Follow Me on Pinterest

Saturday, May 30, 2009

A Cry for Help

Many of you may have read the story of blind Bartimaeus who was healed of his blindness by Jesus. As the story goes, Jesus was passing through Jericho and when the blind man heard of it, he becan to cry out loudly, "Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me" (Mark 10:46). The people who were there tried to shut him up, but he cried out even louder. And we know what happens when we cry out to Jesus. He heard the man's cry, had Bartimaeus brought to him and He healed him. A happy ending.

Now my point is, what about those who are crying out day after day and no one hears them? I'm talking about children who have been abandoned by parents, those locked up in a prison cell, those who are dying of AIDS, hepatitis and other illnesses. The widows, orphans, poor, homeless, divorced right here in our society. And if we think of overseas, we have fields upon fields overflowing with grain ready to be harvested. Jesus said,"The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest" Matthew (9:37-38).

What are we doing about those silent cries that go unheard? Are they our responsibility? Jesus said, "For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me ... Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me" (Matthew 25: 35-36, 40).

Let's not ignore these cries for help all around us. Jesus didn't, and He commissioned us to do as He did. Will you pray for God's leading to help you hear and answer the cries of those less fortunate than ourselves?

Sunday, May 24, 2009

What He Means To Me

If someone were to ask you what does Jesus mean to you, what would be your response? I guess you might say something like, He's my Savior. He's my Lord. He came down from heaven, suffered and died on a Roman cross so I could be forgiven of my sins. That's true, but is that all? I mean, that's more than enough, isn't it? To know that you don't have to spend the rest of your life in hell is enough to have you shouting and dancing all day long, so what else is there?

Well, when I think of Jesus, I see more than a Savior. I see a Friend. I see someone I can call up in the middle of the night and say, "Hey, Jesus, I can't sleep. I have this problem on my mind, and there's no one I can talk to about it but You. I tried explaining it to my friend, Jane, but she looked at me with a kind of a blank stare, like she didn't really get it, but you do, don't you, Lord?" Before you know it, you are fast asleep. When you wake up next morning you've forgotten what the problem was.

And the next night. "You know, Lord, I've gotten myself into one sticky mess. I feel like I've been rolled in silly putty. I didn't see it coming, or maybe I didn't think before I said the things I said, and now everyone is talking about me. I might even lose my job. Lord, what am I going to do? Help me, Lord."

A week later. "Lord, I took your advice and did what you told me to do and now everything is cool again, but I have something else to tell you. I met this really cute guy and I really like him. Lord, you should see the shoulders, and when he smiles, well, the sun hides behind a cloud. Oh, I'm sorry, Lord, I didn't mean that. But, anyway, I think he likes me too. Lord, I'm going to let him meet You, okay? And then You'll tell me what you think. Okay, Lord?"

Silly? No. Not when you have a personal relationship with Jesus. He becomes your Friend, Brother, Confidante, Healer, whatever you want Him to be. He's the One you can call upon in the middle of the night because He "neither slumbers nor sleeps". There's nothing too small or too great that you cannot discuss with Him. He hears, He understands and He makes interecession for us with the Father. Won't you call on Him today, or tonight? He will listen, and He will answer. He said, "Henceforth I call you not servants ... but I have called you frends" (John 15:15).

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Rest And Relaxation

This weekend I decided to take some much needed time for R&R and spend it with God. You know, we rush around so much doing this and that, and sometimes when we should be relaxing we find it hard to just unwind and do nothing. Well, this weekend with my grandchildren away at a camp, I decided I would do something I had been postponing for a long time.

I think God was pleased with my decision, because even the weather conspired to keep me indoors. If you live in Atlanta you know what I'm talking about.
So with the rain gently washing my window panes, I sat on my bed, read, prayed and sang. When I tired of that I lay still and just meditated on God and what I had read in His word.

Want to know what I read? Exodus. One of my favorite Bible stories. The part where God gave the Ten Commandments to Moses. Then I flipped over to Matthew and read where Jesus said, speaking of the Law, "... I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill" (5:17). Then on to Romans where Paul explains that "a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law" (3:28). And then he sums up how the law is fulfilled in the life of a believer: "Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law" (13:10).

Rest, relax, love God, love your neighbor as yourself. It doesn't get any better than that.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

What About Tomorrow?

President Obama has described the current recession as the worst since the Great Depression of the 1930s. He may be right. Never in all my years (and I've lived quite a bit) have I witnessed such widespread helplessness and despair as hundreds of thousands of people lose their jobs, their homes and their hope. But as Charles Dickens wrote: It is the best of times, it is the worst of times.

The best of times? After the statements in the first paragraph, this sounds like a paradox, and yet, if we look at the Bible, this can be the best of times. This can be the time when we learn to depend on God and His infiite resource. It can be the time when we draw near to Him and He will draw near to us. It can be the time when we reach a level of intimacy with Him that we never had before.

The Bible is full of stories of the way God dealt with people during times of scarcity or famine as it was called. Abram (Genesis 12:1); Isaac (26: 1-4); Joseph (41:27); David (2 Samuel 21:1); Elijah (1 Kings 18:2) and countless others all experienced famine at one time or another. But through it all we see God taking care of His people. Psalm 34: 17 says, "The righteous cry, and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles" (Psalm 34:17).

That's all well and good, you might say, but what am I going to do if I get laid off tomorrow, or if I don't find a job soon? Jesus said, "... Take no thought for your life what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficent unto the day is the evil thereof" (Matthew 6: 25, 34).

Jesus is not dismissing our cares and concerns. He understands that we have real problems and difficulties in this life, more so during a recession such as this. However, by telling us not to worry about tomorrow, He is saying to us that worry will not improve the situation. It only magnifies the problems, makes everything seem worse than it really is and clouds our vision so we cannot see our way out of the crisis. Instead we are to "cast all our cares upon him; for he careth for us" (1 Peter 5:7).