Monday, July 20, 2015

You are Being Fiddled.

Jesus: If you love me, keep my commandments

Satan: Just don’t be fanatical!

Your enemy and your extended family know how to play you like a fiddle. You are their foolish Christian marionette as they dance you on the end of their strings.

They plan family birthday parties on Sunday night, announce their visits to you on the Lord’s day, invite you to the Wednesday night sports programs, and insist that you attend their reunions. If you don’t accommodate them (in favor of being faithful in church) you are unloving, have bad priorities and are part of a cult. If you do acquiesce, they stash your hypocrisy away to use against you at a convenient time. You hope against hope that the sacrificing of the assembly in the Lord’s house will pay off someday in them becoming a believer. How is that working out so far?

Suggestions: When you are compelled to attend a family event, ask them to attend church with you first and then you will accompany them to the function immediately after the final amen. Or, if they choose to visit you on Sunday, invite them to come with you, it’s only one hour!!! If they decline, simply invite them to make themselves at home and you will be back as soon as possible for a lovely lunch. You don’t have to act pious or condescending or ugly. Just let them know they are high on your priority list, just behind the Lord.

Which blood is thicker? The blood of those who mock your faith and refuse your advances when you attempt to witness to them? Or the blood of the One Who gave His all for you to make you part of His redeemed family?

Oh, Danny boy, the pipes, the pipes are playing… will you dance to their tune or be true to your Redeemer?

Friday, July 17, 2015

Go Forth

Mark 11:1-6   
And when they came nigh to Jerusalem, unto Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount of Olives, he sendeth forth two of his disciples, 2  And saith unto them, Go your way into the village over against you: and as soon as ye be entered into it, ye shall find a colt tied, whereon never man sat; loose him, and bring him. 3  And if any man say unto you, Why do ye this? say ye that the Lord hath need of him; and straightway he will send him hither. 4  And they went their way, and found the colt tied by the door without in a place where two ways met; and they loose him. 5  And certain of them that stood there said unto them, What do ye, loosing the colt? 6  And they said unto them even as Jesus had commanded: and they let them go. 7  And they brought the colt to Jesus, and cast their garments on him; and he sat upon him.

Jesus sent His two unnamed disciples to make preparation for the events that would save your soul. They had to procure transportation for the triumphant entry of the Lord into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday.

How might things might be different had refused their task?

One disciple might have responded to the Lord's command with, "I have other things pressing my agenda today. Sorry, you'll have to get somebody else."

The other disciple might not have felt like loosing donkeys that day. His knee might have been bothering him, his blood sugars might have been off a bit, or, he could have had a family birthday get-together to attend. Maybe his wife had been on him about being gone so much lately.

It strikes me that these disciples, who could have offered all the lame excuses we claim when tasked with some service that Master has for us, jumped to the task without hesitation.

I, for one, am very appreciative of their immediate obedience. It got the Savior from the Top of Mt. Olivet down into the city where His passion would be played out, resulting in the purchase of my salvation.

Do you suppose the Lord has a task for you today that could bring someone nearer to eternal life? I would feel safe betting on it. But what will be our response when the Holy Spirit taps us on the shoulder and whispers His orders to our heart?

Will I defer to other disciples so I can complete my ever important to do list?

Here's what my abstract list kind of looks like today:
1. Learn something rich enough to share with others.
2. Avoid discomfort, confrontation, and drama at all costs.
3. Enjoy my day while dispatching my duties.

Shallow, I know, but honest. Having considered the willingness of these unknown disciples, I think I will add a new number one on my agenda: follow the prompting of the Lord to further His work, glorify Him and move Him closer to the hearts of needy souls.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

The Compassion of Jesus

Mark 8:2 “I have compassion on the multitude...”

Confronted with decisions, we sometimes ask the question, "What Would Jesus Do?" One of the things we can know for sure, Jesus was one to show compassion where it was needed.

The answer to the question “WWJD” comes to us by studying the gospels and dissecting His ministry here on earth during the three and a half years that changed the world.

In today's verse, we are struck by the character of Jesus' compassion on those who were in legitimate need.

Elsewhere in the gospels, Jesus is found having compassion on people because they were as sheep having no shepherd, because of sickness and disease, blindness, demon possession, because they were in great debt, hungry, faint, grieving, injured and astray.

In reading the many passages displaying Jesus' compassion, we are struck by the tender heart of the One Who left the comforts and adoration of heaven to suffer earth's deprivation. He took upon Himself flesh prone to fatigue, temptation and sickness that He might feel what humanity feels, experience people's plight and know the afflictions and limitations of our condition.

Because of His experience and example, we are encourage to know that we have a high Priest Who is touched by the feelings of our infirmities.

That is Jesus, my friend - God of compassion, Healer of affliction, Supplier of needs.

Therefore, when we find ourselves in the path of an oncoming, powerful, destructive affliction, we are assured that we have an all-knowing, all-compassionate and all-powerful Savior Who is ever-present to deliver us from our plight.

No doubt, you are this week, perhaps this day, in need of His compassion and the merciful miracle that will accompany His pious pity.

Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.