Day 74 – March 15

Today’s Readings:

Deuteronomy 7-8
Mark 14:27-53
Psalm 74

“Abba, Father, all things are possible to you. Take this cup away from me, but not what I will but what you will.” – Mark 14:36

It is difficult to imagine what must have been going on through Jesus’ mind as he prayed these words. He knew what the Father asked of him. He didn’t want to die and it must have taken every ounce of strength to steal himself from running from the fear in himself, and pain he knew would come. Would no one share this agony with him? His closest disciples were nearby, but unable to keep their eyes open. Those that could have comforted him in his agony were caught in the arms of sleep.

What it is like to face a struggle and feel there is no one who is sharing in your burden. Jesus understands all too well our own feelings of isolation; of feeling alone. How he dealt with is own struggle gives us hope. He turns to prayer to sustain him when his friends cannot. It is there, in Gethsemane, on his knees he finds strength for the battle that lies ahead. It is where we too can be strengthened when all human resources fail us.

May God Bless you.

cb365

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Day 67 – March 8

Today’s Readings:

Numbers 29-30
Mark 11:1-18
Psalm 67

“He entered Jerusalem and went into the temple area. He looked around at everything and, since it was already late, went out to Bethany with the Twelve.” – Mark 11:11

It has been quite the day, almost festive, as Jesus rides into Jerusalem on a donkey while bystanders throw palm branches and their cloaks down before him, shouting, “Blessed is he who comes!” It is a victory march, not unlike that of Simon Maccabaeus’ entrance into Jerusalem a hundred and fifty years before when the enemy of his time was defeated (1 Maccabees 13:51); a conquerer’s welcome. The people went home that night, most likely talking about Jesus the Messiah (for that is what they were shouting – “He who comes” is another name for Messiah).

Yet, as the day fades to dusk, we catch Jesus in the temple area. The buzz of the day has subsided, and we reach him in the quiet moment that precedes the coming storm. What was going through Jesus’ mind? The many times before he had walked on those stones. Maybe recalling the pivotal moment when he was twelve, sitting with the temple priests, engaged in conversation with them. He knew full well the path before him. Before he entered into the final battle, he sought the presence of God. It was here, because he faced God daily that he had the strength and courage to face men.

When we are caught in the struggles of our day, from where do we find our strength? Let it not be from our titles and achievements, nor from other men’s praise, but, like Jesus, let our strength come from placing ourselves before God, letting Him nourish and lead us.

May God Bless you.

cb365

Day 59 – February 28

Today’s Readings:

Numbers 13-14
Mark 6:30-56
Psalm 59

He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a deserted place and rest a while.”   – Mark 6:31

The disciples of Jesus return from their first experience as missionaries, having taken the Good News  to the people. They are excited to share their experiences with Jesus and with each other, but Jesus knows that something else is even more pressing. Quiet and prayer.

Tomorrow is Ash Wednesday, in many Christian churches around the world, it is a day that sets the tone for the liturgical season of Lent. During these 40 days, we are encouraged to make space to grow closer to God in the silence and in our prayer.

Take today to chart your course of how you will make this Lent a meaningful time for your spiritual life. Check your local Church and see what they are offering this Lent.

Some suggestions:

  • Take up a Bible Study
  • Attend Friday Soup Suppers and Stations of the Cross
  • Go through your closets and pack away things you no longer use and give them to charity.
  • Wake up 15 minutes earlier, and just sit with the Lord and let Him direct your heart.

What else do you plan to do to make your Lent a fruitful one? Share your suggestions in the combox below 🙂

May God bless you!

cb365

Day 30 – January 30

Today’s Readings:

Exodus 16-18
Matthew 20:1-16
Psalm 30

“Moses’ hands grew weary…and Aaron and Hur held up his hands…so his hands were steady until the going down of the sun. And Joshua mowed down Amalek”

Imagine this scene. The great battle taking place in the plains below. Moses raises his hands in prayer, and all goes well for Israel as long as his hands are raised in supplication to God. But when his arms tire and he puts them down to rest, the battle turns and Amalek advanced. Moses realizes he cannot intercede to God on behalf of Israel by himself. He enlists the help of Aaron and Hur to hold his hands up in prayer. This is the game changer in the battle, when Moses enlists others to assist in interceding for the pressing need.

This passage gives us such a beautiful image of what intercessory prayer might look like. Saint Paul tells us to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17), yet, we can grow weary physically, emotionally, spiritually in the midst of praying. When we are tired, who are the Aaron and the Hur in our lives that assist us to keep praying? Surrounding ourselves with good praying people will ensure that when we are faced with a struggle – be it physical, emotional, spiritual, relational – we can call upon the Christian community to pray for us.

May God bless you!

cb365

Day 24 – January 24

Today’s Readings:

Exodus 1-3
Matthew 15:21-39
Psalm 24

Jesus said answered the woman, “O woman, great is your faith! Be done for you as desire.” – Matthew 15:28

In Matthew, chapter 15 the unnamed woman comes to Jesus with a request for healing for her daughter. She doesn’t just ask Jesus once, but three times:

First, she says, “Have mercy on me, O Lord… my daughter is severely possessed by a demon.” Jesus does not respond, at first, and only after her continued pestering Jesus reminds her that she is not a Jew.

She then comes and kneels before him, saying, “Lord, help me.”

This is where the story takes a curious bend, with Jesus seemingly insulting her, calling her a dog (a domestic one (kunaria, in Greek), not a street dog).
Not even this discourages the woman, but she draws closer to Jesus, reminding Jesus that even the dogs get to eat the scraps.

Strong faith indeed! She knows that just a morsel, a crumb from Jesus would be sufficient to heal her daughter.

Would Jesus find such faith today? Or, would he find us giving up at the first rebuttal? Some commentaries see this aloofness of Jesus a kind of testing of the woman’s faith. She shows her persistence that grows bolder with each attempt.

May we too be persistent in our petitions to God, that with each seemingly unanswered prayer, we may too grow stronger in our asking, and in turn watch our faith unfold into the mercy of God.

May God bless you!