Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Wednesday, April 25
Luke 24:44-48  Mission Impossible
"You can see now how it is written....and then a total life-change through the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed in his name to all nations - starting from here, from Jerusalem!  You're the first to hear and see it! ... So stay here in the city until he [my Father] arrives, until you're equipped with power from on high." (The Message)
     Richard Vinson of says it well when he writes this sounds like a job for Tom Cruise and Mission Impossible!  Your job, should you accept it, is to proclaim Christ to all the world!  To preach forgiveness and salvation to everyone, starting with your neighbors here in Jerusalem (or Baker City!)  Poorly equipped? Heavens no!  The disciples would be armed with the greatest "technology" available, better than the decoder rings and micro-glasses worn by Tom Cruise:  The disciples will be armed with the power of God through the Holy Spirit!  
     Our mission as well?  You bet, for the job hasn't been finished.  We are all "special agents" for God.  Agents with a really big job still ahead of us.  "Sometimes salvation feels like a really big challenge to undertake with others." (RV)  
     Accept the mission.  Accept the power to work together to fulfill God's purpose.  
     PS.  The Bible will NOT self-destruct in 30 seconds!  

Wednesday, April 18
John 20:28-29   Doubting
"Jesus said, 'So, you believe because you've seen with your own eyes.  Even better blessings are in store for those who believe without seeing'." (The Message)
     While Jesus praised those who believe without seeing, he met Thomas where he was at - he came and provided proof.  He gave Thomas what Thomas asked for and needed.  Jesus goes above and beyond to answer our questions and make a way to be in relationship to us.  We shouldn't be afraid to ask God for what we need, but we should try to live by faith - proof or not. 
     Thomas is not alone in his doubt.  We all have it at one time or another.  Doubt isn't the exception - it is often the rule.  Did the other disciples say, "I expected to see you?" or "Welcome back - what took you so long?"  Of course not.  No one really anticipated Jesus' return, even when he told them over and over he would rise again.  
     Is Jesus rebuking Thomas for his doubt, or really blessing those who have managed to believe without the benefit of direct experience? Who have managed to come to a faith EVEN while living with doubt; A way to believe in spite of and through the doubts.  
     Let's allow the Doubting Thomas in all of us to provide the basis for a life lived in faith.  

MISSIONAL POST Week #5  Wednesday, April 11
John 1:11-18  Grace and Gifts
"For out of his fullness (abundance) we all received - all had a share and were supplied with - one grace after another and spiritual blessing upon spiritual blessing and even favor upon favor and gift (heaped) upon gift."  (Verse 16, Amplified Bible)
     I went to the Amplified Bible where I found BOTH words used in the NIV (grace) and The Message (gifts). Out of who's fullness?  The fullness of God as witnessed through his son, Christ! Undeserved, unearned, unwarranted grace.  Blessings overflowing.  A Christmas of gift giving.  Party favor upon party favor.  All because God loves us and wants to be in relationship with us.  What bounty!  May we accept the gifts, let blessings shower down like rain, and share the grace with those around us.   When we do this, we will "see" God: "This one of a kind God-Expression [Jesus], who exists at the very heart of the Father, has made him plain as day." (The Message, vs. 18)
     Let the gifts multiply!  Share the gifts!  Share the grace!  Grace upon grace.

Lent Day 37 - Wednesday, April 4
Mark 14:12-16   Passover Preparations
"...his disciples asked him, 'Where do you want us to go and make preparations so you can eat the Passover meal?'....The disciples left, came to the city, found everything just as he had told them, and prepared the Passover meal."  (The Message vs. 12, 16)
     This is the second time that Jesus has sent his disciples out to make preparations, and they find everything EXACTLY as he said.  How did he know a donkey colt would be tied up? (Mark 11:1-11)  How did he know a man with a jar of water would walk past at just the right moment for the disciples to find an upper room for the Passover?  Lest we forget, these experiences remind the disciples, and us, of Jesus' divinity.  He is God, in human form.  He knows!  
    Passover was a major event in the Jewish tradition - a celebration and time to remember all the details of the Exodus, a period of history when God interceded on behalf of man in an extravagant manner.  Could we as Christians see Christmas and Easter in the same way today?  A time to remember God entering our world in a new way, in a life-changing manner?  For the Jews, Jesus, and the disciples, there was no question of whether or not to take the Passover meal.  For us today, there should be no doubt as to WHY we celebrate both seasons of Christ's life.  Why we remember.   
    Preparations are made for the events of Holy Week to unfold.  Good Friday and Easter are near.  How will we remember our Christ? 

LENT DAY 31: Wednesday, March 28
John 12:25-26   RECKLESS IN LOVE
"Anyone who holds on to life just as it is destroys that life.  But if you let it go, reckless in your love, you'll have it forever, real and eternal.  If any of you wants to serve me, then follow me... The Father will honor and reward anyone who serves me." (The Message)

     I love Eugene Peterson's choice of words here in The Message: be "reckless in love".  To follow Jesus, to serve the living God, is to be lavish in loving: to love the marginalized, the poor, the terrorists, those who believe differently from us, those who speak against us, those who have different skin tones from us.  To love ALL, not just in word, but in ACTION!  With this wild abandonment of loving, God will honor our actions.  What high praise to be criticized for or described as being "reckless in love"!  What am I doing to earn this label?  What should I be doing?  What is keeping me from it?  What about you?  What about our churches?  How reckless is our love?  

Lent Day 25 - Wednesday, March 21
John 3:17    God Saves! 
"For God did not send his Son into the world to be its judge, but to be its Savior." (TEV)
     John 3:16 is the verse always seen on a placard at ball games and major events, but it shouldn't be separated from its companion verse 17.  To put them together gives you the FULL Gospel in a Nutshell: God loves us.  All of us.  God sent Jesus.  Not to judge, but to save.  
     Jesus didn't come to tell us how bad we were or to condemn us.  He came to show us, by example, a better way.  He came to make things right in our relationship with our Creator God.  He came to make our lives whole and filled with purpose.  In loving us, he saves us.  
     "Jesus is not judge or jury, but brother and friend." (PH  In the name of Christ, can we not treat each other in the same manner? 
Footnote:  At some point during the night, I realized I was composing this scribble in my mind.  I had thought I would make an additional John 3:16 drawing when I arose this morning.  Imagine my surprise when I found the parting line to today's devotional to read, "God came to save us."  I dreamed the scribble before I even knew the verse!  Is God at work?  Wow!

LENT DAY 19: Wednesday, March 14
John 2:18-22     "Temple Address"
"Jesus answered, 'Tear down this temple and in three days, I'll put it back together.' .... Jesus was talking about his body as the Temple."  (The Message, 19-20)
     We love to "put God" in his "place" - at church, a temple, a holy site.  But buildings can be destroyed in a moment of time - a fire, a flood, a tornado.  The Israelites considered the Temple and Mt. Zion as the abode of God.  But in this passage, Jesus is saying HE is the NEW temple, a temple that cannot be destroyed, lost, or taken away.  NOTHING can take the presence of God from us - it is about relationships, not buildings.  
     This made me think about God as having an "address" for the mail (our concerns & petitions?) to be delivered.   God can never be in the "dead letter" box, because we have an all-present, ever-current forwarding address.  Jesus is God's forwarding address.  
     What about our temples or churches today?  We need to remember the physical building isn't what is important - it's what we do inside and outside those building walls, in relationship and service to God, that matters.  Buildings are temporary, God is eternal.  Where is your temple?  Where is mine?  Is God's mail being delivered?  

No comments:

Post a Comment