Walking in the Light

storm
“The man who walks in the dark does not know where he is going.” John 12:35b
I can certainly attest to that. Have you ever been in total darkness? I mean so dark that you can hold your hand directly in front of your face and not be able to see it? I have.
When I was a student at the seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, I worked for the Seminary security department. What else would a retired cop do, right? It helped pay my tuition. Anyway, I happened to be on patrol one evening when we were expecting a severe storm to hit the area.
During my patrol of the campus, I had to patrol the inside of the building that housed the School of Music. My plan was to start in the basement floor and work my way up the next two floors. There was an outside entrance to the basement and that’s the one I used.
From ground level, there was a flight of stairs down to the entrance way. As you entered the first set of doors, you were in a small area where you could leave your boots and wet coats; then there was another set of doors, which led into a large corridor.
The corridor ran north to south and was probably close to a hundred yards long. Running along either side of the corridor were doorways leading into the library, classrooms, meeting rooms, and several offices. It was after hours when I made my patrol so all of these doors were supposed to be locked. It was my job to walk the length of the building and make sure they were. At the far end of the corridor were two sets of double doors, which led into a large conference room and music room.
It was getting dark outside as I entered but the building was well-lighted. It took me probably less than ten minutes to reach the far end. I had walked along the east side checking all those doors and would return along the west side. Just as I reached the far end, while I was checking the doors to the music room, there was a loud clash of thunder; a bright flash of lightning and then; the lights went out.
For the first, and only, time in my life, I witnessed total darkness. When the lights went out, I was facing the south wall. I quickly turned around and nearly stumbled over my own feet. I was shocked. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Nothing! Absolute darkness!
I stood perfectly still with my back against the south wall. Since I was standing with my back against the wall, I knew that I was facing north, so I should have been able to see through the glass windows on the entrance doors. But there was nothing. All of the outside lights were out as well.
I thought, oh well, I just need to walk straight ahead; once I get outside, I should be able to see something.
I started moving forward, slowly; one foot in front of the other. In less than a minute, I walked into a wall. I was stunned; I could not believe it. And then I had to wonder: is this the east wall or the west wall?

I stood perfectly still and stretched my arms out to the side. There was nothing there. So, I had no idea where I was. That’s when I put my hand up and touched my face. Slowly, I moved my hand away and discovered that I could not see it. My hand was directly in front of my face ( I think ), but I could not see it.
I decided to use my radio to call in. I needed to let them know where I was. The radio did not work. I found out later that the lightning had struck the tower and the transformer.
Okay; I thought if I put my back against this wall and slide along, I should hit something. I should either wind up near the entrance way or back at the conference room wall. I decided to move left. I moved slowly; it was a little creepy. I started thinking about all those crazy Halloween movies. I was hoping to come upon one of the classroom doors because that would mean I was moving in the right direction; toward the front door.
I was so disoriented, I wasn’t even sure how much time had passed. I was moving slowly but I thought surely I should have reached one of the classroom doors by now. I heard a noise so I stopped. Then I heard a loud hum and suddenly the lights came on. The emergency generator had kicked on and I saw, but couldn’t believe, that I was still within four feet of the south wall and leaning against the east wall. I was going back toward the south wall. A quick look at my watch showed me that what had seemed like an hour had actually been less than five minutes.
I quickly moved along the west wall, checking the doors, and, with a deep sigh of relief, reached the exit and ran up the stairs. It was still dark on the outside so I went and sat in my patrol car. And As I sat there, it struck me how true those words from the Holy Scripture really are; “The man who walks in the dark does not know where he is going.”
Jesus says in John 8:12 “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will never walk in darkness.” And He says in John 15:5… “…apart from Me you can do nothing.” You can’t even find your way down the corridor.
People all over this crazy world are stumbling around in darkness and don’t even know it. If you don’t know Jesus as your Lord and Savior, you are walking in darkness. If you are not following Him by reading His words and obeying them, you are walking in darkness.
So, come to the Light. As Peter says… “Repent and be baptized in the Name of Jesus…”
Oh Lord, my God, I pray in the Name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth that You bless the person reading this with peace and grace; lead them out of the darkness and into the light and bless them abundantly. Amen

Can You Have Too Much Bread?

bread 3I was recently reading a chapter from Jeremiah, the Prophet of Crisis, by Timothy Joseph Golden, and something he said about the bread of life opened my eyes to an interesting concept. He was referring to John 6:35 where Jesus says, “I am the bread of life.” And then he connected that to the story in Matthew 14:13-21, where Jesus feeds the 5,000 with just a few loaves of bread. Actually there was more than five thousand; Matthew in 14;21, “the number of those who ate was about five thousand men, besides women and children.”

For one thing, as I read all four versions of the story in all four gospels, I learned that this is the only miracle, other than the resurrection, that is actually told in all four gospel accounts. So, I figure this must be very important and I prayed and asked God to show me why.

Matthew and Luke report it in the same way. There were five loaves of bread and two fish and they both say that after the people ate they were satisfied, then it says,  “the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces that were left over.” John says it a little differently; he says that the pieces that were picked up were “pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.” And Mark is even different than that; he says “the disciples picked up twelve basketfuls of broken pieces of bread and fish.”

Now, the reason I’m quoting all four is to dispel any arguments by those who read this and want to say somebody must be wrong. No, I don’t believe any of them are wrong. It’s just that anytime you get four people telling a story, there will be differences in those four stories because one remembers certain points in the story and another will remember something else. I witnessed it many times when I was a police officer talking to witnesses.

And keep this in mind also; Matthew and John are the only ones of the four who were actually there when the bread and fish were served. They witnessed the actual miracle as it occurred, so you can imagine that it is indelibly marked in their brains. Mark and Luke were not there. They were companions of Paul; long after the actual event. In the Book of Acts, which Luke writes, he refers to several sermons preached by Peter; and Peter was also there when the bread and fish miracle occurred. So, it’s my belief that Luke and Mark picked up their version of the event by listening to Peter. Thus the differences in the telling of it in the four gospel accounts.

Now that I’ve got that out of the way, I began by saying that this story about the bread opened my eyes to an interesting concept, and here it is. It’s really so simple that I can’t believe I haven’t caught it sooner than this because I know I’ve read the story of the loaves and fish at least a hundred times. And that is the point I wish to make here; even though I’ve read it a hundred times, God just now revealed this to me.

You see, we are told that there were twelve basketfuls left over after Jesus fed five loaves of bread and a few fish to more than five thousand people. This tells me that we can never get enough bread; there will always be more available. In John 6:35, Jesus tells us that He is the bread of life. And in John 1:1 we see these words; “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. Jesus is also the Word and we believe the Bible is the Word of God.

Jesus is the bread of life and Jesus is the Word. Bread, therefore, is food for the soul. the word of God, therefore, is food for the soul. We can never get enough of the word. Remember what I said earlier? I read it a hundred times and finally caught on to this concept. We can never get enough bread. We can read the same verse, chapter, or book many times over; and each time, we will glean something new from it; a new revelation from God.

Can you ever get enough bread? No, I don’t think you can. David said “I hide your word in my heart so I will not sin against You.” We need God’s word, we need the bread of life. Jesus said in John 15:5, “apart from Me you can do nothing.” If you don’t stay in the word, you’re as good as dead. I don’t know about you, but I do not want to be a dead christian. I think that’s probably a misnomer.

So, here’s my point; if you love Jesus and you want to follow Him as he says in Luke 9:23, you need to stay close to Him. He says in John 10:14, “I know my sheep and my sheep know me.”  But how can you know Him or stay close to Him without reading about him. Read the word; obey the word; live by the word. He says in John 8:31, “if you hold to My teaching, you are really My disciples.” A true Christian is a disciple of Christ Jesus. His disciples were “called Christians first in Antioch.” Acts 11:26

Praise the Lord, oh my soul. I pray oh God, for all those reading this that You will bless them abundantly. Feed them the bread of life, and to God be the glory through Christ Jesus. Amen

Like a Little Child

2015-02-14 003 Mark 10:13-16

Have you ever seen a little child opening gifts on Christmas morning? That’s how God wants us to receive His gift of salvation. John 1:12 says “Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His Name, He gave the right to become children of God.”
Are you a child of God?
How do we receive the Kingdom of God? Do we trust God like we trusted our earthly father when we were little children.
I remember one of the fondest days of my young childhood. My father took me to the theater to see a movie: “The Durango Kid”. The theater was on Market Street and, as we were walking up Market Street toward the theater, we met two men who worked with my father.
One of them said, “Is this your son?” My father placed his large hand on my head and said, “yep, this is Jackie and we’re going to the movies.” Man,what a proud moment that was; so much so that I still recall it. And that is how God wants us to recall the day we came to Him and asked Him to save us.He wants us to expect Him to grab us in His loving arms and never let go.
He wants us to believe in His Son, Jesus; to trust Him as we trusted our parents when we were kids.
When I was a kid, I expected my parents to take care of me; to feed me; to protect me, And that is how God wants us to trust Him. He tells us that He will provide our every need in Philippians 4:19.
Our earthly father may let us down at times but God promises that He will “never leave us nor forsake us.” (Hebrews 13:5).
Have you learned to trust Him? Have you confessed Jesus as Lord? Do you believe that God raised His Son, Jesus, from the grave? This is what it takes to have Jesus call you a child of God?
The Bible says that “Today, if you hear His voice, do not harden your hearts.” Today is the day of salvation because you may not be here tomorrow.
On the news today; happening as I write this, is a report of a shooting at a college in Oregon where several people were killed. Did they know they would die today? Were they ready to meet God? I certainly hope so.
Are you ready to meet God? I certainly hope so.