He Loves us Like That

He looked into their eyes, both of them.

He shouldn’t have even been talking with the woman at the well because of her race. The woman with the issue of blood shouldn’t have even been near Him because of her uncleanliness. I shouldn’t even be allowed to approach Holy God because of my sin.

But Jesus. He looked into their eyes. He stopped what He was doing, stopped in the hustle and bustle of the day. And His gentle voice held their hearts as He spoke, “Daughter.”

We are just like them.

I am the Samaritan woman hiding from my sin in the heat of the day. My secrets take different forms than 5 former husbands, but I hide them just the same, down deep so that people won’t see. I wonder why He is even speaking to me, so ordinary. Doesn’t He know my faults? He does. And His desire is to heal, to comfort, to uplift. His desire is that I would know the lines under his eyes and the beads of sweat on his forehead and the lilt of his voice just as intimately as she did. My sin leaves me thirsty and I long for living water. I yearn for it and He gives it freely.

I am the woman with the issue of blood – persistent sickness in need of a Healer. Except I am a woman with the issue of sin instead, in need of a Savior to wash me clean. I am chasing after Him, reaching toward Him, longing just to touch the hem of His robe. And He is not far off. He turns toward me the way He turned toward her, kneels down, cups my chin in His hand.

“Daughter,” He says.

Can you hear Him?

And His words to us are the same as they were to those two. “You faith has made you well. Go in peace.”

He has made us well! Hallelujah! He has made us well and He has given us peace.

We are healed from our depravity, our iniquity, our wickedness. We are given peace from our struggling, our striving, our hurt. He loves us like that.

By Katie Davis, author of Kisses from Katie, shared from her blog post: April 16, 2015

Leaving Judgment for the True Judge

Jesus came to found a new kind of kingdom that could coexist in Jerusalem and also spread into Judea, Samaria, and the uttermost parts of the earth. In a parable, he warned that those farmers who concentrate on pulling up weeds (his image for “sons of the evil one”) may destroy the wheat along with the weeds. Leave matters of judgment to the one true Judge, Jesus advised.

The apostle Paul had much to say about the immorality of individual church members but little to say about the immorality of pagan Rome. He rarely railed against the abuses in Rome — slavery, idolatry, violent games, political oppression, greed — even though such abuses surely offended Christians of that day as much as our deteriorating society offends Christians today. – Philip Yancey, What’s So Amazing about Grace?

How Do I Find God’s Will

“Does God have a plan for my life?” It is a question we tend to ask ourselves, and ask often, especially in our earliest moments of faith, as we try to determine just how much of our trust we can and should place in God’s saving grace.

When we are assured, by Scripture and godly counsel, that He does, indeed have a plan, the next question arises. My son asked it just the other day, although he is only six years old. “How can I know what God wants me to do?” Or in other words, “How do I find God’s will?”

A vital question, especially as the New Year starts and we seek direction and guidance, or perhaps begin some new ventures (or hope to if we could only figure out which way to go).

How do we find God’s will and plan for our lives?

I spoke to my son of the verse that promises as we delight ourselves in Him, the Lord, He will give us the desires of our heart. Of course, my son then asked, “Does that mean I can do anything I want?” He was speaking about vocations, and is debating between three main ones: farmer, fire-fighter, and preacher. Although I did mention to him that he does have plenty of time to decide (he is not even seven, after all), I didn’t want to completely shut down the conversation, because it is beneficial even for young children to at times go through the process of something they can’t entirely figure out in one sitting.

And so it was. I told him that, no, that scripture doesn’t mean he can do whatever he likes. But it does mean that, as he continues to learn more about Jesus and grow in faith in the days and months and years to come, he will (God willing) come to place more of his faith and trust in Christ, and in His perfect love and plan for his life. I shared with him how it worked for me. That when I was young, there were placed I wanted to go and things I wanted to do, yet as I continued growing and as I slowly asked more and more for God to lead and guide me in life, certain paths grew clear and bright for me and I knew they were the direction I needed to journey in my walk with the Lord.

Sometimes these were real places, like going overseas and being involved in missions work. Sometimes they were places of the soul and the heart, even dark paths that I felt I traveled alone, but came through on the other side knowing that I had never been alone.

Does God have a perfect purpose and plan for your life?

Undoubtedly, yes!

How can you find that plan? Delight yourself in Him (Psalm 37:4). Seek Him and ask (James 1:5). Devote and commit your ways to Him completely (Psalm 37:5). Know that as you do so, He will lead and guide by the power of His Holy Spirit.

Your way will become clear. And you will know that He is walking with you every step.

What Skills Do You Have?

As we pray for the needy around us, God may open our eyes to what we can do to help in that immediate need. He may use us as an answer to our own prayers.

As we pray for the need of education of falsely informed people concerning abortion, one answer may be that, along with others in our church, we do something practical about it such as having an educational series, or purchasing a house to open as a crisis pregnancy center. 

As we pray for families with older people or handicapped children to care for, we may need to prepare a place where perhaps one day or more a week these children could come to play or to have a special treat such as wheelchair races or whatever your imagination can think up!

What skills do you have?

Edith Schaeffer, Common Sense Christian Living

Letting Go of Rivalry

“In the house of my father there are many place to live,” Jesus says. Each child of God has there his or her unique place, all of them places of God. I have to let go of all comparison, all rivalry and competition, and surrender to the Father’s love. This requires a leap of faith because I have little experience of non-comparing love and do not know the healing power of such a love. As long as I stay outside in the darkness, I can only remain in the resentful complaint that results from my comparisons. Outside of the light, my younger brother seems to be more loved by the Father than I; in fact, outside of the light, I cannot even see him as my own brother.

God is urging me to come home, to enter into his light, and to discover there that, in God, all people are uniquely and completely love. In the light of God I can finally see my neighbor as my brother, as the one who belongs as much to God as I do.”

Henri Nouwen, The Return of the Prodigal Son

Like Joe, Like Jesus

Joe was a drunk who was miraculously changed at a Bowery mission. Prior to this, he had gained the reputation of being a dirty wino for whom there was no hope, only a miserable existence in the ghetto.

But following his conversion to a new life with God, everything changed. Joe became the most caring person that anyone associated with the mission had ever known. Joe spent his days and nights hanging out at the mission, doing whatever needed to be done. There was never anything that he was asked to do that he considered beneath him. Whether it was cleaning up the vomit left by some violently sick alcoholic or scrubbing toilets after careless men left the men’s room filthy, Joe did what was asked with a smile on his face and seemed grateful for the chance to help. He could be counted on to feed feeble men who wandered off the street and into the mission, and to tuck men into bed who were too out of it to take care of themselves.

One evening, when the director of the mission was delivering his evening talk to the usual crowd of still and sullen men with drooped heads, there was one man who looked up, came down the aisle to the altar, and knelt to pray, crying out for God to help him to change. The repentant drunk kept shouting, “Oh God! Make me like Joe! Make me like Joe! Make me like Joe! Make me like Joe!”

The director of the mission leaned over and said to the man, “Son, I think it would be better if you prayed, ‘Make me like Jesus.’”

The man looked up at the director with a quizzical expression and asked, “Is he like Joe?”

By Tony Campolo

Just Sweep

sweepA grocery manager gave a young man his first job. Eager to please, the new employee would rush through every task. Then he would say: “What can I do now?”

After a while, the manager let out a deep breath. He wanted to critique, not criticize. He said, “Son, come here. I want to show you the rule in this store.” Leading the young man into the storeroom, he pointed to the back wall where a large sign said: “When in doubt, sweep.”

What does “sweeping” mean in your workplace? I suspect that in every job, there are tasks that, while not particularly engaging or exciting, just need to get done. We can choose to see these tasks as unimportant, or even as a sort of punishment, or we can choose to see them as necessary to the purpose and success of our work.

Workers who dive into these “trivial” jobs demonstrate more than that they are “go-getters”; they demonstrate that they really care about the success of their organization. Paying attention to the small details, working humbly and attentively, we can’t help but catch a glimpse of the high calling of our daily work.

[Reposted from The High Calling website]