OUT FROM UNDER THE RADAR

OUT FROM UNDER THE RADAR 

They brought to the Pharisees the man who had formerly been blind.  Now it was a Sabbath day when Jesus made the mud and opened his eyes.  John 9:13-14

    Not only was it forbidden to heal on a Sabbath, it was also forbidden to make mud.  The making of mud would indicate that something was in the process of being built, therefore work was being accomplished.  Jesus could have just spoken a word to heal the man’s sight.  He didn’t.  He made a series of choices to perform this miracle in a most public way.  Instead of leading the man to a secret place, away from public view, he touched his blindness in front of spectators.  Instead of taking a prudent shortcut, he made mud and clearly violated the Sabbath Law.  A lot was at stake in the ways He chose to carry out this healing.  The message of the kingdom was to be declared.  That wouldn’t be possible choosing to live under the radar.  Continue reading “OUT FROM UNDER THE RADAR”

No Time For Coasting

NO TIME FOR COASTING

 

We must work the works of Him who sent me while it is day; night is coming when no one can work.  John 9:4

 

I begin every day praying the Lord’s prayer; first in English, then in Hebrew.  I find that when all is said and done, the Lord’s prayer is sufficient to start my day.  That shouldn’t come as a surprise, since when asked how to pray, Jesus taught His disciples that prayer.  I’ve prayed it so much that most every part of it makes my spirit tremble at the profound nature of the request.  I used to quote it by rote, now each phrase is a longing. Continue reading “No Time For Coasting”

ALL FOR THE GLORY OF GOD

ALL FOR THE GLORY OF GOD

Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, nor his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.”  John 9:4

    I don’t know if the blind man heard this conversation or not.  I hope not.  It never feels good to know that others might be discussing our trials.  Human nature predicts that there will be voyeurs who talk about our situation rather than pray for us.  Some will claim to know the reason for our struggles.  They might conclude that: 1.)  It’s generational sin.  “What do you expect?!  Her father was like that!”  2.) It’s personal sin.  “She’s getting what she deserves.  Don’t you remember what she did in 2001?”  3.) It’s testing.  “She’s weak in her faith and this must be God’s way of testing her.”   Continue reading “ALL FOR THE GLORY OF GOD”

STUDY IT OR FEEL IT?

STUDY IT OR FEEL IT!

And as He passed by, He saw a man blind from his birth.  And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he should be born bind?”   

    Engaging my heart rather than my head is always the more difficult choice.  To discuss something analytically feels much safer than to subject myself to the world of feelings.  Emotions are often unpredictable and hard to manage.  Thoughts, I can control, for the most part.

    The disciples saw a blind man, known in that town as one who had been blind from birth.  All a congenital blind person could do in that time in history was become a beggar.  Instead of feeling his plight, the disciples question Jesus about the theology of his suffering.  It was much easier to discuss his situation rather than invest themselves enough to enter into his life. Continue reading “STUDY IT OR FEEL IT?”

WHO THE TRUTH SERVES

WHO THE TRUTH SERVES

“It is my Father who glorifies me, he of whom you say, ‘He is our God’, though you do not know him.  But I know him.  If I would say that I do not know Him, I would be a liar like you.  But I know him and keep his word.  John 8:54-55

 

When the truth serves my interests, do I tell it because I belong to God, or do I tell it because it serves me?

Jesus identity was questioned.  He claimed that God was his Father.  The religious leaders were indignant, calling him a liar.  If Jesus had not been perfect, He could have easily risen up to answer, “How dare you question my word!  I told you that God was my Father and I am His Son.  You apparently have no idea who you’re talking to!” Anyone other than Jesus would have been tempted to stand in the pride of his celebrity status.  This temptation would have bitten most children of men. Continue reading “WHO THE TRUTH SERVES”

WHAT ONE SAYS WHEN THREATENED

WHAT ONE SAYS WHEN THREATENED

 

The Jews answered him, “Are we not right in saying that you are a Samaritan and have a demon ?”  John 8:48

 

Human nature, inherited from Adam, causes any of us to run from the truth.  When we are convicted, we run.  We will obfuscate the issue and do whatever we need to do to self-protect.  We resist being stripped of our pride and being reduced to a place of humiliation. This is the default way of our flesh and this is not of God.  Only when we face the truth about ourselves can we ever find Jesus and the freedom He offers. Continue reading “WHAT ONE SAYS WHEN THREATENED”

Reflections:The Signet Ring Allegory

Thy righteousness is like the mountains of God; Thy judgments are like a great deep.  Psalm 36:6

The children of men take refuge in the shadow of Thy wings. They drink their fill of the abundance of Thy house; And Thou dost give them to drink of the river of Thy delights. For with Thee is the fountain of life; In Thy light we see light. Psalms 36:7-9

How interesting that righteousness is compared to mountains and God’s judgements are compared to the deep.  If mountains DO rise out of the deep, then righteousness rises out of judgements (or God’s truth). The message here is, an impressive looking building may or may not be built on a good foundation.

We are often presented with illusions, though.  People appear righteous.  From the outside they look impressive, yet if we could see with God’s eyes, we would see a badly flawed foundation.  What may appear to be unselfish is self-serving.  What may appear to be humble is self-seeking.  What may appear to be the fruit of the Spirit is really a grand exercise in behavior modification.  What counts with God is the foundation, the heart, and the degree of truth that resides there.

How do we know if our lives are built on God’s truth?  Let me ask you some questions.  Does the Holy Spirit energize you as you work?  Do you hear His voice prompting you and cheering you on?  Do you sense that He leads you by the hand?  Do you feel the warmth of His smile on your shoulder as He sees each new task completed?

You see, passionless labor warns us.  Joyless service waves a red flag.  Spiritual depletion brings a Father’s tears.  He calls us home…. to re-group, dismantle diseased appendages, and then rest so that we may see ourselves in His eyes. Only time with Him can re-build our heart.

Take a moment to pray and ask God to guide you through these few exercises.

“Father, my mind and heart know no wisdom apart from You.  And You have written that my heart deceives me.   I’m relying on You to show me the truth about myself.  I am asking you to reveal anything in my heart that is not rooted in truth.  I need You to speak to me, in the silence, with clarity.  I want my life to be built on my knowledge and experience of You.   Amen.”

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Can you relate to the girl in the story?  What might you believe about yourself that needs to be brought into the Light?  (Ex. The girl in the story believed that God expected abusive labor so that she would be acceptable to Him.  She really thought she was doing what God wanted her to do.)

What is the contrasting truth to the distortion?  State it out loud as you write.  (For the girl in the story, it would be ~ “God loves me, not for what I do, but for just being His creation.”

Your Father wants you to believe Him, even when it doesn’t feel like truth.  It takes a while for feelings to match our beliefs.  We must take the time to ‘rest’ with Him daily so that He may re-affirm His love and truth to us, and then we must live out the truth – by faith!

1.  What adjustments do you need to make in your life to insure that you and God have your time together?

2.  What truth can you ‘live out’ today, by faith, even though it may feel foreign to you?

According to Psalm 35:7-9, what are the benefits of spending time with your Father?

What does it say about God, His love, and His character that the overflow from His embrace includes ‘refuge, delights, fountains, and light’?

Describe what it would look like to see God’s light in another’s eyes.

Write a prayer to God and tell Him what you would like for Him to birth in you.  Tell Him where you still have a hard time believing that He loves you.

May you, like the girl who proudly wears her Father’s signet ring, slowly emerge confident in your new identity.  What you build with your hands will be a monument of righteousness.