October 31, 2010 Jesus Pushes Out Lack

Jesus Pushes Out Lack

I am a shepherd.  That is the job God has given to me.  I take it seriously.  Jeremiah 23.4 describes my responsibilities.  I am to feed His lambs His word so that they do not fear satan or his agents, are not dismayed by their shenanigans, and do not lack whatever they need from Jesus in this life.  Jesus is my Mentor for this role.  He called me to this in Matthew 9.35-38.  I have studied His example in preparation for caring for the sheep He has assigned to me at this time.  Let me tell you what I have learned from studying two illustrations.

In Mark 6.30-44, Jesus interrupted His agenda because of a greater need, which became a lesson.

  • He had sent His apostles our in twos after instructing them in Mark 6.7-13.  They had returned with stories to tell, and Jesus was anxious to learn from each one.
  • But, His agenda changed with the crowd arrived.  Notice His attitude in verse 34.  They wanted to learn, and He was, always, ready to teach.  He was ‘moved with compassion’ for them.  So, He fed them, teaching not to fear nor be dismayed by satan’s shenanigans.
  • Then, He illustrated pushing lack away from the people, when the disciples wanted to use the traditional means for feeding them.  ‘You give them something to eat’, verse 37.
  • The disciples’ insufficiency He turned into the lesson of multiplying what is available. 

Verse 41 says He thanked God for the meager resources and blessed them (i.e., He told them they would expand to satisfy the need of man, for whom they were created) and kept dividing them until everyone had more than enough.  Perhaps Jesus reflected on this when He spoke Mark 11.24 and Matthew 21.22.

  • Think about it: at least 5,000 men, perhaps 15-20,000 when wives and children are included, were fed with five small loaves of bread and two small fish!
  • Lack was pushed out of the way!

In Mark 8.1-9, Jesus saw a similar need and satisfied it.

  • He fed 4,000 people who had been with Him for three days.  Perhaps they were part of the group above who had traveled with Him and experienced the events reported in the verses between.
  • Notice His motivation in verse 2-3: compassion and concern that they were too famished and fatigued to endure the journey back to their homes.
  • I should not be as thick headed as the disciples in verse 4!  My memory of God’s last ‘supernatural’ intervention for me should spur me on to attempt greater acts of compassion for Him with those He loves!
  • I think His earlier protocol is implied in verse 6.  That is, He told them they would expand to satisfy the need of man, for whom they were created) and kept dividing them until everyone had more than enough.
  • Again, lack put up a futile protest!  It had to leave…in Jesus’ name!

Compassion solves problems!

  • It is our Father’s heart.  He fed His chosen people, Israel, with manna during the 40-year Exodus journey.  Enjoy the story from Exodus 16.1-35.
  • He fed Elijah using His messenger birds and a widow who only had enough meal for a small loaf.  Read about this in 1 Kings 17.1-16.
  • I am ready to go where Jesus sends me with a loaf of bread to push lack out in His name!
  • How about you?  Will you have enough in any economic challenge?  Yes, and to spare!
  • Consider Proverbs 28.27 and Micah 6.8.
  • I am reminded of Isaiah 64.4 and Jeremiah 32.17, 27.

Praise God!!!  Remember to look up, for your redemption is near!  Luke 21.28.

October 24, 2010 Service That Pleases God and Truly Helps People

Service that Pleases God and Truly Helps People

If ministering to widows and orphans is ‘pure’ religion (James 1.27), what other acts of service must you do to please Him?  Jesus listed some of these acts of service in Matthew 25.34-40.  He says that doing these things to your neighbors (Luke 10.29-37) is doing the same to Him (Colossians 3.17, 23).  But, there’s more – seen in Jesus’ lifestyle, as is illustrated and discussed below.  You should keep the following verses in mind as you study this: Matthew 9.35-38 and 10.7-8 and 20.27-28; Luke 4.16-21; Isaiah 58.6-14; John 17.18; Acts 3.1-10, 16 and 14.8-10.  Please review them first.

As you go, work! (John 9.1-5)  Retire?  Never!

  • The work of Jesus should be a natural expression, not forced, as you see in verse 1.  They were just ‘passing by’ when they saw an opportunity.  Are you and ‘opportunist’?
  • In verse 3, Jesus teaches THE most important point.  What is it?  Exodus 34.10 will help.
  • God’s work is to destroy the abuses of the devil, 1 John 3.8b; here, overcoming the demon of blindness to restore sight to someone who was meant to worship God in seeing the beauty of His creation!
  • Verse 4 is Jesus’ command for ‘we’ who, also, are His disciples.
  • What do you think Jesus is teaching by contrasting ‘day’ from ‘night’?
  • How does ‘blindness’ illustrate ‘night’ in two ways?
  • How does verse 5 help you with the contrast of day and night?
  • What do you learn if you substitute the name ‘Jesus’ for ‘I AM’ in this verse? 

Include Acts 4.12 in your contemplation.

  • In what way does verse 5 describe the Rapture of Christians from the earth?
  • Thus, the Holy Spirit will reveal opportunities of service to you as you preach the good news of Jesus in word and deed in the contexts into which He leads you.  The name ‘Jesus’ and the promises of God will be your weapons for overcoming satan’s abuse of people you meet; Jeremiah 1.9-10, 2 Corinthians 10.3-6, and Philippians 2.9-11.
  • Overcome until you leave this earth!

Skillfully use the materials you have to finish the work.  (John 9.6-7)  But, follow God’s instructions.

  • After Jesus taught the work, He did the work to confirm His word.  This was the protocol He taught His disciples in Matthew 10.7-8.  You can to this!
  • Remember that Jesus promised to go with His disciples, including you, when the Holy Spirit reveals your work; see Mark 16.15-18, 20.  He confirms your words and acts!
  • Did blindness leave the man when Jesus applied the mud, when the man turned to go, or when he dipped in the pool of Siloam?  Perhaps Luke 17.11-14 and Matthew 9.20-22 will lead you to the correct answer.  Why is this answer correct?  See Hebrews 11.6.
  • God always provides the resources He knows you will need to do His work, and He will use His great power to accomplish it!  See Ephesians 1.18-19.

Matthew 10.7-8 is about you!  Jesus said so in John 17.18.  This IS your service!

Praise God!!!  Blessings upon you!