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Saturday, August 23, 2014

Waiting for Jesus, part 3: Jairus

And there came a man named Jairus, and he was an official of the synagogue; and he fell at Jesus' feet, and began to implore Him to come to his house; for he had an only daughter, about twelve years old, and she was dying. But as He went, the crowds were pressing against Him. (Luke 8:41-42 NASB)

Jairus was one of the people who had been waiting for Jesus. His name means "whom God enlightens" and that was exactly what had happened. He was a synagogue official, a part of the religious  bureaucracy, most of whom had opposed Jesus as a heretic. The word translated as official indicates that he was likely a chief official. He was part of the religious hierarchy.  Coming to Jesus would not be popular with his fellow officials. Falling at His feet would be shocking to them, and could well put his position of authority in jeopardy. 

Jairus, however, had an urgent need and realized that Jesus was the only one who could meet it. He didn't care who was shocked. His twelve year old daughter was gravely ill and near death. No one could save her. No one, that is, but Jesus.  When He returned from the Gerasenes, Jairus was quick to meet Him. Falling at the feet of Jesus, Jairus began to beg Him to come to his house to help his daughter. Jesus, ever compassionate and kind, did not refuse this heartsick father. He headed out. 

We will soon see the exciting events that surrounded Jairus and his daughter but, for today, let's look at Jairus and his request. He had a need, only Jesus could meet it, and in his desperation, he laid on the ground, in the dirt, and gave his need to Jesus. He begged Jesus for help. There is no indication that he ever doubted whether Jesus could help, nor that he ever doubted if Jesus would help. 

Jairus did not have a shopping list of interventions he recommended to Jesus. All he did was state his need (the ailing daughter) and invite Jesus into that need. (to go to his house).  He left the choice of intervention to Jesus, and it was a good thing he did. When Jairus approached Jesus, he wanted healing for his daughter. By the time Jesus arrived, what he needed was resuscitation for her. Jesus wisely gave him what he needed, not what he thought he wanted. In the end, Jairus would receive so much more by leaving the choice to Jesus. 

When we have situations beyond our control, is this what we do? Do we get on the floor at Jesus' feet and invite Him in to our situation, abandoning ourselves to His intervention? Do we leave the choice of intervention to Him or offer a list of things He needs to get done on our behalf?  There is a place for specific requests, but perhaps we could see even greater miracles if we left the choice of intervention to Jesus. 

Are you facing a difficult situation? Is a loved one in a desperate situation? Perhaps what is needed is a Jairus-type encounter with Jesus. Put your need at the feet of Jesus and allow Him to intervene as He sees fit. You, like Jairus, will be glad you did. 
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Link to last night's post: http://leannahollis.blogspot.com/2014/08/friday-night-with-friends-checking.html
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Please continue to pray about the atrocities being committed around the world by radical jihadists and for those who face persecution and death on a daily basis. Pray for those who will be forced to recant their faith or die today. Pray, too, that, when that same persecution comes to our country, (and it will) we will be as brave and faithful as our brothers and sisters around the world. 

Friday, August 22, 2014

Friday Night with Friends: Checking the Numbers by Pastor David Foreman

David Foreman is pastor of First Christian Church in Aberdeen.  He wrote the following article for his church newsletter just before Eight Days of Hope - Tupelo.  It was so very good that I asked for permission to share it.  Prepare to be challenged and convicted.
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This next week is going to be a "big" week for Tupelo.  They are expecting around three thousand volunteers from forty-three states to converge on Tupelo.  These people are all spending their time to help others who are in need.

Let us look at a few calculations.
     1.  Man Hours per day - 3,000 x 8 = 24,000 man hours
     2.  Man Hours in eight days - 24,000 x 8 = 192,000 man hours

Think about how many lives can be touched in some way in just a week.  This is only one event where people help others in need.  Just think of how much time each year is spent volunteering to help others.
Think of how many lives are touched each year by these efforts.

Daniel, our son, and others volunteer with AMBUCS in Illinois.  AMBUCS is an organization that helps mentally challenged individuals.  For the last three summers, Daniel has helped with the softball "season".  He told me lat week that he was looking forward to next year.  It is usually the same people volunteering every year.

These are just two instances of volunteering.  Just imagine the number of man hours that are freely given for "good" causes.

Let me get personal for the rest of this article.  How many hours do we give to God weekly, monthly, and yearly?  Dr. Ray Trantham hinted towards this in his sermon.  He talked about the mission field and what has happened and is happening there.  These missionaries and their families given many man-hours to God.

Let me do some calculations.
     1.  Sunday Morning - 2 hours
     2.  Sunday Evening - 1 hour
     3.  Wednesday Evening - 1 hour

These are the normal amounts of time many people, which is what I am going to call "average", give God in a week.  So the "average" person will give God four hours a week, at the most.
     1.  4 x 4 = 16 hours per month
     2.  16 x 12 = 192 hours a year

So, how many weeks would it take "average" people, giving the "minimum" amount of time to God, to equal the 192,000 hours given in one week through Eight Days of Hope?  There are a couple of ways to look at this.
One is by the number of people.  192,000/4 = 48,000
It takes 48,000 people each Sunday to equal what 3,000 people will do in a week.

Another way to look at it is in years.  How many years would it take a church of 100 to give God 192,000 hours if they only did the minimum?
1.  100 x 4 = 400 hours per week
2.  192,000/400 = 480 weeks
3.  480/52 = 9.23 years
It would take almost ten years for a church of 100 "average" people to give the amount of time that will be given in one week.

What if we look at how long it would take one person to given 192,000 hours to God if they only spent 4 hours a week with Him?
192,000/192=1,000 years
I know I will not live that long.  How about you?

Now let us look at how many hours God invested in us in a year.
1.  24 x 7 = 168 hours per week
2.  168 x 4 = 672 hours per month
3.  672 x 12 = 8064 hours in a year.
Let's say that you live to be 70.  How much time does God have invested in you?
8,064 x 70 = 564,480 hours

We can never "outdo" God, but let us not be the "average" either.  Let us give of ourselves with the same generosity that God does.

Waiting for Jesus, part 2: waiting and expecting

And as Jesus returned, the people welcomed Him, for they had all been waiting for Him. (Luke 8:40 NASB)

The people had been waiting for Jesus. That sounds a little like a bored crowd just milling about. The original language makes it sound a little different, though. The word translated as "waiting" is prosdokaō and it can also be translated as "expecting".  The crowd was not just milling aimlessly about. They were waiting with expectation because they knew without doubt that, when Jesus arrived, He would do something. 

They were not waiting for nothing. They were waiting for the Son of God who always "did something".  The crowd knew that He had the words of life that could help them face the trials of life, but they also knew that He had the power to intervene in those trials. Jesus could make a difference, and that was what they were expecting as they waited. 

Is that the way we wait?  Do we take the trials of life to our Lord with the expectation that He will move? Do we pray with the firm assurance that our Lord will move in our situation or just hope that "maybe he might"?  There is a vast difference, and the difference is a question of faith. Do we believe that Jesus will "do something" or not?  The answer to that question is critical and reveals much about our relationship with God. 

If we believe what we say we do, then we must also believe that God can intervene in miraculous ways. We must also believe that He who knows the number of hairs on our head cares about more than our hair. He cares about us, and about what affects us. Dear ones, take the burdens, the fears, the trials of life to Jesus, and leave them there with prosdokaō, trusting that He can help and He will help. 

Wait for Jesus, and do it with great anticipation!
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Link to last night's post is here: http://leannahollis.blogspot.com/2014/08/lessons-from-battlefield-young-hezekiah.html
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Please continue to pray about the atrocities being committed around the world by radical jihadists and for those who face persecution and death on a daily basis. Pray for those who will be forced to recant their faith or die today. Pray, too, that, when that same persecution comes to our country, (and it will) we will be as brave and faithful as our brothers and sisters around the world. 


Thursday, August 21, 2014

Lessons from the battlefield: Young Hezekiah

2 Chronicles 29:1 - 28

 

Hezekiah became king when he was twenty-five years old.  His father Ahaz had been king for sixteen years.  His was an ungodly rule, during which he burned his sons (Hezekiah’s brothers) as sacrifices to idols.  Almost certainly, the ungodly rule of his father affected Hezekiah’s choices as leader, but perhaps Hezekiah also remembered his grandfather King Jotham, who was a godly king.  Although Jotham died when Hezekiah was only a boyhis grandfather Jotham had become mighty because he ordered his way before the Lord.  (1 Chr. 27:6)


Hezekiah must have remembered the more peaceful, prosperous time when his grandfather was king, and perhaps he longed to restore peace to his homeland.  During the first month of his reign, Hezekiah reopened the doors to the temple which his father had shut, began the repairs, and called the priests and Levites to consecrate themselves and cleanse the temple.  He set the tone and direction for his administration.  Hbegan his reign by making his first alliance, not with the Arameans or the Philistines, but with Jehovah.


At last, the temple was ready and the time of sacrifice could begin.  Hezekiah provided the animals for sin offering for all of Israel, perhaps as a way of acknowledging the responsibility of his family in leading the people astray.  When the offering was completed, he filled the temple with music.  Praise!Can you imagine how relieved the people must have been for evil to be replaced by righteousness, turmoil to give way to peace, chaos to flee before order?  


What characterizes your life?  As you begin each day, you have the opportunity for a fresh start.  Each day, you can choose how you will order the rest of your life. Choose well. 

Waiting for Jesus, part 1: The Happy Crowd

And as Jesus returned, the people welcomed Him, for they had all been waiting for Him. (Luke 8:40 NASB)

In the preceding passage, Jesus had taken an exciting boat ride with His disciples, had encountered a terrifying and near-deadly storm, which He had quieted with a word, and had set the Gerasene demoniac free. Along the way, it appears, the disciples had quietly left Jesus to His work and headed back home. 

At last, He returned from his journey to find a crowd of people who had been waiting and watching for Him. We will soon see that some of those people were in desperate straits. A father was waiting for a miracle for his daughter, who was near death. A woman was gravely ill, and she too was quietly but desperately waiting for a miracle. What is clear is that both the father and the sick woman, despite their great need, were waiting for Jesus. They were not running around the countryside seeking any possible solution. They were waiting for the only One who could help. 

What faith they must have had! In the midst of their need, they recognized the One who could help, understood that there was no point at which their situation would become too difficult for Jesus, and they ceased striving and waited for God to move. The approach of the boat in which Jesus was traveling must have been a joyous sight! Jesus was almost there!

How easy it is to recognize our need for divine intervention but how difficult to wait for that intervention to come!  Our natural tendency is to take some kind of action, to "do something". In our fast-food, instant gratification culture, a willingness to wait has become rare, but it is a precious virtue. 

Yet those who wait for the LORD Will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles, They will run and not get tired, They will walk and not become weary. (Isaiah 40:31 NASB)

It is the ones who are willing to wait who gain new strength, not those who rush about with despair. 

What about you? Do you have a need that only God can meet? Give it to the only One who can help and wait for His answer. Wait patiently for Him. 
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Link to last night's post: http://leannahollis.blogspot.com/2014/08/lessons-from-battlefield-failed-father.html
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The intent was to have a different terrorist group for which to pray this week, however the ongoing atrocities from ISIS/ISIL/IS demand that we continue to pray for divine intervention. There is not only an urgent need for transformation for them, but also an urgent need to pray for protection of those targeted by these radical jihadists and an end to their reign of terror.
 Their leader is Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. To learn more about them and their goal of spreading radical jihad and sharia rule throughout the world, click here: http://leannahollis.blogspot.com/2014/08/radical-obedience-abu-bakr-al-baghdadi.html

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Lessons from the battlefield, part 7: Failed Father

2 Chronicles 28:1-19                        Failed Father

 

Jotham was a righteous king who lived his faith.  God prospered him and blessed him; however, the nation did not follow his example.  The people “continued acting corruptly.”  Jotham died at forty-one years of age after reigning as king for sixteen years.

His son Ahaz became king when he was twenty years old after spending most of his life as heir-apparent.  Hefollowed the example of the world around him as well asthe king of Israel.  He not only actively practiced idolatry;he practiced the worst form of idolatry.  He burned his sons alive as a sacrifice to idols.  As a result of his idolatry, God delivered him into the hands of his enemies, not just once but repeatedly.

To make matters worse, Ahaz turned to the king of Assyria for help rather than to the Lord.  Verse 19 sums up the legacy of Ahaz.  “The Lord humbled Judah because of Ahaz king of Israel, because he brought about a lack of restraint.”  

Being a godly father was not enough to ensure the welfare of Jotham’s children.  All that he had built was eclipsed by his failure to pass his faith on to his son.  How critical it is to invest in the hearts of our children!  Oh, that the hearts of our children might be drawn to Christ and to a lifetime of faithful service! 

Excitement in the boat, part 30: seeing is believing


The people went out to see what had happened; and they came to Jesus, and found the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting down at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind; and they became frightened. (Luke 8:35 NASB)

Jesus had cast the demons out of the man, they had gone into the pigs, the herd had plummeted over the cliff into the sea, and drowned. The astonished pig herders ran away as fast as they could. They wanted no part of this, and reported the events to everyone who would listen. Of course, the story was so wild that, like we are prone to do, the hearers wanted to see for themselves and headed out. 

What they saw was so dramatic and so incredible that they were frightened. The former wild man was sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, sane, and learning to be a disciple. They had never seen anything so dramatic, so convincing. There was no doubt in their minds that Jesus was responsible for these events. 

When people look at us, especially in light of recent time spent with Jesus, what do they see?  Do they see a heart and life that is radically different because of Him? Does our life leave no doubt that Jesus is our Redeemer? Does the power of our unspoken testimony leave people amazed at the power of God at work in our lives?

Pray today for such abandon to our Lord that all will see the evidence of His work in our lives, as well as those of our loved ones, that they will be drawn to the Lord. 
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Link to last night's post: http://leannahollis.blogspot.com/2014/08/lessons-from-battlefield-jotham-not.html
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The intent was to have a different terrorist group for which to pray this week, however the ongoing atrocities from ISIS/ISIL/IS demand that we continue to pray for divine intervention. There is not only an urgent need for transformation for them, but also an urgent need to pray for protection of those targeted by these radical jihadists. 
 Their leader is Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. To learn more about them and their goal of spreading radical jihad and sharia rule throughout the world, click here: http://leannahollis.blogspot.com/2014/08/radical-obedience-abu-bakr-al-baghdadi.html