Comrade Judas

Photo by Umesh R. Desai

When Judas came to Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane, leading the mob to arrest Jesus, the Lord says, “Friend, do what you came to do” (Matthew 26:50). That’s the English translation, but it’s not quite right. “Friend” has always struck me as an odd choice of address for the man who was betraying Jesus, although I’m sure Jesus never stopped loving Judas.

The usual Greek word translated “friend” in English is philos like Philadelphia, the “city of friends.” Instead, Jesus calls Judas etairos (ἑταῖρος), “comrade.” This is a polite word. According to the lexicon, it is used “As a general form of address to someone whose name one does not know.” Matthew often uses it; for example, the expression is used by the master as he addresses the workers in the field:

But he replied to one of them, ‘Friend, I am doing you no wrong. Did you not agree with me for a denarius? Take what belongs to you and go. I choose to give to this last worker as I give to you. Am I not allowed to do what I choose with what belongs to me? Or do you begrudge my generosity?’ (Matthew 20:13 – 15)

And again, it is used by the king to the man who dared attend his son’s wedding improperly dressed:

But when the king came in to look at the guests, he saw there a man who had no wedding garment. And he said to him, “Friend, how did you get in here without a wedding garment?” (Matthew 22:11 – 12).

Jesus didn’t call Judas his “friend,” “brother,” or even a “disciple.” He didn’t even call Judas by name. But, on the other hand, Jesus didn’t call him a “traitor” or curse Judas either.

Let’s pause for a moment and ask, “Why did Judas betray Jesus?” Was Judas simply an evil man, or did he do it for money? Some say Judas was trying to help Jesus begin the revolution. Surely Judas, who had seen Jesus raise the dead and walk on water, didn’t believe the mob would be able to arrest the Lord!

The answer may be found in a textual variant of an ancient papyrus copy of Luke 23:32. The usual reading is, “Two others, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him.” However, P75, one of the Bodmer Papyri, substitutes our word hetairoi (ἑταῖροι) “comrade” for heteros (ἕτερος) “others.” According to this ancient variant, we might translate verse 32, “Two political partisans, who were terrorists, were led away to be put to death with him.”

William Barclay suggested that the last four apostles, who included “Simon the Zealot” and Judas Iscariot, were revolutionaries before they became apostles. Zealots were revolutionaries, and Barclay believes “Iscariot” is derived from “Sicarii,” a group of Zealot assassins.

With this understanding, is it possible Jesus looked into the eyes of Judas, shook his head, and called him “comrade,” implying Judas had returned to his revolutionary ways? [1]

Christians are empowered to change the world, but not as revolutionaries. We are salt, light, and leaven. Our light drives out darkness. Our salt flavors the world, and our leaven brings about fundamental changes in the stuff of life. Will Jesus call us “brothers and sisters” or just “comrade”?

  [1] “P75 may well imply political partisans” See Arndt, W., Danker, F. W., Bauer, W., & Gingrich, F. W. (2000). In A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature (3rd ed., p. 398). University of Chicago Press for a fuller discussion.

The Big K

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto

Mornings are hard enough without stepping on the bathroom scales. Bleary-eyed and buck naked, I dutifully weigh myself before stepping into the shower. The digital verdict is either a cause for rejoicing or re-doubling my efforts to eat healthily. Either way, it becomes the basis for my breakfast choices – steel-cut oats or a nice seafood omelet.

Later, while sipping my coffee, I read an article about “Le Grand K” – the former international standard of weight for the kilogram.

For more than a century, the kilogram (kg) — the fundamental unit of mass in the International System of Units (SI) — was defined as exactly equal to the mass of a small polished cylinder, cast in 1879 of platinum and iridium.

Kept in a triple-locked vault on the outskirts of Paris, the platinum-iridium cylinder was officially called the International Prototype of the Kilogram (IPK). It even had a nickname: Le Grand K (The Big K). The accuracy of every measurement of mass or weight worldwide, whether in pounds and ounces or milligrams and metric tons, depended on how closely the reference masses used in those measurements could be linked to the mass of the IPK.[1]

Imagine, even the dreaded scale in my bathroom was calibrated through a chain of comparisons to The Big K in France, but scientists discovered a problem. Over the years, the standard has lost weight! No one was sure how it happened.

Over the past century, the trend for most sister copies [of Le Grand K] has been to gain mass relative to the original by varying amounts, although these amounts are unimaginably tiny. On average, the gain is around 50 micrograms (millionths of a gram) over 100 years. It’s possible, of course, that the original was losing mass relative to its copies or that it’s a combination of both. Either way, it’s no great cause for concern for most of us, as the change in mass is roughly the weight of a fly’s wing. [2]

But think what that means! “I can’t trust those scales!” I cried. Jan, who always seems to be one step ahead of me, replied. “John, Le Grand K, no longer defines the kilogram.” So she turned her laptop around and continued reading:

Rather than rely on a platinum cylinder in a bell jar in Paris, eggheads in the world of measurements decided to anchor the future kilogram to Planck’s constant. This is a fixed quantity tied in with E=MC2 and quantum theory, specifying the amount of energy carried by a single particle of light, or photon. And that’s just the most extremely simplified version.

Then I guess I’ll have to trust my scales and learn to enjoy oatmeal for breakfast, but it does point out how important standards are. Jim L. Wilson writes:

Even the best human measurements fall short, but it is not so with God’s Word. It is an unchanging standard. [3]

Amen! Now pass the jelly for my toast. I’m in the mood to celebrate.

[1] https://www.nist.gov/si-redefinition/kilogram

[2] https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/le-grand-k

[3] Wilson, J. L., & Russell, R. (2015). The Changing Standard of Le Grand K.

Calling God Names

Kansas Sunset by John McKeel


A few years ago, my little granddaughter came up to me and asked, “Papa, can you teach me to pray?” You better believe she got something extra in her stocking that year!

The “conversational” style of prayer has characterized my generation. “Just talk to the Lord as you would talk to a beloved and respected friend.” I like that, but I wonder if we’re going deep enough in our prayer life.

I teach new Christians to follow the ACTS model of prayer. Begin with Adoration. Think about who the Lord is and address him accordingly. This is followed by Confession. When we think about who God is, it is only natural to think about ourselves. That’s why confession is so important. The third step is as essential as it is neglected. Before we begin asking for things, we should take a moment and thank the Lord for what he has already given us. Finally (although we often put this first), our heavenly Father invites us to Ask him for blessings and to fulfill our needs, calm our worries, and come to our aid (Supplication).

Hagar, Sarah’s handmaiden, was driven out of Abraham’s house because of her arrogant behavior. “When she saw that she had conceived, she looked with contempt on her mistress. … But Abram said to Sarai, ‘Behold, your servant is in your power; do to her as you please.’ Then Sarai dealt harshly with her, and she fled from her” (Genesis 16:4 – 6).

It’s not a pretty scene and Hagar fell down by a spring in the wilderness and wept. An angel appeared telling Hagar to go back to Abraham and Sarah and change her attitude. Then the angel announced that her future son would be a mighty man. I find what happened next illuminating:

So she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, “You are a God of seeing,” for she said, “Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.” Therefore the well was called Beer-lahai-roi;” (Beer-lahai-roi means the well of the Living One who sees me) (Genesis 16:13 – 14).

The Lord has many names that reflect his many qualities. Some of them are literal: God fights for us and is called “Warrior” (Zephaniah3:17). He is also the Judge, and the King and so those are some of his names. There are metaphorical names for the Lord as well: Shepherd, Rock, Potter, and Vine. John MacArthur makes this helpful observation:

“Each of the many Old Testament names and titles of God shows a different facet of His character and its expression in His will. He is called, for example, Elohim, “the Creator God”; El Elyon, “possessor of heaven and earth”; Jehovah-Jireh, “the Lord will provide”; Jehovah-Nissi, “the Lord our banner”; Jehovah-Rapha, “the Lord that healeth”; Jehovah-Shalom, “the Lord our peace”; Jehovah-Raah, “the Lord our Shepherd”; Jehovah-Tsidkenu, “the Lord our righteousness”; Jehovah-Sabaoth, “the Lord of hosts”; Jehovah-Shama, “the Lord is present and near”; and Jehovah-Maqodeshkim, which means “the Lord sanctifieth thee.” All those names speak of God’s attributes. Thus they tell us not only who He is, but also what He is like.”[1]

 Hagar needed someone to look after her and discovered God “the Living One who looks after me.” As you call on the Lord in prayer today, what name will you give Him?

Klondike Mike and the Leaven of the Pharisees

Chilkoot Pass – Wikipedia

 When I was a teenager, I loved reading stories about the “Trail of ’98.” These were the Gold Rush days, and men did amazing things in their quest for wealth. Alaska Public Radio reported:

In February 1898 Mike Mahoney aka “Klondike Mike” made a deal with Hal Henry. He would escort the Sunny Samson Sister Sextette and their luggage over the Chilkoot Pass and down to Dawson city for $3000 plus a share of the musical group’s proceeds once they started performing in the Dawson Saloons.
 

There was only one problem. The six sisters refused to perform without their piano to accompany them. 

Klondike Mike, a strapping Quebec farm boy, and champion boxer turned stampeder, duly hoisted the entire piano onto his back and went step-by-step up the Golden Stairs and into Klondike fame. [1]

The Golden Stairs was a path cut in the ice that climbed the pass. Unfortunately, there was a custom’s station at the top. The Mounties were not only responsible for collecting tolls, but they also insured the safety of the people crossing the pass into the gold rush country. That meant each person was required to bring a year’s worth of food and supplies as well as prove they were fit enough to face the hardships ahead of them in the territory. 

As fortune would have it, Mike met a Mountie who was only on his second day at the job. The Mountie didn’t believe the dainty sisters had what it took to survive in the Yukon and refused to allow them to cross even if they were accompanied by a piano-toting Quebec farm boy. Frustrated, Mike left the piano at the top of the pass and stormed back to Skagway. Eventually, someone hauled the piano back down from the pass, sold it, and made a tidy profit.

These prospectors were called “sourdoughs” because of their bread. Mother Earth News[2] has a great article about collecting your own wild yeast from plants like Oregon Grape, juniper berries, and even the bark of Aspen trees. The miners harvested the yeast and went to great lengths to protect their “sponge” – their starter. They even carried it in little containers on a string hung around their necks to keep it warm. 

The yeast is amazing. “Given ideal conditions, yeast can increase its own volume by more than ten times, overnight!” With that in mind, Jesus warned his disciples: “Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Sadducees” (Matthew 16:6). The Lord wasn’t talking about bread, he was warning us. “Then they understood that he did not tell them to beware of the leaven of bread, but of the teaching of the Pharisees and Sadducees” (v. 12).

Some false doctrines are so appealing, they can explosively spread like yeast leavening bread. Paul said, “These have indeed an appearance of wisdom … but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh” (Colossians 2:10 – 23). 

False teaching, like leavened bread, is full of gas.

Here’s to Health!

Photo by Bruno Nascimento



Growing old is not for whimps! Aches and pains beset us. Hair falls out (or worse grows where it doesn’t belong). Joints ache only to be replaced. Foot troubles, tooth troubles, cataracts, dark spots, bladder trouble, heartburn, suspicious moles and let’s not talk about cancers, heart trouble, or diabetes. Our bodies are starting to wear out.

The ancient Romans and Greeks acknowledged this in their letters. Latin letters begin with the proclamation “Salve!” (health) followed by inquiries after the recipient’s health, while Greek letters often conclude with rhonnumi (ῥώννυμι), “be in good health, farewell, goodbye.” 

Early Christians closed their letters the same way (Acts 15:29), but then began expanding their conclusions. Ignatius of Antioch wrote a series of letters to various churches as he was led to Rome to be martyred (about 108 A.D.). He closed his epistles with the traditional “be in good health,” but then explained the source of true health (“Good health in God the Father and in Jesus Christ,” IEph 21:2; “Good health in Jesus Christ,” ITr 13:2; “Good health in Christ Jesus our common hope,” IPhld 11:2; “I bid you good health in the power of the Father,” ISm 13:1; “Good health in the Lord,” Ignatius to Polycarp 8:3.) He also stresses how caring for our health gives us the strength that we need to persevere to the end: “Good health to the end, in the patient endurance of Jesus Christ” (Ignatius to the Romans, 10:3).

As children of God, we should take care of the bodies the Lord has given us. After all, Paul says, our bodies are the Temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Corinthians 6:19; 3:17). This runs counter to the feelings of many people – even some Christians. Some feel the “flesh” is evil and should be punished. The Apostle Paul warned the Colossians:

Why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations— “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” (referring to things that all perish as they are used)—according to human precepts and teachings? These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh (Colossians 2:20 – 22).

Rather, we are told to “Glorify God in your body” (1 Corinthians 6:20).

Of course, some people can’t be bothered. “Dust to dust,” they say as they sit idly by stuffing themselves with snack food and downing “brown, fizzy water” (or worse). Many were taught their bodies are like spacesuits of the soul. One day we’ll take off the spacesuits and our souls will be free,  but is that true? After all, Jesus was resurrected. He didn’t abandon his body in the grave. It was changed. Paul told the Corinthians, “We shall all be changed.”

I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality (1 Corinthians 15:50 – 53).

I’m looking forward to that new body! This one is beginning to show its age!

God’s Candy

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood

My father loved fresh fruit, and I must admit nothing tastes quite as good as a peach, or a plum or an apple plucked fresh off the tree. George Burney was one of my elders in Arizona. He owned a navel orange orchard. Each year the men would come and harvest the oranges in the fall, but the workers never picked all of them. One year, just before Christmas, George introduced me to one of nature’s delights. We drove out into the orchard, and he explained, “Those oranges that are left are special. For over a month, all of the energy of the tree is focused on those few remaining oranges.” He was right. The Christmas oranges were special. They were as big as grapefruits and so full of juice they would explode in your fingers as you peeled them. I have never enjoyed a finer piece of fruit in my life. George is gone now, and I really miss his stories and his wisdom, but truth be told, I really miss his oranges!

The Apostle Paul congratulates the Colossians. He says the gospel “which has come to you,” and like George’s late oranges “is bearing fruit and increasing” (Colossians 1:6), but have you ever wondered what type of fruit the Gospel produces?

It could be the apostle is describing the rapid spread of Christianity. After all, in context, he is talking about “increasing.” The Apostle Peter describes the Word of God as “seed” (1 Peter 1:23). The expansion of the faith in the first century is amazing! Preachers often describe the Gospel truth this way to emphasize the importance of evangelism – and that is a very valid assertion. But earlier, Paul described the fruit of the Spirit as “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control;” (Galatians 5:22, 23). (Remember, this is a singular fruit that produces all these virtues.) That too is a valid interpretation. In fact, I believe the transforming power of the Gospel is one of the most powerful attractions of the Good News. When people see the beauty of our lives in Christ, they want to learn more and so the Gospel bears fruit.

Let me make one more observation. In recent years, I’ve noticed people forgetting peaches have pits. That is, some ministers are so focused on the delicious fruit that they forget that apart from the seed, peach trees would quickly cease to exist. Likewise, if peaches were just pits, peach pies would just be baked sawdust at best. For the church to thrive, we need to preach the fruit of the Spirit and spread the seeds of truth.

Be a Blessing (and bear fruit!)

A Sure Bet or a Noble Imperative?

We always thank God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, when we pray for you, since we heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love that you have for all the saints, because of the hope laid up for you in heaven (Colossians 1:3 – 5). 

Sometimes, it seems we put our minds on cruise control as we read the Bible. Passages and phrases are so familiar, we don’t spend much time thinking about what they mean. The consequence of that sort of reading is to deny ourselves a blessing. For example, I am preparing to teach a class on Paul’s letter to the Colossians. As Paul opens this epistle, he makes reference to what Dr. Lightfoot called “the Great Christian Triad: faith, hope, and love.” (See Colossians 1:4, 5). In verse 5 Paul writes about “the hope laid up for you in heaven” (so most English versions). What does “laid up for you in heaven” mean?

The word apokeimai (ἀπόκειμαι), most often translated “laid up,” is used by the fearful servant to describe what he did with the money his master entrusted to him: “Lord, here is your mina[1], which I kept laid away in a handkerchief;” (Luke 19:20). So, it is possible the apostle is telling us our hope is a safe bet. The CEV reads, “what you hope for is kept safe for you in heaven” (See also the NCV, GNB, and GW).

But apokeimai is also used in another way in the New Testament. We can behave in a certain way because we are expecting a reward. We tell athletes to “keep your eyes on the prize!” This might be the sense Paul is expressing in 2 Timothy 4:8, “Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.” It could be Paul is simply affirming how his hope (and ours) is a safe bet backed by the bank of heaven. 

However, apokeimai was frequently used in Greek letters of appreciation. They called attention to a person’s nobility. This person acted in a certain way to benefit the greater good. These people did the right thing – the admirable thing. 

When King Saul and his sons fought against hopeless odds and died in the struggle, Josephus the Jewish historian explained how Saul and his sons fought bravely to the death against the Philistines “knowing that their entire glory lay in nothing else but dying honorably” (Ant. 6, 368). Even though Jonathan knew it was hopeless (he knew he was going to die), he fought honorably because it was noble.

I suspect the Apostle Paul worked so hard for the Lord, not to earn a place in heaven, but because it was the right thing to do. The Lord gave the apostle a second chance, and Paul’s attitude of gratitude led him to live a noble life.

Why do we do the things we do? Are we trying to earn a place in heaven, or are we simply good because we are Christians?

Be a Blessing!


[1] A mina was equal to 100 drachmas. You could purchase a sheep for a drachma, or a slave for four drachmas, or an ox for five drachmas!

Straight Talk

 In all your ways acknowledge him, 
          and he will make straight your paths (Proverbs 3:6).


Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15).

You can tell a lot about a preacher by the Bible he carries. Modern upbeat ministers carry iPads. City preachers often carry thin New Testaments that they can roll up in their hands and use to pound the pulpit, but I once heard a preacher explain why country ministers carried such large Bibles. “When you get to the farm, if you step out of your car with one of those thin Bibles, you’ll probably lose a leg to the ranch dog that will greet you. Country preachers know to carry a Bible large enough to knock Rover silly.” (I just throw dog treats to the other side of the road and run for the porch.)

It’s true, some people use the Word of God like a club and beat up those who disagree with their interpretations. On the other hand, the Hebrew writer explained, “The Word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword” (Hebrews 4:12). Dr. Lightfoot explained in class that the word translated “sword” (machaira, μάχαιρα) can also refer to a surgeon’s scalpel “piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart” (ESV). I like thinking of the Bible as a tool for healing!

In his last letter, the Apostle Paul encouraged Timothy to be a careful worker “rightly handling the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). This is the only place in the New Testament this relatively rare word translated “rightly handling,” orthotomeo (ὀρθοτομέω), is found. We have a number of English words based on the prefix ortho-which means “straight” (orthodontics, orthopedic, and orthodoxy are just some examples). Combined with -tomeo which means “to cut,” ortotomeo means “to cut straight.”

This word is found twice in the Greek translation of Proverbs in the Old Testament in the context of road construction where trees are cut down and the path leveled:

   In all your ways acknowledge him, 
          and he will make straight your paths (Proverbs 3:6).

And:

     The righteousness of the blameless keeps his way straight (Proverbs 11:5).

So how does this apply to us? The Greek Lexicon explains:

Then [ortotomeo] would probably mean guide the word of truth along a straight path (like a road that goes straight to its goal), without being turned aside by wordy debates or impious talk 2 Timothy 2:15.[1]

Next time you prepare to teach a Bible class, put on your hardhat, and grab your chainsaw! Careful teachers make it easy for their students to understand the correct interpretation.

Brothers [and Sisters]

Excavations at Oxyrhynchus 1, ca. 1903, courtesy Wikipedia

If you received a new Bible for Christmas, you might have noticed a change in the new English translations. It might seem like the guardians of political correctness have started working on the Bible. For example, in 2 Corinthians 1:8 the King James Version reads:

“For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble,” but the New Revised Standard Version reads: “We do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, of the affliction we experienced.” What is going on?

The Apostle Paul wrote in Greek, and he used the word “adelphoi” (ἀδελφοί). Our English word “Phil-adelphia” combines “philia” (love) with “adelphoi” (brothers) meaning “the city of brotherly love.” 

Our old friend, Brother Curmudgeon asks, “Well, if Paul used the word ‘brothers,’ why do the new English translations add ‘and sisters’?”

The answer is, when adelphoi (the plural form of brother, adelphos) is used, it can mean “brothers and sisters” (So the GW, GNB, NCV, NLT, and the NRSV). “Brothers and sisters” can be awkward so some of the newer English translations work around that by substituting “friends” (CEV, The Message). 

“Yes, but where is the evidence the people in Paul’s day meant ‘brothers and sisters’?”

Without trying to be too technical, archaeologists digging in the sands of Oxyrhynchus, Egypt have discovered thousands of ancient bits of letters and documents from that time. They illustrate how Greek speakers like Paul used words in those days. For example, Leonides wrote a letter to the keepers of the property records asking that they recognize his right to a third of the estate of his mother. There were three siblings – two brothers and a sister – and they are all referred to as the adelphoi – “brothers and sisters.” (Oxyrhynchus Papyri 713, 21f. dated 97 A.D.) There are many more examples, but it does expand our understanding of some biblical passages.

For example, when Jesus warned his followers “You will be delivered up even by parents and brothers [and sisters] and relatives and friends, and some of you they will put to death” (Luke 21:16). He included “sisters” too! Likewise, it is possible to include the sisters of Jesus in Matthew 12:46: “While he was still speaking to the people, behold, his mother and his brothers [and sisters] stood outside, asking to speak to him.” So too, when Jesus moved to Capernaum with his mother and brothers that could have also included his sisters as well (John 2:12, see also John 7:3, 5). His sisters may have also been in the Upper Room with the disciples before Pentecost: “All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers [and sisters].

Don’t worry Brother Curmudgeon. Our new English translations aren’t changing the Scriptures. They are becoming more accurate.

Sleeping in the Back of the Boat

“Wanda Sue” stranded after a 21-foot tide exchange in Mexico

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? 

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. 

 The Holy Bible: New International Version. (1984). (Mt 6:25–34). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.

Jesus was exhausted. It was the end of a very long day of teaching and preaching and he just needed to get away from it all. At evening, he got in a boat and told his disciples, “Let’s go across to the other side of the lake.” Then he fell asleep so soundly that even a hurricane couldn’t wake him. Have you ever wondered how that was possible? (Mark 4:30-34)

Take a minute this morning to make a list of all the things that keep you up at night or the things that wake you up in the wee hours of the morning and prevent you from falling back to sleep. Now spend your second minute giving each of those worries to God. As you pray, draw a line through each worry knowing God will take care of it. Finally, spend your third minute thanking God for carrying those burdens for you and asking for His help to let go.