Navigating the Wilderness
…like sheep without a shepherd… Mark 6:30-46 From my own experience, children go through a phase where they will follow you everywhere, including the bathroom. They want to know where you are and what you’re doing at every moment. It’s a time in which rest for the weary isn’t always an option. Looking back, knowing that one day they would be responsible for navigating there own way, those are times I am ever grateful to have had with my own little sheep. After having taught the crowd, the disciples were eager for Jesus to send them on their way. Though weary, Jesus, in his compassion knew that he couldn’t let them go without having fed them in body and spirit that they may be fully strengthened for the journey, as they were in a deserted place. Surely the time would come when they too would have to navigate their own journey in this wilderness and in both faith and hope, it will be times such as these they will remember as they see their way through.
I am the gate. Whoever enters…will come in and go out and find pasture. John 10:7-17 Both of my grandmothers, my Aunt Florence and Aunt Evelyn had an open door policy. If you were in the area, whether you were coming or going, it made a lot of sense to stop pass, sit down and chat. They were certain to feed you for your journey and the time was well spent in conversation that was always encouraging, and often funny. The gate that is our faith in God opens in both directions. Throughout this journey, we are free to come and go, sit a while and stay as long as we need to in order that we may strengthen ourselves for what he has called us to do. Truly in Christ the Word of God, is like green grass found on either side of the gate.
They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha Mark 15:22-32 Ever been there? It’s a place where there is no “life” and the life you do encounter, passes by to mock, scorn and abuse. It’s been my experience that from a physical point of view this is a tough place to be. Everything seems to get worse before it gets better. If you remain too long you begin to feel like those dried bones for which the place Golgotha is named. We don’t always have the choice not to be there. However, it’s times like these when we must remember to put aside where we are and continue to rejoice in who we are. We live in the spirit of Christ. We find our strength in God’s faithfulness and knowledge of him. For although physically, places like these are everywhere, spiritually in Christ we rise, move and have our being.
Be strong and let your heart take courage, all you who wait for the Lord Psalm 31:24
“Who do the crowds say that I am?” Luke 9:18-27 Ever wonder what other people are thinking about you? It’s not unusual. We do it all the time, for example when we have applied for a job or when we are meeting someone new or perhaps when we are trying to create change. Most times we don’t think about it until we’ve said or done something that causes adverse effects in our relationships. Jesus thought about it just long enough to ask the question and get the response he needed to hear from his disciples. We are Christ’s disciples and to forget who we are in Christ weakens the spirit of Christ within us. Other people will think we are many things but our lives are not defined by what other people say about who we are, but by our steadfast willingness to follow the way of the cross. Fortified by the promises of God’s word, when all else passes away, the strength to continue our journey despite the hardships in the situations we experience is how we know who we are; spiritually enduring for the sake of the gospel.
“If any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For those who want to save their life will lose it, and those who lose their life for my sake will save it. What does it profit them if they gain the whole world, but lose or forfeit themselves?” Luke 9:18-27
James 1:1-15; Deuteronomy 8:1-10; Psalm 80