Archive for the ‘Talkin’ Christ’ Category

Giving to Others

Monday, March 23rd, 2009

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.— I John 3:16-18

A little boy was told by his doctor that he could actually save his sister’s life by giving her some blood. The six-year-old girl was near death, a victim of disease from which the boy had made a marvelous recovery two years earlier. Her only chance for restoration was a blood transfusion from someone who had previously conquered the illness. Since the two children had the same rare blood type, the boy was the ideal donor.

“Johnny, would you like to give your blood for Mary?” the doctor asked. The boy hesitated. His lower lip started to tremble. Then he smiled and said, “Sure, Doc. I’ll give my blood for my sister.”

Soon the two children were wheeled into the operating room-Mary, pale and thin; Johnny, robust and the picture of health. Neither spoke, but when their eyes met, Johnny grinned.

As his blood siphoned into Mary’s veins, one could almost see new life come into her tired body. The ordeal was almost over when Johnny’s brave little voice broke the silence, “Say, Doc, when do I die?”

It was only then that the doctor realized what the moment of hesitation, the trembling of the lip, had meant earlier. Little Johnny actually thought that in giving his blood to his sister he was giving up his life! And in that brief moment, he had made his great decision!

Filling the void

Monday, March 16th, 2009
Luke 11:24: “When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than the first” (NIV).
 
When we are trying to change bad habits, it usually isn’t enough just to stop the behavior. Even if we’re successful, we often replace it with another behavior that is just as bad or worse! These verses remind us that in seeking real and lasting change, we must fill the void of the bad habit with the truth of the Word and the power of the Holy Spirit.
 
As you encourage your kids to change negative behaviors, help them find positive, God-honoring substitutes.

Lights, Camera, Action

Wednesday, February 4th, 2009

Share in each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ.”—Galatians 6:2

My son knows how to “turn it on.”  He is only nine months old, but if you hold a camera in front of him and say, “smile,” he could be in the middle of a crying fit and he will flash one of the biggest, brightest smiles you have ever seen.  It makes for great pictures, but I can’t help but think how often I do this myself.  Instead of letting those close to me know how I feel and what is happening in my life, I simply put on the smile everyone wants to see.  I don’t think that is always what God wants from us.

Now I am not saying that everyone should walk around like “Debbie Downer” when they are in a crummy mood.  However, no Christian should ever have to walk through life’s struggles alone.  As Christians, we are called to share in each other’s burdens.  This is a way we obey Christ.  This does not necessarily put the responsibility on everyone else when it comes to caring for our needs.  We must be willing to share our burdens with those who are close to us.

Christians work best as the body of Christ when we are willing to be open, honest and journey through life together.  That means seeking accountability in areas where we sin and fall short.  It means praying for each other.  It means rejoicing with each other and mourning with each other.  But if we never share how we are feeling, we are taking that blessing away from our brothers and sisters in Christ.  If we always hide behind a smile and never open up to those who are close to us, we have fooled ourselves.

Perhaps you have never helped to carry another’s burdens because it feels like too much.  God doesn’t ask you to do it alone.  The next step is to cast all your cares and worries onto the Lord.  A part of helping carry those burdens means lifting them up to the Lord in prayer and trusting in His sovereignty to care for each and every one of us.

When God Is Silent

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2008

John 11:1-6

When Lazarus was dying, his sisters urgently called for Jesus. Imagine how their grief must have compounded when He didn’t instantly respond to their request.

God’s silence is difficult to accept. We want Him to leap into action when we call, particularly if we are hurting or afraid. But since He promises to meet our needs, we can be sure that a silence from heaven has purpose.

Silence grabs our attention. The disciples knew that Jesus could heal, so they must have wondered why He delayed instead of rushing to His friend’s bedside. But the Lord wanted them to witness something even greater: His power over death. They had been confused by His statements about conquering death, and they needed to understand that He could fulfill His own resurrection prophecies (Mark 9:31-32). The miracle at Lazarus’ tomb was part of their preparation.

Silence teaches us to trust.
Mary and Martha sent word of Lazarus’ illness because they anticipated that the Lord would heal him. But would their faith waver if that expectation was not met? Martha answered the question by stating, “I believe that you are the Christ” (John 11:21-27 niv). The Lord rewarded the women’s trust with a stunning miracle: their brother’s return to life.

At times, the only thing we can hear when we pray is our own breathing. That can be frustrating and frightening. But Scripture says God is always with us, and His silence will not last forever (Job 23:8-10; Heb. 13:5). Cling to those promises as you seek the purpose behind His silence.

His Will, Not Mine

Tuesday, September 9th, 2008

He went on a little farther and fell face down on the ground, praying, “My Father!  If it is possible, let this cup of suffering be taken away from me.  Yet I want your will, not mine.”  (Matthew 26:39)

There are some people who teach that we should never pray, “Not my will, but Yours be done,” because it supposedly voids what you have just prayed for.

What nonsense.  If Jesus prayed this, certainly we should follow His example.

He gave us the same pattern in the Lord’s Prayer when He said, “May your Kingdom come soon.  May your will be done here on earth, just as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10).  I never need to be afraid to say, “Lord, Your will be done.”

Then there are those who say that we should only pray for something once; otherwise, we are demonstrating a lack of faith.

Yet Jesus taught His disciples, “Keep on asking, and you will be given what you ask for.  Keep on looking, and you will find.  Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened” (Luke 11:9).  We give up far too easily sometimes.

We won’t always know the will of God in every situation.  Then there are times when we will know the will of God, but we won’t like it.  Finally, there are times when we will know the will of God, but we don’t understand it.

I like what the late D. L. Moody said, “Spread out your petition before God, and then say, ‘Thy will, not mine, be done.’ ”  Moody concluded, “The sweetest lesson I have learned in God’s school is to let the Lord choose for me.”

Have you found that to be true?  We must never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.