Friday, February 29, 2008

Mark 6:4-6 (NKJV)

Mark 6:4-6 (NKJV)-"But Jesus said to them, 'A prophet is not without honor except in his own country, among his own relatives, and in his own house.' Now He could do no mighty work there (Nazareth), except that He laid His hands on a few sick people and healed them. And He marveled because of their unbelief…"

This takes place after Mark's rendition of Jesus' healing of a demon-possessed man, the woman with the flow of blood that would not stop, and raising the synagogue leader's daughter from the dead. Jesus has made His way back to His home. He is coming to preach and teach to His own people. It is described in two other Gospels (Matthew and Luke).

Jesus, as was His custom, began teaching in the synagogue on the Sabbath. He taught with power and authority, unlike the rabbis and other teachers in His day. The people marveled at His oratory, because He taught as someone much older.

This day, however, He was treated differently. He was treated with disdain, and disrespect. The people were bothered by this upstart carpenter preaching to them in their synagogue. They were bothered by the way He taught, because He was so young, they thought He couldn't know WHAT He was talking about in His messages.

But mostly, they were offended because they knew His lineage, His family, and His line of work. They dismissed Him as a crack-pot and an uppity Man who didn't know His place in the world. But that's not what struck me the most about this passage, however.

Please re-read the last sentence in that group of verses above. "And He marveled because of their unbelief…" It goes on to say that He went on around to surrounding villages and taught. But here, in His hometown, He WAS MARVELING AT THEIR UNBELIEF.

Jesus Christ, God on earth, was taken aback at their unbelief.

Don't take that as meaning that Jesus was caught unaware or blind-sided. I don't believe that for a second. He was God in the flesh, walking here on earth. He's omniscient, omnipresent, and omnipotent. But I find it amazing the WAY that was written.

Those people made God scratch His head.

You know what I mean, don't you? Haven't you ever seen a friend/co-worker/child do something so completely off the wall, so resoundingly STUPID, that all you could do was scratch your head at what could POSSIBLY possess them to do so?

You see it happen in front of you; and you just know that the capability is there, but even watching it transpire in front of you just gives you pause. You wonder why they didn't see what you did.

So, let me ask you something-have you made God scratch His head today?

You see, our first response is always going to be a resounding NO! We aren't like THOSE other people who do stupid, inane things, are we? We have our wits about us, and we know exactly how to follow, don't we?

Then, that subtle, still, small voice pops into your head.

"Hey Bo, I've been talking to you about ______________. Remember? I've been trying to get you to change that, but you kind of keep ignoring Me. You say that I just don't understand THIS particular situation. I don't get that." (Sounds of Divine head-scratching)

It's okay; you can laugh. You know it's funny. You know what's just as funny? You can substitute YOUR name in for mine, and get the same response. We all fit in there somewhere, sometime.

See, when He's doing miracles in other people's lives, and changing things in other people, we see that. We applaud that, because they NEEDED to be changed. They had no idea where they were at in their life, and Jesus needed to move on them in a big way.

But as for us, well, we're okay. Don't come preaching to me, God, because I KNOW what I'm doing. Don't think You can speak to this in my life; I got it completely under control. I'm gonna have to ask You to keep Your mitts off this part of my life, because I don't think I need You there.

I'm offended at You, for thinking that I need to change…this…whoops.

See, if you and God are on the same page, then you know that He's not preaching to you to humiliate you. Oh no, He's preaching and teaching you to raise you up. He wants us to live the fullest possible life for His glory, in order to lead more people to Him so they can live the fullest possible life, etc., etc., etc….

But if He can't teach you or me, then we're just part of the Nazarene city.

Have you lost your focus on Who Jesus is in your life? What do you see Him as? Is He a wet behind the ears carpenter, who doesn't know how to tie His own sandals? Or is He the Savior of the world, come to preach repentance and acceptance of the Kingdom of God?

Is He working in your life, or is He walking away, scratching His head in amazement at your disbelief?

Think about it.

Be blessed in the Lord today,

Bo J.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Jeremiah 9:23-24 (NKJV)

Jeremiah 9:23-24 (NKJV)-“Thus says the LORD: “Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, let not the might man glory in his might, nor let the rich man glory in his riches; but let him who glories glory in this, that he understands and knows Me, that I am the LORD, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth. For in these I delight,” says the LORD.”

To the Triune God, I wanted to just write a letter to say thank you Lord.

Thank you for waking me up this morning in my own bed. You could have called me home to You last night, and that would be so much better than being here on earth. But it means that You’re not done with me here yet; so You are still using me.

Thank You for my family. I know that they have no idea sometimes what is going on in my head. They don’t understand what I go through day in and day out. I know that I sometimes don’t make life easy on them and that sometimes they annoy the heck out of me. Sometimes I get so frustrated that I just want to scream. But then I’m reminded of the person who wakes up alone and has no one to even argue with about something silly.

Thank You for a way to make a living that provides for my family and me. If you didn’t give me this job, then I would be scraping along. I realize that sometimes it’s not the idea I had in mind. I realize that I don’t want to go there today or maybe even tomorrow. But it’s what You’ve given me; it’s the sphere of influence You have place me in at this time.

Thank You for sickness. I know You don’t put sickness on me; that would be against Your nature. But I’m glad to know that when I get sick, I have Someone I can pray to in order to receive healing. I don’t have to wallow in my ailments, hoping for the suffering to cease.

I need to remind myself, Lord that You are still on the throne. I get so caught up in the world and what goes on around me. I get caught up in the fact that it seems like every time I turn around, I’m doing just one more thing that I didn’t sign up for. I realize that I don’t want to do it; except for You.

I need to remind myself that, just because You visited the earth a couple of thousand years ago, doesn’t mean that You can’t identify with the problems and struggles I’m having right now.

I’m living in a different time, but not in a different set of circumstances.

I need to thank You more often. Not when I get something, or learn some great proverb, or have a great revelation of one of Your truths. I need to thank You just for being You. I need to realize that it’s just because of whom You are that You do what You do for me. You have no obligation to me whatsoever, but You ensure that I have what I need to survive and thrive in You.

I’m sorry that I can’t stay focused on the blessings I already have; but instead always look to the horizon, trying to see what else I can get. I’m sorry that my contentment is only as long as my attention span. I’m sorry that I stay in a continual attitude of “What have You done for me lately?"

I’m sorry that I get upset with you about the ministry You have placed me into within my fellowship of believers. I want to be the center of attention and get all the glory, but if something goes wrong I want to blame You. I’m sorry that I think it can’t be my fault. I’m sorry that I seek my own glory instead of Yours. I’m sorry I forgot that You said that the person highest placed in Your kingdom is the one who seeks to serve others, not themselves.

I’m sorry that I don’t even know how much I need to apologize to You for in my life. I’m sorry that I can’t write volumes telling You the things in my life I acknowledge that I don’t give to You; that I don’t allow to be placed under Your control. I’m sorry that my vision is blinded and colored by my own perspective of myself and my wrong views of my own holiness.

I’m sorry.

I don’t even know if I can write all this down and mean it in my life. But I’m gonna do it anyway. I’m gonna give this to You and try and believe it. I’m telling you that I may not feel like I’m sorry; that I may just be writing this to try and appease You or score some points. If I’m writing it for that, I’m sorry.

But I want the enemy to know something as he sits here telling me that I don’t mean this and that it’s just a waste of space. I want to say something to the smooth talking voice in my head, telling me that God doesn’t love me, and Jesus is disappointed in me, and the Holy Spirit is no longer leading my life.

I’m still writing it.

And now, I’m going to give it God, and let Him deal with it, and with me. But most importantly Satan….

I’m gonna let Him deal with you.

Sincerely,

________________________________________

Be blessed in the Lord today,

Bo J.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Deuteronomy 28:9-10 (NKJV)

Deuteronomy 28:9-10 (NKJV)-"The LORD will establish you as a holy people to Himself, just as He has sworn to you, if you keep the commandments of the LORD your God and walk in His ways. Then all peoples of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of the LORD, and they shall be afraid of you."

So, Alisha (the oldest still at home), was driving herself, a friend, and our two youngest daughters to church Wednesday night. Since I would have to pass the church on my way home from work and then come back, I usually just stop off at the church without going home. It makes for a long day sometimes, but it's okay…it won't kill me.

My phone rings, and it's my wife, telling me that Alisha has just been in an accident. Immediately, she tells me not to panic, that everyone is okay. The accident occurred less than a mile from the house, but my wife has no way there. So, I come on home.

Now, Alisha was not worried about anything dealing with the accident. She made sure her sisters and her friend were okay, and made sure that the police had been contacted. She made sure that she called her mother and told her everything was okay, and the van was fine.

She was terrified of how I was going to react. It scared her just thinking about it. I did not KNOW any of this; but being the kind of father I am, I anticipated this reaction.

I decided on my way home that I would go and pick up my wife, and then go to the accident. I figured that way, Mom would be there, and I could just make sure everyone was okay; survey the damage (if any) on the van, and be there in case Alisha was too shaky to drive. Plus, Mom would be a calming figure.

I passed the scene on the way home. It was REALLY close to the house, and the girls all saw me pass by; I saw it in the look on their faces. I knew at that point I was making the right choice going home and picking up Becky. We got back there, and got out, and I purposefully asked them if they were all okay in a low voice. I did not want anything in my voice to make anyone think they were in trouble.

Alisha burst into tears as I asked her. Kaitlyn and Sammy, who were in the back seats of the van, said that Alisha did great; she was more terrified of me than of the accident. I told them all it was okay, and I was not mad. I was just worried for them; wanting to make sure they were okay.

I walked around the van at that point, looking at the bumper where she impacted, and thinking about that reaction. On the one hand, as a father, you want that fear to be in them; the fear of making a bad choice or errant decision and having to face the consequences.

On the other hand, as a dad, you want to be able to truly let them know that you love them deeply, and only care about their well-being. You want them to be the best they can be in life, and want to be the strongest influence in their life, outside of God Himself. You want it so that they will know that they can come to you when a mistake has happened and you will not stop loving them; instead, you will love them more.

Then, I found that verse.

Too many times, we want to hit people over the head with our doctrines and Bibles. We want to beat salvation in them, and talk them into church. We turn off the very people we need to be reaching; turning them against the very Person who can bring them the peace they are so desperately searching for.

God says that if we follow His commandments, He will establish us as His people. And HE will put fear in the peoples of your world, to make them afraid of you and the God you serve. He doesn't say go out and scare them; He says you do what I say, and I will make you My people. I will establish you and put fear into your enemy's hearts on your behalf.

If I fear Him and keep His commandments, He will cause everyone else to respect me and want to know Him. I can't do it by beating them over the head; but I can do it by fearing Him.

Alisha and the girls are okay; things are back to normal. They have a healthy fear of their Daddy, but I think inside they know he loves them too. I'm hard on them; I'll be the first to admit it. I am stricter on them than a lot of their friends' parents are, and they know it. They know to expect consequences.

Sometimes, we expect bad to come from God as well; especially if we do something we perceive as wrong. We know about the law of sowing and reaping, but like a child, we don't really think we should have to face it.

Sometimes, it smacks us square in the face. And sometimes, it's our own imagination that makes us worry. And when we hear the still, small voice of God, asking us if we're okay, instead of feeling delighted, we feel terrified.

God loves you. He wants what is best for you. He's not chastising you every time He speaks to you; He wants you to know He loves you. He wants to make sure you know that He is there if you need Him, to wipe the tears away.

Remember that, the next time you have a little fender-bender on this road of life. It could be worse; it could be that you don't know at all how much He cares for you. Imagine how that life is for someone around you.

Be blessed in the Lord today,

Bo J.