Thursday, December 31, 2009

40 day Discipleship Dare begins

I will be blogging almost everyday for the next 40 days as I go through the Discipleship Dare together with a group of bloggers. The book was written by Jess Bousa and is an outstanding way to start the year or just get yourself in gear with a stronger walk.
Here is post number one:
I was struck by Jess' statement concerning Jesus' choice of disciples: "He did not pick them because they were qualified. If they were qualified for the job, they would not have been working as ordinary fishermen. They would have already been following a teacher of the law (a rabbi)."
I think that their locale in remote Galilee probably limited their access to many rabbis. Jerusalem was crawling with rabbis, but Galilee was known for fishing and agriculture, not theology. It was a lesser place, far from the center of things. I can relate to this as I have always ministered in obscure places.
Today's devotion also speaks of physical training by Marines before they enter active service. There are certain standards of physical development that must be met. I was thinking that sometimes older marines can fall out of shape because they are not required to keep as fit as the younger Marines. Has this happened to me? After serving for 27 years and receiving some "promotions" have I fallen out of shape for the mission? Am I a chair warrior?
I recommit to staying in peak spiritual condition (maybe the physical part will follow), and to follow my Rabbi more closely.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Hiding Messiah

When Jesus entered the world there was apparently a cat and mouse game going on between the friends of God who were waiting expectantly for Messiah to come, and the enemies of God who wanted to eliminate Him.

The magi were friends of God who were sincerely searching for Him and came to King Herod, hoping he could help them:

Matthew 2:1-3 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, "Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him." When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.

Herod was an enemy of God and asked the magi to return when they found this King so he could go and worship him also. In reality, the murderous Herod would later send a death squad on a rampage in hopes of killing Messiah, who had already escaped to Egypt with His parents.

Jesus was incarnate in the uterus of Mary for nine months before He was born. It is wonderfully poignant that the Lord chose to hide Jesus from those who would do Him harm in the single most unlikely place on earth- the womb of a virgin!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

No straight lines

I searched one day but could not find any straight lines on earth. Among the animals, the trees, the flowers, the multitudes of fish, and birds, even people, I searched in vain for anything in nature that was purely aligned.
I found plenty of things that were pretty straight. Mighty redwoods, a bird's beak, mountain ridges, teeth, even flower stems and blades of grass. But none of them were completely straight in mathematical terms. None of them qualified in my eyes.
I wondered and then realized that this is as it should be. God alone is completely straight. His creation, especially considering the fall, is filled with anomalies and imperfections. We have knots in trees, bumpy noses, jagged seashores. Our ways are crooked, His way is straight. But there was more.
Sitting on the rocks of a jetty on my native Long Island’s south shore one day I discovered not one but two straight lines in the seascape before me. They remain the only two straight lines I have ever noticed in the natural realm, though neither is actually located on terra firma itself.
First, I saw that the place where the water meets the sky was perfectly straight. The horizon, the unreachable fabled place always in the distance, always just out of reach, was perfectly straight. I think God is there.
Then just a few moments later, as I was still taking in this truth of the horizon, I saw another straight line. In fact, I saw lots of them. Through the clouds dozens of sunbeams came cascading down from heaven in perfectly straight lines that were miles long. There was no effort, they were just there.
Our heavenly father remains the only source of straightness in a crooked world. The beams did not start at the earth’s crust and fly upward, but came downward to us from Him.