Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tuesdays with Jesus #175

#175 "Believing is Seeing"
October 26, 2010
"...and He asked them, "Do you believe that I am able to do this?" "Yes, Lord," they replied." (Matthew 9: 28)
Scripture Reference: biblegateway.com

How do blind men follow Jesus? I'm not too sure, but it must've been a real sight to see (pardon the pun). Jesus was moving from place to place, calling disciples and healing many people. The Bible tells us that two blind men followed Him. Just imagine..talk about the blind leading the blind...literally. Picture this...the crowds are big. News was spreading about this man Jesus. It was noisy and close. Here come these two men. Hanging on to one another for dear life. They were probably depending on each other to move in and out of the crowd. They were depending even more on their sense of hearing to keep up the pace with Jesus' movements. Arm in arm they bump into the people, jostled back and forth as they go. All the while, calling out, "Have mercy on us, Son of David!" Bump...push...shove..."Have mercy on us, Son of David!" Long before Peter ever declared, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God" (Matt. 16: 16), these men knew that the Messiah had come. They may have had physical blindness of the eyes, but their spiritual sight was acute and perfect.

Following Jesus so closely that they knew He went indoors, He asks them a question that begs for an answer. "Do you believe that I am able to do this?" If they had not believed so strongly, I don't think they would've ever followed Him all the way through. The blind in Jesus' time were outcasts and usually beggars. They must've endured some verbal insults along the way. But they were persistent in following Him. They were stumbling around in their physical darkness but they were pushed along by a greater, inner light. They were compelled by their belief that their eyes would soon be opened by the only One who they believed was able.

It's hard to be blind. Physically, of course. But what about when you're blind in your situation? Circumstances and situations are pressing in hard and you have no idea what to do. You are blind. You go to the Word. It spelled out your next steps for you last time, didn't it? But this time...this time...there's no clear word. No clear chapter and verse to fit your problem. It's what you might call a gray area. On Monday, you think you've got the page with the right instruction, but on Tuesday, there seems to be something different on another page. Which is it? What do I do? "Have mercy on me, Son of David!"

Fumbling around in the darkness of a personal situation in my life, the Word did give me an answer. It wasn't a three step plan or a six point program for enlightenment. It all began with that same question that Jesus asked the two blind men..."Do you believe that I am able to do this?" I have never heard the audible voice of God, but as sure as I'm sitting here typing, I heard God ask me, "Donna, do you trust me?" God's Word truly is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path (Psalm 119: 105). Don't ever think it's not in the Book. Gray areas are in the Book....under Trust!

This was me and it may describe you today: "Let him who walks in the dark, who has no light, (is that you?) trust in the name of the Lord and rely on his God." (Isaiah 50: 10) How much plainer can it get? If you're still not convinced, try this: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight." (Proverbs 3: 5-6) The Message says, "don't try to figure out everything on your own." My analytical, organized mind doesn't accept that too well, but if God says it , that settles it. If the Lover of my Soul tells me to trust, then guess what? I need to trust. And I can't trust what I don't believe. Back to the same question....Do you believe that He is able?

Can you trust Him even in the darkness? Try this on for size: "even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you." (Psalm 139: 12) Even if you can't see the way...it's not dark to God! He knows the way. On another day, in a place called Bethsaida, there was another healing of another blind man (Mark 8: 22-26). The Bible says that Jesus took that man by the hand and led him to where his healing would occur. There is light out there somewhere. Let Jesus take your hand. Hold on tight and let Him lead the way.

I'm going to give you more Word. I hope you don't mind, but when we're groping around in the darkness, the only thing that's solid, the only thing that we can cling to, is the truth of the matchless Word of God. Psalm 19: 8 says that "the commands of the Lord are radiant, giving light to the eyes." The world and some people and the devil will only tell us lies. We need truth to walk in the darkness. Isaiah 60:1 says, "Arise, shine, for your light has come." Psalm 118: 27 tells us that "The Lord is God, and He has made His light shine upon us." That light shining is Jesus Christ according to John 12: 35-36 and in John 8: 12 Jesus Himself says, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." "God is light; in Him there is no darkness at all." (1 John 1: 5)

That darkness you're in today may be heavy. It may feel oppressive. I know, I feel it too. But let's, you and I, call out to Jesus...the Light Himself. Let's come to Him believing that He is able to do exceedingly, abundantly, above all that we could ever ask or think (Ephesians 3:20). Let's trust Him. Let's go hand in hand, together, in spite of the crowds, in spite of the noise, in spite of what people say. Let's follow Jesus until He takes us each by our own hand and leads us to the place where the Bright and Morning Star dispels all of that darkness around us. It is said that it's always darkest before the dawn. But if you look up at a clear pre-dawn sky, you'll see that bright, morning star shining. Let that star always remind you that Christ is there, in the light and that your darkness is never too black for the light to shine through. "The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands." (Psalm 19: 1)

There is no darkness that the "Light of the World" and the "light of the Word" cannot penetrate. If you can't see today, listen. I've heard it said that if you are blind, your sense of hearing becomes more acute to compensate for vision loss. I don't know if that's really true, but I think it makes good sense that when you can't see your way clear, listen. Listen to the voice of God, the voice of Truth. I pray that I have helped you in some small way today to see a glimmer of light in the distance because of the word that I have shared. The honor and privilege that I feel in doing so becomes a light in my own darkness. Right now, with tears, things don't seem so dark after all.

Living the Word along with you,
Donna Schultz

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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tuesdays with Jesus #174

#174 "Obvious"
October 19, 2010

"Finally, my friends, keep your minds on whatever is true, pure, right, holy, friendly, and proper. Don't ever stop thinking about what is truly worthwhile and worthy of praise". (Philippians 4: 8 CEV)

Hey precious ones!! I pray that Tuesday morning finds you well and more in love with your Savior than you were yesterday. You are most dear to me, and I pray so very often that you are feeding on the manna of God's Word and drinking of the Living Water that is Christ, each and every day. We absolutely can't make it without being desperate for Him.
Beth Moore recently wrote, "He [God] is simply never more obvious to us than when we need Him desperately". As many of you know, the last few weeks have been heartbreakingly rough around the Schultz home. I have needed Him desperately! I'm sure that there have been many times that you have needed Him that way too. It may even be your estate today.  
In times of loss, darkness, problems and heartache, the last word you might use to describe God would be obvious, right? Darkness hangs like a blanket over your life and the more likely question you're asking may be, "Where is God"? The verse above commands us to "keep our minds" and "don't ever stop thinking about what is truly worthwhile and worthy of praise".  The Greek translation for this verse pictures "considering, taking into account, weighing, or meditating on something. This word deals with reality. If I "logizomai", or reckon that my bank book has $25 in it, it has $25 in it. Otherwise I am deceiving myself. This word refers to facts not suppositions".  (KJV with Strong's)

The fact is, there are plenty of things that are true, pure, right, holy, friendly, and proper to keep our minds on. The fact is that there are plenty of things that are truly worthwhile and worthy of praise for us to always be thinking about. The fact is that God is obvious all around us. Our part is to purposefully look for Him. I submit to you that if we make up our minds to look, He is not hard to find.
I find Him when He holds His palette and carefully paints the leaves on the trees in my backyard gold, orange and red. I find Him when the downy woodpecker lands outside my kitchen window and painstakingly  pecks at the brick. What in the world does he expect to find there? I hear a still small voice explain to me that I do the same thing. I peck my beak on brick walls that will never satisfy. God calls me to drink living water and promises that I will never be thirsty again.
I find Him when I come in from the crisp, cold morning and smell fresh-brewed coffee and feel the warmth of the heat from my furnace. I find Him in clean sheets and comfy blankets on my queen-size bed. There are those who are not so blessed and I am thankful. Those simple things that we take for granted are worthy of praise.
I find Him when I hear my husband on the phone with his son, laughing so hard that he can scarcely breathe. It wasn't so long ago when they barely spoke to one another. Oh, dear friend, God is so obvious right there!
I find God when my granddaughter pokes her head out of the door and says, "Hello Moon," and "I see a star"! When was the last time you let the heavens declare the glory of God, loud and clear through His creation? Have you ever gazed with childlike wonder at the moon, God's faithful witness in the sky? Have you recently reminded yourself that God knows each and every single star by name and that He knows your name as well?
I find Him when I see the Ebenezer stone outside my door that daily reminds me that I can say with conviction, "Thus far has the Lord helped us", in each and every situation that has come to this house and to our family. (1 Sam. 7:12) And He will continue to help us because He is the same...yesterday, today, and forever.
I find God, and He is so very obvious when folks are marveling at our faith and the faith of my daughter in the midst of horrific heartbreak and wondering what would give her so much strength. Right there He gives us all the perfect privilege of naming His Name and pointing others straight to our Strength. He is obvious when because of my daughter's willingness to share her pain; other women are finding courage to do the same. I can see Him. I can find Him. He's plain as day!
I find Him when my newly widowed sister-in-law shares her specific prayer to God with me and tells me that when she went to church this weekend, the message was EXACTLY about what she had poured out to Him. That is confirmation that my God knows each and every one of us, individually and intimately, and cares so deeply that He will use a jar of clay to be His voice and speak into our hurt and pain, bringing peace and rest.
I find Him in the sun and in the rain. I find Him in the smell of homemade applesauce simmering on the stove on a chilly autumn day. I find Him in the smile and laughter of my six-month old grandbaby who my oldest daughter longed for. The Lord remembered her and opened her womb. Glory to God!
So many opportunities for thanksgiving. So many places to take off my sandals and stand on holy ground. When I do, the Light of Christ Jesus shines bright and illuminates the darkness around me. I must determine, purpose, and decide to seek. I am promised that if I seek and keep on seeking, I will surely find.
Would you ask the Lord Jesus, by His Holy Spirit to open your eyes, ears and heart to His obviousness in your life today? If you are desperate for Him right now, He stands at the ready to reveal Himself to you. He is there. Seek Him and you shall surely find Him. Purpose in your heart to do it. Don't be content to sit passively in the darkness when there is so much life to be lived in the Light of His presence.
"You will guard him and keep him in perfect and constant peace whose mind [both its inclination and its character] is stayed on You, because he commits himself to You, leans on You, and hopes confidently in You". (Isaiah 26:3 AMP)

Living the Word along with you,

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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tuesdays with Jesus #173

#173  "Pray"
October 12, 2010
"You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature, rather, serve one another in love. The entire law is summed up in a single command: "Love your neighbor as yourself." If you keep on biting and devouring each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other." (Galatians 5: 13-15)
I saw the strangest thing at the mall this weekend.  I should really say that I saw the strangest person at the mall this weekend. So that I don't dishonor this individual, and stay tender to his plight, I will leave out the details of what I observed and where I observed him. Chuck and I briefly commented on what we saw and went about our day.
For some reason, this person came to my mind today while I was going about my morning routine.  I'm ashamed to tell you what thought came into my mind, but here goes. I thought, "I have to tell "so and so" to go check this guy out". Don't worry; I have already repented for that thought. Yes, I'm called to be free, but I can't use the freedom that Christ died to give me to indulge my sinful nature. Loving my neighbor as myself would never include describing this guy in detail, and sending people over to his place of employment to "check him out", as if he were some kind of attraction at a fair. Instead, I felt moved in my spirit to pray for him.
Maybe there is no one else on planet Earth praying for this man. Could I be the only one? Surely, his mother, if he has a mother, is on her knees continually. I would be, if this were my son. I don't know his name. I don't know the circumstances of his life. I have no idea what would make him do what he does. Something has gone awry somewhere to cause him to put his pain right out there for all to see. I don't understand it, and maybe he doesn't either. I believe that he is no different from you or me. He just wears his sin and dysfunction on the outside, while we carry ours in the secret chambers of our hearts.
Jesus knows every last detail of this man's life. He knows his name. He knows his hopes and dreams. He knows his hurt and pain.  He knows what makes him tick. I felt moved in my spirit to pray for him to the One who knows it all.
They gossiped about the woman at the well. They spread the word about the sin of the woman caught in adultery. They were angry that Jesus picked Zaccheus out of a sycamore tree. They gave Jesus the dirt on the sinful woman. As if He didn't already know. Did they ever think to pray? Do we? Oh, how our hearts are deceitful above all things and beyond cure! We can own that. We can repent. We can pray instead.
I was challenged today by the Holy Spirit to make a choice. Gossip or pray. Spread the word or pray. Tell "so and so" the dirt on this guy, or pray. You may be challenged this very day to make your choice. Remember...you may be the only person on planet Earth lifting that person to the throne of grace. I pray that you will feel moved in your spirit to pray.   
All my love,
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Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Tuesdays with Jesus #172

#172 "True Humility"
October 5, 2010
"I know that You can do all things; no plan of Yours can be thwarted. You asked, 'Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?' Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know." (Job 42: 2-3)
I have been young and now I am old. Well...older.  I have lived half of my life as a committed follower of Jesus Christ. I have rejoiced with God in many good times and hung on to Him, sometimes only with the very tips of my fingers, in the bad times. I know me some Word, and I can wield a Sword of the Spirit with the best of them. But there are a couple of things that I thought I understood, until lately, when God told me, "Girl, you didn't have a clue!"
If you've followed my writings for any length of time, you know how much I absolutely love to give you Hebrew and Greek transliterations of the words in Scripture. When we are able to see the meanings of our common words in the original language, they are so much richer and so exciting. Today, I will just write to you out of my heart.
Let's chat about humility. Phillip Brooks made an apt comment when he said, "The true way to be humble is not to stoop until you are smaller than yourself, but to stand at your real height against some higher nature that will show you what the real smallness of your greatness is." (Quoted in Burning Out for God, E. Skoglund, p. 11) Ain't it the truth? Ain't it the truth? Humility isn't making little of ourselves. It is not that common thing we do when someone gives us a compliment. You know how we do. "Oh, thank you, but it's not me, it's God". While that is the truth, we tend to confuse humility with false modesty. We take an "I'm no good attitude" and pass it off as being humble.

True humility is seeing yourself  for exactly who you are. A created being on her knees before a magnificent Creator. A created being whose very next breath is in the hands of the one who formed and fashioned her. True humility acknowledges its gifts and talents. It acknowledges that it is made in the image and likeness of God, therefore it is wonderful, but knowing full well that everything we have and everything we are comes from the hand of God Almighty.
Humility comes when you've prayed, when you've cried, when you've believed with every fiber of your being, but your God had another plan. Humility comes when you've been knocked over and are laid flat, because everything you stood on crumbled beneath your feet. True humility will cause you to lift your tear-stained face to the Heavens and acknowledge that there is One who knows so much more, and so much better. It reminds us that no matter how smart we are, no matter how rich we are, no matter how well versed in Scripture we are, no matter how serious of a prayer warrior we are, no matter how much faith we have, no matter how much we love, how much we serve, how much we give....there is a God. He trumps it all. We can put no confidence in the flesh or the things of this earth. God is above all and over all.

When we are looking forward to an expected end, and things turn out just the opposite, true humility can echo the words of our Christ and say, "Not my will, but thine be done", and mean it from the bottom of a broken heart.

True humility sees who we are and more importantly who we are not. God spoke some very harsh words to Job when he questioned Him in the midst of his tragedy. I don't know what you are going through today, but the Bible says that "the Lord answered Job out of the storm". (Job 38: 1) Perhaps He will answer you out of your own personal storm, as He did me. Take some time to read Job, chapters 38-42 today. Hear the word of the Lord. Take notice of Job's response and the end of the matter.

Up until now, I thought that I knew the meaning of humility. I was blind, but now I see. I see so clearly the smallness of my greatness. God was right. I didn't have a clue.     

All my love,
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