Lent 2019 – The Meaning of Discipleship

Matthew 5:4, “Happy are people who grieve, because they will be made glad.”

Just yesterday while walking into work with a friend I made the comment that the weather had finally improved. We discussed the finer points that though improved it could be better. Isn’t that true with most things? We find contentment but rarely feel completely satisfied. And, on other occasions when we recognize, as my friend and I did yesterday…the weather could always be worse. We had sunshine, blue skies filled with big fluffy white clouds! I have many things to be thankful for and God has blessed me in more ways than I can count. As I look around my community, at my job, my church, my state, my country and the world I see that there’s so many people hurting and grieving, saddened by what I see. Sometimes I am even angered but not knowing where that anger should be directed. Not everyone’s situation is the same, and I’m reminded (often) I am not to judge, I am called to love.

Matthew 22:36-40, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” ‘Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.‘ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.”

I’m not here to preach to you or even to cast a shadow on anyone’s behaviors, I am simply stating what God calls us to do, I am a sinner and I judge others and I’ve said things that I regret and I ask God for his forgiveness, I am thankful for his grace and redemption. Not because I’m worthy, I certainly am not but because God created me and he loves me, he forgives me.  I do not always understand the plans he has for me but I know to “Trust the Plan!*Quote borrowed from a dear friend who has taught me many things most importantly a genuine spirit of love, grace and humility.

Life has its share of disappointments and even devastating moments. We all experience loss in many ways and no two people will experience grief in the exact same way but we can try to support one another as we would want to be supported. Praying for others is very powerful! Supporting others and helping others can be accomplished in so many ways, do not discount even the smallest of gestures when done out of love and in the spirit of God. I love the slogan being used in many communities “Just be Kind!” Isn’t that just beautiful! It takes less time and energy to be kind verses being mad or angry, and usually fewer words. Simply saying “thank you” and ” you’re welcome” these can change someone’s entire outlook on life. A simply smile or comment, “Hi, how are you?” Could be the difference in someone’s life when they might be considering suicide … we never know what another person might be going through and that’s ok, I don’t think we are meant to but we can certainly make things worse by not considering our own words and actions. We are to be Jesus to others, to be his hands and feet in the world.

1 John4:17, “And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.” (NLT)

I have on occasion felt the Holy Spirit directing me to “pay-it-forward” while in a drive-thru lane or at a convenient or grocery store, even at a stoplight when a person is asking for money. When we do these things we must do so freely of any expectation of the gift, trust God and let go. Gifts/blessing given with strings attached are in fact not gifts or blessings. Our gift of grace from God was freely given, and we must give as the “Giver” gave to us. Spread joy and share joy, when someone grieves, grieve with them and tell them that “joy comes in the morning” it may not be the next morning but the morning is coming and God will be there every step of the ways.

Psalm 30:5b, “Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.

Breath Prayer: Amazing grace! … Joy come in the morning.