The need for watchfulness

“Be on your guard so that the day I come again will not surprise you. Be careful that your wits are not dulled from partying or worrying about the problems of this life. That day will come to all who live on this earth. Be alert at all times, praying that you may be given the strength to get through all that is to happen so that you may stand in my presence.”

Jesus went to the Temple complex to teach during the day, and the crowds would come early in the morning to listen to him. In the evening he would go to the Mount of Olives to rest.

LK 21:34-38

Many women support Jesus’ work.

Jesus was traveling all over the region, preaching and sharing the good news of the kingdom of God. His 12 disciples were with him, along with women he had healed. They included Mary Magdalene, (who had been freed from seven demons), Joanna the wife of Chuza (who was King Herod’s steward), Susanna, and many others who were supporting them and their ministry from their own personal resources.

LK 8:1-3

Much forgiveness, much love.

One of the Pharisees invited Jesus to dine with him at his home. He accepted the invitation, and as he was reclining at the dinner table, a woman from that town who was known as a sinner entered the home, carrying an alabaster flask filled with expensive perfume. Weeping, she knelt behind him at his feet with her tears falling upon them. She wiped her tears from his feet with her hair and then began to kiss his feet and anoint them with the perfume.

When the Pharisee who had invited Jesus noticed what was happening, he thought to himself “If this man really were a prophet he would know that the woman who is touching him is a sinner!”

Jesus, knowing his host’s thoughts, said “Simon, I have something to say to you.”

“Go ahead, Teacher,” Simon replied.

Jesus then told him a parable. “Say there is a man who loaned money to two people. To one he loaned $5000 and to the other he loaned $500. Neither one was able to pay him back, so he graciously canceled both their debts. Which one do you think loved him more?”

“I suppose the one who had the bigger debt,” Simon answered.

“You have answered correctly,” Jesus said. Then he gestured towards the woman and said to Simon “Do you notice this woman here? When I entered your home, you didn’t offer me any water to wash the dust off my feet as most people do, but she has washed them with her tears and dried them with her hair. You didn’t greet me with a kiss as most people do, but she has not quit kissing my feet since I came in. You didn’t anoint my head with olive oil as most people do, but she has anointed my feet with expensive perfume. Therefore, her many sins are forgiven because she loves me greatly, but the one who has a smaller debt of sin to forgive shows a small amount of love.”

Then, looking at the woman, he said “Your sins are forgiven.”

Those who were at the table with him said amongst themselves, “Who does he think he is, forgiving sins?”

Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. You may go in peace.”

LK 7:36-50

What is a friend?

Friends share their lives with each other. Friends make time for each other. Friends tell each other what is going on in their lives in person and not on social media. If you find out that something big happened to a friend of yours on social media, then they aren’t really your friend.

Friends are people who tell you when they are in the hospital so you can visit them. Friends are people who visit you when you’re in the hospital. I don’t mean people who say they’re going to, but those who actually visit. Friends are people who when you are home recuperating will bring you food or come and entertain you.

Actions speak louder than words. Promises mean nothing if they aren’t fulfilled. Friends follow through.

Friends are people who tell you when they are going to get married or when their children get married. Friends tell you when they are going to get divorced, too. This is about sharing the big details of your life with them.

As was wisely said to me once – Trouble shared halves it, joy shared doubles it. Friends share both with each other, and it is mutual and even. If one person is only sharing the bad things, then it isn’t a healthy relationship. That is too much for a friend to carry. That person needs a therapist or a counselor, not a friend. If a person only shares the good things and not the hard things, it means they don’t trust their friend to help them with it. There has to be a balance of good and bad from both people for it to be a healthy friendship.

Friends are people who invite you to events. If they are constantly hanging out with other people and never with you then they are not your friend, even if they say they are. If you are always the one who calls or makes arrangements for lunch dates or outings, even if the other person seems happy to be there, then you really aren’t friends.

It is very strange for a friend to not invite you to events and then ask “Why don’t we see you anymore?” This is especially true if she is sharing those events with mutual friends and then posting them on social media where you will see it. If you want to see someone, you include them. You think about their feelings and not make them feel excluded.

Friends are people who are comfortable enough with you to disagree with you, but not all the time. Someone who disagrees all the time is disagreeable. However it also isn’t okay to have someone who’s constantly agreeing. You want someone who is comfortable expressing their opinion and is willing to correct you when you are wrong.

Friends stick with you when times get tough, such as when your parents or your spouse dies. Even if they have never been through something that hard, they still contact you and ask to visit. When someone is going through something that hard, they need their friends even more. Losing your parents and your friends at the same time is very hard.

Take a day off.

When was last time you actually took the day off? I don’t mean one where you had a day off from work and you got caught up with all your chores. I don’t mean a day where you were doing yard work that exhausted you. I don’t mean a day where you had to spend it with people you don’t like. A day off from paid work that you spend working on your own things that exhaust you isn’t a day off. It is a day of work that you don’t get paid for.

I mean a day that you actually did what you wanted to do. I mean a day that you got to eat when you were hungry, get up when you felt rested, and take a nap when you wanted to. You got to watch the shows you wanted to or watch nothing at all. There was no schedule and no agenda. A true day off is one where you get to have fun and really relax.

I believe that many of the diseases that we are seeing these days are because people are not taking a day off. They’re not taking any time for themselves. They are trying to multitask and do too much. Multitasking is newspeak for screwing three things up at once.

Our bodies are like oil lanterns. They are fragile, and the fuel gets used up. We can shine our light for only so long before the fuel runs out. We recharge our lanterns by resting and eating healthy food. You can’t short-circuit it by using caffeine and sugar. The proliferation of energy drinks is a symptom of doing too much.

How about instead of doing more, we do better with less? Instead of propping ourselves up with energy drinks and pep pills, we take a day off and really rest? Instead of burning the candle at both ends, how about we take a day once a week where we don’t burn it at all?

What if instead of having to “do all the things”, the only thing you had to do was not do anything at all? Many of us are frightened of a whole day of doing nothing. We’re frightened of not having anything on our to-do list. Having a day off doesn’t have to mean you’re alone. But it does mean that you have to take time slowly and carefully.

Some suggestions – Turn off all electronic devices – no TV, no computer, no tablet. Color in a coloring book. Paint for fun – not for a project. Don’t complete anything. Don’t do any chores. Take a nap. Go for a walk.

The only thing on your to-do list is to be.

God said “Be holy, like I am holy.”

God named God’s self as
“I am what I am”
“I am what I do”,
“I am what my job is,”
“I am how much money I make”
“I am how big my house is.”
“I am what I am.”
So just be.
For one day.

Poem – Who is your God?

“You shall have no other gods before me.”

Sure, you worship God,
but what else
do you give power to?

Who has power over you
so that you feel
your life is not your own?
Who demands
too much
of your time?
Who are you afraid
to say

Your boss,
your job,
your family,
even your
religious tradition?

Perhaps you worry about
your health
or how you are going
to pay your bills?

Every time you give your energy
to something or someone else
and think that it or he or she
controls you,
you have made it into your God.

Perhaps you have made yourself
into a god?
Perhaps you feel that you are
in control
of everything,
that your willpower,
your education,
your strength
will ensure
you will never

Is your to-do list
than your prayer list?

Who is your God?
There can only be one.
Pick wisely.