What is it?
Looking through my journals and email, I found out that I was wishing for a lot of good things to happen. I claimed to be “hoping,” but I did not/could not be confident the desired outcome would happen. That is not what hope is about. Hope is more than wishing. [Want to know more? Click here.]
Thursday, April 26, 2012
Thursday, April 19, 2012
Wow. Your master just sent you out in pairs to preach and perform healings and other miracles. You do it. People get better because you ask God to heal them. Demons run away from people they have been tormenting because you ask God to send them away. People invite you into their homes and feed you because you ask in the name of Jesus. Every situation brings a new surprise. You ask and you are answered. Amazing!
After a time, all of you regroup and join Jesus again. Everyone is talking at once. Everyone experienced the same kind of miracles. Yes. They were miracles brought about because you prayed. Of course you are just doing what Jesus said to do. Of course He made sure you wouldn’t look stupid praying and getting no results. He knew what He was asking you to do and He wouldn’t make you look foolish.
But now a crowd has gathered again. Over 5,000 people are hanging around, listening to Jesus preach some more. They are waiting to see what Jesus will do next. He’s been healing and preaching all day and they don’t want to miss a thing. You are hungry. You think it is getting time for dinner. The people don’t have food with them. They didn’t plan ahead – but neither did you. You looked for food and only found five loaves and two fish – barely enough to feed the twelve of you and Jesus.
You go to Jesus and suggest that He send the people away to go to the towns to get food and shelter for the night. Jesus doesn’t say, “Hey that’s a good idea.” He says, “You feed them.” You glance at each other out of the corners of your eyes and mouth, “What? What is He saying?” to those looking to you for answers. Jesus says, “You feed them.”
You think, “How can we do that? We have only five loafs of bread and two small fish.” Jesus looks at you, one by one. You can’t read His expression. You can’t tell if He’s angry, joking, teasing, or serious. But He looks serious. Did Jesus just let out a sigh? Maybe. He asks for the bread and the fish. He gives thanks to God and tells us to feed the people. As we go from group of people to group of people there is always bread and fish in the baskets. Every person there, all 5,000 plus, get enough food. We meet back on the hill by Jesus with twelve extra baskets full of food.
You sit back and are speechless. When Jesus said, “You feed them,” He meant we should feed them. But, He fed them, fed them all. He doesn’t say anything to you and you don’t know what to say to Him. You just healed people and preached the good news about Jesus, but you didn’t take the opportunity to feed the people, do a miracle. You don’t get it yet.
Thank God He is so patient with us. I don’t get it much of the time. But, like with the disciples, Jesus doesn’t get sarcastic with me, call me names, or ridicule me. He patiently waits and shows me Who He is all over again. He patiently waits for me to get it. He patiently waits for me to take the opportunities He gives me to give honor and recognition to Him. Do I hear His sigh? How many times each day is He trying to get me to take action? How many times today did He wait, see I wasn’t getting it, and do it Himself?
My response is to pray: Lord, help me see the opportunities to preach you and take action.
[Based on Luke 9.]
Thursday, April 12, 2012
Choices. It’s a high-class problem to have to make choices. It means there are options. More than one option. Many options.
It hasn’t always been that way. I may have thought I had options, but I was only fooling myself. Sure I could decide which substance to drink – to get drunk on – but in reality it didn’t matter because the goal was the same: get drunk. I wasn’t making a decision as much as I was giving in to the compulsion.
Today I have choices. I have choices starting with the choice not to take a drink. I’ve made this choice each day (sometimes many times a day) for the last 13 years. Making the choice to stay sober opens up a lot of other options leading to more choices, choices between good things, many good things. Having this many choices means not being able to do everything – at least not at the same time. It leaves options for tomorrow or the next time a similar situation comes up.Last week I celebrated my 13th sobriety anniversary. No party. No cake or ice cream. Just quiet thankfulness to the God who has all power and helped me when I could not help myself. I’m celebrating the choices and the ability to make healthy choices. I’m celebrating the choice to stay sober for another 13 years, one day at a time.