Contemplation Seems Quaint; In a World Where We don’t have Much Time for Contemplation, Contemplate THIS

How important is contemplation these days? Do you ever spend much time just thinking about stuff? Well, Jesus told Philip something that deserves some contemplation: “Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works. Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father is in Me; otherwise believe because of the works themselves.” (John 14:10-11 NASB)

Philip asked Jesus for proof: “show us the Father, and it will be enough.” It was a moment like in the Wizard of Oz, when Dorothy wanted to go home and the Wizard told her that, really, all she had to do was click the heels of the ruby slippers on her feet and say “There’s no place like home!”, and she’d be back in Kansas! It turned out that she really had everything she needed right there, but she didn’t realize it. By asking Jesus for proof, it seems that Philip was in the same situation; he already had everything he needed right in front of him… But he wanted more.

As you contemplate that, it brings up an interesting question: Do WE ever keep asking for an answer when God has already given us one? Do we ever seek more proof when God has already provided more than enough? Two things here:

1) Jesus performed the works he did (miracles) not because he had magical super powers, but because he was in the Father, abiding in him. He was so intimately connected to God that He did what God would do. It’s another way of describing “walking in the Spirit”. He was uniquely yielded and empowered, and his life reflected the results of having the Father in him. Ours could reflect that as well.

Andrew Murray’s devotional Book, “Abide in Christ” (http://www.worldinvisible.com/library/murray/5f00.0562/5f00.0562.c.htm) offers a 31 day exercise in abiding that teaches how to do just that. Going through it is an enriching exercise that offers an antidote to the hustle and bustle of our “modern” world.

contemplation today

Since contemplation and time alone with God are part of the means to abide in Him, here’s a thought: if I was Satan, I would make contemplation and quiet time a thing of the past. I would fill the hours that were once available for reflection and connection with music, media and busy-ness. I’d provide music 24/7, sound-canceling headphones, 180+ channels on television, plus thousands more on the internet. I’d create fantasy-world games that could distract from real-world possibilities. I would fill time with Pinterest, social media, Twitter, Snapchat, celebrities, and Facebook. I would provide so much mental distraction that there would be no time for contemplation…I’d do that because I know that busy minds will never be intimately connected with the Father.

2) What is keeping you from living by faith, and from doing the kind of works Jesus did? I’m sure Philip thought Jesus was an amazing guy, but he wasn’t completely convinced– and his lack of belief was holding him back from being amazing himself. Jesus said in John 14:12, “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.” I think we often limit ourselves because we aren’t sold out, and we don’t really believe that Jesus was who he said he was. Put your faith to work, and invest a little quiet contemplation in who Jesus was. Either believe Jesus’ words, or believe his works. Perhaps if you contemplate HIS, it will impact YOURS…

Perhaps you could allow me just a small interrogation:
How often does your day include some quiet contemplation?
Spend some time with Jesus, have some two-way conversation;
Allow yourself to feel the Holy Spirit's inspiration!
Search the Scriptures for him; do a small investigation,
Reflecting on his character and seeking calibration.
Get to know him well enough to do some imitation:
You'll find that Christ in You is a creative combination!
 

To buy my latest book, Real People, Real Christmas: Thirty-one Days Discovering the Hidden Treasures of the Christmas Story, go here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1729034918/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
For Slaying Giants: Thirty Days with David, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Slaying-Giants-Thirty-Devotions-Ordinary/dp/172568327X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1535814431&sr=8-1&keywords=Slaying+Giants%3A+Thirty+Days+With+David
To buy my book, Beggar’s Bread, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Beggars-Bread-Devotions-Ordinary-Guy/dp/1535457392/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1473336800&sr=8-1&keywords=Beggar%27s+Bread

Greater Works than These Will You Do: Jesus Said What?!

Jesus makes an astounding assertion in John. He says that those who follow him will do greater works than he did:

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father.” (John 14:12, NKJV) This is a pretty astounding claim. John had previously said that Jesus did “whatever the Father does” (John 5:19) and Mark 7:37 says that he did “all things well”; yet here Jesus promises that whoever believes in him will do even greater works.

Say WHAT? What did Jesus mean when he said that? Does Jesus mean that all believers will go around healing the sick and raising the dead? Are we supposed to perform miracles and feed 5,000 with a few fish and some loaves? If we try to apply those standards to our Christian life, we could end up feeling inadequate and defeated. I’m not going to rule out the possibility of miracles, because I do believe God can do whatever He wills—and He can do it through whosoever He chooses.

Go read some more in the Book of Acts. Remember Acts 4:13, where the Pharisees were astounded at ignorant, unlearned men like Peter and John? In verse 16 they said, “What are we going to do with these men? Everyone living in Jerusalem knows they have performed a notable sign, and we cannot deny it.” The word sign means “miracle”, and I would submit that they are still happening today.

Every heart changed by faith is a miracle. Every life devoted to love is a miracle. We are still in the age of miracles, and while God is still greater than time and space, I also believe He works in small, personal miracles as well. Human nature tends to focus on the “great things” as determined by our culture and our values. Jesus taught that most of those values have no real relevance in the Kingdom of Heaven. So just how are we going to do greater works than Jesus did? I did want to take a stab at what these “greater works” could possibly be, because Jesus said that if you believe in him, you have amazing potential. He says that the Holy Spirit will empower us to do things that he himself did not do.

greater work

There are opportunities we have as followers in which Jesus did not (or did not choose to) participate. Consider: When you present the gospel to a non-believer, it is a Greater work. When that person decides to follow Christ—it is a Greater work. When you join in harmony with fellow believers as the Church—it is a Greater work. When you raise a child in a Christian home—it is a Greater work. When you help the least of these in His name, then, yep you have done it again. Perhaps the smallest and least recognized act of service you do on earth will plant seeds that lead to fields of fruitful grain in the Kingdom… Open your heart to the Spirit. Believe. Be humbler. Be greater.

Jesus said, "I do the things My Father asks me to;
But if you follow me, then there are greater things you'll do.
Your actions, whether large and small, are miracles all the same--
The things you do in love, or  do because you bear my name--
Random acts of service, and the things which no one sees
Are greater works in heaven. When you serve the least of these,
You are doing greater works; and you are serving me.

 

To buy my latest book, Real People, Real Christmas: Thirty-one Days Discovering the Hidden Treasures of the Christmas Story, go here: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1729034918/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
For Slaying Giants: Thirty Days with David, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Slaying-Giants-Thirty-Devotions-Ordinary/dp/172568327X/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1535814431&sr=8-1&keywords=Slaying+Giants%3A+Thirty+Days+With+David
To buy my book, Beggar’s Bread, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Beggars-Bread-Devotions-Ordinary-Guy/dp/1535457392/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1473336800&sr=8-1&keywords=Beggar%27s+Bread
For the Kindle Edition, go here: https://www.amazon.com/Beggars-Bread-Bo-Jackson-ebook/dp/B01K5Z0NLA/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1473336800&sr=8-2&keywords=Beggar%27s+Bread