The Three Things Judas Missed

During the Battle of Waterloo, a man stood on top of a great cathedral in London. He was chosen to study the signal flags from the battle. The whole city of London was anxious to know how things were going. All were wondering if the Duke of Wellington could defeat Napoleon. The man stood on the cathedral watching for signals from the battlefield relaying news. When he received a message he waved his flags to give the people of London a report on the battle. While waving his flags, the people of London barely could see through the fog. Impatient, the only message they were able to see was, “Wellington defeated.” They were stunned. Their hearts sank. But then after a time there was a break in the fog and they saw the rest of the message. The flagman waved with enthusiasm what had not been seen before, “Napoleon…Wellington defeated Napoleon.” The entire nation of England celebrated the great news.

It seems more often than naught, patience is in short supply in our lives. We know what we want and we want it now. I’ve never met a married couple when purchasing a fixer upper that didn’t think the project ever went too fast.

Two Thousand years ago, the Passover had been celebrated on a Thursday. The following day, now known as Good Friday would be like no other. A humble and beloved carpenter from Nazareth would suffer the greatest act of betrayal ever witnessed by humanity. Why? Because a friend wanted power and prestige over friendship. This friend committed a deed so despicable, that forever in time, this very act would be the example by which all future betrayals would be judged.

If he wanted to be remembered as the most famous disciple, he certainly achieved it. People everywhere to this day remember his name, Judas. So despised would be this name that we’re told even Jesus’ brother Judas later changed his name to Jude.

Many of us have known betrayal, but to be betrayed by the closest of friends with a kiss? Today we still use the euphemism borne by this event when we state giving someone the “Kiss of death”. But this Good Friday, I have a burning question. Why did Judas exit the stage so quickly after his betrayal; he missed so much? Before all the events of the day would conclude, Judas would be absent for Pilate’s questions, Caiaphas interrogations, Jesus’ flogging or His being nailed to the cross. Judas missed it all.

While Jesus hung pitifully on that cross, and he cried out, “Father, forgive them, for they don’t know what they are doing.” Judas missed by hours the best news ever; the forgiveness of his Master. We all remember John 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son.” But the following verse adds clarity to the former, “For I didn’t come into the world to condemn it, rather I came to reconcile (forgive, restore) ALL men to me.”

There are three things Jesus requires of us to gain His forgiveness. We have to admit we messed up, we must have remorse, and we must accept by faith God’s full forgiveness.

Judas came oh so close. He admitted in front of the Jewish leaders he had sinned. He declared he had betrayed an innocent man. But like so many people today, he believed he had simply done too much, gone too far, to ever be forgiven. The one missing puzzle piece for full restoration he didn’t take; he never asked God for forgiveness. Even with this acknowledgement of sin, and his remorsefulness, he still couldn’t bring himself to inquire of the last, asking for forgiveness.

Just two days later while meeting in the upper room, the disciples had their Peace restored (Jesus resurrection). Therein lies the second thing Judas missed, peace. Judas isn’t going to hell for betraying Christ, he is going there because he refused to set his relationship right with Jesus. On that cross when Jesus cried out, “Father forgive them”, that statement was meant for Judas too.
Except Judas missed the announcement by mere hours.

The third and final thing Judas never achieved was power. Wasn’t that the reason for this betrayal? Yet only ten days later at Pentecost the Holy Spirit, was poured out onto the world like a fire. And Judas finally missed the one thing that he had craved his entire life, power. He missed it all!

We may find it easy to cast dispersions at Judas, but aren’t we like him at times? The very three things Judas missed that day can seem elusive to us as well. Today Good Friday offers us the opportunity to seek His Forgiveness, seek His Peace and seek His Power.

Unlike Judas, don’t let your hours slip away before your relationship is restored with the Master.

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Your Sleep Position Determines Relational Happiness?

I know I’m not the only one who peruses the magazine titles while waiting in line at the local grocery store. Some make me chuckle out loud while others make we cringe. I laugh at the titles on romance magazines that boldly state titles like, “New Tricks that will drive him crazy”, or “Discover the ways to drive him wild!” As if after millenniums on earth, anything can be new. Indoor plumbing is the exception of course; chamber pots were murder.

I was intrigued by a recent article in the British press that studied the success of relationships based on sleeping positions. Clearly this journalistic gem only studied normal well adjusted people and not parents of newborns. We know they are bleary-eyed, irritable, and will sleep in front of a refrigerator in the middle of the night if there’s a rug present. As I opened the article, I mused to myself, “This is going to be insightful if not downright hilarious.” I wondered what the article would say about my wife who sleeps with a pillow on her head and in a fetal position. If she were to be rolled up any smaller, she’d be a sweet roll. I would have used the analogy of sushi if my wife had been Japanese, same thing.

Me, I sleep straight on the edge of the bed like I’ve been given a mere two-by-four to sleep on. Don’t ask me why? I think it has something to do with quick escapes. Nevertheless, as I studied the diagrams in the informative article I learned we should be only marginally happy. If you are touching (the article claims) while you sleep, you have a 94% happiness quotient. Not touching, 68% satisfied. Back-to-back not touching, 74% happy. Face to face touching 100% happy.

Are you kidding, face to face AND touching? Now I can see the first year being barnacles on the ship of life, but after that no way! If my wife and I were to be face to face and breathing on each other, one of us would wake up convinced the other had a midnight snack of possum road kill. I think I’ll just be satisfied skewing the numbers at 68% satisfied. 30 years of marriage is nothing to trifle with. Of course the real statistic killer is the husband who was once asked the success of his marriage of forty years. Without hesitation he replied, “Separate beds.” The inquirer surprised said, “That really works?” The man replied, “it sure has for me, hers is in Ohio, mine’s in Florida.” However the only statistic that really counts is not how you sleep, but how much your wife sleeps. I know this because if my wife gets anything less than eight hours of sleep, my marital satisfaction numbers are in the chamber pot.

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The Three Frustrated Magi

Brynli with parentsBrynliBrynli and DadNew Brynli

All the signs pointed to an impending birth. Letters and utterances reinforced the medical prophecies that a child was to be born the week of March 30, 2014. Three aged sages, Magi’s of the north compared notes and decided that it was time to make the long journey south to the birthplace of this special child. How wise were these Sages? With a combined age of 204 years between them, no one could deny they were masters of long journeys.

Following the on-Star of the east, they made their way bearing gifts not by camel but by horsepower. With occasional stops to rest their weary horses, they refreshed at numerous corrals (Golden), gardens (Olive) and Arches of Gold (McDonalds). It was at these places of repose that they excitedly spoke of the child that was to come. Great hope rested on this child that would find favor among three generations.

The arrival had to be timed just right. Arrive too early, they might get lost in the event; late and they could miss the birth altogether. Daily they studied the weather and writ of texts, and planned their journey accordingly. Fruitful stops at family, friends, and points of interest made the journey varied and enjoyable.

As they neared their final destination in the Sunshine State, son and wife who was great with child met them from afar. A celebration meal had been prepared. But alas, they had come t0o early. The one for whom they had made the journey, had not arrived. As the feast commenced the news was good, the forthcoming child would be a girl. She would be known by the name Brynli and she would be prized among all her people.

Prayers, blessings, and gifts were bestowed upon the son and daughter as the magi (grandparents and father (me)) returned to their homeland. It was with sadness they would learn it would be another five days before the medical prophesies would be fulfilled.

While there may be some similarities between another birth which occurred 2000 years ago and this one, one thing is certain. I’m confident those magi’s didn’t have their mother frequently asking with a heavy Bostonian accent, “How much fathuh till we get they-uh?”
I might have missed the birth of my granddaughter, but sometimes the journey (spending time with those you love in this case my Mom and Dad) is as meaningful as the destination.

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No, I Don’t Want to Be Your Sweat Gland

In my lifetime I have seen trends that have been inane, funny and even downright disturbing; the pet rock, leisure suits, and most social media to name a few. But one thing I don’t recall in my childhood (which I believe has mushroomed out of control) is cologne or perfume inspired by famous people. I don’t recall as a child walking into my local store and seeing Captain Kangaroo body spray, or Phyllis Diller hair glitter. No, we celebrated our own diversity and individuality and we liked it that way. Besides didn’t every eight year old boy have hair like Phyllis Diller?

At my local retailer this past week while searching for cologne, I reached a saturation point. The sales attendant was friendly enough but was too persistent. “What are you looking for,” she asked. Oh I just want something that smells ruggedly appealing. The list of fragrances she offered me sounded like the attendance roster at the Country Music Awards and Oscars combined. Thank you but no, I don’t want to smell like Tim McGraw’s sweat glands. Oh, and Usher’s armpit is out of the question too! If I absolutely have to smell like a famous star, then let it be Paul Newman’s microwave popcorn. That’s it!

Advertisers are sneaky. I see every product known to man creeping onto clothes, handbags, and hats but I’m not falling for it. If I were meant to wear something on my bumper, I would have been born a car. I would advocate one designer not make a maternity shirt. I can’t help it. I have to shout out “boy” or “girl” when I see a woman with a big rounded belly wearing a shirt emblazoned with the word “Guess” on it. Funny, they always stare. I know some people freely choose to look like an overhead bi-plane with a flapping advertisement banner behind it, but not me. When people see me, I want them to see dignified, plain, and smelling fresh.

This week an older woman in church hugged me and said, “You smell really good, what do you call what you’re wearing?” I said, “Clean.” Boy that sure sounds a lot better than saying, Justin Timberlake.

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