On their behalf

In yesterday’s blog, I talked about how we should show love to those in pain and trials and not offer judgment and accusations, in the way that Job’s friends did.  I also mentioned how we can pray for those we know who are in pain.  I wanted to talk more on that today, because that is probably the one of the most important things we can do, and yet sometimes we neglect it.

In Matthew 8:5-13, we find the record of Jesus and a centurion.  The centurion’s servant was lying at home paralyzed, and in terribly agony and pain.  (Some versions of the Bible say he was dreadfully tormented.  yikes!)

The centurion came to Jesus, asking Him to heal his servant.  This story is powerful in so many ways.  If you haven’t read it in a while, or ever, I encourage you to read it.

The centurion knew, and acknowledged that Jesus was powerful enough that He need only speak the word and His servant could be healed.  He didn’t even require that Jesus come to his home to do it.  He knew Jesus could do it from right where He stood.

And this is the part I want to stress:  The centurion’s faith alone was great enough that Jesus marveled at it.  (vs. 10)  The servant’s faith was never called into question.  Perhaps his was just as great.  Maybe it wasn’t.  All we know is that the centurion interceded on the servant’s behalf, and that the servant was healed that same hour.

We are called not only to love our neighbors as ourselves, but also to pray for one another that we may be healed. (Ja. 5:16)

Unless they’ve told us it’s the case, we never need to tell someone that they aren’t being healed or delivered from their trial because their faith isn’t strong enough.  We need to intercede on their behalf.  We never need to accuse someone of being sick or in trials due to sin, but we need to pray for them.

What the centurion did on his servant’s behalf is an excellent example of how we should live.  Job, as well, before his children died, offered up offerings to the Lord just in case his children had sinned.  These are excellent examples of people who are going to the Lord on behalf of others.

Not everyone will be healed.  Is that hard to hear?  God has plans for people that sometimes do not include healing, because He uses people in so many different ways.  But that should never stop us from asking.  We do not know His plans.  We need to ask.  We need to seek.

Above all, though, what we need to seek, for ourselves and for each other, is a relationship with Him, which will keep us calm in every storm, every trial, and every sickness.

Let’s be interceders and never accusers,

jamie

Advertisements

Oh, such pain!

I’m reading the conversations between Job and his friends right now in the book of Job.  It’s so uncomfortable for me because I have scars from comments people have made to me during my own health issues the last few years…even while I was down at the altar seeking God’s face.

Job asked his friends why they were tormenting him with their accusations and insults.  I know Job was a man, but I have to wonder if he cried because of what they said?  I usually just cry.  ha!

I’m not sure what it is about health issues or major trials that opens up the doorway to make others think they should step in and offer up judgment instead of encouragement, but it’s sad.  When someone is going through pain and trials, the last thing they need is added pain.

Sickness in someone’s life does not automatically mean they’ve sinned or haven’t asked, in faith, to be healed.  Trials in someone’s life does not mean they have not been generous to the poor or have angered God.

What do those in pain or those in the midst of a trial need?  They need love.  They need compassion.  They need an ear to listen.  They need prayer.  If you know specifically of sin in their life, you can offer help, but if you don’t, then don’t accuse.  People who are hurting need comfort.  They need a friend.

Take them a meal.  Babysit their kids or pay for someone else to do it.  Pay for someone to clean their house for them.  Go sit with them when they can’t get out of bed.  Pray with them.  Give them a hug.  Wash their car.  Offer to do something else you know will bless them.  Do something to bless them, but don’t add to their pain.

I am so blessed by Job.  He did curse the day he was born…that’s understandable, since he was in immense pain…but he was never so discouraged that he allowed his friends to turn mind away from trusting God.

For any Christian in pain, that’s critical.  We can’t turn our hearts away from trusting in God.  As Christians, we cannot be the ones to cause pain.  Our lives are supposed to represent God’s love.  If God’s love looks like judgment and accusations, especially in a trial or painful time in someone’s life, it will make it so hard for them to trust in Him.

As Christians, it is imperative that we operate in love, encouragement, and in prayer.  Jesus said we should love the Lord our God with all our heart all our soul all our strength and all our mind; and we should love our neighbor as ourselves.  What if you were the one in pain?  What would you want to hear?  What if you were in that trial?  What would you need?

We must go and do likewise,

jamie

 

Do others find favor from you?

Pr. 21:10:  “The soul of the wicked desires evil; his neighbor finds no favor in his eyes.”

Several years ago our house was robbed.  If you’ve ever experienced that, you know how violating it is.  Our daughter was still young enough to be in a crib and my husband worked 2nd shift.  The first night after it happened, I was so afraid to leave my daughter alone in her room that I fell asleep on the floor in front of her crib until my husband came home from work.  I knew it wasn’t entirely rational, but it made me feel better at the moment.

The fingerprints and an eyewitness linked the robbery to one of our neighbors.  Our very own neighbor broke into our house and robbed us.  We were never very comfortable in that house again.  In fact, it wasn’t long before we sold it and moved.

There are times that the desire of sin and evil becomes so strong that no relationship is exempt.  Perhaps you’ve experienced a different scenario where a neighbor, friend, or even a family member desired evil so strongly that they wouldn’t even spare you.  Perhaps you’re the one who hurt those close to you.

Why does this happen?  Sin.  It causes our focus to become so narrow that we see only what we want and blinds us to others around us.  We go so strongly after our sinful desire that anyone in our path is at risk of being hurt.

We can’t control others, but we can make wise decisions about our own actions.  We can become so focused on God and His desires that sinful desires become less and less desirable.  We can become so focused on the work to which He has called us that we see others and their needs with very clear eyes.

God’s plans for us and for those around us are for good.  If we’re focused on Him and His ways, we won’t want to hurt others anymore.  Of course, we will still have temptations, battles, and trials, but He is willing and able to aid us through.

When we desire God, others will find favor in our eyes, and perhaps that will be all the encouragement they need follow suit.

His,

jamie

Find wisdom

Pr. 3:13:  “Happy is the man who finds wisdom, and the man who gains understanding.”

In Mark 12:38-40, Jesus warns his disciples to beware of the scribes.  He said they were people whose religion was for show.

Verse 28; however, introduces us to a scribe who came to Jesus and asked, “Which is the first commandment of all?”  After Jesus answered him, the scribe told Jesus, “Well said, Teacher.  You have spoken the truth, for there is one God, and there is no other but He.  And to love Him with all the heart, with all the understanding, with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is more than all the whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.

Certainly this scribe had gained understanding.  For the wisdom he found, Mark 12:34 says, “Now when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, He said to him, ‘You are not far from the kingdom of God.'”

What happier knowledge is there than that you are not far from the kingdom of God?

It is ok for us to ask questions of God.  It is ok for us to seek wisdom in His Word and search for the answers.  Through Him, we gain the wisdom and understanding that we need.  Knowing the truth, knowing who He really is, knowing His nature keeps us from religion that is just for show.  Knowing God leads to loving God, and loving God leads to humble and willing submission to Him.

The most amazing and mind-boggling thing about God is that good works do not impress Him.  He is not interested in our outward appearances or performances.  He does not require that we strive for perfection.  God simply desires that we love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, and that we love our neighbors as much as we love ourselves.

We learned in 1 Sam. 16:7 that, “The Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”  God knows what is truly in our hearts, no matter what sacrifices or pretenses we may bring forth.

Once we discover who He truly is, through the wisdom and understanding found in His Word, it is not difficult to kneel to the God of the Bible.  Our flesh may still be weak and we may have moments of doubt, confusion, or fear; but God, knowing our hearts, will come to our rescue.  If we continue seeking Him, reading His Word, asking questions of Him, and searching for the answers, we find Him ever-faithful.

We don’t need to pretend we have it all together or be afraid to ask questions of God.  Gaining understanding and finding wisdom brings true happiness and brings us ever closer to Him and His kingdom.  What better knowledge is there than that?

Asking,

jamie

Give a precious stone

 

Pr. 17:8:  “A present is a precious stone in the eyes of its possessor; wherever he turns, he prospers.”

Last night I met with some missionaries who give out stockings every Christmas to lonely, elderly people in our area.  They were recalling a stocking they’d delivered about 3 years ago to a precious elderly woman from our church.  They presented the 95-year-old with a Christmas stocking and tears came to her eyes.

As she gazed at her stocking, she told them that she had never had a stocking before.  In 95 years, she had never had 1 Christmas stocking.  Imagine all the emotions she must have experienced with this simple gift that had her name across the front in glitter.

Certainly her spirits and emotions were strengthened (prospered) that day as she held her precious gift.  Who can we help prosper?  Find someone who needs a precious stone, and then bless them.

Appreciatively,

jamie

Our great reward awaits!

Pr. 11:23: “The desire of the righteous is only good, but the expectation of the wicked is wrath.”

This morning I was reading in Matthew 25 about the nations being judged.  There will be a day when we will be gathered before the throne of Jesus and judged.

To those sheep who have loved their neighbor as themselves, they will be told, “Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”

To those goats who have not loved their neighbor as themselves, they will be told, “Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.”

Jesus says, “for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.”  Then the righteous asked when they did these things, and this was His answer:  “Inasmuch as you did it to the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.”  The goats were reminded that they did not do those things.

When you are caring for people in the name of Jesus, you can look forward to a great reward.  When you ignore or disregard the needs of others, you can expect wrath.

Jesus says that whoever believes on His name shall be saved.  He tells us in Matthew that He also expects us to keep His command of loving our neighbors as ourselves.  When we show love to those around us, we are showing love to Him.

Let’s let the devil and his angels face the everlasting fire on their own.  Looking forward to your great reward, take time to reach out and care for someone today.  Whatever you do to those around you, you are doing to your Savior and King.  You will be rewarded fully with eternal life in the kingdom prepared just for you.

Anticipating,

jamie

Break out of the norm!

Pr. 30:13:  “There is a generation—oh, how lofty are their eyes!  And their eyelids are lifted up.”

Knowing that our strength and provision come from the Lord, it’s not really our place to be puffed up with pride.  Treating others as though they are somehow beneath us just isn’t what we were commanded to do.

As I recall, Jesus broke bread with the reviled tax collectors and with sinners.  He knew the reason for which He came to this earth, and He did not stray from that purpose.  When questioned about it He spoke, “I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”  He came for people just as those.  Just like me.

Jesus also reminded us that the same measure of judgment we use will be measured back to us.  This a serious statement that we simply must remember.

When asked which is the greatest commandment, Jesus answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.”  And he added, ‘And the second is like this, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”‘  He then gave an example of who qualifies as a neighbor.  Apparently we are all neighbors.  We are commanded to love one another as we love ourselves.

Loving as we love ourselves brings to mind Romans 12, which reminds us that each of us have a function and serve a specific purpose.  We must  not think more highly of ourselves than we ought, as we were all created as an essential part of the body of Christ.   None are more important than any other.

Jesus, when faced with the question of who would be the greatest, spoke these important words, “If anyone desires to be first, he shall be last of all and servant of all.”  Humbling ourselves, preferring others over ourselves, serving others, and operating in our specific purpose is what is seen as greatest to Him.

Although the generation in which we live certainly promotes being lofty, puffed up, and vain, we must hold tightly to the teaching of our Savior.  No matter what attitude is the ‘norm’ in our world, the attitude that makes us the greatest in Jesus’ eyes is that of a servant.

God created each of us with different gifts and functions in this world.  Instead of walking around thinking how much better we are than others, we are commanded to love everyone, and called to use our gifts to help one another and glorify the Father.

“Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another…distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality.”  Ro. 12:10-12

Let’s reach out today and truly love.

Warmly,

jamie