Saturday, April 21, 2012

Insta-Heal, On Sale Now

Take one part Scripture. Add one part holy water.  Stir gently or vigorously-you pick.  And instantly, you're healed.  If only it was that easy.  Often, the healings recorded in Scripture appear to be instant.  That's what I've wanted:  for Jesus to do for me what He did for the centurion who told Him, "If You just send the word, my servant will be healed." (Matt. 8:5-13).

I've prayed many times the last couple of months, "Lord, just send Your word and the discs in my neck will be healed."  Obviously, this wasn't His plan for me.  So, I began to meditate on some of the healings in Scripture.

While each person's change from sickness to health occurred in the blink of an eye, many of these folks suffered quite a while before meeting Jesus.  Take the woman with the issue of blood who suffered for 12 years and had spent all she had on doctors in a vain effort to get well (Mark 5:25-34).  Or the paralytic man who lay for 38 years at the pool of Bethesda wishing someone would help him (John 5:1-18). Then there's the man who was born blind about whom the disciples asked, "Who sinned-this man or his parents?" (John 9:1-12).

So, while the transformation to wholeness happens in a nanosecond, suffering may last a lifetime.  Some Christians will tell you suffering is your fault; that either you have a secret sin or too little faith to be healed.  That's a painful lie that only adds more pain and undue guilt.  God's manifestation of healing is complicated and mysterious and while it may not unfold according to our plans, it is just as real as it was when Jesus walked on the earth.  You can trust in the promise of Isaiah 53:5:  "But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed."

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Let's take a trip

All aboard, folks. Take your seats, please. Before we depart for Humility, I need to warn you. This is a one-way trip and the train won’t stop until it arrives at its final destination, Glory. There will be rest stops along the way and you can hop off and turn back if you like, but I wouldn’t advise it. The towns we pass- Prideville, Arragancetown, and Full-of-Myself-Burg- aren’t nice places to visit. Oh, they look lovely from the train, but some pretty rough folks live there.

Now, the stops we will make in Humbleville, Meektown, and Hang-onto-God-for-dear-life-Burg look pretty dull by comparison.  But the kindest folks you could ever want to meet live there.  I just stopped off in Humbleville today for some rehab exercises. The instructor was kind but my face flushed red at all my missteps and I hung my head as I climbed back on the train. 

I asked God: "Am I not humble enough already?" Then I realized that Humility is not a destination. Rather, it is a state of being and one that even the godliest people cannot sustain in every area of life long-term. So, I will keep trying to humble myself before the Lord until I meet Him face to face.

As you get ready to travel to Humility, I would encourage you to meditate on these verses:  

Isaiah 66:2: “ …This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at My word.”

Matt. 11:29-30: “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Matt. 18:4: “Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”

Sunday, April 8, 2012

He Is Risen

He Is Risen. Those three words hold so much hope. Without Jesus' resurrection neither His first disciples nor us would have any reason to hope. But God keeps His promises and He assured us He would send a Savior to reconcile us to Him. That reconciliation was bought with Jesus' blood and accomplished while we were still sinners. On a cruel Roman cross, God offered hope through the death of the Lamb who takes away the sins of the world. Through the empty tomb, He offered life eternal and abundant life for us here on earth.

Jesus' resurrection proves He is the Messiah, the Anointed One, who will one day make all things right. Until He establishes His earthly kingdom, He offers us a foretaste through the peace and joy that can only come from having a relationship with Him and the Father. In the personhood of Christ and in His fulfilled promises, we find all the hope we could ever need. It is that hope which continues to sustain me as I go through this year's health crisis.

Listen to the angel as he speaks to the women on that first Easter morning: "You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here." (Mark 16:6). Go and take this hope to a dying world: Jesus is risen, just as He said.