Does The Word Speak?

Social Media Networks have some use in the world. Too many people are using it to post insane and inane comments that clog up the system with wasted electronic data. What is beneficial is connecting the dots from friend to friend to find old friends and remote family, so as to reconnect with those of some bygone era. This has happened a lot with me over the past few months with those of my pre-married life. Kids I went to school with. Kids I grew up with. Even those of my Texas Bible College days! Sharing the past is good, and connecting to the present is fun. Along the way, I take up missions on finding certain people, like the kids that I grew up with in Seabrook, Texas, from the early years of the Astronaut programs

But all of this social networking is pretty much a time waster if you “have” to do it on an hourly basis! This probably means you have no life!

What is beneficial about this media are the hidden benefits you receive that lifts your spirits! Along with the hidden benefits you give for the same reason. These benefits can never be minimized.

Blessings come in many forms. During this past week, I have connected with several that have given me some much needed spiritual lifts. At a time when it seems I am always giving… and in one respect that’s my role in live – a care giver as a pastor, a husband, a father, a sibling and a child. There comes a time that I need an oasis to refresh myself from the busy life and in this barren wasteland.

Even Jesus had to withdraw from the press of the crowds and the busy life.

Mark 6:31 – Jesus said, “Come off by yourselves; let’s take a break and get a little rest.” For there was constant coming and going. They didn’t even have time to eat.[1]

Sometimes Jesus causes us to draw away from the busy life and the crowds that have great demands. The needs will always be there, but the necessity of withdrawing can be imposed upon by a Master who tenderly loves and cares for us. And so, the disciples obeyed.

Mark 6:32-34 – So they got in the boat and went off to a remote place by themselves. Someone saw them going and the word got around. From the surrounding towns people went out on foot, running, and got there ahead of them. When Jesus arrived, he saw this huge crowd. At the sight of them, his heart broke—like sheep with no shepherd they were. He went right to work teaching them.

His heart breaks and it always will for those who need Him. Notice how the scripture states that “he went right to work…” It does not say that He had to provide for their welfare in the form of finances or prayers. His work was to teach!

Reading between the lines I do not see that he complained of the people with their needs. This is the human part of me right now – when I need to withdraw and be just me, I can easily disconnect from the world of “busy” by ignoring the phone, leaving the computer turned off, get on my tractor or in my truck and just leave… I am fortunate that no one is clamoring for my attention that they follow me everywhere I go like the paparazzi follow the stars and starlets. I see Jesus rolling up His sleeves and despite the probable disappointment of His disciples, He goes to work.

After a little while of his teaching, Mark describes the disciple’s attitude:

Mark 6:35-36 – When his disciples thought this had gone on long enough—it was now quite late in the day—they interrupted: “We are a long way out in the country, and it’s very late. Pronounce a benediction and send these folks off so they can get some supper.”

Sometimes we interrupt the work of Jesus! We step into the moment and put our foot down and declare our time schedule and our priorities to the Lord! Not knowing what the crowd was like, or exactly what His teaching was about, I can only imagine the disciples looking at their portable sundial and feeling anxious about the time of the day, and probably, what their personal needs were more than the people’s need, or even the needs of Jesus. Jesus tells them to take care of the needs of the people, but they were a long ways away from Safeway.

Let me give you a Paul Harvey moment, “The rest of the story…”  –  the feeding of the thousands is a story we still talk about today. We sing songs with the children! We write books and articles about the meaning of the little boy who happened to have his own, the five little loaves and two fishes, the organization of the crowd into numbered companies out on the green grass, the blessing – breaking – distribution, and finally the twelve baskets of fragments remaining.

This part of the story is told over and over again. Yet, leading up to it, Jesus sees that His disciples needed their rest. They needed to withdraw from the crowd. Regardless of “their” needs, the needs of the followers took precedent.

At the completion of the dinner, the twelve baskets could easily feed the twelve disciples.

But what about Jesus? Was there nothing for Him? Jesus needed something different and more than just the satisfaction of caloric input! In John 4:34, “Jesus saith unto them, My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.” His sustenance was not of this world and the satisfaction that comes from sitting at a meal. His sustenance came from accomplishing the work set before Him and to Finish The Work!

After the feeding of the thousands, Jesus sends the disciples away by ship to Bethsaida, and He withdraws to the mountain to pray. It is not recorded that He fed himself before the teaching and the miracle, nor at the conclusion of the feeding – we can only surmise that He satisfied His own personal needs in such a way that it was not needed to be recorded.

This is my point today! You have to be the one to take ownership of your life and learn when to withdraw for sustenance! Along the way, nuggets of Life Giving Word will come your way that can sustain you. Learn how to take these nuggets and turn them into a meal of substance. Learn that the supplier of all your needs comes from God, yet it often comes from these little moments of time.

David, a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22), understood this concept in part when he was in the wilderness of Judah.

Psalms 63:1 (KJV) O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land, where no water is;

He looks at his life and he realizes the spiritual and physical needs of life. He does not waste the day wishing for a solution. He rises early and seeks God – without the pastor asking him to, or without some scheduled event of the church forcing him to go to God! He takes Ownership! What causes him to seek God? The realization of his status in life and probably something else unknown to us triggered the moment that made him realize how barren his life was at that moment…

So, getting back to my social media comment earlier.

A friend and I have been reconnecting through the facility of Facebook. This came from that dot to dot connecting. One friend has a connection I do not have, and voila’ I now have that connection. I have been sharing various status updates and enjoying some conversations about school years nearly four decades ago (!!) and at the end of the last message this morning there was a scripture reference. Psalms 118:24. Now, I am a student of the Word, but my mind has a hard time connecting scripture references to content. I really have to go look it up!

  • Ask me how to get to someplace I’ve been once, and I’ll pretty much give you turn by turn directions with adequate descriptions about the sights along the path.
  • Ask me how to write a program (back in the day) in some obscure language that I have used and I’ll tell you the steps.
  • Ask me to describe Mt Rainier out my living room window and from memory I can paint a word picture that includes the foreground images and the condition of the sky.

Yet, throw out a scripture reference and my mind draws a blank.

So, early this morning, I immediately turned to Psalms 118:24 and received this revelation of scripture: “This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.” What a wonderful scripture to use in some daily social media connection! It was a refreshing moment to sit back and take on the thoughts for the day as being Glad that God made this day and has given it to me to be profitable for the Kingdom sake!

When I study, I look at what leads up to the scripture I am interested in, and what leads away from it. Take a look as Psalms 118 and see if you can spot all the nuggets that are there, one verse at a time – a result of someone sharing the Word at the end of a social media message.

This is what Facebook should be all about!

Psalm 118

  1. O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: because his mercy endureth for ever.
  2. Let Israel now say, that his mercy endureth for ever.
  3. Let the house of Aaron now say, that his mercy endureth for ever.
  4. Let them now that fear the LORD say, that his mercy endureth for ever.
  5. I called upon the LORD in distress: the LORD answered me, and set me in a large place.
  6. The LORD is on my side; I will not fear: what can man do unto me?
  7. The LORD taketh my part with them that help me: therefore shall I see my desire upon them that hate me.
  8. It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man.
  9. It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes.
  10. All nations compassed me about: but in the name of the LORD will I destroy them.
  11. They compassed me about; yea, they compassed me about: but in the name of the LORD I will destroy them.
  12. They compassed me about like bees; they are quenched as the fire of thorns: for in the name of the LORD I will destroy them.
  13. Thou hast thrust sore at me that I might fall: but the LORD helped me.
  14. The LORD is my strength and song, and is become my salvation.
  15. The voice of rejoicing and salvation is in the tabernacles of the righteous: the right hand of the LORD doeth valiantly.
  16. The right hand of the LORD is exalted: the right hand of the LORD doeth valiantly.
  17. I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the LORD.
  18. The LORD hath chastened me sore: but he hath not given me over unto death.
  19. Open to me the gates of righteousness: I will go into them, and I will praise the LORD:
  20. This gate of the LORD, into which the righteous shall enter.
  21. I will praise thee: for thou hast heard me, and art become my salvation.
  22. The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner.
  23. This is the LORD’S doing; it is marvellous in our eyes.
  24. This is the day which the LORD hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.
  25. Save now, I beseech thee, O LORD: O LORD, I beseech thee, send now prosperity.
  26. Blessed be he that cometh in the name of the LORD: we have blessed you out of the house of the LORD.
  27. God is the LORD, which hath showed us light: bind the sacrifice with cords, even unto the horns of the altar.
  28. Thou art my God, and I will praise thee: thou art my God, I will exalt thee.
  29. O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.

Peterson, E. H. (2002). The Message : The Bible in contemporary language (Mk 6:31-36). Colorado Springs, Colo.: NavPress.