Tag Archives: Jesus Christ

CLEAR VISION

Luke 15:11-32

 He was born blind.  A perfectly formed, beautiful baby boy kicking his tiny legs and swinging his arms in a sea of darkness.  He had little hope for a quality life in first century Jerusalem.  His father daily led him to his unofficial, but reserved location near a small pool.  Others who had forfeited in some way God’s blessing spent their wretched days there – begging.  Some days he collected nothing.  Some days a hateful boy stole the few pennies resting in his cup.  Everybody in Jerusalem knew that either he or his parents had a great sin for which God was exacting vengeance by taking his sight.  They all wished they knew what that family had done wrong!

One day, just like thousands of other black days, Jesus passed by.  He put some mud on those sightless eyes, gave instructions to wash off the mud in a nearby pool, and left the man to respond in faith.  At first, he saw a blurry light, then large shapes.  He blinked quickly several times.  His vision cleared!  He could see!  Out of darkness!  When questioned by religious authorities already concerned about the miracle worker, the formerly blind man could only explain the phenomenon this way:  “Only one thing I know.  I was blind, but now I see.”  What joy!

Many of us born with sight, still have a clouded vision of Jesus.  We’ve allowed so much to distort our image of the Savior!  The Bible is full of stories of people who did the same.  Let’s learn from them.

He’d been in the field all day, but as he approached the house, it was evident something big was happening.  It was a party!  Why in the world, in the middle of the work week, with no previous notice would Father be throwing such a huge party?  Confusion gave way to anger when he saw him.  So, he was back – the spoiled little brother who took his inheritance and left home to have fun.  He’d lost it all!  The older brother couldn’t feel relief that his younger brother was alive, joy for his father, hope that things had changed – just ANGER!

Jesus was coming for lunch.  Martha had peeled the vegetables, cooked the lamb chops, mixed the fruit salad, and baked the bread.  She had straightened the house, set the table, washed up all the cooking utensils, mopped the kitchen floor, and dusted the living room.  Mary, her sister – sat!  Jesus and Mary were talking and laughing and Martha was jealous.  Why did Mary always get preferential treatment from everyone?  Jesus was telling Mary and Lazarus about his work, but Martha was too JEALOUS to listen!

He was young, handsome, wealthy, – a good man.  Although everyone thought he had it all – he knew he did not.  He spoke out of a sense of frustration when he inquired of Jesus, “What am I missing?  What’s this hole in my heart that my possessions cannot fill?”  Jesus, testing his commitment, suggested he give away all his possessions in order to clear up his priorities.  The rich young man wouldn’t even consider the suggestion.  He preferred his POSSESSIONS to Jesus.

The disciples were riding out choppy waves on the Sea of Galilee.   Jesus, not needing a boat, simply walked out on top of the water to join them.  Impetuous Peter wanted to walk on the water, too.  What a thrill!  Jesus probably chuckled to himself as he gave Peter permission to join him.  At first, Peter managed the miraculous, but after a few steps he took his eyes off Jesus and began to sink.  Panic replaced exhilaration because SELF-RELIANCE replaced faith.

Pontius Pilate had a chance to be history’s greatest hero.  He had the power to set Jesus free.  He knew he should.  He recognized his innocence.  He vacillated in his judgment, but the crowd won out.  Pilate was people-pleaser.  He didn’t want trouble from the Jews and a reprimand from Caesar, so he compromised his integrity and ordered the death of the Savior.  He made a ceremony of washing his hands of the Messiah’s innocent blood, but OTHER PEOPLE kept him from allowing the stain to be washed from his soul.

James and John – brothers looking out for each other.  They didn’t feel completely comfortable with the question, but the obsession for power and recognition overshadowed the guilt.  They sucked in their breaths, and nonchalantly asked Jesus for a little favor.  The request – to sit on either side of Jesus on His heavenly throne.  After all, wouldn’t it be lovely to be recognized throughout all eternity as Jesus’ favorites?  How powerful the feeling would be as all the saints of all the ages took note of their importance.  Jesus dealt the brothers a powerful blow with His reply – they had missed the whole point!  Those who find their joy in service are great, not those who find their joy in POWER or RECOGNITION.

What clouds our vision of Jesus?  Like the blind beggar who responded in faith, let Jesus five you clear sight.  What joy!

Monica Boudreaux

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Filed under Grace, Humility

Be a Friend to Someone

It may not seem like it’s very monastic or missional to be a friend to someone, but the whole world is crying out for friends. Becoming a friend to someone is really a commitment. A friend is someone that we take time to be with, to help and to encourage. It’s really a discipline to be a friend. That may seem like a strange way of looking at friendship. Statistics tell us that the United States is one of the loneliest nations in the world. As we go about our daily walk being a friend is by necessity a part of being a person who is doing the mission of God here on earth. We as contemplative people have a desire to reach out with love to people who need the loving touch that only a person who knows and feels the love of Jesus Christ can give.

A Few Suggestions

  • Write an unsolicited note to someone.
  • Take someone to coffee or lunch.
  • Make a phone call to someone who doesn’t receive many.
  • Intentionally develop a new friend.
  • Give your time someone.

All of these small things can make a tremendous difference to someone who’s lonely. For in helping relieve loneliness in our world we are truly people who are spreading the grace and love of Jesus Christ who are world. How many times in life have we failed to do what we could do if we just tried? I urge all of you just try. For in trying we can find the glorious blessings that God just has stored up for us.

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Filed under Missional Living

Be a Friend to Someone

English: 4 days of Evangelism Training in Sout...

Being a friend to someone is really very Missional, because because the whole world is crying out for friends. Becoming a friend to someone is a commitment. A friend is someone that we take time to be with, to help, and to encourage. It’s a discipline to be a friend. That may seem like a strange way of looking at friendship. Statistics tell us that the United States is one of the loneliest nations in the world. As we go about our daily walk ,being a friend is by necessity a part of being a person who is doing the mission of God here on earth. We as Missional people have a desire to reach out with love to others who need the loving touch that only a person who knows and feels the love of Jesus Christ can give.

How?

  • Write an unsolicited note, text or email to someone.
  • Take someone to coffee or lunch.
  • Make a phone call to someone who doesn’t receive many.
  • Intentionally develop a new friend.
  • Give your time to someone.

All of these small things can make a tremendous difference to someone who’s lonely. For in helping relieve loneliness in our world, we are truly people who are spreading the grace and love of Jesus Christ to the world. How many times in life have we failed to do what we could do if we just tried? I urge all of to you just try. In trying we can find the glorious blessings that God has stored up for us

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Filed under Evangelism, Friendship, missional, Missional Living

More on Silence

For over a fifteen hundred years monastics have practiced the discipline of silence. The monk knows that God is best heard in silence and community harmony is best maintained with an absence of excessive verbage. St Benedict understood that silence as an essential element of life. This is so that we can learn to listen to God more exclusively. God speaks to us in the Bible, but also in the depths of our heart and, as we begin to tune into him, we learn to be attentive to his presence in others. Thus harmony with God and man is achieved as we practice silence.

  •  Silence allows us to focus on God.
  • Silence allows us to think outside of ourselves
  • Silence creates an attitude of other worldliness
  • Silence gives value to others

When we withdraw into silence and spend this special time with God we equip ourselves to be joyful Missional people. It is a most excellent way to prepare ourselves for the opportunities God provides for us.

The more we listen to God, the more capable we are of listening to each other. As we listen, we hear needs and cries from our friends and neighbors that have been lost in the noise of this world. If we are to be about the mission of God then we have to take time to become people of silence.

Each of us wants to be all we can be as disciples of Jesus Christ. Let me suggest that you carve out some time each day that you observe total intentional silence. If daily doesn’t work then do it weekly but DO IT. God will richly bless your efforts.

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Filed under Benedict of Nursia, Benedictine Rule, Centering Prayer, Contemplation, Prayer

Seeking Him

English: Adoration of the Wise Men by Murillo

English: Adoration of the Wise Men by Murillo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

An ancient theologian named Origen tried to simplify the message of Advent and Christmas something like this: Suppose there were a statue so large that the eye of man simply could not take it in with one look. How best to grasp the essential form and substance of this statue? Would it not be wise to make a small copy to an exact scale but much reduced? Then humanity could see what the greater statue was like. Origen went on to say this is what God has done in Jesus Christ. He shows us what He himself is like within the bounds of our human ability to understand.

 That statue took the form of a baby so special, so compelling that great men wanted to worship him. Some of the first of these men were the Magi who visited Jesus to worship him. We celebrtae their visit this Sunday with the Feast of the Epiphany.

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Filed under Christian Living, missional, Missional Living, Worship

Pleasing God

Haarlem, Netherlands, Church of Saint Anthony

Haarlem, Netherlands, Church of Saint Anthony (Photo credit: Multerland………)

Someone asked Abba Anthony, ‘What must one do in order to please God?’ The old man replied, ‘Pay attention to what  I  tell  you:  whoever  you  may  be,  always  have  God before your eyes; whatever you do, do it according to the testimony of the holy Scriptures; in whatever place you live, do not easily leave it.  Keep these three precepts and you will be saved.’

—–sayings of the desert

Commentary

Abba Anthony gives us three simple, and yet difficult principles, that we must do to please God. The challenge is to keep God before our eyes when our sight is so cluttered with the saga of life. Additionally, we are called to live with the scripture as the ever present guide for our lives. As if that were not enough, we are then instructed to “stay put” even when things are tough. Our world tells us quite clearly to keep focused on the earthly, while perhaps giving some attention to God, and to move on whenever life gets uncomfortable. Perhaps if we all developed a vision of God and followed that vision where we are planted, we would find that peace that eludes us.

Prayer

Lord God, help us to see you in all that we do. Guide us by divine revelation each day of our lives. Help us to find true peace in the place you have given us. In these things we can find you in your fullness and grace. After all, that is what our journey is all about. We humbly ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen

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Filed under Advent, Advent Devotional, Antony of Egypt, Christian Living

Self Importance

In a very crowded hospital waiting one rather self-important individual was getting impatient. Unwilling to wait any longer, he barged in and demanded to be seen by the doctor. “Don’t you know who I am?” Shouted the man. The secretary calmly pressed the button on the microphone of her loudspeaker system and asked the waiting patients. “I have a gentleman here who doesn’t know who he is. Can someone please assist him in finding out? Thank you.

That story may have a little touch of humor to it, but it serves as an example of the type of person we strive not to be. All to often in our busy, pushy, self-important we find ourselves feeling the way in the role of the man in the story. We are taught to be so productive and self-center that we really believe that if people just knew who we were they would listen to everything we say.

Jesus gives us a a completely different perspective. He says,”the first will be last… to turn the other cheek..to carry the burden for the second mile”do we strive to follow His teachings? Do we think it is even possible?

Take some time to ponder those questions.

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Filed under Christian Living, Missional Living