One Thing I Do Know . . .

Vol. 3 No. 12 – John 9:1-41 (3.25.2018)

One thing I do know, I was blind but now I see! –John 9:1-41

Here is a truth: It is entirely possible to have it all . . . and yet miss it all!

This is about a man born blind, then receiving his sight in desperation. He had been a beggar up to this point in his life; uneducated, sitting on the side of the dusty street day after day, waiting for some meager charity. He did not have much spiritual insight; he was just looking for a handout.

You have seen many like this. I have had to drive down the street and turn around to go back and make sure the person at the side of the street could have something to help them in life, always taking time to make sure they heard of the One who is chasing them with His grace.

Have you ever tried to explain color to a blind person . . . you can’t. But you can tell a blind person about the person of Christ and that person can see what you are speaking of.

The Pharisees seemed to have it all. They were blessed with full-working physical faculties; had a seemingly in-depth biblical knowledge (at least academically), and had positions of respect in the community. However, they were utterly blind to the fact that God was on the move, chasing unbelievers with His grace, operating in the broken world full of sin.

This man, this Christ, called Jesus, not only did things they did not expect; He also did them in a way that was not kosher (in their opinion). You know about opinions: They are like noses; everyone has one and they all smell.

The Pharisees were not denying the existence of miracles; however they were insistent that God work within the parameters they had designed. Do we do that?

God is notoriously unpredictable. –Tim Hansel

God, as I have mentioned in previous blogs, has a sense of humor; He loves to keep us on the edge of faith, He cannot be boxed in; we can never say that we have got Him figured out. If we think we have Him figured out He will amaze and amuse us!

Think about a specific need in your life; an issue that will only change if it receives a touch from heaven. Maybe it is wisdom that is needed for making a decision; maybe the need is physical healing; or maybe the need is for healing an emotional scar.

Too often even Christians fall into “blindly” accepting “the hand of fate,” when God wants to do a work in them for His glory! (9:3)

Today, we still cannot accurately predict what God will do – He is still notoriously unpredictable in many things (absolutes never change; however, God delivers His grace in a multiplicity of ways). God is still in the miracle business.

When I first came to Christ, a pastor said that the age of miracles was over because we now have the Word of God. That surely was inaccurate as I have personally experienced God’s miracles in my life.

The miracle He wants to do in our lives may not be to change our circumstances (though He can certainly do that). It may be the daily miracle of giving us the strength through pain, heartache, or through our weaknesses. (2 Corinthians 12:8-10)

Wonder what it would be like for you to ask the Lord right now to surprise you!

God is still able to make the blind to see — to have the scales fall from the eyes. Sometimes the blindness is physical, sometimes it is a result of trauma, sometimes it is spiritual — but God is able to address a person where they are, regardless of their condition.

Amazing grace how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see!

Fish and Chips . . . Well, Sort Of

Vol. 3 No. 11 – John 6:1-15 (3.18.2018)

A little boy has five barley cakes and two sardines –John 6:1-15

Several years ago plaques were just the ticket for gifts. One such plaque had this message:

God gives us great opportunities
Brilliantly disguised
As impossible situations!

Late in the afternoon, on a lonely hillside northeast of the Sea of Galilee – well not today. Over 5,000 hungry stomachs were growling! Think about that for a moment. No 7-Eleven, Turkey Hill, Race Track, Pilot, McDonalds, Chic-Fil-A, or even a Wendy’s. What is wrong with this picture?

The disciples of Jesus did not have enough money to buy a little something for everybody, even if there were a biscuit place on the trail leading to where the people gathered. In human calculations, this was a hopeless situation. Entering the scene was a small lad coming to where Jesus Christ was positioned and teaching.

Have you ever tried to part boy and lunch? Even though it was small – a handful of small barley biscuits and a couple of dinky fish (like I used to catch). Starter size fish and chips. Hardly enough even for a hungry lad. Nothing “palate-tickling” about them. And then, he willing gives it – ALL OF IT!

God takes what we have; in this case the small, insignificant, and even meager lunch of the little boy, and makes a ludicrous provision of seven morsels that is multiplied into proportions to not only feed thousands, BUT there is a mountain type stack of leftovers to care for others’ needs. Isn’t that just like God?

Sometimes when I read what God does, the humor of God cannot be covered up. This cannot help but bring a smile to the lips of the reader.

The arithmetic of the circumstance tells us that five loaves of bread (biscuits/chips) plus two scrawny fish minus 5000 Jewish stomachs equals twelve baskets full left over.

God is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think. –Ephesians 2:20

Out of meager resources comes a miracle. Think of history and present things:

  • A small Jewish baby takes a trip down the Nile (in a basket, none-the-less) and touches the heart of the Emperor’s daughter
  • David’s sling and a small stone brings down a gargantuan Philistine
  • A slave girl brings the leper Naaman to be in touch with God’s healing power
  • A jawbone of an ass in the hands of Samson took care of 1000 armed men
  • A prostitute in Samaria was used after encounter with Jesus to bring the gospel to her entire town
  • And I just answered the door bell and noticed that the heavy door swings on only two tiny hinges – amazing!

How trivial is that young little Jewish virgin, raised in what many would call a “hick town” in Palestine? God took her, Mary, and privileged her to bring forth the Redeemer. Little is much when God is in it. Note what Jesus did with the barley cakes/loaves/chips and pickled fish – He took it, said a blessing upon it, broke it, and rather than feeding the multitude directly, He provided the feeding through His servants. Do not miss that!

What do you have? All God is asking is for us to be a channel through which He can express Himself, through which He can make known His power and grace. He is looking for channels; even small lunches of little boys. God has all the supply. It is for us to distribute what He gives.

A dedicated life is a multiplying life. –John G Mitchell

What have you provided to someone else today because God made it available to you?

Sir?


Vol. 3 No. 10 – John 5:1-23 (3.11.2018)

Sir, I have no man to put me into the pool . . . –John 5:1-23

Charles Kettering, a great inventor suggested that we must learn to fail intelligently. “Once you have failed, analyze the problem and find out why, because each failure is one more step leading up to the cathedral of success. The only time you do not want to fail is the last time you try.”

Within the walls of Jerusalem was a Center for Failures, located near the Sheep Gate, called The House of Mercy. Bethesda. Impotent (from the Latin root for impossible) people by the dozens lived there; blind, lame, and paralyzed. Of the man in our text, it has been written and said, lived there a long time, 38 years. For 38 years he had not gone to church; for 38 years he had no friend to help him; and for 38 years his experience at life only resulted in failure.

The man formed a habit of beginning without finishing, and so had simply formed the habit of failure. One thing about habits: You do not have habits, habits have you!

At Bethesda he was a bust; he gave up. He threw in the towel. There was no use in even trying because he thought he would never win or accomplish, he was destined to be a failure. Christians and Christian Leaders often fall into this trap, even many of you who are reading this blog.
Jesus, seeing him, knew all about his failures, and said to him:

Do you want to get well?

Scores of helpless people were at Bethesda. Why did Jesus focus on this one man? It surely was not because He did not care about the others. While the others made their way to the “healing waters,” this man had given up. The others were still trying, struggling, working hard for healing. They had friends and family to help. It seemed the man had none of these.

It is like that today for many we know; even on occasion it is that way to the person we see in our mirror in the morning. Heaven help us!

However, God takes the initiative: Rise, take up your pallet and walk!

At once the man was made well, and did as Jesus commanded. Not only was he completely healed, he could immediately walk – something he could not do for 38 years.

If our salvation depended upon our recognizing Him or reaching out a hand toward Him, who might be saved? The answer is: No one! Yet, instead of waiting for us to come; instead of waiting to help those who help themselves, Christ comes to us and speaks the words that give life. –James M. Boice

This impotent (“failured”) man was asked to do three things: stand up, pick up, walk up.

Faith turned this fiasco into fulfillment. They who trust Him wholly find Him wholly true.

Come to Me and I will give you rest; all of you who work so hard beneath a heavy yoke. –Matthew 11:28-30

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