Tag Archives: Admonition

Thoughts On A Day With The Disciples

This last week I have been thinking about the disciples and their time with Jesus. Their heads had to be spinning most of the time as they lived with him. What an experience, one that would be hard to describe or commentary. They spent three years with God in flesh and yet, like me, they didn’t get it. Here is a portion of their dialogue in Mark 8,

“…the disciples were finding fault with each other because they had forgotten to bring bread. Jesus overheard and said, “Why are you fussing because you forgot bread? Don’t you see the point of all this? Don’t you get it at all? Remember the five loaves I broke for the five thousand? How many baskets of leftovers did you pick up?”

They said, “Twelve.”

“And the seven loaves for the four thousand—how many bags full of leftovers did you get?”

“Seven.”

He said, “Do you still not get it?”

What an interesting question from Jesus, “Do you still not get it?” In other versions the wording is, “are your hearts hardened?” It’s clear, from these miracles, they were supposed to understand something but they had completely missed it. They were right there in the middle of miracles and missed the purpose of it all!

A little earlier in Mark, as they struggled with the oars on the lake, Jesus came to them walking on the water and said to them, “Courage! It’s me. Don’t be afraid.” In that brief statement is the thing they were supposed to get. It’s right there in the middle of three short statements. Between his admonition to take courage and “don’t be afraid” is the “secret” they (and we) are to get. Here it is- “It’s me!” In the English we miss it entirely, but in the Greek it’s once more a declaration of who he is, the very thing they were to learn from all the miracles.

“It’s me.” The two Greek words are ??? ????. In English Jesus is saying “I am”. It’s the same claim he made in John 8:58 and was nearly stoned for. It’s the same name God told Moses to use to describe himself in Exodus 3. It’s a claim to deity. As he walked on the water to these weary fishermen Jesus encouraged them. Between their lack of courage and their fears he reassured them with this- “I am” is here.

Some say that Jesus never claimed to be God, but standing on the sea of Galilee he proclaims it loud and clear, “Take courage, I’m God, don’t be afraid.” It’s the same thing he says to us, the same thing he wants us to know, because he’s God we can be courageous and abandon our fears. God is in our midst.

 

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Choices For A Reason

2 Timothy 2:20-22  Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also vessels of wood and of earthenware, and some to honor and some to dishonor. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work. Therefore flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart. 

This passage has always given me encouragement and direction. It gives clarity to usefulness. It describes my part in being a vessel the master can use. I admit that I’m still, even at 60, in process…being molded, making choices that determine my usefulness. It’s a lifetime project to become a vessel for honor, sanctified (set apart), useful to the Master, prepared for EVERY good work. It’s my goal to be a vessel God can use. I know he’s doing his part, but he also challenges me to be part of the process as well.

The last verse of this passage is my part. In it Paul turns from what God wants to see in my life, my choices and my actions. It begins with this admonition, “Therefore flee _______, and pursue ________. After both verbs are things to make decisions about. How do I participate in becoming a vessel, a person, God can use? I make some simple choices, 1. flee certain things and, 2. pursue other things. The bible calls this sanctification. It’s my intentional decisions to agree with God’s desire for me and make choices that conform me to what he wants me to be.

Flee some things, pursue others. Pretty simple, isn’t it? Yes and no. First, I need to know what God wants me to be. I need to know what the good and bad choices are. I need to know a few basic things and from those things I am invited, I’m challenged to make some choices. They are choices to follow and obey God or follow and obey the flesh and the enemy. I know, this all sounds really complicated, but it’s not. It’s so simple children get it. How do so many of us adults miss it?

Here are some things I have heard from adults that tell me they don’t understand what God wants or is trying to do in their lives. They don’t want to be vessels the Lord can use. From their mouths you will hear, “I know God wants me to be happy, so….” or, “It may be wrong, but I know he will forgive me.” You have heard things like this as well. It’s a way to give us permission to pursue the wrong things and flee the right things. We have gotten it completely backwards when we choose to do it our way. One thing is clear, if we choose our way we will be of little or no use to God.

I wonder, as I encounter people and their choices, what do they really want? Do they want to please God or themselves? If, and I think some would be so honest, if they want to please themselves they have just declared themselves god of their lives and dismissed the God who saved them. It’s a dangerous path. There is no happy ending when we choose our own way.

But, I watch others who want to be that “vessel of honor”, that person God can use. They are amazing! I’m thinking of several of them now, both men and women, who are intentionally working with God to become a vessel of honor, someone God can use. They are fleeing the wrong things and pursuing the right things. They are choosing wisely and it shows. They are becoming what God designed them to be and the glow of that, the impact of their life is changing lives around them.

God, the master potter, is making vessels of honor, but each one of us must be part of the process if we are to be what God designed us to be. We make the right choices for a reason….choices because we want to please God. Choices because we were called to be people God can use to change the world around us. Choices that have eternal rewards.

Make your own list. What is on your “flee list” and what is on your “pursue list”? These two lists will tell you a lot about the vessel you are becoming. It may mean you have some choices to make. It may, and I hope it does for many, encourage you that you are becoming what God designed you to be. Either way we are challenged to be part of what God is making us. What kind of vessel are you becoming?

 

Visit Mike at http://mikemesserli.blogspot.com/