Appointed Time

There is an appointed time for everything.

And there is a time for every event under heaven—

 A time to give birth and a time to die;
A time to plant and a time to uproot what is planted.
 A time to kill and a time to heal;
A time to tear down and a time to build up.
 A time to weep and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn and a time to dance.
 A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones;
A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing.
A time to search and a time to give up as lost;
A time to keep and a time to throw away.

A time to tear apart and a time to sew together;
A time to be silent and a time to speak.
 A time to love and a time to hate;
A time for war and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3: 1-8

It’s a beautiful fall day as I write this. Fall in the Pacific Northwest brings lots of beautiful colors to the scenery. I love the changing seasons, seeing the colors of fall and the bittersweet reminder that winter is coming. I love the hibernating, regrouping sense of winter and the come alive again aspect of spring. Then comes summer. Who doesn’t love summer.

Seasons serve to remind me also that change happens. Sometimes that’s a good thing and sometimes, not so good. But we can count on change. Twice, just today, I heard people talking about how difficult change is for them. The good news of seasons is that they come and go. No matter how much I may love fall, it doesn’t stick around.

For me, right now, this is good news. This time of pain isn’t the permanent season of my life; it is a temporary one. One that came and one that will go. It certainly hasn’t been my favorite season of my life but it is so full of so many good things that pain can’t take from me. I am grateful for this season and the belief that it isn’t going to stay. A new season will come as surely as spring follows winter.

What about you? Are you going through a particularly difficult season right now?  Can I just encourage you to find the beauty of this season and rest in the knowledge that the God who created the seasons will keep you through this one?

Father, I do love the seasons. I love that You change my scenery and give me new things to marvel at while keeping the structure of my life rooted in You. You direct the seasons and the times for them to change and I thank You that You have a time for me to heal and a time for this season of pain to end. What a season of dancing and shouting and laughing that will usher in! I look forward to embracing that new season. Help me to find the beauty that is here in this season. I ask in Jesus’ name. Amen.

Advertisements

All Inclusive

imagesCA1Z6UR3

Six years ago, when we moved into this neighborhood, the lots across the street were mostly bare.  Homes have been built-in the intervening years.  Large 5 bedroom houses with very little yards and they all look-alike.  One day, out of curiosity, I read a flyer put out by a realtor.  This home had a list price of $300,000. and the list of features was standard issue stuff, but what stood out to me was that, although the house had the duct work installed for air conditioning, the air conditioning unit was an add-on.  It wasn’t included in the price.  That struck me as a rip-off.  A $300,000 house with no air-conditioning!

Recently, I heard a sermon entitled “Pain and Suffering”.  The pastor presented reasons why mankind suffers and why good people suffer and what to do about suffering.  And it was good stuff.  But the hope he offered about suffering was somewhat limited to our future in heaven.   And that struck me as limiting the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ to simply a ticket out of hell and into heaven, even though, that’s no small thing.  Certainly not standard issue stuff, to be sure, but His atonement was for so much more.  He took our sins so we could live our lives here on earth without condemnation.  He broke down the barrier between us and God so that we could have a relationship with Him.  He took our sicknesses and our pains so that we wouldn’t have to carry them – here on earth.  Remember when Jesus prayed that God’s will would be done here on earth as it is in heaven?  That’s huge.  There is no sin, sickness, pain and disease in heaven.

Jesus saved us.  The word saved is the Greek word “sozo” which meant to be whole-physically, mentally and spiritually”.  It includes healing for our bodies as well as forgiveness for our sins.  All inclusive, if you will.   Here and now on earth with a future eternity in heaven.  I won’t need physical and mental and spiritual healing when I get to heaven, I will be whole there, I need those things here on earth.  And Jesus provided for them by taking them on Himself when He went to the cross.  It’s the total package; healing is not an add-on, it’s included in salvation. I believe this salvation gives us hope here on earth.  Hope that though pain may last for a season, it’s not meant to be a permanent guest.  Though sickness may come, the price for my healing, the price for your healing has been paid in full.  All inclusive.

What can I say Jesus except Thank You; those words seem so small in comparison to what You have done for me.  I am so grateful for the promise of heaven and all that it offers me.  I am so grateful that You were willing to take upon Yourself, not only my sins, but my sickness and diseases as well.  Thank You for the hope that offers me here on earth.   I look forward to the day I spend eternity with You in heaven and I look forward to the day my healing comes here on earth.  May Your will be done in my life on earth as it is in heaven. Amen.

It Feels Like Heaven

untitled

Jesus sent his twelve harvest hands out with this charge:

“Don’t begin by traveling to some far-off place to convert unbelievers. And don’t try to be dramatic by tackling some public enemy. Go to the lost, confused people right here in the neighborhood. Tell them that the kingdom is here. Bring health to the sick. Raise the dead. Touch the untouchables. Kick out the demons. You have been treated generously, so live generously”.  Matthew 10:7-8  Message Bible

A fifth grade boy I work with is extremely sensitive to the Spirit of God.  He makes comments sometimes that amaze me.  He doesn’t talk about God; I have no idea if he is a Christian or not, but I do know he is spiritually perceptive.  One day, he was working on a word search puzzle, bent over his paper and I came up to say hi.  I placed both of my hands gently on his shoulders.  He turned around quickly.  His eyes were big as saucers and he said, “don’t touch me”.  He has never refused a hug or a pat on the back so I asked him why.  He said, “when you touch me, it feels like heaven”.  I asked why that felt bad to him and he couldn’t answer.  I wasn’t sure what to make of that.

We, as Christ followers, filled with His Spirit, have the ability to touch others for heaven’s sake.  A touch that isn’t always welcome. We are to be the harvest hands of Jesus sent out with a charge.  A charge to tell people that the kingdom of God is here.  A charge that includes bringing health to the sick among other things.  People aren’t always so comfortable with the kingdom of God, even some Christians, especially when it comes to divine healing.  Divine healing is a divisive issue in some Christian circles.  I know people who have been hurt by other Christians when their healing didn’t manifest according to their schedule.  Jesus made it very clear here, however, that we are to bring health to the sick.  Health He would purchase on the cross.

If you are believing for a healing that hasn’t yet manifested, you may have to look beyond church doctrines, beyond well-meaning people of faith, beyond present experiences and look to Jesus.  What does He say about healing?  He said it is part of the kingdom of God that is here.  Now.

Thank You Jesus for thinking of me when You were headed to the cross.  Thank You for showing me what the kingdom of God looks like and showing me that it is for me here and now as well as for an eternity.  Help me to keep my eyes on You through this healing process and help me to bring health to the sick as I proclaim Your kingdom.  Amen.

Do you need healing?  I would love to pray with you and for you.  Please let me know.

Do you have a healing testimony?  I would love to hear it and share it with others.