Wednesday, June 17, 2009

God and His Crazy Commands

1 Kings 17:8 - 9 (KJV) 8And the word of the LORD came unto him, saying, 9Arise, get thee to Zarephath, which belongeth to Zidon, and dwell there: behold, I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain thee.

What’s a girl to do? Her husband is dead. There is a severe drought in the land. Apparently there is not much food left to provide for her and her son. Perhaps this is what led the widow woman at Zaraphath to call on the Lord. We don’t know much about what she said to God, but we see clearly what God said to her: God commanded her to provide for the prophet.

Certainly God can be trusted, but who can fault the widow woman from doubting her answer from heaven? We don’t know how much time had passed; but from the time God spoke until the time the Prophet Elijah showed up at her house, she had reevaluated her options. No offence God, but I think I’m going to do it my way this time.

1 Kings 17:10 - 12 (KJV) 10So he arose and went to Zarephath. And when he came to the gate of the city, behold, the widow woman was there gathering of sticks: and he called to her, and said, Fetch me, I pray thee, a little water in a vessel, that I may drink. 11And as she was going to fetch it, he called to her, and said, Bring me, I pray thee, a morsel of bread in thine hand. 12And she said, As the LORD thy God liveth, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and dress it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die.

It is noteworthy that her solution outside of God’s command did not buy her much time. Even though God’s idea was outrageous, her own plans were incredibly limited under the circumstances. It is also significant to me that the prophet only asked her to follow through on the instructions she had already received from the Lord.

If you fast-forward to the end of the story you discover that God’s command was right on the mark (as usual). No matter how crazy it sounded, obeying God was the best option in spite of the circumstances.

Wow! Some things don’t change. Some people still balk at the crazy commands we find in God’s word. However, God doesn’t change. His ways still work regardless of the uncertainties we face in our generation.

Ecclesiastes 12:13 - 14 (KJV) 13Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.

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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Maturity Trumps Therapy

Ephesians 4:14 - 15 (KJV) 14That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:

Our generation seems intoxicated with psychobabble. Sometimes therapy is the key to healing and restoration. However, there are times when the honesty we need is exchanged for the excuse we prefer. Don’t help me BE good, just help me FEEL good! Somewhere, somehow, somebody needs to tell the truth.

In the early days after my children arrived on this planet I did not place much value on their maturity. In fact as they grew enough to make certain sounds, I would imitate their attempts at speech. I was trying to sound like them; all the while they were trying to sound like me. They would giggle and I would enjoy making them feel good.

As they have grown even a few years older (Abigail is 5, Harrison is 2), I have become less of a mimic and more of a mentor. Therefore they have discovered that “goo-goo gaga” doesn’t get them very far. Even Harrison is already using words that make it clear he knows what he wants (and he wants what he wants – exactly when he wants it).

Baby believers need healthy relationships with believers that are not babies! Someone needs to model maturity for the children of God that are new to the body of Christ. Someone needs to feel responsible (even accountable) for the spiritual growth of spiritual babies. We cannot copy the “conversation” of the newly converted while they are desperate to discover the lifestyle of true disciples.

Maturity is NOT the enemy. Putting away “childish things” definitely has its advantages. Thank God for the parents, pastors, and people that are passionate about helping others GROW. Babies are absolutely adorable; but there is nothing cute about an adult acting like a child.

Thank you Jesus for putting people in my life that have helped me mature. Not that I am everything I want to be (or even need to be), but thank God I am not what I have been. I urge you to honor the people that God has put in your life that help you grow in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ.

There are times when the admonition of those that love us might sting a little bit. “Goo-goo gaga” doesn’t provoke my children near as much as the clear sound of correction. However, maturity has its privileges. I appreciate the wonder of being born again. However, I yearn for more than new birth, I want new life. I want Christ to be formed in me. I long for maturity.

Galatians 4:19 (KJV) 19My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you,

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Homesick For Heaven

Matthew 4:17 (KJV) 17From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

Recently I spent eight days away from my family. I was horribly homesick. I had forgotten to travel with my favorite pillow. I neglected to bring my favorite stuffed teddy bear. I didn’t even have my Superman pajamas. You can’t believe how huge the “S” is on my big belly!

Did I mention my glow in the dark turtle? Light emanates from its shell so that the moon and the stars dance upon the ceiling all night long. I never have to sleep in the dark! But alas, my turtle was nowhere to be found. I think my two year old Harrison hid it from me, so that I wouldn’t take it on my trip. After all, it does belong to him.

When I travel, I am often homesick for my home and family in North Carolina. However, I am always homesick for my home in Heaven. No tears, no sickness, no pain, no heart-ache. The scriptures assure us of a place where “the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.”

That’s what I’m talking about! HEAVEN – I wouldn’t miss it for the world! Somehow it just seems like it won’t be long until we’ll be going home to be with Jesus. One song writer described it this way:

What a day that will be when my Jesus I shall see
When I look upon His face, the one who saved me by His grace
When He takes me by the hand and leads me through the promise land
What a day, glorious day, that will be

When Jesus ministered to people He did not automatically transport them to Heaven. However, after their repentance, He routinely brought heaven to them. He healed the sick, He cast out devils, He gave joy for sorrow and peace to replace their pain.

I am looking forward to going to heaven. But I am grateful that Heaven is available to me today. Through repentance and a passion for His presence, I can have a little heaven right here on earth.

Psalms 16:11 (KJV) 11 Thou wilt show me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.

Acts 3:19 (KJV) 19Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;