No one is easier to manipulate than a hungry performer. Driven to feed our insecurities by pleasing whatever crowd we can attract, the entertainer in us will do whatever it takes, no matter how disturbing or degrading, to capture that crowd’s flitting attention.
When Jesus comes down from the mountain, He immediately gets hit with trouble. And so it is with us most of the time. You get blessed in your morning time of Bible study and prayer only to get walloped at work half an hour later. Or you come back from a retreat only to get slapped with strife at home. We must remember that the God we meet on the mountain will also give us victory in the valley.
In Luke 8, Jesus leads his disciples -- not into temptation, but directly into trouble. Through four stories, Luke shows Jesus teaching his closest disciples not to avoid trouble, but to actively engage it head-on. Jesus is the one who has His crew sail right into the storm. It is Jesus who chooses to land at a graveyard where the demon-possessed man cries out in bone-chilling agony. Jesus leads his friends smack into the awkward and embarrassing social situation of being touched by a woman who is “untouchable” and “unclean.” And it is Jesus who closes His disciples in a room with the lifeless corpse of a little girl.
On Mother’s Day, I thought it would be interesting to consider Daniel’s story from a mother’s perspective. We don’t know anything about Daniel’s mother except that he must have had one, so this is pure speculation. But if these young men were only about 13 or 14 years old when taken from their homes by a foreign army, it stands to reason that their mothers, if they survived the siege of 605 BC, would have been utterly devastated. As this story unfolds, I wonder -- would Daniel’s mom, and the moms of his faithful friends Hananiah, Azariah and Mishael, be proud of their sons?
Singing to the Lord is a well known vehicle for Believers to stay in contact with and build healthy relationships with an Almighty God. It's not a selfish act, but it can be seen as a symbiotic relationship between parent (The Father) and child (us). If we chose to be silent, every rock and stone would cry out to Him who created Heaven and Earth.
Underestimate the Devil
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” (1 Peter 5.8)
“And the Lord said to Satan, ‘From where do you come?’
So Satan answered the Lord and said, ‘From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.’” (Job 1.7)
We are taught that "silence is golden," but in this story, Jesus' "silent treatment" of the Syro-Phoenecian woman is almost unbearable. Then, when he breaks the silence, His answer is definitely not what we want to hear. Yet it is undeniable that He cares for this woman and her child; He does answer her faith, granting her not only healing, but "whatever she desires". The problem is not that Jesus is not going to respond to our pleas for help, but that He does not always respond when you or I want Him to.
“Where did this man get this wisdom and these mighty works?”
They knew the answer — "God!" But they could not get around their false assumptions -- and therefore severely limited God’s blessings.
5 Faith-Limiting Assumptions
“I know the full story.”
Not really -- they only knew half the story. Joseph was not Jesus’ dad! We don't often know the backstory.
“Judge not, that you be not judged.” (Matthew 7.1)
"But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay, some for honor and some for dishonor."
(2 Timothy 2:20)
There is more to following Jesus than merely reciting a prayer. Our lives must prove the allegiance our lips have pledged.