cross and follow Him. Jesus doesn’t promise us an easy life, but it is a life that will have eternal impact when it is offered to Him. When the church “gets it” like Peter did, people will put their faith in Jesus Christ, and that’s what we’re called to be about. For one day every knee will bow and tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. And that’s good news.
Spiritual Directors Message
The leaves are changing and transforming color. God’s amazing love is like that. We
can be and are changed and transformed by God’s unconditional love. Joel 2:13 states:
Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious
and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending
calamity. Some of us are in desperation for one reason or another. These are the times
one usually turns to God; but, we all can turn to God at any given time whether it be
good or bad. When we turn to God, the change God makes is always for the better.
We may go through hard and difficult times, but during those times, God strengthens us and our faith increases. Change is beautiful. Fall is a wonderful time of the year to reassess our relationship with God (every day we should reassess our relationship). As we look at the beautiful color, let us know without a doubt our Lord and Savior changes us.
I have to say, the pilgrims on Thursday night are not the same pilgrims that left on Sunday afternoon. They spiritually grew knowing our God a little bit more than when they arrived. We all can change.
Our world needs changing. There is too much violence and not enough love. Love is spoken in all languages. We all have attitudes and believe in different ways, but love encompasses all. Jesus loves all of us. It’s our choice what decisions we make. We can argue, get angry, want control, be impatient, be rude, the list goes on and on. Take a moment before any of the above, take a deep breath, and pray. Prayer works wonders. Give everything to the Lord. Rend your heart. Surrender to the Lord your God. Let God work in your life.
Lent is a season of spiritual preparation. It is a time of self-reflection and growing closer to our Lord and Savior. We walk together to the cross with Jesus. Life is a commitment to serving our Lord.
When we experience the Emmaus weekend, there is so much time to reflect on what we experienced during our Fourth Day. What happened during the weekend? How did it change me? What spoke to me? There is so much to comprehend, yet, God’s love is beyond our comprehension.
I ask each of you to pray. No, I don’t mean a “glancing” prayer, but a real prayer. Spend time with our Lord. Talk with Jesus. Yes, we are busy people and some say “I don’t have time to pray.” If we are committed to Jesus, then, yes, we do have time to sit, talk, and listen.
Start your day in the right direction. We are all at fault for not giving enough time to Jesus. Lent is a very good time to start that commitment. We are all creatures of habit. We wake up. We get ready for the day (whatever that is for you); get our cup of coffee or Starbucks; get in the car; drive to work and work all day; go home. When do you think of Jesus?
Wake up! Good morning Jesus! Whatever the day brings, help me through it. I give you thanks and praise for a new day to work for you. Give me strength and courage to witness to You. In everything I do, may I glorify Your Holy Name.
It isn’t difficult. Then listen. Sometimes silence is golden. Maybe you need to encourage someone instead of criticize; love instead of hate; comfort instead of causing distress; meekness instead of controlling; praising instead of judgmental; humble instead of being egotistical or proud; etc. Life is difficult as it is and more so if we don’t have Jesus in our hearts. Some claim to have Jesus but are very quick to do the very things I just mentioned.
Jesus struggled to the cross. We, too, struggle but we can be aware of whose we are and the journey each one of us are on with God. Pray for God to help improve God’s creation within you and your relationship with God.
Lent is a very solemn yet special time. Seek first the Kingdom of God!
Psalm 73:26 – “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”
Psalm 51:10 – “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.”
“Our love for others is our grateful response to the love God first demonstrated to us” 1 John 4:19 TPT.
Happy New Year.
Let us begin this New Year in a positive direction. What happens when we look back? Lot’s wife turned into a pillar of salt (Genesis 19). Don’t look back with regret because looking back blocks our heart from receiving what God’s intentions are for our lives. You don’t need to carry the weight of the past upon your shoulders. Let go and Let God. We need to be obedient and look forward to being a better Christian and increasing our love for Jesus Christ.
“Our love for others is our grateful response to the love God first demonstrated to us” 1 John 4:19 TPT. Love one another. 1 John 4:21 CEV states: “The commandment that God has given us is: “Love God and love each other!” Love Love Love just a little bit of Love! Jesus gave His life because He first loved us!
Here is a sampling of “Love One Another” in the Bible:
Love One Another (John 13:34a)
Love One Another (John 13:34b)
Love One Another (John 13:35)
Love One Another (John 15:12)
Love One Another (John 15:17)
Love One Another (Romans 13:8)
Make Your Love Increase (1 Thessalonians 3:12)
Love Each Other (1 Thessalonians 4:9)
Love One Another Deeply (1 Peter 3:8)
Love Each Other Deeply (1 Peter 4:8)
Love One Another (1 John 3:11)
Love One Another (1 John 3:23)
Love One Another (1 John 4:7)
Love One Another (1 John 4:11)
Love One Another (1 John 4:12)
Love One Another (2 John 5)
I think we are to Love One Another! It’s hard but it is a commandment. 1 Peter 3:8-9 NIV states: “Finally, all of you, be like-minded, be sympathetic, love one another, be compassionate and humble. Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.”
Here’s to a very Blessed New Year!