Wednesday, July 23, 2014

He Will Come and Find You, Part 6

Ivver smashed into the hard, packed dirt. He could see some blood on the small, sharp rocks where he had hit his head. Touching the cut on his forehead, he winced, but noted that it wasn't anything serious. Lifting his head, he watched as the men filed out of the house behind him, and like water parting around a rock, they walked by him, not bothering to look down and meet his gaze.

Thud!

That is, they had been walking by him. Some of the young men kicked and stepped on him as they left. Ivver recognized the sneering face of the younger Pharisees before his world went dark.

                                                                                           

Ivver woke up. Looking around in the sun's blaring afternoon light, he guessed he had been unconscious for a couple of hours. He checked his head wound, and was at least happy to see that it had stopped bleeding.

Now what?

Ivver felt the brave exterior he had held against the Pharisees start to break. He knew he didn't have anyone else to go to. His parents had been avoiding him ever since they were seized and questioned. The same for the rest of his family and friends.

I'm alone. Where can I go now? I have no one.

With that last thought, the chink in his armor was found. He started to cry. First just slow, hot tears that ran down his face. Soon they evolved to a heavy flow of sobs. His world was blurred as he cried, completely at a loss of what to do now.

A hand cupped his shoulder, and Ivver jerked away. Looking up, he realized it was Jesus, the one who had healed him.

Embarrassed, he tried to wipe away the tears. Jesus extended a hand to him, helping him up. Brushing the dirt off of himself, he looked at Jesus, waiting.

"Do you believe in the Son of Man?"

What did he believe in now? Who did he believe in now? He didn't know. He desperately wanted something to believe in now. "And who is he, Sir, that I may believe in him?" His own voice was horse and gravelly.

"You have seen him, and it is he who is speaking to you."

Ivver studied Jesus, then blinked. Jesus had come to find him. Jesus was the one he had been defending against the Pharisees. Jesus was the one for whom he had risked everything. Jesus was giving him hope. And suddenly, Ivver just knew. This was it. "Lord, I believe." Worship rolled out of him. This was HIM. The sound of worship was beautiful, and the most glorious thing he had ever seen was the look of love in Jesus' eyes.

"For judgement I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind."

Ivver didn't understand Jesus' words until he saw some of the Pharisees standing nearby, watching them.

"Are we also blind?" A short, stout man asked. The indignant look pulling on his face somewhat comically.

"If you were blind, you would have no guilt, but now that you say, 'We see,' your guilt remains."

The man huffed, and whacked the other Pharisee on the arm. Stomping off, they left Ivver with the one who had saved him.

The one who had saved him from everything.

Based on John 9:35-41

The whole reason I wanted to do this series is right here:

"Jesus heard that they had cast him out, and having found him...." John 9:35a

I love that the formerly blind man, Ivver as I named him, came to know Jesus as Lord. I love that Jesus totally gave the Pharisees what for, calling them out on their own spiritual blindness. But what I really loved was that when Ivver was cast out of the church, Jesus came and found him. Jesus sought him. Jesus loved him when everyone else had abandoned him.

Jesus came specifically for him.

Jesus didn't leave him there in his pity party. Jesus didn't say, "Well that's the price of standing up for what you believe." Jesus didn't forget him. Jesus didn't let all the other things He had to attend to distract Him from finding this man, and showing him love and comfort and God. He gave him something to believe in, to hold onto, to give him hope.

"We love because he first loved us." 1 John 4:19

God has never left us to our own devices, despite how it might feel like that sometimes. God has never abandoned us. Jesus will always come and find you. His Spirit will always be there for you, to guide you. Jesus came for you once already, to save you.  He will come for you again.

In 2 Corinthians, Paul is writing to the believers in Corinth. Word had gotten out about the persecution and affliction they had experienced in Asia. They had felt so beaten down that they despaired of life itself. They thought they were going to die. Paul starts this letter to the worried Corinthians by talking about God's comfort. In fact, the heading in my Bible is "God of All Comfort."

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our afflictions, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too. If we are afflicted, it is for your comfort and salvation; and if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which you experience when you patiently endure the same sufferings that we suffer. Out hope for you is unshaken, for we know that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in our comfort." 2 Corinthians 1:3-7

God will always be there to help you stand up, no matter what is beating you down, no matter how alone you are, no matter who has turned their backs on you.

"He delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again." 2 Corinthians 1:10

Jesus will always come and find you. You can always set your hope on Him.


V. Joy Palmer

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

"The Big What If"

As I was writing for the kids devotional today I wrote about Noah and the Ark. In the process I shared with them this bit of information... "Now stop and think about this fact. When all those animals came in and lived in the ark for those forty days and nights; Who do you think took care of them? The Bible scholars believe that there were around 17,600 different species and they figure there were more than 45,000 animals on the ark. That is a lots of animals to feed! What that also meant for Noah and his family was a whole lot of hard work, first to build it that big, to gather that much food, and then to take care of the animals once they were in it!"

Have you ever really stopped to think about all the work and preparation that went into the whole "Noah's Ark and the Flood" event? It was a huge undertaking and an immense amount of hard work. And the thing is God picked the right man for the job because Noah stayed faithful till it was completed. Is it any wonder that the Word has this to say about him. "But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord. Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations. Noah walked with God." Genesis 6:8-9 So, at this point you probably think that today's message for us is also about Noah and the building of the ark when in truth it really isn't. I just think that Noah's faithfulness in the face of the incredibly hard amazing job that he had to do deserves a mention especially in comparison to what I really want to talk about.

What I really want to talk about is this.. 45,000 animals showed up and went into the ark to Noah. Genesis 7:9. Wouldn't that event alone cause you to believe? 17,600 species coming together into one place. Wouldn't that have been enough to convince you that God is about to do what He said He would? 17,600 species - more than 45,000 animals had to of been noticed and it had to of made an impression! Why didn't more people believe? When did they figure it out? After a few days of rain when it was too late?

What about this event...Is this not the word that we told you in Egypt, saying, 'Let us alone that we may serve the Egyptians?' For it would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than that we should die in the wilderness." And Moses said to the people, "Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians, you see today, you shall see again no more forever. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace." And the Lord said to Moses , "Why do you cry to Me? Tell the children of Israel to go forward. But lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it. And the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea."Exodus 14:12-16

Once again we see the multitude of people doubting and not choosing God. He had just done all kinds of miracles getting them released from their bondage in Egypt.  He had shown them that He went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so as to go by day and night. He did not take away the pillar of cloud by day or the pillar of fire by night from before the people. Exodus 13:21-22 His presence went before them. He led them to this particular place. He had the plan in place. Why didn't they trust Him? Why did they as a people doubt? When did they start to believe that He wouldn't fail them? Was it when Moses declared His words of faith? "Do not be afraid. Stand still, and see the salvation of the Lord, which He will accomplish for you today. For the Egyptians, you see today, you shall see again no more forever. The Lord will fight for you, and you shall hold your peace." Was it when he lifted His staff and the wind that God sent to blow back the waters came? Or maybe it was not until they finally had to choose for themselves to actually go forward; one step at a time until they were in between the two great walls of water.

There are always going to be tons of people who miss out on the blessings and provision of God because there are always going to be multitudes who are quick to doubt! There will also always be a man or woman like Noah, Moses, David, Ruth, Daniel, Easter, Peter, John, Paul etc. who will listen, obey, and stand firm for God. When Moses stretched out that staff and the wind started to blow people had to make a choice. When they stepped forward to pass between those great walls of water they had to choose to believe that He would continue to hold them back.

Its pretty easy for us today to sit in judgment and wonder about the choices that have gone before us BUT, What if 17,600 different species and 45,000 animals moved into the neighborhood? Would we recognize that God was about to move?

What if suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as a rushing mighty wind, that filled the whole house and there appeared to them divided tongues as of fire that sat upon each of them and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues. Acts 2:3-4 Would we be the ones who are accusing them of being drunk or would we see the power of God and receive it for ourselves?

What if we were  the ones standing at the edge of the water and we had to make the choice. Here is the big what if. WHAT IF it were you? Would you dare to step forward and pass through the waters, trusting Him to keep the water as a wall on either side of you? Knowing that if He doesn't, you will drown. Would you trust Him and step forward?

Will we be a people who doubts or a people who trusts that He will keep His word. Will we be a people who will believe Him when He says, "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name; You are Mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; And through the rivers, they shall not overflow you. When you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned, Nor shall the flame scorch you. For I am the Lord your God, The Holy One of Israel, your Savior." Isaiah 43:1-3

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Monday, July 21, 2014

Eyes Wide Open, Part 5

He still wasn't used to seeing, but it wasn't getting old. The beautiful faces of his family and true friends as they'd wept for joy. The tans, browns, and  reds of the city. The blue sky above him. Finally seeing things he had used all his life, like bowls and pots,  their shape and own individual colors, no two looking alike. Truthfully, if he could sleep with his eyes open, he would.

However, he did wish that he never had to see these men again. That was getting old.

The local Pharisees had demanded that Ivver come to be questioned once again.

"Give glory to God!" The older man who was currently screaming at him, jumped to his feet, and marched right up to him. Standing nose to nose with Ivver, the old Pharisee pointed his index finger into Ivver's face and said, "Give glory to God. We know that this man is a sinner."

Ivver blinked twice and took a step back. The Pharisee's face was bright red, and there was a blue line extending from his jawbone to his collarbone which hadn't been there when Ivver first arrived.

What's wrong with these people?

"Whether he is a sinner or not I do not know. One thing I do know. Even though I was blind, now I can see."

Another Pharisee walked closer to him, as if to examine him like he was a criminal on trial. The first man retreated slightly, pacing back in forth in front of the other Pharisee's who watched their little drama like it was the most fascinating thing they had ever witnessed. The second Pharisee, scrunched his graying eyebrows at him. "What did the man do to you? How did he open your eyes?"

Ivver threw up his hands, and started to turn to the door. He was ready to be done with this foolishness. The group of men before him were possibly more blind then he had ever been. Their spirits were blind.

Ivver turned back to them, knowing if he didn't speak now, they would just hunt him down again. "I have told you that already." His daring statement and raised voice had stunned the group of cranky, stifling Pharisees. "Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become his disciples?" In unison, they gasped. Ivver knew what he had just revealed. Not only his indifference to them, but his own decision to follow Jesus. They were talking over each other, and Ivver couldn't understand what they were saying.

A third Pharisee in the back of the room-clearly the eldest Pharisee in the room judging by his white, long hair, and the way everyone quieted in immediate respect for him to speak-spoke loudly, "You may be that man's disciple, but we are disciples of Moses. We know that God has spoken to Moses, but as for this man, we do not know where he comes from."

Ivver let out a growl of frustration and started shaking his hands at them. Pacing back and forth in front of them, he must have seemed like a teacher to an attentive group of students. Why don't they understand? "Why, this is an amazing thing! You do not know where this man comes from, and yet he opened my eyes! We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him. Never since the world began has it been heard that anyone has opened the eyes of a man born blind. If this man were not from God, he could do nothing." He stopped pacing and threw his hands up one last time, as his final grand gesture. He heaved in and out, his pulse rushing through his body. As he spoke to this stodgy group of men, he had felt a fire burning within him. It didn't matter what they said or did to him, as long as that fire within him was satisfied.

Judging by the looks on their faces, whatever was coming next wouldn't be good.

The first Pharisee started screaming at him again. "You," He pointed his little index finger into Ivver's face yet again, "You were born in utter sin, and you would teach us?" The others growled their displeasure at Ivver's impromptu speech, when the third, eldest Pharisee spoke again.

"You shall be cast out."

Based on John 9:24-34

How often does God take the perfect person, with the perfect, flexible job, with the perfect, attractive looks, and raise them up to be respected among everybody because everything he says is just perfect, and who could not agree with it?

Come on, laugh with me. Because that doesn't happen.

"For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that it is written, 'Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.'" 1 Corinthians 26-31

Look at the Bible. Most of the prophets, teachers, new rulers, and evangelists in there were not popular. Most of them did not come up from significant families. Most of them were like us.

Yet they were all called by God for a purpose.

And when they were called, most of them didn't think they were the right person for the job because of those things. Somewhere along the way that idea was stuck into their head. Based on man's opinions, even Jesus-Son of God-fit those parameters exactly. He was hated among the religious leaders.

The Pharisees, religious leaders, and any influential Jews who questioned the man formerly known as blind were angry because they didn't believe for one second that Jesus could be the Messiah, and they were furious that this man was telling them off as if he had any authority.

They had eyes that were wide open, yet completely blind to God's working hand.

Are our own eyes open or shut to God?

"And Jesus came and said to them, 'All authority in heaven and on earth has been give to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.'" Matthew 28:18-19

You were called by God, and given authority to do as Jesus. So if you're not popular, rich, a great speaker, or even talented in your opinion, so what? Jesus said to go. So we can either go, or we can squeeze our eyes shut, throwing out every reason we've ever been told why it can't be us.

"That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might." Ephesians 1:17-19

That can be you, if you open your eyes.


V. Joy Palmer

Sunday, July 20, 2014

"The Only Purpose That Matters"

Then the scribes and Pharisees brought to Him a woman caught in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said to Him, "Teacher, this woman was caught in adultery, in the very act. "Now Moses, in the law, commanded us that such should be stoned. But what do You say?"

This they said, testing Him, that they might have something of which to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and wrote on the ground with His finger, as though He did not hear. So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, "He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first." And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground.

Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, "Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?"

She said, "No one, Lord." And Jesus said to her, "Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more."  Then Jesus spoke to them again saying, "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life." John 8:3-12
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When I saw this picture yesterday it once again brought to mind His grace and His mercy not just for this woman but also because of who He is in my life. As I was contemplating and praying about what to share today He showed me a truth about this account that was a little different.Usually when I read this account I must admit I'm focused on the people involved, the pharisees, the woman and even Jesus or the big huge question of the day, "What did He doodle in the dirt?" Usually its about one particular aspect or one person's response but today is different because it is a look at the whole account all at once with these two verses in mind.

"But as for you, you meant evil against me; but God meant it for good, in order to bring about as it is this day, to save many people alive." Genesis 50:20

"And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose." Romans 8:28

The thoughts and purposes of those that brought the woman before Jesus were not meant for good. The intent and purpose was to have her stoned to death. The intent was to test Jesus and to condemn Him if He didn't agree with what Moses said in the law. The intent and purpose of the enemy is always to kill, steal, and destroy. With God it is always different!  Jesus came to seek and to save the lost! Jesus makes a way where there is no way. Jesus turned the intent and purpose of the enemy around and instead of this woman losing her life she gained so much more! Instead of condemnation and death she received, grace, mercy and her life when Jesus, spoke these words,  "Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more."

It is not His heart to see anyone lost. It is His heart and His provision on the cross that makes a way for all of us to escape the eternal condemnation that we, like this woman, deserved. It is because of  His love, His mercy, His grace that He makes a way for us no matter what the situation. If we will come before Him and let Him perform His will in the situation it will always result in His love winning out over any intent of the enemy. Trust Him to work it out even if in the process His will involves something as simple as writing in the dirt or as amazing as dieing on the cross because His plan will always result in the love of God shinning through.

The truth is this account isn't really about what He wrote in the dirt (despite my curiosity) or the plans of man. It is about the outcome. A woman's life was saved by the actions of the Lord Jesus Christ despite the intent of the enemy and the truth is; no matter what plan the enemy comes up with it is not enough! It will never be enough because ...No weapon formed against you shall prosper...Isaiah 54:17 HIS plan is the only one that matters and His plan will always give you a future and a hope in Him. Jeremiah 29:11

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Pointing Fingers of Fear, Part 4

The hand gripping her arm right above her elbow coiled tightly. The man wouldn't loosen his grip, and he tugged her forwards so often, Yare felt like even if she fell over, the man would keep pulling and drag her all the way to their destination.

She couldn't see behind her, but based on his grunts, she knew her husband was trailing behind her in a similar predicament.

Who would have thought something so wonderful would have led to this mess?

The men pulled them into an old, rundown house. It was apparent that nobody lived here anymore, and that the place had been left to decay. It was the perfect, out of the way location for a forced meeting.

Yare gasped when her eyes adjusted to the light. Pharisees, officials, and well-to-do Jews filled the room, and they did not look happy. Quite frankly, it looked like each of them had sat on a scorpion's tail.

One Pharisee stepped forward, clearly the elected speaker for the group. "Is Ivver your son?"

Yare blinked. What a stupid question! She looked over at her husband, trying to make sure she had heard right. His face was outlined in similar confusion, but he answered them anyways. "Yes."

"Your son, whom you say was born blind? How then does he now see?" The Pharisee raised a bushy eyebrow at them.

They don't think Ivver is our son? They think this is all some elaborate plot!  

Yare felt the indignation boil up inside of her, just waiting to bust forth and spew all over those pompous cowards. Something wonderful had happened. Their blind son could see now, and it was truly a miracle! The only thing that stopped her from telling those fools off was the gossip she had been hearing since her son had been healed   that anyone who dared to profess the man named Jesus as the Christ, then that person would be put out of the synagogue.

Fear kept the words bottled up inside. Fear kept her quiet. If she said what she knew to be true, then they would lose everything.

"We know that this is our son, and that he was born blind." Her husband's words were harsh, but softened with sadness as he spoke. "But we do not know how he sees now, nor do we know who opened his eyes." His voice broke as he forced out his last sentence. "Ask him. He is of age now."

The Pharisee looked behind him, and having gotten several nods from the others, he nodded at the men who held them. Upon release, Yare threw herself at her husband and cried. For fear of what would happen next to her son. For fear of what would happen to them now. For the fear that had kept her from being a mother.

Based on John 9:18-23

This was a hard situation. The Jews wouldn't believe that this man had been blind and received his sight, until they called in the parents of the blind man. After the parents testified that all that was true, they were quick to say, "Ask him. He is of age."

These parents were looking at being thrown out of the church if they said what they knew to be true   Jesus had healed their son through God's power. They were afraid.

When persecuted by our fellow believers, we respond with the pointing fingers of fear. Truthfully, it's easier to stand in faith against people you don't know, then to face those you do know and love.

Jesus knew personally what this was like because he had taught in the church in his hometown. 

"He went away from there and came to his hometown, and his disciples followed him. And on the Sabbath he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were astonished, saying, 'Where did this man get these things? What is the wisdom given to him? How are such mighty works done by his hands? Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Judas and Simon? And are not his sisters here with us?' And they took offense at him. And Jesus said to them, 'A prophet is not without honor, except in his hometown and among his relatives and in his own household.' And he could do no mighty work there, except that he laid his hands on a few sick people and healed them. And he marveled because of their unbelief. And he went about among the villages teaching." Mark 6:1-6

Persecution is something we all have to face as believers in Jesus. However, when you have to face family and friends, people you've known your whole life, and face the stinging betrayal of their persecution, then it moves to a whole new level. 

"For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ." Galatians 1:10

Despite all that junk, we have to ask ourselves, "Who are we trying to please?" In order to serve God with abandon, then we have to lay aside the hunger for man's approval. 

"So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell." Matthew 10:26-28

We may face man's disapproval and may even be killed for our faith, but what happens after that? Nothing. Man's power is limited. After that we face God, and He knows whether we hid when we should have shouted from the rooftops. Don't cave from fear. If you can stand up to family and friends and say, "Yes, Jesus is my Lord, my Savior, the One who healed, freed, and redeemed me. I love God!", then you can stand up to anything man may throw your way. Anything.

V. Joy Palmer

Friday, July 18, 2014

"The Work Of Your Hands"

In Isaiah 64:8 it says: O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, and you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.
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When I was a kid one of my favorite things to do was to play with play-dough! I liked to create animals with it. Making elephants was the best because I needed big round balls for the body and the head. I could roll it round and round till I got them just the right sizes and shapes. Next came the big flat ears. Squishing it flat was as much fun as rolling it into balls.  I would then take a ball and roll it back and forth on the table till it looked like a snake. I would use that to make the four legs and the trunk! I would use little pieces to make the eyes and tail, and to add all the little details. Sometimes I would even add a blanket, and pretend someone was riding on it.

Other times I would mess up. The legs would end up too small for the size of the elephants body, or the ears would be too big! So, I would start over. The best thing about play-dough is its soft and squishy so it was easy to start over by turning it back into a lump. Then just redo the part that is wrong. As the kid doing the creating you just keep trying till you get it just the way you like it.

Now you  may think its a little odd that I started talking to you about play-dough but the truth is Jesus told  us to come to Him as little children. As a child I loved and understood how play-dough worked. I understood that I could put it all back in a lump and start over when I needed to fix something. As adults we don't seem to embrace that concept in our lives quite so easy. We often seem to resist or struggle with the times when our heavenly Father is being the potter; and we are the work of His hand.  Sometimes change is necessary.

John the Baptist said, "He must increase, but I must decrease."John 3:30 in reference to Jesus. If we are to be play-dough or clay or even silly putty in the hands of our heavenly Father than we need to have a heart that cries out the same thing. We need to have an the attitude that is willing to be molded and reworked till we are 'conformed to the image of His Son.' Romans 8:29 Our heart must be willing to let go of our desires and to allow Him to work more and more of Jesus and His likeness in our lives. Like John, our hearts desire must be, "More of Jesus, less of me!"

Psalm 17:15 says, "As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness; I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness." I don't know about you but I love the idea that He can help me to surrender more and more of my actions and more importantly my attitudes so that He can help me to awake in His likeness.


LORD, My prayer for us today is that you would help us to be open to the process of being molded into Your image.  Lord, that You would increase in or lives to the point that every word and deed would be a  reflection of  who You are!

Lord, that we would long for more of You. Let us be "the clay, and the work of your hands."

Thursday, July 17, 2014

A New Thing in YOU, Part 3

Rea ran through the door. He was gasping and out of breath, and honestly thought he might faint, but he couldn't stop yet. "Demamah! Quick!"

His friend bounded into the room. Demamah had been his friend since they were young boys, barely old enough to talk. He wasn't sure what Demamah would make of this piece of news. Clearly from his sudden arrival, he was expecting the worst. His eyes were wide, and his voice was panicked. "What's wrong? Did something happen to your wife?"

Rea shook his hand, waving the idea away. "No, nothing like that. The blind man, Ivver, he can see now!"

Demamah took a step back as if the words were like a strong wind, forcing him backwards.  "What? How? Is this the same man who used to sit and beg?"

"Yes. Yes he is! I've known him my whole life. He was definitely blind, and now he can see. He looked right at me." Rea took several deep breaths trying to calm his heartbeat.

Demamah shook his head vehemently, "No, I'm sure it was someone like him. Ivver was truly blind. How could he see now?"

"I don't know, but he was headed this way. If we hurry, we can find him, and you can ask him for yourself." He couldn't stop the sly smile. The curiosity was about to devour him whole, and with or without Demamah, he was going to find out the story.

Demamah looked unsure, but then started to nod. As a man who spent hours each day studying the law in the hopes of becoming a Pharisees one day, Demamah rarely let loose anymore. However, the two men ran like curious little boys trying to find the man who used to be blind.

They didn't run far. Just as Rea had thought, Ivver was nearby. He was surrounded by a crowd. He was walking very slowly, looking at everything around him, taking in every single detail. The crowd moved with him, constantly pelting him with questions.

"Are you really the blind man?"

Rea looked over at Demamah. His tone was harsh and unbelieving. Seeing Ivver only seemed to solidify his earlier opinion.

Ivver looked right at them. "I am the man."

"Then how were your eyes opened?"

"The man called Jesus made mud and anointed my eyes." Ivver was smiling as he recounted the story for what must have been the hundredth time, but his smile just kept growing wider. "Then he said to me, 'Go to Siloam and wash.' So I went, washed, and received my sight."

"Where is he?" Rea stepped forward, his question bursting out of him. Even if Demamah didn't see it, he could. This was Ivver, the blind man. He was changed, and in more ways then just seeing for the first time could do to the man. Something had changed Ivver's spirit, and Rea wanted to find out.

"I don't know." Ivver said with a knowing look that said he knew exactly what Rea was really trying to find.

Demamah shouted, "Let's take him to the Pharisees!" A chorus of agreement rang out from the majority of the crowd, and like a mighty rushing water, ushered him to the Pharisees. The people clearly believing the Pharisees would have the answers.

Like they wouldn't be just as divided as the rest of them.

Based on John 9:8-17

I love how the people were pestering this formerly blind man. Some of them were sure, it was him. Others were skeptical, thinking maybe it was someone else, maybe someone who hadn't been born blind, who was just recovering from a temporary ailment.

There are three parts to this story:

           The blind man who had been changed and healed.

           The people who believed he was healed, but didn't                         experience it for themselves.

           The people who thought it all some elaborate hoax.

When we come to Christ, are we changed, healed, and renewed? When we learn a new tidbit about God, or discover another facet of His awesomeness, is there a difference in our lives? Do we change and grow? Or do we remain a people who watches, but never experiences   or worse, a people who doesn't really believe?

"Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come." 2 Corinthians 5:17

Are we really new creatures in Christ? Are we really new creations? A new creature doesn't slip back into their old, bad habits because they never had those habits! If we want to be new in Christ, then we need to be like that blind man   changed and healed! People should hardly recognize you when you're saved. When you draw closer to God, that should be evident in your everyday life!

"Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert."
Isaiah 43:18-19

God wants to do a new thing in you! He wants to make a way in the wilderness, and give your soul water in the desert. He doesn't want you to retreat into the former. He wants you to be new every morning!

V. Joy Palmer