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What To Do Today

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“For no one does anything in secret when he himself seeks to be known publicly. If You do these things, show Yourself to the world.”

For not even His brothers were believing in Him. – John 7:4-5 NASB

These verses pique my interest today.

We are given that the Lord’s brothers (two of whom would go on to be contributors to the canon of scripture) at this stage in Him ministry did not believe in Him. They did however believe in the wonders He was doing.

If you are going to do these miracles – do them where You can receive the notoriety they bring.

If the world sees what You can do, Your popularity will increase, and so your influence.

There are those for whom notoriety is anathema – they are so “with Jesus” when He avoids the crowds.

There are others for whom every step is calculated to build or enhance their ‘platform’ so they ‘get’ Jesus when He rides into town in great pomp and procession.

Jesus does not ‘do’ to impress or draw people, nor does He ‘do’ to drive people away.

He ‘does’ to please the Father.

And He who sent Me is with Me; He has not left Me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to Him.” – John 8:29

He ‘does’ to seek and save the lost.

“For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” – Luke 19:10

He ‘does’ that which destroys the work of the devil.

the one who practices sin is of the devil; for the devil has sinned from the beginning. The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil. – 1 John 3:8

For Jesus, it is never about Him, but about the glory of the Father.

The Father on the other hand was pleased to make it all about Jesus.

For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, – Philippians 2:9

Father, help me with my motives. Fill me once again with Your Spirit that I might ‘do’ what pleases You and accomplishes Your desires. Let me have this same mind in me today.

Nora and Papa BenThanks for stopping by.

Don’t forget to shine, no matter where the Lord has placed you today.

Ben

 

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Don’t Abandon Good

Originally posted on Comments on Christianity:

WoodGrain

By Benjamin Nelson

I came across a quote from John D. Rockefeller on twitter that gave me a twinge.

“Don’t be afraid to give up the good to go for the great.” ~ John D. Rockefeller

Let me start by saying, I get it. I understand that the English word Great is a superlative version of one use of the English word Good.

I’ve read the book “Good to Great” by Jim Collins. It’s an excellent read and I would recommend it to anyone who is trying to make any organization better.

And yet – there’s that twinge.

When I think about these two words, I am drawn to the character and nature of the Lord God.

Our Father has never made this journey from good to great. In fact, when we think about the Almighty one, we realize that these two words are not related. Great is…

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Living in Humility

Ben Nelson:

I am pleased to share this wonderful teaching form my sister from across the globe.

Originally posted on Karina's Thought:

Living in Humility -Karina's thought-Paul Militaru

Some time ago when I was walking around in the shopping mall accidentally I met an old friend when was in college. I am so excited met her because been many years I have not hear news about her. Afterwards we were deep in exciting conversation. We were talk about many things. But after a while, I felt there was something different from her. I heard sound of arrogance in every of her words.  There was her sayings that really show her arrogance when we talked about business, “If you have a problem in business, you can come to me for help. Now with the position and authority that I have, I can do anything. I can change everything from impossible become possible!”

Honestly I  really sad to saw her changed drastically. I knew her very well before.  A meek young college girl even there was an impression of inferiority…

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We follow – but why?

After Jesus fed the 5,000 the crowds grew.

Jesus answered them and said,

Truly, truly, I say to you, you seek Me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate of the loaves and were filled. Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal.”

John 6:26-27 NASB

A quick observation today.

One of the names that Isaiah gives us for Jesus is “Wonderful” which at its root is miracle. He is Healer – even today. He is Provider – even today. He is the Gift of God – even today.

And even today, some seek Him for what they might get. They come only to be healed – to be fed – to escape judgment.

Does He today look at the crowds and say: “Do not work for the food which perishes?

Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent. – John 6:29 NASB

I need to get about my Father’s business today.

Lord, give me the faith I need to follow you – to work for the food that is eternal.

Ben NelsonThank you for stopping by.

See you again soon.

Ben

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I Go Fishing

640px-Miracle_Fishes

Miracle Fishes” by Alexander Bida – WCG. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons.

 

It’s been a couple weeks since we found the empty tomb and things are just not getting back to ‘normal.’ After that first night, when Jesus just appeared in our midst, James and John started talking about heading back to Jerusalem. They wanted to put Jesus on a warhorse instead of a donkey this time, and march into the city. What could stop Jesus from taking His rightful place in the temple, or in the palace for that matter?

But then a few days passed. Thomas returned and we couldn’t even convince him that Jesus had risen from the dead. We hadn’t seen Jesus in days. We got together every day in the same room where He appeared to us that first night. At first we had met there to avoid capture by the Jewish leadership. After watching the way they got rid of Jesus, we were afraid for our lives.

Since that first appearance we met there everyday, always expecting that Jesus would show up again. I wasn’t sure everyone would be back after the Sabbath, but we all know what we saw. We hoped He would join us again.

Finally, after eight long days Jesus appeared again, and this time Thomas was with us. Jesus offered his hands and His side to Thomas. But again, no word about what was next.

Of course Jesus never gave us much warning about what was next. It always seemed like He knew just what to do and when. But we never had the week’s itinerary before hand. We’d get up in the morning and Jesus would say we have to go to Samaria, or let’s head over to Cana, or sometime it was “head across the lake, I will catch up with you in Capernaum.”

In the last three years, I can’t remember any stretch of eight days when we weren’t off doing something.

But now, silence.

Yesterday morning I was pretty frustrated as we sat and waited. It was past midday and I had to do something. I said, “I’m going fishing” and about half of the guys followed me out the door. We left the rest of them there waiting, but I could not stand another day of doing nothing.

Fishing has always been what I do when I don’t know what to do. It’s been like home to me since I was a boy. I used to go out with James and John on their father’s boat. There is so much there that’s familiar. It lets my mind work out problems. It’s where I screwed up enough courage to ask for my wife’s hand in marriage. It’s where I learned to pray. It’s where I met Him, on the shores of the lake.

The others who came along, did so not because they loved the idea. It was more likely they, like me, just didn’t know what else to do.

It was a long night, and it was not helping. Usually out here in the calm of the night, under the patchwork of stars and clouds, my mind and heart opened up. But this night it was shut up tight. Something was weighing on me. I’m not even sure what it was, but there was a pressure building on my inside.

Besides all that – not one fish – every net – every cast – empty. Even Andrew, who loves to drop a line off the back of the boat while we work the nets, was coming up with nothing.

It reminded me of the first time I met Him. We had been out all night – just like tonight, and like tonight caught nothing. As we sat cleaning our nets, He just walked up with a huge crowd of folks pressing in on Him. He walked right up to me and asked if I would take Him just off shore so everyone could hear and see him.

Well, the crowd spread out on the hillside, and we put out a couple dozen cubits. Then He taught them. At first I kept busy with the cleaning of our nets, so they would be ready for the next day, but as He spoke, His words drew me. They had a force, a pull, that I couldn’t resist. I noticed James and John sat on the shore, nets in their laps, listening too.

I have no idea how long He spoke, but after a bit He turned to me and said:

“Let’s go get some fish. Take us out a ways, will you?”

I remember thinking, “This young zealot may know everything about God, but He doesn’t know much about fishing. If there were going to be fish, they would have been there last night. Now it’s the heat of the day, and we won’t be seeing any fish till evening.”

Still, I was so impressed with His speaking, it would be a chance to spend another hour with Him, even if nothing came of it.

So I cast off and headed out. I can remember John making some mocking remark as we headed back out to fish, and Jesus and I just laughed. There was such joy in Him. He could be so serious at times, but the joy was always there, like bedrock at the core of His being.

Then I let out my net, and this part I remember like it was yesterday. First I heard a patter against the side of the boat. When I looked over the gunwale, it was as if the water was alive, more fish than water. And as we started to draw the net back, I thought our little boat was going to capsize. Then the nets started to tear.

I signaled back to James and John who were just loading their nets back into their Father’s boat, and they headed out to help us. I think we got more fish in that one afternoon outing, than we had taken in the last month. That was the moment I fully grasped that He was indeed Messiah. That was also the day He told us He was going to teach us to catch men.

As I thought back, some of that tension I was feeling lifted, but then I saw that the horizon was beginning to brighten. It was morning. We were out doing what we did best, and had nothing at all to show for it. My funk, which had lifted slightly, slammed down with such force I thought I felt the boat shake.

It was then that I heard Him. From the shore I heard Him calling, at least I thought it was Jesus. I couldn’t tell for sure, but there He stood on the shore, beside a roaring fire, signaling for us to come in. I looked at Andrew, Thomas looked at John, and all at once we said “It’s Him! Is it you?” we all called.

“Drop your nets on the other side.” He called from the shore. As we did, there it was again. That patter on the side of the boat. The fish were jumping into our nets before we even got them into the water. It was like the only reason they were alive was to find their way into our nets.

As soon as I saw what was happening I hit the waves. As I swam toward shore, I can remember thinking “I should have asked Him to let me walk again.” I got a mouth full of water as I laughed at that.

When I got to shore, I figured it out. As soon we embraced, I realized what was dragging me down, what kept haunting my days and leaving my bed empty at night.

I had denied this One whom I loved more than I had ever loved anyone. This man who had given me three years of His life, stood alone before the Roman Empire and the Jewish power system, and I couldn’t – wouldn’t – even admit that I knew Him.

We ate fish for breakfast. Some of the fish we caught, and some that He already had on the fire. It seemed everyone around the fire that morning was exploding with joy, but I was quiet.

Jesus caught my eye and said,

“Simon”

He had given me another name, “Peter,” but in tender moments He would still call me my given name.

“Simon, let’s walk.”

As we left the group He put His hand on my shoulder and asked,

“Do you love me more than these?”

What was He asking? Did He want to know if I loved Him more than my fishing companions? Was He offended that we left the upper room and headed to the boats?

“Yes Lord, You know I love you,” I said, with a defensive tone.

He said, “Tend My lambs.”

We walked along the beach in silence for a few minutes.

“Simon, son of John, Do you love Me?”

“Yes Lord, You know I love you.”

This time He said “Shepherd My sheep.”

We walked along and came to a large driftwood log, and He sat down and gestured that I should join Him.

This time He almost whispered the question.

“Simon, son of John, do you Love Me?”

“Yes Lord, You know everything. You know I love you.”

“Tend My sheep.”

It was then that I realized the last time we talked one on one was when He told me I would deny Him three times. Now He gave me three chances to acknowledge Him, three times to declare myself for Him.

Three failures redeemed. Three wounds healed. Three chains holding my heart, broken off and thrown into Galilee. Jesus would never speak of these three failures again. The evil one could never use these three denials to accuse me. These three sins were GONE, and I was free.

As we walked back to the others, we talked of other things, but just before we reached them, He said, “Follow me.”

My heart cried out, as it did the first time He said those words to me, “I will follow You.”

A few minutes earlier I would have been afraid to make any promises, after my last failure, after my last promise ended in such disaster. But everything in me knew I would be following Him till my last day. And this time, if need be, I would die with Him.

I will gladly take up my cross and follow Jesus.

===

If this retelling of Peter’s story ministers to you, would you please share it with a friend.

If you would like to read more stories from the gospels retold in this way check out:

What Am I Lacking? – A rich young man’s encounter with Jesus.

What I Found at the Well. – A Samaritan woman’s meeting with Jesus.

Blood in the Sheets. – A moving account of the woman who touched the hem of His robes.

 

Fictionalized John 20 and 21 and Luke 5

 

 

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Overwhelmed – SoS Saturday

Her Gaze - Connie Chadwell

Her Gaze – Connie Chadwell

If you have been around the Church for any length of time, you many know the chorus, ‘Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus.” It’s great counsel. When life gets out of control, and you can’t see your way through – turn your eyes upon Jesus. When you feel like you are about to sink, like Peter walking on the water, turn your eyes upon Jesus.

The song tells us:

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face,
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of His glory and grace.

Helen H. Lemmel

Today, we hear Jesus’ reaction to our eyes turned toward Him.

Let me recap just a bit.

The Shulamite (in my view – an individual sold out in pursuit of Jesus) has been through some trials of her faith, and rather than her faith fading or failing, she came through desperately seeking the face of her Beloved (in my view this Shepherd King is Jesus.) She gives Him high praise from the dark place of the soul. He breaks His silence in her life with high praise for her.

Today we hear Him say

Turn your eyes away from me,
For they have overcome me.

Song of Songs 6:5 NKJV

When you turn your eyes upon me, I am overwhelmed. He is not actually asking her to stop looking. He is saying that her gaze, her steadfast looking to Him from her point of need melts His heart.

Check out these other translations of the phrase:

  • for they overwhelm me! CEB
  • they make me melt. CEB
  • Your eyes excite me too much! ERV
  • They enchant me! GW
  • they are holding me captive. GNT
  • for they captivate me. HCSB
  • for they stir me up. NABRE
  • For they have confused me; NASB
  • They overpower me. NIRB

[Thanks to BibleGateway.com’s “every English translation” feature]

This statement the Shepherd King makes is another over the top declaration of His passion for His bride.

There is a common misconception in the Church that the Lord barely tolerates us and is so frustrated with our failure that He is always on the verge of assigning us back to hell.

Ok – if your life is so full of compromise, guilt and shame that you are not really sure if you belong to Jesus at all, you need to deal with that.

But if you are in fact a soundly saved,
a son or daughter of the living God,
bought by the blood of Jesus and
saved by His amazing grace,
living in covenant with Him and
walking daily in communion with Him –

Hear this now:

HE IS CRAZY ABOUT YOU!

When you turn your eyes toward Him

In times of trouble
In times of temptation
In times of victory and
Even in times of failure and repentance.

He is overcome by your gaze.

He said it before

You have ravished my heart,
My sister, my spouse;
You have ravished my heart
With one look of your eyes,
With one link of your necklace.

Song of Songs 4:9 NKJV

And He is saying it to you today.

Lord, I turn my eyes on you today, and I sense your love and passion for me. By turning my eyes toward you, I keep myself in your embrace. I am so glad that I’m not ‘just barely’ in Your grace, but I am the apple of Your eye.

My Wonderful Bride and I

My Wonderful Bride and I

Thanks for coming by.

See you again soon.

Ben

Image Credit: Connie Chadwell
http://hackberrystreetstudio.blogspot.com 
http://conniechadwell.com

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Leaving so soon?

Rumor has it, folks are turning away from Christ.

They begin to think about the hypocrisy of some Christian leader, or they hear some atheist rant about logic and reason, and they slowly slip out the back door of the Church.

Perhaps they can’t get their intellect around a Biblical account, creation, flood, water walkers.

Maybe they are offended with God because of their circumstances, their lot in life.

Could be that their natural inclinations – their desires – don’t line up with what the Bible says they should look like.

There was a day in the life of the disciples when the pressure to leave Christ was immense.

He said to the crowd,

Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink His blood, you have no life in yourselves.

It was just then that Mr. and Mrs. Attendee took their two and a third children firmly by the hand, slid down the pew to the aisle and headed for the back door.

He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.

Up stand Mr. SundaySchoolSuperintendant and off he goes.

For My flesh is true food, and My blood is true drink.

Was that Mrs. SpecialMusic I saw walking toward the back?

He who eats My flesh and drinks My blood abides in Me, and I in him.

Now the five Deacon brothers stand in unison and walk right out the center aisle.

As the living Father sent Me, and I live because of the Father, so he who eats Me, he also will live because of Me.

I see the Brother Greeter and Sister Hospitality taking off their badges and sliding out the back door too.

This is the bread which came down out of heaven; not as the fathers ate and died; he who eats this bread will live forever.”

Oh NO! Not the BigGiver family! What are we going to do now?

Then He looked down at me and said

You do not want to go away also, do you?

All I could say is,

Lord, to whom shall we go? You have words of eternal life. We have believed and have come to know that You are the Holy One of God.

(Taken from John 6:53-69)

My mind is not big enough to understand everything Jesus said, let alone the depth of all the spiritual knowledge that our Father has injected into the Word – His Word. If I don’t get it, that’s OK – sometimes He explains it – sometimes not. Sometimes life explains it – sometimes not.

It’s all good – because His words are Spirit and they are Life, and I need a good dose of that.

How about you?

Ben NelsonThanks for coming by.

Shine where you’re screwed in.

Ben

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