Thursday, April 28, 2016

Just Believing 4/28/2016

"Hearing this, Jesus said to Jairus, 'Don’t be afraid; just believe, and she will be healed.'” Luke 8:50 (NIV)

There was once a man named Jairus who the Bible describes as a synagogue leader. His responsibilities would have been to conduct services, select participants and supervise the worship. In Christianity, the equivelant might be a worship leader, deacon or even minister. In any case, Jairus had a daughter who was very near death. Knowing of Jesus and his capabilities and knowing that he was in the area, he ran to him, fell at his feet and begged him to come to his home and save his daughter.

As a parent, I do not have to imagine what Jairus was going through. I remember writing in my daughter's baby book as she lay in my arms just days old that it was my job and my promise to love her and protect her from all threats. I found out as Jairus found out that you can't protect your babies from everything. I found out that there are things for which there is no defense. I found out what it is like to see her lying in bed and praying that God would just let me trade places with her, knowing all the while that it was nothing more than a desparate father's wish and that it could never happen. I know what it is like to be utterly helpless and reduced to wracking sobs. But like Jairus, I also know what it is like to have hope and faith in Jesus.

Beloved, there are so many things that are beyond our power to affect. We wonder why these things happen while struggling to hold on to God with everything we've got. Our faith is stong but it is SO hard and it hurts so much. It is particularly hurtful to have to stand by and watch someone we love struggle in their affliction. Jairus was told that his daughter had died and to stop "bothering" Jesus (Luke 8:49), but praise God, Jesus said to not be afraid and to just believe. Jesus went to his home and healed his daughter.

Only God can control the outcome of such things, but we are called upon to control our level of faith.  I'm reminded of the three Hebrew boys whose lives were threatened by their king.  Their response to his challenge to fall down and worship another god was this: “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to give you an answer concerning this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the furnace of blazing fire; and He will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But even if He does not, let it be known to you, O king, that we are not going to serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up” Daniel 3:16-18.  No matter what, we must all rely on Him for we know that ultimately, all things will work together for our good.  Just believe.

Practically speaking,


Thursday, April 21, 2016

Doing Right While Being Done Wrong 4/21/2016

"But Jesus said to him, 'Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?'  When those who were around Him saw what was going to happen, they said, 'Lord, shall we strike with the sword?'  And one of them struck the slave of the high priest and cut off his right ear.  But Jesus answered and said, 'Stop! No more of this.' And He touched his ear and healed him." Luke 22:48-51

Almost without fail, our natural reaction to being offended or wronged is to retaliate. It is practically an automatic response.  The fact is that many parents, Christians among them, teach their children from the earliest age to hit back if someone hits them first, rather than "turn the other cheek."  This and other teaching builds into how we handle conflict as adults.

This said, it is not suggested that we should refrain from teaching our children to avoid conflict and/or defend themselves nor that we should not do similarly, however, offered for your consideration is the example of Jesus.  He was under near constant scrutiny, threat, persecution and intent to harm once he began his ministry in earnest.  Nevertheless, he never deviated from his mission to seek and save you and me.  Even as he was betrayed and accosted by soldiers with clubs and swords, he still advocated for peace and would see no one harmed despite what he faced.

Beloved, let us always think twice about how we react.  Let us remember the Christianity that we claim, the God that we serve, the Son who saves us and all of the thinking and behavior that goes with it.  Let us also consider the relative smallness of the things that cause us injury or offense, yet how easily and quickly we respond.  It is easy to talk the Christian talk but quite another thing to walk the Christian walk.  And though we may suffer in the name of the Lord personally, great good can come of it.  Peter wrote, "But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed.  Do not fear their threats; do not be frightened" 1 Pet 4:14.  He further states, "So then, those who suffer according to God's will should commit themselves to their faithful Creator and continue to do good." 1 Pet 4:19.  This is what Jesus did.

Practically speaking,


Thursday, April 14, 2016

Handling the Little Things 4/14/2016

"He said, "Naked I came from my mother's womb, And naked I shall return there. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord." Through all this Job did not sin nor did he blame God." Job 1:21-22

Most everyone is familiar with the story of Job. We seek or are referred to his story during times of duress and great tribulation. We are fascinated by the depth and breadth of his calamities. We are also fascinated by the grace and humility with which he faced them. He always kept God at the forefront. These thousands of years later, we still draw strength from his life.

This is presented not to give us inspiration to endure our lowest lows, but to cast in relief our smaller trials. Let us consider the things that send us off the deep end. We are subject to road rage in traffic. We often argue with the ones we love over trivialities. We are ready to feud if someone slights us socially. If the boss has a less than complementary word for us, it turns into a bad day for everyone with whom we come into contact. If our child has a disappointing showing on the field of play, we forget how proud we are to have them as flesh of our flesh.

Beloved, we spend an inordinate amount of our time majoring in minor. Let us not allow the smaller things to be blown out of proportion. To be sure, the significant accidents, diagnoses, employment situations, losses, etc., will come to us personally or to someone with whom we are close. Proportional reactions in those case would be able to be understood by anyone. Remember, however, the grace with which Job handled the worst incidents imaginable. Consider then, how would he have handled the smaller things.

Practically speaking,