Monday Morning Cover to Cover........Blessed is the One Not Offended by Me - Matt 11:6...always Go to Him not just studying diligently - John 5:39
We just walked by the light of the moon. Incredible clouds. Round full moon. My husband by my side. A prayer that we walk and live "all in." And I thought about Jesus walking by the light of the moon only. And to think he placed us at this moment in history and in this privileged country. I wonder why sometimes for we have so much in comparison to so many. Jesus is asking us "What do we want?" and I am asking Him tonight "What does HE want of me?"
I tried to move our Monday Morning bible study Cover to Cover reading through the Bible chronologically to another new blog. Blogger set up a violation block on it. They lifted it or so it seems but I cannot get it to work...so we are moving back here on Monday mornings. I think Karen will be glad! Here's my Monday morning post...
If you dropped by for Monday Morning Cover to Cover, here is what lingers with me after reading the chronological readings for this week. To watch Jesus walking through his life in four gospels at the same time...ooohhh! It seems like his public ministry all happened so fast. How could the disciples grasp in their hearts what they had just witnessed this week:
the funeral of a widow's only son being reversed,
and Jairus' dead daughter rising up from the dead and
a very sick woman touching His Hem and being healed.
And at that same moment,they were burying a headless John the Baptistwhile his mother Elizabeth grieved for the loss of her son.
Matthew 7:13 so lingers with me through life. We read it this week: "Enter through the narrow gate…small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Only a few find it. Only a few find life. What does it take to be that few? I don’t want to miss God in my life. I’m looking for that narrow road where it’s not about saying and doing the right things but it’s all about being with HIM, no matter what. No matter if he heals my sickness or not; raises my dead or not; rescues me from my prison or not. What HE has called us to is impossible—it's just not possible to love our enemies, to take the log out of my own eye. But HE can and can make me want to. Where’s that narrow road that leads to life? I think a lot of Christians think they are on that narrow road---and they are really living for this world and for themselves. How tragic if we spend our lives and miss it. But, all I can do is deal with fray of my own heart on my narrow road---and it's not a road paved with success and numbers and performance. No, it's a single surreal road of suffering, silence, and surrender in the Presence of Holy, Almighty God.
"Out of the abundance of whatever is in our heart, our mouth speaks." Luke 6:45. Pay close attention what comes out of your mouth. Let your sin surprise you and take the log out of your own eye. Luke 6:42. I’m speaking to myself.
Jesus said to the Roman soldier in John 4:48, do you want signs and miracles so you can believe? Or do we just take Him at His Word? “Blessed is the one who is not offended by Me.” Matthew 11:6. And whatever our beautiful God chooses to do or not do. John was in prison and sent word to Jesus—”Are you the One?” Wonder if John held hope that Jesus would free him from the prison bars because, after all was said and done, John was there for the cause of Jesus and His mission. I can’t help but think that John had to entertain thoughts that Jesus would free him. Jesus answered John: “What you hear (about ME) and see—the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them.” It’s all true John, says Jesus. I am the ONE. And blessed is the One who is not offended by me and what I am about to do for you. Jesus didn’t free John from the prison. He didn’t rescue John. John was beheaded, his head on a platter at the request of a vicious seductive woman.
And what did Jesus say of John? Matthew 11:11 “Among those born of women, there has arisen no one greater than John the Baptist.” I make decisions so pitifully by observation of what I see. Jesus loves me if life happens this way. If not, I am not loved. Did Jesus love John? Oh my! I don’t want to maneuver through life trying to make it work and find happiness. I want to lose my life for the sake of Christ, no matter what! So what does that mean for me this morning? Am I offended by what Christ is doing or not doing for me on that narrow path. How am I interpreting my life circumstances?In the parable of the sower in Matt 13:15, I think that I sometimes read the Bible thinking that if I do this, then God will do this. But the context of this story is John in prison asking Jesus if He was the one and the will of God was to leave John in prison—-YET John could be free even in prison, couldn’t he? Our circumstances working out do not make us free. It’s what is in our heart. “For this people’s heart has become calloused;they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes." I need to humble myself today and deal with my heart. So how do I do that? God just brought to my mind something to do, something to believe. I will. Otherwise, I might not see with my eyes cause all my eyes see is that things aren't coming together well. Otherwise, I might not hear with my ears cause what my ears here is that I am not doing the right things. Otherwise I might not understand with my heart so I’ll go find the will of my beautiful LORD for this day. I probably am not making sense but I’m struggling through this chapter on a narrow road, and trying to lay it before Him Who is Unseen on this narrow road.
It so grabs me that Jesus explained the parables privately to his disciples. Wonder what He is explaining to us privately in our own lives—are we listening? Am I lifting my hand to touch the hem of His garment? I'm invited this day to touch the hem on this narrow road. I am not alone. Mark 5:36 has lingered with me over decades. It’s one of those verses I think about constantly on the narrow road. He has brought me through much. Mark 5:36 says: "Only believe." Translated: Keep on Believing. It’s progressive tense. Not just for one time. Jairus knew his daughter was dead. He had to walk with Jesus to his home—it was a journey that would take longer than a day. Wonder what Jesus told him as they walked. We think of things happening instantly in time but this miracle happened a couple of days after she died. Some of you know the desperation you face when your children die. I was pregnant with a child and had to check myself into a hospital for them to take my baby’s life or we would both die. You could have heard my heaving crying as I sat alone in the ER waiting room while people stared at me. When I got to my hospital bed, I smoothed out the sheets and prayed to my beautiful God that He sit in that bed with me and help me face my unwanted sorrow, my incredible loss, cause the pain was unbearable for me. My God was there but He didn't take away my sorrows---He helped me enter them. This father in this story trusted blindly wildly humbly in abandonment. As we face our circumstances, may we find the courage to live out God’s will on the narrow path He has us on, not our own will.
And I will end with John 5:39 ---so powerful. I think there are many who believe that if you study the Word of God, you will have life. The verse says: “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” We have to go to God Himself, the Living Word! Matthew 10:38 - Anyone who loves his father or mother or son or daughter more than Me as he walks on his narrow road is not worthy of Me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” I wonder if too many people today are trying to find their life on a narrow road. The only way we will find life of that narrow road is to lose our lives for His Sake. So what does that look like in your life today?