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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Nibbling on Hay

The morning routine is almost always the same. Feed in the troughs, horses in the barn to eat, back to the house. Finish writing and quiet time, hay to the hay rack outside the barn, let the horses out. Same routine every day.  When the horses walk out of the barn, there is a big supply of fresh hay in their rack. 

Two of the horses realize the big supply is just outside the door, and they hurry out to start nibbling. Cali, however, moves a little slower. She is more deliberate. Cali has learned that the back right stall is the hay storeroom and that there is almost always a handful or two of fresh hay on the floor outside the door. There's generally a scattering of hay all the way to the hay rack. She wants her share of the hay in the rack, of course, but Cali also wants the little extras along the way. It's odd to me that the other horses seldom make the effort to get that extra hay. They only want the easy bites. Not Cali. She wants to get it all. 

Perhaps we are a little like those horses when it comes to Bible study and quiet time. Most of us want the easy pickings. We read a verse or two, maybe a devotional and a quick prayer, and go about our day. It takes considerably more time to actually study Scripture, make application to our own lives, and spend time in prayer, allowing our Lord to move in us as He sees fit. It takes more time and effort, but it is so much better to "get it all"!  

As you think about your morning routine, consider whether you might benefit from slowing down a bit and gathering a few extra "mouthfuls" of truth and direction. You might be glad you did. 

How sweet are Your words to my taste! Yes, sweeter than honey to my mouth! (Psalms 119:103 NASB)


Waiting on Jesus, part 13: Made Whole

And He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace." (Luke 8:48 NASB)

The phrase "has made you well" is a translation of the word sōzō.  This is a lovely term that could also be translated as "made you whole" or "saved you". "Your faith has made you whole." Indeed, that is what faith should do, isn't it? It should bring us to the One who can fix every broken part, every part that is imperfect. It should keep us near to Him until all is restored, made new, made whole.  

For the woman with the hemorrhage, "made whole" was more than a cessation  of her hemorrhage. It included a healing of the isolation of twelve years spent as "unclean".  All the years of loss, frustration, fear, and hurt had left a deep wound, but through her faith, they, too, were made whole. 

Isn't that what God would like to do through our faith?  Isn't that what He will do, if we allow it? Imagine your life "made whole".  What a change He could make if we reached out to Him with faith as the woman did and allowed His power to flow through us! Nothing held back. Nothing off-limits. 

Today, pray that we and our loved ones would stop holding back and give ourselves to the wholeness that only Christ can bring. 
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Link to last night's post: http://leannahollis.blogspot.com/2014/09/lessons-from-battlefield-part-14-one.html
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Monday, September 1, 2014

Lessons from the Battlefield, part 14: One Heart

The hand of God was also on Judah to give them one heart to do what the king and the princes commanded by the word of the LORD. (2 Chronicles 30:12 NASB)

Obedience doesn’t always come easy, does it?  God’s chosen people had proved that truth over and over again.  Consistent obedience was impossible for them.  Impossible, that is, unless God Himself helped them.  Scripture tells us that God gave them a heart to obey the king. He gave them "one heart", a unified heart, so that they could not just obey, but obey together, as one. 

Oh, what a difference it would make if we had obedient hearts willing to do whatever our King required of us. 

Imagine what it would be like if the body of Christ had one heart, one unified heart, that was obedient to the Word of God. 

Imagine what our world would be like if those who claim to be Christians had a united, humble, obedient heart ready and willing to do whatever our Servant King commands.

May God give us one heart that beats with His...
To serve as He served
To love as He loved
To obey as He obeyed
So that we could live like the One we say we believe. 

Waiting on Jesus, part 12:

And He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace." (Luke 8:48 NASB)

"Your faith has made you well," He said to the woman. The word translated as "faith" is pistis and indicates a firm conviction of truth. For this woman, her pistis, her faith, in Jesus was so absolute that she could reach out and touch the fringe of His garment with confidence, certain that His power would flow through her, and it did. 

She was not trusting in the power of the fringe. She was trusting in Jesus as the Son of God, Messiah and Savior. In reaching out to Him, she was staking her life, her health, and her eternity on that belief. 

In our culture, there is a temptation to put our trust in ourselves and our ability to be productive.  We want to be "self-made".  Like toddlers, we want to "do it myself".  On the flip side, we also have a tendency to leave government in charge. When the poor have needs, our first thought is of what governmental agency should take responsibility. When we see injustice around the world, we ask not what we should do but what our government will do. 

The faith that transforms lives and brings healing and wholeness is not faith in ourselves nor faith in governmental entities. The faith that transforms is faith in Christ alone. When we reach out to Him in faith, we can be certain His power will flow through us. He will strengthen and empower us. He will make a difference in the world around us. 

In what or whom is our faith?  To what do we cling in times of trouble? In whom have we staked our life as well as our eternity? Be very certain that to which you cling has eternal significance. In Christ alone is our hope and our strength. Be sure He is your source of hope and strength as well. 
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Link to last night's post: http://leannahollis.blogspot.com/2014/08/lessons-from-battlefield-part-13.html
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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Lessons from the Battlefield, part 13: faithfulness

2 Chronicles 30:9 “If you return to the Lord, your brothers and your sons will find compassion before those who led them captive, and will return to this land.  For the Lord your God is gracious and compassionate, and will not turn His face away from you if you return to Him.”  

 

The temple doors were closed.  The utensils had been offered to idols.  There were no sacrifices and no worship.  The result was that the wrath of God had come against them.  The fathers had fallen by the sword, and the sons, daughters, and wives had been taken into captivity.  


God’s prescription for this mess was that the ones who were still in the land should repent and restore their own fellowship with the Lord.  The result would be that God’s Face of blessings would be turned toward them, and their loved ones in captivity would not only find compassion but be brought home.

It’s hard to believe that our faithfulness can impact captives who are miles away, but it can.  Not only can it lighten their burdenbut also our faithfulness can be instrumental in their deliverance.  Simply doing what we are supposed to do can change the world.  Nothing special or unusual is required, just faithful obedience.


We will have ample opportunity this week to draw close the Lord and we must choose whether to increase our faithfulness or continue in the status quo.  Some of the people we will encounter are struggling with their hurts, their sin, their pasts, and the grief of their hearts.  They are desperate for deliverance. Your faithful obedience and close relationship to Jesus can impact and help to bring about their deliverance. Your obedience may be a vital part of their deliverance.  How willing are you to sacrifice for the welfare of those people God brings your way?  

Waiting on Jesus, part 11: Stuck like glue

And a woman who had a hemorrhage for twelve years, and could not be healed by anyone, came up behind Him and touched the fringe of His cloak, and immediately her hemorrhage stopped. And Jesus said, "Who is the one who touched Me?" And while they were all denying it, Peter said, "Master, the people are crowding and pressing in on You." (Luke 8:43-45 NASB)

haptō. We've seen this word before. It Is translated here as "touched" but it literally means "to adhere to", "to fasten to", or "to kindle a fire".  It is the word used to describe Jesus' healing touch of the leper in Luke 5, the healing, resuscitative touch of Jesus for the boy who had died in Luke 7, and the touch of the woman with the alabaster vial. This is not just a passing brush on the shoulder. This is a life-changing touch that lights a flame in our hearts and connects us to Jesus, adheres us to Jesus, so that we remain with Him. It is a touch we never forget. 

It is how the woman with the hemmorhage touched Jesus.  haptō. It was a momentary touch, lasting just a few seconds, but it changed her life, and likely all in the crowd who heard her story, forever. For the woman, the fire of His power flowed through her and healed her, but that haptō also adhered her heart to Christ. It set her free to tell of the miraculous intervention of Jesus and the healing power of His touch. 

Have you experienced the haptō touch of Christ? Do you know the fire of His love in your heart? Have you encountered the cleansing and healing that haptō can bring? Are you adhered to Him because of that touch? Reach out to Jesus. In less time than you can imagine, that touch can bring healing, hope, and freedom, changing your life forever. Imagine that! The most amazing thing is that it starts with a single touch. 

Pray today that we and our loved ones would reach out and haptō Jesus, adhering our lives to His and allowing Him to do His work in us. 
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Here's the link to last night's post:  http://leannahollis.blogspot.com/2014/08/lessons-from-battlefield-part-12.html
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Here's the link to the radical obedience/terrorist prayers for the week: http://leannahollis.blogspot.com/2014/08/friday-night-with-friends-radical.html

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Lessons from the battlefield, part 12: tearing down the idols

2 Chronicles 31:1 “Now, when all this was finished, all Israel who were present went out to the cities of Judah, broke the pillars in pieces, cut down the Asherim, and pulled down the high places of the altars throughout all Judah and Benjamin, as well as in Ephraim, Manasseh, until they had destroyed them all.”  

 

When they had completed reopening the temple, giving their sin offerings, celebrating the Passover, sacrificing peace offerings, and giving thanks for twice the prescribed time, they were ready to do something about the idols in their lives.  This is an important principle that we need to understand clearly.  They had a renewed relationship with the Father FIRST.  The actions that followed were an outgrowth of relationship.  


Picture this if you can.  Idols filled the land.  There were altars to false gods throughout Judah at the same time that the Passover was ongoing. God did not require them to get “cleaned up and holy” before they came before Him.  God allowed them to come back to Him just as they were, with all the idols still standing.  The problem, you see, was not with the pile of stones in the altar.  The problem was with the stony hearts that worshipped at the altars of stone.  He knew that, when their hearts were right with Him, they would willingly remove the idols in their lives.  


Perhaps you feel unworthy to serve the Lord or even to be in His presence.  Maybe there are idols in your life that need to go.  Please don’t hold back in service because of the junk in your life.  Remember that our Lord Jesus came because He knew that you could not clean your heart up on your own.  He came to pay for the sin in your life and to set you free from its hold on your life.  


Come to our Lord in the same way Judah did.  Repent, allow Him to deal with the consequences of your sin, renew your relationship with Him, then allow Him to empower you to remove those sources of sin altogether.  When He removes your stony heart and replaces it with a heart like His, the altars of stone will be quickly demolished.