The Receptive Life

"We are beggars; this is true." (Martin Luther)

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Forty Day Encounter With Christ: Day 36

He Knows My Grief Scripture Reading:  Luke 23:44—24:12 Meditation The events of the past few days have struck a violent blow to the heart of the women who have followed Jesus from Galilee. Just last week, all of Jerusalem’s people had hailed their Master as a king but today they […]

Forty Day Encounter With Christ: Day 35

He Knows My Eleventh Hour Request Scripture Reading:  Luke 23:32-43 Meditation In death, as in life, Jesus keeps company with sinners. Since his ministry began, the religious leaders have accused Jesus of hanging around the riffraff. When he talked about the value of lost things, the religious leaders were right […]

Forty Day Encounter With Christ: Sabbath of Love

“Your beauty and love chase after me every day of my life.” Psalm 23:6a As the Good Shepherd leads the flock toward home, Beauty and Love, like two tireless sheepdogs, bring up the rear.  Every day they work the fields and watch over the flock. No need to fear what […]

Forty Day Encounter With Christ: Day 34

He Knows My Insults Scripture Reading:  Mark 15:16-32 Meditation Throughout the Passion of the Christ, insult upon insult is added to injury. During it all, Jesus stands silent. He’s like a lamb about to be taken to the slaughter. There is no response to the accusations. No words spoken in […]

Forty Day Encounter With Christ: Day 33

He Knows My Neutrality Scripture Reading:  Matthew 27:11-26 Meditation Pontius Pilate is a good politician. As prefect of the Judean province, he knows whom to please and how best to please them. In his tenure, he has learned that the best political decisions aren’t always the morally right ones but […]

Forty Day Encounter With Christ: Day 32

He Knows My Remorse Scripture Reading: Matthew 26:59-68; 27:1-10 Meditation The traitorous deed is done. The transaction between Judas and the High Priest is complete. The Son of Man is now in the hands of sinful men for the bargain price of thirty pieces of silver, compensation equivalent to that […]

Forty Day Encounter With Christ: Day 31

He Knows My Denial Scripture Reading:  Mark 14:27-31,66-72 Meditation Tonight, Satan’s on the prowl and he’s salivating at the thought of a double portion—the Shepherd and his flock. Everyone knows that, once the Shepherd is gone, the sheep are easy prey. Attack Jesus and his disciples will scatter. “I will […]

Forty Day Encounter With Christ: Day 30

He Knows My Betrayal Scripture Reading:  Matthew 26:17-30 Meditation The time of treachery is near. In a few hours Jesus will be betrayed into the hands of sinful men. A cabal of religious leaders will deride and persecute him. They will prosecute him with a mock trial and render a contrived verdict […]

Forty Day Encounter With Christ: Day 29

He Knows My Plotting Scripture Reading:  John 11:38-57 Meditation After four days dead, Lazarus is now alive. Jesus, the Resurrection and the Life, had finally arrived. With his face still wet from a stream of tears, Jesus had made his way to the middle of the graveyard, ordered the stone […]

Forty Day Encounter With Christ: Sabbath of Celebration

“You serve me a six-course dinner right in front of my enemies. You revive my drooping head; my cup brims with blessing.” Psalm 23:5 When the sheep can’t seem to go the ‘second-mile’, the Good Shepherd stops in enemy territory, sets up a protective perimeter, and revives his flock with […]

Forty Day Encounter With Christ: Day 28

He Knows My Worship Scripture Reading:  Mark 12:38-44 Meditation Soon Jesus will offer himself up as the once and for all sacrifice for sin. As he prepares to take the final steps to the cross, he goes to the temple courts and finds a quiet place to sit. He positions […]

Forty Day Encounter With Christ: Day 27

He Knows My Tendency to Play It Safe Scripture Reading:  Matthew 25:14-30 Meditation When it comes to extending the kingdom of God, Jesus never played it safe. Throughout his ministry, there has never been any caution in his steps, only the determination to live all out for the purpose of […]

Forty Day Encounter With Christ: Day 26

He Knows My Separation Scripture Reading:  Luke 17:11-19 Meditation Living outside of a village, in the borderland between Galilee and Samaria, is a man who bears a double curse.  By birth he’s a Samaritan and by lot he’s a leper. He’s not morally responsible for either but both his lineage […]

Forty Day Encounter With Christ: Day 25

He Knows My Anxiety Scripture Reading:  Luke 12:13-34 Meditation An unwieldy crowd of thousands follows Jesus. In the middle of the shoving and the toe stepping are two brothers at each other’s throats. Greed has a stranglehold on them. The two are obsessed with the equitable division of their dead […]

Forty Day Encounter With Christ: Day 24

He Knows My Hypocrisy Scripture Reading:  Luke 11:37—12:3 Meditation As Jesus finishes talking to the crowd about the mood of the current age—proof appetites, curiosity cravings, and miracle meals—a religious leader pushes his way from the center of the pack of people to the front. When he’s within earshot of Jesus, […]

Forty Day Encounter With Christ: Day 23

He Knows My Needs Scripture Reading:  Luke 11:1-13 Meditation It’s becoming painfully clear to the disciples that Christ-followers aren’t immune to trouble. Though the disciples place their feet in the footprints of their Master, the ministry path they walk is rough-and-tumble. Each day of the journey has its own share […]

Forty Day Encounter With Christ: Sabbath of Safety

“Even when the way goes through Death Valley, I’m not afraid when you walk at my side.  Your trusty shepherd’s crook makes me feel secure.” Psalm 23:4 The Good Shepherd knows that the journey home must pass through, not around, Death Valley. Though there may be many troubles, toils, and snares, […]

Forty Day Encounter With Christ: Day 22

He Knows My Desperation Scripture Reading:  Mark 5:21-43 Meditation Desperate people resort to desperate measures. A synagogue leader named Jairus has a twelve-year-old daughter who’s at death’s door. There isn’t much time. Soon death will turn the knob and swing open the door. The grim reaper will pick the little […]

Forty Day Encounter With Christ: Day 21

He Knows My Demons Scripture Reading:  Mark 5:1-20 Meditation Across the Sea of Galilee, on the east side of the lake, is the Gentile region of Gerasene. Nestled close to the shore is a small village, central base for the pig herders in the area and former home to the […]

Forty Day Encounter With Christ: Day 20

He Knows My Darkness Scripture Reading:  John 9:1-41 Meditation Ever since his ministry began, Jesus has been invading the dark places. When Nicodemus came to him in the middle of the night, Jesus struck a match of love to guide him on his way. As Jesus sat by the well […]

Forty Day Encounter With Christ: Day 19

He Knows My Hunger Scripture Reading:  John 6:22-59 Meditation Less than twenty-four hours ago, Jesus had taken a little boy’s lunch, looked toward heaven, blessed the five barley loaves and two fishes, multiplied them, and threw a kingdom picnic for more than five thousand growling stomachs. Those gathered on the […]

Forty Day Encounter With Christ: Day 18

He Knows My Determination Scripture Reading:  Mark 7:24-30 Meditation On the northwest border of Galilee, in the region of Phoenicia, are the cities of Tyre and Sidon—ancient homes to the pagan fertility cults of Baal and Ashtoreth. According to the oral law, Jews were not to have any association with […]

Forty Day Encounter With Christ: Day 17

He Knows My Shame Scripture Reading:  John 8:1-11 Meditation She’s looking for “Mr. Right” in the wrong bed. It’s dawn. As the rest of the women in the village are getting dressed and going out the front door to do the morning chores, she’s sneaking through the back door of her neighbor’s […]

Forty Day Encounter With Christ: Sabbath of Rest

“True to your word, you let me catch my breath, and send me in the right direction.” Psalm 23:3 Every journey has its share of starts and stops and it’s only the better part of wisdom that knows when it’s time to do which. Though the Good Shepherd asks his […]

Forty Day Encounter With Christ: Day 16

He Knows My Refusal to Forgive Scripture Reading:  Matthew 18:15-35 Meditation Peter’s been hurt one too many times. One of his fellow believers has taken advantage of the gift of grace and has turned it into a license – a sanction to sin. To Peter’s credit, he’s tried to work […]