discipleship

Higher Than Eye

 

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In Bible times, it was common practice for fishermen to use a cast net to trap schools of fish. A cast net was circular and had heavy weights around its edges with a pull cord attached to the center. When a school of fish was spotted, the fishermen would toss the cast net into the sea above the school allowing the weights to drag the net downward trapping the fish beneath. Once the fish were trapped, the fishermen would tug on the pull cord to draw the net either into the boat or to shore if the catch was too large.

It was this manner of fishing being employed by Peter and the disciples in John chapter 21. They had toiled all night without success.

It was oftentimes difficult for fishermen to see exactly where a school of fish were located beneath the surface of the water. Why? The fishermen and the fish were on the same level…shoreline. The fishermen’s line of sight didn’t grant them the best visual vantage point. This was most likely the problem in John 21. Peter and his band couldn’t see the school of fish from where they were standing. The solution? Jesus. He wasn’t on their level. He was on the coastline above the shore. From His perspective, the school of fish was easily seen on the other side of their boat. My point?

Sometimes, we cannot see the solution to our problem. We’re too close to it. The good news? All we need is the vision of the Master. We need the divine line of sight that is above where we are presently toiling. He can see what we cannot. Keep your eyes and ears inclined unto Him and He will reveal where to cast your net!

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 58:8-9

discipleship

A Shepherd’s Toolbox: The Reed

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Every Easter, I try to learn something new about the Passover, the Passion, or the Good Shepherd. This morning, I began to think about a shepherd’s toolbox. There were a few interesting items in his tool chest including the sling, staff/rod, scrip, and reed pipe.

 Today, the tool that piqued my interest most was the reed pipe used to soothe the sheep. It was common practice for Biblical shepherds to fashion a musical reed pipe from two pieces of hollowed-out cane. The sound was made by blowing across a sharp edge. Notes were controlled by blocking holes with the fingers in each tube. This Biblical reed pipe is an ancestor of modern day “reed” instruments such as the saxophone, clarinet, oboe etc.

The materials for making Biblical reed pipes were very plentiful and readily accessible to shepherds. They were also extremely easy to make. Because of this, it was common practice for the shepherd to break and dispose of a torn reed choosing rather to craft a new one versus repairing the torn one. It is this custom that Isaiah referenced when he prophetically spoke these words:

A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench; he shall bring forth judgement unto truth. Isaiah 42:3

You see, even though it was the custom of Biblical shepherds to discard a torn reed, it is not the practice of the Good Shepherd to do so. Jesus does not break and toss out the torn, bruised, and broken. He is and will always be a repairer of breaches. If this Easter finds you torn and broken, take heart…there is a Good Shepherd who will not cast you aside.

I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep. John 10:11

Your brokenness does not repel the Good Shepherd. Your bruises do not offend Him. In fact, He was bruised for you. He bore your grief and carried your pain. Your peace is upon Him.

Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. Isaiah 53:4-5

The Good Shepherd will not break a bruised reed. Jesus is in the mending business!

discipleship · reblog

The Gallery of Grace

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Once, during a particularly tough trial our family was facing, my husband saw an image of Pinkie (above right) in prayer. At the time, we had no idea what God was trying to say. Being artists and art lovers, we decided to dig a little deeper. What we discovered profoundly changed our lives.

We stumbled upon a very unique relationship between The Blue Boy (above left) and Pinkie. Like many, we’d seen them together many times throughout our lives. My husband’s mother had replicas of both on display in his childhood home. It was this image that God called to his remembrance in prayer. These two works of art have been displayed together over the years on everything from drink coasters and magazine ads to esteemed exhibits at the Pageant of the Masters in Laguna Beach, CA. Even the set designers of the TV show Leave It To Beaver frequently paid homage to their special bond.

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I’d studied The Blue Boy masterpiece by Thomas Gainsborough in school. Being widely known as the most famous work by a British artist, it’s masterpiece status is questioned by none. In 1921, The Blue Boy was sold to American railway pioneer Henry Huntington for a record setting $640,000. To keep things in perspective, this $640K was equivalent to over 8.5 million dollars today.

Here’s where it gets interesting. Because the two works of art are frequently displayed together, many erroneously believe both to be masterpiece works of Gainsborough. The truth is…Pinkie isn’t even considered to be a masterpiece at all. She was painted 25 years apart from The Blue Boy by another notable British artist named Thomas Lawrence. Lawrence’s works, unlike that of Gainsborough, would never achieve masterpiece status in the art world. In fact, Pinkie would become the most notable of Lawrence’s works due to her connection with Gainsborough’s The Blue Boy.

Pinkie and The Blue Boy weren’t associated until 1927 when she was purchased by The Blue Boy’s owner, Henry Huntington. She was immediately put on display facing The Blue Boy where she remains to this day. I’ve come to call her resting place the Gallery of Grace.

grace: /ɡrās/

(noun)

the free, unmerited favor of God

Because of her relationship to The Blue Boy masterpiece, she has been heralded alongside him on exhibit at the Pageant of the Masters time and again.

My point, and more importantly God’s point in the midst of our struggle, is that Pinkie didn’t need to be a masterpiece after all. She has experienced every honor and esteem possible in the art world solely because of her relationship to the Master.

We realized, like Pinkie, we are esteemed and lifted from obscurity because of our relationship to Him and Him alone. The Syrophoenician woman understood the significance of being in close proximity to the Master.

And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table. Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour. Matthew 15:27-28

Incredible things happen at the feet of the Master. He can take us to unimaginable heights if we’ll only do what Pinkie has done…remain in the presence of the Master. The splash-over blessing (crumbs) of His glory is more than enough to accomplish anything in this life. He will take you from the prison to the palace Joseph. He will move you from the lion’s den to the King’s advisory panel Daniel. He will lift you from captivity to the throne Queen Esther.

You need no one and no thing save a relationship with the Master!

discipleship

Black Friday, Light Sunday

If these signs were following them that believe, perhaps they’d line up for church like they do Black Friday! Perhaps…just perhaps, the problem isn’t always with the world. Maybe…just maybe, the church needs to be the church! Keep in mind…light shineth in darkness and the darkness comprehends it not. If the light shines…darkness is pierced…period.… Continue reading Black Friday, Light Sunday

discipleship

The Right Appetite: Fruit of Praise (Pt 1)

Previously, we’ve explored The Right Appetite: Bread of God. Now, let’s take a closer look at the next spiritual food group…the fruit of praise. Scripture subdivides praise into two main categories: mouth and motion. Today, we’ll explore the first which is the fruit of our lips…mouth. THE FRUIT OF PRAISE: Then the fire of the… Continue reading The Right Appetite: Fruit of Praise (Pt 1)