Feeding the Five Thousand

Luke 9:10-17

After the disciples returned, they went off to seclusion with Jesus. The only problem was that everywhere they went, they attracted huge crowds. Like rock stars, they had little chance of remaining secluded for long. What follows in this passage is one of the most familiar stories of all, the feeding of the 5,000.

I’ve written on this many times before, and I would imagine that anyone reading this can tell the story with no help from me. Consequently, I will only focus on one point here…

In the last passage, Jesus sent the Twelve out entirely on their own; they had no provisions of any kind with them, and they had to depend entirely on God for their sustenance and God provided. Now, with the hour growing late and their location being very remote, they come to Jesus and recommend that He send the crowds away so that they could find food and lodging. This seems more than reasonable; it seems advisable. Yet Jesus was having none of it.

“You give them something to eat.” (9:14)

If you were one of the Twelve, what would you say to that?

They gave Jesus an inventory of what was on hand; Jesus didn’t see a problem feeding 5,000 with barely enough for their own small group of 13.

And that is exactly what they did.

What is God saying to us in this passage?

What are you going to do about it?

See you next time!

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The Twelve Move Out

Luke 9:1-9

As Chapter 9 begins, the scene changes and Jesus sends out the twelve disciples to proclaim the Kingdom. In doing so, he gave them some unusual instructions:

“Take nothing for the journey—no staff, no bag, no bread, no money, no extra shirt.  Whatever house you enter, stay there until you leave that town. If people do not welcome you, leave their town and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.” (9:3-5)

Nobody sets off on a road trip like that, at least not by design. Jesus sent these guys out there with nothing; no provision, no supplies, not even a change of clothes. We might be tempted to criticize His lack of planning and organization…

If we did so, we would be acting in haste, for actually there was a plan, a very counter-intuitive one. The disciples were to head out and let God worry about the provisions, so they could worry about the mission. Apparently there were some places that needed to hear their message, while others wouldn’t be willing to listen. How would they know the difference between the two?

If no one would welcome them, then that village didn’t have ears to hear the message, and they would simply move on… This plan was elegant in its simplicity.

Of course there would be benefits for those who would receive their message, for the disciples had authority to heal and drive out demons, something that those who would not welcome them would never know about.

What an amazing picture of the Kingdom of Heaven!

Think about the times we live in: There are many who will eagerly receive the message about Jesus, and when they accept His message and receive His grace, they become rich in blessings. Yet there are also many who will refuse to hear anything about Jesus, and thus they will remain in their pride and self-assurance, but gain no real blessing at all, for their reward is purely an earthly one.

News of all of this reaches King Herod, and he is troubled. He wonders if this is the reincarnation of John the Baptist, whom he has murdered; his conscience seems to be troubled. Some think Elijah has returned; there are various theories about the stir throughout the land.

Herod wants to investigate…

Back from Gentile Lands…

Luke 8:40-56

Jesus returned from the region inhabited by Gentiles; a crowd awaited His arrival. He was approached by, of all people, a synagogue leader whose daughter was near death. The man begged Jesus to come quickly. Jesus headed for the man’s house but the crowd was very large; His progress was slowed considerably. Suddenly, Jesus felt power drain from Him and stopped.

He wanted to know who had touched Him, but as Peter pointed out, the crowd was large and pressing… it could have been anyone, and everyone denied touching Him. Then, a woman came forward and told Him that she had been the one. It seems that she had a chronic bleeding problem, and none of the doctors could cure it; this had gone on for some 12 years, but the moment she had touched His robes, she had been healed.

Did Jesus heal the woman?

“Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace.” (8:48)

Just after that, the word came that the man’s daughter had died, but Jesus pressed on. When He arrived at the man’s house, mourners had already gathered; Jesus told them that the girl was only sleeping, but they all knew that she was dead. Along with Peter, John, James and the girl’s parents, Jesus entered the house, took the girl’s hand and told her to get up; “her spirit returned to her” and she got up from her deathbed (8:55).

In the previous story, Jesus drove many demons from a Gentile man, and He told the man to tell everyone what God had done for Him, now, after raising a Jewish girl from death, He advised everyone to keep quiet about what had really happened.

Our working theory from last time is looking pretty good right about now.

A Quiet Place

Life can be hectic and loud, but all of us need some peace and quiet some times.  It helps us to recharge, to relax and to calm our thoughts.  Yes, we all need a little peace and quiet, a little break you might say…

We need a little peace and quiet to talk things over with our Lord; to pray, to give thanks.

Today, if you hear his voice, 
  do not harden your hearts as you did at Meribah, 
   as you did that day at Massah  in the desert, 
 where your fathers tested and tried me, 
   though they had seen what I did. 

Psalm 95: 7b-9

We may never hear His voice in our hectic and loud world, we all need a little peace and quiet…

A Bridge of Hope

So many people these days are feeling like there is little or no hope for the future.  Some are feeling desperate for financial reasons; it’s been a rough economy for the past many.  Others feel like the love they’ve always craved is out of reach, and others are under the yoke of drug or alcohol abuse… and of course there are other reasons for a feeling of hopelessness.

If you’ve ever felt that way, and most of us have had our dark times, it would have been so great to find a bridge to get from your hopelessness to a place where your life has something to grab hold of, where life seems like it is beginning to turn and you can see your way into a better place.  Let’s be honest, as much as I might like to give a one size fits all answer, there isn’t one.  Each situation has so many pesky details…

What I can tell you is where to find a point of beginning; the place where you get on that bridge that goes to Hope: Ready?

 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

John 3:16

If you are already in relationship with Jesus Christ, run to Him!

If you are not already in relationship with Jesus Christ, run to Him!  Talk to someone who can tell you about Him, read blogs like this one that can shed light on Him:  Come and see!

Before too long you’ll look out and see that you are on the bridge to Hope.

Random Ramblings: January 28, 2017

The other day my daughter was messing around on her phone; laughter filled the air.

She was using “Snapchat”.

She’s been using this app for quite some time now, and I’ve seen what it does several times…

If you aren’t familiar with Snapchat, it’s an app for your smart phone that can take filtered images that make people look… well… crazy. You can be a dog or a clown or Santa or just funny looking. You can make videos and send them to your friends and then chat while looking weird on the other end. Some of the images are hilarious… most are kind of dumb.

What always strikes about things like this is the amazing creativity and technical skill that goes into them… and all that we might achieve if we put such creativity and skill to work doing something productive. OK, you’re right, somewhere in all of this someone is making a great deal of money, so I’m sure it’s productive in a commercial sense, or they’d stop upgrading it, but couldn’t we do more than just that?

Yesterday, it was my plan to leave this post with just these thoughts, but there was late breaking news… My new phone arrived. To be sure, I had no idea that I had a new phone on the way. My wife had mentioned that I was eligible for a new phone (she is in charge of that sort of thing) and I told her that I was happy with my old one, but if I could go back to my old iPhone 3, that would be even better because it’s smaller than my Galaxy 5. Other than that, let’s just leave things where they are…

Therefore, my iPhone 7 plus arrived yesterday.

To be fair, the iPhone 7 is a marvel, it does so many more things that I’ll never use; I can even watch TV on it, and oh yes, that’s entirely free of charge for a whole year!!!

But for me, TV on a big screen is hard enough to see… What’s the advantage of seeing it on a very small screen? If I come up with an answer to that one, I’ll let you know…

And so today, my Galaxy 5 goes into the box where my iPhone 3 and all of the other perfectly good and operable phones are that I was “required” to replace with newer models that do more things that I don’t need.

It occurs to me that in so many ways technology

is just a waste of resources…

How Are Our Listening Skills?

Most people would agree that listening is an important skill; most of us aren’t all that good at it.  It’s hard to communicate when all of the communication goes only one way!

I’m not talking about listening to other people, however; I’m talking about communicating with God.

To be entirely accurate, most of us don’t spend much time in prayer talking to God… we’re busy people after all.  For those who do take the time to speak with God, do we ever give Him a chance to contribute to the communication?

Probably not.

You know, there is that “still small voice” people sometimes talk about; can you ever hear it?

Boy, it sure is tough to hear if we’re always doing the talking! Maybe there are times when we are with God that we should just be still for a while and see what happens…  Can we spare the time?