31 October 2013

He won't feed us stones.

Scripture:

At this they began to argue with each other because they hadn’t brought any bread. Jesus knew what they were saying, so he said, “Why are you arguing about having no bread? Don’t you know or understand even yet? Are your hearts too hard to take it in? ‘You have eyes—can’t you see? You have ears—can’t you hear?’ Don’t you remember anything at all? When I fed the 5,000 with five loaves of bread, how many baskets of leftovers did you pick up afterward?” “Twelve,” they said. “And when I fed the 4,000 with seven loaves, how many large baskets of leftovers did you pick up?” “Seven,” they said. “Don’t you understand yet?” he asked them. 

Then Jesus began to tell them that the Son of Man must suffer many terrible things and be rejected by the elders, the leading priests, and the teachers of religious law. He would be killed, but three days later he would rise from the dead. As he talked about this openly with his disciples, Peter took him aside and began to reprimand him for saying such things. Jesus turned around and looked at his disciples, then reprimanded Peter. “Get away from me, Satan!” he said. “You are seeing things merely from a human point of view, not from God’s.” Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul? If anyone is ashamed of me and my message in these adulterous and sinful days, the Son of Man will be ashamed of that person when he returns in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” (Mark 8:16-21, 31-38 NLT)

Observation: In 16-21, Jesus is showing the disciples how simply, how easily, how willingly He will care for them. How He will supply their every need. All the while as they were bellyaching and pointing fingers at one another over who should have brought the food, and whining about being hungry, Jesus was RIGHT THERE. The Bread of Life. The Living Water. And an endless supply of both. 

Application: How often do I assume Jesus won't bother Himself with little ordinary me? How regularly do I hesitate, not wanting to weary Him? Cherishing in my heart a seed of fear in not wanting to be disappointed? Believing more in my mortal life experience than I do in Christ's eager willingness to save at every turn, and holding back from releasing His will into my life simply by telling Him what I need and turning it over to Him? He was saying to His disciples: "I've fed nine thousand people with what usually wouldn't even feed all'y'all. Why are you all wrapped around the axle about forgetting bread?" This God of ours is the God of Miracles. Why do I continue, in practice, to not let Him perform them in my life?  

Prayer: Father who is my God in Heaven, I praise You for Jesus. I praise You for who You are, and that He won the Victory for us. I'm really astounded at Your generosity, and at Jesus', and am scratching my head as I try to accept the deep rest You offer, the bounty of Your care, and to hear clearly what You would have me do. Father, show me how to walk in Your will. Show me where the truth lives between those who believe that a few words from their mouths will save them, and those who believe that it's all up to them to earn salvation through their works. Make Yourself known unto me, and give me understanding and the company of Your Spirit in my heart so I might better be who You need me to be. Let me not only believe *in* Jesus, but to actually *believe Him.* In Jesus' beautiful name, so be it. :-)

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I welcome questions and concerns--they are most often what spur us closer to the truth. I only ask that we all give everyone the most generous benefit of the doubt, assigning the best motives possible. A soft answer truly does turn away wrath, and an atmosphere of Jesus's love is the best for learning, no matter which side of a discussion you're on.

Thanks so much, and God bless you!