Monthly Archives: March 2021

Ministry Recap – Wed – 21-03-31



This week we are looking at the events of Jesus’ life in the final week before his death. We have focused on the events that occurred on each day of the week. So what happened on Wednesday of Jesus’ final week? We don’t know. He probably spent time in Bethany, just outside of Jerusalem. But the Bible doesn’t provide any details.

So let’s take a moment to recap — sort of like the introduction of a television program that shows all the key scenes from previous episodes.

  • Over 30 years earlier, Jesus was born in Bethlehem. Angels announced his birth. He was God’s son miraculously born to a virgin.
  • At the approximate age of 30, Jesus began his ministry. He toured in the areas of Galilee and Judea, teaching and performing miracles for three and a half years. At one point, his popularity was viral, but had declined somewhat in the final year of his ministry because people misunderstood his role and his message about the Kingdom of God.
  • As his popularity with people increased, so did opposition from the religious and political leaders. They were actively seeking ways to discredit and even kill him.
  • Just three days prior, Jesus had entered Jerusalem, hailed as the king by the crowds that packed the roads.
  • Just the day before, Jesus had thwarted his enemies’ attempts to discredit him through publicly questioning him about his teaching.

That brings us up to speed for the climactic scenes. Which we’ll begin discussing tomorrow!


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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.


Widow’s Example – Tue – 21-03-30



On Tuesday of Jesus’ final week before his death, while he spent time in the temple teaching, his enemies challenged him with questions. Jesus answered them so well, they eventually stopped asking. Then came a break in the action. Mark 12:41 tells us that Jesus sat down near the place people placed their monetary offerings. He and his disciples must have watched for a while. For it says many rich people threw in large amounts. I like those words “threw in” for the rich were tossing large numbers of coins into a container. It was probably a bit noisy as all the coins rattled around!

Then a poor widow deposited two small coins worth practically nothing. They barely made a clink as they fell in. But Jesus was impressed. He motioned his disciple to gather to him and said this: “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything — all she had to live on.”

Isn’t it great, that Jesus measures the heart with which we give, not the amount? This widow had the faith to give everything in the midst of her poverty. You and I may never accomplish great things for God. We may not give millions of dollars. What matters isn’t the amount we accomplish or give. The important thing is when we give our all, no matter how small, Jesus is pleased.


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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.


Temple Cleaning – Mon – 21-03-29



According to Mark 11:12-19, on Monday before His crucifixion, Jesus went to the temple and raised a ruckus. You see, the temple in Jesus’ day had become a commercial area. In order to leave a monetary offering, people had to exchange their money into the special coinage of the temple. People who had traveled long distances, could also purchase animals and other items needed for temple worship. In addition the temple complex covered approximately 35 acres, that’s over 14 hectares. So people cut through the temple courtyards as they travelled about the city.

What Jesus saw greatly disturbed Him. Evidently, the money changers and vendors were cheating people. He called the place a “den of thieves.” Jesus was upset because of the injustice done to people and the dishonor shown to God. So he knocked over tables and benches.

So what’s encouraging about this scene? We certainly don’t see a mild-mannered Jesus. He was confrontational. This was a tense scene. We see righteous indignation. Why? Because Jesus cares about injustice. He was not just upset at people dishonoring God. I think he was also upset about the people who were cheated. Jesus is willing to defend us. Even more important, as we’ll see by Friday, he is willing to die for us. Let this be a picture of Romans 8:31, which says, “If God is for us, who can be against us?” (NIV).


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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.


Palm Sunday – Sun – 21-03-28



This week we will focus on the events in the final week of Jesus’ ministry.

Have you ever been to a parade that welcomes home a sports team after winning the championship? People line the street and cheer! Sometimes they swarm the streets and crowd the vehicles that carry team members. If you’ve see this, you can begin to understand the excitement of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem. People swarmed the streets. They crowded Jesus and His disciples. They wanted to get close and touch Him. They cheered. But they also did something I’ve never seen in a championship parade. Matthew 21: 8 tells us they took off their cloaks and carpeted the street for Jesus, who was riding on a donkey.

Now I enjoy when my favorite team wins a championship! But, I don’t feel like throwing my coat in the street so their cars can drive on it!  But this happened for Jesus. And it wasn’t rubber tires. The hooves of a donkey trod on the cloaks and the palm branches people cast in the street. And you know what’s on donkey hooves, right? This shows that the crowds excitement for Jesus was far greater than that of a championship parade!

Many have nicknamed today “Palm Sunday” to commemorate Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on a carpet of palm branches. But cloaks were cast down as well. Maybe we should call this “cloak Sunday” instead. In any event, be sure to honor Jesus today.


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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.


Whatever Is Lovely – Sat – 21-03-27



When you find something lovely, doesn’t it just delight you? This is true of my wife. She has a special appreciation for flowers. They delight her. When she stops to soak in their beauty, whether in a botanical garden or an arboretum or anywhere, her face just lights up. Flowers delight her!

I used to travel for business, often internationally. Knowing how much Elaine liked flowers, I would take pictures of flowers I encountered. These may have been in the hotel lobby, along the streets of the city, or just in someone’s yard.  Though a picture is not as good as seeing flowers in person, she still delighted in their beauty.

Flowers are one of the most lovely things God created. They remind us of Him. In fact, according to 1 Kings chapter 6, when Solomon built the temple in ancient Jerusalem, flowers were part of the motif. They were carved in the cedar paneling that lined much of the temple. They were carved on the doors into the temple and overlaid with gold. Inside and out, you could see on the walls carvings of angels, palm trees and flowers.

Today, find some flowers, then stop and soak in their beauty. Examine the shading of color in their petals and the intricate detail within each blossom. And like the temple carvings, let the flowers remind you of God’s creative genius!


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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.


Whatever Is Lovely – Fri – 21-03-26



Some things just seem to grab and hold our attention. Usually it is the bad news. Like pictures of a multi-car pile-up on the interstate, or the report of a terror attack, or the impact of a deadly storm, or the death toll from an earthquake — or a virus.  But this week, we are focusing on whatever is lovely. We want things that leave a good feeling. What positive thing can capture our attention? Can you think of something positive that you want to pass on to others? Here’s something I found on WSAV.com

Cauliflower, a lost calico cat, has returned home. The cat was lost when her owners, who were stationed in South Korea, were preparing to return to Georgia. Cauliflower, or Cauli for short, jumped out of the car before she could be taken to the  airport. Her owners had to complete the move, leaving Cauli lost 7,000 miles away. Over a month later, Cauli was found in South Korea and another soldier traveling to the US volunteered to bring her home.*

What is it about pet stories that we just love? The details I’ve shared about Cauliflower the cat is just the bare story. There are more details on the WSAV website you can check out. You can find a link to the story in this episodes show notes.

Until next time, keep your eyes peeled for lovely things. When you find one, pass it on to another.


*Ashley Williams, “Pet owners reunited with cat in Georgia after losing her 7,000 miles away in South Korea,” WSAV, February 2, 2021, https://www.wsav.com/now/pet-owners-reunited-with-cat-in-georgia-after-losing-her-7000-miles-away-in-south-korea/

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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.


Whatever Is Lovely – Thu – 21-03-25



The word lovely used in Philippians 4:8 is a combination of two words in the original language — the word meaning  “toward” and another meaning “brotherly love.” For us to follow the verse and think about “whatever is lovely” means we think about the things that move us to brotherly love. Another translation could be “friendly” or “friendliness.”

So what is the picture of friendliness? Has anyone ever been recognized as the most friendly person? I decided to search internet. I looked for examples of friendly people. But I discovered the word friendly is used in a more focused way than describing people. I found hits for things that are, pet-friendly, age-friendly, eco-friendly, budget-friendly. But I wasn’t finding results about a friendly person.  Then I found a news story about the most friendly town in Idaho — Bonner’s Ferry.* So I watched the video clip from the local television station which told the history of the town. The moniker “most friendly town in Idaho” was given by a former governor. It didn’t explain his experience in visiting the town, but he must have been impressed!

If you’re like me, you want to live in a friendly community where people smile, wave and help each other. A place of brotherly love will be friendly! Today, enjoy the friendliness that others show you. Also, focus on being more friendly yourself. Smile and use people’s names! Do this for cashiers at the convenience store, servers at the restaurant or your neighbor living next door.


*Brian Holmes, “Getting to know Idaho: Bonners Ferry, the most friendly town,” KTVB, February 5, 2001, https://www.ktvb.com/article/news/local/208/bonners-ferry-idaho-getting-to-know/277-2e6d79ef-a6cd-4ca7-9633-e7249673ba9e

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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.


Whatever Is Lovely – Wed – 21-03-24



This week we are focusing on agreeable, lovely, and pleasing things. I’ve asked you to look for such things in your life. How’s your search going? I bet you are not finding these in the political news! Nor will you find them if you are focused on yourself. You see we are searching for things that please us, but are not necessarily about us.

I found an interesting story on al.com. It tells about Johnny Bullard, or “Bull” for short. Bull is the retired custodian from Tarrant Elementary School in Fultondale, Alabama. He lost his home and all his belongings to a tornado on January 25. He had no insurance to cover the loss. But, Bull has friends. They set up a GoFundMe account and raised over $44,000 to help him rebuild. 900 people contributed.*

There are several dimensions in which this story pleases. First, I like the account of friends helping another in need, even though I don’t know Bull. This story pleases me. I hope it also pleases you! Second, I know Bull found this pleasing! It must feel good to be loved by friends. Finally, the friends who organized the GoFundMe effort are also pleased. They experienced the joy of helping their friend Bull.

If you are struggling to find lovely, pleasing things in your life, then think about how friends have helped you. Even better, find a way to help a friend today.


*William Thornton, “Friends rally for retired custodian who lost home in Fultondale tornado: ‘He would never ask for help’,” AL.com, Feb 1, 2021, https://www.al.com/news/2021/02/friends-rally-for-retired-custodian-who-lost-home-in-fultondale-tornado-he-would-never-ask-for-help.html

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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.


Whatever Is Lovely – Tue – 21-03-23



In a world with a 24-hour news cycle, our challenge is to focus our thinking on the proper things. According to Philippians 4:8, one such topic for our focus is whatever is lovely. Other translations could be “whatever is pleasing”, or “enjoyable,” or “gives delight.” The word refers to something that causes a positive emotional response within us.

My wife and I enjoy gardening. We love to plant vegetables and to see a well-kept flower garden. We enjoy picking fruit and berries. Even ordering seeds, new berry plants or flowering shrubs in the midst of winter lets us anticipate the pleasure we’ll have planting, harvesting and enjoying the garden. It’s like a mental breath of fresh air!

What do you find pleasing? Is it a hobby like knitting, painting, woodworking? Or hiking, hunting, fishing, gardening or something else? Do you delight in your pet? Do you love to take outings with your children? Do you like following a team in cricket, football, baseball, rugby, basketball or another sport? Maybe you like to read a good book by the fire in winter or under a shady tree during the summer. Do you have a friend you enjoy chatting with because their attitude is so refreshing or encouraging to you?

Stop for a moment and identify something that’s pleasing to you. Now, take a moment today to experience it and enjoy it!


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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.


Unity In Diversity



Imagine a young boy who dreams of flying like a bird. He runs, jumps and flaps his arms furiously. He gets creative and uses cardboard to fashion wings for his arms. Again and again he flaps and jumps — never reaching his dream to soar on the wind. His lack of capability leads to frustration.

Western culture prizes diversity and desperately desires unity. The acceptance of differences between people into a social unity is the dream of many. However, their attempts to foster this diversity and unity are frustrated. The frustration results in anger. Like the boy dreaming to fly, they keep flapping their arms and devising new props, never realizing they don’t have what’s needed to achieve the dream.

Unity in diversity is possible, but not through the efforts in vogue in western culture. Unity is not found by simply tolerating the differences between people. It needs a core, a center, a gravity that pulls us together in spite of our differences. That gravity must transform the hearts and beliefs of people to overcome the differences.

There is only one force that can attract and transform — Jesus. We are drawn to God as children through Jesus’ work. “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” Galatians 3:28 (NIV) “For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations.” Ephesians 2:14-15  (NIV)