Monday, January 31, 2011


Ever felt disarmed? Ever felt as though right where you stood, you had no means, no weapons, no control? Nothing could prepare you for what you were in and it was at that point in time that you felt as though you could do and offer nothing? It is interesting what happens to us in those moments, we discover what really does work and what doesn't.

It is something I took from Nehemiah when I went through the book and something that springs up time and again in the gospels. Prayer. Prayer is so important to us and yet we often forget it should be our first response to any and every situation. It is amazing what a prayer can do to a soul that is squirming inside itself. You can start a prayer in one state of mind and quickly find yourself in another by the end of it.

We are never disarmed and God had to show me this in a way I never saw. There I sat with a very close friend of mine next to a woman who needed ministering. Now, this wasn't just any woman, her name was Emelina, and she was 98 years old. She was alone in a nursing home room living out the last days of her life. There she sat by herself, almost motionless, with nothing but an oxygen tank and a bed. Around her were pictures of a once vibrant woman who looked like she belonged in a magazine. Now she sat alone, in a half lit room, with little if anything to say.

What was going through her mind? You think she was thinking back on all the things she did as a child? Think she was so happy about all the times she spent worrying about things? Think she enjoyed having nothing to look forward too? A sad reality rushed into me and at that point I had nothing to say. I was looking at the end of life in person, "but it didn't have to be that way!" I thought to myself. How on earth could I fill the gulf that stood between her and I? What could I possibly have to offer her? No apologetics, no teachings, no wise words, nothing I had in my mind could in any way fill the gap that stood between her and I. We fed her some vanilla pudding and spoke to her regarding how beautiful she was and how beautiful her dress was, really I didn't say anything, I sat and cried. Then He spoke to me, "Pray Chris, just pray." So I did.

After praying on my own, I looked up and said, "I think we should pray for for her, could you pray?" My close friend looked at me, now teary eyed, and began to pray for her. We both began sobbing as she prayed that God would remind this old woman of the love He had for her and what His son had done for her. I have never in my life wanted a person to accept that more than I did as I sat and wept. I wanted so bad for that woman to respond. I wanted her to truly feel what is the depth of God's love for her.

At that moment, the gap was gone. The gulf was closed. I felt in my heart she had heard us. All this woman needed was prayer, a simple reminder of God's love for her. It was at that moment I realized we were His reminder, our prayer, our presense was His reminder to her that God was thinking of her.

It is true what Paul says in 1 Cor 1, God uses the foolish to shame the wise. At that moment in that room, I was shamed. My human intellect, my human ability to reason, all of that went out the window when I looked into what many would call hopeless. Dry bones, as Ezekiel described them. And yet, who am I to judge if they could live or not? Wasn't Ezekiel's response to God "Oh Lord only you know"? At that moment, God used a person who said nothing to me, to bring me to my knees and humble me.

Sometimes words won't go far, sometimes reasoning will do nothing, gaps created my age will seem huge, gulfs caused by circumstance will seem eternal and yet, in the midst of all that, His voice travels over from the other side. We may not have anything in common with someone, but few people will deny prayer. Its language is universal and its impact, eternal. Sometimes, like Jesus tells us "This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting." (Mark 9:29)

I'm not sure what will happen to my new friend, however, I do know this, Pray. I ask you to consider this woman in your prayers this next week, and do read Ezekiel 37. Whoever that person is in your life you think is far off, consider Jesus' words to us in Mark 9 and consider Ezekiel's response to God......then pray

Friday, January 7, 2011

Silence Denotes Agreement

Numbers 20:12 Then the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, "Because you did not believe Me, to hallow Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them."

Moses and Aaron, two guys who spent a whole mess of time together. Brothers, both representing the Lord in the ministry that was leading the children of Israel. So what happened when Moses struck the rock twice instead of speaking to it? Why were both Moses and Aaron disallowed? I mean I can see why Moses would be, after all he was the one who struck the rock.

Notice though in verse 12 that Aaron was punished as well, why? Reminds me of something a creative writing teacher of mine used to tell us whenever we would practice for mock-debates in class: "Silence denotes agreement." Where was Aaron's voice throughout chapter 20? Why didn't Aaron speak out against Moses and remind him "Hey bud, this isn't how God told us to do it!" Iron is supposed to sharpen iron and as Moses' brother, Aaron should have been there to speak against Moses on the way he was going about the whole thing, not to mention Aaron was high priest!

1 Tim 5:20 tells us that when an elder is in the wrong, it is best we correct them, and in public, lest some be misguided and in the same way Aaron should have said something to Moses. But he didn't and this cost him. James 4:17 says "Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin," and because sin is sin in God's eyes, Aaron was at fault just as much as Moses.

Moses blatantly misrepresented God, it was a conscious decision in his head most likely fueled by anger and frustration. Where God told him to love the people, Moses chose anger and gave into his frustration. Where God told Aaron to be Moses' speaker, Aaron chose silence and did nothing to correct or guide Moses.

So my question then is how often do we do the same? Whether consciously or unconsciously, how often do we misrepresent God in todays world? The bible calls us to be ambassadors for Him, however, how often (and I hate that this is true of myself) do we neglect those around us? We were as Paul says "trusted with this glorious gospel" and yet so many of us live as though we have nothing to share with the world, when in reality, we have THE good news.

What about when we see a brother or sister living like a fool, do we take time to pray for them and ask God to open the door to approach them or do we enjoy our own security and just watch as they are burned? I have a heart for this because I was that fool at one point in my life (sometimes still feel like him). James 5:19-20 exhorts us to turn a brother from sin and with it comes a promise:

19 Brethren, if anyone among you wanders from the truth, and someone turns him back, 20 let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death and cover a multitude of sins.

So think about it, next time you see a brother or sister doing or saying something foolish, don't be so slow to pray and talk to them. Just be sure to do it in love. We all need to be less consumed with ourselves and more with Christ, that should then produce a love for others. This doesn't happen overnight, however, the more you show love, even when you don't want to, the more you'll enjoy it. And if you're in the face of someone who isn't a Christian, then love is a must! Remember that "Of 100 men, 1 reads the bible, the other 99 read the Christian" - DL Moody.

"Love is first a commitment, then a feeling" - Tim Keller

"Could a mariner sit idle if he heard the drowning cry? Could a doctor sit in comfort and just let his patients die? Could a fireman sit idle, let men burn and give no hand? Can you sit at ease in Zion with the world around you DAMNED?" - Leonard Ravenhill

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Source Amnesia

Exodus 33:14 And He said, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” 15 Then he said to Him, “If Your Presence does not go with us, do not bring us up from here."

Moses, someone the bible says was the humblest of men (Num 12:3) and yet he too had his own issues. I can’t help but remember what happened to him when he went up to the mountain and was in the presence of the Lord. What it would be like to be face to face, one on one with God in such a manner, where he “speaks face to face as a man speaks to his friend.” Could you imagine? Must have been pretty awesome, majestic, scary and glorious all at the same time, standing in the presence of God and Him talk to you clear as day.

The part that always gets me is later on in Exodus where he covers his face with a veil because he doesn’t want the children of Israel to be discouraged. That spoke to me. Moses fades. Moses needed that constant replenishing as do we. How many times do we begin to rise up to something and as soon as we hit the top, we often forget God. We forget that He got us there, we forget all His work, we forget His hands, we forget Him.

I find comfort though in verses like 2 Tim 2:13, though we might be faithless, He will remain faithful. I think something a lot of us miss out on these days is God. No seriously, we miss out on Him. We are very good at remembering we are forgiven, we are good at remembering we have grace, we love the idea of having mercy and we enjoy every last one of our blessings, however we miss out sometimes on one key thing: God. Notice in the verse above, Moses wasn’t promised anything outside of His Presence. That was it.

I aspire to be the kind of leader Moses was. Though he didn’t always glow with the glory, though he stuttered, though he was at his beginnings over zealous and over confident he still prayed, still lead the children and in order that they wouldn’t know the glory was fading, he veiled himself, so that they wouldn’t lose hope. Moses even went so far as to be willing to have his name removed from the book of life for the sake of those he was leading. Moses may not have always had the best speech, he may not have had the best wife, he may not have always made the wisest decisions, however, he had one thing, and he knew he had it well, God’s Presence.

Let us this day remember the Forgiver, let us remember the Giver of grace, the Merciful whose mercies are made new every day. Though we might sometimes fall out of touch with the forgiver, though we might sometimes fall out of touch with the Grace Giver, don’t ever think He has fallen out of touch with you. Though you may be faithless, He will remain faithful. You are still forgiven, you are still under grace, and those mercies, they are new EVERY morning.

You probably heard it a million times during Christmas, but I’ll say it again, and hopefully it’ll carry more weight for you this time around.

“It is not about the presents, it is all about the Presence” – a million different people