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Will Anything Do?

“So Jesus stood still and commanded him to be brought to him.And when he had come near, he asked him, saying, “What do you want me to do for you?”He said, “Lord, that I may receive my sight.” 
Luke 18:40-41, NKJV

A blind beggar sat beside the road near Jericho. When he heard people approaching, he was told, “Jesus is passing by.” The beggar cried out to him for mercy, but those accompanying Jesus said, “Be quiet.” The blind man was desperate. He was not about to let the one able to heal him pass by. He hollered even louder. Jesus stopped. He stood still and asked for the blind man to be brought to him. When others reached out to lead him, the beggar dropped his outer garment and ran to Jesus.

“What do you want me to do for you?”  Jesus asked.

“Lord, I want to see.” 

He spoke. “Receive your sight. Your faith has made you well.”

Immediately, the blind man could see. He followed Jesus out of the city glorifying God. Those that witnessed the miracle glorified him too.

What a beautiful account of our compassionate Savior. Yet, when reading the story, I thought it odd that Jesus stood still. Wouldn’t it have been easier for everyone, if he’d simply walked over and healed the blind man?

I’ve lived through times of extended trials when I’ve wanted to pound my fist and say, “Jesus, don’t just stand there—do something.” Perhaps, you’ve had those moments too.

Our daughter has Down syndrome. While growing up, she was outgoing and talkative, but around the age of twenty-six, her personality changed. She became despondent and withdrawn. No one in the medical community had answers for us—only educated guesses and an abundance of medications which worsened her condition.

We held out hope for years that our daughter would return to her previous self. “Why are you standing there, Jesus? Why don’t you do something?” We live with a new normal now. Jesus didn’t move as we had hoped, but he did move.

We’re grateful our daughter is no longer despondent. By God’s loving mercy and grace, she’s happy—without the aid of medications. She still talks very little and seldom initiates conversation. Not because she can’t. She simply chooses not to. When there’s something she needs or wants, she prefers to point. That’s when we insist, “Use your words.”

So why does Jesus stand still? Perhaps, so we’ll see our need for his mercy. It’s in times of desperation that we exhibit a profound faith in his ability to meet our needs, drop all that hinders, and run to his side.

Jesus asks, “What is it you want me to do for you?” 

Don’t let him pass by. Use your words. If Jesus doesn’t give you what you want, I can assure you, he’ll give you something far better. He’ll give you what you need. Now that’s a reason to praise him.

Go ahead. Don’t just stand there. Use your words.

Blessings,

Starr

Let Perseverance Finish its Work

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”
James 1:2-4 (NIV)

In Arizona there is a scientific research facility called Biosphere 2. It is an enclosed miniature version of earth’s biosphere, but this one is about the size of three football fields. The facility includes a rainforest, desert, ocean with reef, and farmland, complete with plants, animals, and insects. Its original purpose was to study whether an entirely self-sufficient ecosystem with human habitats could be built on another planet. While the scientists carried out their original research, they discovered other curious findings. One was that the trees would grow faster in Biosphere 2 than trees on the outside, but these trees would fall over before they matured. The scientists realized that the problem was a lack of wind. Regular trees grow something called stress wood in response to the wind, and this is what allows them to grow tall and strong. The trees inside the research facility had no wind, so they were unable to stand.

            God created the earth’s ecosystems as part of his plan, and as a result, everything works together perfectly, including the wind and the trees. And since we know that humans are also part of this plan, we can know that God created us the same way. Isaiah 55:10-11 (NIV) explains that “as the rain and snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: it will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” Just as God has a purpose for the rain to water crops, he has a purpose for us humans to achieve his plans. Everything works together for His glory.

            So just as trees need stress to mature, we too as humans must endure trials in order to grow strong. We may wonder why we have hardships and temptations, but if we did not experience any stress, we would be too weak to stand, just like the trees in Biosphere 2. James 1:2-4 (NIV) says “consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” While in the midst of trials, we need to remember that we are living in God’s plan, and that we could be growing perseverance now so that we can stand strong later.

Walking with you in Christ,

Erin Tabor

 

 

Photo Credit: https://www.freeimages.com/photo/tree-1174007

Stand Firm in Your Faith

“If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all.”
Isaiah 7:9 NIV

What you stand firm in is where you place your identity. For Christians we can tell ourselves that our identity is rooted in Christ, but do we act that way? We need to remember that our actions speak louder than our words. What have you done lately to show that you are standing firm in your faith? Sometimes it’s not a “ready for battle attitude”, but instead it’s more of “circling back around to the truth.” After you feel like you’ve exhausted all other options, so now it’s time to pray. After you allowed anxiety and worry to consume you, you remind yourself of God’s love.

Reminding ourselves:

We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body.  2 Corinthians 4:8-10

We are human and sometimes we want to try to make ourselves happy or try to fix things ourselves. Standing firm is not in our own power, but in the power God gives us. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. The Holy Spirit is our super power! He is where our supernatural strength comes from. He is where our perseverance comes from… But only if we activate our power through Him.

If you are wondering whether you’ve been standing firm in your faith or in something else, I encourage you to ask yourself what is it that most people see when they look at you? Are you living as such that people can see Jesus in you, or are worldly worries and idols take over your heart?

10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
    and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
    or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
    and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me

Psalm 51:10-12

This is my prayer for you today, friends.

Stephanie Miller

 

Photo Credit: image created via wordswag