E-votional - The Big Picture
April 5 - April 11, 2004


“If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.”

Luke 19:42 (NRSV)


Tears fall from eyes for many a reason. They come from pain and from pleasure, sorrow and even happiness. The pain or pleasure may have it's origin from within. Often times we feel like hurt is a physical thing, but too often more damage is done when it effects the soul. Sorrow and happiness can come our way without notice or expectation, but they still can result in the same thing, tears. This is where we find Jesus, in tears. Why, because we, the people, just don't get it, we can't see the Big Picture.

Hear the Good News, Christ calls us to see the Big Picture, Life. The big picture is what Jesus had been preaching and teaching from the beginning, so why, at this time, did things look so bleak? Time for us to take a look at our own lives for a second and ask this question: Why is it so hard to see the BIG PICTURE? The first is our problem and struggle with Selfishness. Paul reminds us in his letter to the Galatians(5:17), "For there is a root of sinful self-interest in us that is at odds with a free spirit, just as the free spirit is incompatible with selfishness. These two ways of life are antithetical, so that you cannot live at times one way and at times another way according to how you feel on any given day." It gets in the way of our relationship with God. Our agenda instead of God’s call. It clouds our minds and our hearts, hardening both to the point that neither are open or receptive to what God is really doing. In the next chapter, Paul continues by saying, "Don't be misled: No one makes a fool of God. What a person plants, he will harvest. The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others - ignoring God! - . No one can truly see the Big Picture when all they are looking out for is their own needs. I, I, I, Me, Me, Me. When this is what we are thinking about and focused on, we can’t hear or see God, much less recognize God’s activity. Selfishness is not our only struggle, there’s another doozie, Fear. "There is no room in love for fear. Well-formed love banishes fear. Since fear is crippling, a fearful life - fear of death, fear of judgment - is one not yet fully formed in love."(1 John 4:18) When we walk through life there are a number of points in our life which are filled with both comfort and fear. When things are going easy and well, it is easy to see things with a wider frame of sight and thought, but when we introduce fear, not only can it stop us in our tracks, but it can consume us, and rob us of any sight we may have had. The truth is we can't avoid it, so, we see it, feel it and then face it. Finally, our Lack of Awareness and Focus keeps us from seeing the Big Picture. I am sure this story sounds familiar, coming from Matthew 14. "At about four o'clock in the morning, Jesus came toward them walking on the water. They were scared out of their wits. "A ghost!" they said, crying out in terror. But Jesus was quick to comfort them. "Courage, it's me. Don't be afraid." Peter, suddenly bold, said, "Master, if it's really you, call me to come to you on the water." He said, "Come ahead." But when he looked down at the waves churning beneath his feet, he lost his nerve and started to sink. He cried, "Master, save me!" What a sight we must be. When do you think we will get it? People see success and failure as events. Let me let you in on a secret that could change the rest of your life, they are not. Successes and failures are not events. The test you ace with an “A” or flunk with and “F”, I imagine we have all been there, in life, school, relationship, our families, our character, you name it. I am here to tell you they were not one time events, they were processes. There were a series of events which led up to that very moment and time. The decision was made well before action was ever taken. You studied regularly or you did not. You knew right from wrong and exercised that knowledge. With family or friends, you either invested time in the relationship or did not. Process. We are called to a people who are ready and aware. This is what it takes to see what God is doing. "Therefore prepare your minds for action; discipline yourselves; set all your hope on the grace that Jesus Christ will bring you when he is revealed."(1 Peter 1:13)
The Big Picture is this: When Christ came into the city to shouts of Hosanna, He brought what God brings to us when He enters our life. Are You ready?
• Direction - Love One Another, even the guy next to you. Selflessness
• Grace – knowing and responding to God’s presence on our life. Loss of Fear
• Awareness – Having a focused mind and heart on God, being prepared for the opportunities that will come our way.
If today you find yourself struggling with seeing the Big Picture of what God is about and doing today, maybe what is needed more than anything, is some time to go back to that night so long ago and share the passion of Christ, that we might, with the greatest of clarity, see the Biggest Picture of all… This is My Body ... this is My Blood.


   Gracious God, thank You for offering to us all the Big Picture, the life, ministry and gift of Jesus Christ.  Help me in my direction, courage and awareness, as I live out Your call upon my life.  Free me to see You, the Big Picture.  Thank You for all You have done and all You continue to do.  In Jesus' name I pray. Amen.

Grace & Peace

David Banks
Jewett United Methodist Church
PO Box 254
Jewett, TX 75846
(903) 626-4003


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