January 31, 2012

School's Out, Boys!

My family and I were sitting around the table as I was reading from John 6.  This is the account of when with only 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish Jesus fed the 5,000 people who came to hear him speak.

We were trying to imagine the thoughts of "the boy" who brought along his little sack lunch to hear this Teacher speak, unaware of what's about to be asked of him by the Master.  We were picturing the look on the disciples' face as the mass of people approached them. 

Then Jesus says, "Hey boys, how are we going to feed these people"?  (paraphrased by ME:))  

Knowing Jesus' concern was not about how He was going to feed the people but rather TEACHING a lesson, we tried to put ourselves in the disciples shoes.  And even that of the little boy.  Jesus' questions ALWAYS had a purpose far BEYOND what the disciples could decipher.  They were clueless most of the time.  But that is exactly what this time was for.
....learning.  watching.  hearing.  
seeing.  becoming.  experiencing. 
understanding.  and believing.

Jesus called these 12 clueless but eager boys to come alongside Him not because He needed companionship.  Jesus was a fun guy I am SURE of it :)  And no doubt He enjoyed their friendship and company very much.  He loved them all ------
-----with His LIFE.

But He (the Master) called them to be alongside Him for a GREATER purpose. A purpose that would be revealed only in time with seeing eyes and an understanding heart.  He called them his disciples.  Disciple: student.  follower.  pupil.  

All this time they've sat at His feet and listened.  They followed Him everywhere and heard Him teach the crowds.  They watched him with the people....His compassion and kindness; tenderness and grace. And let's not forget His inexhaustible PATIENCE!!!!!!  With them in their ignorance, misunderstandings and immaturity but also with the people who crossed His path.  An understanding patience and an amazing grace.  His extraordinary love and mercy they saw displayed everywhere He went.  They came to KNOW Him, His character and His ways.  They experienced every miracle and the intricate and clever way that He not only HEALED and performed miracles for the most desperate and destitute individuals but how He also left EVERYTHING changed.  Not just their circumstances but the very air around them and the hearts of the ones whom He touched and those who were present to see it.  EVERYTHING He did brought with it a life-transforming power that left NOTHING untouched when He showed up!!!!!
It was ALL part of "the plan".  
He had a purpose in mind behind every miracle and behind every word.  To point whoever was near to the Father.  

                                                           evidence on display!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  
                                    Jesus SHOWED up to SHOW off!!!!!!  :)  
Not ever to His credit or for His glory.  He was showing off His Father. 

And the disciples?  THEY were along for the ride!!!!!  LEARNING along the way.  Learning how to do it ........JUST like Jesus!!!  Learning the Word.  (while the very Word Himself was among them!!!!!!!)  
Look at the way the Message words it! :)

John 1:14-18 The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood!
 We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory,       
.............................like Father, like Son! 
We got the basics from Moses, and then this exuberant giving and receiving, This endless knowing and understanding!!!!!  all this came through Jesus, the Messiah. No one has ever seen God, not so much as a glimpse.
   This one-of-a-kind God-Expression,
      ..................who exists at the very heart of the Father,
      has made him plain as day. 

They, as His disciples, were in training. 
(even though these 12 clueless men weren't aware of it :))
Finding their master with a lesson in hand at every turn...on purpose.  
.......................................Clever teacher :)

Then they went through the confusion and devastation of watching this incredibly brilliant and powerful Master/ Teacher/ Friend/ Son of God die.  
..............................only to follow with the ecstatic joy of His miraculous resurrection. 
He NOW calls them APOSTLES.
They are no longer His pupils.  They are now His spokesmen.  His voice.  His hands.  His feet.  His messengers.  His ambassadors!!!!!!!!  Proclaiming the Word as they saw it, heard it, touched it, learned it and experienced it.  

Now it's time for them to GO.

From being the learned to becoming the teacher. 
Now that they KNOW-----it's TIME.
Ecclesiastes 3:1 There is a time for everything,
   and a season for every activity under the heavens:
   7.........a time to be silent [and listen] and a time to speak.
A time for learning and a time for putting to good use what you know!!!!!

Hebrews 6:1 says this:
Therefore let us move beyond the elementary teachings about Christ and be taken forward to maturity. 



School's out boys.  Now it's time to LIVE it.

 Jesus didn't leave them to do it on their own though.  He wasn't leaving them powerless.  They couldn't POSSIBLY "do like Jesus" on their own abilities and limited knowledge.  He gave them an invaluable tool:  The Holy Spirit.

Without it their words are powerless and their efforts futile. 

The disciples in training became apostles on the move with POWER to bring the Gospel as they heard it, learned it, studied it, understood it, and experienced it.

Once you hear and develop an understanding of the Word and God Himself and are forever changed by it you are responsible for what you know.  You are responsible to be His ambassador and 
...................SHOW UP to show OFF!!!!!!!!!!  :)
Not to your credit but to point others to the Father.  
To be His voice, His spokesman, His hands, His feet to a lost and hopeless world.
Evidence on display.  

I read this by Gloria Copeland:
"When it comes down to it, power is what people of the world are looking for today. They have problems with no answers. They're sick. They're hooked on alcohol and drugs. Their relationships are tearing them apart. The devil has turned their lives so upside down, they don't know where to go or what to do to get things fixed. People like that don't care very much about what you believe. They don't care if you talk in tongues and dance in the aisles or sit up straight and sing out of a hymnal. But if you have the power to get their bodies healed and their lives straightened out, they'll come wherever you are. Not only that, they'll listen to what you say. That's the kind of credibility God wants to establish. He wants the Church in our day to have the same reputation Jesus had when He was on the earth. He wants people to say about us what they said about those first-generation disciples, "If you go where they are, you can get healed." You're doing what God sent you to do. You're destroying the works of the devil. And in Jesus' Name, you're turning this old upside-down world right side up again!"

Live your life like THAT!!!!! With evidence on display of a God who is full of POWER! A power that will change everyone and everything it comes in contact with!!! A power that can transform a life and change the most hopeless case into one of hope!!! Evidence that there IS a GOD!!!!!!!! A God Who is Sovereign and Just and Good and full of Grace and Compassion and love!!!   You've learned Him and come to KNOW Him.  You've experienced Him and You've seen Him at work.  You've heard His voice.  Now it's time to GO.

Acts 20:24 What matters most to me is to finish what God started: the job the Master Jesus gave me of letting everyone I meet know all about this incredibly extravagant generosity of God.

“Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary,

---- use words.”  Saint Francis of Assisi

January 19, 2012

The King's Highway!

The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both......
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

"Pick a lane and commit!"  These were my mother's words as I learned to drive a vehicle for the first time wandering back and forth between two lanes.  I hear her words of frustration echo in my mind as I read the words of Robert Frost.  He finds himself at a crossroads.  He could go in two very different directions.  He counts the cost as he stands there.  But a side MUST be chosen.    His decision he KNOWS will be met with a sigh of contentment one day.  "It made all the difference".......in the end.

Where will YOU find yourself at the end of your life?  As you JOURNEY life you will either find yourself on the road that is paved with Peace and GOODNESS, LIFE and JOY and the favor of God.

.............or in the way that is paved with  unrest and frustration. 
Elijah confronted the prophets of Baal in 1 Kings 18:21...... "How long will you go back and forth between two opinions?"  How long will you sit on the fence?  Either go with GOD or don't.  Either you believe Him or don't.  Either you surrender ALL and follow Him.  Or you don't follow Him at all.  Make up your minds here and now."  (paraphrased by me for emphasis) 
Joshua said the same thing to the Israelites in Joshua 24:15  But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve.  AS FOR ME?------I WILL SERVE THE LORD.

It's time to pick a side.
Choose wisely.

"The way of holiness is not a track for slaves, but the King's highway for freemen". -Charles Spurgeon  

We travel the KING'S highway!!!  
.............and on that road we find peace, rest for our souls, life, goodness, blessings and a freedom that cannot be found ANY OTHER WAY on any other road.  

The supposedly "freeing" lifestyle choices can no longer ensnare or have dominion over us. Talk to a homeless drug addict on the street, and ask if he feels like he has liberty and freedom in life. Speak with a young lady who has to make the decision whether to keep, abort or give up her soon to be daughter because she can't afford to raise a child. Do these situations ring of freedom to you? Jesus said that He came to give us life abundantly. Not a life of rules and restrictions, but a freedom to live as the people we were made to be. (-excerpt from Relevant Magazine)

It doesn't make sense with earthly reasoning that surrendering your life to God would be a liberating thing.  Living your life surrendered to God does not bring with it a life lived with restrictions...it brings with it a liberty and a freedom....and made possible because of Grace.

Follow HIM-------"and you will LIVE"

John 10:10  The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance (to the full, till it overflows).

There are religions that regulate every detail of life, eating, washing, sleeping and marriage. These are religious systems – keep all these rules and you will live. But the greatness of Jesus is that He brought no religious obligations and observances whatsoever. He reduced everything to a single principle - loving trust in Christ. Life is not lived by rules. His rule covers all rules – ‘Seek first the Kingdom of God... and all these things shall be added to you’ (Matthew 6:33). REINHARD BONNKE
We just have to take a look at those who have gone before us.  Those who have "Been there.  Done that."  Those that can testify to the Truth found in God's word.  If you follow in their footsteps as they did you will not be disappointed.   You will come to the end of your life satisfied, content and at rest.   ....having taken that road less traveled.  
And at the end of your journey you will find Him say, "Well done." 

Isaiah 30:21  Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”

Isaiah talks about this highway.  Isaiah 35:8-9 And a highway shall be there, and a way; and it shall be called the Holy Way. The unclean shall not pass over it, but it shall be for the redeemed; the wayfaring men, yes, the simple ones and fools, shall not err in it and lose their way.  No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it; they shall not be found there. But the redeemed shall walk on it. 

If you find yourself at a crossroads in life you must choose wisely.
The direction you choose will determine the course of your life and HOW you journey it.  If you choose the road paved with Peace you will NEVER find yourself traveling alone.  You will find that Someone has already gone ahead of you and paved that path smooth.  Neither road will be easy.  But One comes with HOPE and a FUTURE with promise and GOODNESS and blessings and PEACE leading the way.

Jeremiah 6:16 This is what the LORD says:   
 “Stand at the crossroads and look;
   ask for the ancient paths,
ask where the good way is, and walk in it,  and you will find rest for your souls