Saturday, July 28, 2012

YOU feed them.

“The disciples came to him and said, ‘This is a desolate place, and the hour is now late.  Send them away . . . .’ But he answered them, ‘You give them something to eat.’”  Mark 6:35-37

The disciples’ observation was accurate, but not profound.  It really was a desolate place, and the hour really was late.  And the only path forward they could see was, “Send them away.”  But Jesus was there.  Standing right there in plain view.  Conversing with them.  But the disciples have already reached this brilliant conclusion: It can’t be done.  I’m sure Jesus needed to be told that.
So he turned the tables on them: “You give them something to eat.”  The word you is emphatic in the Greek text.  And he really meant it.  The disciples really were about to feed all those people, by his power.  He told the disciples to do the impossible, because they were about to do the impossible.  Every command of Jesus comes with the power of Jesus.  But he does demand our involvement: “You give them something to eat.”

Without him, we can’t.  Without us, he won’t.  Spurgeon put it that way.  Another way of saying it is,

“The Lord is with you, while you are with him” (2 Chronicles 15:2).  When we are wholehearted toward him, the fullness of his Spirit moves toward us.  Then we can feed the people.  His fullness through us, with new passion, new wisdom, new sacrifice, new ideas, new systems, creative new designs that speak into people’s needs today rather than people’s needs yesterday.  We’re not sitting around and waiting for him to do it for us.  Nor are we presuming to do his work in our own strength.  Nor are we limited to old patterns and assumptions that don’t work any more.  But with his power and wisdom entering afresh into our wholehearted efforts today, the people will be fed.
Preaching at Lake Avenue Church, Pasadena, on 11 May 1975, my dad helped us think out beyond ourselves:

“Jesus wants to express his fullness through you.  Always begin your thinking and your planning and your deciding from the standpoint of Jesus’ fullness in your life.  Always begin with the plenty of God.  Face life with all you have in Christ.  Never face life from the standpoint of all the problems and all the needs and all the difficulties.  Always begin with your standing in Christ.  You have rivers of living water, Christ in you, fullness of grace and truth.  That’s what Jesus gives us!”

Post by Ray Ortland.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Private Meeting

Think of it: The Lord Jesus Christ is willing to meet with you privately for as long as you want, and He is willing—even eager—to meet with you every day! Suppose you had been one of the thousands who followed Jesus around for much of the last three years of His earthly life. Can you imagine how excited you would have been if one of His disciples said, “The Master wants us to tell you that He is willing to get alone with you whenever you’re willing, and for as much time as you want to spend, and He’ll be expecting you most every day”? What a privilege! Who would have complained about this expectation? Well, that marvelous privilege and expectation is always yours.

From Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald Whitney.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Luther on Works Righteousness

“If you cannot believe that God will forgive your sins for Christ’s sake, whom he sent into the world to be our high priest, how then, I ask you, will you believe that he will forgive your sins for the works of the law, which you never could perform, or for your own works, which, you must admit, cannot possibly counteract the judgment of God?"    -  Martin Luther

Friday, July 6, 2012

Saying Grace

“You say grace before meals. All right. But I say grace before the concert and the opera, and grace before the play and pantomime, and grace before I open a book, and grace before sketching, painting, swimming, fencing, boxing, walking, playing, dancing and grace before I dip the pen in the ink.”
            ― G.K. Chesterton

Monday, July 2, 2012

Perseverance is not the Result of our Determination

The central reality for Christians is the personal, unalterable, persevering commitment that God makes to us. Perseverance is not the result of our determination, it is the result of God’s faithfulness. We survive in the way of faith not because we have extraordinary stamina but because God is righteous. Christian discipleship is a process of paying more and more attention to God’s righteousness and less and less attention to our own; finding the meaning of our lives not by probing our moods and motives and morals but by believing in God’s will and purposes; making a map of the faithfulness of God, not charting the rise and fall of our enthusiasm.

                     - Eugene Peterson, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, 128-129