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.