He said to them, “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”
After I go my first DSLR I had a lot to learn about aperture, ISO, and shutter speed. I remember the first time I learned that if you have a slow shutter speed when you take a picture of a waterfall the water will appear to be silky smooth in the image. I was amazed by this and I couldn’t wait to try it. My first couple of tries were terrible because I didn’t realize you had to have a way to keep the camera steady. I remember when I took this picture at one of my favorite places with my new tripod. This was the first time after many tries, I successfully had an image with smooth water and sharp detail. I have learned a lot in the eight years I have been taking images with my camera, yet I still have a lot to learn.
Even though the disciples had been with Jesus for three years, they, too, still had a lot to learn. The disciples knew the scriptures about a promised Messiah, yet Jesus was not the Messiah they had expected. He was still teaching them after his resurrection. He “opened their minds so they could understand the Scriptures." He showed them how he fulfilled the Scripture's promises of a Messiah. They now had a new way of understanding the promised Messiah. I wonder what it was like to hear Jesus teach them that day. I believe that Jesus will open our minds to understanding the Scriptures today. The Bible is a beautiful book but it isn’t always easy to understand. We must spend time learning to read it and when we do we will see how Jesus fulfilled God’s plan to love and redeem us.
Open our minds to understanding the Scriptures. Give us a desire to study them so that we can see you and become your witnesses.
When he [Jesus] had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. Then they worshiped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God.
We started our third road trip last September on the Blue Ridge Parkway. Since we have driven on the parkway many times it was a good place to start our sightseeing. We would travel from the familiar to the unfamiliar, leaving the mountains where we live and traveling through New England to the coast of Maine. When we left that day we were filled with excitement of the beauty and adventure before us. Things we had read about and seen pictures of we were now going to see in person.
I wonder if the disciples felt like we did that day we began our adventure. Jesus had been with the disciples for 40 days teaching them and preparing them for the new journey ahead. As he prepared to leave them he took them to a place near Bethany. It was a familiar place, the place where he began his final entry into Jerusalem riding on a donkey. This time instead of leading them into Jerusalem he was leading them out into the world.
Open our hearts to desire the adventure of following you. Lead us out from the familiar and comfortable to be witnesses of your grace and love to out world.
Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom.
We oftentimes come to realize the value of something when it is taken away. I have learned this very recently after my hip surgery when I could no longer go for my early morning walks. After my surgery, I had to start over again building up my strength. Each day I would try to increase my step count. Counting and tracking my steps helped me to see progress and encouraged me to keep walking. Now that I am on the road to recovery, I still count my steps and I am grateful for each step. I can go on my early morning walks again and they are even more special to me. We gain wisdom in the same way; one step at a time. Wisdom comes when we take the time to be grateful for each day without worrying about tomorrow, taking each day one step at a time.
Develop in us a sense of gratitude for each day. Teach us to count our days and give us wisdom to make each day count.
Finally they said, “Who are you? Give us an answer to take back to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?”
We were returning to our motel from a day of sightseeing when we turned the last corner and I saw the harbor. In the week we were in Acadia we passed this little harbor on almost every trip. It was usually filled with little boats and it definitely wasn’t on the list of must see places. But this night it was beautiful to me. It is a simple picture of mostly just sky and water but it is one of my favorite images from the whole trip. There are times in our lives, times like right now, where everything is complicated. The harbor is full of little boats and we long to see the simple beauty of the quiet harbor.
John the Baptist knew that his purpose was to call the people to make a way for the Lord. His voice calls to me in these complicated times. I need a quiet harbor, a place to clear out the jumble of my life and confess my sin of seeking my own way. I need to make a way in my heart for Jesus. In him only will we find a secure harbor and the quietness and peace that we seek.
Help me clear my heart and listen to your voice. Be the harbor that I seek and show me the beauty of following you.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.
I am grateful that I live in a place with four seasons, each one bringing its own gifts. This spring it has been a little harder to enjoy its beauty. The virus is keeping us in our homes. Instead of trips to the mountains to see the wildflowers I have been enjoying the flowers in my neighborhood. I am thankful for the flowers and the reminder they bring that God is in control. In him we find a hope that won’t fade; a hope that can fill us with joy and peace in dark times.
God of Hope
Open our eyes to the beauty around us. Replace our fear with your peace. May the hope we have in you overflow to those around us.
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