Saturday, December 24, 2011
Monday, December 05, 2011
Who's Directing traffic?
Sunday, November 27, 2011
Wednesday, November 23, 2011
Friday, November 04, 2011
“Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.”
(Matthew 16:16-17 ESV)
The kingdom is mentioned 52 times in the Gospel of Matthew and 21 times in this second half of the book. The phrase, “the kingdom of Heaven (or God) is at hand” is a very interesting saying. If it implies that it is within reach wouldn’t it make sense to say that it is here and now?
Throughout my reading this week, I have been drawn to the King and have a great curiosity about His Kingdom. One of the questions that have been on my mind over the past 6 to 9 months is: “What does it mean to have an eternal perspective?” As I continue to study the Word of God, I really want to understand to the extend that I can about life in the light of Eternity. One thing I do know; there is disagreement among God’s children.
In Matthew’s writings, there are some clues. As children of the King we are to have childlike faith and trust in our Heavenly Father. We are not to be concerned about position. There is to be no hierarchy among us. If you want to be great Jesus says you need to have the humility of a child.
What kind of King will rule the Kingdom of Heaven? He will be like a King described by Jesus whose forgiveness is so incredibly bountiful in mercy that our response is to be like him. We are to forgive each other because we have been forgiven so much that we could never repay. Peter was asking about forgiving one another. The language in this answer from Jesus in Chapter 18 certainly sounds like it is applicable to the here and now.
Entrance into the Kingdom is difficult as Jesus explains the parable of the rich young ruler, “but with God all things are possible.” So Peter is taking this in and says to Jesus in Matthew 19 “we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have? Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brother or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life.” v. 27-29 Three more questions arise about the kingdom: “what is this new world? Is Jesus talking about the kingdom of heaven? Isn’t Jesus sitting on His Glorious Throne now?
Our Lord Jesus Christ the King is the King of Celebration as depicted in the parable of the Wedding Feast. It shows that we really have no business saying you don’t belong here at the table and you do belong because it really is the King who clothes and provides for those who will sit at His banquet. (chapter 22)
The verse that grabbed me and will not let go is also from chapter 22 v. 32 “He is not the God of the dead, but of the living.” In Jesus answering the Sadducees about the resurrection and pointing to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. If God is King and if we are living along with the saints who have gone before us, then wouldn’t it be reasonable to say that the Kingdom of Heaven is now?
Jesus being questioned by the high priest in chapter 27 says, “from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.” The Kingdom is now and later?
Famously quoted by Christians for different reasons, but what does the Resurrected Jesus means by this in regards to His Kingdom, “all authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” Immediately followed by “Go therefore and make disciples…” Is this an indicator that the Lord has involved us in Kingdom building today?
“this gospel of the kingdom” This is Jesus Christ…..His Gospel. Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand. If the Gospel is true and for us now? How about His Kingdom? These are real questions. I am searching. These questions are not rhetorical for me.
Tuesday, November 01, 2011
NanoWrimo is here. Our family has been participating in NanoWrimo (National Novel Writing Month = November) since 2005 when we lived in Quechee, VT. For more info go here. So, we are 8 hours in and I have not written a word. Not to worry, I will begin later. At least I know what I am writing about this year.
Sunday, October 30, 2011
Matthew the Taxman called to be a disciple left his money collecting in exchange for the riches that can only be found in bowing the knee to the King of Kings, the Lord Jesus Christ.
“King of the Jews,” is found only at the beginning of the gospel of Matthew referring to the child Jesus who was born to save his people from their sins. The rest of the gospel writers use this title toward the end of their gospels during the Passion of the Christ . Looking to Jesus as my King through the eyes of His servant Matthew is welcomed meat to this growing Christian. In SO many ways, I still have a lot of growing up to do and again, I am finding myself in a season that I just can’t seem to get enough of God’s Word.
During the reading of these first 14 chapters of Matthew, I did more reading and pondering than actual writing. Although, I did write something down for each chapter. Unlike other weeks, I could probably fit it all here on one page. However, I want to just reflect on this office of the Lord. In the Westminster Catechism its says in the answer, “Christ executeth the office of a king, in subduing us to himself, in ruling and defending us, and in restraining and conquering all his and our enemies.”
In Matthew after the Incarnation, wise men come to worship the Baby born King. In the Jordan Jesus is baptized by John and with the Holy Spirit descending upon Him, the Father declares Him as His Beloved Son! In the desert Jesus wages War with the devil in a battle of biblical proportion with all that He is through His Very Words. In Capernaum, Jesus proclaimed that the Kingdom (His Kingdom) of heaven was at hand. In the streets, on the sea, and upon the mountains Jesus heals diseases, casts out demons, astonishes the crowds, the Scribes and Pharisees and his disciples with His authoritative and totally outside the box teachings.
Through this part of the gospel I see the King who provides, heals, teaches, defends, rescues and calls out the disciples to Himself. This tax collector who was formerly employed under Herod the tetrarch, now found himself under the authority of a King whose kingdom, was the very Kingdom of God. Matthew helps me to be in awe, reading straight through helps me to be amazed at the One I call, Savior, Lord, Brother and Friend, is my ruling King. There is No One like Him. How can I help but bow!
Also, in the gospel of Matthew I see how far I have to go along the pilgrim highway, the LORD holds up a standard that in my own power, I cannot even begin to scratch the surface. My first step toward the Savior is to repent of my sin, my inability to do what the Word of God says, even though I have died and my life is now hid with Christ, I frequently suffer from identity crisis and find myself in the middle of my sin and with Paul I cry out what a wretch I am! But thanks and glory be to God who rescues me from myself. There is so much in this gospel that I love but I will just point out two things: what I grew up calling “The Our Father” for it is indeed our prayer to our Heavenly Father. Jesus the one who gives us access to the Father gives us words to say in prayer. Secondly, at the end of chapter 11, Jesus declares again His position with the Father and then those tender words, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (v. 28-30 NIV)
A humble King who often carries me is walking beside me enabling me to learn to walk in His ways. May I continue to sit at His Feet as well as walk along the way with Jesus.
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
Sunday, September 11, 2011
Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Saturday, August 27, 2011
We have the non-perishables, flash lights, extra batteries, a meeting plan, Hello Hurricane queued up in the play list, etc. all in preparation for Hurricane Irene. Did you secure all those potential outdoor projectiles? Are you ready?
“Stahm’s comin’” is a one liner from the movie Shutter Island from the captain of the vessel when DeCaprio’s character is headed to the island as a “federal officer.” It is a storm that we can see just like Irene. The technology to get a really good look is incredible. It would be easy to sit in front of the TV and just watch. People will make there way down to the shore, risking their lives to experience the storm. (We could even talk about DeCaprio’s character’s internal storm…..and how prophetic that one liner is in the movie, maybe another time. Perhaps if I watch the movie again, it is very disturbing – psychological thriller.)
There is another way that we need to be prepared and some of us have already made this preparation, others don’t see any need for preparation and still others say things like, “Time to say your prayers.” “Better get right with your Maker. People are going to die in this one and you might be one of them.” The truth is we all face death every day. Unless, you have a date with the Executioner (for heinous crime or by your own hand) then none of us knows when we will die. It leads to one of those philosophical questions that most human being ask at some point in their life – what happens when I die? Which of course leads to other questions.
For the purpose of this blog post, I want to ask the question this way of myself and give my answer, “Are you ready to die?” The short answer is Yes. Of course, this is answered on the presupposition that there is an after life (for me Eternal), all mankind will face judgment, there is a God who is altogether loving and altogether just, sin and death are real and because of Jesus Christ there is HOPE.
Just the other day, I was in a conversation about facing death and refrained from saying anything, without biting my tongue, just listening and praying silently. Leaving I was a caught in the middle of an internal dialogue that was not meant for that meeting. There was definitely not enough time.
It is probably not my time to die, but if it is I am ready. With tremendous gratitude, I stand having had my sins paid for by the blood of Christ believing with my heart that at the Cross Jesus conquered sin! Only by the Righteousness of Jesus Christ am I able to face and stand in the Loving Presence of a Holy God. In every other belief system, I must “get right” with my Maker, and ONLY in True Christianity am I MADE right by the FINISHED work of Jesus Christ upon the Cross. I said it myself before I knew such LOVE, such GRACE, such an outpouring of Mysterious Mercy – “So what?” which is why I need to qualify my YES.
The forgiveness of sins is only part of this Eternal Perspective. Christ Jesus did not just conquer sin but death as well. He did not remain in the grave, but He beat death by the power of God, raised Himself from the dead and is today The Resurrection and The Life. Those who die in Christ will also live and be raised up with Him. This is not to say that I would just lie down and die. There is so much more of life that I want to experience! With everything in me I will fight to live but while I fight, I will not fear death because of Christ Jesus the One who has given me Eternal Life. This is why; I will say with the prophet, Isaiah, “You keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you, because he trust in you.”
Those of us who believe can cry out to Our Father in Heaven, protect us through the storm, be our peace, and give us grace. We trust you LORD, not only the Maker of Heaven and Earth, but also Sovereign LORD of both. Not to test nature but in trusting God we can say, “bring it Irene, we are ready!”
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
© Catherine Mullaney 2011
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Umbilical Cords tied tight
It is not like me to leave in the middle of a meeting but it was the best I could do. (It was for parents of new HPU students) Yes, I still have a lot to learn. As a mother, I have gone through many stages of letting go of each of my kids, now all young adults, which we have been calling them that since they were 13 or so, perhaps I ought to say I am a parent of adult children. Back to the meeting: there were at least a half dozen questions about food and the meal plan. We have trained our children to communicate for themselves and now the morning after I realize that many parents have not; these questioners felt they needed to ask these questions for their children instead of letting their kids find out for themselves. Yesterday, I didn’t have much patience or compassion, I wanted to ask, “Does anyone have a pair of scissors, so I can cut these umbilical cords?” Biting my tongue was not enough; I needed to just walk away.
As a mother who has educated her children at home, you might think that the launching would be more difficult. Admittedly, this is the most difficult transition in the parenting process for me. There is wisdom in learning from our own emerging adulthood and from those who have already shot their “arrows” out of the quiver. Our children need to learn to navigate through this life. There are two choices: we can send them off with our blessings or we can cling so tightly that they will need to break free. With the latter choice, parents wound their off spring and the relationship often never fully heals. They may never return, if they do return it will not be in a way that brings them back into sweet fellowship with us.
Our children are still dependent on us in a few ways and in many ways they are not. This is a time of finding out who they are. It is the natural course of life. If we want to be there for them, we must lovingly let them go with grace as passionately as we did when we held them so carefully as newborn babies, in awe of the responsibility, filled with joy of this new little life. There is more new life to come with each phase of development. Childhood is the SHORTEST season of life and most kids want to leave it behind and embrace their adulthood. Don’t be the parent who holds them back.
Sunday, August 14, 2011
WARNING: SHARPER THAN ANY DOUBLE EDGE SWORD
John 5 verse 39
“You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness about me, yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life”
Over the last year many changes have happened in the lives of the Mullaney Pilgrims. (Makes me think that it is time for an update perhaps) For today I want to just stick with one of the changes in my own pilgrimage in a return to scripture memory. There are many scriptures that encourage us to hide the Word in our heart (Psalm 119;11), sharpen our Sword (Ephesians 6;17) understand that these words of the Lord are alive, active and sharper than any two edged sword (Heb 4;12), meditate on the Law day and night(Josh 1;8 Ps 1;2) and then the oral tradition that was more common in the days when the New Testament was being written. Even in John 5 Jesus himself is saying that the Scriptures bear witness about me and to grow in our knowledge of Him urges me on even more to have the Words written on my heart and my mind because I want to know this dear Savior and Lord of mine more fully. Growing in knowledge is deepening my love for Him and for those around me.
But I also take John 5;39 as a warning: the Scriptures themselves will not give me eternal life. Jesus is the One who gives Eternal Life and even so it is through the Word spoken, the preaching of the Good News (Romans 10) that we come to believe in the One whom God has sent. When I alluded to growing in the knowledge of Him (Jesus Christ), I was not talking about head knowledge and the ability to quote chapter and verse, but getting to know the LORD through His Word by the power of the Holy Spirit. His WORDS are the very words of eternal life said Peter. John the beloved described Jesus as the WORD who became flesh. The Holy Bible is not an ordinary book, nor a book of magic but The Testimony of God concerning His Son, testifying about this world, life, death and truth. Jesus is the Truth and these Words are the Truth but we must not fall into the way of the Pharisees.
It is a dangerous pursuit to memorize the Scripture. We must not use it as a weapon against our brothers and sisters in Christ who are not students of the Scriptures or take pride in our knowledge of the Word or to alienate those who need to hear the Good News of Jesus Christ and Him Crucified. We must handle it with care and through prayer. There is great responsibility in owning something as deadly and life giving as the very WORDS of God. The One who has the power of life and death in His grasp will guide us, if we will humble ourselves before Him and be discerning about how we will deliver the Words He will use the Words and us for His purposes.
Once we start making progress and start owning the Word the way some own lines from a movie or youtube clip one cannot help but let it roll off your tongue. How terrifying and delightful it is to be the possessor of such an instrument!! James warns us about our tongues, that with them we praise God and curse our fellow man! Is there any hope for us? Yes! When our motivation is driven by LOVE and guided by the Holy Spirit, there is hope for us who are in Christ! To not only walk in the Spirit but to talk in the Spirit. Personally, my goal for memorizing Scripture is two-fold, first to grow in my knowledge of my Lord Jesus Christ and second that the Lord may use it in the lives of those I touch.
Memorize with great enthusiasm and use with tremendous discernment.