Category Archives: TROUBLE? TALK TO GOD

WOMAN AT THE WELL.103016

Padua - Jesus and the Samaritan woman metal reliefJohn 4: 5-42 tells the story of what happened when Jesus met the woman at the well.  You know the story, noontime in Samaria, the disciples have gone to town to get food, Jesus is waiting by the well, and here comes a woman to get water.  It was a telling visit.  Jesus says, “Give me a drink of water.”  The woman says, “You are a Jewish man; I am a Samaritan woman; why are you even talking to me?”  Jesus, “If you knew who I was, you’d ask me, and I’d give you living water.”  If you’re not familiar already, please read the “rest of the story”.

This story ends up being about discipleship.  Discipleship is about service; service is about sacrifice; no sacrifice, no service, no service, no discipleship.  Service is about sharing what God puts in your heart, like in John 4.  The woman at the well was changed utterly from hearing Jesus tell her the truth about herself, and she was set free (as in: ‘You shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.’ (John 8:31-36)  Freed, miraculously, from guilt and shame and fear, she couldn’t help but tell what she had seen and heard.  (see Acts 4:18-20)

Our job as disciples of Jesus, if we choose to accept it, is to ”1 make disciples, 2 baptize them, and 3 teach them to observe what I [Jesus] have commanded you . . .” Matt. 28:19-20.  ‘ To ‘observe’ what Jesus has commanded means to 1 surrender to His Spirit and do what he tells you on a minute by minute basis.  Not just to adhere to the rules and customs of the faith but to be one with Him in immediate response to His immediate commands.  It’s that kind of teaching that is required to make disciples.

Some of us, maybe secretly all of us, long to see the miracles of Jesus in our own day; the healings, the deliverances, the raising people from the dead.  But miracles are happening all around us and we just aren’t seeing them.  In fact, the miracle that happened in this passage, of Jesus telling the truth to the Samaritan woman about “everything she ever did, and her being delivered, set free, from guilt and shame, fear and anger, truly a miracle, was just the kind of supernatural event that goes on right here, right now, in our own time and place, when someone surrenders to Jesus and is set free from the bondage of alcohol, drugs, porn or slavery, or from their own fears, anger, resentment, shame and guilt. Continue reading

PRAYING FOR TOMMY.123115

Older man expressing pain or depression, verticalJames 5:14-15: “Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven.”

I knew Tommy since I was a little kid.  We went to the same church together.  His daddy and my uncle were both deacons there.  He was five years older than me, so we weren’t close, but I knew that he was a ‘famous’ football player.  He played quarterback for our high school, and a time or two they went to the State Championship.  Later, my cousin Danny, Tommy and I sorta ‘grew up together’ in the oil business for the last 30 years or so.  We’ve had lots of ups and downs.  Tommy and his high school sweetheart Tanya were married for maybe 30 years and then got a divorce.  They had two kids.  Tommy had spells of drinking and running with some pretty fast folks.

But we were friends to the end.  Early last year he started having headaches and was diagnosed with a tumor in his sinuses which turned out to be inoperable.  It pressed on his optic nerve and he became blind.  He took a lot of treatments, and while they may have helped some, he wasn’t getting any better.  I went to visit him in November, the week before Thanksgiving.  We’re both old, but he didn’t look good.  His one eye was swollen shut and the other was staring.  He was sitting in a chair with a blanket over his lap.  We talked a some about old times, football and the weather.

I’d brought along my friend Loyde, and when we got ready to go, I said, “Tommy, before we go, we’d like to pray for you.”  He said he needed all the help he could get. So we knelt beside his chair, put our hands on him and prayed.  I prayed for him to be healed.  I prayed that the God Who raises people from the dead would raise Tommy up too.  Tommy prayed that God would give him courage.  At the end Loyde quoted James 5:14-15 and said, “We’re elders and we’d like to anoint you with oil and pray so that you too can be healed like this verse says.”  Tommy said, ‘Yes.’

About two weeks later Tommy died.  I don’t know why God didn’t heal him and raise Him up like new, as if from the dead.  I guess some might say that what we did was dumb, knowing that Tommy was terminal; but I’m sure that we did what God wanted us to do; and I’m just as sure that God’s will was done by us all trusting God to take care of Tommy.

 

WHAT CAN WE DO ABOUT FEAR? 121415

ANXIETY CLOUD.121415What do you fear? 355 terrorists killings in America alone this year. How can we keep calm and carry on?  Jesus overcomes our fears.  He warns against fear more than 100 times.

There are three types of fear. We fear for our safety. We fear God.  We suffer from emotional fear.  We let our emotions makes False Evidence Appear Real.

There’s all kinds of things to be afraid of.  We should trust God because He’ll take care of us. Says so in Hebrews 13:5.  Jesus transforms our fears when we release them to Him.  The wise men released their fears to God and came and worshiped Him.

But here’s the problem.  When we release our fears to God, we lose control, and some of us cherish control of our lives almost more than life itself.  But when we give up control, when we surrender control, we find Jesus, and Jesus is LIFE.

IN GOD WE TRUST

PRAYER AND MEDITATION.102915

Young man holding Bible and praying by windowIt’s sad to say, but a lot of people think prayer is solely about asking for stuff, especially in an emergency.  Even sadder is that a lot of them only pray in an emergency.  Makes for a strained relationship with God, if the only time you talk to Him is when you need something, especially only when you are in dire straits.  I’ve heard a lot of parents say that it makes them sad that their college age kids, or even young adult children, only call them when they need money.  Sounds like the kids don’t really care about having a real relationship with their parents.

But you know, God’s not like that.  He really wants to have a close, personal, dare I say intimate relationship with you.  He already knows all about you anyway.  He’s been looking at your heart.  Why shouldn’t you really let Him in and begin to develop a relationship with Him where you know a lot more about Him.  Get intimately acquainted with God.  For my money, that’s what prayer is, and should be about.

Oh, about meditation.  Continue reading

PRACTICING CHRISTIAN 7: Daily Quiet Time, Part 2.Devotional.102715

Surprised woman using laptop in parkI started reading the Bible pretty regularly fairly early in my life (maybe age 35-40) It was quite a bit later when I started reading a devotional every day.  In fact it was in 2000, after I went on a “Walk to Emmaus”, in my weekly ‘Reunion Group’ they would start their meetings by reading that day’s devotional from My Utmost for His Highest, by Oswald Chambers.  Someone gave me a copy, and I started reading it (every day).  I’d write down what it meant to me.  Then I’d compare my daily Bible verse from my list with Oswald’s point(s), and I’d try to figure out what God was trying to say to me from those two sources, taken together.  I got some amazing revelations from Him in those little sessions.  I’m still doing that, 15 years later.  But now I’ve started including two or three additional daily devotionals from various writers, like Brennan Manning, or Charles Stanley, or Max Lucado, or Alistair Begg, all of whom I respect as committed men of God.  In my journal I write down the most important point from each one’s post for that day, and then compare them to see how they fit together.   Again, major revelations appear from those short readings and comparisons.  Continue reading