Hey, Teacher (Businessperson, Church Goer, or Retiree . . .)

Vol. 3 No. 4 – 1-28-2018

Teacher, I beg You to look at my son, for he is my only boy. –Luke 9:38

Almost 52 years ago, the doctor came down the hallway in the hospital. He did not say hi, or anything close. He just said, “Mr. Lightner, you are never going to take that boy home.” Having said that, he turned and walked away. My heart cried, and my body trembled. What was I going to say to Donna? How was I going to be the helpmate God expected me to be; how could I push my emotions back to lovingly speak to the dearest of gifts God could give me?

Religiously speaking, we are hooked on spiritual ecstasy. We are programmed to expect the big, the unusual, and the spectacular; and we often miss the glory God places in our ordinary lives. –Bruce Larson

They had been to the mountain; had a mountain top experience. Then they came down, Jesus and His followers, to the valley floor. It had been a great seminar; it was an advance, not a retreat. Think on that for a moment.

They came upon a father emotionally wrought over his son. The followers fell flat on their spiritual faces trying to help this heart-broken dad. Some of you reading this have been in the dad’s place; just as I was almost 52 years ago.

Perhaps the disciples though inwardly, “we should have stayed on the mountain. We could be worshipping and celebrating; but now we have descended to the plain of conflict and work. From the atmosphere of heaven, to the reality of hell itself. It seems we are in the presence of the devil-possessed. One day we are in the glory of the extraordinary . . . the next day we are in the ordinary! Our mountain-top experience has suddenly faded. Mondays after Sunday are the pits!”

The disciples lost their grip on things. This situation with an epileptic son was out of control. This disgraceful “disease” and the tragedy of demon possession drove the father to a point of despair. Peter, James, and John who knew so many victories now faced failure.

      I begged your disciples to cast it out, and they could not. Will you help? (9:40).

Jesus’ response was to have the father bring his boy to Him. Demons were active – they seized the boy, made him scream, threw him into convulsions. He had been thrown into fire and into water, influenced by the demons, all the time foaming at the mouth. The father and mother were in a state of helplessness. The boy would grind his teeth; his body would go rigid, giving the appearance of being deaf and dumb. Jesus was there to help at the right place and the right time – He is never late.

Christ is always equal to the challenge. He, the Son of God, rebukes His disciples for their lack of faith. He, Jesus, dismisses the evil occupant of the young son; Jesus heals the boy, then delivers the man’s only son to the grateful parents.

      Awe gripped the crown of people as they saw this display of the power of God (9:43).

Guy King sums up the miracle with this thought:
      The dad was sad
      For his son was mad
      The devil was bad

      Then . . .

      The crowd was glad
      For Jesus had done His thing!

Oh, you might want to know about my son, the one the doctor said would never go home from the hospital. He is almost 52. He was born with heart difficulties, a lung that would not work, paralysis on one side, and a growth on the base of his skull, and a variety of other difficulties. However, God had other plans. He is principal at a Christian School, married to a wonderful young lady, and father of two beautiful girls. God is good. And this son has spent his life as an educator with the focused goal of leading students to Christ, and preparing students to live with a Christian Worldview in our broken world!

      Yes, God is good; all the time God is good!

How are your connections with people who suffer in our world; do you take the other fork in the road?

I say to You, Arise!

Vol. 3 No. 3 – 1-21-2018

Young man, I say unto, Arise! –Luke 7:11-17

When we come to the end of life, these words can be melancholic: funeral, coffin, mortician, and cemetery/crematory.

We live is a generation that refuses to acknowledge the word “death.” We no longer say the word. Rather we say “passing,” sometimes “demise” of a loved one, or perhaps a loved one has “succumbed.” They have moved on to their “final reward,” and God needed another butterfly in His garden.

Not so long ago I spoke with a funeral director that has a client who purchased a custom casket. The piece of “furniture” had several custom drawers in place to hold the man’s coin collection, his stocks and bonds, and a large assortment of custom jewelry. The man is positioned to take his “stuff” with him. He really does not know about the reality of death.

In all this, there is a longing for a key to the mysteries of death; the unseen world arises, largely from humanity’s uncertainty as to whether death is a terminus or a junction.

Jesus and his disciples spent the day hiking about 18 miles to the little hillside village of Nain, nestled on a plateau on the northern slopes of the Hill of Moreh, near Mt. Tabor. As they arrived a funeral procession was slowly moving out to the rock tombs.

The group with Jesus was headed into town; the other group leaving the town. One group had the expression of joy and excitement; the other group was sat upon and depressed about death. The one group was headed by Jesus; the other group was headed by the bier of a dead young man and accompanied by the religious man of the town.

The group with the dead boy hired professional mourners, complete with flutes and cymbals; uttering in a kind of frenzy, their shrill cries of grief. It was perhaps a 10-minute march with the woman and husband that “lost” their son, his body borne upon a plank.

For the mom, it was a double whammy!

It is not by chance that the two groups came to meet one another; Jesus was right on schedule; by divine appointment He stops the funeral. He asks the sorrowing woman to stop weeping, and then says something that takes everyone present aback. Young man, come back to life again!

Immediately, the lad sits up, grabs the edge of the pallet, and the grave clothes are removed. He is once again united with his mother.

Jesus speaks to a dead corpse, and at once it becomes a living being. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, the heart, the lungs, the brain, the senses again resume their work and discharge their duties. This is not a surprise for Jesus.

There are those who will say this is a fable, impossible. With God, nothing is impossible. He is the giver and creator of life.

Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever. –Hebrews 13:8

How many of us are lying dead on a wood pallet and need the presence of Jesus to get things started up again.

Do not wait until they get ready to seal the tomb; place you in a casket and bury you; or take you to the crematory. It maybe will be an unexpected reality that things are set in stone for your eternity.

Do not wait until it is too late!

We Should Think about our Fishing

Vol. 3 No. 2 – 1-14-2018

We fished all night and caught nothing! Luke 5:1-11

Sometimes when I fish, I do not catch anything – nothing! Then I have to improvise. The fish in the picture is not real, but it is the closest thing I could find to appease my mind.

It was a beautiful summer morning along the seashore of Galilee. On the beach were hundreds of people and the Teacher, Jesus, was sitting in Peter’s boat (it was a floating pulpit!) about 20 yards out in the water.

As soon as Jesus’ message was concluded, Jesus as Boat Captain, asked Peter as a Deckhand: “Launch out into the deep water! Let’s go fishing together.”

Peter’s response? “Master, we are worn out. Our nets are only half-cleaned, and besides, fish do not bite with the sunrays so bright! Not only that, but we returned having fished all night and ended up empty . . . all night, Master!”

For a fisherman it was a failure to produce in your normal life’s work. Peter told a true fish story: “We caught nothing . . . zip . . . white-washed.”

“Nevertheless . . . even though we know the habits of the fish; we know the weather, the currents, the prevailing winds, the feeding grounds, and we have years of experience at night fishing” (Looking at Jesus, their thoughts were, “I know You and You are not a fisherman”), “yet at Your word, we will try once more.”

I wonder if God was thinking that His fishermen should have better ears, than eyes, minds, and egos. Fishing conditions may be unfavorable, but when God says “let’s go fishing,” we should lay down our nets, or bait our hooks with the gospel of truth.

This Carpenter tells the expert fisherman how to be successful. Peter is not in the least degree depressed by past failure in fishing.

Are you living in discouragement from past failure? Are you trying to forget a night when you toiled and caught nothing? Are you scared of a new, daring enterprise that seems “impossible” but for the fact of God’s calling: “Launch out?

“Full sails ahead. Dip those oars deep.” God is calling, and His calling is always an enabling one.
Jesus Christ can take our failures and turn them into success; He can take our fears and turn them into courage; He can take our prejudices/biases and melt them with His love; He can take us, when we are in full retreat from God, by laying a rescuing hand upon us. He can turn us around to face a task that frowned at us, and to bring us back to where God has always intended us to be!

I think of Jonah. He probably heard echoes from the belly of a whale long years after the event. God called and he ran . . . the other way! I think about me. Think on yourself for a moment!

Peter responded, “At Your Word we will!” Christ’s cross of Calvary assures Christ’s mission is for us, His love underlines it, and His promises in His Word, the Bible certifies it. –Paul S. Rees

They did catch an enormous amount of fish; such a great amount the nets began to tear. So, they called for help from like–minded people. They immediately came, and filled two boats with the catch.

How about our fishing expeditions? Are we catching enough men and women that we have to call for help in our efforts to disciple them? Or, do we use a small net and only have a few straggling fish to bring into God’s kingdom.

We should think about our fishing … maybe even pray!.

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