Luke 8:54

"And he put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid arise." Luke 8:54

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A Broken Roof

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A Broken Roof

“ In the second chapter of Mark we read the interesting and instructive story of four men who brought a paralytic to the Lord Jesus Christ by breaking the roof of a house. Jesus had been teaching in a home in Capernaum. A great crowd soon assembled until they filled the house, and were crowded around the outside, making it impossible for anyone to get near the door to see and hear Him. But in Capernaum there was a man who, because of a sinful life, was afflicted with a dreadful disease. He was humanly speaking, hopeless. He could not walk. He had no means of getting to the Lord Jesus, but he did have four friends who were interested in him. The other folk had all flocked to hear the Lord Jesus for themselves, and had forgotten about the poor man who had no way of enjoying the same blessing. I fear that in these days there are many similar situations. There are many people who are so busy learning theology and feeding upon the blessed truth of the Lord Jesus Christ that they forget their duty toward the poor sinners round about who have never gazed in faith upon His blessed face.

Can you not see them coming down the dusty road? They had made an improvised ambulance, probably similar to a stretcher, and on this the poor fellow lay. But, as they came to the house, they found so many folk crowded around the Lord Jesus that there was no room to bring the poor sinner to Him. What a tragedy! There were so many people who wanted to hear teaching that there was no room for a poor sinner to come to Christ! We are living in a day similar to that, I fear. Amid all the divisions and separations among believers, both in and out of the denominations, we are so busy defending the Book and discussing fine points of doctrine that we have forgotten the greatest desire and commission of the Lord Jesus. That this interpretation is not incorrect is clearly borne out by the fact that Jesus immediately stopped teaching the crowd and applied Himself to the more important business of saving and healing this poor paralytic. Again the story emphasizes the need of our bringing men to Christ if they are ever going to come. The Lord has so ordered the plan of salvation that men and women are saved only as we bring them to the Lord. Man by nature is not sick. He is dead! He is impotent and as unable to find Christ without help as a dead man is to come forth from the grave. 

Because four men were more interested in this poor man than they were in hearing Jesus, this fellow was saved. Humanly speaking, the poor man would have died in his sin and disease were it not for the interest these four men had in his condition. 

God can make a bumper crop of wheat grow on the pavement of Fifth Avenue in New York City without help from man, but He has never done it, and He never will. God’s way of raising a crop of wheat depends upon man. It is only as the farmer plows and drags and sows and cares for his acre that the Lord gives the increase, though He is omnipotent and needs no help from man. So, too, it is in the spiritual realm. God could save every human being without the help or aid of His children, without a tract, a dollar or a missionary. But God does not do things that way. It is God’s plan that man will be saved only through the instrumentality of others. His commission is ‘Go ye, go ye, and preach the Gospel.’ ‘Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.’ God has given us the commission and placed at our disposal the only two necessities for soul-winning: the Word and the Holy Spirit, and if men are not saved, it will not be His fault, but ours, and our alone.

A broken roof was the only means of getting this man to the Lord Jesus. These men were in earnest. The matter was not a side issue with them; they forgot everything else in their eagerness to help the man. They could not get through the door. Evidently a window was not available, either. What could they do? Necessity is the mother of invention, so these men made their way to the roof and the friend was lifted; then they began to break the roof. Can you imagine the effect on the crowd? Can you no hear a grumbler demand that someone make ‘that bunch of maniacs quit disturbing the meeting’? But not a word from the Lord. He must have been pleased. Notice the conduct of Jesus. Not a word of surprise. Not a rebuke for breaking up a Bible class to save a soul. Not a word because the decorum of the meeting had been disturbed. But Mark tells us: ‘When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee.’ (Mark 2:5) Two words need special consideration here: ‘Their faith’. Not the sick man’s faith, but their faith. I know that men are saved by their own personal faith in Jesus Christ, and that you cannot be saved by my believing, and yet it is true as well that men and women are being lost because of our lack of faith. It is equally true that men do find Jesus through the faith of others. Men are perishing because we have not faith. 

Oh, God, make us dead in earnest! Set us on fire! Help us to break up our homes if need be to bring this paralyzed, dying word to Christ. Many of us have pleasant roofs over our heads. With much labor we have made a comfortable place for ourselves while the world is perishing for lack of Christ. Oh, for a zeal that will make us willing to ‘tear up the roof’ and forget all false propriety and selfish endeavor to bring the message to those who never heard it! Think of Christ. It was He who said, ‘This is my body, which is broken for you.’ He had a home in heaven, but He left it all and came and dwelt as a man despised and rejected, a friend of sinners, and went all the way to Calvary to die that you might live.
Here is what is wrong with the Church. We have lost our vision of the reality of the terribleness of the condition of lost man. Sin is real! Hell is real! The danger is real! Yet too often we are more concerned about the roof over our heads than the foundation under our feet.

Oh, God, help us to break the roof of materialism and worldly interest and open up the house to heaven until the answer comes down! We are not in earnest as we should be. Oh, God, break our hearts for Thee! Grant us visions of Thy compassion for the souls of men!
How richly these men were repaid. While some might have thought that Jesus would surely reprimand them for their clumsiness, He honored their faith and not only forgave the man’s sin but healed his body. When the Church of Jesus Christ gets so dead in earnest that it is willing to leave its beautiful self-made ritual and refinements of architecture and external worship and stop its quibbling about doctrine and let the ‘zeal of the house eat it up,’ we shall have the greatest revival the Church has ever seen.”

-M. R. DeHaan (“Broken Things” p. 61-66)

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Quote of the Day

“It is not, however, as though God allows us to see what may look to us like 'good reasons' for his letting things turn out as they did. Sometimes, of course, he does. But we must beware of insisting on some 'justification' or vindication that satisfies US. God has never promised any such vindication here in this life. He is under no obligation whatever to explain himself. He did not answer Job's questions. He does not answer all of ours. It is faith and faith alone that can believe things fit into a pattern for good. The human evidence points in the other direction.

For some, the death of five men at the hands of Auca Indians was “justified” by the salvation of some of the Aucas. ...Such attempts to figure out out why things happen, to allay our own fears and shore up our crumbling defenses, are not the response of faith. Where reasons are given, we don't need faith. Where only darkness surrounds us, we have no means for seeing except by faith.

There was no human explanation offered me for my husband's death that adequately covered the data. Nothing satisfied me except the absolute conviction that God was in perfect control. It did no look as though he was. It looked like chaos. Faith alone enabled me to believe in that pattern for good.”

- Elizabeth Elliot 

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Sunday, November 13, 2016

Quote of the Day

"In the end, there are only two possibilities of encountering Jesus: either man must die or he kills Jesus."

-Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Friday, November 4, 2016


Spiritual Lessons


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I was recently asked what my greatest fear is.

I had to think for a moment; and there it was, burning ashamedly in my heart. I fear being inept.

Is that a strange fear? I'm not sure. But it's mine. At work, at the ski resort, in my relationships, in school, or even when I walk into a room – that is my fear. I'm not smart enough, I can't master that skill, I'm not faithful enough, I can't figure it out, I'm not good enough, I'm not pretty enough: I can't. I'm inept. Incapable. Incompetent.

It occurred to me recently that my fear isn't necessarily grounded on past experience; I've always had it. And this led me to wonder if this fear isn't embedded into the heart of every human being in some shape or form.

I could be totally off. But I watch my own siblings, or other children and it seems confirmed. Little boys want to be men, and more importantly they want to prove that they are men. They want to be enough – to have what it takes.

And little girls. Whether we wanted to be Cinderella or Joan of Arc, we yearned to be beautiful and brave. At four we waltzed into the room in our pretty dress and mom's high heels. As young women we dream of someday being captivating to one young man. As middle-aged women we hope to be good wives and mothers. And someday Grandmas. Beautiful, strong, needed, appreciated. And most importantly, we want to be beautiful and strong enough FOR someone. Needed and appreciated BY someone.

One of the hardest pills of reality to swallow for a girl is that she really isn't that beautiful. Who wants to admit that they are mediocre in their looks? Those who are model-worthy are kept straining away to maintain perfection. To prove our worth by how we look.

Those of us not given incredible beauty (and that's a lot of us) strain at what we do feel we have a shot at. Our intelligence. We will give our all in studies and academically accomplish all we felt we failed to do in cosmetics. Or in our strength. We will have a sport that we give 100% to so we might prove we're enough in the area we know we can win. We become the best at something so we can ignore the fact we're inept in another area. Yet outside our safe arena those fears haunt us.

I wanted to encourage you.

Ladies – I get it. I understand the fear and wounds in your heart. Here's the encouragement:

Your worth has nothing to do with how you look or what you can achieve. So go ahead and do yourself a favor and stop comparing yourself. We don't have to work our way into being captivating. We don't have to wait for a beau in order to find worth or to be special to someone, or to be charming.

I am 100% certain being a spouse will be wonderful. I know it will be lovely to have a man singularly delight in me. We want to walk into the room and be noticed and appreciated. We want someone to appreciate spending quality time with us. Someone who enjoys our presence. Someone who remembers our idiosyncrasies; laughs when we laugh, cries when we hurt. Someone who enjoys giving instead of only taking. Someone to rescue us when we are in need. Someone who thinks about us. Someone who needs us. Someone to share an adventure with.

It's really no wonder why we dream of someday “falling in love”. Because it's the perfect scenario for all our deepest desires to be potentially fulfilled.

Recently I wondered how a single girl, such as myself, could find fulfillment without being in a relationship with a guy. I mean, are we supposed to be left desiring and yearning until that magical day? What if we never marry? Or what if “he” doesn't ask me until I'm 35? Am I to be kept incomplete? Am I supposed to have this gaping hole? Are my desires really just my “flesh” – something I should deny and ignore?

I don't think God left us desperate until our wedding day. I have begun to see little ways in which He planned on meeting my desires. Not because I deserve them, but simply because he delights in me. Jesus delights in me. I come before Him and he is excited to share and fellowship. He notices when I am hurt. He cares. He enjoys my presence. He knows everything about me. He laughs when I laugh, cries when I hurt. He knows every step of grief I've ever taken. He creates sunrises just for me. He is patient when I am distracted. He knows how much I enjoy certain little things and he arranges them just for me. He rescues me when I'm lost. He needs my love. He loves that I am part of His adventure. He gives me friends who appreciate me and remind me of goodness and grace.

Stereotypical Christian answer to singlehood's woes, eh? God! He's your lover. Yeah, I understand. Sometimes we want flesh and blood to come and hug us. We want to feel him. God doesn't text us when we're down, or bring us flowers, or audibly say “I love you” or physically dry our tears. I get that. That may be what we want, but He has provided what we need. Perfectly.

He desires these things too. It's His image we're made in. He understands our yearnings better than anyone else. And he lovingly has provided a solution for our needs. He didn't make us imperfect – or he'd be imperfect. God is vulnerable. God needs. God desires. So do we. We aren't meant to be left desperate. We are meant to find fulfillment through Him. That way it doesn't matter if we are single for the rest of our lives – we have Him already! If we can recognize our need to simply be a display of God's own character, we might be less apt to condemn ourselves, and more readily apt to run to the One who eagerly waits to meet our need.

So why are we valuable? Because we are made in the image of God and He says so. No stipulations or conditions.

No-one is meant to completely fulfill that void in our hearts, ladies. Not our parents, not our siblings not our girlfriends. And later in life – not our boyfriend, not our husbands, not our children. God is so good as to give us people in our life who display affection, affirmation, security, love, support, etc. Those relationships are blessings! But they aren't meant to meet our needs entirely. Only Jesus can fulfill us 100%. It's dangerous of us to seek and expect fulfillment from the wrong sources.

This is a glorious fact, girls! God doesn't put worth on us because of our merit. And we don't need to wait until that perfect relationship – whether that's a Dad who will start loving us, that big brother we never had – a Prince charming – we don't have to wait. We have a father who unconditionally loves us and protects us. We have a friend closer than a brother. The Son of God pursues us already!

Not to belittle earthly relationships – but so often we seek and yearn and cry when He is already there, longing to be our everything. We don't have to get fit before we're lovely. We don't have to catch someone's eye before we're captivating. We don't have to prove anything.

I hope this somehow reminds you to run hard to Him. I forget too. I allow my fears to run away with me. But we don't have to. Relish the fact He loves you. Tell Him so – and watch those fears melt away. You ARE captivating.