Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Fish Lips and Faith

Matthew 17:24-27
24 After they arrived in Capernaum, the collectors of the temple tax came to Peter and said, “Your teacher pays the double drachma tax, doesn’t he?” 

This is a little vignette of irony that just jumps off the page at me…

Lord Jesus--You are the son of God, your father owns the temple and here this temple tax collector is asking for the temple tax.  I wonder if this person put it together after the resurrection…I   wonder if this person was ever a believer.  This little incident would be something to remember and say…I can’t believe that I ever did that.

25 He said, “Yes.” When Peter came into the house, Jesus spoke to him first, “What do you think, Simon? From whom do earthly kings collect tolls or taxes—from their sons or from foreigners?”26 After he said, “From foreigners,” Jesus said to him, “Then the sons are free.

Lord Jesus-You picked up on the irony of the situation.  They were calling you’re a foreigner in your own father’s house. I wonder if there was a slight sardonic smirk that crossed your face.

 27 But so that we don’t offend them, go to the lake and throw out a hook. Take the first fish that comes up, and when you open its mouth, you will find a four-drachma coin. Take that and give it to them for me and you.”

Lord Jesus-You know where the money is coming from that we need. You know if it is by usual means or by your active intervention.  You are engaged in the process that supplies the needs of your people.   It is your intervention that has allowed us the skills that we have and the level of successes that your people have experienced.  We participate in that blessing  and you continue to lead and guide.   It is not ours to hold to in fact the more we hold on to stuff the less we can trust in the giver of every good gift that comes our way.  The provision that evidences comes from your hand not matter who's name is on the signature line of the check.

Remind us of the fish story and what it means…stewardship is trust that the fish will be there when they are needed. Our job is to keep fishing in all of the ways that are available to us in all of the places where we can, in all the ways that we can, for as long as we can.  

Maybe the problem at times is we just don’t go fishing enough in the right place and look enough fish in the mouth.   

James 1:17
17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

The Road Runs Through Me

I could have anticipated that the road is more than a metaphor in my life...the journey has in so many ways come to define my life.  Life is traveling around sometimes over the same itinerary again and again. It is a part of the job but beyond that it has become a part of my life.  The car, the open road  with tunes playing in the background and a goal in mind for the day.

The travel is not the point it is a part of the process to resolve the issue, to problem solve and to be able to move on.  So much of life is like that...process that leads to resolution that results in outcomes that require more resolution.  Problem solving that in it's self creates reactions that were not anticipated.  That in turn needs fine tuning that leads to further needed action...points me toward the spiritual.  The reality is: that process continues in my heart not just my head.  There are issues, problems which lead to resolution which leads to the challenge of an new set of changes that are called for.  And the road goes on right straight though my heart.

Lord Jesus--When you called me to follow you, I never realize that it would be a dynamic process over time, space and a life time of change.  Why did I get this picture at the beginning that one decision and the matter was settled? I chose to follow you and that has lead to a million decisions that rested on that first choice. It has been a more of a adventure. The road to kingdom come runs straight and true even when from my end all I see is asphalt.

The connection between process and product is not always direct.  The connection between journey and destination sometimes is a twisted blindsided highway.  That does not mean that I have somehow gone off track if I end up places that I didn't anticipate.  It just means I have to trust the One who led me and that He will continue to lead.

The road is about process and movement toward an end that is known from the start of the trip.  It is occasioned by all sorts of things...but the end result is that there is the need for relationship building.  One way or another that is always a part of my travels.  That is the direct connection to my Jesus walk daily...

Amos 3:3
Can two people walk together without agreeing on the direction?
If there is any fundamental lesson that I learned in this walk with Jesus it is that all of life is about relationship building.  This picture of Sweet and myself is one of my favorite.  First, it is at a place that we love to go.  The sand and the sea of the Outer Banks is my favorite.  I am not sure why I like this picutre so much.  I guess it is that we are headed in the same direction and the sun is is late fall and we remain together.  How much better does it get?

Does the road run through me? Yes, and it is the highway of the King.

A Step or Two Beyond A Lewis Quote

"If I am a field that contains nothing but grass-seed, I cannot produce wheat. Cutting the grass may keep it short: but I shall still produce grass and no wheat. If I want to produce wheat, the change must go deeper than the surface. I must be ploughed up and re-sown."
C. S. Lewis ~ Mere Christianity

This quote got me thinking. Clearly, Lewis has in mind that a Christ follower has something occur that is a fundamental difference in kind from what they were before. The difference between grass and wheat.

Most of the time in the church we look for differences in degree. Better attendance, better giving, more baptisms, professions of faith. The church in Saratoga Sunday attendance is...

Numbers in general are counting out differences in degree. It was 83 yesterday. John Doe hasn't missed a Sunday all year, or has brought 15 of his friends to church...or has read his Bible through every year for the last 15 years. All are good things, but not the best thing.

What Lewis is pointing to clearly is if we are looking for something that numbers can never indicate. He is pointing to a difference in kind. Grass and wheat are both plants but one is ground cover and one is a source of food. One looks nice and one is productive. One according to Jesus is burnt up and the other is gathered into barns for safekeeping.

Here is the thing...I am clear that a fundamental difference occurs at conversion. It is written across the gospels in love and in large print letters. But that change is on going and points toward a harvest that occurs repeatedly. The harvest itself creating the seeds for the next years harvest. So difference in kind leads to ongoing organic growth that is not forced or stilted but instead the natural thing that wheat does. It requires ploughing and sowing and reaping. It is a field,  a life and an organic process that continues to be tended.

Lord Jesus--So where are the places that ploughing is required? Where are the places where planting is taking place? Where in my life do I sense without any doubt the blessing and fruitful harvest of the Holy Spirits work?  Thank you for the Holy Spirit's ongoing tending in my life.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

More Not Just More

Mark 10
[10.17] As he went out into the street, a man came running up, greeted him with great reverence, and asked, “Good Teacher, what must I do to get eternal life?” 

Lord Jesus-This person was someone who was thoughtful, motivated and resourced. He comes with exactly the right questions. A great start, but...

[10.18-19] Jesus said, “Why are you calling me good? No one is good, only God. You know the commandments: Don’t murder, don’t commit adultery, don’t steal, don’t lie, don’t cheat, honor your father and mother.” [10.20] He said, “Teacher, I have—from my youth—kept them all!”
[10.21] Jesus looked him hard in the eye—and loved him!

Lord Jesus--You could see into his heart and mind..and your reaction spoke volumes.  You loved him. What was about this person that tugged at your heart?  Was it the sincerity with which he followed the commandments?  Was it his need for something more?  Something beyond stuff?  More not just more...

It is so easy to get lost in stuff that will eventually rot, rust and crumble. There will always be the latest and the greatest which we will be told is the best.  Lord Jesus--You did not fall into that trap.  You want more for us than just stuff.

 He said, “There’s one thing left: Go sell whatever you own and give it to the poor. All your wealth will then be heavenly wealth. And come follow me.” [10.22] The man’s face clouded over. This was the last thing he expected to hear, and he walked off with a heavy heart. He was holding on tight to a lot of things, and not about to let go.

Lord Jesus-The hard part is to know when to let go and when to hold on.  So often, it is after the fact that is is clear that holding on is just exactly the opposite of you want for me.  This person could not let go...could not open his hands and put them in yours. It sounds so easy as I write this but it isn't.  Following you is a full time job.

A very wise person once said, "The good is always the enemy of the best."  A great start is not enough...a strong finish is what is needed.  We really don't know the rest of the story with this man.  We know that this interchange ended with the price too high for his willingness to commit.  Truth be told,  the same could be said of me at junctures of my life. Yet you bring me back again and again to a place where my original "No" is transformed into a grateful "Yes." I wonder if the same happened with this man.

In this day that will pull me towards it with the force of gravity, let me find my resting place in you...a place of more not just more.  A place where "Yes" comes naturally... spontaneously.

Peterson, Eugene H. (2006-06-15). The Message Remix 2.0: The Bible In contemporary Language (Kindle Locations 30897-30904). NAVPress - A. Kindle Edition.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Forbid Them Not

  Mark 10
[10.13-16] The people brought children to Jesus, hoping he might touch them. The disciples shooed them off. But Jesus was irate and let them know it: “Don’t push these children away. Don’t ever get between them and me. These children are at the very center of life in the kingdom.

Lord Jesus--Here in this passage you were interested in the children that were being brought to you.  They didn't need to be healed they were just brought to you for no other reason than to be blessed by you.

Some of these children would be alive in the years that would see the destruction of their home land.  You knew that as you blessed them.  Some of these children were bound for happiness and some for great sorrow. As they were there before you,  they represented the future, the hope, and the investment of their parents.  There were loved little ones who their parents had taken the time to bring them to see the new Rabbi.

You took the energy and the time to publicly correct the behavior of your disciples.  As you were highlighting the essential role of these children in the kingdom, were you lifting them to the Father in prayer?  Were you asking for their protection? I have a sneaking suspicion that you were.

These words are almost haunting:  “Don’t push these children away. Don’t ever get between them and me." They repeat in my mind.  Lord,  don't let my action or inaction get between you and the little ones that you bring my way.

I wonder about the ways that we push children away right now in the church and in this culture. Family rooms where children are segregated in if a little noise is going to hurt us? Nursing mom's made to feel as if there is something wrong with feeding their children? You said, "Don't push them away."

 Mark this: Unless you accept God’s kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you’ll never get in.” Then, gathering the children up in his arms, he laid his hands of blessing on them.

Lord Jesus--My acceptance of your kingdom is like a child. What are some implications of acceptance as a child?  There is vulnerability. There are almost limitless questions.  There is trust. There is energy. There is emotion. There is unbounded enthusiastic acceptance. Yes, I have to accept your kingdom's rule in my heart and life like a child.

Remind me of the blessing that comes with acceptance as a child when the vulnerability gets overwhelming.  Push me toward trust at the critical moments.  In the day the will begin before I am ready for it...let me live out your call in this day...a call to trust, vulnerability and accepting what this day brings as from your hand.

Peterson, Eugene H. (2006-06-15). The Message Remix 2.0: The Bible In contemporary Language (Kindle Locations 30893-30896). NAVPress - A. Kindle Edition. 

Saturday, March 2, 2013


Mark 10

010 [10.1-2] From there he went to the area of Judea across the Jordan. A crowd of people, as was so often the case, went along, and he, as he so often did, taught them. Pharisees came up, intending to give him a hard time. They asked, “Is it legal for a man to divorce his wife?” [10.3] Jesus said, “What did Moses command?” [10.4] They answered, “Moses gave permission to fill out a certificate of dismissal and divorce her.” [10.5-9] Jesus said, “Moses wrote this command only as a concession to your hardhearted ways.

Lord Jesus-Concessions and hardheartedness are themes that have dogged the steps of your people. You were there when Moses made this decision to allow divorce.  These leaders who were tracking you around the country really were not interested in divorce   They just wanted to trip you and trap you.   You weren't interested in legality.  You were interested in soul work. You met them at the point of their questions...I would not have been that generous.

As I write this I wonder, where are the places that  I am hardhearted?  Where are the places where I just don't want to listen? If we were sitting on this park bench talking to me you might point them out...places where I hold on to tradition in stead of your grace.  Issues that I find it easier to avoid, than to look them squarely in the eye.

There are are those places where I think that I am being tenacious and you know me for who I am...stubborn and set in my ways.  Forgive me for the confusion and move me beyond my blind spots by your grace.  You continue to be interested in soul work and you call me to being open to you call in all sorts of places.  Lately,  I have noticed that you seem to be handling my blind spots differently.  It seems as if you edge me right up to them.   Then somehow you allow them to break through to the still, quiet place in my heart and the tears come.  I am not sure I like this recent turn of events and the Spirit's work, but I will follow wherever you lead.

In this day help me to follow you and to listen in the quiet place that the Spirit speaks to my heart words of grace, hope and courage.

Peterson, Eugene H. (2006-06-15). The Message Remix 2.0: The Bible In contemporary Language (Kindle Locations 30884-30892). NAVPress - A. Kindle Edition.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Friends in Darkness and Light

Mark 9

[9.43-48] “If your hand or your foot gets in God’s way, chop it off and throw it away. You’re better off maimed or lame and alive than the proud owner of two hands and two feet, godless in a furnace of eternal fire. And if your eye distracts you from God, pull it out and throw it away. You’re better off one-eyed and alive than exercising your twenty-twenty vision from inside the fire of hell. [9.49-50] “Everyone’s going through a refining fire sooner or later, but you’ll be well-preserved, protected from the eternal flames.

Lord Jesus--This is one of those spots that the words get twisted and the message gets lost.  The message is of the importance of focus on your kingdom not on body parts thrown away.  The focus is on your kingdom not necessarily the church. The focus needs to be on the message and on the interactions with that message among the people we meet along the way.  Anything that distracts or distorts that interaction needs to be jettisoned for the sake of the mission.

My interactions with the people that surround me are important. The relationships are of eternal importance.  This warning is found just after you pointed to the fellow travelers on the road to kingdom come and reminded me of the need to protect those who are just putting their roots down into the faith.

You want me to be a light the shines in the darkness even if the darkness doesn't notice.  There are times when it feels as if the darkness that surrounds is suffocating.    There are also, those times when it feels as if the darkness is intoxicating. Your quiet and reoccurring call to me is to shine without distraction. The call is to focus on you on your life and light, on your grace and hope,  not the darkness that surrounds and at times seeps inside me.

In this day, help me to be redemptively aware of the hope that infuses every moment that I allow myself to focus on you.

Peterson, Eugene H. (2006-06-15). The Message Remix 2.0: The Bible In contemporary Language (Kindle Locations 30877-30881). NAVPress - A. Kindle Edition. 

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Don't Miss The Friends Along the Way

Mark 9
[9.38] John spoke up, “Teacher, we saw a man using your name to expel demons and we stopped him because he wasn't in our group.” [9.39-41] Jesus wasn't pleased. “Don’t stop him. No one can use my name to do something good and powerful, and in the next breath cut me down.

Lord Jesus-I am sure that I miss allies all the time because they don't fit into my little view of your kingdom. The more I walk with you, the more I am aware of the inclusive nature of your call. You call me to following you and to being aware of the people who are headed in the same direction.

If he’s not an enemy, he’s an ally. Why, anyone by just giving you a cup of water in my name is on our side. Count on it that God will notice.

Today help me be aware of the cups of water along the way sometimes I miss them because they come in many different forms. A word of encouragement at the right time...a smile at the needed time...

 [9.42] “On the other hand, if you give one of these simple, childlike believers a hard time, bullying or taking advantage of their simple trust, you’ll soon wish you hadn't  You’d be better off dropped in the middle of the lake with a millstone around your neck.

Lord Jesus--It is a scared trust that you call me to.  To be aware of and encourage the trust of those whose faith is just taking root.  There can be no Crystal Cathedral's in my future.  Just places of grace where fellow travelers on the road to Kingdom Come share the journey.

So in the day that is going to start in just a couple of hours let me be hope, and light in this day for you.

Peterson, Eugene H. (2006-06-15). The Message Remix 2.0: The Bible In contemporary Language (Kindle Locations 30871-30877). NAVPress - A. Kindle Edition.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

First? Right? Left or Down the Middle


[9.33] They came to Capernaum. When he was safe at home, he asked them, “What were you discussing on the road?”

Lord Jesus--There are sometimes that the gotcha comes after the fact. They had been discussing pecking order.  You knew it. I wonder if they knew you knew.

[9.34] The silence was deafening—they had been arguing with one another over who among them was greatest.

I wonder what criteria they were using? Who had done the most miracles? Who had cast out the most demons?  Who had heal the most sick?  How did they parse it out?  How many repented?  Did they keep a count on how many notches they had on their gospel gun? 

The criteria of evaluation is something that is important to you. Isn't Lord?   It is not a standard that is comfortable. All of the activities are not the standard. In the church too long we looked to the wrong criteria   At times we have thought that it about we we have done.  There have been times when we think that the standards are about not doing behaviors and activities. There is always talk about lowering the standards...but really the standard could be any higher. 

[9.35] He sat down and summoned the Twelve. “So you want first place? Then take the last place. Be the servant of all.”

The standard that you set was servant-hood. Everything else is out of my control. I can choose to serve.  You choose to bless as you see fit.  Everything else is window dressing on a window that doesn't exist. 

I guess this is where political agenda's of the christian right, middle and left need to come face to face with you.  My political agenda needs to be yours...serving the needs of the oppressed, living out a generous orthodoxy that doesn't throw stones at anyone but serves with grace in the middle of need. 

 [9.36-37] He put a child in the middle of the room. Then, cradling the little one in his arms, he said, “Whoever embraces one of these children as I do embraces me, and far more than me—God who sent me.”

Lord Jesus--So where does the child come it? Service and love with no thought of reciprocity? So much of the church is about giving with the implication of reciprocity...of receiving at some point in the future. Yet, servants serve because that is what they are called to do.

Lord Jesus--Today help me get this is really so do justice, to love mercy, to walk humbly with you. That is the job description for today, give me the strength and grace for the task.

Micah 6:8 

He has told you, O man, what is good;
And what does the Lord require of you
But to do justice, to love kindness,
And to walk humbly with your God?

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Except By Prayer

Mark 9

[9.25-27] Seeing that the crowd was forming fast, Jesus gave the vile spirit its marching orders: “Dumb and deaf spirit, I command you—Out of him, and stay out!” Screaming, and with much thrashing about, it left. The boy was pale as a corpse, so people started saying, “He’s dead.” But Jesus, taking his hand, raised him. The boy stood up.

Lord Jesus--I would not want to miss the happy ending in the middle of thinking about belief and trusting you.  The story of this boy and his oppression by evil end in what some thought was death but was really the last gasping breathes of evil kicking and screaming as it left.

[9.28] After arriving back home, his disciples cornered Jesus and asked, “Why couldn't we throw the demon out?” [9.29] He answered, “There is no way to get rid of this kind of demon except by prayer.”

This incident occurred because the disciples were unable to cast the demon out of this little one.  So they brought him to you after you returned from the mountain. Peter, James and John had seen you revealed in all your glory. I wonder what Moses was talking with you about? Elijah did he talk to you of his days since leaving planet Earth? Did he have concerns about the company that you were keeping? It was a mountain top experience that overwhelmed the boys. I am sure that I would have been the amen section for Peter on that day.  "Tents, tabernacles...sound like a good idea to me...Amen Peter.  Let's get it together."  

They saw  your glory  revealed just as much when you touched this little and restored hope and life to a person who had experienced such oppression by the evil one.  The lesson that the boys needed to learn again and again was that power comes not from doing, but from being connected to the source of power.  Prayer was and still is the only way that spiritual progress can be made. 

You still release from oppression  you still call me to the work of prayer. Why is it that I still miss it from time to time that it is not in doing that real work gets done but in being in your presence?   In this day that is already pushing at me, lead me in ways of grace, and of being a person of prayer.

Peterson, Eugene H. (2006-06-15). The Message Remix 2.0: The Bible In contemporary Language (Kindle Locations 30857-30862). NAVPress - A. Kindle Edition.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

"If" Revisited

Lord Jesus--That word "If" constrains me.  It was used by the this father with a son oppressed because he had come to the place where he did not trust that God would in fact intercede on the behalf of his son.

So often that is where I find myself and I allow my understanding of the past to impact your future work in my life.  There is no question that you are trustworthy...there is no question that you love with an everlasting love.  I loose track of the fact that my perspective of the past is twisted.  I am not an accurate reporter of your grace experienced in my life.  I don't see it all and can't understand it all.  Sometimes I can't even see it all.

So the growing edge is to trust even when I don't see it clearly...or don't understand it. Will never understand it this side of the pearly gates.  Trust and praise become the default...not "if."

That is the growing edge. Praise and trust release your work with in me, "if" limits, constrains and confines.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

If is a Big Word

Mark 9

[9.14-16] When they came back down the mountain to the other disciples, they saw a huge crowd around them, and the religion scholars cross-examining them. As soon as the people in the crowd saw Jesus, admiring excitement stirred them. They ran and greeted him. He asked, “What’s going on? What’s all the commotion?” [9.17-18] A man out of the crowd answered, “Teacher, I brought my mute son, made speechless by a demon, to you. Whenever it seizes him, it throws him to the ground. He foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth, and goes stiff as a board. I told your disciples, hoping they could deliver him, but they couldn't ” [9.19-20] Jesus said, “What a generation! No sense of God! How many times do I have to go over these things? How much longer do I have to put up with this? Bring the boy here.” They brought him. When the demon saw Jesus, it threw the boy into a seizure, causing him to writhe on the ground and foam at the mouth. [9.21-22] He asked the boy’s father, “How long has this been going on?” “Ever since he was a little boy. Many times it pitches him into fire or the river to do away with him. If you can do anything, do it. Have a heart and help us!” [9.23] Jesus said, “If? There are no ‘ifs’ among believers. Anything can happen.” [9.24] No sooner were the words out of his mouth than the father cried, “Then I believe. Help me with my doubts!

Lord Jesus--I would love to be able to say that I have never felt like this father.  That I have never been on the edges of blessing and yet not yet in the camp.  But I think that all of us live the majority of our lives camped out just a step or two beyond where the blessing reaches.  “Then I believe. Help me with my doubts!” Heart breaking words...yet not unfamiliar to this child of Adam.

I don't often think of this as a prayer but it was spoken to the one who was the agent of the creative process. The one who saw star's born and galaxies gestating was standing before this father with a son twisting in the agony of possession. Dose God hear our prayers?  Absolutely.  Did he hear this prayer spoken by a Father wracked with guilt and obsessed with fears that he might have been the cause of his son's malady? Yes you heard and acted.  Not only did you act but you also left the check book open for all future needs.

Lord Jesus-I love your response to this man...“If? There are no ‘ifs’ among believers. Anything can happen.”  It is almost like you are speaking these words into my heart.  There are no "ifs among believers."  It really doesn't matter about what the crisis of the day is...a furnace, a car, a son in need, a job needed.  You remind me that for believers "Anything can happen."  There are no limits, no constants of money, time, space or age. You can and will act in the middle of our need.  There are no ifs...

To our world that over looks the oppressed and the twisted, you showed us a different way.  You invested time, energy and prophetic insight in addressing their needs. You spoke to a Father who the rest of his community must have written off as a sinner because of the oppression of his son's life by Satan.

In the middle of this life that moves faster and faster, Lord Jesus let my prayers be done with "ifs."

Peterson, Eugene H. (2006-06-15). The Message Remix 2.0: The Bible In contemporary Language (Kindle Locations 30846-30857). NAVPress - A. Kindle Edition.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

It Seemed So Clear But...

Mark 9

[9.9-10] Coming down the mountain, Jesus swore them to secrecy. “Don’t tell a soul what you saw. After the Son of Man rises from the dead, you’re free to talk.” They puzzled over that, wondering what on earth “rising from the dead” meant.

Lord Jesus--After all this time I have the impression that I know you, and yet in the middle of the glory and light of your relationship to the father unveiled the inner circle missed it.  I wonder how much I miss or for that matter all of us miss.  We miss who you are, and your mission even as you are in the process of making that mission clear.

The very landscapes that appear familiar and well traveled can take on a new look.  We know the words and yet something has changed and it leaves us uneasy and a puzzled. The words are not new nor are they an unknown language. But they just don't make sense.  That was where the disciples found themselves. Puzzling over words that they had heard thousands of times and knew from childhood.

Death and messiah did not go together.  It was exactly what they didn't expect. Because of expectations that were not included in the plan, they missed the opportunity to be prepared.  Now it could very well be that this was just the way it needed to be. But I wonder...

Today it leaves me wondering what foreshadowing am I missing because my expectations that are not in line with your plan?  It is so easy to miss the point and to end up in places far from the cross alone and without hope.  That is after all where all of the disciples except John found themselves.  Most were able to make it back, but the cost was high.

So today guide me even when I am not aware of it because my expectations get in the way.  Use these hands and feet today.

 [9.11] Meanwhile they were asking, “Why do the religion scholars say that Elijah has to come first?” [9.12-13] Jesus replied, “Elijah does come first and get everything ready for the coming of the Son of Man. They treated this Elijah like dirt, much like they will treat the Son of Man, who will, according to Scripture, suffer terribly and be kicked around contemptibly.”

Peterson, Eugene H. (2006-06-15). The Message Remix 2.0: The Bible In contemporary Language (Kindle Locations 30840-30845). NAVPress - A. Kindle Edition.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Intersection of Heaven and Earth

See what you think about this quote...I have been writing a bit at my other blog. Check it out.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Rumors Of Glory

Mark 9

9 And Jesus was saying to them, “Truly I say to you, there are some of those who are standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God after it has come with power.”

The Kingdom of God has come in power...and then the transfiguration a glimpse of the glory. Did these three see just a bit of your glory much sooner than the expected?  Death was no where on the horizon for them.  The kingdom of God has come in power?  As they went with you that day, did they think that the road would never end? They had followed you for better part of three years.  There are times when I think that the road goes on forever, but that is not truth.  The road ends with the mission accomplished.  The end of this world will be in you glorified and every wrong, righted.

2 Six days later, Jesus *took with Him Peter and James and John, and *brought them up on a high mountain by themselves. And He was transfigured before them; 3 and His garments became radiant and exceedingly white, as no launderer on earth can whiten them. 4 Elijah appeared to them along with Moses; and they were talking with Jesus.

Lord Jesus-I wonder what Elijah and Moses had to say to you. What were they thinking about your ministry. Where had they been? What these two people could have told us. Did they bring word from the Father? As if He did n't talk with you ongoingly?

So this wasn't something that was surprising to you but it was to the disciples. It would have been frightening, startling, and unsettling, to say the least. Peter, James and John could honestly say, "I see dead people walking." Or at least talking.

5 Peter *said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three tabernacles, one for You, and one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 6 For he did not know what to answer; for they became terrified. 7 Then a cloud formed, overshadowing them, and a voice came out of the cloud, “This is My beloved Son, listen to Him!” 8 All at once they looked around and saw no one with them anymore, except Jesus alone.

Lord Jesus--You told Peter, James and John that they couldn't tell anyone. Could this have become a rumor of your glory in their minds and hearts? "What did that mean? Did we really see the light. We Saw Moses? and Elijah? No, it must have been the heat...couldn't have been."

I wonder if they thought that way? Sometimes what is clear glory can all too easily be transmuted by memory and time into something less. You opened gate to a bigger vision of God for these three...before the resurrection. Before anyone else knew these three of the inner circle were shown a glimpse.

Lord Jesus--There are times when words need to stop.  There is no answer that makes sense and I find myself right where Peter was. Staring into the face of the glorious and talking about silliness.   All that needed to happen was for Peter to be quiet and experience the moment.  Peter wanted to be busy.  Let me know rumors of glory without the need for nervous, anxious activity.  That sense of your presence does motivate and energize...there is joy, hope, a passion to be more than I am when I begin to connect with your glory and grace.

In this day, don't let me be satisfied with nervous activity that substitutes for just being with you as you chose to reveal yourself.  Could I be face to face with your glory revealed today? Absolutely.  If so then help me keep my mouth shut until you give the words that are adequate for the occasion.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

A Thousand Times, Yes!

Mark 8
34 And He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, “If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me. 35 For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it.

Lord Jesus--I have heard these word a thousand times and their call remain strong. They are a re-occurring theme that you bring up to me again and again.  There was a time when I thought of this denying as a single choice, but I have come to see that is is a thousand small choices again and again daily.  The choice is lived out in a thousand contexts over time and space.  How do I follow you in this time and this place? What is your way in this choice that confronts me...what is the next good thing that you are calling me to.  Your way is the way of the giving myself away.

Maybe for some people their life course calls for one white hot choice of self sacrifice...I can think of times and places where that has been called for.  So far, my life course has called me to a thousand less dramatic but none the less needed choices spread out over the arc of a life.  For the time being you have called me to live on the corner of Mercy and Hope, so I will stay camped out there for the duration. 

36 For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?37 For what will a man give in exchange for his soul? 38 For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”

Lord Jesus-The message of the cross is wins...evil is dealt a death blow not by force but by submission and self sacrifice to the will of the Father.  The way of the cross is at odds with control issues and for that matter any dream or goal other than being honest in living out the call to daily walking with you.  So the journey continues today to make your kind of choices.  I get the message loud and clear, and my answer is: "A  thousand times, Yes!"

Lord Jesus help me to choose well today.  Let all my choices today be poured out as an offering to you.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Receiving Unwelcomed News

Mark 8

30-32 Jesus warned them to keep it quiet, not to breathe a word of it to anyone. He then began explaining things to them: “It is necessary that the Son of Man proceed to an ordeal of suffering, be tried and found guilty by the elders, high priests, and religion scholars, be killed, and after three days rise up alive.” He said this simply and clearly so they couldn't miss it.

Lord Jesus- I wonder how I would have reacted to this news.  This was not something that the disciples wanted to was not something that they were expecting to hear. I am sure that I would not have gotten it the first time that you broached this subject.  Denial works well for me and I would have ignored it, or spaced it, or heard it but not understood it. In the end, I would have avoided the reality of it until there was no other choice.  I can almost see the scene.  the disciples gather in a circle around you.  With you just giving them the truth.  I wonder what reaction came from Judas?  Where was John in the mix? Were there other reactions or was there just stunned silence?

32-33 But Peter grabbed him in protest. Turning and seeing his disciples wavering, wondering what to believe, Jesus confronted Peter. “Peter, get out of my way! Satan, get lost! You have no idea how God works.”

Lord Jesus--This is one of those times that it is very dark...expectations are smashed.  Peter goes a step beyond just denial of the newly given information,  he reaches for control, and attempts to direct.

There are times when darkness, has to be noticed and dealt with.  This in another setting might have been something that could have been talked through with Peter.  Here he had to be directly confronted with his almost reflex action.  This is not the last time that Peter had to deal with direct correction.

 Lord Jesus-- Peter has just related his faith in you that you are the Messiah, and yet he attempts to direct you?  Tell you what to do?  I wonder what Peter thought about this later in his life?  Did he think of this incident as he lead the church and dealt with the issues of the every day?  Did he think about his own lack of insight when dealing with the impending death of all his hopes, dreams and expectations?

There is truth that runs down to me from this incident.   It is a truth that stings sometimes.  But I need to hear it from time to time. "You have no idea how God works.”  Peter had no idea how God works and the reality is neither do I sometimes. We walk by faith not by sight. We take each step at a time watch and listening...intent on following.  Following is the point, even when the way is not what I expect want or would chose if given the option.

Lord Jesus--In this day that begins in just a few moments, lead me, continue the process of show me how you work.