Monday, January 13, 2014

The One That Multiplies

Matthew has spent years proclaiming the gospel of Christ to the villages of India with little results. After many hours of prayer and hard work, Matthew had only one faithful convert. Matthew did not understand what God was doing. He knew he had been called to this place. God why did you send me here knowing there were be so little response?

Then the situation got worse. Matthew’s only convert became very sick. The doctors tried to save him but the man died anyway. Matthew was devastated and cried out to God:

What are you doing God? Now my only convert is dead?

After four days, the body was prepared for burial. As the village gathered around the body, God spoke to Matthew’s heart,

Go, uncover his face and pray.

At first Matthew was uncomfortable with the request because he did not consider himself to be a great man of faith. Then again,

Go, uncover his face and pray.

Matthew pushed back the fear and follow the Lord’s leading. He walked up to the body, uncovered the man’s face, and prayed, “Lord, in obedience to You, I lay my hands on this man and I ask for you to heal him in the name of Jesus. Amen.”

The words barely got out of Matthew’s mouth when the man gasped for air. Matthew was astonished. And the village…well they will never be the same again.

In His timing, God had answered the cries from Matthew’s heart for the people of his village. There was no question in anyone’s mind that Matthew’s God was real and powerful. There, in that moment, a whole new church was born.

When I heard this present day miracle over the holidays, my heart leaped for joy. And as I pondered what happen, these two truths seemed to pop out.

·      The way God handles ministry can often be misunderstood because of His timing. We go in expecting the immediate results. If we do not see progress, we assume we made a mistake. Sometimes, we do not take into account the need for periods of intercession as well as learning about and getting to know the people/situation we are to serve.

·      Matthew did not lay his hands on the dead man because he had great faith in himself. He did it out of obedience and confidence/faith in God’s words and abilities. So often when God wants to do the miraculous, we hold back by putting the spotlight on our lack and not on God’s abundance. The power for this mighty miracle came with Matthew simply surrendering to what God had asked him to do.

This story gave me hope. Those things, which I have been praying for and waiting to manifest, are still under God’s care. And in the end, it is not about building great faith in my abilities but in God’s. When God asks me to step up and act, His creative miracles are ready to come forth to do the impossible.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

What Are You Expecting Of Me?

“I lost my job today,” Julia said with a sigh as she sat on the sofa beside me.

OH NO!” I replied. “What happened?”

“I was over $14.27 in my cash drawer. I don’t know how. I counted everything. And this was the third strike against me in this area. Three strikes and you’re automatically fired. I am a reliable worker and my manager thinks so too yet I am suspended until farther notice,” Julia said.

Faith began to rise up as I replied, “I know this situation looks impossible but I am learning nothing is impossible with God. Please give God a chance to work on your behalf and do not speak in negative terms about your job. Let your good character and work performance speak forth. I cannot promise anything. However, we will pray that God’s favor will triumph when your boss calls the corporate office. 

I am not sure Julia was actually on board with the idea at first but as we prayed, she seemed to relax and we sealed the deal with a hug.

The next day, I sat by Julia in church. During the praise and worship, the Lord spoke to me and told me to ask Julia this question:

What are you expecting from Me?

Knowing the Lord desired to teach Julia to trust Him with her job, I wrote the question on a scrape of paper and handed it to her. She read it, smiled, and hugged me again.

Later that afternoon, Julia received a call. Her boss had talked to the corporate office about the error. Corporate wanted to stay firm on the rules until Julia’s boss stressed that even with the error, Julia was still one of her most dependable workers. After hearing that plea, corporate decided to give Julia one more chance.

We both learned from this experience of trusting in God so with joy, we both celebrated the victorious news.

And now…as I take down the Christmas decorations, that same question keeps coming back, challenging me to walk closer to God this year. I know my heart wants to but how can that happen when my mind accuses me of unworthiness?

Then Jesus gently reminded me,

“My blood continuously cleanses you of all unrighteousness. There are no barriers keeping My favor away. When your mind accuses you of unworthiness, who is behind those lies? I desire to freely bless you with grace and favor beyond measure, if you will allow Me entrance into your daily situations.” Jesus held out His hand, “Come…let us walk close together in this brand new year.”

And so I ask you…

What are you expecting from Jesus this year?

Are you ready to change habitual thoughts and attitudes? Will you let go and allow God to work on your behalf? Favor does not come because of our abilities and righteousness. It comes because of our acceptance of His. Allow God to work on your behalf this New Year and watch the marvelous begin.