Monday, November 8, 2010

Redemption Part 2

Here I am back tonight with redemption on my mind yet again. Safe to say I am stuck on the story of Lazarus of the interaction of Jesus with his sisters Mary and Martha. Jesus knew Lazarus was sick and yet stayed two more days in the place He was before He went to Him. The Bible says that Jesus and Lazarus where friends and He spent time with both Lazarus and his sisters. Mary and Martha sent Jesus a message telling Him that Lazarus was sick and yet He stays. Why? What is it that caused Jesus to "ignore" the plea of two sisters whom He knew and loved?

"Therefore the sisters sent to Him, saying, 'Lord, behold, he whom You love is sick.' When Jesus heard that, He said, 'This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God may be glorified through it.' Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So, when He heard that he was sick, He stayed two more days in the place where He was."
John 11:3-6

The Bible doesn't really say why Jesus stayed and didn't go right to Lazarus, but I have to believe that what Jesus says in verse 4 is the reason...that God might be glorified. The story goes on to tell of Jesus making the trip to Judea to see His sick friend...only He arrives to late. Martha comes out to meet Jesus and has a conversation with him that has moved my heart:

Now Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met Him, but Mary was sitting in the house. Now Martha said to Jesus, "Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. Now even now I know that whatever You ask of god, God will give You. Jesus said to her, Your brother will rise again. Martha said to Him, I know hat he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day. Jesus said to her, I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this? She said to him, Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world."

This exchange hit me so differently then ever before. She believed in the power of God and the ability of Jesus to do something in the middle of a hopeless situation, but she didn't really believe that hope could hit her reality and change the circumstances from hopeless to miraculous. Jesus challenged that. How many times as Christians do we know the right answer, but we don't really expect it to hit our reality? I know I have done it. I grew up in the church and know all the right answers, but it comes down to what do I believe about Jesus and His willingness and ability to redeem? The story ends with Jesus calling out to the dead man who had been in a tomb for four days, long dead and beginning to decay, and he walks out of the tomb alive and healthy.

What dreams, hopes or expectations have died in your life? Those places where you have gone before God and from the place of pain asked Him why he didn't show up? Had He just been there the thing that was most precious to you wouldn't now be laying in a tomb dead and decaying past all hope of resurrection. I know I have those places. God did you even care? Why didn't you show up? In the middle of my pain, His still small voice comes through and asks do you believe? My Christian response is yes I do...but then to still hold onto what is dead. If I really believe Jesus is who He says He is and that He is the resurrection and the Life then its time to roll back the stone and give Jesus access to the grave yard and believe that what once broke my heart will be for the glory of God and yet again live. He is the resurrection and and Life.

That used to be easy for me to agree with. Its the normal Christian response. But what circumstances in my life have I cried out to God for His intervention and He seemed to not respond to me? The longer I walk with God and realize that my desire isn't to have a label as a Christian, but to truly walk as a little Christ. Those are

Monday, October 4, 2010

Redemption Part 1

It has been a long time since I put my thoughts out for all to see, but tonight there are thoughts and questions rolling around in my head. The confines of my journal seem to small for these thoughts. If I was going to guess (and I do like to take a stab at what is under the wrapping paper of a long awaited gift!), I would have to say that God it trying to teach me something. I am not the oldest of old, but have lived long enough to have realized that when God speaks you should take note.

Redemption is one such thought. I grew up in the church and for my 26 years of life have a good handle on how to come across as a well polished Christian. But the last few months have challenged that polished exterior and I have been thinking as to the truths I have known my whole life. Do I really understand them? Are they something that I have personal revelation or are they a regurgitated thought I once heard and try to pass off as a personal belief?

How does the redeeming work of the cross intersect with the reality of my life? I wake up, drink coffee, get ready, go to work, come home. Where in the course of my day do I come in contact with redemption? Is it a thought or Christian concept that is an idea but not a reality in my world?

I started asking myself the questions, Do I walk in the redeeming power of the cross? Is redemption an idea I believe rather then a truth I walk in? When there is the need to redeem do I take God at His word? To be honest, hard questions for me to ask, being the church girl who should have figured this out years ago...but here I am asking.

John 11:17-37 is the story of Lazarus being raised from the dead. Amazing to me to watch the redeeming power of God grab them from the place of concept to the place of it intersecting with their reality.

More to come on this thought...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Generations Deep

King Solomon is someone who intrigues me every time I read about him. A man who at a young age was given the Kingdom of Israel and expected to fill the shoes of his father King David. In 1 Kings 11 Solomon allows his heart to be drawn away from God by the gods of his many wives. I could spend a lot of time and thought on that, but this morning verse 38 is what grabbed my heart. The Prophet Ahijah meets Jeroboam and tells him he will inherit part of the Kingdom from Solomon because he had not been faithful to the Lord. Jeroboam was an ordinary guy who was serving the King as an officer over the labor force when God comes to him and gives him the charge to lead Israel. His mandate was this.

1 Kings 11:38
"Then it shall be, if you heed all that I command you, walk in My ways, and do what is right in My sight, to keep My statutes and My commandments, as My servant David did, then I will be with you and build for you an enduring house, as I built for David, and will give Israel to you."

1) Heed the Commands of God. Hearing God and taking heed to what His is speaking for the times and seasons marks the life a leader. God is not detached from your life nor is he indifferent to what he has called you to do or the work of your hands. Success comes when you learn to listen and heed the voice of God.
2) Walk in the Ways of God. It is not enough to just hear God, but the word has to be mixed with faith and activated in your life. Knowing the will of God is half, but the other is walking it out inside of your daily life. Life is built by the decisions you make daily and you are constantly choosing to walk in what you know God to have spoken.
3)Do what is right in the sight of God. There are voices that come from multiple sources trying to influence your leadership. What is popular or politically correct is not always what is right in the sight of God. Hear God, make the choice to walk in His ways and be ready for the world to try to sway you to what is right in their sight rather then the sight of God.

God will establish you and produce something that will last for generations. What you do today will matter in the lives of your children and grandchildren. God took the Kingdom away from Solomon's son and not Solomon himself. The legacy you leave behind for those who follow after you matters.