Tag Archives: object lesson

Study and George MacDonald

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Tuesday, March 14, 2017

bible, study

Study and George MacDonald

In the feeding of the 4000, Jesus did a big miracle. The miracle was multi-faceted. In this reading from our book today, George MacDonald not only explains the miracle but also unpacks the surrounding verses.

Sometimes I feel like the disciples. What part of Jesus’s words and actions do I not understand? (I know. A big part.)

A chunk of MacDonald’s commentary on this passage particularly struck me: the section where Jesus and the disciples talk about leaven. Yet again, the disciples do not understand. As MacDonald suggests to his readers, Jesus wanted them—and us—to learn from the experience. So many instances can be found in those teachings, as well as the actions of Jesus. A huge object lesson, if we consider it that way, and MacDonald lifts it up for us to learn.

Let’s set the stage. In the aftermath of the huge extravaganza of the day (for that was what the miracle of feeding had quickly become), Jesus and His disciples withdraw to a boat. In other words, they have a getaway car ready and waiting.

Jesus warns about “the leaven of the Pharisees.” His disciples have only a foggy idea of what He might be referring to. Their thinking is primarily concerned with their stomachs and what could possibly concern their day-to-day living.  (Oh, Jesus must be talking about how we didn’t bring any bread out to the boat for this trip.) Yet—are we any better? Do I have the same weaknesses of faith as the disciples?

Penetrating questions, and some particularly thought-provoking ones in MacDonald’s teaching on the feeding, too. Dear Lord, help me to glean information from George MacDonald, too. Lord, in Your mercy, hear all of our prayers.


Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my companion blogs, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.  #PursuePEACE. My Facebook page, Pursuing Peace – Thanks! And, read my sermons from Pastor, Preacher Pray-er.

A Prayerful Look at the Marvels of Nature

Matterofprayer: A Year of Everyday Prayers – Wednesday, February 11, 2015

bluebird and lilacs

A Prayerful Look at the Marvels of Nature

My prayer guide was specific today. Check out nature.

Watch a beautiful sunrise or sunset. (It was cloudy and overcast today, so no luck there.) Or, contemplate the waves of the ocean, a mountain lake, a waterfall. (Sort of difficult to do, seeing as I don’t live by either the ocean or the mountains. I could have gone to Lake Michigan today, but it was really blustery, and the temperature was dropping. It will be in the single digits overnight.)

Another suggestion was to look closely at a tree, a leaf, a beetle, or an animal. I did the next best thing, on this windy and chill and blustery day. I looked at a bird’s nest. My son had found a bird’s nest on the grass under a tree some two years ago. He still has it in a drawer in his room. So, I looked at the nest closely.

My instructions? “As you contemplate God’s creation, try to come to a better appreciation of God’s beauty, power, goodness, love, wisdom.”

I examined this nest—this creation of one of God’s creatures—with great interest. I’ve always been interested in birds and their nests, ever since I found one up in the cherry tree in my mom’s backyard in Chicago. (I found a nest, I mean. Not with a bird in it.)

This particular nest is in excellent condition. I suspect it could be used by any bird of the right size this coming spring. Just looking at it, the nest seems to fit a bird about the size of a robin. (I know smaller birds use smaller nests.) Marvelous construction! Larger branches are used at the bottom. Mid-sized branches and twigs daubed with some kind of mud hold the whole thing together. Plus, swirled, dried grasses line the inside of the nest to make a soft cushion for the eggs, and afterwards, the newly hatched chicks.

I am reminded of where Jesus talks about birds of the air in Matthew 6. He mentions that God the Father watches out for them, just like with this nest. Yes, I am in awe at this nest. This home for a bird, and resting place for eggs, and later, baby birds. Such a wonderful method of construction, and made with economy of materials. I would like to see humans make as functional a home for a bird in such a neat, tidy and well-made way. (Kudos to all of you, birds!)

God, You said You would watch out for me just as much as You watch out for all the birds. I know I have nothing—well, very little—to complain about! But Lord, please, help me to have faith in You. Give me the patience, hope and perseverance to keep on keeping on. And, thank You for such a marvelous object lesson from a bird’s nest.

Like what you read? Disagree? Share your thoughts with your loved ones and continue the conversation.

Why not visit my sister blog, “the best of” A Year of Being Kind.