The Lowest Moments Begin

Sovereign Lord, I must confess there are things I do not understand, & events that are difficult for me to fully comprehend. Betrayal by a close friend, a compatriot, a partner in ministry is such an abhorrent thing, but Jesus experienced it, too. Divisive, poisoned thoughts, selfish prioritizing, & an apparent refusal to express what was on his heart to Jesus…this all led to his downfall. The world is full of this type of behavior, but that doesn’t make it easier to accept. Father, give us strength to be honest & open with one another in love. Give us the grace to walk in the light as You are in the light. Release us from selfishness & pride as we walk with Jesus. May we glorify You. It is through Christ we pray, amen.

Luke 22:1-6
1Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread drew near, which is called the Passover. And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to put him to death, for they feared the people.

Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was of the number of the twelve. He went away and conferred with the chief priests and officers how he might betray him to them. And they were glad, and agreed to give him money. So he consented and sought an opportunity to betray him to them in the absence of a crowd.

So the Passover celebrations were beginning, a day of remembrance & delivery from slavery. So much speaking to freedom, a removal of the yoke of oppression & there is no doubt that Judas had felt that yoke from the Romans for as long as he thought he could stand it. He saw what he thought was the perfect timing, the perfect opportunity to stand up & point things in what he thought was the right direction. He felt his motives were right, he was convinced that he knew best & there was no way that he could mess this up.

I know some people speculate that Judas betrayed Jesus in order to provoke Him to do something miraculous, something that would force His hand so He might begin the overthrow of the Romans. Others say he did all this because he was tired of seeing Jesus refuse the kingship that the people were trying to press on Him. He made his own plans for the Messiah. There are plenty of other ways to attempt to explain the actions of Judas Iscariot, but no matter how the events came together in his heart & mind, he still wound up betraying Jesus & it resulted in His death by crucifixion.

It seems like everyone was aware that something was coming. Judas knew, the chief priests & scribes knew, the people had picked up on it & things were coming to a conclusion of some sort. Desperation comes into play. Social pressure leans heavily on people & impatience becomes a minute-by-minute struggle. Justifications are made & evil’s presence is secured. Judas was entered by Satan, who is always looking for opportunity, & things were set for this most horrendous betrayal, this ultimate rejection of God by humanity.

Betrayal is ugly. There is no way to make it less than what it is. It is painful. It is cruel. It is unfeeling. It is soul-wounding. But Jesus came to bear it all for us. He wasn’t spared anything. Judas would betray, a stab in the back by a close friend. The High Priests would betray God, the final snub that expressed their desire for self over submission. The people would shout “Crucify,” their voices echoing the hollowness in their spiritual walk. Even His closest friends would abandon Him. And Jesus would experience every moment of it.

This is the love of God poured out for us. That Jesus would come, take on our flesh & all the suffering that comes with it. The Prophet reminds us that He is a man of sorrows & acquainted with suffering, David saw His bones exposed through skin & God the Father had spoken of this moment from the beginning with Adam & Eve at the Fall of humanity. Everything was coming to a climax, & God allowed what needed to be allowed while He orchestrated our release from death & the bondage of sin. Pride & betrayal began it all & pride-laced betrayal would bring about the solution.

Father, give us eyes to see & ears to hear the correction that comes from You & in Your love. Teach us to obey You & reveal the intentions of our own hearts to us as we walk in the rhythms of Your grace & in the power of Your Holy Spirit. Open our eyes so we might see, open our ears so we might hear. Open our heart so we would be aware of our own struggles & receive the light of Christ as our daily guide. Please forgive us our pride-filled weaknesses & poor judgment. In Jesus Name, amen.


Acts 3:1-10 // Silver & gold I do not have

“1 Now Peter and John were going up together to the temple complex at the hour of prayer at three in the afternoon. 2 And a man who was lame from birth was carried there and placed every day at the temple gate called Beautiful, so he could beg from those entering the temple complex. 3 When he saw Peter and John about to enter the temple complex, he asked for help.

4 Peter, along with John, looked at him intently and said, “Look at us.” 5 So he turned to them, expecting to get something from them. 6 But Peter said, “I don’t have silver or gold, but what I have, I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, get up and walk!” 7 Then, taking him by the right hand he raised him up, and at once his feet and ankles became strong.

8 So he jumped up, stood, and started to walk, and he entered the temple complex with them — walking, leaping, and praising God. 9 All the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 and they recognized that he was the one who used to sit and beg at the Beautiful Gate of the temple complex. So they were filled with awe and astonishment at what had happened to him.”

Acts 3:1-10


This first recorded healing miracle for the early church gives us a great reminder of the true concern for others that should be at the forefront of our hearts and minds. 

The area of town I live and serve in has a high number of panhandlers. Our city doesn’t require them to register, so anyone and everyone can just go stand at an intersection or wander a parking lot and approach people asking for financial ‘help.’

Some people have a legitimate need, others are simply lazy. Some do have families like their cardboard signs indicate, others are just on their own. Some are humble and thankful for whatever comes their way, others are aggressive and will cuss you if you don’t give them the two dollars they’re cornering you for…

Unfortunately, it’s easy to get calloused when you see people all the time, knowing that some of them are just trying to take advantage of others. And so after a while the legitimate needs of the rest go unmet because of the chicanery of those unethical few. 

But what we see from Peter, the Holy Spirit moving in him, is that it isn’t about the money. There is a deeper need that must be addressed. It’s not the filling of the wallet, but the healing of the whole person that needs to take place. Every human being that we encounter is first and foremost just that, a human being. They are therefore precious in the sight of God and should be treated accordingly. But we need to take the time and dig deeper. We need to address the whole person. And that requires that we do just what Peter & John did:

– Stop. Let your plans go and assess the situation.

– Look them in the eye and address them personally.

– Acknowledge their need. Extend your sympathy.

– Take the time to speak to their apparent deeper need.

– Give them Jesus. 

Keep in mind, this is not always the best approach for an aggressive panhandler. So be cautious, be safe. But for those with whom we see a legitimate need, it would be best if we were to take the time and speak into their lives in the name of Christ. In this way, we can GoLove them as Jesus did, and truly make an impact on their lives for His Name’s sake.

Psalm 66 // For all that God has done

Praise for Gods Mighty Acts
For the choir director. A song. A psalm.

“1 Shout joyfully to God, all the earth!
2 Sing about the glory of His name;
make His praise glorious.
3 Say to God, ‘How awe- inspiring are Your works!
Your enemies will cringe before You
because of Your great strength.
4 All the earth will worship You
and sing praise to You.
They will sing praise to Your name.’ Selah

5 Come and see the wonders of God;
His acts for humanity are awe- inspiring.
6 He turned the sea into dry land,
and they crossed the river on foot.
There we rejoiced in Him.
7 He rules forever by His might;
He keeps His eye on the nations.
The rebellious should not exalt themselves. Selah

8 Praise our God, you peoples;
let the sound of His praise be heard.
9 He keeps us alive
and does not allow our feet to slip.
10 For You, God, tested us;
You refined us as silver is refined.
11 You lured us into a trap;
You placed burdens on our backs.
12 You let men ride over our heads;
we went through fire and water,
but You brought us out to abundance.
13 I will enter Your house with burnt offerings;
I will pay You my vows
14 that my lips promised
and my mouth spoke during my distress.
15 I will offer You fattened sheep as burnt offerings,
with the fragrant smoke of rams;
I will sacrifice oxen with goats. Selah

16 Come and listen, all who fear God,
and I will tell what He has done for me.
17 I cried out to Him with my mouth,
and praise was on my tongue.
18 If I had been aware of malice in my heart,
the Lord would not have listened.
19 However, God has listened;
He has paid attention to the sound of my prayer.
20 May God be praised!
He has not turned away my prayer
or turned His faithful love from me.”
Psalm 66:1-20

God’s faithfulness knows no end. He has provided over and over again for His people, He has sifted and sorted and refined our hearts. He lays out the paths of righteousness, and marks our ways in His love. We do not wander, we have no need to grope around in the darkness, because He has given us His Word and He has shown us His ways.

What grace our King has shown us! How richly He has supplied for our needs. Though we continue in our little rebellions, His love and justice point us back toward His heart, in Christ He has provided. In Jesus, He has shown us the way. His grace is staggering. His mercies are new every morning.

He molds us, sculpts us and removes the impurities that would tarnish us. He loves us, He glorifies Himself in us and He included us in His work. This is joy beyond measure and priceless beyond hope. We are entitled to nothing. We have only purchased destruction for ourselves, but He has given us life! We should not need reminders to GoLove in His Name, to share what He has done. We should be overflowing with gratitude and love for Him, eager to do His work, eager to serve our King and Savior.