Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Friday, June 26, 2009
Thursday, June 25, 2009
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
In this passage we are told that Jesus and his disciples were traveling through gentile cities which Isaiah 23 tells us were not looked upon very favorably. A parallel account of this story, we are told that Jesus went into a house to rest from the crowds and throngs of people (Mark 7). She's obviously heard about Jesus because Luke 16 documents that word traveled from Jerusalem to Judea about the miracles, healings, and teachings he was doing! Multitudes of people had spread word about what he did for them or someone they knew.
So there she was. A gentile woman standing proxy for someone she loved probably outside the doors of the house. She was interceding for her severely demon-possessed daughter and Jesus was her only hope for healing. Loudly she cried out for Jesus to heal her daughter. He says nothing. Ouch! But we should never judge the Lord by the process, but rather the product of the process. His silence to this woman, like the silence to the psalmist who cried out for answers, like the silence we sometimes receive, reveals that he is not obligated to respond. The gentile woman, like us, had no basis on which to appeal to Jesus except to cling to his mercy. She cried out not once, not twice, but three times, with the final plea not being for her daughter, but for herself! It's at the point of complete surrender that the voice of Jesus can change our lives. And so it was in that moment, as it was in mine, that I was comforted by my God. O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire (verse 28).
My God is the God of ALL comfort! He can heal the sick, the weak, the feeble, the hurting, the lame, the dead, and the desperate. Nothing is too big for our God (Luke 1:37)! Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need (Hebrews 4:16).
Monday, June 22, 2009
Paul (aka Boyfriend) encourages the Corinthian believers by reminding them that God is full of mercy and has endless arms to which He can love on us (BIV* paraphrase). The definition of mercy in the Bible is not quite what we think of in today’s term. Today mercy usually means that we cease to deliver a punishment that is justly deserved; or refraining from dishing out pain and punishment usually out of pity (BIV*). But that’s not the best definition according to The Handbook of Biblical Values. Dr. Pilch notes that an ancient context of mercy is better rendered as steadfast love.
Paul also says that God is the God of ALL comfort. Not some comfort, or a little bit of comfort, but ALL comfort! The word comfort used here to to make strong, impart strength, to encourage, and to fortify. When the earth on which we stand trembles and we stumble around looking for comfort, God is there. When we feel like we are surrounded in darkness and can't see the light, God is there. When our hearts ache and break from the trials of Life, God is there.
How do I know this? How can I speak with conviction and persuasion? Because I'm living it out. Through poverty, God has been there. Through obesity, God has been there. Through adversity, God has been there. Through loneliness, God has been there. Through bruised, beaten, and battered heartbreaks, God has been there. Through cancer, asthma, and hydrocephalus, God has been there.
1 Corinthians 1:7 ...our hope for you is not shaken, for as you have shared in our suffering, you will also share in our comfort J The words Paul gave me for comfort, I pass along to you. God will never leave us nor has He forgotten about us (Deut. 31:6). Maybe you are physically sick and need comfort, God is there. Perhaps you're psychologically sick and life is too overwhelming to continue on, God cares. Maybe it's an emotional sickness residing in your heart, God wants to heal you.
God is the God of ALL comfort.
The question that begs to be answered is, how will you stand in the face of affliction, the depths of despair, in the choke of the challenge? Martin Luther King, Jr. beautifully said, The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. Tomorrow we'll take a look at a woman from the bible who stands before Jesus in the face of challenge and controversy and comes out fully experiencing the God of all comfort.
*BIV=Bianca International Version
Sunday, June 21, 2009
Thursday, June 18, 2009
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
The psalmist undoubtedly has an specific bird in mind. This bird senses danger and protectively spreads out its wings while chicks quickly take cover underneath where they are safe and sheltered. While in Israel my friend and tour guide Sarai took my hand and led me to a tree in the Golan Heights. She pointed out a local bird that the psalmist could have been referring to. She explained that the wings of this birds are comprised of many, many bones and dense feathers to provide shelter, nourishment, and even a hiding place in the presence of enemies. So when the psalmist parallels God covering us as with His wings, it is more than a warm place to dwell... it could actually spare your life.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Monday, June 15, 2009
Friday, June 12, 2009
I can't even blog because I can't hold him while I type.
Help us pick the most perfect name for him!
This dog will be the end of me.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Tuesday, June 9, 2009