Thursday, July 28, 2011

Don't Go

Jesus said to them, "There is no need for them to go away."
- Matthew 14:16
This is the prelude to the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand. Jesus has just heard that John the Baptist has been murdered, and heads off alone in a boat to a deserted place to mourn. The crowds of followers are so desperate to see Him that they follow Him on foot to the deserted place. When Jesus sees them He is moved by their dedication, and puts aside His grief to heal and teach them.

When it gets late, His disciples tell Him to dismiss the crowd so that they can go and find food in the nearby villages. Even though they are hungry and far from home, the people are reluctant to leave Jesus' presence unless He explicitly tells them to go. Jesus knows this, and is again moved by their dedication. He sees no reason why they should have to leave if they don't want to, and provides for their needs instead.

If we love Jesus, we will seek Him out, even if that means traveling a long way, or into unknown parts. If we long to be in His presence, He will not send us away. He will heal us and teach us, and provide for our needs.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Great Barrier

What will separate us from the love of Christ?
- Romans 8:35
There us only one thing that can separate us from the love of Christ: sin. St Paul lists many things that we think might separate us: anguish, distress, persecution, death. But through all these things, we still have the love of God in Jesus.

Sin is the only thing that creates a barrier. The bigger the sin, the bigger the barrier. The love of Christ is still there on the other side. But no matter how big the barrier is, when we repent and ask for forgiveness, the barrier falls. Nothing can separate us from the love of Christ, if that is what we truly desire.

Friday, July 8, 2011

You Are a Field

Thus have you prepared the land: drenching its furrows, breaking up its clods, softening it with showers, blessing its yield.
- Psalm 65:11
All farmers know that to produce a good crop you have to prepare the field first. The soil needs watering and tilling to break up the big clods of earth, so that the roots can go deep and the shoots can break through into the sunlight.

What a wonderful analogy for us too. God is our farmer, we are His fields, and His Word and the Holy Spirit are His seeds. If we want to be good soil (see Wednesday's post), we need to allow God to prepare the field.

God will drench its furrows. He drenches us with love. We should also soak up knowledge, wisdom and understanding through bible study and prayer.

God breaks up the clods. This is the tough one. If we want the roots of God's seeds to go deep, we have to allow Him to break up those things that are in the way. If we want the shoots of God's seeds to sprout and break through to the light, He needs to break down the barriers we create. Once the clods in our life are gone, then our faith will be rooted deeply, and we can break through into the Son Light.

God softens the land with showers. God never ceases to shower us with His blessings and mercy. He will pour out on us everything we need to survive, everything we need to grow, everything we need to thrive. And He continues to soften us, to ensure the clods don't return, that the earth does not harden, so that the seeds can continue to grow.

God blesses its yield. When we allow God to cultivate us, He will bless the crops that we produce. When we allow God to be our farmer, He will bless all that we do. God's seeds can only produce good crops. But first we have to let Him prepare the field.


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Make Every Word Count

Thus says the LORD: "My word shall not return to me void, but shall do my will, achieving the end for which I sent it."
- Isaiah 55:11
God is talking about Jesus here. Jesus is God's Word, whom He sent out to do His will. Jesus did not return to God until He had achieved the end for which He was sent.

Although our words are just words, they can still hold much power, and we should choose them carefully. A careless word thrown out without thought can cause great distress and harm. But the right word at the right time could result in salvation. If we do it right, we can 'send out' our words and accomplish many things. Words of comfort to someone grieving. Words of advice to someone in trouble. Words of faith to someone searching.

How can we be sure we are choosing the right words? God's Word was guided by the Holy Spirit. Ours should be too. Whenever possible, and especially in high pressure situations, take a moment to pray to the Holy Spirit and ask for His guidance. Ask for the right words to say, and words NOT to say. Let Him speak through you, and you can be sure that your words will make a difference.


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Good Soil

To anyone who has, more will be given and he will grow rich; from anyone who has not, even what he has will be taken away.
- Matthew 13:12
This verse comes after the parable about the sower, which is one of my favorites. The image of the Word of God as seeds falling on various types of soil is easy to understand, and each of us can see ourselves in there somewhere, hopefully as the 'good soil'! But the people to whom Jesus originally told this parable did not understand it, leading His disciples to ask Him why He taught in parables. His response includes the verse above.

As first I did not understand Jesus' response. It seems rather harsh and unfair. So I checked my bible's notes, and discovered that Jesus is not talking about physical possessions and money, but about faith and understanding. To anyone who accepts the revealed mystery - Jesus - God will grant more understanding. Those who reject Jesus will lose what little wisdom they had in the matter.

So to understand God's Word, we must first accept Jesus, and have faith in Him. We must believe that He is the Son of God, that He died for our sins, that He rose from the dead and that He will come again. Once we have that faith, then wisdom and understanding will follow, because God will grant it to us.

Let the seed of God's Word fall on good soil in you. Then it will grow and bear much fruit.


Friday, July 1, 2011

Hide and Seek

At that time Jesus exclaimed: "I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to little ones."
- Matthew 11:25
It doesn't matter how smart you are. Whether you have a PhD or dropped out of high school makes no difference. God doesn't reveal Himself to us in the classroom. He reveals Himself to those willing to believe. Those who hear His Word and accept it. Those with faith.

We are to be like little children. If you tell them something is true, they believe it. If you make them a promise, they have faith that you will keep it. They don't need deep knowledge. The don't understand where food comes from, but they have faith that you will feed them. They don't understand why Daddy has to go to work to earn money, but they have faith that he will come home each night. They don't understand why it hurts when they fall down, but they have faith that a kiss will make it all better.

God does the same for us. He feeds us, provides for us, is always with us, and picks us up when we fall down.

If we withheld our love and protection from our children until they were smart enough to understand everything we do for them, we would be cruel monsters. God is not a cruel monster. But if you try to find Him through knowledge, you will fail. He hides Himself from the wise and learned. We can only find God if we look for Him with faith. We need to become like children, then He will reveal Himself to the little ones.