Job 2:4-5

Satan answered the LORD and said, "Skin for skin! Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life. However, put forth Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh; he will curse You to Your face."

Thursday, January 10, 2013

"She Doesn't Want to Die Now"

Shortly before my Grandma turned 94 she fell and broke her hip.  She had a partial hip replacement and the was transferred to a rehab facility.  While she was there the pain medication caused her to have a bleeding ulcer.  They could have transferred her back to the hospital, stopped the bleeding and given her a blood transfusion but my Uncle made the decision to let her remain at the rehab.  When my dad got there, one of the things my Uncle told him was, "She doesn't want to die now."

My Grandma had said in the past all she wanted was a peaceful, nice death as if she was ready to go, but when death was near her flesh and self-love awoke within her and cried out for life.

At times in our spiritual journeys we will feel as though we have died to self and this world and are ready to leave it all behind.  We have a renewed mind.  We feel the presence of the Lord.  We see fruit in our lives.  We are spiritually strong. But a question I personally have had to face is, if death came to me today, am I ready?

At a prayer meeting a while back, a person with a life threatening illness came in asking for prayer for healing. My pastor was there with the other elders to pray for this man. But before they did so my pastor asked this man, "why do you want to be healed?" Now I don't believe the timing of the question was appropriate, but it's still something we should consider. The answer to this question should reveal something about who we are really living for: ourselves or Christ.

I might say I want to be well so I can devote myself to the Lord's work. Being sick has left me ineffective. But undergirding those thought are these:  I want to be healed because I don't like suffering and I want to be comfortable. I want to be at ease. Not to worry. I don't want to be hindered by my illness. I want to be able to live my life.

Now it doesn't have to be about life and death. Maybe it's something else. A job or a new house. Lord only if I had a different job I'd have time to serve and help those less fortunate. Or, if you provided me with a nicer house I could host bible studies, foster a child, open my home to strangers. But do we really mean it, or do you just want the better job, the nicer house and are using the Lord's work as a bargaining tool.

One thing I know for sure is that because I suffer from an illness, that I am more effective sick than healthy.  At least for right now because that's where I am, that's where God wants me.  And I do believe that God has planned out my life in according to what is best for me in relation to eternity.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy New Year! Don't Be Deceived

"Although your goal is to love God purely for Himself, and for His sake alone, you have to realize that in this life it is almost impossible to love God with total unselfishness. God has to do that miraculous work in you, and it takes a long time."

So with the New Year comes the usual resolutions and positive thinking. This is the year you're gonna change, right?

Common teaching from the pulpit will concern topics such as being more devoted and living wholly for the Lord in 2011. Thinking that one day you will turn your life around and everything will be different is a common thought process. Now it is possible to turn your life around, to make a resolution and follow through with it. People do it everyday. The concern in the Christian life is what causes the change.

It is possible to do good works from your own will and strength (outside the will of the Holy Spirit). Even unbelievers accomplish good works in this sense. The difference between an earthly good work and an eternal good work is not that one merely has a Christian label on it. So how do you know when you working from your own will and strength and that of the Holy Spirit?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Hebrews 12:4-11

So far I haven't had the time to post anything of significance and since I am new to blogging I have been just posting things to get the hang of how everything works.  Anyway today is no different, but here is something of value:

4You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin;
 5and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons,
 7It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline?
 8But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.
 9Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live?
 10For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness.
 11All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.

I mentioned that you read these verses in an earlier post.  I decide to post them here for your convenience.

Monday, November 29, 2010

God's Promise: Blessed is He Who Suffers

Is Your Life an Idol?

Sometimes we change God into someone His is not, and a lot of times we do this unintentionally.  First, let's consider the fact that our flesh continually battles us for a self-centered worldview.  Now, since we are temporal creatures, we may unwittingly take the truth of God's eternal promises and twist them ever so slightly, so that His eternal promises now fit the time-frame and desire of our flesh.

When we do this, we strip God's eternal promises of all their truth and glory and replaced it with what we want to believe and hear.  I met a woman once who suffered from a chronic illness for several years of her life.  When I met her she had already been healed for a long time.  When we talked about her experience she didn't see any benefit to her sickness.  She also stated that somewhere in the bible, in the Old Testament, God promised to add these wasted years back on to the end of her life.  Meaning that if she was sick for 10 years that those 10 years would be given back to her and she would live 10 years longer than if she had never been sick.  When I asked, she was unsure of what book she got that promise from, but she believed in it and hope in it will total faith.

To this day I am not sure what verse she was thinking of (if you know please let me know with a comment), but I do know based on my knowledge of scripture that in her heart this woman had an idol and it was her present life.  She could not see the blessing in suffering or the truth in such verses such as Matthew 5:3-12, Hebrews 12, Philippians 3:8, James 1, Romans 5, 1 Peter 1, 1 Peter 4, and most importantly one of my favorite verses:

2 Corinthians 1:8-10

For we do not want you to be unaware, brethren, of our affliction which came to us in Asia, that we were burdened excessively, beyond our strength, so that we despaired even of life;
 9indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves so that we would not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead;
 10who delivered us from so great a peril of death, and will deliver us, He on whom we have set our hope. And He will yet deliver us.

What Paul valued in these verses was not his life.  Paul had died to self.  God accomplished that by taking away Paul's idea of life as pleasurable and self-sustaining by giving him suffering.  We are incapable of putting the flesh to death.  God must act and separate us from what we naturally love most in this world and that is life.  If you suffer in the flesh consider yourself blessed (1 Peter 4:1).  Suffering is a sign that God is working in your life and has called you to be His child, see Hebrews 12:4-11.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Need Prayer?

Let me know how I can be praying for you.  Leave a comment or e-mail me.  Every desire, need, sin issue and circumstance is unique and important, therefore there is no such thing as a small prayer.  Anything and everything on your heart should be lifted up.

James 5:12
Therefore, confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed. The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much.

Galatians 6:2
Bear one another's burdens, and thereby fulfill the law of Christ.

Prayer: I was asleep, but my heart was awake.

Prayer is the most important thing in life.  There is nothing more important.  God designed man to pray.  We, by nature are made to call on Him, to depend on Him, to surrender to Him and then to wait on Him.  Prayer is for us, but it is not about us.  It is about God and His glory.  But God doesn't need us to pray.  He already knows. In fact, He doesn't need us at all. 

When you go into prayer don't let your heart deceive you making you think you are greater than you truly are.  Consider how small and finite you are.  How powerless and futile your ways are.  Pray that the Spirit will lead you in prayer because you are unable to pray God's will.  Ask for guidance.  Ask for words to fill your heart.  And then in honesty pour out all the thoughts of your heart.  Don't hold back.  Remember God already knows. 

And finally, don't wait to pray.  Pray always, every chance you get.  A two minute prayer can sometimes be more effective than a two hour prayer.  Try not to change prayer from a need of God to a practice of human discipline by reserving all prayers for your designated prayer time.  Meditate on God day and night because we are in a constant need of Him. 

Be awake when He returns.

Song of Solomon 5:2  "I was asleep, but my heart was awake"