Sunday, July 22, 2018

Reflection - Instructed by Christ - Slow learner

Source (book): "Finding rest for the soul", Chapter Eight, Question 2, Page 136.
By Robert M. Solomon, Bishop of the Methodist Church in Singapore from 2000 - 2012
      
                
Review and reflect on the reasons for slow learning: a hardened heart, panic and terror, a distracted mind, and spiritual sleepiness.
PHOTO: Review and reflect on the reasons for slow learning: a hardened heart, panic and terror, a distracted mind, and spiritual sleepiness.
We need to look at some of the causes of slow learning, so that we can avoid making the same mistakes made by Jesus' disciples.

Hardened Hearts
in Mark 8:17-18, Jesus gives one reason why the disciples did not understand the parable of the yeast of the Pharisees and Herod. The disciples had sight without insight. They heard noises without detecting the Voice. They noticed interesting events but did not reflect deeply enough to realise their spiritual significance. This contributed to the hardening of their hearts.

The disciples seemed so obsessed with mundane (unexciting) matters of food and hunger that they could not see Jesus warning - that the Pharisees' philosophies and ways had greatly destructive effects and wide-ranging consequences, and had to be challenged within individual hearts and society at large.

It seems that the disciples' hardened hearts and lack of understanding were chronic conditions.

Panic and Terror
On an earlier boat ride, the disciples were caught in a sudden squall (Mark 4:35-41). Jesus was in the boat with them. As the boat looked about to sink in the darkness, the terrified disciples woke their sleeping Teacher up and asked Him, "Don't you care if we drown?" (Mark 4:38). Perhaps they were hoping that Jesus would help them bail water out of the boat; instead, He commanded the waves to be still, and miraculously, this is exactly what happened (Mark 4:39}. The whistling of the storm and crashing of giant breakers were suddenly replaced by a warm breeze and gentle lapping of waves against the side of the boat. It must have been a terrifying moment for the disciples as they witnessed the complete command and authority that Jesus had over nature.

In continuing to sleep during the storm, Jesus was trying to teach them a simple but important lesson: if He was present, then they had nothing to be afraid of. No matter how frightening the storm was, they could place their trust in Him. Whenever God calls people to follow Him or do His work, He always promises His presence. It was a great lesson on the presence of the Lord, but in their fear and panic, it would seem that the disciples missed Jesus' profound lesson. Instead, they woke Him and asked Him do His part to help keep the boat afloat.

At the height of great panic, it is difficult to learn life's deepest lessons. We have to be still in order to learn who God is (Psalm 46:10). Then, when trouble comes, we will know how to trust Him. But when Jesus' disciples saw Him sleeping in the boat amid the storm, they panicked even more; they forget that He had clearly announced His intention to reach the other side of the lake (Mark 4:35). If they had remembered His words and trusted Him, they would have responded appropriately and learned the lesson He was trying to teach them.

Distracted Minds
Jesus told His disciples repeatedly about His impending death and resurrection. Mark's gospel records three occasions when this happened. On each of these occasions, according to Mark, the disciples failed to understand because they were thinking in worldly terms and were distracted by their self-centredness.

The first time, Peter rebuked Him (Mark 8:32). Though the impulsive disciple had confessed Jesus to be the Messiah (Mark 8:29), he was too full of his own ideas of what the Messiah should be like and what He should be doing.

The second time, though the disciples again did not understand what He meant (Mark 9:30-32), they "were afraid to ask him about it". Jesus had just revealed how He would die soon, and their response was to have a childish argument about who was the best.

The third time, the disciples listened - and immediately after, James and John approached Jesus requesting the honour of sitting on His right and left in His kingdom (Mark 10:35-40). Once again, Jesus had to spend time teaching them about how true greatness was measured by humility, servanthood, and sacrificial service (Mark 10:42-45).

Are we not like them, with distracted minds some of the time?

Spiritual Sleepiness
The disciples also failed to grasp some of Jesus' most important lessons because they were spiritually sleepy, unable to perceive the truths that their Master was teaching them. They demonstrated this physically by giving in to their need to sleep. Several times in the Bible, we read of disciples falling asleep at critical points in Jesus' life and missing out on important lessons.

When we felt sleepy at a lesson, we eventually drift away and miss the lesson. Spiritual sleepiness does the same thing: you read the Bible sleepily and miss what the Lord is saying to you; sleepy students are the poorest of learners. It is possible to be active and busy externally but spiritually drowsy. When that happens, you will not notice what God is saying or doing in your life, and you will not be able to give Christ's instructions serious attention.

Which of these is most commonly seen among Christian?
Distracted Minds.

Pastor and writer A. W. Tozer observes how many Christians do not stay with the Lord enough to really learn from Him. They may be busy opening their mouths, but their hearts and ears remain closed.

What is your own experience? Where do you find yourself a slow learner in the things of God?
We must be wondering if Jesus' disciples had learnt anything. After all, their hearts were hardened, they were at times overcome by panic and terror, their minds were often distracted, and they were sleepy at the most critical times. But we must remember a few things.

We should remember that we are often just as bad as the disciples were - slow to learn from Jesus because we miss the point of His lessons, ask the wrong questions, become distracted by our own prejudices and fears, and have a hardened heart that stops us from drawing deep insights from His teaching. How many times has the Lord needed to repeat His lesson because we did not understand? Do we exasperate Him too when we fail to improve?

 
An attentive heart is central to learning from Jesus.

The great Teacher, who is the Truth and will bring us words of eternal life, is ready to teach us personally. He invites us to come to Him and to learn from Him.
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Review and reflect on the reasons for slow learning: a hardened heart, panic and terror, a distracted mind, and spiritual sleepiness. Which of these is most commonly seen among Christian? What is your own experience? Where do you find yourself a slow learner in the things of God?


Review and reflect on the reasons for slow learning: a hardened heart, panic and terror, a distracted mind, and spiritual sleepiness.
Don't Be a Slow Learner [1]
Jesus' disciples were not the best of students. They did not understand what He taught, whether publicly or privately, and were frequently out of their depth, like primary school students taking a university course. Why did this happen? It is not that Jesus used difficult vocabulary; His lessons were simple and used plain language. He told many stories packed with details His listeners could identify with and characters they would find familiar. Of course, these stories contained deep spiritual truths that were meant to get listeners to think and reflect; if these truths were allowed to take root, they would have the power to produce a change of mind, heart, and life. Sadly, they were often lost on His audience. When Jesus told the parable of the sower, the disciples asked Him, "Why do you speak to the people in parables?" (Matthew 13:10). Prehaps they felt that if they could not understand Jesus, the people would have even greater difficulty.



Jesus' lessons were simple and He used plain language.

PHOTO: Jesus' lessons were simple and He used plain language. He told many stories packed with details His listeners could identify with and characters they would find familiar. These stories contained deep spiritual truths that were meant to get listeners to think and reflect; if these truths were allowed to take root, they would have the power to produce a change of mind, heart, and life.
Picture from slideplayer.com

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Jesus knew His disciples well. He knew how they were often slow to learn and understand, so He would augment His public lectures with a private tutorial for His perplexed students. "He did not say anything to them without using parable. But when he was alone with his own disciples, he explained everything" (Mark 4:34, emphasis added). But still, it seemed, the disciples failed to understand.



Jesus knew His disciples well.


PHOTO: Jesus knew His disciples well. He knew how they were often slow to learn and understand, so He would augment His public lectures with a private tutorial for His perplexed students.
Picture posted by Jack Wellman

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http://www.rhetoricaljesus.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/image39.jpg
http://www.rhetoricaljesus.com/why-do-i-speak-in-parables-to-the-people/



At times, it must really have been exasperating for the Lord to have such slow students. Once, after He warned His disciples about "the yeast of the Pharisees and that of Herod" (Mark 8:15) and they failed to comprehend what He was referring to, He asked them "Do you still not see or understand?" (Mark 8:17). He then proceeded to give more explanation, and asked again, possibly with some degree of exasperation, "Do you still not understand?" (Mark 8:21).



Jesus' disciples were not the best of students.

PHOTO: Jesus' disciples were not the best of students. They did not understand what He taught, whether publicly or privately, and were frequently out of their depth, like primary school students taking a university course. At times, it must really have been exasperating for the Lord to have such slow students. He then proceeded to give more explanation, and asked again, possibly with some degree of exasperation, "Do you still not understand?" (Mark 8:21).
Picture from Wikimedia Commons, the free media repository
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What was the problem with the disciples? Why were they so slow to understand Jesus their Teacher? We need to look at some of the causes of slow learning, so that we can avoid making the same mistakes.

Hardened Hearts [1]
In Mark 8:17-18, Jesus gives one reason why the disciples did not understand the parable of the yeast of the Pharisees and Herod. "Are your hearts hardened?" He asked them. "Do you have eyes but fail to see, and ears but fail to hear? And don't your remember?" The disciples had sight without insight. They heard noises without detecting the Voice. They noticed interesting events but did not reflect deeply enough to realise their spiritual significance. This contributed to the hardening of their hearts.



Hardened Hearts

PHOTO: Hardened Hearts
In Mark 8:17-18, Jesus gives one reason why the disciples did not understand the parable of the yeast of the Pharisees and Herod.
The disciples had sight without insight. They heard noises without detecting the Voice. They noticed interesting events but did not reflect deeply enough to realise their spiritual significance. This contributed to the hardening of their hearts.
Picture posted by Elspeth on Friday, 25 July 2014 at 0:28

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http://elspethasenath.blogspot.com/2014/07/yo-soy-la-vid-verdadera.html



The disciples thought Jesus was talking to them about a lack of bread (Mark 8:16). So Jesus reminded them that He had just miraculously fed the two large crowds (Mark 6:35-44; 8:1-10). The One who was able to feed a multitude would have no problem dealing with a shortage of bread. But the disciples seemed so obsessed with mundane (unexciting) matters of food and hunger that they could not see Jesus warning - that the Pharisees' philosophies and ways had greatly destructive effects and wide-ranging consequences, and had to be challenged within individual hearts and society at large.

It seems, however, that the disciples' hardened hearts and lack of understanding were chronic conditions. Just before this incident, Jesus had walked on water to reach His troubled disciples when their boat was being buffered by strong winds and waves (Mark 6:47-52). He then got into the boat and the wind died down - the Bible notes that "They were completely amazed, for they had not understood about the loaves; their hearts were hardened" (Mark 6:51-52, emphasis added).



The disciples seemed so obsessed with mundane (unexciting) matters of food and hunger that they could not see Jesus warning

PHOTO: The disciples seemed so obsessed with mundane (unexciting) matters of food and hunger that they could not see Jesus warning - that the Pharisees' philosophies and ways had greatly destructive effects and wide-ranging consequences, and had to be challenged within individual hearts and society at large. The disciples' hardened hearts and lack of understanding were chronic conditions.
Picture posted by  Antonieta y Oscar and Tiempo Ordinario on 13 February 2017

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https://www.rezaconmigo.com/dia-2-lectura-diaria-para-la-6a-semana-del-tiempo-ordinario/



Panic and Terror [1]
On an earlier boat ride, the disciples were caught in a sudden squall (a sudden violent gust of wind or localized storm, especially one bringing rain, snow, or sleet) (Mark 4:35-41). This time, Jesus was in the boat with them. As the boat looked about to sink in the darkness, the terrified disciples woke their sleeping Teacher up and asked Him, "Don't you care if we drown?" (Mark 4:38). Perhaps they were hoping that Jesus would help them bail water out of the boat; instead, He commanded the waves to be still, and miraculously, this is exactly what happened (Mark 4:39}. The whistling of the storm and crashing of giant breakers were suddenly replaced by a warm breeze and gentle lapping of waves against the side of the boat. It must have been a terrifying moment for the disciples as they witnessed the complete command and authority that Jesus had over nature. But Jesus chided them. "Why are you so afraid?" He asked, "Do you still have no faith?" (Mark 4:40).

In continuing to sleep during the storm, Jesus was trying to teach them a simple but important lesson: if He was present, then they had nothing to be afraid of. No matter how frightening the storm was, they could place their trust in Him. Whenever God calls people to follow Him or do His work, He always promises His presence - "I will be with you"; "I am with you always" (Exodus 3:12; Joshua 1:5; Matthew 28:20). It was a great lesson on the presence of the Lord, but in their fear and panic, it would seem that the disciples missed Jesus' profound lesson. Instead, they woke Him and asked Him do His part to help keep the boat afloat.



Panic and Terror

PHOTO: Panic and TerrorOn an earlier boat ride, the disciples were caught in a sudden squall (Mark 4:35-41). As the boat looked about to sink in the darkness, the terrified disciples woke their sleeping Teacher up and asked Him, "Don't you care if we drown?" (Mark 4:38). Jesus commanded the waves to be still, and miraculously, this is exactly what happened (Mark 4:39}.
In continuing to sleep during the storm, Jesus was trying to teach them a simple but important lesson: if He was present, then they had nothing to be afraid of. No matter how frightening the storm was, they could place their trust in Him.
Picture posted by Daniel Melvill Jones on 22 October 2015

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https://static1.squarespace.com/static/53c011e3e4b088c37bb9551a/t/56292fb5e4b00bbdefb6c816/1445539789136/Storm
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Since His disciples were too distracted by the squall to learn this lesson, Jesus moved to the next lesson and stilled the storm. He was now teaching them about His power. It was also a good lesson, but perhaps not as important or as critical as the first.

At the height of great panic, it is difficult to learn life's deepest lessons. We have to be still in order to learn who God is (Psalm 46:10). Then, when trouble comes, we will know how to trust Him. But when Jesus' disciples saw Him sleeping in the boat amid the storm, they panicked even more; they forget that He had clearly announced His intention to reach the other side of the lake (Mark 4:35). If they had remembered His words and trusted Him, they would have responded appropriately and learned the lesson He was trying to teach them.



At the height of great panic, it is difficult to learn life's deepest lessons.

PHOTO: At the height of great panic, it is difficult to learn life's deepest lessons. We have to be still in order to learn who God is (Psalm 46:10).  If the disciples had remembered His words and trusted Him, they would have responded appropriately and learned the lesson He was trying to teach them.
Picture posted by Pastor Ted Giese on 26 June 2018

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Distracted Minds [1]
Jesus told His disciples repeatedly about His impending death and resurrection. Mark's gospel records three occasions when this happened - Mark 8:31-33; 9:30-32; and 10:32-34. On each of these occasions, according to Mark, the disciples failed to understand because they were thinking in worldly terms and were distracted by their self-centredness.



Distracted Minds

PHOTO: Distracted Minds
Jesus told His disciples repeatedly about His impending death and resurrection. Mark's gospel records three occasions when this happened. On each of these occasions, according to Mark, the disciples failed to understand because they were thinking in worldly terms and were distracted by their self-centredness.
Picture posted by Poor Family of Nazareth on Friday, 04 May 2018

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The first time, Peter rebuked Him (Mark 8:32). Though the impulsive disciple had confessed Jesus to be the Messiah (Mark 8:29), he was too full of his own ideas of what the Messiah should be like and what He should be doing. Jesus had to rebuke His distracted pupil in turn (Mark 8:33) and teach them all what it would mean to follow Him (Mark 8:34-38). Later, Peter would learn this lesson more fully and personally - according to Christian tradition, the disciple was crucified for his faith.



Distracted Minds

PHOTO: Distracted Minds
The first time, Jesus revealed how He would die soon, Peter rebuked Him (
Mark 8:32). Though the impulsive disciple had confessed Jesus to be the Messiah (Mark 8:29), he was too full of his own ideas of what the Messiah should be like and what He should be doing.
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The second time, though the disciples again did not understand what He meant (Mark 9:30-32), they "were afraid to ask him about it". Perhaps they remembered how Jesus had rebuked Peter the first time. This, however, did not stop them from talking among themselves. Jesus was well aware of their chatter as they walked behind Him. "What were you arguing about on the road?" He asked them. They were too embarrassed and afraid to reply, because they had been arguing about who was the greatest (Mark 9:33-34). Imagine that! Jesus had just revealed how He would die soon, and their response was to have a childish argument about who was the best. It must have required great patience for Jesus to explain to them the secret of true leadership and greatness in His kingdom (Mark 9:35-37).



Distracted Minds

PHOTO: Distracted Minds
The second time Jesus revealed how He would die soon, and their response was to have a childish argument about who was the best.
Picture posted by Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania

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https://www.jw.org/en/publications/books/learn-from-great-teacher-jesus/he-served-other-people/



The third time, the disciples listened - and immediately after, James and John approached Jesus requesting the honour of sitting on His right and left in His kingdom (Mark 10:35-40). Once again, Jesus had to spend time teaching them about how true greatness was measured by humility, servanthood, and sacrificial service (Mark 10:42-45). We may gasp at the disciples' lack of depth and shake our heads at what poor students they were, but we should also ask ourselves: Are we not like them some of the time?



Distracted Minds

PHOTO: Distracted Minds
The third time Jesus revealed how He would die soon, the disciples listened - and immediately after, James and John approached Jesus requesting the honour of sitting on His right and left in His kingdom (
Mark 10:35-40). We may gasp at the disciples' lack of depth and shake our heads at what poor students they were, but we should also ask ourselves: Are we not like them some of the time?
Picture posted by Macedonian Genuine Orthodox Church on 20 April 2013

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https://i.ytimg.com/vi/9rEbFPhHn8Y/maxresdefault.jpg
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rEbFPhHn8Y



Spiritual Sleepiness [1]
The disciples also failed to grasp some of Jesus' most important lessons because they were spiritually sleepy, unable to perceive the truths that their Master was teaching them. They demonstrated this physically by giving in to their need to sleep. Several times in the Bible, we read of disciples falling asleep at critical points in Jesus' life and missing out on important lessons.



Spiritual Sleepiness occurs when we are unable to perceive the truths about the teaching and physically give in to the need to sleep.

PHOTO: Spiritual Sleepiness occurs when we are unable to perceive the truths about the teaching and physically give in to the need to sleep. By falling asleep at critical points we miss out on important lessons.
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When Jesus took Peter, James, and John up a mountain to pray, they should have had an inkling that something important would happen - after all, He was taking a select group of His closest disciples with Him (Matthew 17:1-8; Mark 9:2-8; Luke 9:28-36). Luke's account, however, notes that "Peter and his companions were very sleepy" (Luke 9:32). It was only when they saw Jesus appearance change and Moses and Elijah appear, that "they became fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him". In their sleepy state, they appeared to have difficulty perceiving and understanding what was going in: Peter is recorded as having suggested something - putting up three shelters - that showed "He did not know what he was saying" (Luke 9:33). Mark's account, too, notes that the three disciples remained quite clueless after the event. Jesus told them to keep what they saw to themselves until after He had risen from the dead, but they did not seem to understand what "rising from the dead" meant (Mark 9:9-10).



Spiritual Sleepiness

PHOTO: Spiritual Sleepiness
The disciples also failed to grasp some of Jesus' most important lessons because they were spiritually sleepy, unable to perceive the truths that their Master was teaching them. When Jesus took Peter, James, and John up a mountain to pray, ans while Jesus was praying, the Apostles fell asleep.
Picture posted by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints

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The same three disciples were once again caught sleeping in the Garden of Gethsemane, when Jesus was going through great travail (painful or labourious effort) and had specifically requested them to keep watch with Him (Matthew 26:36-46; Mark 14:32-41; Luke 22:40-46). The Lord needed some comforting human company, but kept finding them asleep (Matthew 26:40, 43, 45; Mark 14:37, 40, 41; Luke 22:45-46). Luke kindly gives them an excuse - they were too "exhausted from sorrow" (Luke 22:45). Perhaps so, but if they were awake, they might have witnessed God the Son talking to God the Father, and seen the deep anguish of Jesus.



Spiritual Sleepiness


PHOTO: Spiritual Sleepiness
Peter, James, and John were once again caught sleeping in the Garden of Gethsemane, when Jesus was going through great travail (painful or labourious effort) and had specifically requested them to keep watch with Him.
Artwork by Harold Copping - Garden of Gethsemane
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Since the three disciples fell asleep at this critical moment, how do we know what happened? It is very likely that after His resurrection, Jesus told them about His experience at Gethsemane. He had to repeat the lesson because the sleepy students had failed to keep watch with Him and missed it.

When we felt sleepy at a lesson, we eventually drift away and miss the lesson. Spiritual sleepiness does the same thing: you read the Bible sleepily and miss what the Lord is saying to you; sleepy students are the poorest of learners. It is possible to be active and busy externally but spiritually drowsy. When that happens, you will not notice what God is saying or doing in your life, and you will not be able to give Christ's instructions serious attention.



Spiritual Sleepiness

PHOTO: Spiritual Sleepiness
When we felt sleepy at a lesson, we eventually drift away and miss the lesson. It is possible to be active and busy externally but spiritually drowsy. When that happens, we will not notice what God is saying or doing in our life, and we will not be able to give Christ's instructions serious attention.
Picture posted by Krista Marie, Verbal Symphonies for the Soul.

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https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/1600/1*mpOxQrAtJDMfSvpnfomV6g.jpeg
https://medium.com/@_SpiritualSiren/shhh-cfc35b02a6f7



Which of these is most commonly seen among Christian?
Distracted Minds.

Pastor and writer A. W. Tozer observes how many Christians do not stay with the Lord enough to really learn from Him. They may be busy opening their mouths, but their hearts and ears remain closed. In The Divine Conquest, he writes: "May not the inadequacy of much of our spiritual experience be traced back to our habit of skipping through the corridors of the Kingdom like children in the marketplace, chattering about everything, but pausing to learn the value of nothing?" [32]


Distracted Minds is most commonly seen among Christian.

PHOTO: Distracted Minds is most commonly seen among Christian.
Many Christians do not stay with the Lord enough to really learn from Him. They may be busy, but their hearts and ears remain closed.
Picture posted by 123RF Limited

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What is your own experience? Where do you find yourself a slow learner in the things of God?
By now, we must be wondering if Jesus' disciples had learnt anything. After all, their hearts were hardened, they were at times overcome by panic and terror, their minds were often distracted, and they were sleepy at the most critical times. But we must remember a few things.

First, things improved after Pentecost, when the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:1-4). They went on to become great teachers, preachers, missionaries, and apostles. Of course, they still had moments of stumbling. Peter, for example, preached a great sermon on Pentecost Day that brought in a harvest of 3,000 souls (Acts 2:14-41), yet later had difficulty understanding God's missionary plans for the Gentiles. God had to give him a vision of a large sheet being let down from heaven that contained animals both allowed and forbidden by the law of Moses (Acts 10:9-12). Three times, Peter was told to kill and eat the animals; each time he refused, he was told not to call impure what God had made clean (Acts 10:13-16). It was only when messengers from Cornelius, a Roman Centurion, arrived to fetch Peter, that the disciple realised what God was teaching him.



When the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit they went on to become great teachers, preachers, missionaries, and apostles.

PHOTO: When the disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit they went on to become great teachers, preachers, missionaries, and apostles. Of course, they still had moments of stumbling. Peter, for example, preached a great sermon on Pentecost Day that brought in a harvest of 3,000 souls, yet later had difficulty understanding God's missionary plans for the Gentiles. God had to give him a vision, he was told not to call impure what God had made clean.
Picture saved by Ashley Berry to Bible Story's - "Peter's Vision" Acts 10:13-16

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https://i.pinimg.com/564x/5f/6a/39/5f6a39845c0090d8539e700d5110cf52.jpg
https://www.pinterest.se/pin/344595808974485298/



The good thing was that Peter finally understood and learnt his lesson. It enabled him to be used by God to break through ethnic boundaries, which marked a significant moment in God's mission. Cornelius and his family believed and were baptised (Acts 10:47-48).

Still, there was another time when Peter drew back from eating with Gentile believers because he was afraid of a legalistic group who wanted the Gentiles to follow Jewish customs (Galatians 2:11-13). Paul had to confront Peter and rebuke him for his hypocrisy (Galatians 2:14). Yes, there were occasional remnants of their earlier spiritual denseness, but in general, the disciples became good learners, sensitive to God's teaching.



Peter drew back from eating with Gentile believers because he was afraid of a legalistic group who wanted the Gentiles to follow Jewish customs (Galatians 2:11-13).

PHOTO: Peter drew back from eating with Gentile believers because he was afraid of a legalistic group who wanted the Gentiles to follow Jewish customs (Galatians 2:11-13). Paul had to confront Peter and
rebuke him for his hypocrisy (Galatians 2:14). In general, the disciples became good learners, sensitive to God's teaching.
Picture posted by Reformadoresdaaude.com - Galatians 2, Paul Confronts Peter

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http://websolution3d.com/db_image/fe/paulopregava.jpg
http://www.reformadoresdasaude.com/info/index.php/historia/egw/livros-da-egw/26-atos-dos-apostolos?start=30



Second, we should remember that we are often just as bad as the disciples were - slow to learn from Jesus because we miss the point of His lessons, ask the wrong questions, become distracted by our own prejudices and fears, and have a hardened heart that stops us from drawing deep insights from His teaching. How many times has the Lord needed to repeat His lesson because we did not understand? Do we exasperate Him too when we fail to improve?



We are often just as bad as the disciples were - slow to learn from Jesus because we miss the point of His lessons, ask the wrong questions, become distracted by our own prejudices and fears, and have a hardened heart that stops us from drawing deep insights from His teaching.

PHOTO: We are often just as bad as the disciples were - slow to learn from Jesus because we miss the point of His lessons, ask the wrong questions, become distracted by our own prejudices and fears, and have a hardened heart that stops us from drawing deep insights from His teaching. The Lord needed to repeat His lesson because we did not understand.
Picture posted by Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania

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https://assetsnffrgf-a.akamaihd.net/assets/m/2008085/univ/art/2008085_univ_lsr_lg.jpg
https://www.jw.org/en/publications/magazines/wp20080201/why-pray-in-jesus-name/



Once, at predawn, around 4 am in the morning, my sister and I were on our way to the PCN (Park Connector Network) for our morning walk, we heard a pack of dogs barking and fighting among themselves. I went forward to appreciate the situation better. There were about 6 dogs rushing at each other and were moving swiftly in our direction. We have no weapon to defend ourselves and we cannot outrun the fierce dogs tearing at one another. In panic my sister screamed at me to stop and stay with her. But it was already too late, the dogs were already around us, jumping and howling. Miraculously, they did not attack us. They fight past us, and we were safe, which seem impossible.



We heard a pack of dogs barking and fighting among themselves.

PHOTO: We heard a pack of dogs barking and fighting among themselves. They were rushing at each other and were moving swiftly in our direction. We have no weapon to defend ourselves and we cannot outrun the fierce dogs. In panic my sister screamed at me to stop and stay with her. But it was already too late, the dogs were already around us, jumping and howling. Miraculously, they did not attack us. They fight past us, and we were safe, which seem impossible.
Picture by mangakasan, Digital Art / Drawings & Paintings / Animals, ©2011-2018 mangakasan - night of the snowy march

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https://pre00.deviantart.net/6c7c/th/pre/i/2011/189/4/3/night_of_the_snowy_march_by_mangakasan-d3ld5ko.png
https://www.deviantart.com/mangakasan/art/night-of-the-snowy-march-217284216



In our terror and panic, we became distracted to understand the presence of the Lord. With Him around we needed not panicked and be terrified like we did. We should have remembered to be still and trusted Him, and needed not responded in such an inappropriate manner. The sound and sight of the fighting dogs were enough to push us to the wrong extreme end of fear and panic. We become so distracted that we cannot think properly. In reality, even with our bare hands we could still defend ourselves by knocking the dogs' nose. Knowing the presence of the Lord, we would be psychologically equipped to defend ourselves and be protected.



In our terror and panic, we became distracted to understand the presence of the Lord.

PHOTO: In our terror and panic, we became distracted to understand the presence of the Lord. With Him around we needed not panicked and be terrified like we did. We should have remembered to be still and trusted Him, and needed not responded in such an inappropriate manner. The sound and sight of the fighting dogs were enough to push us to the wrong extreme end of fear and panic.
Picture by WolfRoad, Digital Art / Drawings & Paintings / Animals. ©2012-2018 WolfRoad - Not one step back

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https://i.pinimg.com/originals/27/ba/4f/27ba4fd0e34aec61f78af2e4e81b0d65.jpg
https://www.deviantart.com/wolfroad/art/Not-one-step-back-316313265?q=special:popular&qo=2



Still another time, also during predawn, we were caught in a heavy rain along the PCN. The strong wind caused the trees to sway dangerously from side to side. We heard the falling of dried branches on the road. Lighting flashed and loud thunder made us panicked even more. The loud whistling of the gusting wind strike fear in our heart. We panicked and became distracted. Instead of moving forward another 300 meters to reach a temporary shelter, we went the other direction - 3 km towards home. For the next 45 minutes we were totally drenched, until we finally reached home. The Lord had provided the necessary shelter but "at the height of great panic, it is difficult to learn life's deepest lessons". However we manage to learn something. The next time when we were caught in the same situation, we headed along the correct direction. We learnt through the difficult way.



During predawn, we were caught in a heavy rain along the PCN.

PHOTO: During predawn, we were caught in a heavy rain along the PCN. The strong wind caused the trees to sway dangerously from side to side. We heard the falling of dried branches on the road. Lighting flashed and loud thunder made us panicked even more. The loud whistling of the gusting wind strike fear in our heart. We panicked and became distracted. Instead of moving forward another 300 meters to reach a temporary shelter, we went the other direction - 3 km towards home. For the next 45 minutes we were totally drenched, until we finally reached home. "At the height of great panic, it is difficult to learn life's deepest lessons".
Picture posted by Pressa.j on 05 June 2018 at 10:13
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https://presa.ge/new/img/multimedia/a79552b.jpg
https://presa.ge/new/?m=society&AID=66449



On the other hand, how wonderful it must be for the Lord to see His disciples learning well, paying close attention to His instruction, grasping the depths of His lessons, and retaining what we learn to prevent repeating our mistakes! Surely it delights the Lord to see us growing and moving from drinking the milk of basic truths to consuming the solid meat of His teaching. That is why Jesus, when referring to the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, said, "Whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance" (Matthew 13:11-12).



It is wonderful for the Lord to see His disciples learning well, paying close attention to His instruction, grasping the depths of His lessons, and retaining what we learn to prevent repeating our mistakes.

PHOTO: It is wonderful for the Lord to see His disciples learning well, paying close attention to His instruction, grasping the depths of His lessons, and retaining what we learn to prevent repeating our mistakes.
Picture saved byt Edith Goodwin to Jehovah's - Promises of Paradise

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https://i.pinimg.com/originals/3a/77/4a/3a774afc3ca1fadc93e75e9ab87cb0e4.jpg
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/18155204722785034



An attentive heart is central to learning from Jesus. As 19th-century Russian  priest and writer Theophan the Recluse wisely observed in Seeking God, "One act is required - and that is all: for this one act pulls everything and keeps everything in order . . . This one act is to stand with attention in your heart." [33]



An attentive heart is central to learning from Jesus.

PHOTO: An attentive heart is central to learning from Jesus.
It delights the Lord to see us growing and moving from drinking the milk of basic truths to consuming the solid meat of His teaching.
Picture posted by Arpita Jain

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https://i.pinimg.com/originals/13/25/21/132521ea5b59c6f463223bcd10ec2610.gif
https://www.pinterest.com.au/pin/346847608796165366/?lp=true
https://plus.google.com/107951063998453982842/posts/9qrwtXqLDs2



The great Teacher, who is the Truth and will bring us words of eternal life, is ready to teach us personally. He invites us to come to Him and to learn from Him. How will we respond?



Dear Lord, Please help us to overcome the causes of slow learning, that is, a hardened heart, panic and terror, a distracted mind, and spiritual sleepiness. We need help to stop being obsessed with mundane matters of food and hunger that prevent us from noticing Jesus instructions. Help us to learn the  important lesson, that if Jesus is present, then we have nothing to be afraid of. No matter how frightening the situation maybe, we can place our trust in Him. We learn that we cannot always be thinking in worldly terms and become distracted by our self-centredness. We desperately need your help in this matter. We pray for your help in preventing us from being spiritually sleepy and eventually drift away, missing the instructions from Jesus. We do not want to be active and busy externally but spiritually drowsy because when that happens, we will not notice what you are saying or doing in our life, and we will not be able to give Christ's instructions serious attention. We accept your invitation to learn from you about the truth and eternal life. Through Lord Jesus Christ we pray. Amen!

PHOTO: "Dear Lord, Please help us to overcome the causes of slow learning, that is, a hardened heart, panic and terror, a distracted mind, and spiritual sleepiness. We need help to stop being obsessed with mundane matters of food and hunger that prevent us from noticing Jesus instructions. Help us to learn the  important lesson, that if Jesus is present, then we have nothing to be afraid of. No matter how frightening the situation maybe, we can place our trust in Him. We learn that we cannot always be thinking in worldly terms and become distracted by our self-centredness. We desperately need your help in this matter. We pray for your help in preventing us from being spiritually sleepy and eventually drift away, missing the instructions from Jesus. We do not want to be active and busy externally but spiritually drowsy because when that happens, we will not notice what you are saying or doing in our life, and we will not be able to give Christ's instructions serious attention. We accept your invitation to learn from you about the truth and eternal life. Through Lord Jesus Christ we pray. Amen!"
Artist Mario Duguay
Picture posted by blueangelonline.com

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lightworker.png
https://www.blueangelonline.com/images/lightworker-journal-sample.pdf

 
Reflection - Instructed by Christ - Slow learner
Question from source (book): "Finding rest for the soul", Chapter Eight, Question 2, Page 136.
By Robert M. Solomon, Bishop of the Methodist Church in Singapore from 2000 - 2012



Reference
[1] From "Finding rest for the soul" Responding to Jesus' Invitation in Matthew 11:28-29, Copyright © 2016 by Robert M. Solomon, ISBN 978-1-62707-709-5, Part III: LEARN FROM ME, Chapter Eight "Learning from Jesus: Instructed by Christ", Page 126-136

[32] A. W. Tozer, The Divine Conquest (Camp Hill, PA: Christian Publications, 1950; copyright remewed 1978, Lowell Tozer), 22.

[33] Cited in Esther de Waal, Seeking God, 155.

New International Version (NIV), Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.


Acts 2:1-4 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts+2%3A1-4&version=NIV

Acts 2:14-41 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts+2%3A14-41&version=NIV

Acts 10:9-12 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts+10%3A9-12&version=NIV

Acts 10:13-16 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts+10%3A13-++16&version=NIV

Acts 10:47-48 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Acts+10%3A47-48&version=NIV

Exodus 3:12; Joshua 1:5; Matthew 28:20 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Exodus+3%3A12%3B+Joshua+1%3A5%3B+Matthew+28%3A20&version=NIV

Galatians 2:11-13 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Galatians+2%3A11-13&version=NIV

Galatians 2:14 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Galatians+2%3A14&version=NIV

Luke 9:32 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+9%3A32&version=NIV

Luke 9:33 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+9%3A33&version=NIV

Luke 22:45 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Luke+22%3A45&version=NIV

Mark 4:34 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+++4%3A34&version=NIV

Mark 4:35 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+4%3A35&version=NIV

Mark 4:35-41 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+4%3A35-41&version=NIV

Mark 4:38 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+4%3A38&version=NIV

Mark 4:39 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+4%3A39&version=NIV

Mark 4:40 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+4%3A40&version=NIV

Mark 6:35-44; 8:1-10 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+6%3A35-44%3B+8%3A1-10&version=NIV

Mark 6:47-52 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+6%3A47-52&version=NIV

Mark 6:51-52 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+6%3A51-52&version=NIV

Mark 8:15 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+8%3A15&version=NIV

Mark 8:16 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+8%3A16&version=NIV

Mark 8:17 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+8%3A17&version=NIV

Mark 8:17-18 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+8%3A17-18&version=NIV

Mark 8:21 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+8%3A21&version=NIV

Mark 8:29 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+8%3A29&version=NIV

Mark 8:31-33; 9:30-32; 10:32-34https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+8%3A31-33%3B+9%3A30-32%3B+10%3A32-34&version=NIV

Mark 8:32 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+8%3A32&version=NIV

Mark 8:33 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+8%3A33&version=NIV

Mark 8:34-38 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+8%3A34-38&version=NIV

Mark 9:9-10 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+9%3A9-10&version=NIV

Mark 9:30-32 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+9%3A30-32&version=NIV

Mark 9:33-34 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+9%3A33-++34&version=NIV

Mark 9:35-37 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+9%3A35-37&version=NIV

Mark 10:35-40 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+10%3A35-40&version=NIV

Mark 10:42-45 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Mark+10%3A42-45&version=NIV

Matthew 11:28-29 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+11%3A28-29&version=NIV

Matthew 13:10 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+13%3A10&version=NIV

Matthew 13:11-12 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+13%3A11-12&version=NIV

Matthew 17:1-8; Mark 9:2-8; Luke 9:28-36 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+17%3A1-8%3B+Mark+9%3A2-8%3B+Luke+9%3A28-36&version=NIV

Matthew 26:36-46; Mark 14:32-41; Luke 22:40-46https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+26%3A36-46%3B+Mark+14%3A32-41%3B+Luke+22%3A40-46&version=NIV

Matthew 26:40, 43, 45; Mark 14:37, 40, 41; Luke 22:45-46 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+26%3A40%2C+43%2C+45%3B+Mark+14%3A37%2C+40%2C+41%3B+Luke+22%3A45-46&version=NIV

Psalm 46:10 - https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Psalm+46%3A10&version=NIV