Clearing Hurdles

Clearing Hurdles

Hurdles. They bring to mind Olympic runners, not a blind man from the pages of the Gospels. Yet Bartimaeus was driven by far more than a gold medal. Let’s look at his story.

He’s unnamed, known by his father’s, not his own.

He’s alone. No family, no friends guide him through the streets of Jericho.

He has no skills. He’s left to beg.

But he gets it.

 “As Jesus and his disciples, together with a large crowd, were leaving the city, a blind man, Bartimaeus (which means “son of Timaeus”), was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to shout, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!'” (Mark 10:46-47 NIV)

But something interesting happens. Jesus doesn’t go to him.

Instead, Jesus tells him to come.

Bartimaeus struggles over three hurdles to get to Jesus and to receive healing:

Hurdle #1: The Crowd As Bartimaeus cries out to Jesus, they shush him. Nothing doing. He gets louder. He clears the hurdle of what other people think. Is the opinion of others keeping you from healing? From a deeper relationship with Jesus?

Hurdle #2: The Handicap Jesus has called. A blind man must seek a stranger. Bartimaeus follows the noise, hoping someone will shove him in the right direction. He clears the hurdle of the handicap. What handicap do you need to hurdle?

Hurdle #3: The Baggage When Jesus calls for him, Mark records (Mark 10:46-52) that Bartimaeus threw his cloak aside, jumped to his feet, and came to Jesus. That cloak was probably all he had. We read nothing of friends or family. He’s begging. Notice too, Jesus asks him what he wants. Isn’t it obvious? But Jesus makes him articulate it. There’s baggage present and Jesus makes him confront it. What are you carrying?

Bartimaeus wanted healing and Jesus was the only one who could give it. The blind man was so desperate nothing could hold him back.

Are you there yet?

Nail your spiritual workouts this week and change your corner of the gym.

Workout of the Week: Clearing Hurdles

Memory Verse: “Throwing his cloak aside, he jumped to his feet and came to Jesus.” Mark 10:50 (NIV)

Meditation Passage: Matthew 20:29-34; Mark 10: 46-52; Luke 18: 35-43

Just Do It: Come.

 

 

Heroes, Villains, and Overcoming

Heroes, Villains, and Overcoming

Conflict. It’s essential in fiction.

Sherlock needs Moriarty. Batman needs the Joker. Wesley needs Prince Humperdinck.

Without conflict, our hero remains—ordinary.

Gandalf still wears gray. Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy remain in England. Harry Potter grows up without that scar.

Many question God regarding evil—why He permits it. Why did He create Satan when He knew the trouble he would cause? Why did God create man when He knew Adam would fall? Why doesn’t He stop the terrible things that happen in our world each and every day?

We know He can.

But Satan is not God’s equal, nor His nemesis. Satan is merely a fallen angel whom God has temporarily given limited elbowroom.

When Satan rebelled, one third of the angels followed him.

Two-thirds remained faithful. Pure. Holy.

The overcomers.

Let’s train with the angels this week:

  • Overcome your unbelief. “Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, ‘I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!’” (Mark 9:24 NIV) Where is your faith shaky? Ask God to strengthen your weak spots.
  • Overcome your enemy. “I am writing to you, fathers, because you know Him who is from the beginning. I am writing to you, young men, because you have overcome the evil one.” (1 John 2:13) The demonic host? Nothing but fallen angels. You are a son or daughter of the King.
  • Overcome the world. “ . . . for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” (1 Jn 5:4-5) Don’t roll over and play dead for the culture. Show the world something better.
  • Overcome evil. “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:21)

Revelation gives a list of rewards for overcomers:

  • The right to eat from the tree of life (2:7)
  • The crown of life (2:10)
  • Hidden manna and a white stone with a new name (2:17)
  • Authority over the nations and the morning star (2:26-28)
  • White clothes; name in the book of life permanently; acknowledged by the Father (3:5)
  • Pillar in God’s temple; God’s name written on him (3:12)
  • The right to sit with Jesus on His throne (3:21)

Though Adam’s sin brought a death sentence to all mankind, Jesus overcame, and for those who bear His name, He asks the same.

He asked Esther to overcome Haman, David to overcome Goliath, and Elijah to overcome the prophets of Baal.

He also asked Samson to overcome his flesh, Saul to overcome his insecurity, and Solomon to overcome his foolishness.

Shed ordinary and train to be an overcomer. Nail your spiritual workouts and change your corner of the gym.

Workout of the Week: Heroes, Villains, and Overcoming

Memory Verse: “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4

Meditation Passage: Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12, 21

Just Do It: Shed ordinary.

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