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Rescued (Ps. 82:3-4)

Perspective

perspective

Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

Dressed in a navy blue business suit with her auburn hair pulled back into a neat ponytail, she sat on the overstuffed sofa quietly fidgeting with her wedding ring.  She raised her head, her face was somber in response to the question.

“What brings you here today?”

She hesitated and looked down at her hands. “I am tired of running,” she answered.  

Discovery

Over the next two years, she spent hours sifting through events, perceptions, beliefs, and emotions. The work was hers, and the Lord’s. The catalyst for change? A catastrophic family event. The near-death of her oldest son. It was her wake-up call. Despite all the horrors, tragedies, and difficulties of past experiences, this event became the watershed for her transformation.

What began on a sunny Colorado afternoon and the weeks and months following was a period of exponential personal and spiritual growth. This traumatic event became the impetus for dramatic change. Not just for her personally, but her whole family. (2 Cor. 12:9 GW)

Followers of Christ remember another series of dramatic events of cataclysmic importance for us and all humanity’s past, present, and future. The crucifixion, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. What watershed event brought you to a place where you realized you needed to stop running? Where you were face-to-face with the Heavenly Counselor, looked into His eyes, and confessed all the horrors, tragedies, and difficulties? Can you recall the invaluable and irreversible act of His mercy and grace? The pinnacle of cost of a loving Father—offering His only Son and His acceptance of your repentance. (Mark 14:1–15:47 GW) Look back at that moment. The moment, in utter desperation, you stopped running.

Choices

Like the mother who proclaimed her freedom in Christ, we have an opportunity to look on the face of our Savior and choose Him. However, will we turn from our ways and believe in the One who came to take away the sins of the world? Will we stop running. If we are a follower, recall the chasm He bridged so we can, through the power of the Spirit, experience exponential growth and transformation as He conforms us to the image of His Son. (Romans 8:29-30 NIV).

Can we proclaim with the boldness and conviction, as the mother of the son in a coma, stated, “I am no longer the person you met, through this event He has changed me forever.” The hand of God changed her, transformed her, her family, and restored her to Christ. And, the same God who miraculously healed her soul, and heart, healed her son that summer. (Ps. 3:3; 116:1; Rom. 8:32 ESV)

Reach out

Will you, like her, reach out and touch the hand of the Lord and walk away from your chains today? Will you? He will be there to walk alongside regardless of the circumstances. Once you have seen yourself in His eyes, you cannot then forget who you were and how He has changed you. (James 1:22-25 ESV)

Glory to Him in the Highest. (Psalm 145, 148 NASB)

“Defend weak people and orphans.
Protect the rights of the oppressed and the poor.
Rescue weak and needy people.
Help them escape the power of wicked people.”

Ps. 82.3-4 (GW)

Finding Wisdom – 寻找智慧 (Jas. 1:5-6) (雅各书 1:1-5 CCB)

Wisdom – 智慧

wisdom

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

The ambulance sped along the cobblestone streets, its sirens blaring. The young Air Force medic was bouncing in the small jump-seat while trying to keep himself seated as the ambulance turned the corner. He looked nervously at the radio in his hand and then back at the woman on the gurney. Her face was flushed and sweaty. Her breathing was labored. She sat up in the gurney with the light sheet covering her large midsection. She was full-term and in active labor. Her water had broken, and contractions were about a minute apart.

She looked at him, a mere 19 years old, for assurance. He smiled and looked at his watch. They were only 7 minutes from the Air Force Hospital in Wiesbaden, Germany. He was concerned and even more than slightly anxious about the reality of not arriving timely. Then the contractions resumed. His suspicions confirmed, she was crowning, and he knew they would not make the hospital. At least not before delivering the baby. Reaching for the internal intercom, he told the driver to pull over and radio the hospital. He looked back at her and smiled reassuringly. After that, her husband leaned in as he prepared for the delivery and asked about his experience. He looked at him with a smile and assured him all would be fine. What he did not tell him was this was his first delivery.

Qualifications

However, there are times or events where you realize you are not prepared. You feel you could use more insight or additional wisdom on how to act or deal with the crisis, decision, event, or issue. Do you ever think God should pick someone more qualified for the immediate job at hand? Pick someone more skilled in your estimation. For example, there were times, in my life, as I am sure there have been times in yours, you believed God and stepped out, somewhat half-heartedly. Why? Because we understood the risk of what we felt God asked us to do and concluded this could end in an epic fail.

Not that God would fail, but we would. We would embarrass ourselves believing God called, but in reality, it was our own decision, or discredit God because of our inability or just messed it up. But that perspective is based on an inward focus. We are not looking to Him but ourselves. We do not focus on God’s strength but our human frailty or limitations. Instead of trusting in God’s wisdom and his Word, we listen to the enemy and hesitate. Maybe it is a real obstacle or limitation. Ask Him for wisdom, and he gives generously. (Jas. 1.5) So, if we want to walk on water, we need only fix our eyes on Jesus, and he will bid us come. (Matt. 14.29)

Participation

God has formed us and gifted us with natural abilities, (Ps. 139.13) and the Holy Spirit has gifted us specifically for participating in the body of Christ. (1 Cor. 12; 1 Pet. 4.7) Certainly, God does not choose his vessel for His purpose based upon the world’s criteria. (1 Cor. 1.27, 4.10; 2 Cor. 12.10) He has called you to the task, maybe from off the bench. Trust God. Do not doubt. Because, His Word promises He will give wisdom generously to all who ask without finding fault. He called you to a task and will provide you with the needed resources. The key? God. Because, It’s not about us. Above all, it’s always about Him and his redemptive purpose. (Gal. 3.13, 4.5; Rom. 8.29)

Just like the 19-year old faced with delivering a baby, you have to participate regardless of what you believe about your ability or circumstances. Seek wisdom and understanding. Watch Him work. He’s got this. Trust Him.  

“But if any of you lacks wisdom, you should pray to God, who will give it to you; because God gives generously and graciously to all.  But when you pray, you must believe and not doubt at all.” (Jas. 1:5-6 GNT)

Jas. 1.5-6 (GNT)

 我是做上帝和主耶稣基督奴仆的雅各,问候散居各地的十二支派的人。

信心和忍耐

我的弟兄姊妹,当你们遭遇各种磨炼的时候,都要认为是喜乐的事。 要知道你们的信心经过考验会产生坚忍。 你们要坚忍到底,使你们纯全、完备、毫无缺欠。

如果你们谁缺少智慧,就当求慷慨施恩、不责备人的上帝,上帝必赐给他智慧。

雅各书 1:1-5 (CCB)




罗马书 5.1-5 (CCB) – Romans 5.1-5 (NIV) – Roma 5.1-5 (ASND) – Reconciled

Reconciliation – 和解

reconciliation

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Have you experienced true reconciliation? That time when you see forgiveness extended in the eyes of another? When you extended forgiveness to someone else? Have you felt the release of stored-up emotion and the change? Profound tears abound on both sides. And in some cases, on the opposite side of an empty chair.

Whether it be with an elderly parent and an adult child, an adult and another family member, spouses, siblings, or another traumatic life event, it’s transformative. The culmination of hard work in counseling, especially for the person holding on to the past, the pain, you name the emotion or event.

Lions

It’s emotional and challenging work to move to a place of a balanced perspective. It takes some people longer than others. It includes validating facts, feelings, and the reality of the event. It’s not about forgetting or ignoring but facing it head-on. As one person described it as “facing a roaring lion behind the door they held shut, believing to let it out would devour them.” In reality it wasn’t the roaring lion they perceived, and it didn’t devour them as they believed it would. But that’s our effort, and it’s good. However, God has a way of moving in the middle of all that. Because it’s not about our work, albeit it occurs, it’s about His work in and through us.

Have you faced your lion head-on and embraced it? Have you experienced the change? Can you exclaim as others have? “I am the beautiful person that He designed despite those events.” Experienced-reconciliation, forgiveness, or restoration. How? Especially when the person who was injured has long passed?

Choices

Without minimizing the injury or the fact of the event, we choose. It’s simple but a hard choice. To just let it go and lay the demand at the foot of the cross. Not an easy decision, one many avoid for years, for decades, and for some nearly their entire life.

But they did. The work and struggles were real and hard fought. They changed. A heart metamorphosis. The pouring out of God’s love in their hearts or in the hearts of others. Hearts, the Spirit softened and transformed into lives that rippled out into every other relationship. It changed not only them, but others. Those they knew and those they met.

He transformed them. He can, and will transform you.

“Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” – (Rom. 5.1-5)

我们既然因信而被称为义人,就借着我们的主耶稣基督与上帝和好了。 我们又靠着祂,借着信进入现在所站的这恩典中,欢欢喜喜地盼望分享上帝的荣耀。 不但如此,我们在苦难中也欢喜,因为知道苦难使人生忍耐, 忍耐生品格,品格生盼望。 这种盼望不会落空,因为上帝的爱借着所赐给我们的圣灵已倾注在我们心中。

罗马书 5:1-5 (CCB)

Kaya ngayong itinuturing na tayong matuwid dahil sa pananampalataya natin sa ating Panginoong Jesu-Cristo, mayroon na tayong magandang relasyon sa Dios. Sa pamamagitan ni Jesus at dahil sa ating pananampalataya, tinatamasa natin ngayon ang biyaya ng Dios at nagagalak tayo dahil sa ating pag-asa na makakabahagi tayo sa kadakilaan ng Dios. At nagagalak din tayo kahit na dumaranas tayo ng mga paghihirap, dahil natututo tayong magtiis. Alam natin na ang pagtitiis ay nagpapabuti sa ating pagkatao.[a] At kung mabuti ang ating pagkatao,[b] may pag-asa tayo na makakabahagi tayo sa kadakilaan ng DiosAt hindi tayo mabibigo sa ating pag-asa dahil ipinadama ng Dios sa atin ang kanyang pagmamahal sa pamamagitan ng Banal na Espiritu na ibinigay niya sa atin.

Roma 5.1-5 (ASND)

Accept the gift.

Then, give it away and watch the ripple.

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