Thoughts and musings on faith and our mighty God!

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Encountering Jesus

Reading: Mark 6: 30-34

Verse 34: “He had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd”.

Today’s passage begins with the disciples telling Jesus all about their mission trip. They were excited about the teaching and healing that they had done. Soon the buzz would wear off and the exhaustion would set in. Jesus wants to take them to a quiet place to recuperate. Jesus and the disciples finally get away and head for a solitary place across the lake. But, alas, the people see them and run ahead of the boat. A large crowd gathers. It is not such a solitary place.

Perhaps Jesus will send the crowd away? No, that’s not Jesus. We read: “He had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd”. That’s the first lesson for us. Even when we have other agendas, even when we have other plans – take the time to see those before you, those in need. Allow compassion and love to lead your decisions and actions. There’s another lesson too: be the crowd. Recognize Jesus and pursue him. Acknowledge your need. Meet him where you can and welcome him when he steps into your life. At times we are all lost – like sheep without a shepherd. May we all encounter Jesus Christ today.

Prayer: Lord God, open my eyes to see you in my life today. Make me a willing recipient of all you have to teach me. Amen.

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Reading: Psalm 71: 1-4

Verse 2: “Rescue me and deliver me in your righteousness; turn your ear to me and save me”.

In our Psalm today, as in many of the Psalms, there is an honest cry to God for help, for rescue, for refuge, for deliverance. The psalmist cries out to God almost like a child would cry out for help… Verse 2 reads, “Rescue me and deliver me in your righteousness; turn your ear to me and save me”. There is an honesty and a trust that reminds me of how a child asks their human parent in times of need. The child has an almost unshakable belief that the parent will come through.

Jesus encourages us to have the faith of a child or to have childlike faith. It is a faith that comes openly and honestly to God with our sincere requests as well as our grandiose dreams. It is a faith that says and believes that God can do anything – no request is too big for God. It is a faith that comes with no pretense and with no agendas. It must be refreshing to God when we come to Him like a child, like the psalmist, with this pure faith.

As adults we struggle to have this kind of faith. We like to pretend that we have it all figured out and to act as if everything were under control. This makes it hard to ask for help. It is hard to ask our spouse or co-worker or boss for help. Ask God for help?! To admit we are in need of help, to cry out to God in our times of trial – well, that is just childlike. And it is exactly what God wants.

Like the psalmist, this day and every day may we seek to have a childlike faith, coming to our loving heavenly Father with and and all prayers. May we bring God our greatest joys and our most heartfelt sorrows. And like a child, may we trust our heavenly Father with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength.

Prayer: Lord, grant me an honest and humble heart. May I come to you ever open and always honest, trusting in you alone. Amen.

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For His Glory

Reading: Acts 1: 1-11

All too often we are like the disciples.  Jesus tells them that they will soon receive the Holy Spirit.  He has taught and built them up so that they can carry on His work as they go out to share the good news and to build the church.  He has told them that it is better that He goes so that the Holy Spirit can come.  It is now their moment to shine.  And they ask if now is the time He will restore the kingdom of Israel.  I can just see Jesus’ head drop and His shoulders slump as He let’s out a long sigh.

We too have the promise of the Spirit dwelling in us.  Once we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior then the Holy Spirit enters our heart and seeks to lead and guide us.  We are reminded in scripture that the Spirit will give us what we need, the words to say, the thoughts to share.  We are told that God will never put us in a situation we cannot handle and that He will never give us more than we can bear.  Yet we don’t always live into these things.  We too ask, “God, won’t you just do this for me?”

We cannot expect the kingdom to grow if we are not willing to be co-laborers with God.  We cannot begin by pursuing our own agenda, hoping that God will join us somewhere along the way.  Our God is a big God and can alter our life anytime He wants to bend us to His will.  But that is not how He operates.  He desires our love, our obedience, our willingness to serve.  It is when we offer all of these and when we prayerfully seek His lead that we can make the greatest impact for His kingdom.  Each day we must strive to offer our all to God.  Each day we must hand all control over to Him.  It is then that we begin to live for His glory.