Hands and Feet

Have you ever been to Chicago? Ever gone up into one of the skyscrapers and looked across the landscape? As far as the eye can see, there are rows of houses, clusters of buildings, and the general sense of massive population.

Well, it would take 17 cities the size of Chicago, counting the whole massive urban sprawl, with every single citizen being an orphan child, to hold the total number of orphan children in the world.

Orphans. We don’t see them very often in the United States.

We like to think of them as some sort of far-off story that pops up in the Bible and Oliver Twist.

Surely they aren’t in such need now, surely somebody else is taking care of them, surely it’s not that serious.

Do you know how many orphans there are in the world today?

a.) 14,800

b.) 140,800

c.) 140, 800, 000

d.) 148,000,000

Answer: D.) One hundred and forty eight million orphans are estimated to be in the world these days. Can you even comprehend such a number?

That’s what the Chicago picture is for, or try New York City. Enormous urban sprawl included, it would still take over 8 cities of that size, with every single citizen an orphan child, to hold the total number of orphan children in the world.

Can you imagine?

I can’t. But it’s real. It’s serious. There is not “someone taking care of it”. No one person can take care of it all. We are the hands and feet of Christ.

When on earth, Christ’s hands healed, restored, brought compassion and freedom. His feet took Him to the destitute, the outcast lepers that society hated, the self-deceived tax collectors, the funerals, the prostitutes, the places of need.

We, the church, are the hands and the feet of Christ today.

So why are His hands spending their time texting inanity? Why are His feet shuffling idly in a shopping mall?

What is this travesty? Why are we letting it happen?

“For He rescued us from the domain of darknes, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son.” (Colossians 1:13a)

Our Lord Himself is a rescuer. We must be rescuers, too. Watch this clip, and let Christ whisper to you His heart for each one of these precious ones. Hear the tears that choke His voice, and let them flow from the eyes of your soul.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1o5d097Tfes

“Pray.  If you want to have God’s heart for the least, pray for it.  If you have His heart, but don’t know what to do next, pray!   If you know what He’s asking of you, but don’t know how it can be accomplished, pray.  He will answer all of these cries and unfold the most beautiful season of your life, being spent for the least! ” ~Annie Wesche~

God may not call you to personally adopt twenty children from Haiti. But don’t let that stop you from caring! When your eyes are awakened to the suffering that happens all over this sin-twisted world, you will not be able to stay silent. You will no longer be able to mindlessly waste the precious opportunity to be the hands and feet of Christ. As you listen to your Lord and His gentle voice, waiting on and growing in His heart, your eyes will be opened to people right around you that you can help. Sorrow for orphans does not blind you to sorrow of others around you–rather, it increases your sensitivity to the lost and least, across the sea and down the street.

Pray with me for God’s heart. Let Him set you ablaze with incredible passion and compassion. Let Him make you a rescuer! Let Him use you as an extension of His hands and feet, doing His work, going where He wants to go. It is an adventure of a lifetime. Take it. You will not be disappointed!

Alex

PS Orphan Sunday is November 8th….consider an extra time of prayer and contemplation on these matters.

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Published in: on November 3, 2009 at 10:08 pm  Comments (1)  

Run to the Rescue

Hebrews 2:18: “For in that he himself (Christ) hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.” (KJV)

Succour? Is that a sport with a black and white ball? Or something sweet candy that you lick a lot?

Not exactly a word we use every day. But it holds such an incredible concept that we really ought to use it more often!

Now, what does the honorable Mr. Noah Webster say about this word? “To give aid to, to relieve.”

Do tell us further still, Mr. Webster.

“Succour, coming from the Latin word ‘carrere’, meaning to run….(from hence our English word ‘car’, or in Spanish, correr means to run) Literally breaking this word down, it means “run to the rescue”.

Jesus Christ, the sinless man and Son of God, the Lamb who was slain, the Lamb who is Worthy, runs to our rescue!

What does He rescue us from? Well, what does “tempted” mean? Cue Mr. Webster again. “To be enticed to wrongdoing for the promise of personal gain or pleasure.”

In other words, the weakness of the sinful nature, the flesh.

Personal (self-centered) gain (more for me! more for me!) or pleasure (it’s all about what feels good to me and what I [me! me! me!] want) Even though Satan tried to lure Christ to do wrong, He had no sinful nature. The power and purity of God was the bedrock of His soul. He emerged victorious from the suffering and temptation. He did not give in. He is God!

And He offers this power to us, through faith and the enabling grace of His Spirit. Let’s plug this back in: “For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to run to the rescue of them that are being enticed to sin, the glorification of the flesh.”

What an amazing God! What amazing grace! What amazing power! How can we not be stirred in soul, how can we not be utterly devoted, how can we not be completely enraptured?

This is indeed the cry of my heart: that I would be stirred in soul, that I would be utterly devoted, that I would be completely enraptured. I am not there yet….I need much of the grace of the My God to get me there…..but I will triumph because He runs to my rescue! Oh, may all praise and glory and honor be His forever and ever amen!

Published in: on September 27, 2009 at 3:37 pm  Comments (2)  

Someone Else’s Mail?

Have you ever gotten someone else’s mail?

You didn’t recognize the address or name of the sender. Hopefully you didn’t open it, but if you did, it didn’t make much sense. You didn’t understand the content, or what they were referring to, or anything.

Why?

Because you didn’t know who it was from.

Let me ask you a question another question: With what attitude do you read the Bible?

Do you flip through it carelessly? Do you stare at it uninterestedly?  Or do you pore over it with eagerness?

To some it is a burden, a dry spiritual activity they do out of compulsion. Many consider it boring, or too confusing. Another popular opinion is that the Bible is as outdated and irrelevant as your dad’s high school bell bottoms.

However, I don’t think the main problem is the way you look at the Bible. It stems from the way you look at the Author of the Bible. Many people struggle with the significance of the Scripture these days because they don’t know Who it is from.

Sure, they may have heard about Him, they might even be able to answer the important questions with neatly packaged answers, but they don’t know Him.

God’s Word is just that—GOD’s Word. If you don’t know God, you won’t be able to get much out of His Word. But when you begin to know Him intimately, spending each day with Him, walking at His side, asking for His help, thanking Him for all things…you begin to hunger for more of Him. More depths of intimacy. More understanding of His heart. More pictures of His glory and might. More promises of His love. And His Word holds just that.

If you find it dry and can’t figure out how it relates to your life, maybe you need to reassess how you are relating to God. And you can’t just make up what you think God should be like—you have to know the God of the Bible. He has told us Who He is in His Word—grow in your knowledge of Who He really is. Walk with Him.

The Bible will become fresh, exciting, real, relevant, and life-giving. It’s the never-ending journey of reading a letter from your King and Father. There are passages that will still be confusing, verses that take much effort to understand. But the beauty is that Jesus Himself will stand by You and help you through each passage, giving you His Holy Spirit to illumine your study. The more you know of the Lord, the more interesting His Word becomes. You start putting pieces together, and it starts making one big picture of glory, might, love, redemption, and grace. As you extract Biblical Truth, and tuck it away in your mind, the Holy Spirit will use it to remind you of your Lord, showing you how it fits in your life day by day. You will how what God says in His Word and what He does in your life are one and same.

We are tremendously blessed to have sixty-six books from God, to us. I encourage you to consider how you relate to The Lord, and how you relate to His Word. Eagerly studying and learning from The Bible is an adventure that you don’t want to miss! Few things bring such joy as devoting some time to learn more about our Amazing Savior.

Published in: on September 2, 2009 at 10:00 am  Comments (2)  

Lost Dreams–Found Hope

On her blog http://funandfaithful.blogspot.com , my lovely friend Mical recently posted this pondering of her heart:

Why is it so hard to let go of lost dreams?

One of the reasons it’s so hard to let go of lost dreams because we have built our lives, our futures, and our hope of contentment and happiness around them. We find it hard to trust God, because, while we can control our dreams (we think), we can’t control God. We struggle to trust God because it means letting go “but THESE are my dreams, THESE are me, THESE are everything!!” We think that we are letting go of our lives, our futures, our contentment, and our happiness by letting go of our broken dreams, by handing the pen of our lives to God.

But it is just the opposite! Let me explain: God is our Creator.

Only HE knows just what we need to be truly content and happy, to be fulfilled and hopeful. And that is an intimate walk with Him. In the constant adventure of truly, radically surrendering yourself to Jesus Christ, you go on many, often unexpected, destinations. And yet, in these destinations is our future, our lives…lives more abundant than we ever thought possible.

Why?

Because God’s plans are bigger, better, and more permanent than ours.

Because God sees everyone and everything…we see only ourselves and this very second.

Because God is putting His Kingdom first; we are putting our Self desires first.

Because in the Christian journey lies an incredible Truth: that which makes for God’s glory is, as a byproduct, also for our good.

Because our God is an incomprehensibly loving, powerful, wise Father.

Because of His promise in Jeremiah 29:11-13 11:

“For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope. 12’Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. 13’You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart. ”

Grace and Peace,

Alex

Published in: on August 29, 2009 at 7:07 pm  Comments (2)  

What I Remember

What I Remember (Indiana Summer)

A white house on a green slope

Blue sky big as my dreams

Wispy clouds and milky horizons

That’s what I remember.

 

Gravel road and a rusty truck

Windows down, hot breeze blowin’

Singing bluegrass with the radio

That’s what I remember.

 

Back in the fields of Indiana

Where life was simple and I was me

Between the hillside and the meadow

That’s where I want to be.

 

Big swimmin’ hole and a tire swing

Couple of fish and a bunch of trees

Catching fireflies and trapping toads

That’s what I remember.

 

Sittin’ on the front porch step

Watching the blue sky turn to pink

Stars come out and crickets murmer

That’s what I remember.

 

Back in the fields of Indiana

Where life was simple and I was me

Between the hillside and the meadow

That’s where I want to be.

Published in: on August 19, 2009 at 7:15 pm  Comments (3)  

How Will You Wait?

“Waiting is an art form. 

There is a kind of waiting that is good for the soul, it builds it stronger, purges it of all trifling thoughts, purifies the expectations, makes one more like Jesus Christ, and builds a mighty faith within. 

And there is another kind of waiting that deteriorates the souls, it turns one inward to self-pity, gross imaginations of impending disaster, anxiety and fear, discouragement, and ultimately despair.

 Ironically, the decision lies in our court as to which one of these two kinds of waiting we will experience.

The term that best describes this stretch is, “holy expectation.”  Our God is doing a wonderful work that all the earth may know that the Almighty Jehovah is faithful and true.”

-Eric Ludy-

 

What will you choose?

Will you let God use a season of waiting in your life to prepare you for His next step? Will you trust Him with all your heart, committing your way to Him, delighting yourself in Him?

Or will you let your fears, past hurts, worries, and external pressure mark this period of waiting? Will you falter and forget the proven faithfulness and loyal love of Our Almighty Jehovah?

It seems that I’ve been spending a lot of time in God’s waiting room the past year. And it seems that I’ve still got quite a bit of time to go in this room.

It is with great shame that I admit that I have been falling into the pattern of the 2nd type of waiting described above…the one of self-pity and inward focus, instead of joyful peace and eternal focus.

But, by God’s grace, I’m boldly stepping out of the slimy “slough of despond”, and diving deep into the crystal clear, refreshingly cool pool of God’s holy expectation.

 

“Do not fear, for I am with you; do no anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

“The steadfast of min You will keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in You. Trust in the LORD forever, for in God the LORD, we have an everlasting Rock.” Isaiah 26:3-4

“…you will rejoice in the LORD, you will glory in the Holy One of Israel.” Isaiah 41:16b

Published in: on June 28, 2009 at 5:17 pm  Comments (5)  

Comfort & Courage

Psalm 145:14-20

“The LORD sustains all who fall and raises up all who are bowed down. The eyes of all look to You, and You give them their food in due time. You open Your hand and satisfy the desire of every living thing.

“The Lord is righteous in all His ways and kind in all His deeds. The LORD is near to all who call upon Him, to all who call upon Him in truth. He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He will also hear their cry and will save them. The Lord keeps all who love Him, but the wicked He will destroy.”

This passage is rich with promises, strong and sure. Throughout our daily journey, many things lay upon our hearts and minds.

 Sometimes, there are gifts and joys beyond expression. For these we give thanks to the Lord easily.

But other times we are left scourged, with raw wounds. It is not as easy in such circumstances to give thanks readily.

When so many things are crowding around us, beating us down, pulling us apart, where do we turn? What is our foundation?

Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

When we fall, stumbling in the darkness of our sins, the Lord will raise us back to Him. When vicious situations beat us up and kick us down flat, the Lord will bind our wounds, and lift us back up. When our hearts are heavy and we can barely lift our heads, He will sustain us by His strength.

Something that amazes me about my Jesus is that He doesn’t have rough strength that jerks me to my feet, grabbing me under the armpits and swinging me awkwardly up. Neither does He look on my huddled form and hot tears with derision. He’s not standing in the doorway, rolling His eyes at my struggle or sorrow. Instead, He is kneeling right beside me (me! The King of Glory right beside a weak and weary sinner!). He is indeed “near to all who call upon Him.”

With the gentleness of a Father, He places His nail-pierced hands upon my shaking shoulders. With a voice low and full of pure love, He speaks words of comfort to me. His words, His promises: they are completely trustworthy, because the One who made the promises is completely faithful. Look at all the promises in the above passage. He will provide for what we need, as well as what we desire, in His perfect time. And, because “the Lord is righteous in all His ways and kind in all His deeds,” even the periods of waiting before He “opens His hand” as done out of His vast love.

And when the hand wiping the tears from my face is scarred by the horrible death He died in my place, how can I doubt His love? How can I doubt His purpose in a season of waiting, of silence, of loneliness, of pain? He is near throughout it all, near to my side. When the waves crash about me, I cry unto Him, and He rescues me. All out of His love. What comfort, what wonder, to be loved so strongly by One so powerful and holy.

And He promises to “keep all who love Him.” What He promises is sure. He will not let go of His sons and daughters. We are forever His.

So when we are bruised, stabbed, empty, broken, heavy of heart and burdened of soul, our God is our Rock. If we would only sit at His feet, and hear of His wondrous love and promises to us, what peace we would have!

Let us “cast our cares upon Him, because He cares for us.” (1 Peter 5:7)

Our Lord “heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” (Psalm 147:3)

“Great is our Lord and abundant in strength; His understanding in infinite.” (Psalm 147:5) Our lives don’t often make much sense to us humans, but Our God is at our side, comforting, healing, restoring, and strengthening us. He will fulfill our desire according to His will.

Take comfort, wounded warrior. Take courage, weary solider. He is faithful. He is loving. He is near.

Published in: on June 21, 2009 at 8:48 pm  Comments (3)  

Absolute Abandonment

“God’s sacred intent for us goes far beyond just saving sex until marriage, wearing one-piece swimsuits instead of skimpy string bikinis, or idolizing Christian bands instead of secular ones.  It is not just making sure we tack on some Christian morality to our self-indulgent lives.

His sacred intent for you and for me is nothing short of absolute abandonment to Jesus Christ, entire separation from the pollution of the world, and ardent worship of our King with every breath we take.”

Leslie Ludy

Published in: on June 13, 2009 at 9:02 pm  Comments (2)  

Why Come to the Cross?

“Why should a person come to the Cross?  Why should a person embrace death with Christ?  Why should a person be willing to go in identification down to the cross and into the tomb and up again.  I’ll tell you why.  Because it’s the only way that God can get glory out of a human being.

 There is only one reason for you to go to the Cross, dear young person.  That’s because until you come to the place of union with Christ in death, you are defrauding the Son of God of the glory that He could get out of your life.  And until you have understood the sanctifying work of God by the Holy Ghost taking you into union with Christ in death, and burial, and resurrection, you have to serve in what you have, and all you have is that which is under the sentence of death – human personality, and human nature, and human strength and human energy.  And God will get no glory out of that.

So the reason for you to go to the Cross isn’t that you are going to get victory—you will get victory.  It isn’t because you are going to have joy – you will have joy.  But the reason for you to embrace the Cross and press through until you know that you can testify with Paul “I am crucified with Christ,” isn’t what you are going to get out of it, but what He will get out it, for the glory of God.” 

-Paris Reidhead

Published in: on June 6, 2009 at 9:20 pm  Comments (1)  

The Glory of God

Go here:

http://braveheartedgospel.com/Thots/Entries/2009/3/26_The_Glory_of_God_-_Reidhead.html

O, complacent Church, will you remain deaf to the pounding cry to glorify Christ, the slain Lamb and Risen King?

Disinterested, dispassionate, disengaged Christian–will you close your senses to the overwhelming flood of the glory of God? 

Will you get on your knees, and beg unmerited forgiveness of your Holy Lord, that you might be restored unto Him?

Will you yet seek your own happiness over the eternal joy of giving up all for the Master?

Will this not stir up a holy fire in your soul?

Published in: on May 26, 2009 at 8:18 pm  Leave a Comment