Tag Archives: journey

1 Chronicles 11-13; John 9:1-23

As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” Having said these things, he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man’s eyes with the mud and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing. John 9:1-7

I have been blessed to have witnessed and been a part of a host of miraculous healings, both in the United States and in India. Some of them were observable healings, like large, visible tumors shrinking to nothing, blinded eyes clearing, the lengthening of limbs to heal lopsided gaits, and restoration of life in dying bodies. Some of the healings were physical, yet internal, later confirmed by doctors, like cancer vanishing, clots melting back into the blood stream, heart failure reversing, and women considered barren baring children. Some of them were psychological healings, certified over time, like people with mental disorders returning to their families fully functional and others given freedom from demonic possession.

It is amazing when a miracle occurs, when a life is restored to normal functioning, or sometimes even better. And, it is an honor to be used by my heavenly Father as an instrument in several of these testimonies.

I will admit, when I am asked to pray for people, I often wonder what their back stories are. What happened in their lives to bring them to this point? Is their problem a consequence for sin in their lives? Is it a result of holding onto unforgiveness? Or is it an opportunity for them (and me) to press into God?

The story of the man blind from birth helps me remember that ultimately the circumstances are less important than the demonstration of God’s glory. God desires to show Himself to the world in every way that He can and will use all situations to reach hearts. And, what I have been learning throughout the past few years is that God is able to reveal who He is whether what we call a miracle happens or not. God uses everything that happens in our lives to draw us closer to Him.

One testimony of this is of my Aunt Lynn. Around five years ago, my aunt was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer; her prognosis was grim. After fighting the disease, through prayer and chemo and radiation, she succumbed a week after the birth of my first born. Her life was a miracle and a testament to God’s goodness, despite the fact that she was not healed on this side of heaven.

During this trial, rather than asking ‘why’, she focused her trust on God. She pressed into Him for peace, for grace, for strength. She drew closer to Him, nestling her head in the comfort and safety of His arms. She showed the world around her the righteousness of God and how truly beautiful relationship with Christ can be when we rely on Him. God was displayed through her experience.

Yesappa , Thank You for Your healing power and Your goodness to Your children. Thank you for the miracles that You do on earth as it is in heaven. Thank You for using the circumstances that the enemy has meant for evil, to accomplish Your purposes. Thank You for drawing me close to You during trials and holding onto me in the midst of less than pleasant circumstances. Thank You for showing me how beautiful you are and for helping me show the world Your face. In Jesus name. Amen.

 

Blessings – Julie (writing from Sholavandan)

 

This is a song that my Aunt sang before her death. Though this version is not her performance, the song speaks to my heart about God’s goodness and how I can show His beauty to the world.

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Filed under 1 Chronicles, 66 Books, ESV Through the Bible in a Year, John, New Testament, Old Testament

Deuteronomy 1; Psalms 81, 82; Isaiah 29; 3 John 1

The Lord says:

“These people worship me with their mouths,

and honor me with their lips,

but their hearts are far from me.

Their worship is based on

nothing but human rules.

So I will continue to amaze these people

by doing more and more miracles.

Their wise men will lose their wisdom;

their wise men will not be able to understand.” Isaiah 29:13-14 (NCV)

Their worship is based on nothing but human rules. (NCV)

They act like they’re worshiping me but don’t mean it. (MSG)

Their worship of me is nothing but man-made rules learned by rote. (NLT)

Their fear and reverence for Me are a commandment of men that is learned by repetition [without any thought as to the meaning]. (AMP)

Their ‘fear of me’ is just a mitzvah – [a good deed performed out of religious duty] – of human origin. (CJB)

Their religion is nothing but human rules and traditions, which they have simply memorized. (GNT)

Their worship of Me consists of man-made traditions learned by rote; it is a meaningless sham. (VOICE)

I recently had a conversation with a friend of the family about faith. He told me that he hates religion. Being a nonbeliever, I think he was trying to bait me, hoping I would get offended by his comments, so he could prove that Christians (or at least me) are hypocrites.

My response: I hate religion too. (I think he was a little shocked, never expecting such words to come from the mouth of a missionary).

To make myself clear…I LOVE Jesus. Being in relationship with a Heavenly Father, a Holy Trinity who loves me with an everlasting love is life-altering. My faith in Him gives me the ability to have compassion for the people society has rejected deeming them unworthy with no more value than heaped trash. My belief in Him has allowed me to witness miraculous transformations and partake in the changing of lives, of destinies.

I decided at the beginning of my journey with God that it could never be about “Christianese” and being holier-than-thou. I want ‘real’ and ‘relevant’ instead of artificial rituals. I need the Word of God to come alive, not just be lifeless sentences in an ancient book. I desire a five senses, experiential knowledge of the Savior who gave His life for me. I crave relationship over religiosity, freedom opposed to a ball-and-chain.

If I am going to follow Jesus it has to be a full-on commitment rooted in Him, one where He is seamlessly integrated into my life from morning to night: When I sit. When I walk. When I push my daughters on swings or run to stop my oldest from running into the street. When I lie down. When I rise. When I am bleary eyed and exhausted. When I am washing dishes and folding mounds of laundry. When life is a cake walk. And, when it is a scary, chaotic mess.

My commitment to worship my King originates from my heart, from the created to the Creator. It is initiated by love and longing, not by unattainable rules created by fear, overcomplicated regulations created by man to foster guilt and condemnation.

And so, I choose to worship with adoration Father, who offers me an easy yoke and a light burden. I choose to worship with reverence Son, who beckons me to come and grants rest. I choose to worship with devotion Holy Spirit who gives helps me and produces the fruits of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control in my life. (Matthew 11:28-30; John 14:16-17; Galatians 5:22-23).

Yesappa, help me to never turn to rules and regulations, to traditions instead of to You. Help my worship be true, and worthy of Your Glory. Help my heart stay close to Yours; write my name on Your palm and mark me with Your seal upon my forehead. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Blessings – Julie, Vadipatti, India (written in the U.S.A.)

Scripture taken from the New Century Version®. Copyright © 2005 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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Filed under 3 John, 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Deuteronomy, Isaiah, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament, Old Testament, Psalms

Deuteronomy 3; Psalm 85; Isaiah 31; Revelation 1

Reading this week’s passages has essentially taken me on a journey.  It’s a journey that all of us are on in varying degrees at different points in our lives and a journey that will continue until the end of our days here on earth. 

We start the journey with where we are…the here and now.  One of the overarching themes of the book of Deuteronomy is about preparation for a future they will have one day outside the wilderness.  It’s physical training for what lies ahead.  They were being guided by the law with a few years of experience and God had them where they were so they could be prepared for what was next.  All things and all circumstances are divinely aligned for the completion of God’s will on humanity.  Where I am today is purposefully woven into the fabric of my future.

The journey then moves to Psalm 85 that pleads for mercy, peace and salvation.  It wants more and calls forth a life better than the here and now. 

 4 Restore us, O God of our salvation,
         And cause Your anger toward us to cease.
 5 Will You be angry with us forever?
         Will You prolong Your anger to all generations?
 6 Will You not revive us again,
         That Your people may rejoice in You?
 7 Show us Your mercy, LORD,
         And grant us Your salvation.

I find this plea in my own heart often times in a crisis of belief that begs my conscience to ask why.  Why am I stuck in this circumstance?  Why can’t I move forward and grow?  Where is the fire in my gut that is promised in your Word?

The (my) journey then slides eloquently into Isaiah 31.  Reading this passage almost feels like the response to the plea sent out in Psalm 85.  It provides the method to attain the true pursuit of who God is.  It provides the avenue and the tool to live engaged in a life transformed by the pursuit of the God of the universe.  Boiled down to its essence…doing anything but looking to the Lord is but folly.

 1 Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help,
      And rely on horses,
      Who trust in chariots because they are many,
      And in horsemen because they are very strong,
      But who do not look to the Holy One of Israel,
      Nor seek the LORD!
       2 Yet He also is wise and will bring disaster,
      And will not call back His words,
      But will arise against the house of evildoers,
      And against the help of those who work iniquity.
       3 Now the Egyptians are men, and not God;
      And their horses are flesh, and not spirit.
      When the LORD stretches out His hand,
      Both he who helps will fall,
      And he who is helped will fall down;
      They all will perish together.

When my trust falls to a substitute savior, salvation never comes.  But focusing my heart, mind, soul & strength on the true Savior of my life provides the road to Glory.

We then reach the end of this journey as we enter the book of Revelation.  We see the culmination of the journey as we look back with Christ at all we’ve been through and all we have become.  We reach the finish line and stand face to face with the Savior that was with us all along the journey.  We “see” like we had never seen before.

I feel like I’ve been through this journey many times throughout my life in so many different ways.  Times when I’ve recognized my current situation, pleaded for help to get out of it, received wisdom to navigate through it and finally arriving on the other side victorious by the grace of God.

This then begs the question…what specific journey am I on right now?

~chefdave11

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