The “suddenly” moments. “Suddenly” a leper shows up in a massive crowd. Doesn’t that seem a bit odd? If lepers came too close to people, stones were thrown at them out of fear of contamination. How is it that a leper could possibly get close to Jesus unnoticed, when he is pressed by the crowds?
Scripture describes You as fully human. You would have to be fully vulnerable to the most alluring choices; the easiest choice; the most self-honouring choice, especially given the circumstance of being in need of everything. If this experience occurred in order to reveal Your strength, it is a real possibility that You were not yet aware of the strength of the bond You shared with the Godhead. How would You have known that before this? It would have to be, to a degree, theory for You. If You have never experienced the vulnerability of separation, how would You know that the strength would be available?
Tell me again Jesus, how does that work? God, from beyond physical boundaries, places Himself within his creation so that Creator and created can meet at eye-level. ~ Jesus, you realize, I’ve been told my whole life that it was all about the ending. It is all about you reconciling all things to yourself (Colossians 1:15-20). And that is why I struggle with the need for 33 years. You could have sacrificed yourself in a much shorter timeframe.
“So if God is such a loving God, how could he, in the Old Testament, command the slaughter of innocent babies and women and every living thing?” And with that, his laughter was more of a closing statement. “I’ve got you and you know I’m right.”
Worse yet, I felt he did have me, even though I was convinced he was wrong.
I said, “Whoa, that’s profound.” When I live in guilt instead of forgiveness, it will continually say, “This is as good as you get. You are no better than this. You could have had that, but…If only you had done this… but…” “You always do that. You’re never gonna change.” Guilt will tell you all about your weakness. It makes us feel small. It declares me a failure in some degree. It never celebrates my dignity and worth. It always tells me that I fell short; I screwed up; “If I had just been stronger…” Guilt points out my deficiencies. And when I listen to guilt, I cannot love who I am; the person that God made in his image and likeness.
The lie around Sabbath is that we can’t stop before the work is done. The work will never get done. The urgency of the situation never diminishes for long. We don’t wait till it is convenient to stop. We stop and listen to the voice of Holy Spirit because we cannot afford to be making decisions when our spirit is tired and worn down. It leads to striving and it places heavy expectations upon our staff. Sabbath is God’s gift to us; not our obligation to him. Understand again who it is we are talking about and listening to.
“It’s not your location that determines the quality and content of what you hear. It is the filter you choose to apply. You can be in the most oppressive of sounds and still be able to hear my voice. I AM the voice behind the noise. Life is about learning to hear what most others miss. I’ve mentioned this ability often. If you have ears to hear, then listen ~ you will hear the intended, the authentic, the sound from which all creation formed.”
When we’ve been wronged, or we see things that are disturbing because of their cruelty; what do we want? ~ Justice.
When we’ve done something wrong; when we know that we have wronged someone; what do we want? Justice? ~ No. We want mercy.
What do mobs cry out for? ~ Justice. As mobs get violent; smashing windows, burning cars, throwing rocks, or worse ~ Do you believe that anyone in that crowd wants to receive justice?
What makes us so quick to demand something so righteous, when we are not prepared to receive it ourselves?
"For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes." (1 Corinthians 11:23-26 - NIV)
I was alone, early one morning listening to these verses and as the last sentence was read, Holy Spirit asked me, "What do you proclaim? And who do you proclaim it to?"
I'd never considered the question before. Whenever I have participated in Holy Communion it has always been in the context of remembrance. "As often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you do so in remembrance of me..." ~ I'm not sure.
It's unsettling to realize the extent of the power that rests in the hands of so few individuals. The world has not become a safer place and if we are not careful we will view it through a pessimistic lens. The reality is, God has not relinquished control. He has spoken of these days and he has warned us against abandoning the values and morals and principles that allows society to function in sustainable, healthy ways.
What would you expect if God showed up and you had never heard the Christmas story. And God told you what he told Mary? Would you even entertain the thought that you might now get some nice clothes, have servants, be treated with respect? You must have had some kind of thoughts that painted a nicer picture than being a village girl. Your son is going to be Messiah. At least you wont be living in a barn.
Who has never done something you have later regretted? Who has never betrayed a friend? Who has never struggled with shame and embarrassment when we failed to measure up to the standard we had set for ourselves? Who has never felt like a coward or a failure? ~ Welcome to life. It is not the mistakes in life that shape the person. It’s our response to the mistakes we make that will define who we really are.
I’ve heard for most of my life about “the Narrow Road” that leads to heaven and the “broad” road that leads to hell. I just assumed it was synonymous with being a Christian and not being one. I’ve had a pretty black and white religion for most of my life because I was taught to focus on performance more than I was taught to look at God’s heart.