Wisdom from a leper

“Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” Luke 5:12

He had most likely tried everything else and failed. He was deteriorating due to a horrendous disease, which attacked the flesh causing significant tissue loss, coupled with shortened or deformed fingers and toes. He must have had multiple skin lesions all over his body and face, and could have suffered a loss of his eyebrows, deformed nostrils, and thickened ear lobes.

He was an outcast, and most likely homeless and without friends or families. But he saw Jesus! He knew that Jesus had the power to heal him. Jesus had healed many others, raised the dead, and set many free from demonic possession. He knew he could set him free of this disease and allow him to live again. Just imagine the thoughts that were flying through his head. He would be able to reunite with family, friends and even perhaps return to his trade or profession. Jesus just needed to heal him. Should he demand to be healed? Should he expect it? He understood something we must all keep in mind. It wasn’t his will but the will of Christ that would determine the outcome.

Often we beat ourselves up when we don’t get what we want immediately. We figure we just need more faith. If I could ask with more faith, God has to give me all that I want. Is that true, could faith and prayer be that simple? Paul was the greatest evangelist the world had ever seen. A great man of faith, who saw a countless number of his prayers answered; but never saw the thorn in his flesh removed. (2 Corinthians 12:7-10) God just wasn’t doing it! Jesus in teaching the “Our Father” tells his disciples to ask of God “your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:9-13) We cannot twist the arm of God so that suddenly his bag of goodies is opened and poured out on us. Although, we must ask and expect to receive in faith, we want God to do his will.

It is an awesome display of faith to desire God’s will in our lives. Often we do not know what God wants to do, but we must know that it is best for us. The leper ask “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.” The response from Jesus “I am willing, Be clean!” (Luke 5:12, 13) He was healed immediately. It was the will of Christ.

Continue to ask in faith all the desires of your heart, but do not forget to ask God to perform his will in your life. He truly desires to bless you with good gifts, but there are times that what we want is not the best. What God wants will be even better!

A sad Funeral Procession

And when the Lord saw her, he had compassion on her and said to her, “Do not weep.” Luke 7:13

The funeral procession could not have been more depressing. There she was all alone in the world and crying. She had lost her husband and now her son. No one was able to help. The doctors could not do a thing for her. Her family could not console her. I watched in horror, as my eyes watered up. Then I noticed the stranger. He was like no other. His face displayed strength and seriousness and yet a deep sadness. He was staring at her. It was as if He could not bear this women crying. Then I suddenly became aware. It was Him! It was that prophet, the great man of God who had been traveling across the country side. He had healed the blind and caused the crippled to walk. Others had reported of his power over demons. They said he would simply speak and the demons would flee. Yet others had been critical. They claimed this man was not of God. They complained of his companions and of his work on the Sabbath. Would a man of God heal on the Sabbath? Could He help this woman?

While I contemplated this I saw him make His move. He approached the woman and with tenderness, and a soft pleasing voice, said “Do not weep.”(Luke 7:13) He then turned to the dead man and said these words, which I would never forget “Young man, I say to you, arise.” (Luke 7:14) I couldn’t believe my eyes as his body snapped up. A moment ago this man was dead. I had seen him when he was pronounced dead. The town mourned for this man. A casket was built and I personally helped to place him in it. Now he was alive! All this man said was “arise”, and this dead man did. Who was this prophet?

This man is Jesus, the prince of peace, the Messiah, the son of God. Jesus did the miracle as He had done countless times before, but this time there was something different. He stopped everything, as if to hold time still, and took a moment to tell this woman “Do not weep”. Jesus is the God, who has compassion, the God who loves, the God who feels the pain in your heart and cries with you.

Surely he shall hear your prayers and comfort you in the midst of your trials. He will provide for every need (Psalm 23:1), and as He promised, faithfully be with you to the end. (Matthew 28:20)

(Please note the eye witness, who tells the story was created as a fictional representation of the many that were present at this great event. Please read of this great miracle in its entirety in Luke 7:11-17)

He has big horns and a tail

“What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don’t torture me!” Luke 8:28

Artists paint him with big horns, a tail, red and scary. They say he can go through walls, breath fire and drag you to hell. He is the scariest figure in human history. He is the source of all evil and many believe he is the reason why we do bad things. He lives in our nightmares and occupies our imagination. He has been around since before the world was made and has always been our adversary. He is called by Lucifer, the Devil, Satan, and Beelzebub.

For all who must contend with this evil spirit, for all who count him as an enemy, I have the greatest news, he is totally defeated and since the beginning has had to ultimately submit to the power of Christ. He was defeated on the cross. We are free from the death he brought upon humanity. We are no longer subject to sin and darkness. We are no longer helplessly in bondage; we are set free indeed by the truth and the way which is Jesus Christ. (John14:6) Concerning the big horns and tail, I really don’t know.

Jesus in his ministry immediately showed his power over Satan. He first defeated him in the wilderness when he rebuffed all of the devil’s attempts to cause Him to sin. Jesus then showed his might over all demons casting them out, regardless of the nature of the evil spirit, even those called legion; a special case where three to six thousand demons may have inhabited the host.

I personally revel in the fact that the demons showed actual fear and reverence toward our savior. One evil spirit actually said to Jesus “Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” (Luke 4:34) On another occasion a legion had this to say “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beg you, don’t torture me!” (Luke 8:28) Thousands of demons begging Jesus for mercy, how can we begin to understand the greatness, fierceness, and power of our Lord Jesus Christ?

Why must we fear? Paul says in 2 Timothy 1:7, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” The beloved apostle John adds “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” (1 John 4:4) The “He” that is in us is God and He is greater than the Devil who is in the world.

Therefore we must do as Jesus did; resist the Devil, for he shall surely flee, defeated for all times. (James 4:7)

 

Try these Verses on Fear

First they criticize, then they crucify

But some of them said, “He casts out demons by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons.” Luke 11:15

This is dedicated to all the doers, past, present and future, the greatest one being Jesus Christ.

Who was likely the most criticized man on the planet? I can’t be sure. But Jesus sure got a lot of Criticism. It was His critics that wanted Him crucified. They said he was sinner because he healed people on the Sabbath. They said He was a blasphemer because he forgave people of their sins. Whenever he would cast out demons they said He did it with the help of the chief demon. They were even critical of his companions, the publicans; these were the hated tax collectors. Ah, nothing has changed. Sinners were always seeking Jesus out. They were in need. They accused Him of starting a rebellion, but His kingdom was not of this world. They finally decided they had enough and they demanded He be crucified.

If they criticized Jesus who did an immeasurable amount of Good in His short ministry, then what will they do with us? We cannot be surprised when we are criticized for anything good we do. Any attempts to help others or make lives better will be met with criticism. Such as “We were too late,” or “We rushed it”. Perhaps they’ll say “That was too long” or “that was too short” or “those words were too eloquent, no one understood” or “Those words were too simple, what do you think of us.” No way to please everybody. The sure fire way to not receive criticism is not to do anything. Well that may not be true. Then we’ll be accused of being Lazy.

We just need to go out and do what we have to do for the Lord. If some people don’t like what you did, no problem, tell them “Please show me how to do it better”. Most likely they won’t. Because their role in life is not to do something, just to criticize others who do something. More importantly remember we do not perform for the critics. We do it for God and the kingdom of Heaven.

When it hurts, what do we do?

But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Acts 16:25

When in my darkest moments, feeling lost and unable to fight, I opened my mouth and out came praises to my God. Tears rolled down my eyes. But I felt at peace. It’s not because the problem had been solved. It’s not because I had forgotten. The problem was still very real. It’s not because I sing so well. Trust me I’m not the singer in the family. It’s because He was there.

I knew I was not alone and somehow He would see me through. The bible says that God inhabits the praises of His people. (Psalm 22:3) It is no exaggeration to say that the moment I started worshipping God He was there to comfort me. I have had many moments in my life when I needed God’s comfort. He has yet to fail me. It certainly cannot be my own strength.

God is our strength in troubled times. We have a great defense when we are going through trials. Paul and Silas sure found out. (Acts 16:16-31)They had been arrested unjustly, beaten, chained and locked in the deepest portion of the prison. It was dark, dreadful and hopeless. What did they do? They opened their mouths and with what little strength they had left, they worshiped God. God was there in a big way. The earth shook and the very foundations of the prison were broken. The chains came undone and the doors came down. They were free men. Because God made them free!

Fortunately for the jailer, Paul and Silas with obvious compassion for the man did not run away. This act of love saved the jailer’s life and then saved his soul, as he would give his life to Christ.

Our trials and difficulties in this world are not about to end. We still have some tears to shed. But in those moments when you are too weak to fight any more and a solution does not seem handy, open your mouth and let your God hear your mighty praise! His answer will surely be even mightier and you will feel His presence deep in your heart.

Running out of time

“But you, Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book until the time of the end; many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.” Daniel 12:4 

Ever get the feeling like your running out of time.  We all might be running out of time. This could be the end of the ages. No I am not going to start date setting. I am not predicting that by 5:30 pm next Tuesday the world will be coming to an end, sell everything and move into a bunker. But I will say this much, a whole lot of prophecy seems to point at our generation.

The Internet itself points to an apocalyptic time.  It is in the prophetic book of Daniel that we find that in the last days knowledge would increase. (Daniel 12:4) I can’t think of a time when access to knowledge has been easier than right now, it’s always a click away.

Increase in prices is yet another sign. Inflation was foretold by Revelation 6:6. According to this scripture a man’s wages for a day would pay for a loaf of bread. That may not be the case any time soon, we hope, but it is a warning for inflation.  We are definitely seeing a rise in prices.  With our world economy and the potential for a domino effect, all it would take is for a few major players among the nations to fail and it could mean economic catastrophe for all.

Ease in travel was also prophesied for the last generation.  The same verse in Daniel explains how people would travel more. In comparison to biblical times or even just 100 years ago our ability to get from one place to another on the planet has never been easier and accessible to more people.

The rate of change in technology, the political landscape and even in the lives of the common man has never been greater. Even if we put prophecy aside it would seem that all of history is reaching a climax. If we are truly at the end we need to ask two questions. Have I done what I wanted to do with my life, and the other, even a more important question, where will I spend eternity? Because it might be here any moment!

Persist and don’t lose heart

Then He spoke a parable to them; that men always ought to pray and not lose heart…Luke 18:1

I want what I want, and I want it now! Unfortunately it doesn’t always work like that and it’s really sad when we really need, not want, something. We can feel desperate, at the very least anxious. Depression might even set in.

Does God want us to give up? The straight answer is no. God wants us to trust in Him and persist in asking. Is this nagging? Call it what you want God will not get angry if you are persistent.

Jesus explained that there was an evil Judge that ignored the plea of a widow. She asked over and over for justice and never gave up. Finally he just had to hear and act on her behalf. Jesus further explained that God unlike the evil judge will gladly answer and give his children good gifts. But for reasons that are different in every case God may delay. However, he does not want us to give up hope. Paul also spoke of persistent prayer in Ephesians 6:18 and of praying without ceasing in 1 Thessalonians 5:17. If we must persist, the obvious implication is that we are not getting what we want right away.

Sometimes we are forced to wait because we are not ready. Image receiving a promotion too soon, it will only be to our detriment when we find ourselves incompetent in the role. On other occasions our prayers involve others who may not be ready for the great work God is going to do. Finally there are occasions when the blessing will be much greater at a future time.

We are not in a position to question God’s timing. What we must do is never give up. Keep on asking and never lose faith, in due time He will answer!