Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Too busy for Thanksgiving

 Jesus asked, "Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?" (Luke 17:17-18 NIV)

In Luke 17:11-19, Jesus healed ten men with leprosy. Jesus was traveling to Jerusalem when the men called out to Jesus from a distance and asked that He have pity on them. Jesus spoke to them and said to go show yourselves to the priests. As they were on their way, they were healed. Of the ten, One of them saw that he was healed, turned around, delayed his trip to see the priests and subsequently his family, so that he could tell Jesus thank you.

Jesus questioned the whereabouts of the other nine. Like we can be at times, they were too excited about what God had done and didn't make time to say thank you. Perhaps they assumed Jesus knew they were thankful? Perhaps they figured they'd express their gratitude later?

So about that new job, healing from covid, protection from covid, food on the table for Thanksgiving and every other day, shelter, clothing, necessities, peace, material things we don't need, protection of unseen danger, God's love, and so many other things - let's not get so caught up in it all that we become too busy or comfortable that we don't take a moment to say thank you.

Happy Thanksgiving, my friend!

 Many, Lord my God, are the wonders you have done, the things you planned for us. None can compare with you; were I to speak and tell of your deeds, they would be too many to declare. (Psalm 40:5)

Monday, November 16, 2020


Then many warned him to be quiet; but he cried out all the more, "Son of David, have mercy on me!" (Mark 10:48 NKJV)

But he cried out all the more... I could not get the image of a crying baby out of my mind as I read this. If you have any experience with babies, at some point, you've tried to console them with a shhhh and cradle rock, but the child kept crying (probably louder) because it had a need that hadn't been met. 

Now in the above Scripture reference, blind Bartimaeus cried louder despite those around him trying to keep him quiet, because, like that image of a crying child, his need hadn't been met. This thought lingered in my heart for a while. What or who do I allow to shush me? What about you?

Could it be people? The current environment trying to make me believe that God doesn't care? My sin that screams I don't deserve God's mercy? Unbelief that God will do what I ask?

There are many internal and external things that attempt to grab us by the throat and force our silence. But not today, satan! I encourage you to push past anything that wants to quiet you! If you continue reading Mark 10, Jesus asked Bartimaeus, What do you want Me to do for you?" (Mark 10:51) Bartimaeus asked for his sight and Jesus granted it to him with the response, "Go your way; your faith has made you well." (Mark 10:52)

What if Bartimaeus had gotten quiet when the folks around him tried to shush him? Tucked his head between his legs and allowed Jesus to walk on by? What if he'd never shown his faith? He would have remained blind.

The enemy wants you to remain quiet and keep your faith to yourself because in doing so, God doesn't get any glory. My friend, allow your faith to make you well - live it and cry out all the more!

Sunday, November 8, 2020

Help my unbelief

 And often he has thrown him both into the fire and into the water to destroy him. But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us." Jesus said to him, "If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes." Immediately the father of the child cried out and said with tears, "Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!" (Mark 9:22-24 emphasis added)

In the Scripture text, a man took his son with a mute spirit to Jesus' disciples for healing. This spirit would throw him down to the ground and have him foaming at the mouth and gnashing his teeth. (v. 17-18) Can you imagine? His disciples weren't able to heal the boy and I suppose this caused the man to question whether or not the boy's healing could actually happen. Because, how could the people who hung out with Jesus every day not help? 

By the time the man meets Jesus, he says, But if you can do anything. I had to pause and meditate here. What's up with the "if?" He had to believe Jesus and/or disciples could do something because he took the boy to them. But his experience taught him that perhaps healing wasn't possible. I had to ask myself if that's my attitude in approaching Jesus. Is that your mentality?

Jesus responds by telling the man his son's healing rests on his belief. Mark 9:23 Jesus said to him, "If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes." The father admitted he wrestled with unbelief and asked Jesus to help his unbelief.

Have you been wrestling with unbelief? I can imagine that the current events may have something to do with that or perhaps you have something more personal you're dealing with. 

Certain things hinder our belief: circumstances, experience, change. We often fear change. To believe Jesus can do anything and that all things are possible means that things will be different after healing takes place or prayers are answered.  It means we will have to do some things differently: be different,  think different, speak different, believe different. And that can be hard because we've been holding on to a certain pattern, sin, etc. for so long. We want Jesus to make us new and believe He can, but that often requires something of us.

Earlier this year, I decided to lose weight. For me, that meant giving up the cookies, cakes, and bread that I loved and craved. I had to be different. If you've ever attempted weight loss, you know it isn't easy because oftentimes, the excess weight is a culmination of bad habits. I'd been "losing" weight for a year before that time, without result. Why? All things are possible, right? I believed Jesus would help me maintain portion control. But that wasn't enough, I had to put my belief in action.

Your belief, your faith requires action from you. The weight loss is a rather simple experience compared to something heavier you may be battling with, but I'd like to encourage you to look within. What's hindering your belief? Time? Waiting can be a downer but stay the course. Whatever is hindering you, remember Jesus can help with that, too. Just ask.  All things are possible to him who believes.

Monday, November 2, 2020

Fear of rejection

 When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed. “Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that has been given him? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing?  Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him. Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. He was amazed at their lack of faith. (Mark 6:2-6a NIV)

As I read the above passage of Scripture, I could visualize the whispers among the people. In present day, it would sound more like, "Who does He think He is? Ain't He Mary's Son from down the street working as a carpenter?" They were probably shooting slugs about his brothers and sisters, too. I'm sure you know how the gossip mill works.

But do we allow the gossip to keep us from sharing who God is in our lives or His love for us and others? Most of us have at least one person in our lives right now who need Jesus, but who we are and what we've done prevents us from sharing the Good News of salvation because of our past.

Do you fear you may be rejected? Truth is, you may be rejected, but you would have planted a seed, a seed that someone may come along and water in that person's life. Jesus was also rejected, in His hometown! We would think that would be the place He'd be most welcome, but that wasn't the case. So if Jesus faced rejection, you and I can count on it, but we shouldn't let that stop us. Just think of the state we'd be in if Jesus stopped preaching and teaching the Gospel, or eventually decided not to die on the cross because of man's rejection of Him?

Even more jacked up today.

But the great news is He didn't allow that rejection to stop His ministry. He knew His purpose and I pray that you know yours, and if not, that you'll seek Him for it. God is forever pursuing you and desires intimacy with you. Pray that He leads and guides your steps and help you to overcome any fear you're facing that prevents you from being who He has called you to be.