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Archive for June, 2009

On Account of Him

 

John 12:9-11

 

9 Meanwhile a large crowd of Jews found out that Jesus was there and came, not only because of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. 10 So the chief priests made plans to kill Lazarus as well, 11 for on account of him many of the Jews were going over to Jesus and putting their faith in him.

NIV

 

When I first read this passage, “on account of him” seemed to stand out like it was in bold print with light shining on it.  As soon as I saw it, I thought in relation to myself, ‘on account of me’ are people going over to Jesus?  I thought of others asking the same question of themselves.

 

I tried to write my thoughts about this for a couple of weeks, but it never seemed right.  I think now I know why.  Little did I know when I first had this thought of Lazarus dying that my youngest brother was about to have a similar dying experience.  Though his lasted minutes instead of days, still the effect was the same.

 

As with Lazarus, Jesus could have shown up and prevented all that happened.  Instead, He allowed the brush with death but saw to it that it did not ‘end in death’.  Had my brother not been in just the right place a couple of times, it could have been more than just a brush.

 

Because of the way everything happened, I know that he and his wife had the definite sense that God was with them and that He must have a plan and purpose for their lives.  I could not help but to think that like with Lazarus, on account of them, many could go over to Jesus and put their faith in Him.

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One Habit is Needed

 

John 12:1 – 8

 

As I read this story, I was reminded of a similar occasion found in Luke 10:38 – 42, when Jesus was in the home of Martha, and again, Mary and Lazarus were there.  In both settings, Martha is ‘distracted by all the preparations that had to be made’; Lazarus is likely ‘among those reclining at the table with Jesus’, and Mary is ‘at the Lord’s feet’.  In both settings we have those who are distracted from Him by all their duties for Him, those who are content to be in the vicinity of Him, and those who press through to Him.

 

There are a couple of things about this that have struck me.  One is the aspect of habits.  All are doing the same thing in the latter setting as they did in the prior.  Though in the prior, Martha rebukes Mary for not helping her, still in the latter setting, Mary is not helping her.  Mary has established a habit.  Similarly, and maybe a little more thought provoking is with Martha.  Though she is rebuked by Jesus Himself, still she is doing in the latter the same thing she did in the prior—again, habit.

 

In fairness to Martha, I have to point out that Jesus does not rebuke her for being the type of person she is, (obviously a type ‘A’ list-maker) but that she has allowed her list to distract from the fact that ‘only one thing is needed’.  Type ‘A’s are necessary.  My wife and I both are type ‘A’.  If Martha was like Mary, they might not have the house they were meeting in and would likely have been eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  God needs type ‘A’s; He just needs us to be properly focused.

 

The other thing that I take from these stories—from the examples of one who was distracted, one who was content, and one who pressed through—is that there are people in life that influence us in similar ways.  There are many who distract us from God.  There are some who lead us to the vicinity of God.  But rare are those who clear the way to God.

 

Let us not miss the one thing that is needed.  Let us not be distracted from God that we would not be a distraction to others.  Let us not settle for just being in the vicinity of God, making it easier for others to settle as well.  Rather, let us press through to God Himself and perhaps clear a path and lead the way for others to do the same.

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In most cases we don’t like bumps.  We prefer things to be smooth.  But with heart monitors, bumps are good.  A couple of nights ago, I sat watching the monitor that was hooked to my youngest brother.  Knowing that in the past 2 days the bumps had gone away twice, I was hoping I wouldn’t see it happen again. 

 

A week earlier he was in perfect health.  But for some unknown reason, at any given time, his heart would decide to not fire.  We were hours away from a surgery that would fix the problem, but until then he was dependent on the staff getting to him fast enough when one of these failures would occur.  Needless to say, family helped keep watch.  It had a good ending.

 

Usually we think of bumps as God’s way of getting our attention.  In this particular situation, it was the absence of bumps—a flat line—that got it.  We get along well, but we have let differences of opinion keep us from getting along even better.  In general, I have a narrower view toward life; he, a broader one.  

 

I noticed something about the differences . . . when it gets right down to living or dying, the narrower views get a little broader and the broader views get a little narrower.  In the middle is a pure love. 

 

Without a doubt, we have been affected by the experience.  I hope for both our sakes, and for the sake of others, the effect lasts beyond the immediate future.

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God’s Consuming Fire

 

We think we are clean till fire is applied.

It magnifies all that hasn’t died.

It burns away sin throughout our test;

it’s His require before His best.

 

We’re used to His patience, His love and His grace,

but in the fire He hides His face.

Instead of mercy, seems mean and cruel;

we’ve now come under a different rule.

 

His sights are set on what is best,

good no longer His aim;

He stokes and pokes and throws on the coal,

and increases both heat and flame.

 

Once the fire has burned away

all that had not died,

a flood of grace is ushered in

as He shows up at our side.

 

The fire still continues to burn

but not to cleanse our sin;

where once it was there to burn away,

now it burns Him in.

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A friend has passed and now he knows;

he sees the other side.

He wishes now that you could see;

will you let him now confide?

 

Before your time to leave this earth,

while yet you still remain;

I beg of you to catch a glimpse

of eternity’s domain.

 

Do you believe in heaven and hell?

I mean really—do you believe?

I see the splendor round the throne;

that hell has no reprieve;

 

the streets of gold that some will walk;

the fire that never dies;

in one the tears will be no more,

the other endless cries.

 

Please for your sake I beg of you,

give thought to what I’ve seen.

Don’t wait as I until your here

because of earthly dreams.

 

They don’t compare to what’s in store

and none are worth your soul;

please for your sake I beg of you,

yield more to God’s control.

 

You still have time to change your course

as long as you remain,

but first you have to catch a glimpse

of eternity’s domain.

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