Something Worth Knowing

“…they have come to know”
John 17:7 (NIV)

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I remember taking my 7 year old grandson through Ireland House, a historic home built and occupied here in Burlington in the early 1800’s by the Ireland family from Yorkshire, England. Most of the furnishings are from the first generation of Irelands who occupied the large home. My grandson had done the official tour before so remembered much of the history of the family and the artifacts we saw.

For me the tour was a trip down memories lane. As a boy I had lived on a farm that was very basic, without indoor plumbing or electrical power. I knew why the main level stove pipes were exposed in the rooms on the second floor en route to the roof. They were the only heat the bedrooms upstairs ever had in winter. The home was really filled with various and sundry items from a farm house similar to the one in which I had lived.

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Cut it out!

“Stop letting your hearts trouble you”
John 14:1

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The context of our verse today is perplexing. You see, in John 13, the things that are detailed as happening just before Jesus said to the disciples to cut out their worrying shows that it was Jesus who got them all upset in the first place. Why did He upset them only to tell them to calm down? What did He do or say to disturb them so much? Is He still troubling His people today?

Well, in John 13, the chapter that describes the night in which Jesus was betrayed, the first thing that happened to create confusion and distress for the disciples was the incident of washing their feet. In the ancient near east there were a number of things a host would do in bringing a guest into their home.

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Hanging Out With Sinners

“Here is a glutton and a drunkard,
a friend of tax collectors and sinners.”
Matthew 11:1 (NIV)

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One of the worst slurs you could place on a person’s character and reputation in Jesus’ day was to call him/her a friend of tax collectors. This is exactly the reputation Jesus earned from certain of His people when He walked among us. He hung out with the wrong crowd for certain people who felt themselves very just and good in God’s sight because they avoided those who knew they were sinners. They would not dream of having conversation with people who had messed up morally and ethically. They saw themselves as the pure and righteous and kept to themselves.

Jesus addressed the issue of His social contacts very directly when He said that when John the Baptist performed his ministry he did not party or drink with anyone, he simply showed up in time to preach and the critics took issue with him. Then Jesus said that He came to the parties and drank with the people and they still found fault. In other words no social behaviour pleased His critics.

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“Gordon, how do you deal with so much suffering?”

“As your day so shall your strength be.”
Deuteronomy 33:25

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I have often been asked how I manage to hear of so much sorrow on a daily basis and not lose my mind or end up quitting my work as a crisis counsellor and pastor to people in pain. I am not terribly self conscious. That is, I do not think a lot about myself and how I manage things in my life. I don’t do self analysis concerning the issues I see in others. I have been told by others I show a considerable degree of compassion and at times I actually weep with those who weep as Jesus did.

However, my job is to help people organize their thoughts. They are rarely thinking clearly when I get involved with their crisis so I seek to do their thinking for them. Therefore I feel that I must show gentle composure to those I work with to address their issues. It is really helpful to them if I show the kindness of Jesus but I need to be the rock or stabilizing factor in the equation. I am looked to for a calm and peaceful spirit in the situation.

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The God Of All Comfort

“the Lord has heard of your misery”
Genesis 16:11

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Hagar to whom this word was spoken had a miserable situation that threatened her very life and that of her unborn child. She had been severely mistreated and she fled into the desert. The Angel of the Lord came to her and spoke these wonderful words.

In Genesis 16:13 we clearly see that this Angel is God Himself. Many who comment on this scene believe it was an incarnation of Jesus Christ. I agree.

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