A Towel, Not a Title

There are no shortcuts in discipleship
“Jesus knew that the Father had given him authority over everything and that he had come from God and would return to God. 4 So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist.”  

John 13:3-4, NLT

Jesus was always constant.  Nothing could erode His place or position.  The authority had been His Fathers, and it had been given to Him.  He carried it as a special burden, treasured and separating Him.  Jesus had the freedom to act like the servant.  It didn’t bother or confuse Him, He understood perfectly who He was.

With the supreme authority given to him, he got down on His knees, and began to wash dirty feet.  I can offer no magic or flair to adjust this scene.  He washed off dirt, cleaned between toes, making filthy feet clean.  And all of this ‘as God in human flesh’.  This staggered the disciples, perhaps a baseball bat on the side of the head, would’ve been more compassionate.

This was revolutionary, it completely devastated the disciples.  They just couldn’t grasp what was happening.  Jesus, who was ‘God in flesh’, had decided, in a moment of time, to clean their feet.  Outrageous!  Not really happening!  No way! Never!

The reality.

This spun them around.  They tried as fast as possible to process what had just happened, and ‘who’ it had happened from.

Essentially, it buried them.  Jesus Christ, as Servant pounded them into the ground.  Servanthood was to take the supremacy from this point forward.  Becoming an indentured slave was now the way of Christlikeness.  This servanthood was to now guide us to a point of slavery.

Gone are the days of Zebedee, when one can ask for a position, on the right or the left.  We can ask, most certainly, but we haven’t been the first.  We can ask but the sheer weight is against us.  So very many have gone before us.  We must become a people who accept, and then presses into His grace, His specialness, His presence.

Today, more towels are what we need.

We have got to turn over our ‘need’ for recognition and pick up from the pile the rag of servanthood, we must ‘ask’ our brother/sister if we can scrub their feet.  We must get on our knees and do the unspeakable.  We must find a way to clean off their feet. This dear one, is what you’ve been told to do.

“There are many of us that are willing to do great things for the Lord, but few of us are willing to do little things.”   D.L. Moody

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When Angels Stand Amazed

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“When the Japanese mend broken objects, they aggrandize the damage by filling the cracks with gold. They believe that when something’s suffered damage and has a history it becomes more beautiful.”

~Barbara Bloom

Just a short word of encouragement to all my suffering brothers and sisters.  I believe God loves you (not a cliche) and has a tremendous plan for you.  Scripture tells us that we will reign with Him (and the last time I looked, there is no disqualification for being mentally ill).  Having suffered through your whole life will be just an enhancement, a bonus when you finally are held by Jesus, in His arms.

Those of us who struggle with depression, mania, and paranoia know a lot about cracks and brokenness.  Mixed states, anxiety, and social withdrawal all have taken their toll. Some of us hear voices. Addictions and suicide attempts have made up our past life (and even sometimes try to intrude on the present.)

Some have physical disabilities. They have come to worship from their wheelchairs. Some are deaf, others are blind. But they come still.

I have a dear friend with advancing Alzheimers who understands little of what is happening to her,  but she still worships God with the rest of the congregation. Before the dementia she was a spiritual marvel.  Without a doubt one of the astonishing women I had ever met. Now however, when she raises her hands, I believe the angels step back in a deep awe.  I just realized this, the angels understand worship, they really do. BUT, they do not understand worship out of weakness and brokenness.

Let us worship God with our cracks and brokenness.  In John 12, a woman breaks open a jar of nard on Jesus feet, while the other disciples hang back and complain.  But always remember this dear one–it is only by being poured out that one can release the perfume.

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Walking Intelligently

  1. Faith–“For we walk by faith, not by sight.”  2 Cor. 5:7
  2. Spirituality–“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” Gal. 5:16
  3. Consistency–“I therefore, a prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling to which you have been called.”  Eph. 4:1
  4. Love–“And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us.”  Eph. 5:2
  5. Wisdom–“Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise.” Eph. 5:15
  6. Light–“But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.”  1 John 1:7
  7. Christlikeness–“Whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.”  1 John 2:6

 

These 7 verses all talk about our walk.  Each verse brings us a facet of that walk.  We must avail ourselves of every awareness, following Jesus is indeed a “walk.”  We take steps that will lead us into an vast eternity with our Savior.  We move spiritually from one place to a closer place.  We walk forward, and not back.  We move ahead, and each day closer to our Lord.  Time, you see, only exists to bring us that much nearer to Jesus.

To walk means progression.  It also is destiny.  Some of the greatest works in literature is the book, “Pilgrim’s Progress,” by John Bunyan.  It is a book about walking.  We are all walking toward home.  It is challenging to make this journey through tremendous issues.  We all are making progress as we travel home.

The issues are “faith, spirituality, consistency, love, wisdom, light and christlikeness.”  Which of these are we prepared to ditch?  If we concentrate on each of these, we find that we can’t give up any of them.  They all are dear and fundamental to an authentic faith.

Walking can be strenuous.  When we walk it means we have direction and a goal in mind.  It is almost never done aimlessly.  As we walk, we begin to unfold these seven issues.  We will find that the Father inserts us into situations and circumstances where we get to unveil these seven.  We will enter into events where we take on certain qualities.  As we walk we learn the behavior of our Lord.  And that dear ones, can’t be all bad.