No April Fool’s joke here, the Scriptures that describe the events leading to the arrest, trial and crucifixion of Jesus give us two examples of an angry Jesus.
When last we spoke, adoring crowds welcomed Jesus as He entered Jerusalem. The building excitement of His ministry seemed destined to conclude with Him being crowned King of the Jews. The events in the narrative of the following days do little to disprove the people’s belief that their earthly king was about to take his crown.
Picking up the story in Mark’s Gospel at Chapter 11, verses 12-19, we find evidence of an angry Jesus. It is now the following morning, and Jesus and His disciples are walking back to Jerusalem. Along the way, the author tells us Jesus was hungry and walked toward a fig tree, hoping to find something to eat. As He reached it, the…
No, it doesn’t. I’ve often heard the phrase, “The end justifies the means”, but how you do something (the means) is as important as what you want to achieve (the end).
For example, if I want to lose weight so I’ll be in better health (a good end), but drink only water and eat only grapefruit to do it (an unhealthy means), the end, no matter how good it is, doesn’t justify the means.
Say I write a book with a good message. I want this message (the end) to get out to a large number of people, so I use an unethical way (the means) of getting on the best-seller list. I gain an unfair advantage over other authors, who may have just as good a message to proclaim, and I damage my character in the process. The end, no matter how many people I reach, does not justify the means.
If I decide to go on social media and gain an astronomical amount of followers quickly to gain the attention of book publishers, I can go to websites and “buy” those followers. I may attract publishers’ attention, but the “means” are unethical. The end doesn’t justify the means.
I wonder how many innocent people over the centuries died because someone or some group believed, “The end justifies the means”.
Snowball was my feline buddy for several years. His long-haired coat added to his feline dignity.
Underneath all that fur and dignity, Snowball had a sense of humor. In the picture below, he is ready for a game of “chase Snowball up-and-down-the-stairs”. This started when he ran up the stairs, then, just when I got to the top of the stairs, he would run down, and the game continued until I refused to chase him anymore. I wouldn’t be surprised if he laughed to himself as he played the game.
Snowball accompanied us when we moved to a rural area. Not long after we moved there, other cats joined our household. Since Snowball had been an only cat all his life, we were concerned, but he handled the changes well.
Yesterday I flicked aside some old leaves and matted dry grass in flower beds. Underneath the leaves and matted grass, the daffodils, crocuses, and tulips are pushing up towards the sun.
Seeing the persistence they display in pushing through the cover of leaves and grass made me wonder: Am I making the same effort to “push” through the “old leaves” of despair and unhealthy beliefs, and the “mat” of perfectionism to grow in my personal life and faith? While God can and does help me, I have a part to play, too. Am I doing my part?
I wrote here how much I liked playing with my toy that had a stuffed bird on one end. The human held the wand on the other end, and either dragged it along or bounced it. It was a lot of fun pouncing on it.
Well, that toy fell apart and I couldn’t play with it any more. So, I made do by chasing my tail on those odd moments when I wanted to burn off energy. I have a long, fluffy tail, and of course it’s always attached, so I know I won’t lose it. Sometimes I did manage to actually catch my tail, though it didn’t stay caught for long. Sometimes I almost made myself dizzy, too! Then I sat down as dignified as I could be, though it’s hard to be dignified when the humans were laughing so hard.
Yesterday the younger human went away for awhile. When she came home she gave me a new toy! It’s the same kind as the old one. I smelled it; it was definitely new; no other cat had been around it. The human dragged it along on the floor; I chased it and smacked it with my paw, just to let the toy know who’s boss. I am happy to have another toy; I don’t have to rely on my tail anymore!
The other night I took a mental get-away, courtesy of mingling the low-tech (a book) with the high-tech (the internet).
The book is Wild Rivers and Mountain Trails by Don Ian Smith. Don Ian Smith was a pastor, rancher, and teacher who lived most of his life in rural Idaho. He owned a ranch near the Salmon River, and also took hunting trips via horseback into the rugged canyons and mountains of the region.
The author’s love of the area is evident throughout Wild Rivers and Mountain Trails, and his faith in God connects the natural and the spiritual in a way which highlights and enriches this slender volume.
After re-reading portions of the book, I decided it would be fun to go on the internet and see the places the author was familiar with–the Salmon River and its tributaries, the Snake River, the Lemhi Range, and the surrounding country. The pictures online showed what his words already told me: the way the mountain sides and canyon walls slope down to the rushing rivers, the steep grade of the trails, the beauty of the meadows, the imposing rocks and mountains.
I got a chance to “travel” to a place much wilder than the area I call home. I came away from my “travels” feeling enriched and at peace.
With this news, strengthen those who have weak knees. Say to those with fearful hearts, Be strong & do not fear, for your God is coming to destroy your enemies. He is coming to save you.” Isaiah 35:3-4