“While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people. Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.” Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him.
Jesus replied, “Do what you came for, friend.”
Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him.”
Matthew 26:47-50 (NIV)
What or who is a friend? A friend is someone you trust, someone you kiss and hug. This person can hold your love and in most cases carry a secret or two for you. He or she can be a work-mate, a fellow believer in your church or a mentor. A friend can even be family.
So imagine. Being betrayed. By a friend. With a kiss. After this person has warmly greeted and hugged you close.
The thing is that most of us do not have to imagine. I am sure you have experienced a “Judas Kiss” type of betrayal first hand and can think back to a time when you were deeply hurt and terribly disappointed by a so-called friend. Yet I believe these feelings are magnified even more when the betrayal falls even closer. Judas wasn’t simply a friend of Jesus. As one of the disciples he would have been the next best thing to family. They would have intimately shared good times, bad times and in between times. They would have prayed together, worshipped together and rejoiced after the incredible miracles. I always ask myself: “What was Judas thinking?” But that’s not a fair question, because if not Judas then who? Someone had to betray Jesus so He would eventually be crucified for our sins … not so?
While listening to this gospel one Sunday at Mass another series of questions jumped out at me:
- Even now, all these years later, don’t we ourselves continue to betray Jesus ever so often?
- How many times have we judged others, been impatient, hard and un-compassionate, while being unwilling to give or support?
- How often have we slept in late rather than go out to church?
- Do we usually not fail to turn the other cheek, preferring instead to lash out in defense of perceived injustices against our sound character and good reputation?
Hmmmmmm …. hard questions indeed and just a little something to think more about. As for me, there is much work still to be done on this human being right here. In closing out this post then, my prayer is that God will continue to pour His blessings over us His children, that He may inspire us to always trust in Him – in spite of friends who betray us – day by day by day.
Thanks for visiting and here’s to friends and friendship!
“But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”
Jeremiah 17:7-8 (NIV)
“For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With His love, He will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.” Zephaniah 3:17 (NLT)
What a beautiful verse! And I admit I strongly feel the need to really hold on to God’s promises – like in a vice grip of sorts, if only to keep me from tumbling over the cliff of life and into a deep valley of overwhelming despair which means it’s comforting to know that God is indeed living right here among us.
For example, I once travelled to the Dominican Republic to attend a quarterly management meeting with an awesome team of ‘movers and shakers’. As we got started I felt it was truly great to have an infinite supply of ideas, yet my enthusiasm was tempered by this little fact: execution can more often than not become a challenge when resources are finite rather than infinite. We shared our various views around the table and I took as many notes as possible but gradually, I felt as though my poor heart was going to explode out of my chest (quietly however, so as not to disturb the meeting but explode none the less). How would the items on our extra-long To Do List ever be completed within the stipulated deadlines? Continue reading
“Too often, we complain about the darkness, “I don’t like this job. These people are so negative. Nobody has a good attitude.” Ask yourself, why do you think God put you there? They don’t need more light in the bright places. That’s an opportunity for you to shine.” ~ Joel Osteen
Well, do I really have to say how much I related to this word by Joel Osteen? Anyone else agree? If you are still working and not enjoying retirement as yet, it is a fact that we spend more of our waking hours on the job than at home with our families. And we all know how these hours can quickly expand just like that into extra hours when trying to complete deadline-driven projects.
I think it would be great to have a job where everything simply fit into place like the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. We would get to work on time, take our lunch break on time and leave our office on time. We would get adequate notice about projects and be able to complete them on time. Everyone would be friendly, cooperative and committed as well as supportive team players. Best of all our pay would be unbelievably generous! Yup, that would be wonderful but an ideal job is much like an ideal life: it’s not going to happen.
The world is full of dark places and dark people … as Joel suggests, both need our light. Let’s ask God to show us how we can shine even brighter exactly where He has placed us and by extension to transform a few life negatives into positives. With Him on our side it can be done.
“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin”. 1 John 1:7 NIV
Please share your thoughts with us:
– Are there negative people in your life? How do you manage them?
– How is your job right now: good, bad or ugly?
– If you are retired, is there more light than darkness around you?
– Is there anything you could do differently to shed a little more light around you today?
Abraham looked up and there in a thicket he saw a ram caught by its horns. He went over and took the ram and sacrificed it as a burnt offering instead of his son. So Abraham called that place The LORD Will Provide. And to this day it is said, “On the mountain of the LORD it will be provided.” Genesis 22:13-14 (NIV)
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Today I am looking back over the past few days and acknowledging that although it was mostly a time of frustration and inconvenience, it was also a time of great provision. God never forgot me, especially on those days when I literally told Him: “God I have no idea how I am going to manage today; please send somebody (or some bodies) to help me!” As one day merged into another I didn’t only ask for help but found myself relying on God to make decisions for me.
Have you ever found yourself saying: “Ok God, there are these three things I need to do. Please ease the tightness in my chest and show me which one is the real priority here while giving me the peace of mind in knowing that this is what I should be doing at this exact time.” Or maybe you used these words instead: “God, I have absolutely no clue what to do in this situation! I can’t think straight and I just can’t decide … so you’re going to have to take the steering wheel on this one while I sit in the passenger seat.” Can you relate? I am sure it’s not just me that has these types of conversations with our Father.
A friend told me recently that God builds and tests our muscles in the valley so that we will be fit enough to make the trip to the top of the mountain. She is so right! I guess all we have to do is focus on being obedient to God while resisting the many temptations that the devil sends to distract us from staying on the true path.
Our heavenly Father is our Yahweh Yireh, a name which means ‘the Lord will provide’ and as I encourage myself to stand firm in the knowledge that God will provide for me whether I am down in the valley or up on the mountain top, so do I encourage you to stand firm and to look for that ram in the thicket just as Abraham did – because it will without a doubt be right there waiting for you. Do I hear an ‘amen’?
So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. 1 Corinthians 10:12-13 (NIV)
Let’s expect good things people!
In every single area of our lives we can expect God to show up for us … it’s a fact 🙂