Thursday, May 28, 2009

Help, I did something Stupid!

This past Sunday we had the pleasure of meeting with Brother Kim Vedros, or Master Kim as he is affectionately known, at our house church gathering. I am always challenged by his understanding of the Word and unique perspective. Bro. Kim shared a word from Psalm 107 concerning God’s faithfulness to us when we cry out to Him.

So, because of Master Kim I have been meditating on Psalm 107. This is the part that caught my heart:

Some are fools [made ill] because of the way of their transgressions and are afflicted because of their iniquities.
They loathe every kind of food, and they draw near to the gates of death.
Then they cry to the Lord in their trouble, and He delivers them out of their distresses.
He sends forth His word and heals them and rescues them from the pit and destruction. Oh, that men would praise [and confess to] the Lord for His goodness and loving-kindness and His wonderful works to the children of men! And let them sacrifice the sacrifices of thanksgiving and rehearse His deeds with shouts of joy and singing!

(Psalm 107:17-22 AMP)

This caught my attention mainly because, like most of us, I can appreciate being “afflicted” because of my iniquities. Did you ever do something stupid that you can’t fix? Or been faced with a problem you TRY to fix and it only gets worse? I know I have. Then when it finally gets bad enough, the light bulb comes on. “I know”, I say to myself, “I’ll call on God!”

This passage in Psalm 107 reminds me of the story of the woman with the issue of blood in the Gospel of Mark:

And when Jesus had recrossed in the boat to the other side, a great throng gathered about Him, and He was at the lakeshore. Then one of the rulers of the synagogue came up, Jairus by name; and seeing Him, he prostrated himself at His feet and begged Him earnestly, saying, “My little daughter is at the point of death. Come and lay Your hands on her, so that she may be healed and live.” And Jesus went with him; and a great crowd kept following Him and pressed Him from all sides [so as almost to suffocate Him]. And there was a woman who had had a flow of blood for twelve years, and who had endured much suffering under [the hands of] many physicians and had spent all that she had, and was no better but instead grew worse. She had heard the reports concerning Jesus, and she came up behind Him in the throng and touched His garment, for she kept saying, “If I only touch His garments, I shall be restored to health”. And immediately her flow of blood was dried up at the source, and [suddenly] she felt in her body that she was healed of her [distressing] ailment. Jesus, recognizing in Himself that the power proceeding from Him had gone forth, turned around immediately in the crowd and said, “Who touched My clothes?” The disciples kept saying to Him, “You see the crowd pressing hard around You from all sides, and You ask, Who touched Me?” Still He kept looking around to see her who had done it. But the woman, knowing what had been done for her, though alarmed and frightened and trembling, fell down before Him and told Him the whole truth. He said to her, “Daughter, your faith (your trust and confidence in Me, springing from faith in God) has restored you to health. Go in (into) peace and be continually healed and freed from your [distressing bodily] disease.” (Mark 5:21-34 AMP)

Now it is not my intention to say that this woman was a “fool” or “afflicted” because of her iniquities. But because of her ailment she “had endured much suffering under [the hands of] many physicians” AND gave them all her money. The result of her physicians’ ministrations even left her worse off than before! Then the woman heard about Jesus. “If I can just touch Him” she said. Psalm 107 says they “cry out in their trouble”. If our crying out doesn’t touch God what good is it? In Psalm 107 they “touched” God by crying out to Him and He sent forth His word and healed them.

The Gospel of John calls Jesus the Word of God:

And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. (John 1:14 KJV)

The woman cried out and reached out to touch the Word (Jesus) sent by God. And on top of it all Jesus turns to this frightened, trembling woman and calls her “daughter”. Now that’s when you have really touched God.

Monday, May 18, 2009

He ain't heavy....

It has been a while since I have posted anything, but the house church is still going well. The hustle and bustle of daily life has captured my time lately. This Sunday was a good time of communion with my brothers and sisters. The scripture passage I keep coming back to lately is Hebrews 12:14-15:

“Strive to live in peace with everybody and pursue that consecration and holiness without which no one will [ever] see the Lord. Exercise foresight and be on the watch to look [after one another], to see that no one falls back from and fails to secure God's grace (His unmerited favor and spiritual blessing), in order that no root of resentment (rancor, bitterness, or hatred) shoots forth and causes trouble and bitter torment, and the many become contaminated and defiled by it” (AMP)

Paul’s encouragement to the early church in verse 14 was “strive” to live in peace with everyone. The word strive is defined in the dictionary as follows:

To exert much effort or energy; endeavor; To struggle or fight forcefully; contend.

This is not a very passive word. “Striving” for peace takes effort and requires endurance. Paul is saying. “Boys and girls, peace is worth the effort. Put your back into it and fight for peace.”

But that’s not all. On top of the hard (dare I say impossible) task of trying for peace with EVERYBODY, Paul says “pursue holiness”. Here we are faced with another verb, yet another action word. “Pursuing” is anything but passive. “While you are striving”, Paul said, “put on your track shoes and run after holiness, ‘cause if you don‘t have that you won’t even see God.” So here we are with our boxing gloves on fighting for peace and our track shoes on running after holiness. You do remember that Paul was writing to the church?

Now, as if we don’t have enough to do with all the striving and pursuing Paul throws in “looking out for one another”. Don’t I have enough to do already?! It’s hard enough trying to look out for myself, now I have to watch out for others too? I think maybe Paul is being a little unreasonable. But there it is, “see that no one falls back from and fails to secure God's grace”. What grace is it that has to be “secured” or held onto? I think John said it best in his gospel:

“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” (John 1:14-17 KJV)

So in light of Paul’s “encouragement” to the church, am I doing all I can? Or am I so busy looking out for myself I can’t watch out for my brother? Am I sure that my brothers and sisters are secured, strapped down, tied onto, and carried by the “grace and truth” that IS Jesus Christ?

Sunday, May 3, 2009

BJ's Graduation Party Invitation

Join us on Saturday, May 16, from 5-8, to celebrate BJ's graduation from LSU.