Thursday, November 22, 2012

Faith Beyond Fish and Bread

Mark 8
11 The Pharisees came and began to question Jesus. To test him, they asked him for a sign from heaven. 12 He sighed deeply and said, “Why does this generation ask for a sign? Truly I tell you, no sign will be given to it.” 13 Then he left them, got back into the boat and crossed to the other side.

Lord Jesus--I can miss the point so easily. Your work in my life is not about proof...signs and wonders.  They are points that lead in a direction.  There is nothing that is random or without a purpose.  All of them are to be used to point toward you...I just need to look for the intention and the direction.  The point is not fish, bread or whatever the present tense need is.  The point is deeper and wider than that.The point is that no matter what face the present need may take, you are going to use them to shape me and mold me. 

It is not random circumstance no matter how much it appears to be the case on this side of the looking glass.  There is intention...there is molding that is going on...there is obedience that is called for. It looks much different from my end of the heaven to earth continuum   It looks, random, hopeless and chaotic at best. But then you know that better than I do...

I understand what drove these leaders of their faith to look for understanding, and sure things. The problem is simple.  The only sure thing is that you will continue to lead.  The next steps will always require faith...there will be the need to reach beyond what is a sure thing.  Faith and grace are never from each other.

14 The disciples had forgotten to bring bread, except for one loaf they had with them in the boat. 15 “Be careful,” Jesus warned them. “Watch out for the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod.”

Lord Jesus-When you were talking about had nothing to do with fish and bread.  It had everything to do with the way that these religious elite approached the world and especially the way that they approached God. They approached you through what they knew expecting it was the whole of revelation. 

You surprised them you moved beyond their limited often you surprise me.  Don't allow me to get hardening of the categories.  The faith walk continues far beyond my limited ability to understand...beyond my limited theological and ecclesiastical categories.  

In the journey that awaits me today, focus my heart on the things that are really important.  Not fish and bread but your much to rejoice in and be thankful for...

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Tricks With Fish and Bread?


008 [8.1-3] At about this same time he again found himself with a hungry crowd on his hands. He called his disciples together and said, “This crowd is breaking my heart. They have stuck with me for three days, and now they have nothing to eat. If I send them home hungry, they’ll faint along the way—some of them have come a long distance.” [8.4] His disciples responded, “What do you expect us to do about it? Buy food out here in the desert?

Lord Jesus--I wonder what would happen if the Sunday sermon went on for three days without coffee or a break? These people did not miss out on the blessing because they were willing to wait, to listen and to stay with you during those three days in the desert.  I wonder how that played out...were there breaks in the teaching? Did they ration out the water that was available? Do I miss out sometimes because I leave for home too soon?

If you were concerned with these peoples needs after three days how much more is there concern for those who walk with you a life time? How often does your heart break  for the needs that you are  fully aware of?  Yet, on my side of the earth-heaven continuum I remain unaware of that breaking heart of my Lord.

So maybe my default should be to assume that you know exactly what is needed.  That you are working in ways that are unseen to bring about exactly the feast that is needed at exactly the right time.  My part is to listen, to watch, to respond with faith when needed.  Was there just a hint of sarcasm in the voice of the disciples as they look around and said..."What do you expect us to do about it?" losing the sarcasm would also be a move toward positive...

[8.5] He asked, “How much bread do you have?” “Seven loaves,” they said. [8.6-10] So Jesus told the crowd to sit down on the ground. After giving thanks, he took the seven bread loaves, broke them into pieces, and gave them to his disciples so they could hand them out to the crowd. They also had a few fish. He pronounced a blessing over the fish and told his disciples to hand them out as well. The crowd ate its fill. Seven sacks of leftovers were collected. There were well over four thousand at the meal. Then he sent them home. He himself went straight to the boat with his disciples and set out for Dalmanoutha. [8.11-12] When they arrived, the Pharisees came out and started in on him, badgering him to prove himself, pushing him up against the wall. Provoked, he said, “Why does this generation clamor for miraculous guarantees? If I have anything to say about it, you’ll not get so much as a hint of a guarantee.”

Lord Jesus--Do I buy into the same way of looking at miracles that the Pharisees did?  They were not looking at the people impacted but rather for a guarantee of authenticity of the act performed. For you the act was a validation of seeing a known need and seeking to address the need.  It was not q theological debate that moved your heart but rather the needs of these people who cared enough about the message to listen even with out eating.

Peterson, Eugene H. (2006-06-15). The Message Remix 2.0: The Bible In contemporary Language (Kindle Locations 30794-30802). NAVPress - A. Kindle Edition. 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Open Eyes and Ears

Mark 7

[7.31-35] Then he left the region of Tyre, went through Sidon back to Galilee Lake and over to the district of the Ten Towns. Some people brought a man who could neither hear nor speak and asked Jesus to lay a healing hand on him. 

Lord Jesus--I wonder who these people were who brought this needy man to you.  They were powerless to help him themselves except in this small way.  They could bring him to the person that could meet his need. Yet this simple act changed his life.  

So often I think of evangelism in such static ways.  As if there are rules to telling people about you. Really, what you want me to do is to bring needy people to the place where they can expect help.  Teach me the simple thing that this needy man's friends instinctively knew.  Forgive me for making telling someone about you a difficult stilted should be as natural as breathing, or talking about a well loved friend.

He took the man off by himself, put his fingers in the man’s ears and some spit on the man’s tongue. Then Jesus looked up in prayer, groaned mightily, and commanded, “Ephphatha!—Open up!” And it happened. The man’s hearing was clear and his speech plain—just like that

Lord Jesus--This man had lived in the quiet dark all his life.   The miracle was more than just helping him hear and speak.  You restored what had never been experienced.  You gave to this man an understanding of speech and sight that he never had before.  You helped him see and understand what he was seeing.  

How often do I see what is right before my eyes and yet miss the point entirely?  I like to think of myself as a bright person but I can be so thick.  I trip over what you put in front of my feet...all the while looking for your will. Restore and reorder my sight and hearing.  Don't let me miss your will on the way to doing your will. 

Lord Jesus-In the day that awaits me in a few hours, open my eyes and ears.  Help me to experience life with eyes wide open and ears that are listening for your call. 

[7.36-37] Jesus urged them to keep it quiet, but they talked it up all the more, beside themselves with excitement. “He’s done it all and done it well. He gives hearing to the deaf, speech to the speechless.

Peterson, Eugene H. (2006-06-15). The Message Remix 2.0: The Bible In contemporary Language (Kindle Locations 30784-30790). NAVPress - A. Kindle Edition.