My son is back in the USA from a trip overseas. I can’t say much, but I can tell you that the underground Church in China have 9,000 new Bibles thanks to a group of very brave men. As he was leaving, the Lord reminded me of when he and his brother were young. My ex-husband had decided to move 500 miles away to go back to college, and the boys thought it would be a great adventure to go with him. For 6 months I had no communication and no idea where they were. I finally did track them down through the school district, but it was of little comfort. That Sunday I went up to the altar at church and literally turned both my hands palm side down and gave my boys to the Lord. I knew He loved them much more than I ever could, and that He would watch over and care for them if I couldn’t. So as he flew off for this uncertain trip, I once again gave him to the Lord for safe keeping.
Philippians 4:9 ” And my God will meet all your needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”
We look at this verse and suddenly we’re a little kid looking through the Sears Christmas catalog exclaiming…” I want this, and this, and this, OH, and this!!” It says that God will fully supply all your needs, but what we think are needs and what He thinks may differ greatly. Our needs could be just selfish wants, therefore, if we allow the Lord to supply all our needs we will lack nothing in accordance to His kindness and patience towards us. These magnificent riches of His glory will be made known to us, and we shall not want.
Proverbs 31:1 ” The sayings of King Lemuel – an oracle his mother taught him.”
The virtues of a “Proverbs 31 Woman” King Lemuel had learned from his mother. She instructed him as a young boy in the God-inspired virtues of a woman he should look for as a wife. She taught him though to honor and respect all women. A Godly woman’s influence over her young son will shape his character forever. It will determine how he treats girls in school, at work, in public and private. It is a sobering responsiblity raising boys in the world today. With all the negative and debase attitudes they see on TV, and hear in music lyrics, a Godly mother’s positive influence will shape her son’s views of women for a lifetime.
Exodus 15: 26 “…for I am the Lord that healeth thee.”
If a close friend approached you right now with a beautifully wrapped present and said, “Here’s a gift that I specially picked out just for you that I know you can use.” Would you turn it down? Most of us would be tearing at the wrapping paper almost before the last word was out of their mouth! So it continues to perplex me as I see sick people refuse this gift called healing. Having worked as a Nurse for over 30 years, the Lord has given me a unique understanding of this which I’d like to share with you. There are some who enjoy being ill. They get positive strokes and attention from their illness thus don’t want to be healed and lose the attention. The illness defines who they are. Then there are those who love to be miserable…or make someone else miserable. They have a “victim” mentality and can recite to you dates and details of past illnesses and hurts. Misery and bitterness are so intertwined in their life that they know nothing else and would be lost without it. Finally, there are those who refuse to give up what’s making them sick in the first place….alcohol, drugs, cigarettes, over eating, noncompliance in medications,and not watching their blood pressure or blood sugar all are hindrances to receiving healing. He’s offering the gift, the question is, will you receive it?
Jeremiah 29:7 ” Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the Lord for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.”
There are times when we feel like refugees in a strange land. Alienated and alone, we sulk in our situation, letting everyone know how unhappy we are. So the very last thing we want to do is ask God to bless the uncomfortable place we’re at. But that’s just what the Lord is asking us to do…to speak Shalom – peace and prosperity into the situation. For if it succeeds and thrives we can only but benefit.
Luke 8:50 ” Fear not, just believe…”
We lie in bed at night with the “what ifs” reeling around in our heads. They are always the worst case scenarios for whatever is worrying us at the time. God hard-wired us humans to recognize danger, it’s called fight or flight, and it keeps us safe. But when we allow fear and anxiety to rule over our lives we suffer. These emotions aren’t new, in the Old Testament the Lord commanded the children of Israel many times… “Do not be afraid.” And in the New Testament, Jesus repeatedly said… “Fear not.” to the crowds. So what are we to do? Fear and anxiety can be channeled for the positive in our lives. They can challenge us to be wise, prudent, and a good steward of our resources. They can cause us to look at our current situations and make changes for the better. …and Jesus said, “Fear not.”
Matthew 15: 27 “Yes, Lord,”she said, “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.”
Jesus had been trying to politely ignore the Canaanite woman. He was telling her things she already knew …that He had come to the Jews, not the Gentiles. But she had seen Him heal others and she was determined that He heal her daughter. Undaunted by His rebuke, she replied…My faith in You and what I’ve seen you do is such that I am certain that all my daughter needs is just a crumb of Your healing power, not a loaf, not even a slice, just a crumb! Jesus saw and then reacted to her faith statement by telling her that because of her great faith and resolve her daughter was healed. Whether it’s a crumb or a mustard seed of faith, you too can move mountains, for nothing is impossible.
John 4: 29 ” Come, see a man who told me everything I ever did. Could this be the Messiah?”
The Samaritan woman had no reason to believe this Jewish man sitting by the well would be kind and respectful to her. She was even more confused when He asked for a drink of water since Jews neither associated nor even touched dishes used by Samaritans. But when He told her all the details of her sordid past, she knew He was no ordinary man. So as she ran back to town to tell the others, why did they believe her unbelievable story? Why would they trust the word of someone who’s background they all knew. This seemingly chance encounter with the Messiah had not only changed her for eternity, but the people saw this change in her and they believed because of it.
Ephesians 3:17-19 “…and I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have the power together with all saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge- that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.”
I don’t believe we can even start to comprehend the love of God…it transcends all understanding. But if Jesus is dwelling in our hearts, that love is already established in us through Him. And what is well rooted will flourish and grow. So while we may never be able to fully grasp the depth of His love for us, we will be made complete in it.
Acts 19: 11-12 ” God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.”
Today I found the handmade aprons I had been bequeathed from my Grandmother. Both my Grandmothers were resourceful, strong farm women who grew Victory gardens and families in the Illinois dirt during the Great Depression. They learned to make do with what they had and never lost faith during the dark times. As I look at these aprons and ponder this verse, I do agree that Paul was truly anointed of God, but the faith of the woman wearing that apron he had just touched was even more incredible. As she ran home, this woman had unwavering faith that when she laid the apron on the sick family member they would be totally healed. As I contemplate the aprons, I am thankful for the unfaltering faith of my Grandmothers… forever tied to me by these apron strings.