Friday, April 20, 2018

Matthew 9:32-38

Matthew 9:32-38 
English Standard Version (ESV)

  I have a laundry list of items that I'd love for God to address in my life.  It can get rather detailed, as I know well the trials and struggles that I find in life.  Some of these prayers are answered, while others go unanswered.  What I can often tend to forget in my prayers is the bigger picture.
  Here, Jesus sees the crowds and has compassion for them -- he knows that the world can be a chaotic place, and while the peace of God can be wonderfully calming to the soul caught up in the turbulent times, there are so many that have not heard the Good News of the Gospel:  that God loves them, that their lives matter on an eternal scale, that Jesus died for them, and that there is a hope for this life and beyond the defeated veil of death.
  I'm often too caught up, too concerned with what's going on in my life that I fail to see the world as God sees it, as a place filled with opportunities to proclaim the Gospel, to share the Good News.  I have tunnel vision to only see what's going on with me, and I miss what God is doing around me.  So my prayer is for God to open my eyes and my heart to truly see the needs of those around me, that I might be a laborer in the fields.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Matthew 9:27-31

Matthew 9:27-31 
English Standard Version (ESV)

  What do you believe that Jesus is able to do in your life?  And does your belief hinge upon whether or not he does it?
  There's an amazing proclamation in the book of Daniel, when Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego are about to be thrown into a furnace.  They tell the King that even if God does not choose to save them, they still believe that he is able, that he is stronger than death.  Their own circumstances do not lead them to doubt the power and providence of God.
  If we only base our belief on what we see God do in our lives, we will have an extremely small window and limited view of God.  There are reasons why God does not grant every miracle we ask for -- I can't always explain why, and it often pains me to watch prayers go unanswered, as I think I understand the best way to solve a problem or crisis.  God's view, however, is larger than mine, and his timeline is eternal, so I continue to trust in God, even though I don't always see exactly how the pieces fit together.
  Let's ensure that our faith is grounded in the God who cared the mountains from the sea and set the stars in the sky.  God can do anything, including ascending a cross to die so that humankind might be saved.  God is able to do all things, more than we can ask or imagine, and he is worthy of our trust and praise.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Matthew 9:18-26

Matthew 9:18-26 
English Standard Version (ESV) 

  Sometimes, amazing things happen when you're on the way to do something else.  If you're not paying attention to the journey, however, you might miss it.
  Jesus is on the way to resurrect a little girl, when this woman who has bled for twelve straight years reaches out to grab the hem of his garment as he passes by.  There, in the midst of his journey on his way to do something else, a miracle occurs and a woman is restored to the community from which she has been separated for over a decade.
  Think about this as you're on your way to something.  We often get in such a hurry, we're so focused on the end, that we don't pay attention to what's around us.  We don't pay attention to the people with whom we share the journey, and we ignore the ones whom we meet along the way, because we're focused on the end.  Slow down.  Take a breath.  Pay attention -- think about how God might use you as you wander along the way.  As someone said, we're all just walking each other home. 

Monday, April 16, 2018

Matthew 9:14-17

Matthew 9:14-17 
English Standard Version (ESV)

  Everyone was struggling with how to deal with Jesus Christ.  They were so firmly rooted in their traditions, which were good, that they were unable to be flexible enough to deal with the new thing that God was doing.  What they had been waiting for, expecting, for hundreds of years had shown up, but God had done so in such a different and unexpected way that they weren't sure what to do.  They had been fasting and waiting, but now God was here, telling them not to fast, but to celebrate.
  So how do we live?  Our first reaction is to hold tightly to our own traditions, trusting them to anchor us in our identity.  And this is important, but we can't hold too tightly to anything, because it's easy to allow our traditions to prevent us from grasping on to the new.  We fill our hands with the old and are unable to let go and accept the new thing God is doing.
  Let us continue, then, to be a people in prayer, trusting that God will show us the way by the power of the Holy Spirit.  When we're uncertain of what tomorrow holds, let us trust that God will give us hints, clues, pointing the way forward.  The miracles that Jesus did, the healings and feedings -- were those hints, breadcrumbs to help the people see that God was on the move.  May our eyes and hearts be open to how God is leading us forward today, that we might be ever watchful for how God is on the move!