Wednesday, January 25, 2012

If Jesus Was Involved in American Politics...

My sources tell me that this is a picture of Jesus healing a centurion's ear. But it looks like Jesus got fed up of "turning the other cheek" and decided to give some back.

Certainly that's how most of the American church reacts when they are exposed to anything they find offensive. Like the fact a Democrat is in the White House.  

Jesus Heals Today

If the gospels are true and Jesus arose from the dead, he also said that we could do greater works than he did when he was here.  Some of the works are great works of compassion-- feeding and healing millions more than He did through feeding programs, hospitals and through great effort and compassionate wisdom.

But Jesus hasn't stopped working.  He can, and does, heal today.

This doesn't mean that to see a doctor is a lack of faith.  Jesus is happy to have us help each other and use what knowledge and resources we have to help the needy.  But like the woman who saw many doctors and then came to Jesus, we will not be denied by Jesus.

Many who are ill, who have not obtained help by any-- go to Jesus.  He can and will heal.  He won't heal everyone, it is true.  Some of us need to continue in our weakness.  But others will be healed.

I had a terrible gallstone at one point, in which I would be in pain for hours, unable to get out of bed. I couldn't pay for a doctor. A group of healers prayed for me, and I was healed, the pain never returned.

A couple years later, I had another terrible pain.  I was told by a doctor friend to go immediately to the hospital.  They ended up taking out my appendix, which was on the verge of bursting.  Then they paid for all the bills because I was poor.

Then I had a severe hormone imbalance, causing diabetes and muscle atrophy and the inability to deal with stress.  I have prayed against it.  I have sought doctor's help.  I have struggled with many symptoms and severe depression because of it.  But it didn't go away.  Thanks to medication, it is reduced, but until I am healed from it (which may never happen in this life), I still deal with bad days.

Jesus worked in all these circumstances.  In the first he healed me, just as he did in days of old.  In the second, he used compassionate people to get me to the hospital and heal me and to have mercy on my inability to pay.  In the third, I was told, as Paul, "My strength is made perfect through weakness" and I had to live with the consequences.  But I receive daily grace to deal with it and to do Jesus' work despite it.

Jesus works in all circumstances, but we must ask and we must rely on Him, no matter what.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Outline of a Christian Existence

Gordon asked: "What is the ideal Christian life?"

Wow.  What a question.  Gordon never goes for the little ones, like the meaning of dispensationalism.   Anyway, here is my answer:

First of all, we have to know what you mean by a "Christian life". Do you mean a life in a church, do you mean a social Christian or do you mean a follower of Jesus? All of these have different requirements. 

Because you are asking me, and not a priest or an average religious religious person, I'm going to give you the follower of Jesus answer.

The "follower" of Jesus is one who acknowledges that Jesus is their King, even if he is King of no one else they know (even if others call themselves Christians). To have someone as a king, means that we give that person the respect of a king (worship), we obey that person when they give us laws or commands, and we rely on that person when we are in need of help. So, in general, the Christian life looks like this: Honoring Jesus, Obeying Jesus and Relying on Jesus.

Honoring is pretty much about giving the proper praise of the king. This can be done individually, in families or in community. It can be done through chanting, singing, praise, prayer or and number of other things. The Christian church has been wonderful about providing a variety of ways of honoring their Lord.

Relying on Jesus means we turn to Him when we are in trouble or in need of wisdom. This means we pray, we seek God, we rely on His provision and are grateful for His provision when it comes. Prayer and thanks.

The longest one is obedience, and this is the one that many Christians disagree about. Well, I guess they disagree about everything, but on the other two, the basics are agreed upon. Some Christians think that obedience doesn't come into it at all. They will tell you that you can ignore what Jesus said. Others will tell you that you need to listen to this teacher or this church authority. However, if Jesus and Jesus alone is our king, it is best to listen to him directly, if you have that opportunity.

So what is obedience to Jesus? Loving, of course. In fact, Jesus said, that if anyone tells you to not love in the name of the law, you have every right to disobey that law and to act out in love instead. 

We also need to be pure. This means not doing things that offend God, like sexual immorality or hate speech, or faithlessness.

We also need to be humble. This doesn't mean having a lowly frame of mind, but allowing ourselves to be humiliated by others or by taking on humiliating tasks, especially if they assist other people. It does not mean surrendering your possessions, but making sure you surrender them in a way that shows love for someone else. It doesn't mean punishing yourself, but allowing yourself to be punished if an authority insists upon it. 

In the end, obedience is following the principles of Jesus, which is following the same principles Jesus lived out himself.