The Journey — Day 6

With all of the emotion surrounding the latest school schooling in Florida, it seems everyone has an opinion regarding gun control and mental health help. Some of the insults that have been hurled toward others with opposing views have been so rude that it is difficult to keep my mouth shut. As I look at social media posts, there are words I’d like to say, and find it difficult to simply scroll on, knowing that my words will not likely change someone else’s position on a matter.

It is difficult to remain silent.

To remain silent when being falsely accused is even more incredible, yet that is precisely what Jesus did.

In fact, He responded in love, saying, “forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.”

If it is difficult to remain silent when those around you are hurling insults, it is even more difficult to respond in love. In fact, I cannot do this on my own, but only though God working in me.

Lord, fill me with Your peace, that my responses would bring glory to Your name. Help me to love those who are hateful and hurtful.

In Your Holy Name,

Amen

Blessings,

SB

Copyright 2018. Journey For Life. All rights reserved

The Journey – day 5

My own sin. Heavy on my shoulders, weighing me down. It’s so much easier to see the seen in others, but to reflect that it is MY sin that nailed Jesus to a cross is humbling. Yet He loves me enormously despite my sin, enough to have died just for me. I can hardly fathom a love like that.

Please help me to be ever mindful that I am a sinner and in desperate need of your grace, which you so graciously gave through your Son, Jesus.

Blessings,

SB

Copyright 2018. Journey For Life. All rights reserved

The Journey — Day 4

In an interesting dichotomy, the journal entry below contrasts our view of our own wounds with the way in which we view Jesus’ wounds. Our own wounds carry sorry and sadness. But Jesus’ wounds carry victory. We know the victory in His death now, but that day in the cross was a different story. To those who witnessed his sourcing, his wounds brought immense pain and suffering, first for Him, but also for those who witnessed. Unimaginable pain, his physical suffering was honestly more than most of us have ever known. When I pause to think about the excruciating pain He endured, I am ever humbled that God loves me enough to make that kind of sacrifice just for me. I pray that I would never take for granted the suffering Christ endured for my eternity.

blessings,

SB

It’s Not OK

Our school was cancelled today because a high school student posted pictures late yesterday of his assault rifles laid out on the floor with the caption, “it’s almost time”. Though there was no direct threat to students or staff, on the heels of the Florida school shooting this week, our administration thought it wise to cancel school. (Frankly, I agree and applaud their decision). The suspect has since been apprehended, and is being admitted to the hospital for a complete psychological exam.

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Immediately, people all over the place began posting opinions about needing tighter gun control, better mental health help, and more anti-bullying programs. One Facebook acquaintance posted this:

For all the love of Pete, I’d like to know exactly what policy ought to be changed to rid people of the hate in their hearts.

The reality is there is no way to legislate heart issues. As I posted on my own Facebook page on Wednesday, it’s a heart issue.

“If you have hate in your heart, you will find a way to kill”

Four years ago, a sophomore brought two kitchen knives to our school and stabbed 20 students and a security guard. He had planned the incident for a year, and wanted to coincide with the anniversary of the Columbine shootings, but April 20 was on a weekend that year and school would not be in session. Instead, because he idolized Eric Harris, he planned and carried out the attack on April 9, Eric’s birthday.

My oldest daughter was in his class since kindergarten, and my son, a year behind, was in the hallway when it happened. Many of the victims were friends of theirs, and their lives were changed forever.

I won’t pretend to know what is in the heart of that boy, or the boy who killed seventeen innocent people in Florida this week, or Adam Lanza. But honestly, I’m angry. I’m angry that these people, whatever their motivation, think it’s OK to take human lives because of some perceived injustice they’ve suffered. When are we, as a society, going to stand up and say, “IT IS NOT OK!”

It is not ok to put people down to raise yourself up.

It is not ok to judge those whose shoes you do not wear.

It is not ok to bully people, and destroy their self esteem.

It is not ok to deny mental health help to those who need and want it.

However, it is equally NOT ok to:

Take another life because you feel you’ve been wronged.

It is not ok to blame others for your actions.

It is not ok to act out your anger on others who may or may not have had anything to do with it.

It is not ok.

It is not ok for us to become desensitized to horrific events because of the increased frequency with which they occur.

It is not ok for us to stand idly by while evil takes over our communities, schools, homes, hearts.

It is not ok for us to wonder where God is when we have driven Him away.

It is not ok.

We are dumbfounded at the events that have occurred, wondering why, but we have removed God from our schools. He is no longer welcomed at our commencement ceremonies, and our sporting events, and morning silence, and yet wonder where He is when trouble comes.

There IS coming a day of accountability, where we will ALL be judged, but not by ourselves. We will stand before God Almighty to give account of our lives. He, and He alone, will judge us. We will not be able to blame our actions on our upbringing, or the mean things other students said to us or did to us. We will not be able to pretend we are not responsible for our actions. We will stand before the Creator Himself to give a full account of our own actions.

In the meantime, we have all been given free will to invite Him into our hearts, lives, homes, schools, communities. We can choose to ignore His calling. We can turn our backs and wonder where He is. But in doing so, we must realize there are consequences of our choices. To make that choice and then blame God or others for our failures is not ok.

Copyright 2018 Journey For Life. All rights reserved

Journey to the Cross — Day 3

My journal starts with these words today: “Jesus didn’t just heal the illnesses of the body. He also soothed the infirmities of the soul.”

My soul is heart-sick this week after yet another shooting in our schools, a place where students should feel safe. In a world where acts of violence are increasingly common, I pause to grieve with those who are grieving, and my heat is heavy.

One of the toughest realizations I have, though, is that Jesus came to bear not only the grief of the victims families and loved ones, He came to bear the infirmities of the soul and mind of the person who committed this terrible act. It’s hard to have compassion for someone who committed such heinous act, and hard to believe God sent His Son to die for him as well, but it’s true.

I wonder, if we took God seriously enough to love others as Christ loved, and were able to reach more people with the love of Jesus, would we be able to make a difference in the lives of troubled people–to help them realize that their infirmities of the soul can be cast on a living Jesus, who can save them from themselves and from their sin… and I dare say, from committing future acts of violence.

I don’t pretend to have all (or even any) of the answers in how to stop the violence. But I know that Jesus is near to the broken hearted and the troubled.

Grieve with our country this week. Be angered by recent events, stirred enough to make a difference in someone’s life today. We don’t know what sickness affects their souls, but we know a loving God who does.

Please keep the families of the victims of the Florida shooting in your deepest prayers this week as they struggle to understand the enormity of their loss. They have a very long road of emotional recovery ahead of them. I pray that Jesus will begin to heal their infirmities.

Blessings,

SB

Copyright 2018. Journey For Life. All rights reserved

The Journey to the Cross. Day 2

The sting of rejection.

(Sorry, posting late)

Day two of my journal contains a scripture reference to Isaiah 53:3, “He was despised and forsaken of men, a man of sorrows with grief. And like one from whom men hide their face, He was despised, and we did not esteem him”

Many years ago, in another place and time, I experienced rejection so deep it cut me to the core. I wondered how I would be able to go on, yet here I am all these years later. To be honest, it still hurts, but I have managed to move past with Gods help.

During the deepest, darkest pain of that rejection, I thought about Jesus, and wondered if he every felt the way I was feeling at that moment. Then I realized that He was, and still is, rejected. He absolutely understands the sting of rejection and how we feel because He felt it too. One of his close friends sold Him out for 30 pieces of silver. The crowd hurled insults at him as He hung on the cross for our sake.

We need not fear the sting of rejection because we know we belong to a Heavenly Father who loves us so much that He sent His only Son to die and make a way for us to spend eternity with Him. We are never rejected by Him.

If you are feeling rejected today, please know that God loves you and will never, ever leave you. He is with you in the face of your rejection.

Blessings,

SB

The Journey

A new journey begins today; the annual spiritual pilgrimage to the cross. For Christians around the world, today marks the beginning of the Lenten season, the 40 days leading up to Christs’ crucifixion.

Many people will celebrate this season by giving something up for Lent, a symbolic representation of a sacrifice made in their own lives to acknowledge the sacrifice Christ made for us. While a humbling and copacetic recognition of His sacrifice, I challenge you all to go deeper this Lent.

As I was cleaning files in my home office a few weeks ago, I came across a Lenten Devotional journal I had received long ago from Insight for Living ministries. This journal will be the basis for my journey this Lent, and I invite you all to come along!

My journey for Lent begins with a funeral; a funeral for a lovely Christian woman who fought a hard battle with cancer and went home to be with Jesus last Saturday. We will miss her greatly, but are so very thankful that we know where she’s gone and we will see her later in Heaven. It is because of His sacrifice that we have the promise of eternal life

I hope you’ll join me in reflecting on the words in today’s devotion. Sin is serious business, and the price that He paid so we wouldn’t have to is enormous. At the very least, let our hearts be humbled today as we begin our spiritual journey.

Blessings,

SB

Copyright 2018 Journey For Life. All rights reserved