Under whose authority?

“Cease listening to instruction, my son, and you will stray away from the words of knowledge.”  Pr. 19:27

In Mark 1:16-20, Jesus told Simon and Andrew to follow Him.  He also called to James and John, sons of Zebedee, who left their father and went after Jesus.  How convincing must Jesus have sounded to these men?  Seriously.  They were at work, doing their jobs, making money, and this stranger speaks to them and they just leave it all and follow him.  That’s out of the ordinary.

After they went into Capernaum, Jesus taught in the temple and spoke “as one having authority.”  A man with an unclean spirit then approached Him, and Jesus rebuked him, saying, “Be quiet, and come out of him!”  The spirit came out of the man.

They left the synagogue and went to Simon’s house.  His mother was sick, so Jesus took her by the hand, lifted her up and her fever immediately left her.  That night, the whole city was gathered together at the door of Simon’s house, where Jesus healed their diseases and cast out demons.  He wouldn’t allow the demons to speak.

A leper later came to Jesus to see if He was willing to heal him.  As soon as Jesus spoke the words, “I am willing; be cleansed,” the leprosy left the man.

Have you seen the same pattern I’m seeing?  Jesus’ authority is undeniable.  He spoke to strangers, and they gave up everything for Him.  He spoke to demons and they obeyed.  He spoke to sickness and it left.

What is He speaking to You right now?  Another pattern I’ve noticed is that we tend to try to resist the Lord’s instructions to us.  When the Holy Spirit prompts us to do something we hesitate, we debate, we put it off.  We’re afraid to obey for various reasons.  Why?

Have we given something or someone else more authority in our lives?  Jesus’ authority is undeniable in Mark.  He still has the same authority today.  He does not change.  The only thing that changes is us.  We stray.

How sad that even the demons obeyed Jesus, and yet we try to ignore or debate with Him.

When the Lord speaks to You, listen.  He has the power to make things happen.  All He needs us to do is be willing to be part of His plan.  When we obey the Lord, the outcome is up to Him.  Don’t put Him off any longer.

In fact, may I be so bold to say, let’s be better than the demons, and ask Him in advance to speak to us.  And when He does, let’s simply obey.

Listening for instruction,

jamie

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Sharing the gladness

Acts 12:14-16:  “When she recognized Peter’s voice, because of her gladness she did not open the gate, but ran in and announced that Peter stood before the gate…Now Peter continued knocking; and when they opened the door and saw him, they were astonished.”

Some things are just too good not to share.

Peter had been arrested and was likely facing execution.  The church was in constant prayer for him; however, and an angel came and released Peter from his chains and the prison.  When he arrived at the home of John’s mother we find the scene described in the verse above.

The girl was so happy that she forgot to open the door and let Peter in.  Have you ever been that happy to see someone?  She knew that she was witnessing a miracle and couldn’t wait to spread the good news!  Poor Peter.  I can see him now, out there still knocking; perhaps a bit nervous to be seen, but maybe chuckling at her actions, as well.

I have a friend who consistently shares testimonies of praise and reports of miracles.  I never cease to be amazed by God’s work in the lives of those around him, or to look forward to his praise reports.  I love to hear what God is doing!

I must admit, though, that in my amazement, I sometimes find myself wondering why these things seem to happen more in his life than in anyone else’s.  Is God not working like that in other people’s lives?  In mine?  I don’t think that’s it.

As the Lord continues to work and reveal Himself in this man’s life, I simply see that he is just so overwhelmed with gladness that he can’t help but announce it.  The Lord continues to prove Himself in this man’s life.  I don’t think its a coincidence.  I have to think that God, knowing that this man will run off shouting praise and sharing of God’s majesty, reveals Himself in this man’s life on purpose.

Perhaps I just keep too many praises to myself.  Sometimes it might be best to drop what I’m doing and run off to announce a miracle or provision from God.  Maybe upon seeing the God’s work in my life and the lives around me, others will be as astonished by the Lord as these people were to see Peter standing at their door.

Lord, help me to be so overwhelmed with gladness that I forget myself and shout Your praise!

jamie

Prudently receiving instruction

Pr. 15:5:  “A fool despises his father’s instruction, but he who receives correction is prudent.”

Peter once had a remarkable vision of instruction from the Lord.

Meet another man:  a Gentile named Cornelius, a devout man who feared God with all his household, giving generously and praying to God always.  In a vision, he was told that His prayers and alms had come up for a memorial before God, and that a man named Peter would come and tell him what to do.

In His vision, the Lord revealed to Peter that no man is common or unclean, and that God shows no partiality.  This was a life-changing revelation!  When Peter preached to Cornelius’ household, the Holy Spirit fell upon the household.  The Gentiles not only spoke in tongues and magnified God through the baptism of the Holy Spirit, but they were baptized with water, as well.

Because Peter received the correction of his Father, this was a major shift in the church and in the meaning of the Great Commission.

Peter certainly had a choice.  He could have ignored the correction and refused to go to Cornelius.  Upon arriving at Cornelius’ house, he even reminded Cornelius that it was unlawful for him to be there.  He went on; however, explaining that God had given him new instructions.  Peter prudently followed the instructions of the Lord and our lives have never been the same.

Also worth noting…Cornelius was following the instructions of the Lord long before this happened, this fact went up as a memorial before the Lord, and his life was forever changed.  God’s instructions are always for good.  Perhaps they are for our own good, as in the case of Cornelius.  Perhaps they are for the good of others, as we see with Peter’s instructions.  Regardless, He knows best.

The Lord humbles Himself to behold the things that are in the heavens and in the earth.  (Ps. 113:6)  It is prudent for us to follow His lead.

Listening,

jamie

Keeping secrets with God

Pr. 3:32:  “For the perverse person is an abomination to the Lord, but His secret counsel is with the upright.”

The perverse person in this verse is one “who transgresses the law.”  It is one who deliberately disregards the law and will of God, choosing to live a sinful life outside of God.  With such, God cannot commune, as He cannot tolerate sin, and finds it abominable.

With the upright, on the other hand, He has secret counsel.  He speaks to them, teaches them, and guides them moment by moment; readying them for their path ahead.  I noticed an example of this in my reading this morning.

In Acts 2:14, Peter stands up, raises his voice, and begins speaking to a large crowd about Jesus.  Peter had just been filled with the Holy Spirit and due to that, he who had previously denied Jesus boldly stepped forward, raised his voice, and proclaimed Jesus for all to hear.  The Holy Spirit gave him utterance, but God had most certainly been working within Peter’s heart to ready Him for this.

In my experience, God does not send us forward to do something that He has not prepared us to do.  He works within us, readying us, preparing us, equipping, training, and guiding us toward that moment.  It is a secret counsel that we have with the Lord Himself of which no one else is likely aware.

When we choose to deliberately live a life outside of Him, this cannot take place.  However, when our hearts are open before Him in fear and in loving submission, He can work within us, readying us and guiding us secretly for His greater plans.  He can teach us and train us in the private depths of our hearts.

Just as the Lord readied Peter’s heart for the boldness the Holy Spirit would bring, He readies the upright for their own journey ahead.

Do not doubt the preparations of the Lord.  He is mighty and able.  If you are open to Him, He will teach, guide, and ready you for the journey He has in store for you.  If He has been speaking secretly to you, continue with Him.  When the time comes, you will be fully prepared and equipped.  Not only that, but the Holy Spirit will be with you, helping every step of the way.

Keeping secrets,

jamie