“It was just before the Passover Feast. Jesus knew that the time had come for him to leave this world and go to the Father. Having loved his own who were in the world, he now showed them the full extent of his love. “
Jesus knew that His time with the disciples was coming to an end. He had only a few precious hours left with them; one last opportunity to instruct them. So in those final hours, the King of Kings took off His outer garment, wrapped a towel around His waist, took a basin of water, and began washing the feet of His disciples – a job so degrading that even Jewish slaves were exempt from the task.
Why foot washing? Jesus chose to demonstrated an inner humility because it would be necessary for His disciples to adopt the same inner humility in order to fully carry out the instructions that He was about to leave them with.
I’ve often wondered if the first set of feet Jesus washed belonged to Judas. There are times when I find it hard to wrap my mind around the fact that Jesus washed the very feet of the one whom He knew had already betrayed Him. What must it have felt like to kneel at the feet of His betrayer; to wash the feet of the man who had sold Him for 30 pieces of silver? Yet, with an inner humility, Jesus picked up Judas’ feet and in doing so showed us how to love and serve our enemies.
Maybe Peter’s feet were next. Jesus washed Peter’s feet knowing that Peter, one of His closest friends would betray Him not once, but three times. In fact, all of the disciples would abandon Jesus that very night and He knew it. Yet, with a humble spirit, He knelt down and lovingly washed each of their feet, and demonstrated how to love and forgive those who hurt or offend us.
“When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.”
The example, at the core, was this: Jesus did not hold onto the rights and privileges that were His because He was deity. Instead He gave up all that was rightfully His – His position in Heaven, His comforts, His right to be treated with dignity, His right to defend Himself, His life. He humbled Himself in selfless obedience to The Father.
Yes, we are to love and serve one another. Yes, we are to forgive. But in order to do those things after the example of Christ, we must take on the same attitude as He did. It requires an inner transformation of our hearts and minds into the humble likeness of our Savior.
As we head into Good Friday, carefully consider all that Christ endured, all that He suffered, and all that He gave up for you and me. Sit with your dirty feet at the table in the upper room. Watch the sadness in His eyes as everyone flees the scene in the garden. Listen to the sounds of the scourging in the night hours and the cruel mocking of His captors. Look into His weary eyes as He stumbles under the load of the cross. Hear the ping of the hammer driving the nails into His hands and feet. Watch as the crowd jeers and mocks Him and challenges Him to prove that He is the Son of God. Pay close attention to His anguish as He takes on all our sins and is separated from His Father for the first time in all of eternity.
And when you wake up Easter morning, rejoice in your salvation which was freely given to you all because Jesus humbled Himself in obedience, even to death on the cross. Then follow His example and hear His promise:
“Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.”
John 13 and Philippians 2:5-11
Because He lives,
Reposted from March 28, 2013
A while back, Philip and one of our children visited the Grand Canyon. The first morning they were there, Philip got up early to see the sunrise over the Canyon. Now, you need to know three things about Philip to fully get this. One, he is terrified of heights. Two, he is somewhat limited in his ability to use an iPhone…no, he is very limited. Three, the great outdoors is not something that normally stirs deep emotions in him – unless, that is, it’s an outdoor sports complex.
As he watched the sun begin its ascent over the canyon, however, all three of the above-mentioned issues were no longer issues. As he watched the sun slowly rise, he became overwhelmed with the glory and magnificence of his God. Philip became keenly aware that what he was experiencing was not the beauty of the creation. It was the glory of the Creator.
As he sat there in total awe, the song Glorious by Paul Baloche came to his mind so he played it (on his IPhone). For some time, he sat there in sweet communion with his Heavenly Father as he listened to the words of the song.
Look inside the mystery
See the empty cross
See the risen Savior
Victorious and strong
No one else above Him
None as strong to save
He alone has conquered
The power of the grave
Glorious my eyes have seen
The glory of the Lord
Glorious He stands above
The rulers of the earth
Look beyond the tombstone
See the living God
See the resurrected
Ruler of my heart
No one else above Him
None to match His worth
The hope of His returning
Fills the universe
Glorious my eyes have seen
The glory of the Lord
Glorious He stands above
The rulers of the earth
Lord You are Glorious
As I thought about Philip’s experience, it occurred to me that there were others watching the same rising of the sun. I wonder if anyone else encountered God in that canyon. Everyone there saw the sunrise, but did everyone see the glory of the Lord?
Interestingly, the song by Paul Baloche is not talking about God’s glory in His creation; it is talking about God’s glory as revealed through His Son. Hebrews 1:3 says that the Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of God’s nature. Though He was cloaked
in human flesh, Christ was and is the true manifestation of God’s glory.
I loved watching my husband’s face as he recanted his experience to me. God had so delighted his heart and it left an indelible mark. Why? Because Philip did not see God’s glory with his eyes. He saw it as revealed by the Spirit within his heart.
You know, we don’t have to go to the Grand Canyon to be awed by God’s glory. It’s
all around us. All we have to do is be still long enough for Him to show us and
rely on our hearts to see it – not our eyes.
“And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14
Have a great week!
Some stories are just easy to share, but then there are those painful ones that are easier to stuff somewhere deep down inside where no one sees. It takes great courage and an obedient heart to share them. This is one such story. We are so grateful to Dianna for her willingness to share her story so that others might be spared the road she has had to walk or so that those who are on the road with her might find comfort and healing.
As I quieted the voices in my mind, the voices on the outside of the gate grew louder.
“You don’t have to do this,” one man said. “There are other options.”
I walked swiftly to the door, trying to block out the sign that read "Stop Abortion Now" and the voices that cried out, “Jesus loves you.”
My mind was spinning as I sat down in the waiting room. I went from second guessing my decision to rationalizing that it was okay. After all, I was only a few weeks pregnant and the baby growing inside of me was smaller than a half dollar. It hasn’t had a chance to develop yet, I thought to myself. It didn’t seem like I was about to shed innocent blood.
Because the pregnancy was unplanned, I made plans for what I thought was right for myself. I never once questioned what was best for the child and how God would feel about it.
I wish I would have researched the facts of abortion, but I didn’t. I didn’t want to know. Had I examined it, I would’ve known that by the fourth and fifth week the baby’s heart begins to flutter and limb buds appear. Other systems such as the circulatory, digestive, urogenital and nervous system begin to all take shape.
I drove myself home that dark day, numb. The memories and emotions were stuffed into a deep abyss of my soul.
I had no idea what a lasting effect this would have on my life and the feelings of remorse, humiliation and condemnation I would carry.
Tears of pain are rolling down my cheek as I type this.
But God doesn’t want me to stay in bondage to the chains that weighed me down.
What good would it do to bury my dark secret with me when I know it may help someone else?
And so, that is why I am sharing my story.
For the woman who has had an abortion, you are not alone.
God still loves you and wants to heal you. You can be rid of shame and walk confidently by confessing your sin and accepting His forgiveness. There is no condemnation for those who belong to Christ Jesus. Because you belong to him, the power of the life-giving Spirit has freed you from the power of sin that leads to death (Romans 8:1-2).
For the woman contemplating abortion, don’t do it!
The baby you’ve been given is a blessing. No matter how the baby was conceived, God has created this human being and allowed your pregnancy. If the child is unwanted or cannot be cared for, there are people in this world who would love to cradle an infant in their arms.
Don’t make a permanent decision based on a temporary emotion.
Our key verse says choose life by loving God, obeying Him and committing to Him.
The stirring of these buried emotions have caused me to deal with them and leave them at the cross. I’ve heard a voice that has grown louder than my own and those of the people that day at the gate. It’s the sweet whisper of Jesus who simply says: I forgive you. No matter what mistake you’ve made or will make, I forgive you.
If you are weary from a heavy load, He wants you to hear that same sound. His grace covers all.
Are there secret sins weighing you down? Do you feel your past mistakes could stop someone from making the same one(s)?
Dianna is a blogger for ignite2ignite.org. You can read more blogs at http://www.ignite2ignite.org
Like many tales of epic parenting fails, this story begins with a bribe. I will spare you the gory details, but the bribe was to persuade my tenacious five-year-old daughter to allow us to extract two loose baby teeth. Weeks into the ordeal and still somewhat mysteriously to me, someone came up with the “Puppy Promise”. The ante became a dog.
Finally, she pulled the first tooth all by herself but the second was more stubborn. I have to confess that I really didn’t press her on the second one because of the “Puppy Promise” and truly hoped she’d forget. I know. Sometimes I surprise even myself at how naive I sound. So on the day that her kindergarten teacher texted the picture of the gaping bloody hole where the second tooth used to be, I had quite the mixed bag of emotions. I was thrilled about the tooth- finally, no more shark mouth- but I also was wondering how much time I had before the “Puppy Promise” had to be fulfilled.
The master negotiator in the Minnie Mouse booster seat made all kinds of demands in criteria for her new pet on our way to the SPCA, but I knew I still had time to take control of this situation. So I told her that we were going to adopt a dog, not buy one from the pet store. I also stated firmly that we would NOT be getting a puppy for me to housebreak and train, but would adopt an older dog with established manners and self-control.
“Bear” was in the very last kennel as we made our rounds at the SPCA that afternoon. He was beautiful and big with a shiny black coat and beautiful, soulful brown eyes and he sat at the gate and practically smiled at us as I read his vital information. On paper Bear could not have been more perfect. He was a predominately lab mix, housebroken and obedience trained with no health problems, great with kids and other dogs. Like I said, perfect on paper, right?
Well, what that paperwork fails to tell is that Bear is the most emotionally dependent, clingy, needy dog the good Lord ever made. He whines if we leave the room, he expects company on his potty breaks outside. He hates to be left alone. He doesn’t destroy or damage anything, but he cries. Like a baby. Sobs. Whines. Barks. His loyalty is amazingly constant and certain. And as I sit here typing and he is literally lying on my feet talking to me in that way that dogs bark/speak that sounds like they are trying to talk, I am reminded that Bear is a lot like God.
Bear’s faithfulness and loyalty to our family is amazing and was instantaneous. He was so thrilled to be adopted into our hearts and our home that he rewards us each day with his faithfulness and loyalty. And all he wants in return is our continued service and affection, and the occasional treat. Isn’t that what God expects from us too? He expects us to open our homes and our hearts to him, and in return the blessings are never ending. He is our constant companion, our “ever present help in times of trouble.” In Ephesians 1:4-6, Paul writes, “God decided in advance to adopt us into His own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what He wanted to do, and it gave Him great pleasure. So we praise God for the glorious grace He has poured out on us who belong to His dear son.”
Bear reminds me that just as our family adopted him into our home and hearts, so has our father in Heaven adopted us. Just as our family showed mercy to a dog at the pound, God shows us mercy every day in countless ways. Our adoption was set before time began, may we be reminded daily of this act of selfless grace and abundant mercy. Shouldn’t we reward Him with our faithful adoration and love? I think I know a big black dog who would agree.
“I am the true vine, and My Father is the vineyard keeper…If anyone does not remain in Me, he is thrown aside like a branch and he withers. They gather them, throw them into the fire, and they are burned.” John 15:1, 6
My husband loves land. He loves working land on a tractor or lawn mower. He loves growing things. He loves the smell of dirt that has been freshly tilled and he loves budding plants, bushes and trees. He loves to take a piece of property that looks totally neglected and make it look like a Thomas Kinkade picture. Me? I don’t like land so much. However, if I want to spend time with my husband being completely content, I learn to work the land!
Last year we were clearing out some property and it was a mess!!! Every single tree we came to had vines in them! No small vines….huge vines that ran all the way to the top of the tree. I would pull on them to get them out of the tree, but they were not budging. My husband would bring his tractor over, I would attach the vine to the tractor and he would pull. Some vines came down easily that way. Some vines were stubborn and broke off. Some vines brought down limbs with them. BUT…when we were able to get a vine out of a tree, the tree was free! It was free to grow! Free to flourish! Free to produce! The vine was choking the life out of the tree! I could not help but get excited and go to the next tree to free it!!!
This process of getting vines out of trees led my heart straight to scripture! I am continually in process of allowing Christ to yank sin (vines) out of my life. Sometimes the process is easier than others. There are some sins that I seem to want to hang on to and the vine breaks…but it is still there and Christ will have to revisit in that area of my life. BUT…when I allow my sin to break loose and Christ have His way in my heart…I am free!!! I am free to grow! Free to flourish! Free to produce! He can take that sin and throw it aside to wither and be burned in the fire! Just as John 15 describes! Praise Him for His grace and goodness!!!
After we gather the vines out of the trees, we put them in a huge pile and we invite friends and family over for a bon fire! For our friends and family it is an evening of s’mores and fellowship! For Mike and me…it is a reward of hard work!
Does my Father feel any less differently? I don’t think so!
Because the “Son” shines!
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