Don’t Back Down
Jesus, the disciples, and the crowd were leaving Jericho. A blind beggar named Bart (Bartimaeus) was sitting beside the road. When he heard that Jesus was there, he began to shout, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” “Dude Be quiet!” The people yelled at him. But this only got him more excited, he shouted even louder, “SON OF DAVID, HAVE MERCY ON ME!” When Jesus heard him, He stopped and said, “Tell him to come here.” So they called the blind man. “What do you want Me to do for you?” Jesus asked. The blind man said, “I want to see!” (Mark 10:46-51)
I love the quotes of Jesus, this is one of my favorite. Blind Bart, works his way to Jesus, VERY apparent he lacks the ability to see, Jesus being God … KNEW! Yet, Jesus asked, “What do you want Me to do for you?” When the people tried to hush Bart, would he quiet himself? NO, he was desperate! Bart initiated the ‘ask’, would he follow through? How often do we ask, yet not follow through for a boatload of reasons? Are we desperate enough? Jesus wants us to come to the place that we tell Him. Notice too, that when Jesus asked, Bart’s response was NOT full of excuses or explanation, “Well, when I was 10, I was in a scuffle with my brother, I fell, my head injury resulted in my blindness, actually I am sure my brother pushed me. We haven’t spoken since. I have sought help from the doctors for years, but to no avail, it did not help. I am still blind, so here I sit every day waiting…”
He simply stated, “I want to see!”
May we too, in Jesus’ presence, not shy away, don’t back down, stay desperate, get straight to the point and ask of Him.
What happen to Bart? Jesus healed him.
In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love & good deeds.” – Hebrews 10:24)
What Do You See in the Clay?
Questions. Sometimes questions can boggle the mind like those autostereograms, you know the pictures you have to stare at for a while, relaxing your eyes, and soon (hopefully) the embedded image appears. Recently in my devotional time, I sensed God gently ask me, “What do you see in the clay?” What kind of question is that? Clay? Who was talking about clay?
Well, apparently, God was about to.
To the clay, I go. John chapter 9, Jesus sees a blind man. The disciples, in learning mode, ask Jesus, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus responds, “Neither this man, nor his parents, but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life…” Life, stuff happens to good people, yet – what an awesome opportunity for God to display grace, healing, love, and mercy. Jesus proceeds to heal the man, “When He had said these things, He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva;and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay.” (v.6) He then tells the man to go and wash, later the man testifies of Jesus healing him.
“What do you see in the clay?” I noticed the story begins with Jesus seeing the man, (John 9:1) of course the blind man could not see Him. I see Jesus coming, coming to a situation that is waiting … for HIM. In the clay is Jesus’ DNA, He offers a part of Himself, (it’s in the spit folks!) He didn’t even ask the blind man, He just applied the clay. But the story doesn’t stop there, the soon to be the formerly blind man, had to act in obedience, go and wash. That he did. Yet, this healing is NOT just for the man, it is for those around him as well. Following the clay, the washing, the healing, others were captured by Jesus. What a testimony.“One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see.” (v. 25)
“What do you see in the clay?” I see that YOU see us, You don’t look past us, we are not invisible to You, seeing the details of our life. You see us even when we may be blinded by a list of causes that have no end. You see us, concerned not by the hows/whys, but only Your call to act. We too are called to participate, You point, we go & do. Your gracious move in our life is not for us alone, it is an opportunity for others to see the ‘formerly‘ and see You in and through our lives.
The clay is just the beginning.
In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another towards love & good deeds.” – Hebrews 10:24)
(Pssst… the picture above contains a heart)
“Do you see anything?” A Stereogram. You know, those funny posters that cause us to pause and ultimately cross our eyes with hopes of seeing the picture. Once you train your eyes to see it, it’s easy to see. Trained sight. [Note: the answer to what is in the picture is at the bottom of this devotion, you have to read ALL the way down.]
Recently, Mark my beloved and I were asked to take the night of teaching at our Marrieds Group while our faithful leaders were enjoying some much-needed time away and relaxing. We opened with Mark carrying around a tray of multiple small household items, (i.e. car keys, black electrical tape, screw driver, ballpoint pen, nail polish etc – etc) each participant was asked, “See what is in front of you, remember it, learn it.” Each person was to later write down what they saw in front of them. This game sound familiar? Some have played a variation of this at Baby Showers. However, as Mark left the room, (and the folks wrote their answers) I asked them to refer to their list and see how close they came. I began …”What color shirt was Mark wearing?” “Does he wear glasses… does he have a beard … tennis shoes or cowboy boots?” Groanings and “Oh man!” was now being heard among the couple dozen folks. The instructions were, “See what is in front of you, remember it, learn it.”
The Lord has been showing me, that often we don’t ‘see’ what is right in front of us, we are busy seeing what ‘WE’ think is important, (read that again: ‘We see what WE think is important’) Observation is HUGE, being aware is valuable, wisdom and training is a must. Remember the repeated intimate greeting in the movie, Avatar, “I see you.” Oh that we would SEE! See our loved ones, with observation and awareness. Lord, train us with YOUR wisdom… to see.
I was taken to the book of Mark, (sharing with the group) chapter 8, to set the context: A few folks approached Jesus and the disciples, begging Jesus
to heal their friend who was blind. Jesus took the blind man by the hand and took him out of the village. “When he had spit on the man’s eyes and put his hands on him, Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?” He looked up and said, “I see people; they look like trees walking around.” Once more Jesus put his hands on the man’s eyes. Then his eyes were opened, his sight was restored, and he saw everything clearly.” (verses 23-25) Amazing story, nothing like Holy DNA in your eyes!
When Jesus asked, “Do you see anything?” He basically asked him if he had the ability to see, do you have your SIGHT? The man replied that he could see, but it was blurry. So Jesus again put His hands on him and the man could now see clearly. NOT just the ability to see, but see in DETAIL. The word used to describe his sight, he saw everything ‘clearly‘, means he now had enough information to contemplate and consider, to think about (something or someone) carefully, especially in order to make a choice or decision. Jesus didn’t leave him with JUST the ability to see, He wanted him to have MORE! More to see beyond what was just in front of him ‘People, as if trees walking around.” He NEEDED to see more.
Narrowing this down to our lives, unpacking down to even our relationships, “How do we see?” How do we see our spouses and those closest to us. Are they a bit blurry. Do we seek to see in detail? (metaphorically speaking).
I asked Mark to share with the group a few things he had seen in me, observed over the last couple of years, “You are far more creative than analytical, I am the opposite. You like variety: You don’t like to watch two episodes of the same show in a row, your coffee or cocoa needs to be different each day, I drink my coffee the same everyday, just black.” He continues, “If you feel you should know how to do something or can figure it out, I need to be careful about trying to jump in and help you right away, it may only frustrate you.” Hm… I might add, GREAT sight!
Often to fully understand something, it helps to look at what it is NOT, at the opposite. The opposite of what Mark narrated about the blind man seeing ‘clearly’ (in reference to this in the Greek) ‘paratheoreo’ it is to overlook, disregard or neglect. Here’s the kicker, ‘to be CARELESS with the information received.’ Yup, BLIND! But it is more, it is in the response. Using this, how would it be if my loving husband were ‘careless’ with the information he observed about me, if he neglected and discarded it as useless. WOW! ‘Seeing’ is not only gathering information (observation) but valuing it as worthwhile to address and take action accordingly. This screams, “I love you, I value you!” Make sense?
Once we gather this ‘seeing’ information about our loved one, (my observation of my husband) “Hm… he is very quiet when I ask him a question about doing something” Long pause on his end. I too pause and ask God for wisdom, “If any lacks wisdom he should ask of God who gives generously to all.” – James 1:5 Wisdom, ‘inviting the practical application of my God into my very moment’ (DeDe’s definition) Not disregarding that I have noticed that if I push him for an answer or neglect that he is a ‘Thinker’ and thinks things through quietly and solidly, I would indeed be careless and overlook him for my own agenda. Wise sight.
The author of Psalms 119 wrote, “… train me well in Your deep wisdom. Help me understand these things inside and out so I can ponder Your miracle-wonders.” (verses 26-27) Further on, “Train me in good common sense; I’m thoroughly committed to living Your way. Before I learned to answer You, I wandered all over the place, but now I’m in step with Your word. You are good, and the source of good, train me in Your goodness.” (verses 66-68 The Message, emphasis mine)
Jesus may have to take us by the hand and take us out, to help us see, like He did the blind man. He may have to lay His hands on us more than once, to open our eyes, see clearly and heal us. Healed sight.
Like the Stereogram above, it may be blurry, but may we ask God to help us see, see our spouses with understanding and insight. May we have Wise sight. When God shows us things, wise things, allow Him to train us in ‘good common sense’ (love that) how to apply what we have learned. Trained sight.
Lord, help us to see our loved ones.
In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love and good deeds.” – Heb. 10:24)
Pssst… the hidden picture above in the stereogram, is three crosses over the empty tomb of Jesus. Oh and Mark was wearing a long-sleeve blue shirt, he does wear glasses, has a goatee and had on neither tennis shoes or boots, but brown casual dress shoes.
What do YOU see?
Ever been caught in fog so thick it would be best to stop your vehicle, climb out and feel your way down the road for safety sake? Don’t you just hate it when you can’t see, whether that be in weather related situations, or in a darkened room, when you KNOW if you proceed you will definitely find that coffee table as it re-introduces itself to … your shin.
Sight. Perhaps at times we take it for granted, I know I have and do. Lack of sight, can be disabling. Besides literally having sight with our physical eyes, there is (metaphorically speaking) numerous kinds of sight. We see with our heart – there are times we see with our intuition, with wisdom, and yes with our spirit.
Recently I took a look (in the Book) of three mentions of Jesus healing the blind (Mark 8, Luke 18, and John 9) Each have amazing elements, but I’d like to focus on Mark 8:22~26. Jesus and the disciples are in Bethsaida, a blind man is brought to Him. The man is taken by the hand, as Jesus leads him out of the village. Here’s the interesting part, “He (Jesus) had spit on the man’s eyes and put His hands on him…” Ah, you think I jest, but NO! ( it’s there … v. 23) Jesus SPIT on him … on his eyes. Ok, be honest … ‘eewwWW!’ However, if anyone is going to spit on me, it better be JESUS!
BUT, (isn’t there always a ‘but’ with the good stuff) Jesus didn’t stop there. I find it fascinating with all His God authority, He didn’t just walk away, wave His hand and extend a blessing, KNOWING the man was fully healed. Yet He stayed, Jesus stayed. He asked the guy “So how is it now, what do you see?” Love the guys response, “Well … a bit better, I see trees, the people look like trees walking around.” (DeDe’s paraphrase) Notice the dialogue? Jesus AGAIN touched his eyes, then he saw ‘everything clearly’. To some this is a nice documentation of one of Jesus’ miracles, to me it is an honest look at how much Jesus cares. He wanted the vision to not be ‘so-so.’ But CLEAR. I sense, He wanted the man to process with Him, engage conversation. He wanted the man to KNOW by experience that He heals thoroughly, and He was right there with him.
Interesting side note: When the man initially says “I see…” the word indicates he had sight, the ‘ability’ to see, that’s about it. When Jesus touched him again, he ‘saw‘ everthing clearly, a different word, this time, his sight was with discernment, his eyes were able to focus with perception, detail. Hm…. Jesus didn’t just want him to have ‘ability’ – He wanted it BEYOND!
Yes, there is physical sight, and by golly these eyes need some help, (wearing my ever intense reading glasses even now) but my heart and spiritual sight needs help as well, I know “I see trees.” I don’t focus as I should, my spiritual sight isn’t full of discernment. Sure I have the ability, but Jesus wants MORE! Jesus want us to see ‘clearly’. Oh, Jesus wont literally spit in our eyes (relax) but He wants us to desire to see with clarity. There are MANY things we don’t see.
Jeremy Camp so poetically wrote, and we sing:
‘You opened my eyes to Your wonders anew
You captured my heart with this love
Because nothing on Earth is as beautiful as You’
Open our eyes Lord … with preception and detail. Allow us to focus, and see YOU, Your stuff, Your people, Your circumstancs. It is written, He will touch again, Jesus stays, there will be dialogue, we will see clearly.
What do YOU see?
In Him, DeDe (“Let us consider how we may spur one another on towards love & good deeds” ~ Heb. 10:24)