April 3, 2023

          I recently read a health-related story about six ways to keep your brain sharp and active.  These six ways are...learn a musical instrument, take up a foreign language, juggling, tango dancing, working puzzles with at least 3000 pieces and playing ping-pong.  Maybe one of these ways will work for you.  You might want to try each one of them and see what the outcome is like.  You may find yourself to be sharper than ever.  But the idea behind these suggestions is to do whatever you must do to stay physically, mentally and spiritually sharp, active and aware.  Today, Holy Week offers us a reset or a chance to sharpen ourselves spiritually if we have grown dull and lifeless.    
            Jesus could have used something to stimulate His disciples in Luke 22:45-46.  The Bible says, “When he rose from prayer and went back to the disciples, he found them asleep, exhausted from sorrow.  ‘Why are you sleeping?’ he asked them. ‘Get up and pray so that you will not fall into temptation.’”   Clearly, they were a sleepy batch of men.  They fell asleep on Jesus two different times, even with the major events of betrayal, arrest, trial and crucifixion looming on the spiritual horizon.  While Jesus was praying passionately and ferociously...even pleading with the Father, the disciples were dozing.  Former UCLA basketball coach John Wooden hung in the locker room a plaque with these words: “make each day your masterpiece.”  This moment in the Garden was anything but a masterpiece when Jesus found the disciples dozing.  It was not their finest hour.  But rather than beating up these disciples, we might have to admit that we too have fallen asleep on the Lord.  We have had some occasions in life that were not our finest hour.  We have had some times that were embarrassing and even shameful.    
            When I read this story, I would like to reach into the pages and shake the disciples and say “wake up, wake up...don’t you know what you’re missing.”  The truth is they did not know.  And often we do not know either.  God works in ways that are surprising, mysterious, incomprehensible and mind-blowing.  God said in Isaiah “for my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways.”  God may well begin some work in your life during this Holy Week 2023.  God could even bring to completion some work that He started long, long ago.  We will trust Him to do as He wills and wishes.  Our lives are in His hands.  And the essence of faith is to trust ourselves increasingly to Him in every way.  We call this surrender and submission.
            The truth is we should not doze or slumber if the Lord is calling us to watch, to pray, to serve, to listen or to worship.  If we fall asleep, we may miss what the Lord is about to do.  The disciples fell asleep while Jesus was wrestling with the Father’s will and searching desperately for a way to escape the cup that awaited Him.  I suspect they would have liked to have that time back...a chance to start over and stay awake. 
            As we begin this Holy Week, we should do so with a sense of expectancy and anticipation.  God could be ready to do something great in your life or home.  May God’s Word speaks to you this week in a new or fresh way.  Maybe God wants to show you something about yourself or His Son.  Pay attention.  Stay awake.  Be sharp this week.  Pray longer.  Read the Bible.  Ask God to work in your life. 
            The worst thing we could do is come to this week, shrug our shoulders and say “so what...just another week.”  At that point, we are no better than the disciples...we have fallen asleep.  No, it is not just another week.  It is Holy Week.  We remember the death and resurrection of Jesus...and that is anything but ordinary or drowsy.  The events of this week changed the world and changed eternity.  Have a good Monday.  Remember you can worship whenever you like and share our worship with others at youtube.com/FirstBaptistKannapolis.

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