Journey 5-4-06

Then he went up and touched the coffin, and those carrying it stood still. He said, “Young man, I say to you, get up!” The dead man sat up and began to talk, and Jesus gave him back to his mother. Luke 7:14-15

With my background, growing up in a “Christian” nation and hearing Bible stories from the time of my earliest childhood, sometimes I forget how radical the message of Jesus was in his day and still is today. I was reading the verse referenced above and I wondered if the people carrying the coffin stood still out of pure shock. Touching a coffin, having contact with death, made a person unclean in the eyes of the law. How it must of shocked them when Jesus walked up and touched the coffin! But Jesus did the miraculous. Instead of taking the uncleanness of death onto himself, in His holiness he gave life back to the boy turning the unclean to clean, and bringing life from death.

Journey 4-27-06

A large crowd of his disciples was there and a great number of people from all over Judea, from Jerusalem, and from the coast of Tyre and Sidon, who had come to hear him and be healed of their diseases. Those troubled by evil spirits were cured, and the people all tried to touch him, because power was coming from him and healing them all. Luke 6:17b-19

As I was reading this passage I was captured by the description of power coming from Jesus. The people recognized that there was power in Jesus to heal them and they sought him out, following him all over the region to be touched by that power. Today, the multitudes don’t seek Jesus. They have been blinded to the power that is within him, the power available to touch and heal their lives. And that is the reason I am here in Hungary, that I may share the gospel of Jesus Christ which is the POWER of God for the salvation of everyone who believes.

But too often I think that I am so “familiar” with Jesus that I fail to remember the power that is in Him. Power to bring light from darkness. Power to work evil plans for good. Power to heal, cleanse and forgive. Power to change lives. If I will remember the power in the name of Jesus then I can rest assured that He is able to work out His plan even when I do not see the results and I can be encouraged that He will accomplish all that He desires.

Journey 4-18-06

Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down…Since ancient times no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him. Isaiah 64:1a,4

This week as I reflected about the sacrifice of the cross I thought of all the years that passed after the exile from the garden spent waiting for redemption to arrive. I read about Simeon and Anna waiting in the temple to see God’s promised redeemer. Imagine them, these two individuals symbolic of so many people, their very lives spent waiting, yearning to see the one who would bring forgiveness. And as I thought of the cross I was again awed by the sacrifice and the love of the Savior. How amazing that we have a God who acts on behalf of those who wait for Him! God, whose love is so personal and so deep that He gave His Son for our Redemption.

I also reflected on of Isaiah 65 where God says that He revealed himself to those who did not ask for him and was found by a people who did not seek Him. And I thought about Hungary, a people who do not know Him, and of all those who do not seek Him. And I pray that even these people, who are not looking for Him, that they will find redemption in His name.

A friend sent me a CD and I’ve been listening to it over and over and contemplating the truths revealed. Most of you know that I God designed me to grasp truth in a deep way through music and allegory. The song that has been on my heart this week is by Caedmon’s Call and it says, “Can you tell me the story, of all of your Glory, and your rising again. ‘Cause I’m in love with the mystery, of how our sad history, can turn out for good.”

A godly man once told me that when he is old and dying that he doesn’t want people to tell him that everything will be ok, but he wants them to tell him the story of Jesus. This week it was so good to bask in the story of the Redeemer. To see the ugliness, the hatred, the rebellion, the perversions and the bitterness of man compared to the unfailing love of God. To see the love so deep, the mercy so rich and free, the grace that is greater than all my sin. “Can you tell me the story? I need to hear it again. I need to hear it again.”

Journey 4-6-06

What do you want me to do for you? Jesus asked him. Mark 10:51

I find this passage in Mark interesting. Knowing the man’s need Jesus could have walked directly over to the roadside where Bartimaeus was begging, but he didn’t. He continued passing by until Bartimaeus called out, above the protests of the crowd. I love verse 49, where the same crowd who had rebuked him for crying out tells him to cheer up because Jesus is calling him. The directive, cheer up, makes me think that his cries must have evidenced his desperation.

And Jesus knew exactly what this blind man desired, but he asked “what do you want me to do for you?”

The patience of our God is an amazing thing. He will wait and he will pass by the place where you are a hundred times waiting for you to recognize your need. He knows that we need Him, but he waits. Will we set aside our pride and come in humility and faith to make our need known to Him? He is waiting, asking “what do you want me to do for you?”

Journey 3-30-06

When they came to the other disciples, they saw a large crowd around them and the teachers of the law arguing with them. As soon as all the people saw Jesus, they were overwhelmed with wonder and ran to greet him. Mark 9:14-15

This verse caught my attention this week. Sandwiched between the transfiguration and the child with the demon it would be easy to overlook, but the word “wonder” caught my eye. The people were overwhelmed with wonder when they saw Jesus. It reminded me of a quote, a prayer, that I would like to share with you.

“Dear Lord, grant me the grace of wonder. Surprise me, amaze me, awe me in every crevice of your universe. Delight me to see how Your Christ plays in ten thousand places, lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not His, to the Father through the features of men’s faces. Every day enrapture me with Your marvelous things without number. I ask not to see the reason for it all; I ask only to share the wonder of it all.”

Rabbi Heschel (Quoted in Brennan Manning’s Ragamuffin Gospel)

May you see the wonder of the mystery of the love of Christ evident in your life today.

Journey 3-22-06

And because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions – it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. Eph 2:4-7

I heard a really wonderful reminder of the great grace of God in a sermon last Sunday. God knew exactly what I needed to hear. Sometimes I forget how much God loves me. I forget that He loves me just as I am and that it is not what I can do that makes me precious in His site.

The great mercy and love of God is a mystery that I can not begin to fathom, yet it is a mystery that gives my soul rest. God’s love is so wide and so deep that it follows me to the very end of the earth, from the lowest valley to highest mountain top. His love gives me a reason to sing when I am weary and his great mercy makes me fall on my knees with gratitude that a God so great would plan the reconciliation that I have received through the cross of Jesus Christ.

I heard a phrase in song this week that has been the refrain in my head today. “God’s compassion is my story, it is my boasting all the day. Mercy free and never failing, moves my will, directs my way.” May the mercy of God direct my steps and may the world see the amazing, abounding, endless love of the God who loves me and the God who loved them even before they drew their first breath.

Journey 3-16-06

I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart, before the “gods” I will sing your praise. I will bow down toward your holy temple and will praise your name for your love and faithfulness, When I called, you answered me, you made me bold and stouthearted. May all the kings of the earth praise you, O LORD, when they hear the words of your mouth. May they sing of the ways of the LORD for the glory of the LORD is great. The Lord will fulfill his purpose for me, your love, O LORD endures forever… Ps 138 1-5, 8a

By day the LORD directs his love, at night his song is with me – a prayer to the God of my life. Ps 42:8

The loving-kindness of the Lord our God is great. It is amazing how He is able to work with the frail human heart to bring Glory to His Name.I am amazed how He answers when I call and how He strengthens me with His strength and power when my own strength has no ability to carry me through life.

He is my Rock and my Refuge. He even gives me the song of His love that becomes my prayer back to Him. My prayer is that He will be glorified, in me and among the nations, that all would know His compassionate love and His great mercy. I long for the day where His name and His renown is the song of every man, woman and child.

Journey 3-8-06

“Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, His love endures forever.” Ps. 136

If you have a chance take some time to read this Psalm this week.

What an amazing description of the many, many ways that God’s love and goodness endure toward us!

How amazing that God’s love endures, in spite of our weaknesses, failures, rebellions and wandering hearts.

He is so good.

Journey 3-1-06

“Let’s get one obstacle out of the way quickly: our erroneous belief that God’s will for us is tighter, narrower, more constrained and certainly more boring than our own. We have allowed the thief of humanism to convince us that God’s will is sacrificial at best. God’s will for our lives is so much broader than ours that the two are incomparable.” Beth Moore, Voice of the Faithful, March foreword

I run in the path of your commands for you have set my heart free. Ps 119:32

I read this quote and this scripture within hours of each other and it set my mind to pondering. First, I reflected on the quote. How true it is that I often believe that God’s will for me is less (more difficult and less rewarding) than what I would have chosen, when in truth it is so much more wonderful, that I can’t even begin to imagine the fullness of it!

Then I thought about how I look at the Scripture and the Christian life. The Psalmist says that he runs in the path of God’s commands. I could envision when I used to turn my horse loose in the arena after she had been cooped up in a stall for days. She would run, exploding into action, as soon as I turned her loose. Her head high, tail extended, she would eat up the ground full of the joy of freedom. I think that perhaps my small view of God’s will for my life means that I generally walk, sometimes crawl and at best jog in the path of His commands. But I seldom RUN. But I want to run in the path of His commands, for the life and the freedom that He has given me is beyond measure.

Journey 2-22-06

O God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you; My soul thirsts for you, my body longs for you,in a dry and weary land where there is no water. I have seen you in the sanctuary and beheld your power and glory.Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you. I will praise you as long as I live, and in your name I will lift up my hands. Ps 63:1-4

I mentioned previously that I have been surprised at the adjustment necessary coming from a humid climate to a dry climate. I never expected this challenge as I still remember how it took me months to adjust to living in a humid climate when I first moved to Florida. 🙂 Since I have been in Hungary my body has been thirsty! My skin is dry and I use a great deal of lotion. My hair is dry and I am using extra conditioner. My eyes are dry and I am using extra eye solution for my contacts. I even bought a humidifier for my room. My body longs for moisture. I was thinking about that feeling as I read this verse. I won’t be satisfied with just a drink of water, my whole body is thirsty for moisture. In the same way, I thirst for God. My whole being longs for his goodness, his grace, his mercy and his love. And I don’t just want a little drink of Him. I want to be immersed in Him!

His love truly is better than life and I long to glorify Him.