Then he got into the boat with them and the wind ceased. Mark 6:47-56 Although they were struggling with the wind, Jesus actually intended to go past the disciples who had left without him. He was all too willing to allow them to struggle with the wind until they saw what they thought was a ghost and became afraid. At this point the disciples have lost their focus. This happens to me. I start my day without thanksgiving in my heart and I am fighting against a simple wind all day. But then Christ makes himself known in some uncanny way like finding a forgotten letter from a friend or seeing a hummingbird outside my window. At first these kinds of things catch me off guard but slowly they invite themselves into my space and whatever I am struggling with seems to dissolve. I am able to refocus my actions and safely find myself right where I need to be with God close by my side and on the other side of the struggle, that has been ceased, by praise and thanksgiving in my heart.
“You give them something to eat.” Mark 8:30-46 All they had were five loaves of bread and two fish! Yet God is not concerned with the how much but rather the heart that is willing even in the scarcest of times. Be thankful and give. God will not only provide the rest he will provide it abundantly.
…”I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.” John 10:10
…for Saul your lord is dead, and the house of Judah has anointed me king over them.’ …But Abner, commander of Saul’s army, had taken Ishbaal son of Saul, and made him king over all Israel. 2 Samuel 2:1-11 Historically there are always factions; a group or clique within a larger group, party, government, that sees things differently. Factions can divide and sometimes manage to conquer and become a disservice to the group as a whole. God’s kingdom is no different. God gives each of us a gift. It’s natural for each of us to see things differently. It should not prevent us from using our gifts for the benefit of everyone. Yet there are those who use their gift solely for the benefit of themselves. In a sense much like we are in the world but not of it, there are those who are in the Kingdom of God but not of it. Our confidence is in knowing that God’s kingdom, whether large or small (i.e. home/workplace/etc.) is unconquerable when, for the good of those that love the Lord, we always use our gifts to glorify God by serving one another and not ourselves.
The Gifts of God for the people of God. Take them in remembrance that Christ died for you…. (BCP 364)
‘If I but touch his clothes, I will be made well.’ Mark 5:21-41 Imagine that! Healing had eluded the woman in this story for 12 years and she dares to reach for Christ that she may touch a mere extension of clothing from his body. If we in fact believe that everything belongs to God what keeps us from reaching? If something is eluding us today perhaps we’ve been reaching in the wrong direction. By the grace of God we like the woman in this story must reach out in faith and know that God’s presence of the spirit within will bring us to a place of healing, whether mind, body or spirit. That same touch of faith will also help us to reach others by our own testimony, that we may help bring others to a place of healing as well.
Weekend Mission: Reach out and touch.
(Featured image photographed by Enoch Chan)
When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and bowed down before him… Mark 5:1-20 No doubt the Gerasene in this story was a complete mess to the point of living in a cave. Yet, though the townspeople called him a demoniac, even in his affliction, only he seized an opportunity to encounter the living God and immediately ran directly towards Jesus while he was still at a distance! When our lives are out of sync we sometimes have a tendency to run away or run to the wrong people, those who don’t have our best interest. In those times we need to remember to let the love that is within us draw us ever nearer to God and eventually the enemies of God’s Spirit will begin to fall away and be replaced by a right mind and right fellowship.
…But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion; and they woke him up and said to him, ‘Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?’ Mark 4:35-41 It never fails! Finally a moment of rest, you lay down and let the movement of the ship lull you to sleep and suddenly the alarm goes off. Of course it’s only a drill but since you are required to participate you get up to find masses of people rushing to the predetermined deck for further instruction in case of a real emergency. I can only image what the real emergency would feel like however, I would hope that I had enough faith to be calm and allow God’s peace to guide my actions. Traveling 680 feet below sea level and surrounded by hills, some as high as 2000 feet; the Sea of Galilee is naturally subject to quickly rising storms because of the different temperature and pressure changes. Figuratively, we too can find our selves in the midst of these kinds of storms, the ones that rise without warning and which we had no contribution. Take heart and know that with Christ, we are in the eye of that storm , the center in which rest can be found and peace be still.
“Is a lamp brought in to be put under the bushel basket ?… Pay attention to what you hear; the measure you give will be the measure you get, and still more will be given you. Mark 4:21-34 The light that is within is given for a reason. God expects us to show the light so that others may see also. We must not hinder the power of the flame by concerning ourselves with the size of the light. Go ahead and put it on a lamp stand and stop reacting to the fear, anger or guilt and start responding to the Promises of God!
“…the one who received the one talent came forward saying; Master, I knew that you were a harsh man…I was afraid and I hid your talent in the ground. ” Matthew 25:4-30 The very first time I read this (more that 45 years ago) I assumed that the “Master” in the story was in fact a harsh man who took what didn’t belong to him. Why would anybody want to be in service to someone who is constantly taking things away from them? The story actually tells of a Master who is giving something of value to his servants and when the those servants who worked hard increased that value, the Master gave them more! I think I can understand the servant who was afraid. Perhaps he just wanted to make sure that he didn’t screw up the one talent that was given to him. However we learn from this parable that allowing fear to hinder us won’t move us in the direction that God wants us to go, nor will we fully experience any of God’s rewards. We should never be afraid to use the “talents” God has given us.
See, I am sending you out like lambs into the midst of wolves. Carry no purse, no bag, no sandals… Luke 10:1-11; 16-20 Whatever it is we think we need – to do God’s work means absolutely nothing to God. No matter how much we think we can accomplish with what we believe is “necessary,” – God has accomplished far greater with far less!
…far be it from me that I should sin against the LORD by ceasing to pray for you … 1 Samuel 12:1-6, 12:16-25 There’s a Cosby Show episode where Theo (son) has done something of which the father Cliff is not happy. However, Theo garners enough courage to defend his action and Cliff responds by reminding his son with a saying that is all to familiar; “I brought you into this world and I can take you out!” All too true and yet hardly what a father who loves his son wants to do. What Cliff really wants is for his son to understand that his actions have short and long term consequences some of which cannot be reversed. Nevertheless, the love for his son is far stronger than his disappointment in his son’s actions. In the same way God’s love for us will always be stronger than all our misjudgments in life.
For the LORD will not cast away his people, for his great name’s sake, because it has pleased the LORD to make you a people for himself. 1 Samuel 12:1-6, 12:16-25