Tag Archives: Encouragement

Distance

When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Matthew 5:1

There it is again — the separation.

That distance between the crowds and the disciples in coming near to Jesus.

In here, Jesus goes up the mountain. The crowd stays on the plain. The disciples follow his trail.

Are you part of the crowd?

  • You saw the climb is stiff, so don’t bother to hurdle it.
  • You were healed or fed earlier; you decide stay and rest your body.
  • You heard enough insights, so keeping that distance is all right.
  • You counted the time Jesus took from his walk up to his sit down and said that’s too long.
  • You wanted to go up but saw only twelve men are following him closely so why take the courage, why take the risk.

Are you a disciple?

  • You saw how stiff the mountain is but you also see your Master, sitting pretty, at the top of the mountain. Thus, you climb the mountain.
  • Your following requires no rest: body, mind and soul. Where he is is where your heart is. His place is your place — he is your resting place.
  • You thirst for more than his words, you long to be in his presence.
  • You count your blessings, you don’t count the cost in loving and serving him.
  • You follow with your all and on your own, your loyalty to him is not dictated by the decision of others.

How much distance you keep from Jesus defines if you’re one of the crowd or if you’re a disciple.

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He Still Stops

Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called to the blind man, “Cheer up! On your feet! He’s calling you.” Mark 10:49

He has stopped a lot of things.

He stopped being comfortable in heaven by being born out of woman’s womb in a manger. Jesus stopped fishermen to start to become fishers of men. He stopped water in being water to become wine. Jesus stopped waves from turning their boat. He has stopped grumbling stomachs when he multiplied the bread. He stopped death by raising the dead. He stopped countless evil spirits from residing in human souls. He stopped sin by dying and stopped death by rising.

And he stopped for desperate cries of mercy.

He was leaving Jericho with his disciples with the crowds when blind Bartimaeus cried out for pity. Many tried to silence him but the blind man used his able sense and kept on screaming. That is when and where Jesus stopped.

God has a business running the universe, galaxies and lots of matters you can think of. But he stops when you cry out to him. He delays his itineraries when he hears sincerity in your prayer screams. When you are at your roadside begging and at worst, helpless; God stops. He wants to answer your pleas. He wants to know what he can and will do for you. Your cries to him do not fall on deaf ears.

You, my friend, may need God’s roadside big-time assistance today. He is waiting to hear from you. Shout out and cry out to him. Don’t stop even if people will stop you, still cry out to Jesus. He still stops.

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He Knows

“But they did not understand the saying, and they were afraid to question him.” Mark 9:32

“I don’t know…”

This was my reply to my sister on her question why this difficulty we have in the family is happening right now. May be she was asking why now that we all are in advanced age levels that supposedly we should be making responsible and acceptable decisions. Or maybe she is wondering why now that we don’t have parental support or even why now that some of us may not be physically present to provide our moral support. “I don’t know…” seems to be an appropriate response for matters we don’t understand.

The disciples were not different from us, “But they did not understand the saying, and they were afraid to question him.” Mark 9:32. This was the time after when Jesus declared that he would die but will rise again.

Though the twelve did not understand the plan of salvation and resurrection, these beleaguered twelve still stayed with Jesus. They still followed him. They continued to walk with him, eat with him, did a lot of things with him. They would not understand his teachings or his proclamations yet they made sure to stand for him, by him and with him.

May be there’s something you don’t understand right now…

· Sickness has been a burden for you to carry and still no healing or answer to your query.

· Resumes have been submitted but job doesn’t resume.

· Money is becoming a major issue in the family and minor financial rain fall is forecasted.

· A brother is wavering in his faith, not only lack of faith but opposing the faith he grew up with.

We don’t know. We don’t understand. The disciples stayed with him though they did not understand. Hopefully, even when there are times we don’t understand, may our hearts’ desire is that we still stand for him, by him and with him.

For even when we don’t understand, his promises stand. For even if we don’t know, he knows.

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The Opening

And (immediately) the man’s ears were opened, his speech impediment was removed, and he spoke plainly. Mark 7:35

He wanted his ears opened. His friends wanted his ears opened.

But they couldn’t do it.

What they couldn’t do, Jesus did.

We wonder why his friends have to bring in the guy. The guy can walk. He can wave his hands to Jesus to get his attention. Instead, his friends brought him to him. Maybe frustration has caught him. Not hearing people and being able to communicate is a hard thing to do, a hard life to live. His father wants to tell him he is there for him, yet he does not hear it. His mother tells him how much she loves him, all falling on closed ears. Try one day without talking and avoiding sound waves pass your ears.

Frustration. And he is not alone.

You have traveled that dead end. You got nowhere to go. It’s closed.

A health issue is lingering in your body for several years now. Doctors have the answers but your body does not respond.

Or unemployment is blocking all your plans for your family and children’s future. You have the resume’ but employment does not resume soon.

You got a ministry which hit a great road block. You look at your resources, you look at what you can do, and deep inside you know Jesus what will do.

Don’t fret in your corner. Come to the Opener. If you can’t, allow your friends to bring you to him. Open whatever is closed to him. Let Jesus touch you.

Experience Jesus. Experience the opening.

–> This is re-posted, originally posted in February 15 2012.

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Humility (written by a 12 year old)

When Humility walks into the room, the walls rejoice, greeting her with endless joy. Humility appreciates, but doesn’t want anyone to notice, blocking it out. Praise isn’t what she came for. Humility blends in, just seeming like thin air. Going one by one, she studies each person, only taking a short second to check. You’d think she’d be somewhere else, maybe at a party, or a fancy gathering. But she isn’t. Humility doesn’t choose to bask in her glory, to take it all in, and take what she wants. Instead, Humility gives it all away. All of her gifts and most beloved treasures, simply gone in a blink of an eye. Humility has nothing, but gives everything. She gives her love. That boy who no one ever talks to, the outsider, she laughs with him. That old beggar on the street that you always pass by but never noticed before, she’s sat next to him. Even those kids that make fun of everyone, even Humility herself, well, she doesn’t hate them. Humility loves them. She cares for them. Humility pours her heart out to them, and doesn’t stop. Humility uses up all her energy and power to help-and yet is never tired or weak, and keeps going throughout the night. Humility never needs a reason to help someone, whoever they might be. What Humility does know is that she wants to help, to be that outreached hand, and to be that sign of hope.

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He Understands

As soon as Jesus heard the news, he left in a boat to a remote area to be alone. Matthew 14:13

He has been where you are.

He takes a time out. He separates himself from the flock. He goes alone. After all, he is human. Knowing how precious John is to him, he may have felt in his heart the feeling you may have felt when someone dear to you past away or went away. Sadness. May be despair. Feeling of losing somebody you love, you value. May be the thought that you will never see that face again. May be the thought that you will never hear that voice again.

This is why this passage is so much important for you and me.

For us to know that Jesus had the same feeling. For us to know that we are not alone when we feel this way. For us to know that he has been there. For us to know that he understands our feeling of being abandoned. That he understands our agony. Our need to be alone. Our need to take some time out. A time to cry and may be celebrate the memories of your loved one. A moment to trace the moments with that somebody.

And because God understands, he knows how to comfort you. He knows how much strength and time you need to recover. He knows the path how you will recover. He knows whom he will send for you to lean on. He knows where to bring you to so you can muster yourself altogether. He knows when to give you whatever you need to stay in the valley and whatever you need when you emerge out of it.

So go ahead. If you need to take some time alone by yourself, take it. Jesus did. He understands.

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Tools

Will the axe boast against him who hews with it? Will the saw exalt itself above him who wields it? As if a rod could sway him who lifts it, or a staff him who is not wood! Isaiah 10:15

The main difference with tools and servants is this — one can say no, one can’t. The tools sitting at the garage just wait to be picked up for work and use. The servants in the pew has the power to say to the Master, “I’m a sinner, I’m not good.” “Not now.” or “Not me.” The toolbox occupants are always prepared and ready for the action. Servants have always the option, to go or not. There is a choice to be made by the servant if he or she will allow the Creator to create through him or her. If the servant say’s no, the Master may select another servant to do the work.

The main similarity with tools and servants is this — both can’t claim the glory of the work done. Two of my old uncles were carpenters, but they were not the same creators. With this, they may pick up and utilize the same tools but they may not have the same creation. One does an excellent job, one doesn’t.  Thus, the tools can’t grab the limelight of the work. Yes, they are part of the accomplishment, yet, without the expert guiding hands of the Master, the tools will still be siting in that cold box. Their purpose not fulfilled. Their edges not used. Their skills not displayed.

The lesson you may learn from this is this — be a servant who will trample trunks of challenges and at the same time who will not boast against him who hews you. Be a servant who cuts hearts and minds and who doesn’t exalt himself or herself above the hands who wields it. Be a ready and a willing servant for God’s glory.

 

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