Hope, Submission, Surrender, Uncategorized, Worry

Are You the One?

“Summoning two of his disciples, John sent them to the Lord, saying, ‘Are You the Expected One, or do we look for someone else?'” Luke 7:19

Have your circumstances ever caused you to question God?  Mine have.  The questions came pouring out faster than I could process them. Thoughts like, “Um, hello! Do You really know what You’re doing, God?” were floating around in my mind wrecking my peace and pressing me into a dark room locked by unbelief.

In the same way John the baptist must have felt abandoned and alone.  I’m sure he wondered why he was sent to make way for the LORD and then immediately afterward was ushered “off stage” right into a prison cell.  After all, John was obedient, doing the will of God by pointing people to the coming Messiah while baptizing them into repentance so they could see their need for a Savior.  “Are You the expected One?” he asked, “Or should we look for someone else?”  Jesus answered him with faith building evidence that screamed, “Jesus is Messiah!”  In essence Jesus was reassuring John that He was who He said He was and who John knew Him to be.  Jesus comforted John by telling him, “I AM still God, I still love you, I still care and I do have a plan that includes this trial.”

Likewise, Jesus reminds you and me that He is fully present, aware, loving, in control and all knowing.  He is also all powerful and capable of changing any circumstance.  Why, then, do we question God today?  I question God when He doesn’t do what I want, therefore,  mistakenly assume He must be wrong or not know what He’s doing.  An example of this was never so apparent to me then when I begged God to soften the heart of our ten-year-old son eight years ago.   God answered my prayer by allowing him to break his right femur during a football game.  Broken both physically and spiritually, our son’s heart softened but it WAS NOT the way I would have done it.   The LORD declares in Isaiah 55:8, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways,” Still, we are bent on getting our own way instead of trusting God’s love and sovereignty by surrendering to His will.

Surrender means “to give oneself up into the power of another”(www.merriam-webster.com).  John went to the LORD and asked for reassurance with a surrendered spirit. Jesus answered and gave him hope.  What peace and joy must have overflowed in the heart of the locust eating prophet as he trusted in the God of hope (Romans 15:13) instead of his circumstances.  So often I drop my eyes and am overwhelmed by circumstances that I have no control over.  This usually leads to confusion but the remedy is found in Psalm 121. He is The One! \O/

“I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
    where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
    the Maker of heaven and earth”

Psalm 121:1-2

 

Obedience, Rest, Submission, Trust, Uncategorized

Crowd Control

“At daybreak, Jesus went out to a solitary place.” Luke 4:42a

After spending a December weekend in New York City I have a new appreciation for the crowds Jesus experienced, being surrounded by multitudes most of the time.   While on the streets of New York there were throngs of people everywhere.  It was exhausting!  Even so, Jesus purposed to move from one crowd to another showing Himself to be “The Holy One of God.” (Luke 4:34)  However, He didn’t have a nice hotel room as a retreat like we did.

In Luke 4:23-29 Jesus is speaking in His hometown of Nazareth when the audience tries to kill Him. He then leaves for Capernaum to teach yet another crowd of people where He frees a man from demon possession. After that, Jesus left the synagogue to rest at Peter’s house but found Peter’s mother-in-law was sick so Jesus took the time to touch her as well.  However, by sunset there was another swarm of needy people at the house.

 Jesus was pressed, busy, sought after and needed but verse 42 starts with, “At daybreak, Jesus went out to a solitary place.”  Oh what a joy to know that Jesus needed His time alone with God and that it is not only okay but necessary for us to make time to rest and pray.  The end of verse 42 tells us that it wasn’t long before the crowds started looking for Jesus again, even trying to keep Him from His mission to “proclaim the Good News to the other towns as well.”

Our LORD and Savior prayed in isolation with His Father and purposed to do God’s will regardless of popular opinion.  However, when I pull away many times I say, “I need to decompress.” So, instead of praying I may watch an old movie or the cooking channel. Then, when the crowds come, I wonder why I’m overwhelmed.  The reason?  My armor is lying on the ground. I ceased to pray in the Spirit and I am weak and vulnerable.  In essence I become spiritually dehydrated and have nothing to offer that will quench the thirst of those seeking Jesus.  Furthermore, I lose track of my purpose. What is God’s will for this day?  How will I know if I refuse to take the time to ask?

In His wisdom the LORD brings crowds into our lives so we may pour out what He pours into our hearts. He also gives us opportunity for quiet times of rest to pray and be refreshed.  This is when we are ministered to by Him, being filled with His Spirit, loved on and equipped.   Intimacy with Jesus is found in this, “Be still and know that I am God.”  Be still, quiet, alone, engaged and relaxed. While staring into the eyes of Jesus Christ we are made new.  You are the bride of Christ and, just like in marriage, in order to maintain intimacy you must spend time alone with your Bridegroom so you know that you know that you know that you are not alone!

River City

Like rushing water the sidewalk still 

MoVeS

For throngs of souls make way.

                                      Foot

                                               upon block

                                                                    upon stone

                                                                                         upon walk,

Rumbling through the waves.  

The River of bodies bobs up and down

Hits rocks and brush of stone.

Rushing here and there and nowhere at all

Yet they are all

ALONE.

Marlene McKenna 12/26/2015

 

Uncategorized

The Gift of Knowing

“Now about the gifts of the Spirit, brothers and sisters, I do not want you to be uninformed. You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols. Therefore I want you to know that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.”  1 Corinthians 12:1-3

Whether you are buying, wrapping or shipping them, giving the perfect gift is on your mind.  Many people are very thoughtful, purchasing gifts throughout the year when they find something their loved one will enjoy.  Others procrastinate and “panic purchase” on Christmas Eve.  I’m somewhere in the middle.   Some of my shopping gets done early and much of it is accomplished in December. However, waiting doesn’t always work out for the best.

For example, the Buzz Lightyear pinball machine we found online in December 2001 was perfect for Sean, our seven-year-old son.  Even though we ordered it with expedited shipping, Christmas came and went without any sign of the toy.  Even though Sean was satisfied with what was under the tree we knew that he was missing the best gift.

The same is true with the gift God offers.  Jesus is the perfect Gift. However, unlike the pinball machine, He is never late. He always stands at the door of our hearts and knocks but it is up to us to open the door and let Him in. Only then can we receive the best gift of all. The gift of His Holy Spirit is God with us, Emmanuel!  Unfortunately, many people ignore the sound of the knocking, clinging to other things “under the tree” to satisfy them when, all the while, the One Who hung on the Tree for them is calling.

This Christmas is the perfect time to open the door and invite Jesus into your heart.  If you have already received the Gift and know what it is to have new life in Christ then shout, “Jesus is LORD!” and praise Him for what He has done.

Merry Christmas!

The lyrics are true! “Knowing You, Jesus, there is no greater joy.”