A Sidetracked Life

 

sidetracked

So Saul headed toward Damascus. As he came near the city, a bright light from heaven suddenly flashed around him. Saul fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul! Why are you persecuting me?”

Acts 9:3-4

I’m thinking that an awful lot of my life has been filled with these inconvenient interruptions. I like a certain order, and schedules and keeping appointments. I’m not a rigid person, but I can become mildly annoyed when my life becomes ruled by these unplanned intrusions.

However, at times an interruption can be quite productive. Often when my plans are set aside, I get the opportunity to see the Holy Spirit step in. He does things that are eternally true and special.

Scriptures are saturated with ‘inconvenient interruption.’ Mary, whose life was jolted by a visit by the angel Gabriel (Luke 1:26-31). Paul, on the road to Damascus was overwhelmed suddenly and converted (Acts 9:1-9). The virgin Mary would have a son, and Paul would shake the world with his preaching the Gospel of Jesus.

There are many others who had their calm lives ‘turned upside down’ by our tumultuous God.

One could almost say that the Bible is a book of this ‘blessed interruption.’ I’m thinking right now of Moses, whom God shook and completely altered his life in just a few moments. And of course we read of Abraham, suddenly leaving everything to follow a promise.

I tell you, God has a flair for the dramatic. He often steps into the lives of His people. We might get irritated, frustrated, ‘owly’ and a little bit afraid.

The question is this– can the Spirit disrupt you?

Perhaps this is the next lesson in your discipleship. You will need to be a servant. The most profoundly Christian people I know are those whose lives can be side-tracked. I encourage you, look for God’s purposes behind your next interruption. Let Him arrange your schedule. 

 Mary said, “I am the servant of the Lord. Let this happen to me as you say!”  

Luke 1:38

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Feet Finders, [Intimacy]

JesusFeetOne of the more amazing studies you can do in the New Testament (Matthew-Revelation) are the people who found themselves at the feet of Jesus. Actually there is probably more than you think.

There are some common dynamics that take place by these “feet finders.”

  1. A great need- “desperation”
  2. To emphasize one’s need and true condition
  3. To ask for a healing (for self or family)
  4. To honor Jesus as God
  5. To worship more authentically
  6. To be more receptive to His teaching
  7. To witness to others

“Great crowds came to him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at his feet; and he healed them.”

Matthew 15:30, NIV

“In fact, as soon as she heard about him, a woman whose little daughter was possessed by an impure spirit came and fell at his feet.”

Mark 7:25

“And the people went out to see what had happened. When they came to Jesus, they found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting at Jesus’ feet, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid.”

Luke 8:35

In fact, there are several other instances where people came to Jesus’ feet.

  • Mark 5:22-23, Jairus, a leader in the local synagogue
  • Luke 7:37-38, a sorrowing mother for her daughter
  • Luke 8:41, also Jairus
  • Luke 10:39, Mary, when Jesus was teaching
  • John 11:32, Mary, meeting Jesus entering Bethany
  • John 12:3, Mary, with her perfume
  • Revelation 1:17, John to express what he was seeing (also 19:10)

In every case we find people consciously coming and kneeling at the feet of the Lord Jesus. It was a deliberate action coming from their hearts. Each had a need, custom built for this precise moment in time.

One of the classic scenes in the Gospels is when Mary meets Jesus. She doesn’t understand His delay, she is grieving and confused. But she only has one posture and one place in her heart to be– at the feet!

“When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”

John 11:32

Being at the feet is not supposed to be a mindless exercise. She maintains her issues with Jesus re: Lazarus. But this questioning came from her knees. The issues could never take the place of her love and her honor. But I think she is an example of how our problems can coincide with a real faith.

One might say that she had every right to take up an issue of incompetence and neglect with Jesus. Much should be made of the fact that Jesus been briefed on Lazarus’ illness much earlier. And yet He purposefully delayed going to Bethany. Maybe Jesus never responds to crisis; but people in need.

To be honest with you, I have my own occasional controversies with God. I have gone through hard things that really needed His attention. I have cried and begged to no avail. I’ve tried to negotiate and manipulate and it doesn’t work.

But even there, there is found a place for me at His feet. It is where I belong. I love Him.

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Mary Magdalene and Jesus

“Dear woman, why are you crying?” Jesus asked her. “Who are you looking for?”

She thought he was the gardener. “Sir,” she said, “if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and get him.”

16 “Mary!” Jesus said.

She turned to him and cried out, “Rabboni!” (which is Hebrew for “Teacher”).

John 20:15-16, NLT

 A word, a name– and when He speaks it, it crackles.  “Mary!”  His recognition and affection saturates His greeting.  And instantly Mary ignites.  Her love for Jesus breaches the chasm.  Her heart bounds to Him, and she can see no one else.  Simply, “Mary”, and her routine universe is changed forever.

The Lord does not see masses, or crowds.  He sees people, individuals that have names.  He simply doesn’t accept the idea of mass communications to make disciples.  His heart is for individuals.   He does not make styrofoam cups, He makes individual people. And that is exactly how He responds.

Her immediate response is just as forthcoming.  “Rabboni”.  The simple Hebrew word for “teacher”.  Obviously her relationship with Jesus has infused this word with much more then meets the eye.  As we trace her history with Jesus we develop a deep understanding into her psyche.And much more, her walk.

You might say that Mary was well acquainted with spiritual things– for her it was almost exclusively evil. Mark 16 tells us of seven demons that tormented her. Jesus had cast these dark powers out of her. She understood.

Just one word,’Teacher’.  The word has deep and strong connotations.  Primarily, it has the concept of someone superior and yet exercising that gift in a quality way.  Mary has been given a quite exceptional gift.  An opportunity to be a student who sits at Jesus’ feet.  She now knows God to be enfolded into flesh and blood.  She is perfectly aware of Jesus as human.  She makes her faith ‘jump” to deity level.  She believes He is much more then what is visible.

Her ‘turning’ to Jesus is remarkable, in that she is still not quite there yet.  However she turns to look at Him who now has risen out of death.  She already has evaluated all of this and she decides to ‘turn into the wind.’  She is now ‘ready to launch’.  Mary has arrived at the very place Jesus has intended.  She now launches, against the wind, and really because of the wind.

Jesus fully intends to make us disciples.  A significant step is simply to glorify Him who means so much.  Embracing Him as God is a serious and brave step.  Actually, it is a ‘reality shifting’ concept that will change us.  That does not mean we can stop struggling, or wrestling (or whatever we want).  But what it does mean is that certain things are now established.  We can now flow with Him who will take us to the true hope that waits for us in eternity. Will you trust Him that far?

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