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Archive for July, 2010

Of Faith’s Foes

I read a quote on ‘faith’ today,
and trouble’s we are due;
it’s not so much to get us ‘round,
but more to get us through.

When trouble looms—impending doom
and no way out we see;
faith’s the guide that leads us through –
what each our steps should be.

‘Doubt’ the foe that blinds the eye
to faith’s impending light;
‘impatience’ then the driving foe
that keeps us in our night.

‘Normal’ the pervasive foe;
to discourage is its goal.
‘Who are you to trust in faith;
you’re just a ‘normal’ soul.’

What list of foes would be complete
without the dreadful . . . ‘fear’;
the constant sound, ‘He’ll not come through’
that’s ringing in our ear.

But faith’s illum’ning light still shines,
though foes may endless be;
to light our path when darkness reigns,
that His way we can see.

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When Jesus Passes By

Luke 18:35-40

“As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening. They told him, ‘Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.’
He called out, ‘Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!’
Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!’
Jesus stopped.”

It would be Jesus’ last healing miracle (other than restoring the ear that Peter cut off in the garden). Even as He is on His way to His own grueling death, He still cares enough to stop for this one.

There are those who know, as they sit in need, that Jesus is what they need. They go through life hoping He will pass by. The crowd has not helped; neither have the leaders. In spite of all, there they still sit . . . sure He is what they need—if He would just pass by—if He would just stop when He does.

Jesus did pass by. And because the man called out, because he would not stop calling out, Jesus stopped. Every time we hear the gospel, Jesus is passing by. The question is, will we just sit there or will we call out until He stops?

This man was convinced that Jesus could help him. He could have listened to the voices that were telling him to be quiet. He could have believed that Jesus did not care enough to help him. But he didn’t. He called out and wouldn’t quit calling.

It is interesting that when Jesus healed him, He said ‘your faith’ has healed you. I thought about that for days. Wasn’t it ‘Jesus’ faith’ that healed him? Was Jesus just trying to make him feel good? How can someone, sitting on the edge of ‘gone’, be credited with ‘faith’? Jesus had faith. At times the apostles had faith; but this blind beggar?

Within us all is a seed of faith—a seed that tells us that Jesus is what we need. This man had just enough of that seed left in him that he was not about to miss this opportunity. Jesus was passing by and he would not quit calling. And because he wouldn’t quit calling, Jesus stopped. May ‘our faith’ rise up as well, when Jesus passes by.

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Ex 17:8-11
The Amalekites came and attacked the Israelites at Rephidim. Moses said to Joshua, “Choose some of our men and go out to fight the Amalekites. Tomorrow I will stand on top of the hill with the staff of God in my hands.”
So Joshua fought the Amalekites as Moses had ordered, and Moses, Aaron and Hur went to the top of the hill. As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning.

This morning, Charles Stanley, at the close of his broadcasted message, issued a challenge for his congregation and his listening and viewing audience to join him in praying for our nation for 140 days. Like the nation of Israel, our nation is under attack. Are we as clear as they were on who our enemy is? On what the secret to our success is?

Joshua most likely chose men who knew how to fight, but their success was not based their ability alone. “As long as Moses held up his hands, the Israelites were winning, but whenever he lowered his hands, the Amalekites were winning.”

Moses praying alone would not have won the battle. Joshua’s fighting alone would not have won the battle. It took both fighting and praying. When both were being done they could physically see they were winning. When not, they could just as clearly see they were losing.

We need people in our government who will physically fight against the nonsense that is coming out of our current leaders. We need those who will pray that they might have good success.

But I believe there is a third element. In addition to the physical fighting and the spiritual praying is the spiritual fighting. It is different than the physical things we can do in our government. It is different than the praying we can do to God.

It is a spiritual fighting against our enemy. In our case, he is our real enemy. He is the one driving all the things that are trying to destroy us. The people are just the one’s he is using to accomplish it.

This happens to be true in our personal lives as well. We are frustrated that we do not see more answered prayers. We pray and pray and pray. I believe we must learn equally to fight and fight and fight. Whether for ourselves, others, or our nation, I believe this is true.

This is how Paul put it: “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms”.

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