Monthly Archives: March 2016

It’s Him!

It had been three days since their Messiah was crucified. Knowing nothing would ever be the same after their time with Him, the only thing they knew to do was go from there.  So walking down the road to Emmaus, two of His followers were trying to make sense of it all, replaying the events that brought them to that dusty road.

All of a sudden, another joins them.  “Hey guys, what are you talking about?” They look at him like He’s from another planet “Really.  You must have been in a cave if you don’t know what’s happened!” They indulge His questions telling them their reason to hope had been crucified which must’ve been hard.  Knowing something happened then saying it out loud kind of rushes reality in and makes it real.

The Stranger starts reciting scriptures and asked them “All that had to happen didn’t it? I mean that’s what Scripture says, right?”  Then He proceeds to tell them every prophecy related to Messiah.  They still didn’t get it.

The Bible says they were prevented from seeing and I’d say grief and despair played a part, too.  In our lives, tragedies happen and even though we know the truth(s) of God’s word, we forget.  We’re sometimes too consumed with how we’re feeling to let reality touch us.  We’re too busy trying to understand the course of events to allow truth to penetrate our broken hearts and distorted minds.

The Stranger prepares to go His own way but they ask Him to stay the night with them so He agrees.  Once in their home, they are dining and He picks up the bread and breaks it and all of a sudden, the ones who walked with him see.  It’s Him!

Perhaps it was the way He held the bread that brought back the memory of their last supper together… “This is My body…” and helped them to see Him.  Perhaps when he took the bread they saw the scars on his wrists from the nails that had pinned Him to the cross.  Jesus really was alive and He was with them.  Sorrow turned to jubilation and comfort and joy invaded the house.  It’s Him!

They were so lost in their sadness on the road, I doubt they would have believed Him had He told them who He was while they were walking.  We get that way too, don’t we?  We get so consumed we don’t even look for Him let alone believe He’s with us through it.

When everything is falling apart and grief has snagged you, look for Jesus.  Expect Him.  Remember how He’s gotten you through and know…it’s Him!

Luke 24:13-21

 

The Place of In-Between

 

Saturday.  Friday had happened and they saw the One whom they had based everything on, left their lives for believing He was Messiah…tortured, nails drive through His hands and feet, hung on a cross and take His last breath.  So many thoughts and doubts must have raced through their confused minds.  How could the Son of God – the Promise – die?  I feel sure they watched from afar as His lifeless body was taken down.

Do you know what hopeless feels like?  To have everything you believed in…believed for die right in front of you? I imagine what the disciples, Jesus’ mother and the other followers were feeling was the epitome of that word.  I wonder if they even remembered the many conversations He had with them, telling them that exactly what had happened would and that it wasn’t what it appeared to be or felt like it was. I imagine they were so grieved and perhaps scared that they had forgotten.

Can you relate?  You just experienced a devastating blow and after what you’ve been through you may feel it’s over, that there is no point in even hoping, let alone trying to go from here.  This is where everything changes and you’re not sure if you have the courage to believe, one more time, enough to go on.  That’s the place of in between where feelings and faith collide.  On one hand, you want to trust and believe enough to take the next step, but you feel like your world as you knew it has just ended and there is really no point.

That’s the place where dreams die and bitterness and depression creep in…if we let them.  If we’re not careful, we can find the courage to walk on from that place and allow our faith to die.  Don’t let that happen.

Hang on, just a bit longer.  Remember and recite every single promise God has made to YOU.  If He is allowing you to endure devastation, it’s part of a greater destiny.  Sure, it hurts, and absolutely, you’ll be changed forever because of it – perhaps that’s grief’s intent.  We can choose to go from here and be changed for the better or be infected by bitter.

In that place of in between, God is the same as He was yesterday.  Still in control, still loving and still all-knowing.  Just like the disciples on that dark Saturday, although they were devastated they made it through it.  You will too.  “Be not afraid, only believe”.  Mark 5:36

A Dinner To Remember (John 12)

Just last week, he awoke hearing that familiar voice calling his name.   Bound by death-wrap in a cold tomb, he obeyed his Master by getting up and waiting for someone to unwrap him.  What had just happened?  I wonder what Lazarus remembered (?did he remember he died) what did he think about finding himself one minute on his deathbed and the next, standing while his loved ones unwrapped him? Can’t wait to talk to him about that experience!

Now alive, he finds himself sitting at the table with Jesus. Just a normal dinner; He had probably eaten with them many times as Lazarus is identified in the Bible as being loved by Jesus.  I must laugh.  This occasion had to be anything but normal.  Sick. Dead. Body wrapped in a tomb.  Over. The voice. Awake. Alive.  Out.  Now…sitting at a table with the One who called Him back to life.  Can you imagine?

No wonder Mary had to break out her best bottle of fragrance to anoint Jesus.  That kind of gratefulness for what Jesus had recently done for her family required a major display of gratitude.  I imagine she just had to do something to show Him what was in her heart.

Jesus has done the same for us, in a way.  We were walking dead, perhaps with no hope, little happiness, getting through this life as best we could then He came to us and changed us. Perhaps we were wrapped in the death-wrap of some addiction, chronic bad lifestyles or haunted by life-stealing horrible memories and never-ending pain when we heard ‘The Voice’, saw His face and became alive…really alive for the very first time.  If you haven’t had that experience, you can by simply calling His name to save you.  Believe me I know.  Jesus has changed everything for me, and continues to, every day of my life.

Let Jesus give you a “dinner to remember” today.

What Do You Want?

Why do you pray?  For something from My hand…for My provision.  Or do you seek Me?  What if I had no hands; what if I can’t, seemingly won’t do anything for you…would you even utter My Name?  Do you give me a thought when you’re not needy?  Do you love Me anyway? Would you love Me anyway?

What if the answer is no? What if I don’t give you what you ask? Does that make me a bad Father?  What if I allow you to suffer, would you still trust Me?  What if you lack, does that make Me less?

What if the one you’ve prayed so hard for isn’t healed? Would you still love Me?  Would you turn away from Me?  When your belly rumbles and your heart breaks, does that mean that I’ve failed you?  Am I still good?  Do you…can you still love me?  When I come back, will I find any faith…any hanging in, seeking Me (when your hands are empty and you feel failed) faith in Me alone? Can you trust me enough to believe all this is for your good?

Will you?

Divine Curiosity

Moses had run away from Pharoah after killing a man and had gone to being a shepherd, minding his own business when all of a sudden he saw a burning bush (Exodus 3:2).  I wonder how long he watched it. I wonder if he tried to ignore it or shut his eyes thinking if he did he would open them and find the vision gone.

He had a choice, you know, to keep doing what he was doing.  The Bible doesn’t say how far away it was from him; it does imply he could have kept walking, but curiosity got the best of him and he thought to himself, “I must turn aside now and see this marvelous site, why the bush is not burned up“.  (Exodus 3:3).

Choices. This one seemed to be an insignificant one. He was herding a flock by himself (apparently) and sees something very unusual; so what if he didn’t go look?

Moses goes to see and not only does he see the ever-burning-not-consumed bush, he finds himself in a conversation with God and receives the word that he’ll be the one God uses to deliver Israel! This is what got me though: “When the Lord saw that he turned aside to look God called to him from the midst of the bush…” (Exodus 3:4-emphasis, mine).

Obviously Moses had to make some kind of move to change his direction which God saw and responded.  God was waiting on him, watching him to see if he would come look which implies the Lord would have remained silent had he not. I know what you’re thinking:  “Of course Moses looked, it was a burning bush, who wouldn’t?”

Is God waiting on us?  Is He not speaking, not manifesting His mighty presence in our lives because we haven’t “turned aside” to see?  What if we live in conscious expectation of seeing and hearing Him?

Perhaps that’s why children are so happy and carefree.  They live in a constant state of “good” – everything is an adventure.  What if “walking in the Spirit” were kind of like that?  What if we got up every morning EXPECTING to see a “burning bush”?  What if we were divinely curious about everything, every encounter, excited about what God wants to show us?

Don’t miss what God has for you in your everyday life.  He’s waiting for you to look. Don’t miss Him.

Content With Our Content?

 

I’m a MLS (that’s the new term for medical transcriptionist) – medical language specialist. I type heart monitor and pacemaker reports (to name a few).  When folks go in for checkups the doctor is able to download reports from their machinery that allows them to see if they have been compliant with their devices, how their heart is functioning and compare the symptoms they’ve written in their diaries with the function of their heart. Pretty remarkable. The downloadable content provided allows the doctor to see what needs to be done (if anything) and how to proceed with treatment.

I got to thinking about that in a spiritual sense.  If I could download the function of my “heart” I wonder what I would see? Really.  What’s inside?  How do we function when nobody’s watching?  Would the downloadable content from the inside match the actions, words and professions we make in public?

Who we really are privately is who we really are.  We can paint on faces, put on pretty clothes and say pretty words in public and be ugly in the privacy of our homes.  Who are we with God?  Are we as mercy-filled, praising with hands raised when it’s just us and Him as we are in public?  True, we can relax and let our guard down at home – that’s understandable.  But should we be schizophrenics?  Should we…are we two different people – one at home and another in public?

We have the ability to check our content.  We can ask God to expose what’s really inside us, who we really are…and deal with the things that aren’t pleasing to Him.  It’s good to review our content and certainly better to allow Him to.  We all have issues, scars and pain.  Those things can make us beautiful if we allow them to, or they can make us ugly.  The choice is ours.

Barren No More

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It’s been a wet and dreary winter. Temperatures dropped well below freezing several times.  Looking at the landscape of my beautiful mountains at times all I saw was gray and dark.  Thank God winter is just a season.

This season has taken its toll. You’ve been through it.  You’ve lost what you didn’t think you would and hurt like you’ve never hurt.  Some things were ripped from your ever-trying-to-hold-on hands and some you let go of. You’re tired and beat up, perhaps feeling like you have nothing else to give.  Maybe you’re asking yourself why fight to survive anymore if after as hard as you’ve tried the result is the barrenness and nakedness you’re now feeling.

Coming out of an extremely hard season myself, I know what that feels like.  I also know that what I’ve lost pales in comparison to what I’ve gained.  For a while though, I felt like a dead person walking.  I couldn’t feel anything and didn’t care about anything…I just wanted it to stop.

Barren.  Stripped.  Gutted.  What do we do when we find ourselves in such a whipped condition?  This, in my mind, is one of the many “works” of salvation…the most important one and I’m finding it occurs often.  This is where we decide if we believe that God really (in every respect of the word) is who He says He is to us, personally.  If He is, then something good will come from the destruction; if He isn’t then it was all for nothing.

Dare we believe after all this?  Dare we find comfort deep within ourselves from a God who allowed such devastating things to happen?  What else can we do?  We can allow ourselves to be bitter, despondent and depressed or we can muster up the strength to take a step into our tomorrow.

I took this picture this morning.  This tree branch was ugly and naked just yesterday; now look at it.  Just because they have buds on them doesn’t guarantee they won’t get broken or a frost won’t come.  Just because we dare believe and walk in absolute faith doesn’t mean things won’t get testy from time to time.

We’re not barren just because we’ve been through something traumatic but it sure feels that way.  Maybe we just needed to get cleaned out and gain a new perspective on things, on what’s really important.  God doesn’t allow tests and trials to show HIM something – He allows them to show US something – what kind of faith we really have and who we really are.

What you need to survive is in Him and if He’s in you, then all you need to go on is, too.  Will you bloom today or will you wither?  The choice is always yours.