Oh my wonderful Jesus, he knows exactly what to say to make a point and to clarify and solidify what he’s saying to us. While reading the gospel of John the other day the very end of the book Jesus is talking to Peter. In John 21:15 Jesus begins to speak specifically to Peter and he asks him if he loves him, Peter would answer Jesus and then Jesus would ask the same question again. I can almost hear the frustration in Peters voice as he answers the question three times. Jesus was testing Peter’s heart before giving him the calling God had placed on his life. Jesus even went so far as to tell Peter what the end of his life would be like. I’m thinking that was part of the test also. To see if Peter would turn away, but Peter didn’t seem the least bit phased by what Jesus was telling him. There’s a song that comes to mind as I read the last part of what Jesus was telling Peter. The song is titled “Turn your eyes upon Jesus” one of the phrases goes ‘turn your eyes upon Jesus, look full in his glorious face.” In verse 19 Jesus said to Peter “follow me”. Then in verse 21 Peter was watching another disciple and said to Jesus “ Lord what about this man?” Jesus, full of grace and mercy and at this point I’m thinking much patience said to Peter, If I want him to remain until I come, “ What is that to you?” “ You follow me!” Oh what a wealth of descriptive knowledge we get in these scriptures. How many times do we hear “ keep your eyes on Jesus?” Peter was looking right into the eyes of our Savior and still he pointed to the guy next to him, basically saying to Jesus, “ well what about him, what’s he gonna do?” now that’s my own paraphrase but it fits. I’m sure Jesus gently but firmly made Peter look at him when he said, “ You! follow me!” Jesus points out that what he tells another to do has nothing to do with you, that person is my business not yours. These scriptures reveal how our sin nature is and how easy it is for us to take our eyes off of Jesus and look at someone else or even ourselves. We must turn our eyes upon Jesus and look full in his glorious face to follow him, with all our heart and strength. Jesus had that conversation with Peter and I’m sure he’s had that same conversation with each of us, I know he has me, as we fulfill our calling on our lives to “Follow Him.”
The scripture in 2 Timothy 2:15 gives us great instruction if not a command. “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that need not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth”. There are many levels and directions of studying that we may choose from. And as a believer we have added unto us another that seems to be more important and eternal than any others, but bring all the other parts together. From the moment we are born we are constantly learning. Not necessarily studying, but learning. We study all through school until we graduate and then if we choose to go on to college for a degree in a certain specialty we study much more. But there is one form of study that is divine. When I became a believer I couldn’t stay out of the bible. I would read and be involved in bible studies and talk to other believers continually. But then 1 Corinthians 2:13 tells us “ Which things also we speak, not in the words of man’s wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Ghost teaches: comparing spiritual things with spiritual”. Life itself is a continual learning process. From the moment we are born we are learning to become an adult we learn to speak and walk and show respect, and the list goes on and on. But then at the moment of choice to accept Jesus as our Savior and Lord we begin a new chapter of learning and that’s the things of God in the Spirit. We are a three part being. Body, soul, which is our mind, will, emotion and Spirit. As believers we spent the rest of our lives bringing our bodies and our souls into subjection to the Spirit of God and the very likeness of Christ. By allowing the Spirit of God to lead us in truth by his power and submitting ourselves to Him, we are allowing Jesus to become Lord of our lives. It’s a life time of submitting our will to God and allowing Jesus that place in us to become like him and not us. Growing up I didn’t have a great learning curve, not in the natural here on earth as a human being and definitely not in the spiritual. So when I became born again I was like a sponge. I couldn’t get enough of my Jesus; fortunately I still can’t get enough. I consider myself home grown both in the earthly sense and in the spirit. I am a new creation in Christ and still strive to allow him to change me into his image and take mine out. I am fearfully and wonderfully made and I am a child of the most high God. His daughter, his princess, his servant, his chosen generation, his royal priesthood, his holy nation, his peculiar people, who praises him for he has called me out of darkness into his marvelous light. Full of his mercy, grace and love. Home grown by allowing myself to be taught the things that matter here on earth and in the spirit for eternity. Oh his glory and majesty are yea and amen and worthy of all praise and honor.
There’s a verse in Genesis that has always fascinated me. It’s Genesis 2:11 and God said, “ Who told you that you were naked”? The reason I love this is first that God was asking a question that he knew the answer too. He knew He did not tell them that they were naked. But he knew who did. This question is accountability first to God then to ourselves. I have had several conversations with believers whether they were friend or acquaintance, as they tell me about situations in their lives and what they are thinking concerning a situation. I would hear from them things that were hindering them or stopping them from doing something. For instance, I went to a banquet with a friend the other night and afterwards we stopped to just talk. She was telling me that she had such a strong desire to go to this certain church. As she talked and explained what she was feeling about going to this church, she said, “ I have to wait”! I looked at her and “said,” “ who told you that you have to wait”? Did God tell you? Did your husband tell you? As she turned to look at me with wide eyes she “said,” “ what do you mean? I again asked her “ who told you that you have to wait? She “said,” “ no one told me. My response was “ why do you have to wait? You see there are two main voices that we hear, Gods and satans. But we also have a voice and often listen to our own reason as we are deciding what to do in our lives. Isaiah, 55:8 says “for my thoughts are not your thoughts neither are your ways my ways,” “saith” the Lord. You see, I asked that question to my friend so she could discern whose voice told her to wait. She was quite surprised as she thought about my question and realized that it was her own voice that was she was listening too. I have learned so much from Gods question to Adam and Eve. You see God, was asking you and me that question. That question alone makes us have to be honest with God and ourselves “who told you”? Hopefully that question will show us if we are truly listening to God and being obedient. So if you are in a conversation with me and struggling with something I will ask you “who told you that” so you can know who’s voice you are listening too. I also will ask myself this question as I’m sorting through life’s choices. Going back to the beginning in Genesis keeps me going forward in my walk with the Lord. I love this question because it brings me face to face with my Father and makes me accountable for me.
As I was reading the last chapter of Luke this morning and before I got past the first paragraph I was marveling at how everything in the scripture has meaning and how at that moment I realized I understood so little and so much seemed to be hidden. I was thinking about a scratch off ticket, not necessarily a lottery ticket. I was thinking about the hidden treasure or message that was under the scratch off substance and how until it’s removed you have no clue. I then thought about the scriptures that all the mysteries and hidden treasures in them and how it would take the Lord to open my eyes and reveal to me the mysteries and meaning in his word. As I kept reading the very thoughts I had just been thinking came to life. After the resurrection two of the disciples were walking on the road to Emmaus. Luke 24:15 when Jesus came right up beside them and began to walk with them. Their eyes weren’t opened at that moment to recognize him and it wasn’t until they were breaking bread with Jesus later that day when their eyes were open to see that it was Jesus with them. As soon as their eyes were opened Jesus left them. After eating they traveled back to Jerusalem and told their story to the others. Luke 24:35 says “ He was recognized by them in the breaking of the bread.” We know that Jesus is our bread of life and his word is Jesus. Today we know that it’s the Holy Spirit who opens our eyes to see Jesus and leads us into all truth. He also teaches us along the way and reveals the hidden treasures of God as we read the scriptures and seek him. So that we can see Jesus no matter where we are and what is going on in our lives. Ah I love it when a good mystery is revealed. And that’s living life!
Family dynamics are always full of drama, heartache confusion and miscommunication. I’m pretty sure every family has some if not all of these. Yes my family has it all. As I was talking to a family member this past week, she was telling me that she had a family meeting with her sisters, brother and their spouses. In this meeting they were able to begin the process of reconciliation over so much hurt that had divided them for far to long. As she was telling me all about it I could see an onion being peeled by layers and as she talked each layer had a different aroma. You guessed it, not a very good one at that. But also as she was talking and the layers were being peeled back I began to see the good that was coming out of this meeting and that once they got through all the layers the aroma was going to be a blend of sweet over powering the strong pungent aroma along the way. Also with each layer came a new set of tears. Beginning with bitter stinging tears and ending with tears of joy. Now she did tell me that they are still in the process of peeling back the layers but so far the communication has begun to flow and reconciliation has begun. This family member is encouraged and since she is in the middle of this family dynamic I think I’m more encouraged than she is. The scriptures tell us that Love covers a multitude of sin, and when it’s a family dynamic and many family members are involved there is surely a multitude of sin. But the key is to have a heart that is willing to listen and receive and to ask for forgiveness and to forgive. Repentance and forgiveness is key in all relationships and as we embrace them here on earth then we will be embraced by them with our Heavenly father. For as we forgive we are forgiven. I will continue to pray for each one of them that their hearts will be truly humbled and the multitude of sin will be covered by their love for one another.
Have you ever been in situations or circumstances where you just wanted God to yell at you and tell you loudly what to do or what his will is in what you were going through? I can remember clearly wanting this at various times in my walk with Him. And yet it’s that still small voice down in our spirit man where he lives in us. That quiet place that takes time to get to know that tells us what to do and leads us. When my granddaughter was born I was standing by the bed of my daughter in law just minutes after she was born, she was nestled up against her mommies chest. My son, her daddy was standing at the end of the bed and spoke. When he spoke her little head came straight up and she turned her face in the direction of her daddy. You see her daddy talked to her everyday before she was born and the fruit of that was that she knew his voice immediately after she was born and heard it. But remember it took nine months of his talking to her for her to know that voice. Another time I was at a softball game watching two of my other grandchildren play. As my granddaughter approached the plate to bat my son made this sound, as soon as he made that sound my granddaughter began to look around for her dad. She found him, he showed her what he needed to and she nodded with a yes and went on to get a hit. I sat there amazed at the communication my son had established with his children at the games. He went on to tell me that all four of his children knew that sound and it was his way of getting their attention when he had something to tell them. This was a sound only his children knew. It wasn’t a loud sound at all because when he made it I could barely hear it. It seemed to take forever for me to hear Gods voice. In actuality it wasn’t all that long. God speaks to us in many different forms. Even audibly, and that has only happened once in 40 years. But getting to know his voice and what it sounds like to you takes time. Nature speaks for itself as to his very existence and beauty. His word is who he is from before the foundation of this earth to eternity, the word is God. So when we ask Jesus into our lives and heart and become born again, our spirit man comes alive and he lives in us. In him we live and move and have our being. So we will come to know him and his voice and who he is in us and who we are in him. He says in his word that “my sheep know my voice and follow me” When he speaks we will look until we find him and listen to what he is saying. You see hearing Gods voice is having a relationship with him, just like having a relationship with anyone else. You get to know the voice. You can answer the phone and the voice will tell you before any name if you know that person. Hearing Gods voice as well as knowing Gods voice is relationship. It’s personal to every believer. Just like our voice is to all those we know. Still yourself before your savior and your God and you will hear his voice and follow it. He speaks life to us, as we walk out this life with him and in him as he is in us.