Monday, September 28, 2015

What Is Real Betrayal? - Mark 3:13-19 Post 5

Often when I feel someone has "betrayed" me, it's not real betrayal.  Sometimes I feel someone has betrayed me just because they don't do what I want, or they don't act the way I want.  This is not real betrayal.  What I want isn't always right, and it isn't right to expect everyone around me to live according to me.  I am not at the center.  Sometimes what I want others to do and be is just a result of my own sin, but even when it isn't, their failure to live up to my standards and/or my desires isn't necessarily betrayal.

A lot of what I would call betrayal just...isn't. 

So what is REAL betrayal?  

Well - what Judas did.  
"...and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him." (Mark 3:19)

He delivered You to Your enemy (Mark 14:43-46).

Delivering someone into the hands of the enemy is betrayal.

Not showing up on time or finishing something on time (or at all) - inconsiderate, disrespectful maybe, but not betrayal.

Not doing what someone said they would do..definitely letting someone down - but still not betrayal. 

Unless these things end up delivering me (or someone) into the hands of our enemy - they're not real betrayal. 

And I have to admit that I personally haven't experienced real betrayal.  Some have, I know, but I'm not one of them.  Not really.  

You are.  
You have experienced real betrayal
 
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Monday, September 21, 2015

And Judas Iscariot, Who Betrayed Him - Mark 3:13-19 Post4

Dying flower - And Judas Iscariot, Who Betrayed Him - Mark 3:13-19 Post 4
And Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Him.  (Mark 3:19).

So much pain in those words.

A friend, someone close, who betrays.

Many of us have been there.  


And we wonder what we did wrong or what went wrong, and how the person got into the mix - How did he get picked?  How did I let this guy/girl get near me? - How did I (or others) not see they would betray?  

But Judas was there on purpose.  He was not an accident.  You Yourself chose Judas. Appointed him, knowing that while he had the potential to be an apostle, he also carried in himself the potential to betray.  

You didn't surround Yourself with people who would make Your life and Your plans run easily and smoothly.  

And You don't surround me with people who will make my life run smoothly.

That's not Your purpose for me.

You had a betraying Judas, a denying Peter, and a doubting Thomas among the people You were working with - people You called People You were close to.  

Should I be surprised if I find someone similar - or with other "betraying type" issues - around me?

You didn't abandon them, or give up on them, but stuck with them.  And two of them moved past their denial and doubting to become pillars of the church.

Should I abandon people because I don't like their "issues"?  Because their issues cause me pain?  Because I'm afraid they might betray me?

You didn't, even though You knew Judas would betray, Peter would deny, and Thomas would doubt. 

What if I'm the one?  The betrayer, the denier, the doubter?  What if it's me?  It could be me - I do have the potential for it. 

I betray You when I sin.  
If I can betray You, I can betray anyone.  
Yet by Your mercy, You have chosen me.  ME. 

I hope I will not betray.  I hope I will not let others down.  I pray I will not.  

But I will.  

And I hope that others will bear with me when I do.
Shouldn't I then, bear with them, too?

It's what You did.
It's what You do.


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Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Ready for This Moment - Mark 3:13-19 Post 3

You called them to You (Mark 3:13-19).
You've called them before...

and yet it's very different from the first time You called Peter, Andrew, James, John, Matthew....(Mark 1:16-20, Mark 2:14)

Then, You came to them where they were in their lives, found them, and told them to follow.

"Come, follow me," You said.

They did.

This time (Mark 3:13), You don't have to go find them where they are and call them to leave something to follow You.  They've answered that first call, walked away from their old lives and are following You: eating with You, dealing with crowds of people with You, walking through fields of grain with You, walking beside the lake with You, getting small boats ready for You, watching You heal people, listening while You teach others and while You teach them...
looking for You when they can't find You.

They are following You.  They are with You.

Now You're calling them again - but from a different "place" and for a different purpose: You're calling them to a role - or a task.  

You appoint them to their task, to serve You and Your kingdom as apostles (Mark 3:14).  

And they will serve - beyond what they can yet imagine. Most of them will give their lives to serve.

But they didn't know yet what it would mean to follow, what it would mean to serve You - to be appointed to this role.  They didn't need to know.  Possibly they weren't ready to know.

All they needed to know, and all they needed to be ready for was THIS moment.

And they are.  They're ready because they've been following You since You first called.  They've been near You - available, able to hear You.

Am I?

Following close, remaining near You so I can hear You?
Or...do I miss hearing Your voice because I'm so caught up in my own little world - my own worries and cares - that I've forgotten to stay close to You?  Forgotten to listen?

I don't want to miss whatever You have for me.  I want to hear You.  I need to be near You.  I need to be with You...
walking through the fields with You, in the midst of crowds with You, withdrawing to lakes with you, sharing food with You...searching for You when I can't find You...always staying near, watching...listening...

 
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Monday, September 7, 2015

Were the Apostles More Important? - Mark 3:13-19

Not all of the disciples were appointed apostles that day.  Twelve were appointed.  The rest were not.  (Mark 3:13-19)

You called them apostles (Mark 3:14) and You called them to be with You in a particular way, to fulfill a particular purpose.  Their role came with a special access to You at the time - not because they were more important; You love us all - but because there were things they needed to learn and know to fulfill their role, along with certain responsibilities and certain hardships.  

You appointed them that they might be with You (Mark 3:14) - that in the end we might all be with You.

Twelve had that particular role.

But those who weren't appointed as apostles didn't stop being Your disciples.  
They just had a different role.

It's easy sometimes for me to think that You love someone else better or more than You love me because of the role they have.  Maybe their role seems more prominent, or more exciting.  Or maybe it just seems EASIER.  

But I can't judge the "assignments" You give me that way.

Lazarus was Your good friend, but You didn't appoint him as an apostle. You and Lazarus didn't stop being friends when he wasn't one of the Twelve. So when You chose the apostles, You weren't choosing Your "best friends".  

When Mary and Martha sent word to You that Lazarus was sick, they said "the one you love is sick" (John 11:3).  You still loved Lazarus (Mark 11:5).  The Twelve weren't chosen because You somehow liked them better.  You were choosing a certain kind of leader - and You didn't choose Lazarus.  

Which just means that Lazarus had different gifts, different abilities, and a different role.  A different calling.

Lazarus wasn't an apostle, but he was still a disciple and a friend of Yours.   His role seems more...obscure, in a sense.  Less "important". 

But in one moment it became suddenly pivotal for us all (John 11:40-44).  

And most of us know Lazarus's name better than we do some of the apostles' names.

My role may never become obviously pivotal like Lazarus's, but that doesn't lessen its importance.

The women.  John Mark.  Lazarus's sisters.  The boy with the fish...

Yes, the boy with the loaves and fish (John 6:8-12).  

I don't know his name.  But everyone knows what happens in THAT story.

Your place for me in Your work and Kingdom is perfectly fitted to me.  You know what my gifts, abilities, and passions are.  You know what role to put me in - to put each of us in.  You know where we'll be most fulfilled.  You know where we'll be of the best use for the kingdom.  

Your kingdom.  

The world may not know my name.  But You know.  As surely as You know the name of the boy who shared his loaves and fish. You know my name.  And You stand on Zion and call me, that I might be with You.....(Mark 3:13-14)

 
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