Tag Archives: Jesus

Starting over

Rembrandt (1606-1669)
The Three Crosses
drypoint and burin on paper (III/IV), 1653
Amsterdam, Rijksmuseum

The other [criminal said], “We have been condemned justly, for the sentence we received corresponds to our crimes, but this man has done nothing criminal.”
Then he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.”
He replied to him, “Amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” Luke 23:41-43

It is never too late to take responsibility for my actions, to turn to the Lord and ask for a chance to start again.

Caught

Rembrandt van Rijn (1606-1669)
Jesus and the woman caught in adultery

The scribes and Pharisees brought a woman along who had been caught committing adultery. John 8:3a

I sometimes feel caught — by circumstances, others’ demands, chronic pain, or mental, emotional, physical, or spiritual distress. The sense of being trapped and in the control of unknown, antagonistic forces terrifies me.

In tiny moments of sanity, I remember to come before the Lord to ask for help and guidance. Gradually — and sometimes quickly — God’s mercy reveals the way to freedom.

 

God’s abundance

Christian Rohlfs (1849-1938)
Rückkehr des verlorenen Sohnes
Woodcut, 1916

We are in the presence of God at every moment, and everything God has is ours: welcome, mercy, forgiveness, compassion, joy, peace, love without end.

May I give with open hands and heart all that is God’s to family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, those I meet today, and those I haven’t yet met.

“[The father] said to him, ‘My son, you are here with me always; everything I have is yours.'” Luke 15:31

Cultivate compassion

Many experiences have exhausted my energy, damaged my sense of self-worth, and discouraged me from sharing my gifts and talents. I often feel like the fig tree that struggled to bear fruit.

God’s compassion is revealed through the kind people who don’t give up on me, but support me in times of trouble and help me to find the courage to keep going, to find a way to bear good, loving, peace-filled fruit.

[The gardener] said to him in reply,
‘Sir, leave [the fig tree] for this year also,
and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it;
it may bear fruit in the future.” Luke 13:8-9a

How good it is

James Tissot (1836-1902)
La transfiguration
opaque watercolor over graphite on gray wove paper
between 1886 and 1894
Brooklyn Museum

Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good that we are here.” Luke 9:33b

Let me be aware of the loud, grace-filled silence of the Lord’s presence in every moment, every breath.

How good it is to be here.

 

 

 

 

In the Presence of God

Augustin Hirschvogel (1503-1553)
Temptation of Christ

When the devil had finished every temptation,
he departed from [Jesus] for a time. Luke 4:13

The demons are never done with us. They assault us without warning, especially when we are vulnerable from grief, illness, or emotional distress.

They also assault us when we are strengthening our relationship with the Lord. They don’t like us to be close to God.

Today I will remember I am always in the Presence of God and ask God for the courage to resist the temptation to be afraid, despairing, greedy, or indifferent.

 

Good produce

When I intentionally practice love, compassion, respect, forgiveness, gratitude, and peace, those Christ-like qualities grow in my heart to feed me and others—even in times of loneliness, suffering, and conflict.

[Jesus said,] “A good person out of the store of goodness in his heart produces good.” Luke 6:45a