going through hard times

  • {PASSION WEEK} Jesus Knows What It’s Like To Go From Cheers To Jeers

    When all the people heard of Jesus’ arrival,
    they flocked to see him
    and also to see Lazarus, the man Jesus had raised from the dead.
    Then the leading priests decided to kill Lazarus, too, for it was because of him that many of the people had deserted them and believed in Jesus.

    The next day, the news that Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem swept through the city.
    A large crowd of Passover visitors took palm branches and went down the road to meet him.
    They shouted, “Praise God! Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord!
    Hail to the King of Israel!”
    ~John 12:9-13 NLT


    Growing up, we moved a lot. That innately has its own set of benefits and drawbacks. On the positive side, I have a lot of friends all over Southern Ontario. On the not so positive side, I remember one year where I had lots of friends and things were going well when a strange event turned my world upside-down.

    Riding In The Corvette

    My dad had started up another car lot but this time for luxury models.  He’d gotten a Corvette pace-car in stock and drove my sister and I to school in the new ride.

    For all you reading this who were born before 1980 the story is already starting to sound strange, I mean, who drives two children to school in a car that doesn’t even have a back seat?  Well, people did that in the 1970s! I rode in the back window since there wasn’t a back seat, not even a seat belt, feeling ‘super-cool’ as I got out to the growing crowd of kids who began to swarm hearing the corvette motor.  As I crawled out, I started hearing things like, “nice car”, “wow, you’re so lucky!”.

    I thought for sure this would solidify my position in the cool-crowd but it brought about the exact opposite.

    From Cheers To Jeers

    Jesus Knows BlogJealousy erupted in some of the kids. They began calling me “rich-girl” and other names you don’t often write in a Christian blog. 🙂

    By the afternoon recess, a girl began shoving me as onlookers gathered with taunts of “Fight her, fight her!” Within no time, this angry ‘friend’ was on top of me shoving snow in my face {Yes, two kids to school, in a Corvette, in the winter… again, 1970s}.  In her rage, she kept stuffing until the snow was in my mouth and nose to the point I couldn’t breathe.

    I wish I could tell you that I simply pushed her off and ran to get a teacher for help, but I didn’t.  The fight or flight instinct riled up in me, resulting in my one-and-only physical fight {Not a proud moment}. Needless to say, this did not help me to gain friends and influence others.

    All joking aside, this experience really affected me, and the same feelings get stirred up again when people seem to find pleasure in putting me down. It can be a struggle to understand how somebody can one moment be your friend, family member, co-worker or neighbor and the next to be causing you to struggle for breath; in a different way than my experience on the playground.

    I’m glad Jesus gets the tough stuff you and I face.  Hebrews says, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses.”1 Isaiah told of how the coming Messiah would be a “man of sorrows”2

    He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering,
    and familiar with pain.
    Like one from whom people hide their faces
    he was despised,
    and we held him in low esteem.
    Isaiah 53:3 NIV

    Jesus gets it.  He understands hurt, He’s felt the sting of betrayal.  He’s had it much worse. One translation words this verse as, “He was like someone people turned away from.” Oh, how it hurts to be that someone.

    Palm Sunday is this fun, celebratory time when we remember the day Jesus was riding into Jerusalem on a high note because the people loved Him.  Recently raising Lazarus from the dead after four days in the grave signified to the people of Israel that Jesus was not just any Rabbi or Prophet, but THE Messiah!

    From Cheers To Jeers

    If it were today, I’m sure Jesus’ Instagram account would break Portuguese Footballer, Cristiano Ronaldo’s record for the most Instagram followers.3 Everyone wanted to be around Jesus and His discipleship following was the Mediterranean in-crowd.  As Jesus entered the Passover-filled streets of Jerusalem on Sunday, people waved palm branches and cheered!  Raising their voices in worship, they declared Him their King and laid down their coats to honor Him as Lord.

    “Hosanna!” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!” “Blessed is the king of Israel!”
    John 12:13

    But by the Tuesday of Passion Week; just two days later, the crucifixion plan was being set in place.  Quickly those cheers began turning into jeers as the Pharisees spread their toxic hatred for Jesus; the savior of the world, with mocking words

    “Hail, King of the Jews!” culminating into cries of “Crucify him!”4

     

    The Real Jesus

    Sometimes church art has painted Jesus in a way that would make him unrecognizable to Himself.

    Beyond the issues of depicting Jesus; this Jewish man, as Euro-Jesus with blonde hair and fair skin, as Chinese-Jesus wearing the Fu Manchu mustache or as Black-Jesus with a really deep tan.

    The problem is really with all the halos around Jesus’ head {no matter the skin-tone depicted} that poses the problem for me.  It makes Jesus seem surreal, not human, like a super-hero able to fly high, unscathed above the horrible circumstances He was experiencing… but that’s not how Scripture depicts Jesus. John quotes Jesus as saying,

    “Now my soul is deeply troubled.
    Should I pray, ‘Father, save me from this hour’?
    But this is the very reason I came!”5

    It hurt Jesus when people rejected him and wanted to attack him. He felt the same anguish we feel when others hurt us and that is why Jesus “is able to deal gently”6 with us when we’re broken… when friendship turns cold or the love once freely given, they now withhold.

    So, if you ever find yourself in a place where cheers have turned into jeers… turn to Jesus, He understands, and He cares… He gets it!

    Prayer

    Father…
    I’m overwhelmed with the thought that Your son Jesus knows what it’s like to suffer as I do.  Jesus, your willingness to come to earth, live and be mistreated for my sake, my salvation is too much to take in.  Help me to rejoice instead of complaining when I’m getting to share in Your sufferings7, so I understand the sacrifice you went through for me.

    Please let the truth of your love sink in deep this Easter.  Don’t let this time slip by. I choose to put suffering in perspective of the victory you achieved when you rose from the dead. I can manage through any suffering I face, understanding You are gentle, loving, and kind. You are good and You are Victorious!
    In Jesus Name…Amen

    [tweetthis]“Hail, King of the Jews!” culminating into cries of “Crucify him!” Jesus Knows What Its Like To Go From Cheers To Jeers John 12:9-13; 19:1-6[/tweetthis]

    Soul H2O bookIf you liked the refreshing in this #SoulH2O devotion, you’ll love my latest Soul H2O Devotional book: 40 Thirst Quenching Devotions for Women.

    Drawing from the well

    1. John 12:9-13
    2. John 19:1-6
    3. 1 Peter 4:13
    4. Luke 6:28

    ENDNOTES

    Definition of Jeer Image Information From https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/jeer  https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/jeer https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/jeer

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  • Could God Be Making Your Life Difficult?

    And the LORD multiplied the people of Israel until they became too mighty for their enemies.  Then he turned the Egyptians against the Israelites, and they plotted against the LORD’s servants.
                                                          Psalm 105:24-25 NLT

    I think you need to ask yourself this question when things are starting to go haywire…

    Could God Be Making Your Life Difficult?

    Many people struggle with verses in the Bible like these.

    getting too comfyPeople are comfortable when God does neat, explainable things, but not stuff like this.  It almost seems out of character for Him.

    Unless you come at scripture with the foundational belief that God is good and He is working for the good of those who love Him; portions of scripture like this and seasons in your life will be misunderstood.

    If God didn’t turn up the heat and cause the Egyptians to go fully against the Israelites they never would have left.  The truth is, the Egyptians had been against the Israelites for centuries.

    slaves in eypt

    Living as slaves in a foreign land had become so “normal” for the Israelites they stayed there for 400 years but it wasn’t where God wanted them.1  Sure they had to do all the tough back-breaking work of making bricks…sure they were second rate citizens…sure Pharaoh had executed a genocide of their male children, but they had food, homes and clothes.

    The Israelites had been lulled into a complacency mindset of
    “It’s OK, we’re getting by”
    and forgot the promises of God.2

    God wanted more for their lives and He wants more for your life.

    [tweetthis]God wanted more for their lives and He wants more for your life.[/tweetthis]

    Because of God’s good plans for your life, He [tweetthis remove_url=”true” remove_hidden_hashtags=”true” remove_hidden_urls=”true”]God sometimes has to cause situations in your life 2 fall apart so U wake up and recognize you’re living below God’s best[/tweetthis]

    Have you been feeling a little uncomfortable lately?  Things not going right?  Could you be living with a “getting by” mindset?  Ask yourself:

    [tweetthis]Could God Be Making Your Life Difficult? [/tweetthis]

    Prayer

    Father…I know you’re good.  I know you love me and have good plans for my life.  Let me wake up and discern the root of my problems to know if it’s You or the enemy at work.  May I not get stuck in complacency, accepting second best but to live in Your promises — Your best for my life!  In Jesus Name…Amen

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    Post in the Comment Section below and bolster the faith of someone else! 

    1. Genesis 50:24-25
    2. Genesis 7:6, 35:11

    blogger prayerYOU CAN OFTEN FIND ME LINKING UP WITH:
    MONDAY
    Monday MeditationsLaura J. Davis,
    TUESDAY
    Cheerleaders of Faith #RARaLinkup – Kelly Balarie,
    WEDNESDAY
    Coffee For Your HeartHolley Gerth, Word Nerd Wednesdays — Liz Giertz
    THURSDAY
    Heart Encouragement ThursdayCrystal Storms, Chasing Community  Barbara Bradford Ottinger
    FRIDAY
    Dance With Jesus LinkupSusan B. Mead, Grace and Truth LinkupArabah Joy, Counting My Blessings – Deb Wolf, Fresh Market FridayCrystal Twaddell

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