MM 7/17/15 needed, yet not informed

When Jonathan and David devised a secret plan to communicate, it involved a little boy chasing arrows that Jonathan shot in a field. The boy had no clue the part he played in Jonathan’s scheme. He did what he was told and the plan was put into play. Let’s be like this little boy, needed by God, yet uniformed, ready to chase the arrows God shoots.
Who knows what our arrow chasing will allow!
Love you,

MM 7/17/15 needed, yet not informed from Debby Bellingham on Vimeo.

Jesus redefines family

Then Jesus’ mother and his brothers came to him, but they could not reach him because of the crowd. And he was told, ‘Your mother and your brothers are standing outside, wanting to see you.’ But he said to them, ‘My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.’ Lu 8:19-21

In this scene Jesus redefines family, admitting you and me into God’s gracious home. But what was it like for Mary to hear his new description of the familial bond? Can you put yourself in her sandals?

Her son, Jesus, had been out and about proclaiming the good news and healing the sick. He had gained quite a following, wherever he went crowds surrounded him. Mary comes to see him, assuming her role as his mother would give her a backstage pass. After all, she’d carried him in her womb, birthed and raised him; she was his mother.

Jesus’ response opened her eyes a bit wider to truth. Her role in his life was important, but not central. Her relationship with him was unique, but not more significant than any one else’s. He said anyone who hears God’s word and acts on it is as central and signifiant to me as my own mother. Jesus adjusts her view of reality. He is not primarily her son, he is Lord. Being intimately connected to him is not about family ties, it is about obedience. What do you think she felt at his response? What would you feel?

We are not told how Mary reacted, but I know what I would have felt: offended, embarrassed and angry. My reaction tells me I expect my relationship with Jesus to afford me some special privileges; my needs should be honored; he should march to my drumbeat. And Jesus gives me ‘tough love.’ “I am Lord, you are not. The universe does not revolve around you and your expectations. You are one of my Father’s deeply loved and valued children. Will you let this be enough for you?”

The scripture, when we let it, tells us our own story, opening our eyes to the truth and adjusting our reality.

Is Jesus your Lord?

Is Jesus your Lord?

According to him, not unless you do what he tells you. (Luke 6:46)

Do you want Jesus to be your Lord?

He tells you how to make this possible: Come to him, hear his words, act on them. (Luke 6:46,47)

He goes on to describe what this looks like.

  1. Desire a well-built house; one that is safe, secure, trustworthy and lovely to inhabit.  Jack and I lived through the big earthquake that struck San Francisco in 1989. My home was in Laurel Heights, built on the solid bedrock on a SF hill, his was in the Marina, built on landfill poured into the bay to extend the build-able land-space. My house stood secure, the earthquake hardly noticeable; his shook like beads in a baby rattle and  experienced 100K of damage. It makes a difference where you choose to build your house. “Come to me,” says Jesus, “abide in my love.”
  1. Dig deeply. Clearing land to build a home is hard and extensive work. It is not sufficient to just cut down the trees, you must dig down and remove their roots as well. Jesus says, “Hear my words.” Let the word of God enter and excavate the soil of your soul.
  1. Lay a solid foundation. Jesus is the cornerstone and the only solid rock worth building your life upon. Choose Jesus and let all the other stones that make up your life align with him. “Act on the word you hear.” Choosing obedience to the word God speaks to you is the way to lay your foundation on the rock.

We all want a life that bears the storms that come our way. So let’s get practical.

Take a minute for prayer; ask Jesus to speak a word of truth to you about your life of discipleship. Let the Holy Spirit dig around in your soul and show you something that needs to be excavated, one little stone that hinders the love of Jesus from being experienced. Let’s start with this one obedience. Letting Jesus be Lord of this one area will cause the rest of the stones of your life to rearrange themselves. Admittedly, this is a long and sometimes painful process, but a house that stands against the floods is worth the effort.

The Lord sends the Spirit

Fire and flames.

Pentecost – Acts 2:1-16

Jack and I  lived through Hurricane Sandy. We know what the rush of a violent wind sounds like. It certainly gets your attention! Such a wind, accompanied by tongues of fire dancing among and resting upon the disciples, along with the ability to speak in a language not their own – well, that got the whole city’s attention.

The great commission begins. Notice:

  1. The disciples were all together. The community created by a relationship with the living Christ is important for the sharing of the Good News. Remember that your witness to God’s love and power is made strengthened by your union with fellow believers.
  2. It is God who initiates and displays the power. The disciples were just the channels through which God spoke the good news. For the most part, they were unlearned Galileans. The only explanation of their ability to speak a foreign language was the power of God’s Holy Spirit. (not wine!) They were in the right place at the right time, aka obedience. Jesus had asked them to remain in Jerusalem and wait for the Holy Spirit. They did and wonders followed. Remember that it your part to faithfully obey God’s words and it is God’s part to empower you to share his love.
  3. God speaks your language. It was an amazed crowd that gathered to witness the event, but it was to individuals that God communicated the gospel in a language known only to them. God makes sure the message of salvation is spoken in a unique way that each and every person can grasp. Remember that God communicates his love and power to you in a personalized language only you can understand. Listen for it.

(Written for CBC’s weekly devotional.)