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DAILY-READING

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Genuine Goodness

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Most Christians desire very deeply to be known as gracious, kind, patient, and forgiving. We feel we “owe” it to Jesus to be seen on our best behavior. This is even truer for those of us in “the ministry,” whose lives are publicly attached to Jesus. Now, some of the motivation behind this is beautiful (we’ll look at the rest in a moment).

What Jesus Most Longs For

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Mary was frantic: “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him” (John 20:2).

She saw a man, assumed he was the gardener, and asked him if he had taken the body. And then Jesus revealed himself to her simply by saying her name, “Mary” (v. 16). Her response? She fell at his feet and worshipped him. Mary forever has the honor of being the first person to worship the risen and victorious Lord. 

Women

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Here’s something I think most people have never seen before. This moment takes place on Easter morning. Jesus of Nazareth has been systematically tortured and then hung by his hands and feet from timbers. He died, and his body quickly laid in a borrowed tomb. But early Sunday morning, the event that changed the history of mankind took place without even a single witness: Jesus was raised from the dead. If it were you, whom would you want to show yourself to first?

He appears first, and privately, to Mary Magdalene.

How God Restores Human Beings

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We exercise because we want to grow stronger; we take vitamins in the hope of being healthy; we attend language classes expecting to learn a new language. We travel for adventure; we work in the hope of prospering; we love partly in the hope of being loved. So why Christianity? What is the effect Christianity is intended to have upon a person who becomes a Christian, seeks to live as a Christian?

He Longs to Come Close

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Jesus longs for you to come close to him. And he has been moving throughout all eternity, battling, suffering, dying, and triumphing to win your heart for himself. He wants to capture your heart as a response to his overwhelming love for you. 

Mary Magdalene knew this. Jesus wants us to know it too.

Living in Narrative

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Life is not a list of propositions, it is a series of dramatic scenes. As Eugene Peterson said, “We live in narrative, we live in story. Existence has a story shape to it. We have a beginning and an end, we have a plot, we have characters.” Story is the language of the heart. Our souls speak not in the naked facts of mathematics or the abstract propositions of systematic theology; they speak the images and emotions of story. Contrast your enthusiasm for studying a textbook with the offer to go to a movie, read a novel, or listen to the stories of someone else’s life.

Take Some Time, Peter

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After Jesus and his disciples arrived in Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma tax came to Peter and asked, “Doesn’t your teacher pay the temple tax?” “Yes, he does,” he replied. When Peter came into the house, Jesus was the first to speak. “What do you think, Simon?” he asked. “From whom do the kings of the earth collect duty and taxes—from their own sons or from others?” “From others,” Peter answered. “Then the sons are exempt,” Jesus said to him.

Core vs. Corps

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Lately, the surge is toward “justice Christianity”—intervening to prevent human trafficking or slavery, caring for indigenous cultures or for the planet itself. And it is right and it is wrong. My goodness, yes, of course God cares about justice. But to be frank, it is actually not the central theme of the Bible. Christianity isn’t simply a religious version of the Peace Corps.

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