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 we could not clean our hearts up on our own.  He came to pay for the sin in our lives and to set us free from its hold on our lives.  

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.  

Waiting on Jesus, part 10: the Power of the Telling

But Jesus said, "Someone did touch Me, for I was aware that power had gone out of Me." When the woman saw that she had not escaped notice, she came trembling and fell down before Him, and declared in the presence of all the people the reason why she had touched Him, and how she had been immediately healed. And He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has made you well; go in peace." (Luke 8:46-48 NASB)

The woman had been sick for years. She'd tried cure after cure, only to realize that they took her money without helping her at all. Her family and everyone who loved her had given up hope. Healing would not come by mere human hands. That was obvious from the fortune that had been spent trying to be healed. 

She might be down to the last hope, but she wasn't quite ready to give up yet.

Jesus, however, had raised the dead, given sight to the blind, wholeness to the lame. Jesus was not just a man. He was filled with the power of God. He was God made flesh. Jesus could heal her; she was sure of it. 

It was her intent to escape notice. This woman who had spent the last twelve years unclean because of her hemorrhaging must have planned her move so carefully. She was going to slip into the crowd, move up behind Jesus, touch His fringe, receive healing, and slip away. No one would ever know. Even if she accidentally touched them in the crowd, even if she made them unclean by her touch, they wouldn't have to know, would they? She had suffered enough, and she was going to try. 

When she touched the fringe, it was like a hot wave moving through her. She knew something was happening. She knew she was healed. No doubt about it. She wanted to shout for joy, but she had been unclean so long that she knew better. She was going to slip away as quickly as possible. 

Then, Jesus spoke. "Who touched Me?" He asked. Her heart began to sink. What would happen next? She knew she was healed. Would He take it away? Would those she brushed against turn on her because she had touched them? She was shaking like a leaf as she fell at the feet of Jesus. "Me. It was me," she confessed. When she looked up, those eyes full of compassion and love met hers and she lifted her head and began to speak. A hush fell over the crowd as she told her story for all to hear. She spoke of her illness, all the failed attempts at healing, her hope that Jesus could make her whole, and the miracle of healing she had experienced. 

She told it all and everyone heard her. Her body was healed when she touched that fringe, but in that instant of telling, her spirit was healed as well.  At the feet of Jesus there was no condemnation. All she found there was an outpouring of grace, mercy, and love. She had told a crowd about her healing. After that, she could tell anyone. Everyone. 

When hope and help were gone, all that remained was Jesus. It turned out that He was all she needed. 

Are you in a weary place, desperate for circumstances to change? Take your need to Jesus and let Him do what only He can do, in whatever way He sees fit. With a heart filled with gratitude, tell your story of grace to all who will listen. 
Link to last night's post is here and includes our prayer guide for the persecuted church:

Friday, August 29, 2014

Friday Night with Friends: Radical Obedience and Radical UnrelentingPrayer

I received a text from a friend this afternoon, calling for prayer for believers in Iraq, under attack from ISIS. The text indicated that the attack was happening  now.  She was forwarding a text she had received. When I checked Google to confirm it's veracity, I found that the story of ISIS capturing Quaraquosh, the largest Christian town in Iraq, was reported by Daily Mail on August 7, 2014.  I hate to admit this, but I really wanted to believe that the text was a well-meaning over-dramatization of events. I've done some serious Googling hoping to disprove the text you will read later in this post. 

It was true. Unfortunately, it was all true. The text that is being forwarded was sent originally from Sean Malone, Crisis Relief International (CRI) founder and director. At the time of the text, ISIS troops really were ten minutes from their facility. That text made its way around the world, and people prayed.  Miraculously, the CRI team remained in place and are still ministering to the persecuted church in Iraq. ( God does hear our prayers. He does answer them. He does, if we pray.

The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. (James 5:16 KJV)

I really like the way the Measage paraphrases this verse. 

...The prayer of a person living right with God is something powerful to be reckoned with. (James 5:16 MSG)

1.6 million believers, our brothers and sisters in Christ, have been displaced by this dreadful genocide being carried out by ISIS. That means that 1.6 million of our family members have been driven from their homes, leaving all their possessions behind, leaving their jobs, livestock, and livelihood behind in order to save the lives of their family members. Why is this happening? Because they are disciples of Christ. 

I hate to be the one to say this, but it must be said. These are not people who spend sixty minutes in a worship service checking their watches to see how long until they can go to Sunday lunch. They do not just drop in to church on Easter and Christmas. These people have faced death for Jesus and held firm. They might be called fanatics by some, but what they are is true Christians. 

If ISIS has their way, they will come to this country and give us an opportunity to flee for our faith or die for our faith. Or recant. We would all do well to pause right now and evaluate the validity of our faith. We would do well to make a rock solid decision to live or die by the faith we claim. The time to decide is NOT when a gun is pointed at your head or a sword is swinging toward your neck. The time to decide how you will respond is now. 

Selah. Pause and consider. 

I am reproducing the text I received here in its entirety. I don't have permission, but since it's been forwarded so many times already, I don't think that's a problem. (A link will be sent to CRI to let them know I've used it)
"This was just sent to me by the Women's Council at Christ The Redeemer; it was sent to them by Father John Pitzer who just received this cry for help from an actual missionary on the ground in Iraq : 
"Dear Friends, 
Just a few minutes ago I received the following text message on my phone from Sean Malone who leads Crisis Relief International (CRI).  We then spoke briefly on the phone and I assured him that we would share this urgent prayer need with all of our contacts. He said:
"We lost the city of Queragosh. It fell to ISIS and they are beheading children systematically at this moment!  This is the city we have been smuggling food to.  ISIS has pushed back Peshmerga (Kurdish forces) and is within 10 minutes of where our CRI team is working. The UN evacuated it's staff in Erbil.  Our team is unmoved and will stay.  Prayer cover needed!" 
"Please pray sincerely for the deliverance of the people of Northern Iraq from the terrible advancement of ISIS and its extreme Islamic goals for mass conversion or death for Christians across this region."

They are pleading for prayer... Please take a minute to say a prayer for them & please pass this on to your Prayer Warriors.
God Bless..."
God will move if we pray. He will. It's not a hope. It's a fact. There is nothing we are doing on this Friday evening that is more important than those dear believers who are in harm's way. ISIS will gladly behead their children. Do not fail to pray for these believers. I beg you to pray. We do not need a quick, "Help them, Lord," we need a concert of prayer that starts now and does not stop until this genocide is done and they are safe. Look at your children, your grandchildren and consider what is happening to believers around the world. Consider what is happening to their children. 

Pray, dear ones. Pray. 

Waiting on Jesus, part 9: Who Touched Me?

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." But Jesus said, "Someone did touch Me, for I was aware that power had gone out of Me." (Luke 8:43-46 NASB)

The woman with the hemorrhage came up behind Jesus and touched the fringe (or tassels) at the edge of His garment (prayer shawl or tallit). She had been hemorrhaging for twelve years, but, when she touched that fringe, she was instantly healed. Instantly, miraculously healed. It is human nature to attribute healing to anything except God Himself. We could easily think that it was her faith that healed her, the reaching out that healed her, or even "magic tassels" that healed her. 

Lest we deceive ourselves with foolishness, Jesus quickly set things straight. "Who touched Me?" He asked. Peter was so surprised! "Jesus, are You kidding? These people are crowding in here like a bunch of sardines! Everyone is touching You!" "No, Peter," Jesus said. "Someone did touch Me. I could feel power go from Me to them."  With those words, He clarified the source of healing. It had nothing to do with anything good in the woman or anything magical in the tassels. Healing came as a result of he power of God flowing from Jesus to the woman. Healing always comes as a result of the power of God. 

Many people touched Jesus that day. They brushed against Him as they walked along in the crowd, and later, they probably told their friends and family about touching Jesus. There was only one of those touches that resulted in healing, however. Those brushing past had a variety of reasons for being near Jesus. The woman who was healed reached out to Him with the firm hope that His power would change her, and it did. She too touched Jesus that day, and the miraculous result is one we are still celebrating more than two thousand years later. 

For what reason do you touch Jesus? Are you brushing past in the crowd, eager to finish the allotted time? Are you just part of the crowd, enjoying the show? Are you reaching out to Him with a desperate need to be changed? Just as He did that day long ago, Jesus knows the purpose of your contact. He knows why you are there, and He knows when the power flows. 

Pray today that our motivations (and those of our loved ones) for attending church services and going about the routines of our faith would be pure and that we would desire to be changed into the image of Christ so that we could be made whole. 
Link to last night's post:
Please pray for our precious brothers and sisters in Nigeria who are struggling because of the tyranny of Boko Haram and their persecution of Christians. Do not forget that they are allies of ISIS (Islamic State).   

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Lessons from the Battlefield, part 11: the Grateful Heart

2 Chronicles 30: 22-23

Hezekiah and his people celebrated the Passover for seven days.  Scripture tells us they were “sacrificing peace offerings and giving thanks to the Lord.”  It doesn’t sound all that remarkable until you try to spend a week giving thanks.  It’s sometimes difficult for us to spend ten minutes thanking God for all the gifts He has given us without letting our “requests” creep into our prayers, but Judah didn’t stop at ten minutes.  They had endured years of a dreadful ruler during which all worship in the temple was banned.  They had finally been set free from his tyranny and they were truly grateful.  Having lived the consequences of their sin, they rejoiced at yet another second chance.  For a full week, they gave back to God and said thank you.  

What’s really remarkable about this story is that there was such joy in celebrating the Passover that the entire nation of Judah decided to celebrate the Passover for another week – sacrificing and giving thanks.  Two weeks of celebration may sound like just a great big party, but it is harder than you think.  Today, try to spend the rest of the day thanking God for all He has done for you.  Tomorrow, try to spend the entire day giving thanks to God. Try to spend just one day using all your prayer time to give thanks.  Don’t ask for anything.  Simply spend time loving, thanking, and praising our Mighty God.  Our society is so focused on pursuing whatever our heart desires that it may be harder than you think.


Here are a few suggestions to get you started:.

- Thank Him for Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, victory over the tomb, and the intercession He ever makes at the right hand of the Father.
- Thank Him for the breath of life, the blood circulating through your body, and all the body parts that work so well. (Nothing about those parts that don't work so well)
Thank Him for His presence today and His promises for tomorrow. 

Keep going. You might be surprised to find how richly you've been blessed! 

Waiting for Jesus, part 8: Prayer of Abandon

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)

Jairus fell at the feet of Jesus and begged Him to go with him to his house to see his dying daughter.  Jesus immediately responded by heading in that direction. It took faith for Jairus, the synagogue official, to fall at His feet in the presence of a crowd, and it took faith to ask Jesus to see his daughter and heal her. There was nothing at all wrong about his faith, nor about his asking. 

The woman with the hemorrhage also acted in faith. She, too, had a great need and she, too, took her need to Jesus. There is something about this quiet reaching for Him from behind that demonstrates a beautiful desperation. It is reminiscent of the woman with the alabaster vial who also worshipped "from behind" and was an act that said,  "I need the touch of God, whatever that may bring."  There is no doubt that she reached out to Jesus with the hope of healing, no doubt that she touched His fringe because of the symbolic authority and divine power it represented. It seems, though, that she simply brought her need to Jesus, without bringing a preconceived solution for Jesus to fulfill.  She wanted whatever resulted from touching the fringe of His garment. Her reaching out was, in its essence, the prayer that never fails. It was simply, "Thy will be done."

"Thy will be done" is an agonizingly difficult prayer for us. We are trained by our culture to place our order at the window and get that order fulfilled in a near-instant. In many ways, that behavior has made its way into our prayer life.  We have a tendency to place our "prayer order" with God and expect that order to be quickly filled. How incredibly arrogant is that? God must shake His head in wonder at our foolishness. 

How much better it would be if we simply  reached out to our Lord, offered Him our need, and submitted to His will!  We could be assured of having His perfect will every time, rather than our own. We could be certain of God's promises at work in our lives.

For I know the plans that I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. (Jeremiah 29:11 NASB)

There is a place for specific prayer. It helps us to see God's hand at work and easily recognize His answers to our prayers. Specific prayers are a vital part of our faith walk, but there must also be the prayers of utter abandon that say to God, "Your will, and not mine, be done."

Two people brought their needs to Jesus.   Jairus came with a great need and a specific solution in mind. The woman with the hemorrhage also came with a great need, but she left the manner of answering her prayer up to Jesus. Both prayers were answered that day, but only one was answered instantly. As the woman touched the fringe of His garment, the power of God flowed through her and healed her completely. 

Perhaps you, too, have a great need with a long-delayed solution. Isn't it time to take that need to Jesus with utter abandon? Ask Him to intervene in your situation in whatever way He sees best. No suggestions for God. No preconceived solutions. Ask for God's will. It's the only way to be sure you get His best.  
Link to last night's post:
Please pray for our precious brothers and sisters in Nigeria who are struggling because of the tyranny of Boko Haram and their persecution of Christians. Do not forget that they are allies of ISIS (Islamic State).   

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Lessons from the Battlefield, part 10: Law Versus Grace

2 Chronicles 30:1-4, 34-46         

Passover was to be celebrated in the first month.  Numbers 9 outlined the consequences of failure to obey.  If a person was unclean because of contact with a dead person or was on a distant journey at the time of Passover, he could celebrate Passover in the second month, 14th day.  According to the law, if the man simply neglected to observe the Passover, that person was to be cut off from his people and bear his own sin.  

The law was abundantly clear, and there was to be no exception.  

For sixteen years, Hezekiah’s father had been king and for much, if not all, of that time, the temple doors had been closed.  None of the holy days, including Passover, were observed.  Hezekiah, however, opened the temple and instructed the priests to cleanse the temple and consecrate themselves.  He was committed to reinstitutingthe Passover observance.  

As diligent as the workers were, they still could not be ready by the appointed time, so Hezekiah scheduled Passover for a later date.  Hezekiah understood that what God desired most of all was obedience and relationship.  Because the people were both repentant and eagerly desiring to obey, God provided ample grace to cover the fact that their actions were not quite on time.  

Aren’t we glad that we serve a God of second chances and abundant grace?  Is there something God has put on your heart to do?  Have you delayed?  Our God of grace and love is still offering yet another chance to obey.

Waiting for Jesus, part 7: not just Jairus

And a woman who had a hemorrhage for twelve years, and could not be healed by anyone, (Luke 8:43 NASB)

It was not just Jairus who needed a miracle that day. Jairus was the one with position, authority, power and money. He was the visible and socially acceptable one in need. There was also a woman there that day who had been hemorrhaging for twelve years. As a result, she was almost certainly anemic and physically exhausted. She must have felt as if she could barely put one foot in front of the other. To make matters worse, she had spent all the money she had seeking a cure, but no one could help. Exhausted, destitute, hopeless, she, too, needed a miracle.  

Because she was unclean, she did not dare to approach Jesus openly. To state it plainly, she sneaked up behind Jesus, hoping to secretly gain a miracle by touching the fringe of his robe. That "fringe" was a specific type of knotted threads, or tassels, positioned at the corners of his prayer shawl (tallit) that were highly symbolic of both the law of God and the name of God. In touching that fringe, she was symbolically touching the Divine, the power of God. 

This woman had no position, authority, power, or money. She barely had the strength to join the crowd, yet her need for a miracle was equally as great as the need of Jairus. More importantly, the compassion of Jesus toward her was equally as great as His compassion toward the need of Jairus. Her lack of importance in the eyes of the crowd did not affect her importance in the eyes of God one little bit. He loved her. She was as much a child of God as Jairus, and her Lord had time for her. He had time for her need. 

God had time for her, and He has time for our needs, as well. 


Pause and consider this great truth. Once again, we see the principle of greatest and least. Jairus was the greatest and the woman with the hemorrhage was the least, yet Jesus loved them both and willingly gave miraculous healing to them both.  Dear ones, even the least of us can count on our Lord for compassion, love, and ever-present help in time of trouble.  

Are you overwhelmed by your circumstances? Do you feel like a pariah, an outcast, because of those circumstances?  Our Lord has no less love for you, no less compassion toward you, no less willingness to help. It is not necessary to approach Him "from behind".  Take your needs to the feet of Jesus and allow Him to do with them as He will. 

God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; (Psalms 46:1-2 NASB)
Link to last night's post:
Please pray for our precious brothers and sisters in Nigeria who are struggling because of the tyranny of Boko Haram and their persecution of Christians. Do not forget that they are allies of ISIS (Islamic State).   

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Lessons from the Battlefield, part 9: cooperation

2 Chronicles 29:31-35


The number of the burnt offerings:  70 bulls, 100 rams, 200 lambs, 600 bulls, 3,000 sheep.  But the priests were too few, so that they were unable to skin all the burnt offerings, therefore their brothers the Levites helped them until the work was completed and until the other priests….


There were not enough priests to get the job done, not for lack of priests but lack of preparation, and the work was not completed.  Perhaps you have never skinned an animal before, but it is a terrible job.  It is nasty, smelly, and a bloody mess.  There’s no way to do it and remain clean.  Skinning 3,970 animals of any size would have been an unbelievable operation, but skinning that many animals the size of bulls, goats, and sheep would be impossible to accomplish in just one day.

The Levites were competent to do the job, but it was not their usual work.  Amazingly, however, when it came time to skin the sacrifices, there was no arguing or casting blame.  There is no indication that the Levites begrudged the work.  They simply saw a job that needed doing, recognized that their brothers were unable to complete their assigned jobs, rolled up their sleeves, and went to work.  

There was such a spirit of cooperation and charity that everyone worked side by side until the entire job was done.  They had servant hearts. We too need to approach the work of God with the attitude of a servant, whether in our churches, our families, or our daily lives. In fact, we need to work together, across denominational lines, in such a way that the world stands in awe of what Christians get accomplished because of the loving way they work together to get the job done 

Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might...  (Ecclesiastes 9:10 NASB)

Waiting for Jesus, part 6: divine delay.

...But as He went, the crowds were pressing against Him. 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. (Luke 8:42-44 NASB

Jairus was desperate for Jesus to intervene on behalf of his daughter. Her life hung in the balance, and she was fading fast, but Jesus was on His way. Help would be there soon. 

The crowd was terrible. Everyone was pushing and pressing, trying to get next to Jesus. Before Jairus knew it, a sick woman, an unclean woman, was next to Jesus. No one talked about her problem. It was not a topic for polite conversation, but they all knew she was unclean. She had a sickness and had been unclean for twelve years. She hated her twelve-year-old sickness as much as Jairus loved his almost twelve-year-old daughter. 

The immediate problem with this woman in the crowd, Jairus knew, was that she had a hemorrhage. The law was clear about this kind of bleeding. She was unclean until seven days after it stopped. Even worse, if someone touched her, they became unclean until evening. 

'Now if a woman has a discharge of her blood many days, not at the period of her menstrual impurity, or if she has a discharge beyond that period, all the days of her impure discharge she shall continue as though in her menstrual impurity; she is unclean. (Leviticus 15:25 NASB)

Jairus must have watched in horror as this woman, this unclean woman, reached out for Jesus. She was just about to make Jesus unclean until evening! Unclean, just when Jairus needed a miracle. What Jairus didn't realize yet was that Jesus could make all things clean, make all illness whole. 

Those divine delays are so frightening and so frustrating, aren't they?  When we desperately need a miracle, the last thing we want is a delay. We want instant miracles, don't we?  In our desperation, we can easily lose our compassion and concern for others around us who also need a miracle. Our need is always greatest, at least to us, isn't it?  

From the moment that Jairus laid his need at the feet of Jesus, a miracle of divine intervention was unfolding. Jesus didn't forget about Jairus or his daughter when He stopped for the woman with the hemorrhage. Their divine intervention was still unfolding. The problem for Jairus was that the stop for the woman was not on his personal agenda. 

What about us? Are we in need of divine intervention? Do we need God to do something now? Have we become desperate about His "delay"?  If we could only see that "delay" the way God sees it, perhaps it would give us hope by demonstrating the great power about to be directed toward our own problem. Perhaps it would be cause for rejoicing. 

Take hope, dear ones. There is quite enough God, quite enough power, to handle the problems of others as well as your own crisis. Once you have relinquished your need to Jesus, leave it in His capable hands. He may not move when you want, but He's always right on time. He will not forget you, nor abandon you. 

Pray today for a heart that sees the needs around us as God sees them, and the faith to wait on a God until His answer is complete. 
Link to last night's post:
Please pray for our precious brothers and sisters in Nigeria who are struggling because of the tyranny of Boko Haram and their persecution of Christians. Do not forget that they are allies of ISIS (Islamic State).   

Monday, August 25, 2014

Lessons from the Battlefield, part 8: Young Hezekiah, part 2

 “Then Hezekiah and all the people rejoiced over what God had prepared for the people, because the thing came about suddenly.”  

2 Chronicles 29:36


The priests and Levites had worked hard cleansing and preparing the temple and they worked even harder sacrificing all the animals for the sin offering.  The musicians had prepared and played special music.  It had been a magnificent day as they re-opened the temple. 

It would have been tempting to rejoice about what THEY had done or give Hezekiah credit for the re-opening of the temple.  After sixteen years of King Ahaz and his ungodly reign, however, they were more than willing to give Jehovah credit. 

God had prepared a wonderful blessing, but a tremendous amount of work was required to receive it.  When the “gift” God prepared finally arrived, they recognized that, unless God had paved the way, their efforts would have been nothing.


 It is important that we, too, understand that all our plans, hard work, and expended energy are of no eternal value unless the plan and the path are designed and paved by God Himself. Equally important is giving credit for our victories and successes where credit is due - to Almighty God, and kit ourselves. 

Unless the LORD builds the house, They labor in vain who build it; Unless the LORD guards the city, The watchman keeps awake in vain. (Psalms 127:1 NASB)

Waiting for Jesus, part 5: distractions

for he had an only daughter, about twelve years old, and she was dying. But as He went, the crowds were pressing against Him. 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. (Luke 8:42-44 NASB)

Jairus had an emergency. That's all you could call it. His only daughter was dying and wouldn't last long. He had finally had the courage to come to Jesus, and the Master was on His way, but if they didn't hurry, it would be too late!  He knew she would not last long. How frightening it must have been to see the crowd pressing in on Jesus. They would surely slow them down. "We are not going to make it!" he must have feared. Jairus probably wanted to howl in frustration and push people away. 

Jesus, however, would not be hurried. Every person along His path mattered to Him. Before they reached Jairus' house, He would stop for someone else in need, seemingly delaying the miracle Jairus longed to see, and making the healing of his daughter increasingly more unlikely. 

God's timing is never ours, is it? We want Him to intervene now, to make our situation better now, to ease the suffering now. Because God is omnipresent in time, the same yesterday, today, and forever, He operates on eternal time, not mortal time. What seems like a delay to us may be just another opportunity for God to demonstrate His great mercy, His great power. Sometimes, the delay is designed to teach us patience, waiting, faith, none of which can be learned by instant intervention. 

There are times, however, when God is orchestrating a solution so finely tuned that delay is needed to bring about a greater result, to bring Him greater glory. Those times are always worth the wait, but oh how difficult that waiting can seem! That's the kind of waiting Jairus had, and it was terrible to him. His daughter's life, his greatly loved daughter's life, hung by a slender thread and time was running out. 

Are you waiting for divine intervention? Does it seem that God is slow in answering your prayers, in meeting your need?  Peter was writing about the second coming of Christ, but his words are equally applicable here. 

But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance. (2 Peter 3:8-9 NASB)

He has a plan. It is for good and not evil. He will not be thwarted. Trust Him, no matter how long it takes. 

Pray today that we and our loved ones would wait for God to move rather than trying to take matters into our own hands. Pray that we would wait for God's perfect provision. 
Link to last night's tiny post:
Please continue to pray about the terrorists and for them, protection for the persecuted church, and those who are at great risk on a daily basis. 

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Haiku #1

In silence, be still.
God moves around and within.
Hush now and listen.

Waiting for Jesus, part 4: The mustard seed of faith

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)

In the previous post, we looked at the request of Jairus. Today, we look at the faith that brought Jairus to his request. 

Jairus, the unlikely beseecher, had come to Jesus in desperation. He had one daughter, not yet a teenager, and he loved her with all his heart. She was sick and clearly dying. He had watched as long as he could stand it. Undoubtedly, the doctors of the time had tried to help without success. Almost certainly, Jairus had tried every possible remedy, prayed every possible prayer, made every possible sacrifice. Jairus had done all he could do, and she was still dying. He had failed to save his dearly loved daughter. 

How do we know this? He was a father who loved his daughter. He had position and likely wealth, as well. His daughter had been sick and now she was dying. A loving father would have been seeking remedies from the time she became seriously ill, and he had the resources to procure the help she needed. It turned out that there was not enough money to save her. 

It is likely that Jesus was his last hope. She was already dying, and very near death when he approached Jesus, but he approached Him with faith. "Come. We need you. She will die without You," was the essence of his request. He might have come to Jesus with the very last bit of hope he had left, his last grain of faith, but it was enough. 

And He said to them, "...if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there,' and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you. (Matthew 17:20 NASB)

That mustard seed of faith in Jairus was enough. It was enough to take him to the feet of Jesus, enough to voice his need, enough to call on Jesus for help. It was enough. Everything else depended on Jesus, and He is always enough. 

Are you in a desperate situation?  Have you tried everything at your disposal without success? Are you down to the last shred of hope? Your last mustard seed of faith? What a perfect place to be!   Stop striving and take your situation with your mustard seed of faith to Jesus. "Come. We need you. We are lost without you." That little mustard-seed-prayer of Jairus was enough, and Jesus responded with action. Immediately, He was on his way, and He will respond to your mustard-seed-prayer, as well. 

Take your need to Jesus. He is always enough. 
Link to last night's post:
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.