Thursday, December 23, 2010

Painting Pictures of Egypt

The following is written by a good friend, Jennifer Hanson, who posted this note on her facebook page. I loved it so much, I asked her if I could re-post it here. Enjoy! (On a side note, Jennifer has received an assignment to go to Cambodia as a Missionary Associate. She is waiting to go until all the funds are raised. Please help me pray for her funds to be raised. If God stirs in your heart to give, please email me at

A few weeks ago a question popped into my head. I've been pondering it a lot in the weeks since, and then, last night, to my surprise, my mother asked me the very same question. I took this as a sign to write a few words about it ;-)

Why did the children of Israel still turn to idols again and again after they had witnessed so many miracles from God?

An entire sea was parted for them so they could walk across on dry land and at exactly the right time covered their enemies. They received food straight from heaven that was not like any food found on this earth. It could only be gathered one day at a time or it disappeared. Then there were all those plagues that completely bypassed them, but attacked the Egyptians. They had a protection of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. They saw people die from touching the ark of the covenant, people healed of leprosy, and the glory of the Lord on Moses' face when he would return from speaking to God.

But they still turned away. They still lusted after false idols. Why?

It's because the miracles aren't what it's really about. The miracles are meant to point to Him. When we lose sight of Him amongst His workings, then we start to become dissatisfied. We chase after other things to quench our thirst and satiate our hunger. How many times have I seen things that could only be explained by His power, and then I still doubt and worry the next time around? Miracles make us say "Wow! God is good!" in the moment, and they can serve to boost our faith... but it's so easy to forget in the days after.

In John 6, it talks about Jesus feeding the 5,000. In the verses after that story, the people kept trying to find Him, and force Him to be their king. Jesus knew this, and He was avoiding them. He even walked on the water to slip by them! They eventually found Him though, and He called them out. He told them that they weren't looking for Him because they saw God's power and compassion in miraculously feeding all of them. They were only looking for Him because they got some bread and ate their fill. Cool trick! They completely missed the point of the miracle. He told them that the true bread was Him. He said that His body that would be pierced for them contained the Bread of Life that would never stop satisfying. They didn't like this statement so much. They wanted more miracles. They wanted a king who would work some powerful, vengeful, magic and slaughter their enemies. Even some of Jesus' disciples (other than the 12) left Him after they heard this little sermon.

I believe that miracles happen all the time. I've seen too many things that can't be explained by anything else but a powerful God. I was born after 10 years of my parents hearing that they would never be able to have kids. My sister was born five years later. I've had people hand me large sums of money to go on missions trips hours before the fund raising deadline. My friend was recently in a car accident where he should have died, but he doesn't have a scratch on him. Just yesterday I met a perfect tiny little baby boy who belongs to a couple in low income housing, struggling to just get by. He was supposed to be born with a dangerous cist on his head. My sister prayed for him while he was still in the womb and he was born perfect. I've had God speak to me in dreams, I've had prayers answered exactly the way I prayed them, and I've had people pray over me and give me guidance from God about things and situations that they could have never known about on their own. I've been on missions trips where the presence of God fell so heavy I could hardly walk and when people gave their testimonies it was as though you could cut the anointing in the room with a knife. I've seen marriages restored, people healed, and even little things like money showing up when I'm at my very last dollar.

I have to remind myself though, that these things only point to the greater thing...the ability to have a relationship with the Great, Good, Loving, Compassionate, Merciful, All-Powerful, God who does them in His perfect wisdom. THAT is one miracle worth basing your faith on. That is the root of the Tree of Life. If I'm not connected to those roots, then I could still see all of those things I mentioned above, and then in the days after be blown away by the wind.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Have a Thankful Christmas!

I am sorry that I have not even blogged since Thanksgiving! As I sit here and think about that, it is giving me something to blog about! The calendar says that Thanksgiving is over and the hustle and bustle of Christmas preparation has begun. That's the problem! We cannot be like the calendar...Thanksgiving CANNOT be over; it has to go on into Christmas.

Too many people have a hard time receiving. How would you like it if you gave your child a gift at Christmas and the child started saying you didn't have to do it; or that he didn't like it, and he wanted something different? How would you feel if he started comparing what you gave him with what you gave his siblings? You would really feel crazy if he started telling you that he did not deserve the gift! Here's a better one--what if he went on and enjoyed the gift without even acknowledging it or saying a word to you?

That is what many of us do to God! He blesses us with so many gifts all year long. How often do we stop and tell Him "Thank You!"? Can you stop right now and think of something you haven't thanked God for and thank Him? And the comparison game? SO many "saints" are playing that one! We need to stop comparing what others have and allow God to use us in our unique, special gifts He has given us. He's the Master Creator! He knows what is best!

The problem doesn't stop with not thanking God. Many times God uses other people to bless us and we forget to thank them. Recently God put it on my heart to bless someone who is going through a hard financial trial. I did this a couple of times. To my recollection, I never received a "Thank You". Now, I really don't need it, but I believe the recipients of the gifts needed to give a "thank you" for their sake. That might be the key that actually helps them out of their pit. Phillipians 4:6-7 says, "Don't worry about anything, but in everything, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace that passes understanding will guard your heart and mind through Christ Jesus." (I added the italics for emphasis of the point.) It makes me wonder how many people I am doing that to. So now my challenge is to pray and ask God who you need to send a thank you note to! That's what I am going to do!

One time Jesus healed 10 men who were suffering with leprosy. (Luke 17) You would think that they would thank Jesus over and over, but only 1 came back to thank the Lord. Jesus acknowledged that only one of the 9 thanked Him. He then went on to tell that one that his faith had made him whole. The Greek word for "whole" is "sozo" which means healed spirit, soul and body. That means that not only was the man physically healed, he was also healed in his spirit and soul! His healing would last for eternity, while the others' only got the temporary physical healing. Wow!

This Christmas, have yourself a thankful little Christmas, and your heart will be light! :)