Welcome to the August 2020 Archive. You are welcome to read the entire archive, or find a topic on the list below that is of interest to you. Just click the link, and you will be taken directly to the day it was written. Enjoy, and may you know God's peace as you read His Word.
Scripture on this page taken from the American Standard Version of the Holy Bible which belongs to the public domain.
A WORD FOR TODAY, August 2020
“Very early on the first day of the week, they came to the tomb when the sun had risen. They were saying among themselves, ‘Who will roll away the stone from the door of the tomb for us?’ for it was very big. Looking up, they saw that the stone was rolled back. Entering into the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were amazed. He said to them, ‘Don’t be amazed. You seek Jesus, the Nazarene, who has been crucified. He has risen. He is not here. Behold, the place where they laid him! But go, tell his disciples and Peter, “He goes before you into Galilee. There you will see him, as he said to you.”’ They went out, and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had come on them. They said nothing to anyone; for they were afraid.” Mark 16:2-8. WEB
Today we celebrate the lives and ministeries of the “myrrhbearers,” the women who went to prepare Jesus’ body on the morning after the Sabbath. His body had laid in the tomb long enough to make this a very uncomfortable experience. It does not take long for a dead body to smell. Jesus had been beaten and crucified. His body had bled, other fluids would have leaked, and His flesh would have already begun to decay. They also went at great personal risk because they did not know how the Romans or the Jews would react to them as followers of Jesus. Despite this reality, these women took the responsibility to do what was right for their Lord.
Three women are named: Joanna [the wife of Chuza, a steward in Herod’s household (Luke 8:3)], Mary [the mother of James (the son of Alphaeus)] and, Salome [the mother of the sons of Zebedee (Matthew 27:56)], with the other women. Jesus had a strong following of female disciples who helped with His ministry in resources and in service. They loved Jesus and rose early to take the spices to the garden tomb. They were still grieving, but women throughout the ages have found comfort in cleaning and anointing their loved ones’ bodies after death. They never expected to find it empty.
They were frightened by what they saw and heard that morning. Mark tells us that they fled and said nothing to anyone. Luke reports that the women did tell someone. A few additional verses in Mark tell us that Mary Magdalene did say something, but the authenticity of those verses is in question. Mark’s Gospel is open ended, putting it before his listeners the question, “What would you have done?” Obviously, someone told someone, because we have the Gospel two thousand years later, but would you have been so brave?
Where would we be today if those three women remained speechless because they are terrified and awestruck over the incredible events of that day? What would have happened if the disciples refused to believe what they said? The Gospels record numerous other appearances of Jesus and the reactions of those who saw Him. What if they had remained silent? Would we have faith today without their witness?
Those women were the first witnesses to the resurrection of Jesus, and because they told someone, the Good News has been shared with so many others, generation after generation. Now, today, we are called to do the same. Mark invites us to ask ourselves the question, “What would you have done.” We know the Good News is meant to be shared, but how many times do we stay silent? Perhaps our reasoning is not as those women that day at the tomb. Perhaps we aren’t afraid or confused by it all. But we stay silent because we do not want to offend or be rejected. We often think we are not good enough to speak those marvelous words. But we need not be special to share the Good News of Christ; we need only to trust in God and believe all He has said is true. In faith we follow those women into the world with our own fears and confusing, trusting God and telling the story to all those who need to hear.
“Grace to you and peace be multiplied in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, seeing that his divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and virtue, by which he has granted to us his precious and exceedingly great promises; that through these you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world by lust. Yes, and for this very cause adding on your part all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence; and in moral excellence, knowledge; and in knowledge, self-control; and in self-control perseverance; and in perseverance godliness; and in godliness brotherly affection; and in brotherly affection, love. For if these things are yours and abound, they make you to not be idle or unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. For he who lacks these things is blind, seeing only what is near, having forgotten the cleansing from his old sins. Therefore, brothers, be more diligent to make your calling and election sure. For if you do these things, you will never stumble. For thus you will be richly supplied with the entrance into the eternal Kingdom of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.” 2 Peter 1:2-11
I have been taking a walk almost every day since the pandemic began. My usually route takes me a mile, though I do occasionally take a shorter or a longer path. I have carried my camera with me, and I’m constantly looking for changes in the landscape of my neighborhood. I’ve gotten to know a few of my neighbors who are out at the same time. I acknowledge with a smile those who pass in their cars. I usually listen to some music as I walk, and some of the songs really give me a spring in my step. I have found inspiration in this little corner of the world and I’ve used the time to pray.
I usually walk on the road rather than the sidewalk because there are a lot of obstructions along the way. It also helps with social distancing when I come upon another walker. I keep to the left hand side of the road and stay as close to the curb as possible. I use the sidewalk when the roadway is not safe, but we don’t have very many cars on our streets, so it is easy to stay out of their way.
There is a spot on one of the roads that has been my nemesis over these past few months. The roads are made with asphalt, and while they generally do a good job laying down the material, sometimes a hunk will fall and they’ll miss it with the roller. There is such a lump on one of the streets. I know it is there. I’ve tripped over it more times than I would like to admit. I always wonder who might be watching out their windows when I stumble. I remind myself every day as I turn onto that road, “Remember the lump. Don’t stumble.” but I still do. It is never quite where I remember it is located. I pay attention too early, and then when I get distracted. That’s when it hits me, or I hit it. I’ve never fallen, but I am sure I’m a humorous sight when I trip. My walk is a very good habit, but my lack of attention is a bad one. It is a habit I would like to break!
God has invited us on a journey in this life, a journey of faith and service to His glory. We will come across stumbling blocks along the way, but Peter reminds us that God has given us everything good we need to follow the path God has ordained for us. He reminds us to live daily in the grace of God so that we will not lose the good habits we gain as we grow in faith. The virtues of faith - goodness, knowledge, self-control, perseverance, godliness, kindness and love - are given by God and made stronger through diligence. We are sometimes distracted by the world which will make us stumble and keep these virtues from being manifested in our life. When we diligently live in faith, His light will shine in our lives and we will never doubt that we have received the promise of life in the eternal kingdom of God. Then we can walk our path, serve our God, and glorify Him as wait for that great and glorious day when we will be with Him forever.