Thursday, March 30, 2017

Freedom and healing

On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, "Woman, you are set free from your infirmity."  Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.
Luke 13:10‭-‬13 NIV

Sometimes Jesus healed by rebuking the illness, but in this account, Jesus spoke freedom to her.  And then He put His hands on her.  This is very interested to me.  The engineer in me wants a procedure/formula for healing, but I need to go back to the basic principle that God is relational, and He is sincere and genuine with each and every person.  He takes time to behold a person.

Heavenly Father, thank you for your desire for freedom and healing for every person.  Help me stay focused on relationship with you, not religion or procedure.  Jesus, thank you for your examples of walking with the Father and beholding people.  Holy Spirit, thank you for your presence.  Please make me more like Jesus today, and use me to bless people today.  I love you, and I ask in the name of Jesus.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

I think we are at the rehearsal

But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.   "Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom. ...  "Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning,  like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him.  It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes. Truly I tell you, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them.
Luke 12:31‭-‬32‭, ‬35‭-‬37 NIV

OK, I know I am mixing metaphors here, but if He is going to come get us for the wedding feast, then does that mean we are currently rehearsing?  Maybe that is not the best analogy, but I think it is encouraging to think about actively "rehearsing" Heaven (that is, actively seeking to implement Heaven on earth, as Jesus taught us to pray).

I have been watching some teaching on healing from Dan Mohler and Todd White recently, and two points that have been encouraging for me are:
(1) Healing is out of loving relationship, not based on principle.  The Father loves every child, and his desire is healing.  I slip into logical, doctrinal argumentation sometimes in prayer, but the Lord is relational.  Don't make a person a number or the next person in line for healing.
(2) You can pray for healing for someone else in the very thing that you are not seeing breakthrough in.  Todd shared about when he tore his knee and they all prayed and prayed for healing, but ultimately, he had surgery to fix it, and while he was in the two weeks of hospital and therapy, he saw 36 miraculous healings of people's knees.  Don't become offended at God for not healing you, but continue to pursue intimacy with Him.

Last night, I had a dream that had several themes of different discussions that we had yesterday evening (family tree, finances, healing), and previously I would have just assumed that the dream was from my mind.  But this morning, I realized that the Lord was telling me implicitly through dreams that He is with us all day, He knows us and every detail of our lives.

Heavenly Father, thank you for your closeness.  Thank you for your compassion and love.  Thank you for growing me and pointing me toward you and not religion.  I want to walk joyfully and abundantly with you.  I love you, and I am connected to you through Jesus.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Childlike faith, sitting with the Father

At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, "I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.
Luke 10:21 NIV

I want to be full of joy and child-like in faith.  I never want to assume that I have figured it out.

I was impressed with the lyrics of this song on the radio this morning by Shawn McDonald called Open Me:

Would You open up my eyes, so I can see
Would You open up my ears, so I can hear
Would You open up my mind, so I can know
Would You open up my heart, so could love You more
I want to serve You, my God
I want to give you everything

I do want to serve Him, and I feel like that has been my main perspective of my interactions with Him for most of my life, and I want to grow in my relationship with the Father.  But I don't think a child is principally concerned about serving his father. I want to be with Him.

"Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."
Matthew 11:28‭-‬30 NIV

Heavenly Father, thank you for inviting me into relationship with you through Jesus.  Thank you for always welcoming me to sit with you.  I am glad that you are always in a good mood.  I want to know you and love you more.  And I know that you want that for me, too.  I love you, and I look forward to spending today with you.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Living in relationship with God

Brandi and I saw the movie The Shack on Saturday evening.  It was a great reminder of how God truly wants us to live in relationship with Him instead of religious checklists.  The essential challenge for me is to be aware of His presence and open for communication throughout my day.

I am also concerned about Beau.  Over this past week, there have been several conflict situations with his brothers, Brandi, or me in which I feel like He needs to experience the love, forgiveness, and hope of Jesus.  I am praying that I will have opportunity to share the Gospel with him and that the Holy Spirit will minister to him to bring him to faith in Christ very soon.

Heavenly Father, I want to focus on you and living in relationship with you.  Thank you for being here.  Lord, what do you think about me?  "Relax, Shane.  Do not worry.  I will take care of you and provide for you.". Thank you, Father, that I can trust you, and I don't have to have it all figured out.  Thank you for how you have grown our relationship over the past several years.  I want to emulate that closeness with my children so that they can know you closely.  Thank you through Jesus.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

conjugating discipleship

Mark 8:34 NIV
Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.

What is translated as "whoever wants to be my disciple" is more literally "if anyone desires after me to come" in Greek.  The Greek word for "disciple" is not actually there, but implicitly, Jesus is explaining what it means to be His disciple.  And while Jesus spoke this instruction in third person, as a disciple of Jesus, I want to personalize what He spoke.

First, I must deny myself.  The verb is aorist tense, imperative mood, middle voice (AMM).  Based on what I have read about Greek verb conjugation, the aorist tense is a simple summary and is not necessarily emphasizing time (past, present, future) or type of action (progressive, ongoing, completed).  I think it is interesting that Jesus first commanded me to deny myself.  I think this denial of self is explained in more detail in Romans 7-8; I obey by setting my mind on the Spirit, not the flesh.

Second, I must pick up my cross.  The verb is aorist imperative active (AMA).  I can't be passive; I have to actively persevere through persecution in following Jesus.  Because Christ has accomplished atonement for us through His work on His cross, my cross represents worldly persecution for me obeying Christ and death to my flesh. My work on my cross is not atoning, but persevering.  I think it is implicit that I have to continue carrying my cross after I picked it up.

Third, and I must continually and actively chase after Christ.  The verb is present imperative active (PMA).  Right now, in this moment - in every moment - I must choose to find Him and stay with Him.  I want to move with Him.  I want to go where He goes, do what He does, and say what He says.

Heavenly Father, thank you for sending Christ to ransom us and show us the way to you.  Jesus, thank you for saving me and teaching me.  Holy Spirit, help me obey Christ.  I want to deny myself, take up my cross, and follow Jesus.  I love you, and I ask in the name of Jesus.

Friday, March 10, 2017

Jesus modeled healing for us

Jesus left there and went along the Sea of Galilee. Then he went up on a mountainside and sat down. Great crowds came to him, bringing the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute and many others, and laid them at his feet; and he healed them.
Matthew 15:29‭-‬30 NIV

If a disciple is growing to be like his/her leader, then I want to grow in healing because Jesus repeatedly demonstrated the love of God through healing.

Heavenly Father, you love us so much, and I want to show your love.  Jesus, thank you for your example.  Holy Spirit, give me boldness.  I love you, and I ask in the name of Jesus.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Cleanse my heart

He went on: "What comes out of a person is what defiles them.  For it is from within, out of a personʼs heart, that evil thoughts come—sexual immorality, theft, murder,  adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly.  All these evils come from inside and defile a person."
Mark 7:20‭-‬23 NIV

You are not morally corrupted by eating certain foods, it is our corrupted flesh inside us.

Heavenly Father, thank you for Jesus' sacrificial death and resurrection, which defeated the power of sinful flesh.  Lord Jesus, live your victorious life through me today.  Holy Spirit, flow through me and purify me.  Wash me whiter than snow.  Cleanse my heart.  I love you, and I ask in the name of Jesus.

Saturday, March 4, 2017


When they had all had enough to eat, he said to his disciples, "Gather the pieces that are left over. Let nothing be wasted."  So they gathered them and filled twelve baskets with the pieces of the five barley loaves left over by those who had eaten.
John 6:12‭-‬13 NIV

Maybe Jesus had heard the saying, "Want not, waste not."  But seriously, I am impressed that Jesus implicitly blessed the disciples with an abundance of leftovers in the midst of a miraculous provision of 5000 men, plus women and children.  Perhaps there is a principle here that as we collaborate with our Father, Lord, and Holy Spirit to supernaturally bless people, we are blessed with dividends from that supernatural work.  (I am not suggesting that we should be motivated to participate for this dividends, only that we should be grateful and praise Him for his abundance.)

Heavenly Father, you are full of blessing and abundance, and you are pleased to double-bless your children as we join you in your work.  You are so kind and gracious.  Thank you for your love and mercy, and thank you for your compassion.  Thank you that I can smile at you and know that you are smiling at me.  Thank you for your presence.  Lord Jesus, I want to hand out bread and fish from you to other people.  Holy Spirit, thank you for your anointing today.  I love you.  Amen.

Friday, March 3, 2017

Shepherding and rest

I was reading this familiar story of Jesus feeding the five thousand, and I was drawn to how Jesus was a shepherd to the people:

When Jesus landed and saw a large crowd, he had compassion on them, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. So he began teaching them many things. ... Then Jesus directed them to have all the people sit down in groups on the green grass.
Mark 6:34‭, ‬39 NIV

I was thinking about how shepherdless sheep wander, get scared, run scattered, and might not find food, and might not rest.  And then contrast that with reclining in lush, soft, green grass (with no allergies).  He provides rest, and He provides food.  He provides.

And then I noticed how King David spoke of the Lord in the very same manner:

The LORD is my shepherd, I lack nothing.  He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul. He guides me along the right paths for his nameʼs sake.
Psalm 23:1‭-‬3 NIV

As we dwell on His goodness and thank Him for taking care of us, He refreshes our souls.

Yesterday, I ran into a Brother at the ASCE conference, and he was asking if I had recovered from RMSF.  I joked that the Lord had been telling me to slow down and rest, but I didn't.  I certainly don't think the Lord gave me RMSF, but I do believe He uses all things for the good of Him who love Him and are called according to His purpose.  But, considering how busy I have been recently, I can't say that I actually learned a lesson of rest from RMSF.  I need to learn to integrate rest consistently in my lifestyle because Jesus commands us to rest.  He makes us lie down in green pastures.  I want to be obedient.  I need to be obedient.

Heavenly Father, thank you for speaking to me this morning.  Thank you for your word, and thank you for commanding me to rest.  Lord Jesus, you are the Good Shepherd, and I trust you.  Holy Spirit, thank you for your presence and conviction that I need to rest.  I want to honor your lordship by obeying your command.  And I want to enjoy your rest.  I love you, and I thank you.  Amen.