Sunday, May 14, 2017

He is Bigger

We are living in what is known as the Information Age.  Almost any question can be answered by doing a simple search on the Internet.  The problem with that is, there is no way to vet the information returned from the search for accuracy.  That leaves us to process the results we receive on the basis of our own internal database of past experiences and current situations.  This can lead us to draw incorrect or even unfair conclusions.  When life happens we often scramble for explanations to make sense of the timing or even the cause of the event.  While searching, more information may pop up that removes all hope of a favorable result.

In the fifth chapter of the book of Mark.  We are told of an official of the synagogue whose name is Jairus.  He had a situation that was on the brink of disaster.  His young daughter was very ill and needed immediate attention.  He came and fell at the feet of Jesus asking for assistance (Mark 5:22-24).  The crowd was very populous and it was not easy to get through.  The urgency of the need continued to grow stronger.  In the midst of Jairus’ issue there was a woman who had a pressing need as well, and Jesus was her last resort (vv.25-28).  While Jesus addressed the woman, there were those who had additional information for Jairus.  They told him not to worry about bringing Jesus.  His daughter had already died (v.35). 

Jesus overheard the words spoken to Jairus by the messengers .  He spoke to Jairus with a word of instruction.  He said, “‘Do not be afraid any longer, only believe. (v.36)””  Information has a way of steering our hearts.  Bad news is never easy to handle.  We can have much on our minds and struggle to process the information we have in a manner that enables us to remain positive.   Jairus received yet another piece of information that would do little help him.  The good in all of it was that Jesus overheard the conversation.  Jesus did not speak to the messenger.  Jesus spoke to Jairus.  The information was intended to inform Jairus of the state of things at home.  Jesus’ words did not confront the validity of the information, but He intended to disrupt Jairus’ thought process.  

Fear is a natural reaction.  It was the emotion most fitting for Jairus to process his situation.  The words Jesus spoke were not intended for Jairus to forget what he heard but to steer him to trust the one he called on for help.  Today as we search for answers to life’s difficult situations.  There will be many answers but remember there is only one Truth.  He (Jesus) is able.  “”Do not fear, only believe.””

Be blessed.  

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Wait a Little While

King David wanted to show his respects to the family when the king of the Ammonites died.  He sent some of his servants to deliver condolences on behalf of the king of Israel.  Instead of being gracious, Hanun the son who inherited the thrown perceived their presence as a spy mission and mistreated King David's men.  He shaved off half of their beards and cut their robes up to their waist lines.  When news got back to King David, he suggested they remain in Jericho until their beards grew back (2Sam. 10vv.4-5).

When we have the best of intentions, sometimes our motives are misjudged.  Those mistakes may cause us some shame and embarrassment.  It is easy to run and hide or even give up altogether when these things happen.  But, if we are patient that embarrassment will subside.   We can go on with life. We may get a good laugh out of it in the end. Just wait it out.  All is not lost.  The inconvenience is not equivalent to permanent damage. 

Be blessed.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

The Author's Pen

The Author's Pen 

Heb. 12:2Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

Any great novel starts with a stroke of the pen.  The effort to create every character and complete every sentence is at the author's discretion. The construct of every paragraph and the clarity with which He reveals the topic are all determined by His ability.  So, the life of every believer is not an act of their own volition, but a direct reflection of the author's will to create and reveal Himself to them.  God's servant and friend Moses was on the backside of the dessert.  He was there for an amount of time.  He kept the flock of his father-in law Jethro for the space of 40 years.  It was during this time that he found himself in a place where he was all alone with no other human contact.  I can imagine this experience allowed him to be more aware of his surroundings.  We are told in the Bible that he saw a bush burning.  The fact that a bush burned was not an issue.  It was common to see random brush fires.  The amazing thing about this bush was that it was not consumed.  Moses was curious,  so he drew closer to investigate.  It is my belief that an introduction to our Lord occurs much the same way.  There are times when we find ourselves seemingly isolated or even insulated from those around us; somewhat preoccupied by life and its challenges.  It is during this time that we have the opportunity to witness something amazing.  The fire that burns within us that cannot be explained.  The Bible teaches that faith comes by hearing and that ability comes through and by the Word.  We experience times when the Word is imparted into our lives but there seems to be no response or growth.  We must realize that time and maturity are in the hands of the Author.  Moses was in the place written by the Author.  Being in this place allowed him to get instruction to begin his journey.  I encourage you to not be afraid to go beyond the reach of people and dwell momentarily in a place of spiritual solitude.  It may be where you will experience the greatest revelation of your life and be thrust into your destiny because the Author wrote it into your story.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

It's In His Hands

I started gardening as a hobby. I pulled up grass and broke ground. I dug up large stones that would impeded roots as they stretched deeper into the ground. When I was done I covered the bare ground with mulch to add some cover to portions left in the open.
Over time I realized there was a need to go back and tend to the plants and the soil. The plants needed fertilizer and the beds themselves needed to be mulched again. The weeds needed to be removed. I could not imagine the effort it would take to keep those areas I had changed from becoming an eye sore.
As I continue my labor of love, I now see that there is never a time when I can actually say there is nothing to do. I always see something to prune or an area that did not come out as well as I had anticipated.
My hobby resembles my spiritual walk in many ways, except God is the gardener and I am the garden. He has removed much debris and has planted His Holy Spirit inside of me. I remember my heart being cultivated by His words and the breaking up of hard ground. The removal of stones and the pulling of the weeds. When all was done He covered me with His amazing grace. Yet, with all that He has done there is still much to do. Except the LORD build the house, they labor in vain that built it (Ps. 127:1). I trust Him and understand that even when things tend to lie dormant His watchful eye remains. He not only watches over the things He has changed but, also sees the work that must still be done. As Paul told the Philippian church, "Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: (Phil. 1:6). He is still watching and He is still working, so keep believing.

Be blessed.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Eyes Wide Shut

I commute about thirty miles one way to work each morning. Sometimes traffic is tolerable other times not so much. One morning as I was driving to work making fairly good progress, considering a normal days commute. I found myself behind an eighteen wheeler. Although traffic was moving at a good pace, I could not see far ahead at all. Not being able to see too far beyond the front of my vehicle, I noticed I started to feel anxious and unsettled. I eventually moved around the vehicle as it merged in a different direction.

Afterwards I asked myself why I reacted that way. My answer was I could not see. Honestly it was only for a few minutes but it did not take long for my emotions to respond to the situation. Just realizing this helped me to see how as believers we still need to guard our hearts against our own thoughts and perceptions. The Word of God tells us the just shall live by faith (Gal. 3:11) and that we walk by faith not by sight (2Cor. 5:7). Today as we travel through this world going about our daily routine, let us take time to think about how we process our right now situations and be determined to filter them through faith in Christ. He is a keeper (Isa. 26:3).

Friday, May 23, 2014

Stop Ahead

Road blocks are common. They occur for different reasons. One road block may be set as a Road Closure, while another set for a Spot Check, or as a Search and Seizure.  Road blocks are not always bad but they often present as a hindrance to progress. Not being able to see our way forward makes the encounter look worse than it really is.

  • A Road Closure could be set because the thru-way is washed out or emanate danger lies ahead.

  • A Spot Check may be used to identify persons traveling the same roads in an unsafe manner who could endanger the lives of others.

  • A Search and Seizure may be set because there is a threat and in order to proactively prevent further damage the situation has to be contained.

God creates road closures in our lives in much the same way. He opens doors that no man can close (Rev. 3:8). Just as important is His power to close doors no man can open. We love to find an open door but we scoff at a closed one because it presents as an obstacle instead of a protection mechanism.

He introduces Spot Checks to keep us aware of the dangers of life. We are told to walk circumspectly in the earth or with a watchful and wise demeanor (Eph. 5:15). We should examine our steps to ensure they are within the guidelines of scripture and if not humbly to take corrective action (2Peter 1:10).

Thirdly, He may do a search and seizure to rid us of the dangerous and sinful habits that corrode our relationship with Him
(Rom. 13:14). Whatever we bind on earth will also be bound in heaven and whatever we loose on earth will be loosed in heaven (Matt. 18:18).
Regardless of the reason, being stopped is not a bad thing. The protections God has in our lives are there to ensure He is glorified in all things and that we are saved from destructive behaviors and the sins that will quickly and easily surround us (Hebrews 12:1).

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Give Them Liberty (Acts 16:16-32)

Paul and Silas were imprisoned for casting a daemon out of a young lady that was employed to be a physic and provide income for powerful men. They were falsely accused and beaten. Afterwards, they were cast into the depths of the local jail. While there we are told they prayed and sang praises to God. One thing I often overlooked was the important fact that the prisoners heard them. The scriptures reveal them being in a situation that would have made it easy to voice there innocence to all those in confinement and those employed to keep them.  Instead they used the opportunity to glorify God.

One way life presents us with the opportunity to assess how we have been wronged is by comparing our situations with others.  That comparison can sometimes lead us to desire that we be vindicated above all else. Paul and Silas showed their desire to keep the God of all creation front and center while they went through this ordeal. When the doors were opened they took the opportunity to minister, not escape the confinement. Their perspective was not the prison they were in, but the bondage of sin that held their audience in captivity. They cried out to the jailer when they could have allowed him to execute himself. They observed the right time to reach out in love to their perceived enemy. Falsely accused and imprisoned for serving God does not meet the expectation of modern day Christians. Neither does it fit the modern day model of prosperity and power we suggest to each other because of our faith. Paul and Silas were more concerned with the salvation of others than they were with the comfort of their own reputations and success. Being falsely accused and imprisoned did not distract them from the task of being a light in a dark place (Matt. 5:19). Will the cares of this world and the wickedness of men keep us from revealing the grace of God to a dying world? Give them the opportunity for liberty before they taste of death.