Tag Archives: Jesus

bear the burden

I’ve been thinking a lot about burdens this year. 2020 itself has been one of the biggest burdens most of us have faced in our lifetimes. I’ve been thinking about how we are so quick to do everything we can to alleviate all burdens, to throw off everything that is hard and painful and takes some work to deal with.

The word “burden” as defined by the internet mean: “a load, typically a heavy one.”

So, by using context clues, we can arrive at the conclusion that burdens are not fun.

Everyone has burdens. Sickness, loneliness, financial stress, a job they don’t like, a bad piece of meat that gave them stomach cramps…you get it. Anything that we can say is hard or heavy is a burden.

Burden is also, apparently, a movie released in 2018 starring Usher. You’re welcome, I think?

And typically, we work really hard at skirting the burden. At the first sign of something heavy, we run in the opposite direction, often (for me) using coping mechanisms that I think will take the burden away.

We accumulate wealth to ease the burden of financial want.
We drink to ease the pain of another night alone.
We numb out on any form of entertainment to disengage from the world around us.

And the funny thing is, those things just become another burden.
We cannot live a life burden-free.

I’ve been reading through the Gospels this summer on a loop and I can’t help but notice that as Jesus is introducing the Kingdom of God, He isn’t introducing a Kingdom of absence. He is introducing a Kingdom of abundance, yet that requires some work.

He says in Matthew 11:28-30 (NLT), “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

Did you catch that? Jesus isn’t removing every burden. He is giving me His burden.

A light one.
A burden that – rather than being heavy – actually gives me deep, soul rest.

Too often when things get heavy I keep the yoke of my own burden on my shoulders. And, even though I’ve got those solid outfielders shoulder-arms, the weight becomes too much. My soul gives out, falls over, and can’t go on.

But when I intentionally take upon my shoulders the burden of Jesus – the burden that declares the work is done, the penalty of sin is taken care of, and the grace for each moment of my life is freely given with no strings attached – when I put that burden on my shoulders, it is light.

It is easy.
It is good.
Because it’s from Jesus.

Don’t eliminate the burden.
Bear the burden of Jesus.

Tagged , ,

a time to sow

A few weeks ago a friend asked if she could call me her farmer friend. “If someone asks, ‘Where’d you learn that?’ I can say, ‘my Farmer Friend Kayla told me!'” To which I said, “Absolutely. I am your farmer friend.”

My parents may get a kick out of that one because the 14 year old that complained every time she was told to weed the garden did not expect to ever lay claim to the title of ‘farmer friend’ in adulthood. She wanted to flee the 90+ acre plot of land and make sure she always brought her nice jeans back with her whenever she visited so she wouldn’t have to do ‘farmer friend’ type of work.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve given quite a bit of thought to farming and planting and growing and all the outside things that I grew up around. There is definitely something spiritual about getting your body outside and your hands in the dirt.

Scripture has a lot to say about the agricultural process. Historically, it makes sense, because the people the words of the Bible were written to were agricultural people. They didn’t have Twitter or blogs or digital billboards. So, good on you God for meeting Your people where they were at!

Books can be (and have been) filled with the connection between the land and our spiritual lives. It is good – as a farmer – to let your land rest so that it can replenish and continue to produce. It is good – as a human – to let your body rest so that it can replenish and continue to produce. See where I’m going?

But the earth-to-spirit line that God keeps bringing into my mind is that there is a time to sow and a time to reap. A time to plant and a time to uproot.

Right now, seeds and plants are in the ground. A few weeks ago, all you could see was the dirt that covered them. As days progress and the seed dies in order to reproduce, tiny sprouts begin to emerge. It will be quite a while before any of the things that went into the ground give us something that we can pick, wash, and eat/enjoy.

In many ways, this is exactly what is happening in our lives. Right now is a time to sow into our hearts/bodies/minds/spirits/homes/etc. I feel so deeply that Jesus is inviting us to plant Him into the soil of our lives, cover Him up with dirt, and let Him do a work. What better time than now – the season of spring, where new life is budding up all around us – to let our Redeemer bury Himself into us and see what happens. As we will do with our plants, we check in every day: How’s the soil? Does it need water? How are the plants? Do they need pruned? What do the leaves look like? Are there bugs? Disease? Things that need to be guarded against?

And as we put in the time to tend the earth around us, as well as tend to our own lives, we will see a harvest. It won’t be tomorrow. I can promise that. Nothing real and valuable grows that fast. But we will see a harvest.

So, sow. Press in. Let Jesus take root in your life and see what kind of fruit comes to the surface.

Tagged , , ,

easter sunday

Well, team, we’ve made it. It’s here! Easter Sunday! Christ has risen from the grave, crushing the head of the enemy, defeating death and conquering the grave once and for all!

The reality of a Sunday Kingdom – where life wins over death – is upon us. We are a people that belong to the One who is found among the living.

Yet, this morning, as I read through and thought about the Gospel accounts of the third day, I couldn’t help but hang out with Thomas for a bit.

“But Thomas (called ‘Twin’), one of the Twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples were telling him, ‘We’ve seen the Lord!’ But he said to them, ‘If I don’t see the mark of the nails in his hands, put my finger into the mark of the nails, and put my hand into his side, I will never believe.’
A week later his (Jesus’) disciples were indoors again, and Thomas was with them. Even though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Peace be with you.’ Then he said to Thomas, ‘Put your finger here and look at my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Don’t be faithless, but believe.’
Thomas responded to him, ‘My Lord and my God!'” – John 20:24-28 CSB

If you’ve spent about 2 minutes in a church, you’ve probably heard about Doubting Thomas. I grew up picturing him as this snotty dude that rolled his eyes at his fellow disciples and was about as sarcastic as I hope to be when I grow up. He just has a bit of a bad rap with the church folk.

But over the last few months, and especially today, I find myself seeing Thomas in a different light, having more compassion for the guy.

Today I read these verses with a little color commentary in my own mind that went a lil somethin like this: “Guys, I can’t. I have put too much hope into this to be let down. Please do not fill my head and my heart with this if it isn’t true. I cannot continue to put hope out there and get hurt again. Friday crushed me. He died. Unless I touch Him, I can’t put myself out there for Him again.”

And then, a whole friggin week later, Jesus shows up (JUST BY WALKING THROUGH A WALL MIGHT I ADD), and gives Thomas what he needed.
“Here, Thomas. Put your finger here. It’s me. Don’t be afraid. I’m here.”

Thomas’ response hits my heart today. He needed the physical Jesus to ease his pain and fill his heart with hope again. He couldn’t just take someone else’s word for it.

And the most beautiful thing is that Jesus does show up again, and gives Thomas exactly what he needs.

He didn’t give him a 45 minute sermon on doubt and disbelief.
He didn’t tell him to find an accountability partner to ask him how he’s doing with trusting the Lord on a regular basis.
He didn’t shame him for having feelings that Christians “aren’t supposed to have.”

He gave him the Messiah he needed.
He gave him the Bread of Life.
He gave him his Resurrected King.

And that’s what I’m leaving Holy Week with – a Resurrected King.

But I’m also leaving Holy Week with a little bit of Thomas, asking Jesus to renew my hope by showing me Himself.

And I have no doubt that He’ll do just that.

Tagged , , ,

silent saturday

Picture it. Jerusalem. AD 33.

Did you read that like Sophia from Golden Girls? Because you should have.

There is no recorded account in Scripture about what happened today.

Jesus has been mocked, humiliated, abused, crucified, and buried. The tomb sealed. His disciples scattered. And the Sabbath day underway.

Today is a day of silence and hell.

Can you imagine being one of the twelve? Or one of the women that was present as He breathed His last? Or Joseph of Arimathea, “who himself had also become a disciple of Jesus” (Matthew 27:57), who just took the lifeless body of the Messiah off the cross and laid Him in his own tomb?

Oh and right, now it’s Sabbath. You do nothing until this day is over.

I went to a conference a few weeks ago, when going to conferences was still a thing we did, and the speaker talked about becoming a Friday, Saturday, Sunday community.

He talked about this cycle of death, burial, and resurrection, but specifically about how we have a tendency to skip through this day of hell. We have to be formed by all the days, yet we try to create resurrection Sunday without sitting through a silent Saturday, a day of hell, and allowing that to form us just as much as the new life that comes on the other side.

In a real big way, we are living a Saturday life right now. We are sitting in unknown territory. What we thought was secure and safe has been taken from us. We do not know what is going to happen tomorrow. We are a lot like those close to Jesus 2000 years ago.

I imagine that the thoughts going through their minds were not along the lines of, “Oh, but Sunday’s a’comin!”

I imagine they tracked a little closer to, “What.just.happened. He’s dead. What do we do? Will they come after us now? Are we safe? I just gave this man 3 years of my life! How dare he! Was none of it true?!”

And, honestly, I have similar thoughts myself.
“I’ve given this Man my life! Are you kidding me right now?”
“Am I safe?”
“Is none of this true?”
“Will He ever show up again?”

Yes, Christian, I know that Christ has the victory. I know that Sunday is coming. But I think we all need to tell our Saturday stories with a little more honesty going forward. We need to tell each other that sometimes, God is silent. Sometimes, we sit through days of hell and we have no clue if Sunday will come. Sometimes, Saturdays stay Saturdays and we don’t see resurrection for certain things.

Yet we can trust that even on a silent Saturday, God is still sovereign. Today is not out of place nor is it out of His control.

But it is Saturday.
For all they knew, He is dead.

Tagged , ,

good friday

I have had some long days the past few weeks. Days that I thought might have no end. But, historically, this might be the longest day ever.

In the middle of the night, after Jesus and the disciples had left the Passover meal, Judas and a large mob came after Jesus at the place called Gethsemane, and thus begins the longest day in history. For the sake of you not having to read a 2000 word blog post, I would highly encourage you to go read this account in the Gospels:
•Matthew 26:47-27:66
•Mark 14:43-15:47
•Luke 22:47-23:56
•John 18:2-19:42

The part of the story that has always hit home for me is John 19:28-30, titled in most Bibles, “The Finished Work of Jesus.”

“After this, when Jesus knew that everything was now finished that the Scripture might be fulfilled, he said, ‘I’m thirsty.’ A jar full of sour wine was sitting there; so they fixed a sponge full of sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it up to his mouth. When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, ‘It is finished.’ Then bowing his head, he gave up his spirit.” – John 19:28-30 CSB

After everything that Jesus had endured leading up to the state He was in, He knew that everything in Scripture – all that the Law and the Prophets had to say about being made right before God and how a Messiah would come to redeem all things once and for all – it was then that He gave up His spirit. It was not taken from Him. Even in His death, Jesus was in control.

Another thing I find interesting is the hyssop branch. Maybe people smarter than me have had things to say about this, but I’m too lazy to do the research right now. But what I have to say is this: at the institution of the first Passover in Exodus 12, the Israelites were told to use a hyssop branch to spread the blood of the sacrificial lamb over the door posts.
Psalm 51:7 NIV reads, “Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.”

It is not lost on my that the branch used for spreading the blood so that death might passover is the same type of branch that touched Jesus’ lips before He gave up His spirit.
It is not lost on my that the branch the psalmist asked to be cleansed with is the same type of branch that was the final earthly thing to touch the Savior before the whole of humanity was cleaned by His sacrificial act.

And finally, it was finished.

According to John’s account, the final thing that Jesus cried out was “Tetelestai” meaning, “It is finished.”

About a year and a half ago I got that word tattooed on my body. It’s the newest addition of things that I have permanently marked myself with to anchor me in the Truth that I am quick to forget. An image that reminds me, especially on my darkest days, that I cannot add to or take away from what Christ had already done for me.

It. Is. Finished.

I am fully made right before God the Father because Jesus the Son saw everything that needed to be accomplished and accomplished it on my behalf.

Today – Good Friday – Christ has died. The perfect Passover Lamb has been slain. The debt owed for all of our rebellion has been paid.

In my story, there is still a lot of work to be done. But the most freeing thing that Christ has already given me is that ultimately, the work is already finished.

Tagged , ,