On second thought…

wood 2People who assert that humankind has morally evolved over time must not read the same books I do.  Political intrigue and sharp dissent are nothing new, and unfortunately they find their way into the Church as well. 

Again, not that that’s anything new. 

What I find fascinating, however, is how God uses even our relational disputes to His kingdom advantage.  Case in point:

“After some time Paul said to Barnabas, ‘Let’s go back and visit each city where we previously preached the word of the Lord, to see how the new believers are doing.’  Barnabas agreed and wanted to take along John Mark.  But Paul disagreed strongly, since John Mark had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in their work.  Their disagreement was so sharp that they separated. Barnabas took John Mark with him and sailed for Cyprus.”

Barnabas and Paul were this new religion’s dynamic duo, so their split must have caused no little concern to the higher-ups.  (Thankfully, there was no Facebook or Twitter at that time; one can only imagine…)

Barnabas, who’s name means Son of Encouragement, was well aware of John Mark’s action, his decision to walk away.  It may have even been a true turning-his-back-on-God time of life for the younger man.  Paul didn’t have the emotional energy for such a man, whereas Barnabas was willing to extend a second chance.

So glad he did, too, because John Mark is better know today as Saint Mark, the writer of the gospel bearing his name, and believed to be not only the earliest biography of Jesus, possibly providing information for Matthew and Luke, but is also considered to be the memoirs of Peter.

Evidently, God had a plan for this “backslider”.

In addition, it’s highly possible that Paul learned a lesson from this.  We can see that, as an older man now bearing many scars from persecution and currently in prison for his faith, he finds himself in a similar situation with a runaway slave named Onesimus:

“I appeal to you to show kindness to my child, Onesimus. I became his father in the faith while here in prison. Onesimus[c] hasn’t been of much use to you in the past, but now he is very useful to both of us. I am sending him back to you, and with him comes my own heart.

It seems you lost Onesimus for a little while so that you could have him back forever.  He is no longer like a slave to you. He is more than a slave, for he is a beloved brother, especially to me. Now he will mean much more to you, both as a man and as a brother in the Lord.

So if you consider me your partner, welcome him as you would welcome me.  If he has wronged you in any way or owes you anything, charge it to me.”

Wow.  Talk about an attitude adjustment!  Like Barnabas, who saw something worth taking another chance in John Mark, Paul sees fit to give this fugitive a blank check with his own reputation. 

However, one stimulating speculation is that this runaway-slave-converted-disciple went on later to become the same Onesimus that history records as the first Bishop of Ephesus.  And this was at a time when Ephesus was an important publishing clearinghouse, gathering and copying and distributing (thus preserving) the writings of the early church, such as the letters of—you guessed it—Paul.

softball-1511264_1920Take home? God can use even our disagreements, (or as my pastor says, “God is more powerful than my stupid”), and second (and third and fourth…) chances can have powerful consequences.

For we are ALL to be sons (and daughters) of Encouragement.

Acts 15:36-39; Philemon 1:10-12,15-17 Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

God doesn’t say oops.

IMG_20150103_172451138I love that old movie, Frequency, with Jim Caviezel and Dennis Quaid.  If you haven’t seen it, check it out.  I won’t give away particulars, but the gist is that, due to a strange aurora borealis, John (Caviezel) is using an old Ham radio set and finds that he is able to contact his father (Quaid) some thirty years in the past, PRIOR to John’s father perishing in his job as a firefighter.  Because of this, John warns his father, his dad survives, and the plot thickens from there.  Great flick, on several levels.

Can you only imagine what it would be like if we could be warned in advance of particular events that were going to happen?  And do you wonder if we really could change them, or not? 

So reading this account of Jesus talking to Peter is a bit intriguing.  I do just love Continue reading “God doesn’t say oops.”

The Kraken (#7)

(Pssst…In case you missed the first part, you can start from HERE.)

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From: gizemlervebilinmeyenler.blogspot.com and copied from Alejandro Quijano pintrest (Kinda scary, right?)

The Kraken

By Robert L. Jones, III ( check it out at Pneumythology)

VII. The Wrong Lot

 

In some odd way, impassioned youth, so hungry and so lean,

Can concentrate on final goals and miss the steps between.

Romance and proud adventure holding sway in Galen’s head,

He dreamed of reputation made and wished the Kraken dead.

 

It seems he didn’t think it out but moved instinctively

And wandered toward the siren song emitting from the sea.

As from the hills and forests green his journey led him down,

He headed not to prophet’s house but toward a harbor town.

 

A dismal place it seemed to be, as day began to fade,

Since rumors of the Kraken had inhibited its trade.

One building there was gaily lit. It’s doors were open wide.

The tavern called invitingly, and Galen stepped inside.

 

With savings earned, he purchased ale and sat down on a bench.

The barmaid came by presently, a fair and strapping wench.

She said, “The coins within your purse will purchase what you please.”

She pointed to his empty mug. “I’ll fetch one more of these.”

 

“Yes, do that,” laughed a husky voice and then another two.

“This patron bears the look of one with better things to do.”

Then Galen, turning toward the voice that he might better know,

Saw laughing over hearty brew a dozen men or so.

 

The chief among their company held forth with rousing wit

While, motioning with roughened hand, he bade the young man sit.

Gray stubble grew upon his jaw. A scar was on his cheek.

A wily look was in his eye, and, oh, how he could speak!

 

By such approach, the blacksmith’s son was quickly taken in

And joined the conversation of those rugged sailing men.

He heard their tales and sang their songs. He laughed and carried on.

The drinking followed round on round. His money soon was gone.

 

The Kraken swam within his mind till, pricked by guilt and doubt

Along with curiosity, the novice blurted out,

“How would your ship defend itself in case of an attack?”

With humorous indignity, the captain answered back,

 

“My ship has ample cannon, powder stored upon its shelves

With cutlasses and pistols. We can take care of ourselves.”

And Galen, in his addled state forgetting what he knew,

Grinned as the room began to spin and said, “Your ship will do.”

 

He next awoke by light of day upon a rolling deck,

With swollen tongue, unfocused eyes, and stiffness in his neck.

A harsher voice than he had heard the merry night before

Yelled, “On your feet, and get to work! Do what we pay you for!”

TO BE CONTINUED NEXT THURSDAY (dot, dot, dot!!)