“The apostles returned to Jesus and told him all that they had done and taught.”
Mark 6:30, ESV
You couldn’t find a more amazed group of disciples on the green hills of Galilee. Coming from the four points of a compass they gathered at the predetermined time around Jesus. They excitedly told Him of wonders and miracles beyond.
It’s good to share with Him all that we see and experience.
I believe that the Lord desires that we come to Him and share the details of our day. The things that happened–in His name, and in our heart. We should tell Him all that we did, how we endured temptations or failed.
Jesus will not condemn or judge you for any sins or mistakes–that is a given. But as we tell Him about these things, He can transform these things so good will come from them. Difficulties encountered also are to be communicated. He is fully absorbed with our sharing, and He devotes Himself to you during these times. I believe thatHe even understands when we come back carrying nothing.
This “inventory” needs you to be honest, and completely forthright. Jesus is wonderfully attentive; as we share and release things to Him (and in His name), we become more like Him.
What God is bringing you through will be your testimony that just might bring someone else to Him. Without your witness of Jesus’ love they may never find Him. That is tragic.
Your story is the key that can unlock someone else’s prison. Touch others with your testimony.
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes upon you. And you will be my witnesses, telling people about me everywhere—in Jerusalem, throughout Judea, in Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
I’ve been thinking a lot about tears lately—in part because Pastor Bryan pointed out to me how many hits my post titled God Keeps Your Tears in a Bottle has had, in part because I’ve cried more than a few tears this year, and in part because I’ve been listening to Johnny Cash’s Cry, Cry, Cry in my car all week—and I thought I’d share my thoughts with you all here.
People cry for a lot of reasons.
Earlier this year my sister died of breast cancer at only 61 years old. I cried, a lot. It’s normal and even helpful to shed tears over the death of a loved one even if we know where they are going when they die, because it allows us to express the grief we feel over not having them in our lives any more here on earth.
I remember a time I had a previous boss say some very cruel things to me in front of other people. She accused me of having done things I had not based on motives I did not have. I was very angry, hurt, and frustrated. And I cried, a lot. I didn’t cry in front of her, mind you, but afterwards I did. And it was good to express that anger to others.
Just yesterday I experienced unexpected tears.
I was reciting the prayers of the people in church, which I’ve done many times. Our church has many prayer concerns for members, family, and friends with health concerns and more. Towards the end of the prayer I began to lift up prayers for a church member’s brother-in-law who is a pastor back in New York because he is faced with conducting the funerals of two teens who had been killed in an accident last week, and with comforting the families of three other teens who are in critical condition.
I unexpectedly had tears in my eyes and my voice cracked praying for these teens and families that I don’t even know. But they were good tears because they touched those who heard my prayer and I know they touched our Lord, too.
I have cried tears of loss, anger, indignation over an injustice, frustration, compassion, and even of joy. I sometimes cry tears of regret when I hear a beautiful song about the sacrifice of Jesus, knowing it is my sin that required him to suffer.
Tears often serve a purpose, as expressed in this poem that I wrote recently:
Tears of sorrow, anger drench my soul course without end eroding pain, anguish
Where once only aching occupied my heart now is a deep empty ravine carved by a river of tears
Tears of forgiveness water my soul’s riverbed allowing flowers of love to flourish and grow
Peace arises in my heart held aloft by God’s promises the fragrance of sweet alyssum blossoms of my soul
I think the saddest tears of all, though, are the tears of major clinical depression. These tears are so sad because the one who cries them doesn’t know what purpose they serve.
I remember when I was suffering from depression sitting in a chair and just crying. When someone asked me why I was crying all I could say was, “I don’t know.” And I truly didn’t. The tears didn’t wash away pain; they only seemed to make it all the worse.
In the midst of such tears, there is One who knows their purpose.
Romans 8:26 says: “In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans.” Through prayer God can sometimes lead us to an understanding of the purpose of the tears of depression, and ultimately to healing. Often the wounds are so deep it takes years and a great many groaning prayers to heal. But we must accept our weakness and our need for God’s Holy Spirit to intercede for us.
For me, after much prayer of my own, the blessed prayers of others, and the intercession of the Holy Spirit, God led me to an understanding of the purpose of my tears. They were tears of anger and unforgiveness; they were tears of lament that I had allowed myself to remain in bondage to the sins of another for so long.
With God’s help, the tears did lead to healing once I truly understood why I was crying.
May You Know His Peace,
Linda has a good blog that touches hearts worldwide.
“Then Jesus said to Peter, “Go away from me, Satan! You are not helping me! You don’t care about the things of God, but only about the things people think are important.”
Matt. 16:23, NCV
Principles of the Kingdom will often will sound like a simple conversation to an outsider. Things are often established or nullified with a ‘face-to-face.’ In this chapter of Matthew, we hear Peter extolling the divinity of Jesus (vv. 15-17). Peter exceeds the norm with his analysis of what is real.
It is as perceptive as it is supernatural. “You are the Christ,” Peter proclaims, “the Son of the Living God,” Jesus responds to this and He praises Peter for this amazing insight.
One of my personal problems is that I am way too spontaneous. It gets me in trouble. I have become a fool more times than I bother to count. I will do something that is outrageously amazing– and in a short time, I am flirting with apostasy. Often this is indicative of bipolar disorder, a mental illness of some significance.
I’m not sure why Peter does what he does.
But just a short time after he makes his astonishing pronouncement, he is taken apart by Jesus, being solidly rebuked face-to-face. In one clear moment, he expresses an awesome and wonderful faith, and suddenly his personal stock suddenly and precipitously crashes. He is now a pariah that needs to be avoided.
I think that every disciple will eventually be scorched. But intensely loved.
This is always quite bitter. It seems that in the light of this chapter (which actually seems like a bright glare), Peter is quite devastated. In three years of discipleship, it seems that all he merits is a brutal ‘dressing-down.’
The rebuke is bitter. Peter is being compared to Satan!
In a blur of just a few minutes, he moves from “hero-to-goat.” I suspect that Peter was ashamed. He most likely wished he had a rewind button. His Savior, Jesus– has given him a new label. And it hurts. Many times, we would become resentful, maybe a bit bitter. It could cause some to walk away, developing a fit of anger that solidifies into something very scary. Thank God, Peter doesn’t do anything that stupid.
The correction in the rebuke gives him life and hope.
But who’s to say we would be as correctable? One thing to add, earlier we mentioned the ‘conversational approach’ of discipleship. Peter was rebuked in the presence of the other disciples. The publicity was embarrassing. Too many people were watching and listening. Peter will survive this, but he has learned something valuable.
Our daily commitment to Jesus hinges on our willingness to be “undone.”
His heart and plan pretty much preclude any “secret or hidden” agenda. Jesus pretty much rakes us over the coals. He will insist on uncompromising obedience to His faithfulness. Every true disciple will be scorched— but loved.
“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the surpassing greatness of the power may be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing”
2 Corinthians 4:7-8 (NASB).
Paul speaks of treasure, or of something of tremendous worth. We seldom place value on things with the same intensity that God does. Its obvious that as a culture our values aren’t really biblical. Paul understands this overriding principle of the eternal over the temporary. God’s power–treasured. Our weakness– accepted.
The rationale for this “making room” for the power must be understood. Its only when we grasp this holy ‘mechanism’ can we sparkle and shine as believers. It is of God, not of ourselves. Paul says that we are afflicted in everyway imaginable. From disease, to injury, to difficult relationships, to a simple toothache. Believers run the full gamut of affliction.
It all is significant, it all means something!
As a former Army medic, some of the worst injuries were “crushing” ones. The human body experiences things that are so heavy that they simply collapse. At times like these it seems the best you can do is make a pile. To be crushed is a terrible thing.
He says that we are “perplexed”. The word means, “to feel completely baffled by.” It’s when something is so complicated that we can’t figure it out. Have you ever been given a ‘Rubik’s Cube?’ You twist and turn, trying to get the same colors on the same side. Every move affects the outcome. And you just can’t seem to get it right. (I once peeled of all the colored stickers off and re-stuck them, but I was having “ego problems” that day.)
God gives His children a spiritual ‘Rubik’s Cube.’
It maybe a family crisis, or a medical issue. You could be trying to figure out your spouse. But the problem is that it totally baffles you. There is no rhyme or reason that you can see. Everyday you try again and again.
There are some things that so confuse and mystify that we begin to doubt everything we have been taught. But, we are not to despair. Despair is not for the believer. We may not understand, we are baffled by the present circumstances. We may come close, but we can not despair. God has promised that he will use this time of affliction, and its outcome will be glorious.
“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.”
In the KJV of Romans 8:38, the phrase used is “nor things present.” What is your present predicament? It cannot separate you from the love of God. He cares for you, even if the moment is hard and miserable. God often tests His real friends more severely then the lukewarm ones.
At the end, God will not look you over for medals, or diplomas, He will look you over for scars.