Through Jesus’s eyes – 2018.02.24

„If this man where a prophet, he would know who is touching him. He would know what kind of  woman she is. She is a sinner!“
Luke 7, 39

Jesus was invited over to a Pharisee called Simon. They were having lunch together when a woman came in and lurked behind Jesus. She anointed His feet with a precious oil, shed her tears onto His feet and dried them with her hair. Simon knew who this woman was. She was a well known prostitute. Therefore it surprised him that a prophet like Jesus would allow a woman like her to touch him; he himself wouldn’t have permitted it.
Simon has a very earthly way of seeing things, just like all humans do: we see merely the surface and consider the few things we really know about another. But Jesus sees much deeper.
We cannot see ourselves objectively, we tend to excuse our flaws and magnify the good. Just like we use photoshop to improve our looks and remove our flaws on Facebook.
When we look at people, we look at their appearance: Is their hair done? Did they shave today? Are there holes in their socks? Perhaps they haven’t washed in days? we know superficial facts  about their profession, their family and many other things. But we never look into our own heart or into someone else‘s. Simon categorised the woman correctly. But he couldn’t see any deeper. He didn’t see her heart.
Jesus, however, looks much, much deeper into the very bottom of our hearts. HE can see the many wounds, the fear, the weaknesses, the rejection….HE sees it all.
HE does not excuse or play down our sins. HE knows that sins can destroy us. But HE looks at us with unlimited love. The way he says “yes“ to each and everyone is incomprehensible to us,  but that’s what God is: HE loves you!
HE can see what’s destroying you and HE has a good future in mind for you. If only you could listen to Him! If only you could trust him entirely.
He said to Simon: “She showed great love to me, for her many sins were forgiven. What about you? What good did you do to me?“
If you want to love Jesus, let him reveal your sins to you. The worse they are the more grateful you will be for His forgiveness and love. If however your heart is cold towards Jesus, perhaps you have never seen yourself properly.

Thank you Jesus, for you can forgive all my wrongdoings. You forget them so readily and love me with no limits! Yes, Lord, I am amazed at Your love and I want to love You. I want to know everything about You, I want to talk to You constantly and do everything for You; – for You truly love me.

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Gratitude – 2018.02.23

Give thanks the LORD, for he is good,
for His love endured forever.
Let the redeemed of the LORD tell their story,
those HE redeemed from the hand of the foe.
Psalm 107,1f.

Did He redeem you? Did He deliver you from your enemies, take you out of the net of the devil, and break the curse upon you? Did He deliver you from the clutches of addiction? Did HE give you a home, a home in heaven? Did He forgive you completely?
Did He ever let you starve to death? Did He give you a roof over your head? Do you have any clothes?
Did He comfort you when you were dejected and discouraged? Did He help you when the situation was hopeless? Did He always give you courage? Did He hear your urgent prayer?
Yes, and again, yes. He is the LORD who took care of you. Again and again, with much gentleness and patience He has put you on the right path. You may be unruly and a know-it-all, but He has nevertheless imposed His good will on you. It is the LORD who loves you.
Do you understand? Everything that the LORD has done for you is huge compared to the “little things” you are struggling with now. HE has already done so much for you, he will continue to take care of you.
In the Epistle to the Romans it is excellently expressed: What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, give us all things? (Roman 8,31ff.)
What does the devil hate most? Grateful Christians. For gratitude towards God opens the way for His exceedingly great love. Then our heart is filled with joy and love, and then we almost burst with spiritual energy. Yes, grateful Christians are a great danger to the devil! He wants to prevent gratitude in every possible way, and we fall for it and constantly worry about everything…..

Lord Jesus, forgive my sorrows! I always think: Maybe, maybe this or that will happen. But I don’t always remember that you are the LORD who loves me and protects me and leads me wonderfully! With you alone, I am safe and secure. Thank you!!!

Holy and perfect – 2018.02.22

So you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is.
Matthew 5:48

I supposed to be perfect? Completely holy?
Oh dear, but I am far from it….. That seems to me like an impossible target. Perfect and holy just like God, that’s how I should be? Actually all of us should know that this is impossible. We are only human and not God! But still we try it over and over again and we’re trying hard to become perfect and holy. And then we fall back on our noses and complain about our mistakes, weaknesses and sins.
At that time there were the Pharisees; – Paul was also once one of the leading Pharisees. They have a strict code of conduct and dedicate their lives to the law. It is imperative that they hold it to be righteous before God. Even today a lot of people are trying hard, to be holy, so that God will be satisfied with them. But it’s a death spiral. We are never satisfied with ourselves and especially not with God.
There is always something missing on our holiness. So many people try hard to work for Jesus in the church. They are yearning for recognition of God and man. But they work themselves out for nothing. Stress is not the way of God.
There are so many written and unwritten laws that we should keep if we want to be Christians.
There are so many things we should absolutely do if you follow Christ. You can hardly get to sleep.
Jesus doesn’t want this! That is why HE has opened up a completely different path to God: You may be His child without performing. Only believe that Jesus did everything and ask Him to rule you, to be king in your heart. When Jesus has taken away all guilt, shortcomings, failures and mistakes, what remains? Right! – only the perfect, good, holy. Yes, and that’s how Jesus wants me: Perfect and holy!
It’s just too easy, this way to God, isn’t it? Where’s our effort? We just have to stay in Jesus, rest in His heart, live the day with Him…..
Completely in faith in the only true, loving, perfect, patient Lord. He will accomplish it, be sure.

Thank you Jesus, You set me free from this Christian performance stress! I can be human with you. I can stay safe and relaxed with you. Thanks, you take me for who I am.

Joyful Fasting – 2018.02.21

Jesus says:
When you fast, do not look sombre as the hypocrites do.
Matthew 6:16

… for they disfigure their faces to show others they are fasting.  Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.  But when you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who sees what is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. (V. 16 – 18)
Jesus has a completely different conception of fasting than we do. We think it’s renunciation. Jesus, on the other hand, says it is a joyful affair. We moan and sigh, – Jesus says: Be cheerful! We give up food and everything, and Jesus means: Do something! It’s strange how much our ideas diverge.
God examines our hearts and attitudes very thoroughly when we fast. If we want to force something from Him through our fasting, HE remains deaf. If it is our “execution” of guilt, our penance, HE turns away. If we want to suffer to be more holy, then tears come to Him. If for us it is only gloom and anguish, HE shakes his head above us. All only human work, no gospel, no glad tidings, only self-redemption, self-deception!
Isaiah 58 describes how God desires fasting: Pay your debts! Give the day labourer his reward immediately and do not keep him waiting! Let a faithful debtor be forgiven if he cannot pay it! Give back the borrowed books and things! Give your time to whoever needs it, especially your own children! Take your wife to a restaurant! Do what He enjoys!
You notice that Jesus has no joy in your struggle, but in the fact that you live according to His Word. This is a real fast!
I used to fast for days and never eat anything. Some time ago I wanted to start again, and I asked the LORD what to do without. He said nothing at all. And, I asked? Well, HE said: Sacrifice your time, take care of things that would otherwise remain. Give me your time, your power, your mouth. I’ll use it.
And so I have been fasting regularly for some time now. Instead of renouncing, I do the things that please Him. And if I don’t have time to eat, it’s good for me too. I belong to Him, and He determines me.
Such a fast is truly an adventure, prayer and action. And it’s so liberating! There is no pressure, no hard renunciation, there is only the love that drives me. You could fast forever!

Thank You Jesus for using me! It is actually fun and a joy to do Your will. At first everything looks so gloomy, but with You it comes to life. Even praying becomes an exciting experience! Oh, Jesus, how good, how different, how surprising you always are! I love You!

Isaiah 58,3 – 8
3 “Why have we fasted,” they say, “and you have not seen it?  Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed?”  ‘Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers.
4 Your fasting ends in quarrelling and strife, and in striking each other with wicked fists. You cannot fast as you do today and expect your voice to be heard on high.
5 Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for people to humble themselves?
Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed and for lying in sackcloth and ashes?
Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the Lord?
6 ‘Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke?
7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter – when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.

The Law of Christ – 2018.02.20

Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
Galatians 6,2

Indeed, if only it were so! But we do not bear the burdens of our brothers and sisters, rather we watch their mistakes and weaknesses with eagle eyes. Our own burdens are heavy and we desire true sympathy, intercession and attention. But the others are lazy, make their own mistakes or do not understand some simple principles.
If you write it so clearly, everyone will notice that this is not the way to do it. It’s all about me! I make the yardstick myself! I judge, and I will not be judged!
Things will only change when we take over the burden of Christ for other people. Then we learn to see with His eyes of love. We see how Jesus sees the other person, how He loves him, how He wants to do good to him. And that’s what we pray for him. This is prayer that is easy to pray; – because we have grown fond of each other, even though it is still quite difficult at the moment. But we have Christ’s hope for him!
Yesterday I was watching a couple. They have seemingly found their way to one another through hardship (they are not married yet). But both are unhappy; – they seem to know that God does not bless their connection. HE wants her best, and that would be a separation in this case. Both are at a standstill their walk of faith.  They are not moving forward. They are not obeying the Lord at present, but are going their own way. When I noticed all this in prayer, I felt a great burden on my heart because I like them both very, very much. All day long I was very upset. But then I remembered the verse above and thought: Christ wants to take my burden away from me! But how do I give it to Him? That’s when I thought of giving Him the responsibility for my beloved brother and sister. I pray for their best, and it is His task and responsibility to make it good. I was very happy and relieved. Yes, with Him this burden is much better off than with me!
So Jesus bears my burdens, and I carry His. For me this cooperation is a fine thing, because HE never overburdens me. I sometimes burden myself too much, which becomes too much for me. But I can give them to Him and walk through life easily. And in prayer I can carry the burdens of others, carry them to Jesus.

Thank you Jesus, You take my burdens and my responsibility! You worry about everybody and everything. That is why I can pray easily and happily in prayer, without being overwhelmed by grief. You worry, You carry all the burdens and You create solutions!

Mountain of sorrows – 2018.02.19

I pick up my eyes to the mountains:
Where is help coming from?
My help comes from the LORD,
who made heaven and earth.
Psalm 121:1f.

Yes, the mountains of sorrow trying to crush us! Where did they go? They’re not here anymore. Or do you remember the worries you had a month ago, a year ago or 10 years ago?
And as soon as they are gone and forgotten, we turn around and look at the next mountain of sorrows. And the longer we look at it, the bigger it gets until it crushes us. Horrible, such a life surrounded by mountains of sorrows! One by one they appear, threatening us most severely and dissolving somehow to make room for the next. And we are so stupid and fall for it every time!
We do not want to see Jesus behind the mountains, even though HE is much greater than the sorrows. We want to see Jesus instead of the mountains. Even if you have been a Christian for a long time, it is difficult to entrust all your worries and burdens to Him as if it were His business. And don’t worry about it anymore….. I believe it is more difficult than all school, training, driving license and all the other exams together.  When will I finally learn to trust Him in ALL things?
He has always helped me out so far. There were so many worries and needs, I can’t remember them all. They are simply forgotten, although they had made my life sooo hard. But I have not forgotten my master. And so I go more and more often and faster to prayer when such a mountain of sorrows shows up again. At first it’s still small, but it grows if you look at it long enough. No, I would rather look at Jesus long enough until my faith is so strong that the mountain is no longer a problem, or until the mountain is His problem!
To this day the LORD has helped me, and I am sure that He will continue to help me until I reach my goal.

Thank you, Jesus! You’re faithful to me, even though I keep falling for the mountains of sorrow. Forgive me for not always trusting you immediately! Forgive me for the weakness of my faith, even though you have helped so many times before! I need Your Holy Spirit to help me believe!

“Tired and discouraged” – 2018.02.18

Strengthen the feeble hands,
steady the knees that give way;
say to those with fearful hearts:
Be strong , do not fear!
Your God will come!
Isaiah 35:3f

Sometimes we are totally tired and exhausted. You have trouble reading the Bible, prayer becomes a torture. No reply, no aims, no targets. Only weariness, slackness. You only want rest.
God sometimes allows such challenging times. He wants to test our loyality. He wants to know how it is really looking inside ourselves. He wants that we are aware of that as well. Am I loyal?
We know all about God and about our following of Jesus. But when we are extremely tired and weary and have no strength to stand up, then everything threatens to become indifferent to us. God, however, stays calm and does not get scared. He knows us from the very beginning, He sees at a glance our past, presence, and future. We might be terrified by our lameless. Unlike us God stays calm, does not scold us, has patience, and knows what`s next week. Yes, He has promised to finish the good work in you on earth, that He began. He never will stop before He has completed the work with you. You are safe and secure in His hands even when you did not realize that. God will then ask you to remember your most important decisions towards Him. Check carefully if you really want to live for Him. Is there anything in you that makes His first place in dispute? Do you want to live for the eternity or just for the now? When you are old to whom you will entrust your last days?
Therefore strengthen the feeble hands and steady the knees that give way! Look up at Jesus and start to run again, a little bit infirm in the beginning but then more and more powerful. He is worth it! He helps you running. He certainly will bring you to your destination.

Thank You, Jesus! You do not leave me when I am discouraged. You call me then and lift me up. And when I look at You in new confidence You carefully fill me again with strength. Oh yes, I may continue to serve You. There is a goal, a meaning an anker in my life! It is wonderful how patiently You advance Your plans with me. You never will forsake me!