Feeds:
Posts
Comments

The Trial-Final

Mr. Stone said “your honor, I can let the scene run as long as needed to make the point if you wish, but I believe I have already shown Mr. Tomei began showing contempt for all things sacred even as a young man”? The judge sighed and said, “No, Mr. Stone, your point has been made,” and instantly the screen faded back to black. The Judge looked over to the defense table and said, “Mr. Vivam, would you care to counter”? The attorney stood and said, “yes your honor, I would like to enter into evidence Exodus 2:12. Moses killed an Egyptian, yet still went on to lead God’s chosen children out of bondage. The capacity to sin does not make a soul disposable to God”. The scene of Moses burying the dead man in the sand scrolled across the screen and then was replaced with a scene of Moses leading his people across the divided Red Sea. “Many good things have been accomplished by those who have behaved badly at times your honor.” Next the screen showed a homeless man asleep against a building with a light coat of snow on his clothing, he was shivering in his sleep. While the court watched Sal removed his coat and covered the man with it, and the court could feel the compassion in Sal’s heart as he had helped the man. “Human lives are complex your honor, very seldom does one act, or even a series of acts define the motives of the soul”. The defense lawyer then sat back down as the prosecutor’s eyes bored holes through him.

Mr. Stone stood and rattled off the next exhibit quickly, and a scene shot onto the screen of Sal taking change from a sales clerk. Sal walked down a sidewalk with the cash still in his hands, counting it again and again, he was nineteen years old at the time. Your honor, this exhibit shows Mr. Tomei knew in his heart that the clerk had given him change for a fifty instead of a twenty, and yet he chose to keep it rather than return it. Another scene came up of Sal doing his taxes when he was thirty-one, and taking a deduction that he was not legally entitled to. “Your honor, it would appear that dishonesty was more of a way of life to the defendant rather than an occasional error.” Other scenes flashed up on the screen as Sal recognized them and knew the prosecutor was right. This was terrible, having your life examined under a microscope like this. He looked over at Mr. Vivam and once again, the man winked at him. This guy was good, but Sal didn’t see any way that he could continue to be defended for things that he knew himself he was guilty of. When Stone was through, Vivam stood and said “Your honor, I present Genesis 25:29-34 into evidence. Jacob stole his brother’s birthright and then he and his mother deceived his father by even going so far as to wear a disguise to deceive his father Isaac. What a despicable man he must have been, yet God chose Jacob to be the father of Israel”, the scenes playing before everyone.

Stone jumped up and said, “Your honor is the defense going to be allowed to discredit every example that the prosecution gives”? The judge said “Settle down now Mr. Stone, it isn’t my fault or the defenses fault if you didn’t prepare your case properly. Now let’s move things along, what is your next evidence? Stone stood and said “Lust your honor, lust. The defendant has a record of being led to lust after women. The defendant became sexually active as a teenager, and for the sake of the court I am holding the evidence of this from the screen, but I count three girls to whom he was not married that he engaged in sexual relations with, and all before he met his wife Karen. The lust didn’t stop when he got married your honor; it seemed a theme every summer when women’s clothing became scarce, Mr. Tomei’s eyes would roam. I enter into evidence Matthew 5:28, which means Mr. Tomei not only lusted, but committed adultery each and every time he lusted.”
Mr. Vivam rose again and said “Objection your honor, I enter 2 Samuel 11, David not only physically engaged in adultery, but because of that he had the husband of the woman killed too. Yes, this was a despicable act to commit as well, yet in Acts 13:22 the Apostle Paul states that God Himself refers to David as “a man after My own heart”. Yet if Mr. Stone were to have his way, David would not be fit to inhabit the Kingdom with God as he does. Your Honor, even the Apostle Paul had a thorn in the flesh, in Romans 7:15 he even said, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” Are we going to continue to waste the courts time by pulling these things up one by one, we haven’t even gotten to the subject of grace yet your honor, but if this continues it will be my next response. Mr. Vivam then sat and looked to the judge.

The courtroom was silent as everyone looked to Stone for a response. Finally he stood and said “Your honor, I really didn’t want to, but I now present multiple examples of repeated sin that Mr. Tomei knew was wrong but chose to go ahead and do anyway. The screen flashed shameful scene after scene as Sal placed his head in his hands and began to weep silently. It was then that he felt a hand on his shoulder, and he looked over at Mr. Vivam, who had a slightly discernible smile on his face, and Sal couldn’t help but wonder what the lawyer still had up his sleeve. The audience continued to murmur as the scenes flashed before them. That’s enough Mr. Stone, the judge said, and once again the screen went blank, are you finished or should we expect more? Mr. Stone had a smirk on his face as he looked over at Sal and said “the prosecution rests your honor”.

Mr. Vivam slowly stood and looked toward the screen as an image came on of Sal on his knees beside his bed. “Dear God, please forgive me for the things I do, I am a sinful man with sinful ways. I want to be pleasing in your sight Lord, please give me the strength to change and become pleasing to you. I will never be able to earn one bit of my salvation, it is only through the blood of Your Son that I can be made worthy, so please wash me and make me white as snow in your sight, and remember my sins no more.” Your honor, Jesus blood was shed for this very type of sin, the sin that while he knew was wrong, the flesh was weak. Mr. Stone continues to waste the court’s time by trying to re-instate the Old Testament laws into New Testament judgment. I move that all charges against my client be dropped and the court recognize that he is indeed innocent, any and all sins quashed, forever forgotten and his soul made white as snow. With that, the screens all lit up again and the memories began to be deleted at lightning speed until they were all gone. The judge nodded and looked at Mr. Stone who surprisingly smiled at Sal and nodded too. The judge rapped the gavel once and said “case dismissed”.

Sal looked over at Mr. Vivam and said thank you, thank you so much! The defender smiled and peeled his gloves off one by one, then shook Sal’s hand. It was then that he noticed the scars on the defender’s wrists. Not knowing what to say, he looked at the Man for an answer. Jesus, My name is Jesus Christ, but sometimes I go by Aquam Vivam, which is Latin for Living Water. “Congratulations”, Sal turned to see Mr. Stone removing his gloves too; he also had scars on his wrists. My name is Peter, he said, although I have been called both a rock and a stone over the years. Sal couldn’t help but wonder, why did we have to go through all of this if you both knew how it would end? Peter answered, because you needed to be justified. Jesus had to defend you and that is why you are here. Without His sacrifice neither of us would be where we are now, free to spend an eternity in heaven with God. As they entered the white hallway again, it was no longer endless, but opened out into the clouds. Any questions Sal had were gone, as were any worries or anxieties, nothing but pure happiness remained as the transformed sinner walked between Jesus and Peter toward the clouds.

The judge said to the prosecutor “You may proceed with your opening arguments Mr. Stone”. The prosecutor said “Thank you your honor. The court will prove Mr. Tomei’s guilt on the charges of conduct unbecoming based on fifty three years of repeated offenses-. “Objection your honor, are we going to judge Mr. Tomei from birth or from the time when he knew wrong from right, which in his case was from about the age of eleven”, the defending attorney asked? Sustained, Mr. Vivam, but let’s allow the prosecution a little latitude in stating their case, agreed? Okay your honor; the defender said waving a hand dismissively.

The annoyed prosecutor began again, “As I was about to state before I was interrupted, Mr. Tomei’s life is all the evidence we need to discover who his true god in life was. From the age of eleven then, he began breaking commandment after commandment, beginning with honoring his father and mother. I will lay out my case piece by piece until the evidence clearly shows that this soul is not fit to be in the same place as God our father. Nothing about him is innocent, and therefore he must be found guilty before this court”. Mr. Stone then took his seat at the prosecutor’s table and the courtroom became silent except the hushed whispers coming from the audience.

The judge then looked over at the defense table and said “Mr. Vivam”? The defense attorney stood and said “Your honor, I will prove today that my client is innocent of all charges and will be an asset to the kingdom of heaven”. He then sat back down and silence retook the courtroom once again. The judge then said, very well Mr. Stone, you may proceed.

Standing, the prosecutor said Your honor, the prosecution would like to enter into evidence exhibit 12-02-1972/15:38 as the first example of his violations. A screen on the wall came to life and Sal remembered it immediately, a fight with his dad when he was a kid. He had wanted to go out and play with his friends, but his father had said no because it was snowing. Sal had a runny nose already and his father didn’t want him to get a full on cold, so he must stay inside. Sal watched as he went to his room and looked out the window at his friends sledding at the hill across the street, he wanted to be with them so badly. His longing turned to anger against his father, and for the first time, he cursed his dad. “Broken commandments your honor, stated the prosecutor, if we aren’t going to hold souls accountable for them, then why have them? He then retook his seat and the judge looked over at the defense table as Mr. Vivam stood.
Your honor, I would like to enter into evidence Luke 15:11-32, and instantly the scene of Jesus telling of the parable of the prodigal son came onto the screen. Your honor, the son clearly did not honor his father, yet Jesus left the example of forgiveness in this parable.
“Objection your honor, Mr. Stone said shooting to his feet. Mr. Tomei showed no remorse for this sin, and forgiveness requires remorse”. Mr. Vivam continued “not the case your honor, in the example of the prodigal son, the example shows in verse 15, an argument could be made that the man was driven by hunger rather than remorse. Another argument could be made in verse 18-19 that the prodigal wasn’t convicted, but was planning what to say in an effort to manipulate the father into taking him back. Jesus made it plain that forgiveness doesn’t require remorse to be given.”
The judge looked over at Mr. Stone and said “he does have a point counselor, sustained”. I will have to overlook this evidence counselor. He then looked down and said, “Please continue Mr. Stone”.

Mr. Stone stood again and said, “If it pleases the court your honor, I would like to enter into evidence exhibit 07-04-1978/21:35. The screen came alive again, and the color drained from Sal’s face as he recognized the scene. It was in his friend Don’s bedroom, he had been seventeen, and Don’s parents had gone out of town for the weekend. There were beer bottles everywhere, ashtrays filled with stubby cigars and cigarettes, and his friend Kevin was passing him a bong. As the court watched Sal had drawn deeply from the pipe, and the view from Sal’s eyes was blurry at best. He wanted to stand and scream “stop, please”, but he couldn’t, and Mr. Stone let the tape roll as the boys began to talk about girls in their stoned stupor. It got worse and worse as the scene rolled on and on, and Mr. Vivam reached over and placed a hand on his. Looking to his lawyer, Mr. Vivam winked down at him.

To be continued.

The Trial-Part 2

The hallway was so long he thought as he followed the man into the light. Finally Carson slowed and turned to the left, where a large set of double doors was visible. This is as far as I go he said, opening the doors for Sal. Thanks, I guess Sal said as he shook hands with the man and walked into the large cavernous room that lay beyond. After the door behind him was shut, the brightness was gone and a large courtroom lay before him and it was like something out of a movie.
Large panels of dark mahogany made up the walls all around with ornately carved crown molding around the top. The ceiling was covered in a mural like the Sistine chapel, with God’s hand reaching down out of the clouds and David’s hand reaching up. There was a full audience of people seated in pews on both sides of the entry, and they were all looking at him. A wooden fence separated them from two carved tables, prosecution and defense he assumed. The two teams of fine suited lawyers were also staring at him too. Behind a huge wooden desk up on a platform was a man wearing a black cloak, and Sal assumed correctly that he was the judge that would be presiding over the trial. One thing that struck Sal was how everyone was dressed. They were all wearing very formal clothing, and atop each person’s head was a silver wig, like the courts in days of old used to wear. It didn’t stop there, they were all wearing white pleated gloves too, including everyone in the audience; it was all very strange.
The judge motioned him forward as he felt someone take his arm and move him forward. Looking to his right, he saw that there was a bailiff in uniform holding him at the bicep. He was ushered through the gate and into the gallery at which point the judge looked up over his readers and said, “Salvatore Tomei, You have been remanded into the custody of the court of heaven by the prosecutor of earth until such a time as you can prove your innocence of the charges that have been leveled against you. You have been formally charged with “adultery, debauchery, lust, lying, cheating, stealing and the list goes on. Because of the complex nature of your charges, the prosecutor has agreed to reduce your charges to one all-encompassing charge. That charge is “conduct unbecoming a Christian” which carries a life sentence, an eternal life sentence that is, in the lake of fire if you fail to prove your innocence and are found guilty. How do you plead?
Sal stammered, terrified and convicted all at once, but before he could say anything the lawyer to his right shot up and said “your honor, my client pleads not guilty to all charges” and then as quickly as he spoke, he was silent once more. Okay, based on your not guilty plea you will have the right to due process, and your innocence will proven or disproven in this court, so please be seated. Sal was ushered to the defense table where he sat next to the fine dressed lawyer who would apparently be defending him. He leaned over and said hi, are we going to have some time to confer with one another first, before the trial begins, he asked? No, I don’t need any time to prepare, I have everything I need right here in my briefcase, he said. The man opened the battered leather case, but the inside looked nothing like he expected. The top portion was all screen, and the bottom was all keyboard, but there were thumbwheels and other things Sal didn’t recognize. The man leaned over and said “this will take a minute to boot up, so please be patient”. The screen came to life, and immediately he found himself looking into his mother’s eyes. She was younger than he ever remembered her being, she looked tired and she was swaying back and forth. The lawyer leaned over and said, “This is the first thing you ever saw in the book of your life, you were just born, and this is the memory of your mother holding you for the first time”.
This is the memory of your life the attorney said, patting the briefcase; your brain was downloaded into this case the moment your life ended on earth. The prosecution has an identical copy that they have used to build a case against you. Sal was fascinated looking into his mother’s eyes; she was so young and pretty. While he watched the lawyer swiped the mouse pad and the screen scrolled, landing on another face, a pretty girl he recognized right away, although he hadn’t thought about her in years. She was the first girl he had ever kissed, and he now recognized her face in the dark cab of his dad’s truck. He felt a cold chill run up his spine as he realized where he had been and what came next. The lawyer looked over and smiled, then swiped the scene to a different place; a beautiful snowcapped mountain took the place of the girl and Sal relaxed a bit as he recognized a ski trip he had been on as a youth. “Relax son, I’ve got this” said the lawyer, patting Sal’s shoulder, “This ain’t my first rodeo”.

To be continued.

The Trial

Salvatore smiled down at the little guy walking with him along the riverbank with a fishing pole twice his height slung over his shoulder. They hadn’t caught much of anything, but it had been a wonderful day. Sal loved that kid more than he thought was possible; they were buddies in the warmest of ways, being a grandpa was great! They stowed the poles in the bed of the truck, popped open a couple of sodas from the ice chest and sat on the tailgate.

Sal sat quietly and listened as Josh told him all about Ms. Rose, his home room teacher. She was so pretty, and her lips were always so red,” how come ladies have different colored lips grandpa”? Sal chuckled and was going to explain lipstick when Josh went on, saying that he had seen ladies with pink lips, red lips, brown lips, and even one time at the mall he had seen one with black lips, and she was dressed all in black too. And how come all us guys lips are the same color grandpa? Sal was laughing inside as he chuckled again and told his grandson all about lipstick. If everyone has kinda pink lips to begin with grandpa, then why do the ladies all want to change the color of their lips, do they not like them? Before Sal could answer, Josh also said that he had also seen her hair color change, that sometimes it was lighter than others. Sal chuckled and said “Josh, we best save some of those mysteries for when you are older”; just know that the ladies will always be a mystery to some degree. Sal raised the tailgate and felt a sharp pain in his chest, but it left as soon as it came and he wrote it off to the jalapeno pepper he had eaten with his sandwich at lunch.

That night as Sal and Karen sat at the dinner table, he told her all about Josh and the questions he had asked. Sal became as animated as Josh had been as he did his best to recount everything. Karen laughed at the wonder in Josh, and the newfound wonder in her husband’s eyes. He had come alive again when Josh had arrived, and he was anxiously awaiting their daughter Tara to bring Josh’s sister into the world, but she still had two months to go, life was good. As Sal brushed his teeth before bed he had another stitch in his chest and thought “that darn pepper”. He took two Prilosec and headed for bed.

Sal woke abruptly, that stitch in his chest now a fire, but as soon as it came it also went and no longer hurt. He lay back down on his pillow and tried to go back to sleep, but it was no use, so he threw his feet over the side and stood up. No since in waking Karen up he thought, looking over at her sleeping quietly on her side, but what Sal saw next took his breath away. There on the bed next to her, with his head on the pillow was Sal; He was looking down on himself. Fear and dread flooded his soul as he did a double take and tried to figure out what was going on when he heard someone clear their throat behind him. He turned around and saw a man bathed in white standing behind him. The man extended his hand and said “hello, I am Carson, and I am here to escort you Sal, you have passed on.”

For lack of anything else to do, Sal cautiously took the proffered hand and walked through the bright doorway that now stood where Karen and his bathroom used to be. It was just like the accounts he had heard about, bright light and long hallway, I guess that’s good he thought as he followed the thing that called itself Carson down the hallway. Was it an angel he wondered, it didn’t seem to have any wings? As if in response, it turned and said “no, I am not an angel, but merely a resident of the kingdom of God. I help out with the transitions; it makes things easier if you have a guide. Sal lit up inside, “this is it, I have made it and I am actually about to see Heaven, he thought.” Sensing, no “knowing” his thoughts, Carson turned around and said “I’m sorry, but not yet Sal, first you must stand in judgment.”

But what about the white light, I thought that indicated I was in he asked? Everyone sees the light Sal, but everyone then needs to stand judgment before God before they are allowed to enter Heaven, that is the way of things here. Terrified, Sal resigned himself to the idea that he was no longer calling the shots, he hung his head and followed Carson down the hallway.

To be Continued.

I listened to the two young men talk about the events of the previous week. The lines of support versus the lines of protest that had formed outside of the Chick-fil-A restaurants across our nation. I knew one of the young men well. “Brent” is a good Christian man having just turned twenty and is working his way through college. The other one “Nick” a recent college grad about twenty-two, a new employee at my physical therapist’s. I have only met Nick a couple of times, but he also seems like a very nice, intelligent young man as well, and both of them have a great work ethic. 

A television on the wall was cued to the news, where they were still doing stories on the event that had begun as a challenge by the Arkansas governor to garner support for the company and it’s owner to believe as he wishes. As they both gazed at the television, the young newcomer Nick said “All of those Christians have no problem going out to buy chicken in support of this, but you sure don’t see them all at the homeless shelters in those numbers do you? I mean think about it, if all those Christians around the nation came out at once to help the homeless, and did it every day, there would be no homeless.”

I was enraged inside, I wanted to point my finger at him and tell him to stop judging the followers of Christ of the world, and where did he even get that just because those people were all in line, they were even all Christians? Are Christians the only ones who enjoy the food at Chick-fil-A? I think not. I wanted to refute him in every way I could, counting off the reasons why he was wrong to make such a statement, but in the end, I said nothing. I said nothing because I knew that what he said was right. Many of those in line “were” my brothers and sisters in Christ, and they were merely trying to support another brother in Christ who had made a bold statement in a politically correct world, and come under fire for it.

But I must also stop and consider the way I look at people who are in high positions, celebrities, politicians, Etc. who use their positions of authority as moxie to make a point. I don’t like it when celebrities use their status and considerable wealth to influence politicians by whispering in their ears, the Sarandon’s and Streisand’s, Turner’s and Trump’s. Therefore how can I say it is okay for someone on the Christian right to do one thing that I think is wrong for someone on the opposite to do. I think that if someone is good at being an actress, they should act, or an actor, the same. If someone is a great real estate investor, then that is what they should stick with, as well as a Christian brother who sells chicken. Am I saying that someone should not be bold when expressing ones beliefs? Not at all, I have no problem with what he said, I admire his willingness to stand up for his beliefs, but in doing so, flak is just something to be expected.

The thing that bothered me the most about what this young man Nick said was that I knew he spoke the truth. It made me wonder why he would think such things about us as Christians, had he been around people who were more talk than action? Had he been interested in becoming a Christian and been turned off by our hipocrisy? I knew deep down that what he said was correct though, we are eager to stand up and “tell” everyone what we believe. But haven’t we been doing that since the beginning of time, isn’t it time that we begin to “show” people what we believe by our actions instead?

I cannot speak for anyone else, only for myself. And although I actually like the chicken there (not a huge fan of the waffle fries though), I did not go out and buy chicken that day in support, I was working all day. I am also not much of a bandwagon guy either, preferring not to jump in and swim with the rest of the salmon just because it seems like the thing to do, every time I have done that I always seem to be eating a heaping helping of humble pie afterwards for one reason or other. But I “do” know that I could spend more time giving to those who have a need, and I do know that we as followers of Christ could make a “HUGE” impact on our world if we were to offer up time and money to those in need in the same way that we did in standing by the owner of this company and his right to express his belief in the biblical model for marriage.

There will always be controversy, there will always be platforms, and there will always be the poor as Jesus has said (Matthew 26:11). But our ministry is not one where we will win souls to Christ by standing on a street corner and preaching to those who pass us by, those days are mostly gone. Our ministry will best be seen by our love, kindness and generosity to those who are struggling through life. Nick, the young and idealistic man who recently began working with my physical therapist convicted me. He gave me a view of the Christian conglomerate through the eyes of the undecided, or possibly those who have even already rejected our way because of our willingness to wear our faith as a badge of “pride”, rather than to greet those in need with a washbasin and a towell (John 13:1-17).

So, does this convict you in the way that it does me? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think there is anything wrong with anyone who went out and supported this brother, but it shouldn’t be the foundation from which the world sees us as Christ followers. When they think of us, the lines at the Chick-fil-A should not represent what we stand for to them, but rather as servants of Jesus and those He referred to as “the least of these” (Matthew 25:40).

As always, may God bless and keep you!

JFT

Hello friends, I’ve missed you. School’s out, well for a few weeks at least. This latest class was the hardest yet, I have been pulling 20 hour days between work and school over the past two weeks. I turned my last assignment in last night, two days late, (only so many hours in a day).

I cannot begin to express to you how much I learned though, and as much as my mind felt like mush last night when I emailed in my reading logs, I can’t believe I am already wanting to contemplate it, to mull over and even share what I have learned, but I am. The last week-finals week was horrible, my final paper was 10 pages, but in addition to that, I had to turn in a weekly paper, but it was pretty subjective, and actually employed a process called “Lectio Devina” or “praying the scriptures”. I am going to post that paper here, because it turned into a wonderful experience, and I hope that if you are not familiar with the process, you will try it. God Bless

Instructions:  Exercise F: Read Matthew 28:16-20 contemplatively. How does God’s word speak to you in this mode? In 2-3 pages share how this text touches you.
Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teachingthem to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

This passage is so powerful, it is actually just nice to take the words simply as they are without performing an exegesis on them and allowing them to settle into my heart. I read this passage several times, probably five, and listened to it in the soothing voice of the audio bible at least four times, quietly with my eyes closed, picturing the events as they were unfolding. I used the method of Lectio Devina.

I saw the disciples all wearing woven robes, many carrying walking sticks for support as they went up the mountain trail to the place that their Messiah had told them they should go. I see them coming to a place where the mountain begins to open up and the walking gets easier again, and they sit and rest, waiting for the miraculous appearance. Some of them begin to complain that they had better things to do than waste a day sitting on a mountain waiting for Him to come back. He wasn’t coming back, He was gone for good

Jesus hovered behind an outcropping of rocks not far away, listening to the voices of His disciples whine as the day wears on, so He decides to make them wait a little longer, and the outcome is predictable. Several of them get up and begin to pace, looking at the sun getting far in the sky, knowing it is lame, but using the excuse that the day is getting away, they should head back. Peter stands up hotly and says “sit down now”, and the disciples know better than to mess with him, so they do as they were told. Jesus chuckles to Himself behind the rock, “Oh Peter, some things never change, I never thought I would say it, but I am going to miss that hothead”, He thinks.

Knowing that enough time has past, He decides to show Himself, so He stands and begins to walk toward them, His sandals flapping quietly against His heels. Peter hears it first and glances His way, then Jumps to his feet and says “Master”, then falls to his knees before Him. The others look up too, but two of the ones who wanted to leave early say ”that isn’t Him” and refuse to even stand, as the others leap first to their feet and then fall to their knees. It isn’t until Jesus walks right up to them and places one hand on each mans shoulder that they realize who it is and fall to their knees too.

Jesus looks down at these men before him and loves them, He remembers washing their feet to teach them about true servant leadership. He asks them to rise, and then to come and sit with Him

He explains that all authority everywhere is His, with the wave of his hand, or merely a fleeting thought, He could extinguish the sun. I have all authority over the Heavens and the earth, and you walked with me, you were with Me when I had a headache, you were with Me, when I walked out to the ship in the middle of the night that night. You were with me when I slept in the stern of the boat and the waves and the wind howled, until I calmed them. You were with me when I did everything that I did, you know that I was God, who came to live amongst you and to die for your sin.

So, I want you to go far and wide, to every nation, city, town and village telling the story of the things that you have seen. I want you to make new disciples in all of these new places, just like yourselves, and I want you to baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Teach them all the things I have taught you, and teach them to obey all of the commandments that I taught you to obey. And I want you to know this, I am with you, I am with you always, forever, into eternity. I will never leave you.

I wondered how someone could see Jesus and not know Him, or doubt that it was Him, and how that must have hurt His feelings inside, but then I remembered that He understands us better than we will ever understand ourselves.

I thought about the great commission, and its relevance to us today, and strangely another passage came to mind, and even in a different context than the passage was originally intended, but when contemplating scripture, God is driving so I defer to Him.

In Matthew 8:1-3, we read the accounting of the leper asking if Jesus is willing to heal him of his affliction, to which Jesus replies, “I am willing”. Here are the passages for reference.  When Jesus came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. A man with leprosy came and knelt before himand said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”

Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,”. I think about the great commission that we all as Christ followers have been charged with. It began on the mountain two thousand years ago and continues today, with the same challenge, “Go and make disciples of all nations”. Then I stop and wonder while I wasn’t tearing it up to spread His word far and wide all of my life, and I think of that scripture in Matthew that I quoted above, only we aren’t asking Jesus if He is willing, He is asking us if we are willing? Are you willing to be my disciples and to fulfill this great commission? Do you love me that much? Do you love your family that much? Do you love your fellow man that much, that you would deliver the life saving news of salvation? Are you willing?

Jim,

I didn’t want to ruin my experience of reading this excellent story by stopping throughout and writing comments! You have transported me, your reader, into your own thoughts and allowed me to be touched by the same things in this passage that touched you. This was an excellent example of a contemplative reading of Scripture and was very moving to me personally! Excellent work!

                                                                        70/70


 [TS1]Yes. And I hope that you still see the value for this in your life. Allowing Scripture to touch you is still a very valid way of God speaking to us. We just have to be careful to not make major theological treatises out of these moments!

Note to readers:

Hello, If you have been reading the “Master of Chaos” series, you will have noticed that I haven’t been putting anything up lately. I want to assure you that the series will continue, but I am back in school again taking “Bible study methods and tools” and it has been taking up what little time I have left over from work and family life. When your schedule gets full to the point where you can no longer do everything that you have been doing, you have to make a choice and put something on hold. So for the time being TMOC is the thing that I have chosen to put on hold.

I have two more weeks of school after this week, and then there will be a break before my next classes begin. So during the break between classes I anticipate learning with you what will happen with Tim and Carrie, the new President and Vlad. ;-)

Thank you for your patience, and as always, may God bless you and keep you!

JFT

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 42 other followers