What Are We Seeking From Jesus?

by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro (c) 2010

Mark 3:20 (Amplified)  20 Then He went to a house [probably Peter’s], but a throng came together again, so that Jesus and His disciples could not even take food.

Once supernatural miracles began to flow through Jesus, wherever He went a large group gathered and in fact, followed Him.  (When He would cross the Sea of Galilee, they would often be waiting for Him on the other side.)  But they were following Him for the wrong reasons.  First, few came to Jesus because they were seeking to know God and His Way.  Most came because they wanted something from Jesus. They were not interested in knowing Him or His Way; they just wanted Him to solve their earthly problems (the ones which plagued them during their physical lives, such as money worries, illness or disability).  Still others looked to Him to save them from the unrighteous government (authorities) under which they lived and become their earthly King for their generation. 

Of course, Jesus was capable of solving and doing all these, but Jesus came to be and do so much more.  Jesus came to reveal the Kingdom of God as God’s ambassador, re-presenting the Father for all to see.  Jesus was His Light to the world.  Jesus came to be the sacrifice required to reconcile all who would come to God forever.  Jesus was (and is) concerned with the current well-being of all because He loved them (and loves us).  But His purpose was to enable them (and us) to be restored to fellowship with the Father forever.

The question to ask ourselves is, why are we following Jesus?  Is it just to get the answers to our earthly worries, or do we really want to know Him? All earthly illnesses eventually will end in physical death.  All earthly needs will be no more.  God remains and is.

He desires relationship with us.  Do we seek relationship with Him or just His power doing what we want when we want?  True, He is invisible and it can be hard at the beginning of our seeking to picture having relationship with an invisible entity who no one can prove is even there.  However, the Spirit of God in our midst is as real as the physical presence of Jesus was when He walked on earth.  Through the Holy Spirit, God promises to speak to us and to guide and direct us in the way we should go, if we will only listen, seek to be able to hear, believe, trust and follow.  How incredible would it be to have every moment of every day guided and led by the God of the universe!  Not only is this possible, but promised – again, only to those who seek.

Jesus did not explain Himself to everyone.  But He did to those who sought.  Those who sought to understand Jesus found God’s Truth and with it freedom and purpose for their earthly lives.  They were freed from being under the bondage of human definitions of purpose and success because their focus was no longer on just their earthly existence.  They were freed from the bondage of seeing life from the limited, deceptive perspective of from here to physical death as they embraced seeing their lives from God’s eternal perspective where this is merely the time of our ambassadorship for Him in a foreign land until he calls us home.

God frees us from the fear of earthly existence to be citizens of His kingdom on earth now, where we walk in His incomprehensible peace because we trust Him to fulfill His promises.  For instance, He promises to protect and provide “enough” for us until He calls us home, and to use all things for good in light of eternity.  This means no matter how dark the moment of our earthly lives, God can use us if we let Him to be the lamp which carries His Light into the dark places where He can reveal Himself through us to people who might otherwise not have the opportunity to see Him.

The joy we experience in life to a great extent will be dictated by our attitude toward relationship with God.  If all we want is for Him to answer our prayers our way instead of according to His superior, supreme, eternal perspective, then we will be like the seeds from the parable of the sower told by Jesus, which fall on stony ground, or in the thorns.  If on the other hand we seek His perspective and embrace His Way, He will grow us and use us to produce an abundant harvest for the everlasting, all-good Kingdom of God.

 

Mark 3:3-10, 13-20

3 Give attention to this! Behold, a sower went out to sow.  4 And as he was sowing, some seed fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up.  5 Other seed [of the same kind] fell on ground full of rocks, where it had not much soil; and at once it sprang up, because it had no depth of soil; 6 And when the sun came up, it was scorched, and because it had not taken root, it withered away.  7 Other seed [of the same kind] fell among thorn plants, and the thistles grew and pressed together and utterly choked and suffocated it, and it yielded no grain.  8 And other seed [of the same kind] fell into good (well- adapted) soil and brought forth grain, growing up and increasing, and yielded up to thirty times as much, and sixty times as much, and even a hundred times as much as had been sown.  9 And He said, He who has ears to hear, let him be hearing [and let him consider, and comprehend].  10 And as soon as He was alone, those who were around Him, with the Twelve [apostles], began to ask Him about the parables. 13 And He said to them, Do you not discern and understand this parable?  How then is it possible for you to discern and understand all the parables? 14 The sower sows the Word. 15 The ones along the path are those who have the Word sown [in their hearts], but when they hear, Satan comes at once and [by force] takes away the message which is sown in them.  16 And in the same way the ones sown upon stony ground are those who, when they hear the Word, at once receive and accept and welcome it with joy; 17 And they have no real root in themselves, and so they endure for a little while; then when trouble or persecution arises on account of the Word, the immediately are offended (become displeased, indignant, resentful) and they stumble and fall away. 18 And the ones sown among the thorns are others who hear the Word; 19 Then the cares and anxieties of the world and distractions of the age, and the pleasure and delight and false glamour and deceitfulness of riches, and the craving and passionate desire for other things creep in and choke and suffocate the Word, and it becomes fruitless. 20 And those sown on the good (well-adapted) soil are the ones who hear the Word and receive and accept and welcome it and bear fruit – some thirty times as much as was sown, some sixty times as much, and some [even] a hundred times as much.

For books, worship cds, Bible studies and teachings written by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro or to schedule her to come speak to your group please visit www.holyspiritpress.org  For information on her work for the military and their families please visit www.eaglesnestfoundation.org   Eagles Nest Foundation is a 501(c)3 corporation.

 

Lord, Keep Our Hearts Soft and Willing to Understand!

by Elizabeth Burgard  Fulgaro (c) 2010

Most of us are familiar with the wonderful stories in Mark 6 of the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes to feed 5,000 and how the disciples were afraid when they saw Jesus walking on the water toward them after He had sent ahead of him in the boat.  But one of the wonderful aspects of God’s Word is that their is always fresh insight which can be gained from it.  Let’s look at this Amplified version of the story again. 

MARK 6:35-38, 41-52 (Amplified)

35 And when the day was already far gone, His disciples came to Him and said, This is a desolate and isolated place, and the hour is now late, 36 Send the crowds away to go into the country and villages round about and buy themselves something to eat. 37 But He replied to them, Give them something to eat yourselves. And they said to Him, Shall we go and buy 200 denari [about forty dollars] worth of bread and give it to them to eat? [II Kings 4:42-44.] 38 And He said to them, How many loaves do you have? Go and see. And when they [had looked and] knew, they said, Five [loaves] and two fish….  41 And taking the five loaves and two fish, He looked up to heaven and, praising God, gave thanks and broke the loaves and kept on giving them to the disciples to set before the people; and He [also] divided the two fish among [the] all.  42 And they all ate and were satisfied.  43 And they took up twelve [small hand] baskets full of broken pieces [from the loaves] and of the fish.  44 And those who ate the loaves were 5,000 men.  45 And at once He insisted that the disciples get into the boat and go ahead of Him to the other side to Bethsaida, while He was sending the throng away.  46 And after He had taken leave of them, He went off into the hills to pray.  47 Now when evening had come, the boat was out in the middle of the lake, and He was by Himself on the land.  48 And having seen that they were troubled and tormented in [their] rowing, for the wind was against them, about the fourth watch of the night [between 3:00-6:00am] He came to them, walking [directly] on the sea.  and He acted as if He meant to pass by them.  49 But when they saw Him walking on the sea they thought it was a ghost and raised a [deep, throaty]  shriek of terror.  50 For they all saw Him and were agitated (troubled and filled with fear and dread).  But immediately He talked with them and said, Take heart! I AM! Stop being alarmed and afraid. [Exod. 3:14.]  51 And He went up into the boat with them, and the wind ceased (sank to rest as if exhausted by its own beating). And they were astonished exceedingly [beyond measure],  52 For they failed to consider or understand [the teaching and meaning of the miracle of] the loaves; [in fact] their hearts had grown callous [had become dull and had lost the power of understanding].

How is this possible????  How is it possible that those who were closest to Jesus, who were in His intimate circle and listened to Him daily, to whom He explained the parables when they asked and who had just witnessed the miracle of the loaves, that their hearts had grown callous (had become dull and lost the power of understanding). 

In many ways we are the same. When Jesus does a miracle in our lives, when He provides where there was seemingly not enough, when He heals when there should be no cure, when He opens a door which should remain closed to us, how is it that in our next moment of need we cry out in panic again?

Jesus is calling us to a shift in how we pray.  In another crossing of the Sea of Galillee when Jesus is asleep in the boat and the boat is being tossed so violently, that all other passengers except Jesus fear its collapse and they wake Jesus crying out in panic for Him to save them, Jesus is not panicked.  He remains calm in the face of the world’s storms.  Certainly, He knows that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are sovereign over the storms.  But when God has come over and over again in our lives and has answered prayer, shouldn’t we know this too?!  How can we continue to pray in panic?

God is calling us to pray in all our circumstances in the confidence of who He is – to remember what He has done, so we will know what He will do.  Instead of “help, help, save us!!!”  He is calling us to prayers such as, “Lord, You are the all powerful and all things are in Your hands.  You have the perfect plan and we know You  hear us and love us. We know You will give us the best answer in light of eternity and we trust in You.  Lord God, today we bring You this situation.  Lord put Your power on it.  We know You have heard.  We trust Your result. In Jesus’ name….”  In this way, we stay in His peace and all our prayers are worship.

For books, worship cds, Bible studies and teachings written by Elizabeth Burgard Fulgaro or to schedule her to come speak to your group please visit www.holyspiritpress.org  For information on her work for the military and their families please visit www.eaglesnestfoundation.org   Eagles Nest Foundation is a 501(c)3 corporation.