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About Carolyn Schmitt

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Carolyn’s Story and the Gospel

Recently I found a story I wrote as an assignment for a correspondence course in “Writing for Children and Teenagers” that I was taking in 1992.  This particular story was supposed to be a “fictionalized” version of a factual account from my own life.  The only thing I did was change the names of each person involved: Two aunts, my grandmother, my younger sister, my mother and me. The rest was what actually happened. The story took place in the spring of 1953 when I was taken from where I lived in New Mexico to live with my father’s sister and her husband in Denver.  It tells about the last night I saw my mother alive and was entitled, “Goodbye, Mama, Goodbye”. 

My Mother died nine months after I was moved and I didn’t get to go to her memorial, although they sent me pictures of her in her casket. I was eleven years old.  

The following is not fiction, but is a brief account of my early years living in Denver. 

When I lived in New Mexico, with my mother’s side of the family, we always went to church, so I was “brought up” around the stories and songs of Jesus, who loved me. When I was moved to Denver, my aunt.who was my father’s sister, had a real dislike for church and my uncle was Jewish.  

Thanks to some neighbors, I was taken to South Presbyterian Church which was not far from our house.  I was allowed to go, but it was hard to come home to snide comments about the church and what I was like.  It got worse when I was thirteen and was allowed to go to a summer camp where I walked forward after an altar call and, as I have since described it, “Jesus welcomed this not-so-docile lamb into his fold”.

Something my aunt had shown me was a letter my mother had sent before I was taken away, asking my aunt and uncle to adopt me if they wanted to, and telling her that “I would work well for her if she went about it the right way”.

My aunt would use that letter to remind me that I was not worth being kept, (they didn’t adopt me), that I was a throw away and my only value was how well I worked around the house and yard.  What’s more, she told me that, because I was so horrible, it was my fault that my mother got sick and died. Anytime I didn’t live up to her definition of “Christian” behavior, she would say, “And you call yourself a “Christian!”.

My aunt had been raised in a Christian household, but because she didn’t have a good relationship with her father, she had rebelled against anything to do with church.  Because she wanted not to antagonize some of her Christian neighbors and a few friends, she continued to let me go to church if I wanted to. My “rebellion“ took the form of continuing to go regardless. I moved out on my own when I was 21.

Fast forward, to my current age of 81.  Over the years I slowly began to see God’s loving hand working through the events of my early years. He has worked through my husband, children, wise counselors, pastors and friends to bring healing to my memories and life. Most especially, God kept me in the church, which became my safe place where I could serve in various volunteer ways and be regularly exposed to good teaching. Through it, particularly as I had no family in the church during my childhood years, the people there became my family. The people at South Fellowship are my family still. 

Some of the scriptures that have encouraged me in the Lord are below.  I have emphasized some of the things that particularly touch my heart about God the Father, Jesus and the Holy spirit.

Sing to God, sing in praise of his name, extol him who rides on the clouds; rejoice before him—his name is the Lord.
A father to the fatherless, a defender of widows, is God in his holy dwelling. Psalm 68:4-5. 

(I qualify as both.)

You have searched me, Lord, and you know me.
You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.
Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. Psalm 139:1-10

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. Luke 2:19. 

(Treasuring and pondering the scriptures is very important to me.)

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me—so that they may be  brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.”

“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.”

“Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.” John 17: 20-26

To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy—to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen. Jude 24-25

by Carolyn Schmitt


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Carolyn’s Story and the Gospel2024-05-11T10:11:46-06:00

The Character of God, and The Cross

I’ve forgotten the actual date, but I think it was Good Friday,1993, when we had a pageant that included a crucifixion. Our worship area at that time was rather patched together and we did a lot of unusual, creative building when we wanted to do something extra special and dramatic. This production included three crosses and special slots built in a double stage into which the crosses could be dropped after they were lifted up.

The arms of the men who played Jesus and the two thieves were stretched along the cross pieces and tied firmly and their feet rested on little shelves and their legs were tied to the upright.  The choir was hollering “Crucify him, crucify him” as several soldiers lifted Jesus’ cross up and dropped it in the slot, then for each of the thieves, and dropped theirs in.  My most vivid memory was the heavy thud and the cry from the men as each of their crosses dropped in and stood upright on the stage.

When I read The Old Testament prophets, God is speaking through them warnings of coming trouble unless the leaders and people return to God and follow the Commandments given to Moses: first what God had done for Israel bringing them out of slavery; and how they were to relate to God and to each other as people; also, what was going to happen if the people didn’t turn back to the Lord. 

Ezekiel 33:11 tells me a lot about God’s heart’s desire for his people: 

“Say to them, ‘As I live, declares the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; turn back, turn back from your evil ways, for why will you die, O house of Israel?’”

In the New Testament I see more about the heart and character of God in John 3:16, which is one of the first scriptures I memorized as a child.

 

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. John 3:16-17 ESV [Emphasis added.]

Jesus Weeps over Jerusalem

From what I’ve read, the word translated,”wept” did not mean just a few tears, but meant gut wrenching grief, because the people, especially most of the leaders of the temple and synagogues refused to turn to Jesus.  

 

And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it, saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes. For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.” Luke 19:41-44 ESV

I remember someone I knew many years ago “advertising” that he “had the mind of Christ,” but his consistent words and actions did not match what is described in Philippians 2:5-11.

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form,
he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death,
even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.  Philippians 2:5-11 ESV [Emphasis added.]

As I read this, I have to ask myself some hard questions about my heart and mind and my willingness to be obedient to what God asks of me.  Philippians 2:1-5 are some of the questions to ask ourselves.

by Carolyn Schmitt

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The Character of God, and The Cross2024-05-04T11:32:30-06:00

Nicodemus: One-on-One with Jesus

by Carolyn Schmitt

I have a lot of respect for Nicodemus. Though it isn’t recorded, he must have been in various crowds when Jesus was telling parables and healing various people. So, the more he heard and saw of this supposedly uneducated man, the more he doubted the judgment of the other Jewish leaders. So he decided to come privately and talk directly to Jesus rather than just listen to hearsay.

There was a man of the Pharisee sect, Nicodemus, a prominent leader among the Jews. Late one night he visited Jesus and said, “Rabbi, we all know you’re a teacher straight from God. No one could do all the God-pointing, God-revealing acts you do if God weren’t in on it.”

Jesus said, “You’re absolutely right. Take it from me: Unless a person is born from above, it’s not possible to see what I’m pointing to—to God’s kingdom.”

“How can anyone,” said Nicodemus, “be born who has already been born and grown up? You can’t re-enter your mother’s womb and be born again. What are you saying with this ‘born-from-above’ talk?”

Jesus said, “You’re not listening. Let me say it again. Unless a person submits to this original creation—the ‘wind-hovering-over-the-water’ creation, the invisible moving the visible, a baptism into a new life—it’s not possible to enter God’s kingdom. When you look at a baby, it’s just that: a body you can look at and touch. But the person who takes shape within is formed by something you can’t see and touch—the Spirit—and becomes a living spirit.”

“So don’t be so surprised when I tell you that you have to be ‘born from above’—out of this world, so to speak. You know well enough how the wind blows this way and that. You hear it rustling through the trees, but you have no idea where it comes from or where it’s headed next.
That’s the way it is with everyone ‘born from above’ by the wind of God, the Spirit of God.”

Nicodemus asked, “What do you mean by this? How does this happen?”

Jesus said, “You’re a respected teacher of Israel and you don’t know these basics? Listen carefully. I’m speaking sober truth to you. I speak only of what I know by experience; I give witness only to what I have seen with my own eyes. There is nothing secondhand here, no hearsay. Yet instead of facing the evidence and accepting it, you procrastinate with questions. If I tell you things that are plain as the hand before your face and you don’t believe me, what use is there in telling you of things you can’t see, the things of God?”

“No one has ever gone up into the presence of God except the One who came down from that Presence, the Son of Man. In the same way that Moses lifted the serpent in the desert so people could have something to see and then believe, it is necessary for the Son of Man to be lifted up—and everyone who looks up to him, trusting and expectant, will gain a real life, eternal life.”

“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again. Anyone who trusts in him is acquitted; anyone who refuses to trust him has long since been under the death sentence without knowing it. And why? Because of that person’s failure to believe in the one-of-a-kind Son of God when introduced to him.”

“This is the crisis we’re in: God-light streamed into the world, but men and women everywhere ran for the darkness. They went for the darkness because they were not really interested in pleasing God. Everyone who makes a practice of doing evil, addicted to denial and illusion, hates God-light and won’t come near it, fearing a painful exposure. But anyone working and living in truth and reality welcomes God-light so the work can be seen for the God-work it is.” John 3:1-21 MSG


It seems obvious that Nicodemus thought a lot about what he heard Jesus tell him that night. So he quite likely studied the scriptures to see whether he had misread or skipped over some things that confirmed what Jesus had said to him.  The next time Nicodemus is mentioned in John, he risks his reputation by reminding his fellow rulers of the law about how they should treat a person before condemning him.

Nicodemus, the man who had come to Jesus earlier and was both a ruler and a Pharisee, spoke up. “Does our Law decide about a man’s guilt without first listening to him and finding out what he is doing?“

 But they cut him off. “Are you also campaigning for the Galilean? Examine the evidence. See if any prophet ever comes from Galilee.”
John 7:50-52 MSG

Then after Jesus has been crucified, Nicodemus, along with Joseph of Arimathea, risk even more by caring for Jesus’ dead body and preparing it for burial, thereby rendering themselves unclean and making them unable to participate in the Sabbath on Saturday. By so doing, they branded themselves as being believers in Jesus.

After all this, Joseph of Arimathea (he was a disciple of Jesus, but secretly, because he was intimidated by the Jews) petitioned Pilate to take the body of Jesus. Pilate gave permission. So Joseph came and took the body. John 19:38 MSG

Nicodemus, who had first come to Jesus at night, came now in broad daylight carrying a mixture of myrrh and aloes, about seventy-five pounds.
They took Jesus’ body and, following the Jewish burial custom, wrapped it in linen with the spices. There was a garden near the place he was crucified, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been placed. So, because it was Sabbath preparation for the Jews and the tomb was convenient, they placed Jesus in it. John 19:39-42 MSG

As I see it, Nicodemus and Joseph risked much without imagining the possibility of what we know of the resurrection.  But they believed that Jesus came from God, just as they believed in God.  I like to think that after Jesus’ resurrection, both men continued to grow in their belief and trust in the Father, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.  I pray that we all will continue to study the scriptures, pray and take our doubts directly to God who knows and loves us.

 

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Nicodemus: One-on-One with Jesus2024-04-07T12:34:46-06:00

Known and Called by Name

by Carolyn Schmitt


There are a number of women named “Mary” mentioned in the New Testament:  Mary, the mother of Jesus; Mary the mother of James and Joseph;
Mary, Martha’s sister; Mary the wife of Clopas; Mary the mother of John Mark; and Mary Magdalene.

Mary was a popular name in Jesus’ time. In my research as to the meaning of the name “Mary”, there are several: “Bitter Tears” is often referenced as well as  “Beloved”.  There are also descriptions of how some of them, along with other named women who followed Jesus, helped support him and the disciples
in their travels.

With the exception of Martha’s sister, Mary, the others were part of the group of women who watched from a distance while Jesus was crucified.

Many women were there, watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for his needs. Among them were
Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joseph, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons. Matthew 27:55-56 NIV

Even from the cross, Jesus saw his mother and made provision of a home and family for her.  Calling her “Woman” was a term of endearment in Jesus’ time.  

Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother, his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, “Woman here is your son,” and to the disciple, “Here is your mother.” From that time on, this disciple took her into his home. John 19:25-27 NIV

I can imagine what a comfort for Mary Magdalene to have someone, even a gardener ask her why she was crying and even using the same name, “Woman”,
that Jesus used to address his mother from the cross.

At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.
He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”

Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”

Jesus said to her, “Mary.”

She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means  “Teacher”).

Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’ “

Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!”
And she told them that he had said these things to her. John 20:15-18 NIV

I can well imagine how Mary’s tear-streaked face lighted up when she heard Jesus call her by name and she immediately realized who he was.

Recently my son and I went to a music presentation put on by an organization for whom we had served as sound techs at Solid Grounds coffee shop prior to the Covid shut down in the spring of 2020. It was a joy to see the faces of so many people light up as we walked in and to know our faces radiated delight at seeing the many friends we knew, but hadn’t seen for years.  To call each other by name and to catch up a little with our lives was so good. 

As I thought about it later, I thanked our Lord for this pleasure he knew I needed at the end of a hard week. I felt known and called by name and loved by Jesus in a very practical way. How about you? Do you see ways in which God brings light into your life in small, unexpected events?  Ask Jesus to show you how to see what he may have for you today and thank him for knowing what you need.

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Known and Called by Name2024-04-09T13:55:57-06:00

Peter: Memories, Motivation, Mission

by Carolyn Schmitt

It is interesting to me that while Peter’s denial is mentioned in all four gospels, only John tells about Jesus restoring Peter and giving him an additional occupation. I wish I knew how many memories of the years spent with Jesus were on Peter’s mind at that breakfast. Also, if he asked the questions about Peter loving him in front of all the others at that meal. 

I have chosen the Amplified Version for this writing, because it expands on Jesus’s love question and Peter’s love response.

So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these [others do—with total commitment and devotion]?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You [with a deep, personal affection, as for a close friend].” Jesus said to him, “Feed My lambs.” John 21:15

Might Peter’s response come from remembering what Jesus said about no longer calling his disciples servants, but calling them friends? 

I do not call you servants any longer, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you [My] friends, because I have revealed to you everything I have heard from My Father. John 15:15

Again He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me[with total commitment and devotion]?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You [with a deep, personal affection, as for a close friend].” Jesus said to him, “Shepherd My sheep.” John 21:16

Perhaps Peter is remembering Jesus, the Good Shepherd, as he takes in the different occupation Jesus is calling him to.

 I am the Good Shepherd and I know [without any doubt those who are] My own and My own know Me [and have a deep, personal relationship with Me],
John 10:14 

He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love Me [with a deep, personal affection for Me, as for a close friend]?” Peter was grieved that He asked him the third time, “Do you [really] love Me [with a deep, personal affection, as for a close friend]?”

 And he said to Him, “Lord, You know everything; You know that I love You [with a deep, personal affection, as for a close friend].” Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep.” John 21:17 


It seems as if Peter was grieved because this time Jesus changed the question of what kind of love Peter had for Him. Perhaps he realizes that now what Jesus has done has restored him to a trusted friend relationship and has given him the responsibility of loving and caring for His people. Peter also acknowledges that Jesus knows everything there is to know about him, past, present and future. 

I have learned to find great comfort in that Jesus knows the same about me, which is why Psalm 139 is a favorite of mine.  Peter would likely have been familiar with it, too, as even the less educated of that time would have known the Psalms.



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Peter: Memories, Motivation, Mission2024-03-31T17:22:52-06:00

Don’t Worry,  Trust in the Lord – Do Honest Work

by Carolyn Schnitt

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;

in all your ways submit to him,
and he will make your paths straight. Proverbs 3:5-6


The above verses encourage me to look to the Lord in order to understand what is meant when I read different parts of scripture.  

In Matthew 6:26-31, Jesus alludes to birds and wildflowers as examples of how God cares for creatures and beautiful plants to encourage us humans not to worry but to trust in His love and provision for us. 

 Taken from the context of Jesus’ own life experience, it might give the idea that because God takes care of the birds and flowers, Jesus is against hard work, but that is not true. Jesus knew what it meant to work for a living. Mark 6:3 mentions Jesus as the carpenter, and Matthew 13:55 mentions him as the carpenter’s son.   

In Paul’s letters to the different churches, he reminds people of how they should honor God by doing honest work; he warns against being idle and gives himself as an example of working even when he and other apostles had a right to be paid.

  • In I Thessalonians 4:9-12, Paul commends the brothers and sisters living there on their love for each other, and he encourages them in their daily life:

Now about your love for one another we do not need to write to you, for you yourselves have been taught by God to love each other. And in fact, you do love all of God’s family throughout Macedonia. Yet we urge you, brothers and sisters, to do so more and more, and to make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders and so that you will not be dependent on anybody. 

  • In II Thessalonians 3:6-10, it appears that some people ”in solo”, were not working and were causing problems, so Paul called them out:

In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we command you, brothers and sisters, to keep away from every believer who is idle and disruptive and does not live according to the teaching you received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to follow our example. We were not idle when we were with you, nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you. We did this, not because we do not have the right to such help, but in order to offer ourselves as a model for you to imitate. For even when we were with you, we gave you this rule: “The one who is unwilling to work shall not eat.” 

  • In Colossians 3:23-24, Paul tells them what kind of attitude to have as we work:

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. 

  • In Philippians 4:4-9, Paul encourages his readers in our thoughts and actions: 

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.


Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

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Don’t Worry,  Trust in the Lord – Do Honest Work2024-03-23T10:57:53-06:00

Matthew 6:1, Context for Matthew 6:19-24 

by Carolyn Schmitt


During our Devotional team discussion, it was agreed that the “context” for each of the scriptures in Chapter 6 referred back to
Verse 1 in various ways.  

It’s easy to say a word like “context” and have only a general idea of what it means, I have looked up the definition, both where the word originally came from and how it is used today:  The word “context” is derived from the Latin words, con which means (together) and tigere which means (to weave); so context means to weave together. 

My writing assignment was to find what connects with the verses Matthew 6:19-24, so I researched the word, “context”.  Frankly, my research was overwhelming, since words, their extended meanings and uses, change over the centuries.  

As I have pondered “context”, it seems to me that it “weaves together”  the Who, What, Where, When, Why and How questions we can ask ourselves as we study to live each day, “In the way of  Jesus, with the heart of Jesus.” 

 

“Be [very] careful not to do your good deeds publicly, to be seen by men; otherwise you will have no reward [prepared and awaiting you] with your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 6:1 AMP  

 

Each of the following sections has been well written about by one of our Devotional team members.  As you read each one, think about how it refers back to verse one and what it means in the “context” of your own life.

 

(Tuesday) “Do not store up for yourselves [material] treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves do not break in and steal; for where your treasure is, there your heart [your wishes, your desires; that on which your life centers] will be also. Matthew 6:19-21 AMP

 

(Wednesday)  “The eye is the lamp of the body; so if your eye is clear ([spiritually perceptive], your whole body will be full of light [benefiting from God’s precepts]. But if your eye is bad [spiritually blind], your whole body will be full of darkness [devoid of God’s precepts]. So if the [very] light inside you [your inner self, your heart, your conscience] is darkness, how great and terrible is that darkness! Matthew 6: 22-23 AMP

 

(Thursday)  “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon [money, possessions, fame, status, or whatever is valued more than the Lord]. Matthew 6:24 AMP

 

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Matthew 6:1, Context for Matthew 6:19-24 2024-03-16T10:19:30-06:00

Jesus: Tempted Like Us, Prays for Us

by Carolyn Schmitt

My, how time flies!  Just three months ago it was the first Sunday in Advent, then we celebrated Jesus’s birth and the start of 2024 and now we are three weeks into Lent, and in less than a month it will be Easter Sunday.

“One day at a time,” is a comment many of us make as we are going through difficult times. I  wonder if Jesus might have thought, maybe even have said it as he grew to adulthood in Nazareth. 

From the time he was born, the only time we get news of him is recorded in Luke 2:41-52, when, as a twelve year old boy, he is in Jerusalem sitting in the temple courts conversing with the teachers there. The only words we “hear” him say are, “Why were you searching for me. Didn’t you know I had to be in my Father’s house?” Then he went back to Nazareth, was obedient to Joseph and Mary and, “… grew in wisdom and stature and in favor with God and man.” 

Thirty years have passed, one day at a time, when we see him next at his baptism.

The Baptism of Jesus

Then Jesus came from Galilee to the Jordan to be baptized by John. But John tried to deter him, saying, “I need to be baptized by you, and do you come to me?”

Jesus replied, “Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness.” Then John consented.

As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him. And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.” Matthew 3:13-17

Jesus Is Tested in the Wilderness

Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. 

After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man shall not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written:  

‘He will command his angels concerning you,
and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”

Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,”
he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”

Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”

Then the devil left him, and angels came and attended him. Matthew 4:1-11

So it seems to me that when Jesus teaches us to pray “And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one“, He is sharing with us his experiences of being tempted by the enemy, especially when we are going through times of weariness and weakness.  

Knowing that Jesus shared our experience and understands our weakness can give us confidence in coming to Our Father in Heaven for help to resist the evil that would tempt us to turn from him.  As we pray the Lord’s prayer, also rest in the truth that Jesus is also praying in heaven for us.

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. Hebrews 4:14-16

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Jesus: Tempted Like Us, Prays for Us2024-03-02T21:20:40-07:00

Manna – Daily Bread in the Wilderness

by Carolyn Schmitt

Exodus 16:1-36 and Numbers 11:1-34 both tell about the Israelites complaining to Moses and Aaron about not having the kind of food available to them when they were slaves in Egypt. 

And the children of Israel said to them, “Oh, that we had died by the hand of the Lord in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the pots of meat and when we ate bread to the full! For you have brought us out into this wilderness to kill this whole assembly with hunger. Exodus 16:3

 

Then the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not. And it shall be on the sixth day that they shall prepare what they bring in, and it shall be twice as much as they gather daily.” Exodus 16:4-5

 

And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “I have heard the complaints of the children of Israel. Speak to them, saying, ‘At twilight you shall eat meat, and in the morning you shall be filled with bread. And you shall know that I am the Lord your God.’ and in the morning the dew lay all around the camp. And when the layer of dew lifted, there, on the surface of the wilderness, was a small round substance, as fine as frost on the ground. So when the children of Israel saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was.

And Moses said to them, “This is the bread which the Lord has given you to eat. This is the thing which the Lord has commanded: ‘Let every man gather it according to each one’s need, one omer for each person, according to the number of persons; let every man take for those who are in his tent.’ ” Exodus 16:11-16

 

In the Lord’s Prayer there is a change in pronouns: The first three petitions have the pronoun “your”, about God’s name being hallowed, His kingdom coming and His will being done on earth as it is in heaven. The next three pronouns are “us”, about our need for daily bread, forgiveness of our debts, and protection from temptation.  The first three are a request for what happens in heaven that it will also happen on earth, and the next three are what is needed by us who live on earth. 

In the request, “Give us this day our daily bread”, my research brought to light a variety of responses to what it meant when Jesus spoke it to the people then and what it may mean to us in our time.  Taken literally, it might  mean that we should only have on hand what we can eat up in a day and we should not be making sure that we have food on hand to fix for us or our family the next day or beyond.  

I remember on our farm we always kept what are called, “staples” in the house.  They were basic ingredients that we could use to make various kinds of bread. They included flour, salt, yeast, baking powder, lard, and milk from our cows, eggs from our chickens, butter and buttermilk from our own making.  Our farm was 10 miles from town, so it would have been unrealistic to go somewhere every day to get our “daily bread”.  

I lived  for a time in a small town where  the grocery store was walking distance from our house. Even after moving to Denver in 1953, the grocery store was only 4 blocks from home.  Food still had to be prepared.  There were no fast food or take out shops for convenience.  

Something that was mentioned in several sources was that this prayer might mean praying for how God makes it possible for farmers to grow food and for people who do the work of processing, packaging, transporting and making food available to buy.  

It might mean that, unlike the Israelites who complained about what they didn’t have,  we are to cultivate an attitude of thankfulness to God for all who labor for what we do have.

I had forgotten until I looked it up that the Israelites only received the food the Lord provided them from heaven during their 40 year sojourn in the wilderness. 

 

Now the children of Israel camped in Gilgal, and kept the Passover on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight on the plains of Jericho. And they ate of the produce of the land on the day after the Passover, unleavened bread and parched grain, on the very same day. Then the manna ceased on the day after they had eaten the produce of the land; and the children of Israel no longer had manna, but they ate the food of the land of Canaan that year. Joshua 5:10-12

 

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Manna – Daily Bread in the Wilderness2024-02-17T13:25:26-07:00

Jesus Shares His Father with Us

by Carolyn Schmitt


As a young child I was taught to say the “Lord’s prayer” this way:

Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name.Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever. Amen.  Matthew 6:9-13 KJV

Along with Psalm 23, it was what I knew best by memory.  Then some years later this verse became very important to me: 

Delight yourself also in the Lord,
And He shall give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4 NKJV

I have only one living memory of my own father who died when I was 4 years old. What I desired more than anything was a father who I could belong to. 

This verse in Psalms has comforted me for many years both as an orphan and as a widow:

Sing to God, sing praises to His name;
Lift up a song for Him who rides through the desert—His name is the Lord—be in good spirits before Him.
A father of the fatherless and a judge and protector of the widows, is God in His holy habitation.
God makes a home for the lonely. 
Psalm 68:4-6a AMP

 So I have realized that God desires to be called, “Our Father”! (My friend, Grace, pointed out the next two verses to me.)

“I thought to myself,
‘I would love to treat you as my own children!’
I wanted nothing more than to give you this beautiful land—the finest possession in the world.
I looked forward to your calling me ‘Father,’
and I wanted you never to turn from me.” Jeremiah 3:19 NLT

Are we not all children of the same Father? Are we not all created by the same God? Malachi 2:10a NLT

I love how Jesus prays for his disciples in the whole of John 17, especially since his prayer is not only for the ones who have been with him for the years since he first shared his Father with them, but that he prays for all who have come, and will come to him and his Father through all the years until his return.


Jesus Prays for All Believers

“My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one—I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.

“Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.

“Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.” John 17:20-26

 

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Jesus Shares His Father with Us2024-02-10T15:43:36-07:00
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