The Lord Has Need Of It

Given December 30, 2014

While reading my daily Bible passage about the last days of Jesus, the part about preparing the upper room for the last supper brought a thought to my mind. Luke 22:10-12 tells us, “As you enter the city, a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him to the house that he enters, and say to the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher asks: Where is the guest room, where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?’ He will show you a large room upstairs, all furnished. Make preparations there.” Jesus had a need and He had apparently prepared people ahead of time to meet that need. The man with the jar of water, the owner of the house, and his disciples were all a part of the plan. The Lord’s need was fulfilled by others. Almost immediately, other Bible passages came to my mind about similar circumstances where the Lord had a need.

Jesus was planning His final trip to Jerusalem which we know as, “The Triumphal Entry” and He needed a donkey to ride in on. “Jesus sent two disciples, saying to them, “Go to the village ahead of you, and at once you will find a donkey tied there, with her colt by her. Untie them and bring them to me. If anyone says anything to you, say that the Lord needs them, and he will send them right away.” (Matthew 21:1-3). The Lord needs them. The owner of the animals readily gave them to the Lord because He needed them.

Another time, Jesus was ministering to a large crowd on a hillside and His disciples were concerned that the people were getting hungry and needed to go get something to eat. Jesus told them to give the people something to eat and they complained that it would take half a year’s wages to feed so many. I can imagine Jesus saying something like, “OK then what do we have?” “Another of his disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, spoke up, “Here is a boy with five small barley loaves and two small fish, but how far will they go among so many?” (John 6:8-9). Jesus had a need and a boy in the crowd offered his lunch. In Jesus’ hands, that small lunch fed around 15,000 people that day.

A home owner, a donkey owner and a boy with a lunch, they all had something the Lord needed and were willing to give it up for His use. Great things were accomplished as a result. Yes, Jesus could have miraculously created an upper room, a donkey or food for thousands but He wanted to use what was already there; to involve people in His plans. The Bible doesn’t say but I can imagine that those who gave were truly blessed. My question is this: What do we have that the Lord has need of? If the Lord directly asked you for something you had, would you give it? Of course you would. But what if someone else came and asked for something saying, “The Lord has need of it.” What would your response be? Do we hear His request when the offering plate comes by or when we hear of a benevolent need in our community? “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.‘”(Matthew 25:40).

In the coming year, let’s be more aware of the needs around us and be willing to offer our time, expertise, or money to help meet those needs. The Lord needs it and we have it. Offer it for His use and see what happens.

Christmas – The Final Solution

Given December 8, 2014 What Is Christmas

If the question were asked, “What is Christmas?”, there would be numerous answers given depending on who was answering. Children might give an answer about toys, Christians might say something about Jesus, retailers may respond with sales figures, and atheists would say it’s just another holiday. Recently, a different thought came to me; that Christmas is a solution to a problem; the final solution. Let’s look at that.

God created the Heavens and the earth and at the end of the week, He observed His handiwork, “And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good.” (Genesis 1:31). But then Satan came in and messed things up. Eve and Adam allowed evil into God’s perfect world and it began going downhill from there. God’s perfect world and plan was compromised. It got so bad that God had to do something; He came up with another solution. He would destroy the whole world with a great flood and start over. However, God knew a man who remained favorable to Him in the midst of the evil and God was going to use him to start over again in a cleansed world. “But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.” (Genesis 6:8). So Noah and his family were saved on the ark along with many animals. But one of his sons, Ham, was a bad boy and here we go again with sin being brought back into the world, we needed another solution.

So we fast-forward about 2000 years and God and His Son are looking over their creation which was riddled again with evil. Imagine this conversation… “Son, those people really need help, they just cannot make it on their own.” “I’ve given them laws to follow but they keep breaking them, they need something different, something better.” “So Jesus, here’s my solution, my final solution.” I’m going to send you to earth as a baby, to a young woman and man I’ve picked out and you will grow up among those people.” You will live a perfect life, showing them and teaching them how to live on earth and ultimately, how to come live with us in Heaven.” “But here’s the hard part Son, many won’t accept You, they won’t believe You and, in the end, they’ll kill you.” “But by going through all that, those who DO believe and accept You will get to come be with us forever.” “Are you willing to do that for them Son?” And Jesus replies, “Of course Father, I know it will be very hard as a man but not my will but yours be done.”

So, what is Christmas? It’s the occasion on which we celebrate the birth of that perfect baby from Heaven who brought with him… the final solution. Evil will be destroyed again someday but those of us who believe and accept the Baby Jesus will be saved. Are you a part of God’s – Final Solution?

Strange Packaging

Given December 6, 2014

I heard a story of a wealthy man whose son wanted a new car for his college graduation.  On graduation day, the father gave his son a brightly wrapped package and when itGift Package was opened, the boy saw it was a bible.  The son was mad because he didn’t get what he wanted in his package and stormed out never to speak to his father again.  Years later the father died and when the son again saw the box on a shelf, he got the bible out and a key dropped from the pages.  You know what was parked in the garage, covered with dust.  What he wanted was in the box all the time but was strangely packaged.  (See: http://inspire-others.com/graduation-gift)

God does that to us sometimes.  We may be going through a hard time and have asked God for something only to get a package not wrapped like we wanted.  We prayed for what we want, how we want it and when we want it.  But it doesn’t seem to be in our package.  Think of Joseph.  God promised him a “gift” but in his package he found being in a pit, sold into slavery, falsely accused, thrown in prison, and forgotten by two friends in prison.  But he kept the faith and he finally got the promised gift; second in command in Egypt and saving the country and his family from starvation.

And what about Job?  His “gift” came with him losing his health, wealth, and his children. He endured the blame and bad advice from his friends and his wife but did not turn on God. Though He slay me, yet shall I serve Him.” (Job 13:15).  God allowed all this bad packaging to happen to his servant Job but, in the end and because of his faith, his gift was revealed. After Job had prayed for his friends, the Lord restored his fortunes and gave him twice as much as he had before. (42:10). All except for his children because he would see them again in Heaven.

So, if you’ve received a gift package from God that is not what you asked for, thank Him and look deeper.  “…how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!” (Matthew 7:11).  Keep your faith and trust in God through your trial, become stronger, and come out a winner!

Worship

Given November 28, 2014Worship

Thinking about worship…we say we worship God but how do we do that?  To get a better idea of how we worship God, let’s think of how we worship people in our lives.  How do we worship our spouse, our family, those we love?  We do loving things for them, right?  We go out of our way to make them happy.  We do things we know they will like; things that will be pleasing to them.  We say things to them that will make them feel good.  Mot of the time, bowing down to them or singing a song to them just won’t do it.  Especially if, when we sing, we’re only repeating lyrics from memory or reading them from somewhere.  Now, how did you say you worship God?

The next time you’re alone with God, think about how you worship Him.  The next time you’re singing praise & worship songs at church, think about who you’re singing to and make it a personal experience, one on one.  “God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” (John 4:24).  The attitude we’re in when we worship makes a difference.  “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God–this is your true and proper worship.” (Romans 12:1).  Heart, soul, mind and strength…will this make a difference in your worship? (See Mark 12:30).

How about taking a minute right now and offer up some praise and worship to God who is right there, and is always there for you,  Close your eyes and “see” Him smiling back at you.  It will be good for Him and you.

Shooting Prayers

Given in 2007

Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer.” (Romans 12:12). Another translations says, “constant in prayer”. How can we do that? PrayAsUGo

A few years ago, I heard a teaching about “shooting prayers”; little short prayers directed at a specific issue which could be prayed at any time, any where. At that time, I had been praying for a person at church who had several medical issues and every Sunday, I’d see him and his wife pull into the church parking lot in his yellow car. That color was one of the few that stood out in the parking lot of mostly dark or light-colored vehicles. I thought, I’ve been praying for this friend daily but now I decided that I would “shoot” up a prayer everytime I saw a yellow car. And, it happened a lot! So, I was praying for my friend 10-15 times a day.

As other people came to me that needed “constant” prayer, I added them to the yellow-car prayer shot. Sometimes I would mention each of their names but as the list grew, I just prayed for, “Freddy and the crew”. God knew who they were. Sometimes it was, “Lord, heal the crew.”, other times it was, “Thank you Lord that the crew are healed.” There are a lot of yellow cars on the road.

So, I encourage you to pick something or someone you want to pray for and assign something you see to it as a reminder; a colored car, a bird, a commercial, or an email. Then shoot those prayers skyward, God hears them all.