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The Doctor Is In

7 Jan

One day, Emma felt terribly ill, so she was glad her doctor was in. The doctor checked her out, prescriptions_orangepills_dmwilson_lolwithgodsmiled, and then left the room.

A few minutes later, the doctor’s assistant returned with three bottles of pills. Emma looked surprised.

“You need to take the green pill with a big glass of water when you first wake up,” the medical assistant said. “Then take the yellow pill with water after lunch. And right before you head to bed, take the orange pill with another glass of water.”

Emma, suddenly overcome with fear, blurted out, “This is terrible! What’s wrong with me? Why do I have to take so much medicine?”

“Oh, it’s not about the meds,” the assistant said. “You’re just not drinking enough water!”

LOL!

Sometimes the simplest solutions are best, but we miss them. So we get a lot of “prescriptions” that are likely unnecessary.

[Don’t misunderstand me. I am all for medical prescriptions that are needed, often crucial. But some healing doesn’t require “meds” at all. Spiritually speaking, there might be something else we’re missing.]

God, our Great Physician, hears our hurts and HE is the best prescription for our “heart needs.”

We may clamor for other “prescriptions.” We may think we need something from God. But the truth is, we need God Himself.

Jesus said, “apart from me, you can do nothing” (John 15:5).

But He also said, “You refuse to come to me” (John 5:40). (Foolish, right?)

That second scripture is true of lost humanity that rejects Christ. But in one sense, it’s also true for the believer.

We scurry around looking for other solutions in our times of need. Sometimes we even make good things—our church, our Bibles, our ministry—little gods in our lives, hoping they can solve our issues.

We only come running to the Lord when all else fails us. We’re so slow to learn.

John 15:5 is changing my life. I keep telling myself, over and over, “Remember: without Jesus, you can’t do anything!”

I know in my heart this is true for all of us.

Even our goodness, apart from Jesus, is like filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6a).

Our best efforts are futile because they won’t last; nothing is eternal that is not connected to Him (1 John 2:17; 2 Peter 3:10-12).

John Piper shared the example of a paralyzed man who could do nothing for himself but talk. But a strong and reliable friend came to live with the man and help him. The paralyzed man had nothing but praise for this caring friend.

That is how I must see my state.

I can do nothing apart from the grace of God. But who can tell what I might do IN His grace?

I can only bear fruit in my life and ministry when I come to God in prayer in my time of need (Hebrews 4:16) and rest in my position in Christ.* And when I do, this glorifies the Father (John 15:7-8). And my heart fills with praise to Him.

The Doctor is in, but we must come to Him.

Is there any area of your life where you’re still trying to go it alone? Do you need a “come to the Doctor” moment?

* Some of the scriptures that tell the believer what it’s like to be “in Christ” – Romans 8:1-2; Ephesians 1:3; 2:6; Colossians 1:13; 3:1, 3; Philippians 4:13.

Also: see my Heart Choices Today post about being “in Christ.”

~ Dawn

 

 

 

How Can We Be Perfect?

8 Nov

I love these “perfect” one-liners:ImPerfekt_Not

  • “No one is perfect – that’s why pencils have erasers.”
  • “I’m a nobody. Nobody is perfect. Therefore, I’m perfect.”
  • “To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change OFTEN!” – Winston Churchill

I was thinking about Matthew 5:48, which tells us to be “perfect.”

Is that ever possible in this world?

Pastor Daniel Harrell wrote about his efforts – along with 19 members of his congregation – to spend 30 days “living Levitically.” He describes, in How to Be Perfect, their experiment to understand some of the biblical commands in the book of Leviticus. How would Jesus have obeyed this book? How can we, like our Lord, live perfectly for the Father?

Their ultimate goal was holiness, but in the process, they discovered their “overwhelming need for God’s grace” in order to obey the book’s precepts.

Paul said, in Galatians 3:24, the law was meant to be a guardian, watching over us until the Messiah came. (Some scholars say the word is “school master” or “tutor,” but too many envision a tutor-taskmaster with a big stick, trying to keep someone in line! The clearer translation of the word paidagógos is guardian or trainer.) In the ancient world, a legally-appointed paidagógos took care of a wealthy family’s children (until the children matured), guiding them toward maturity and helping them make wise moral choices.

Paul was saying the law was given to protect us until the Messiah would come to justify us by faith. Another function of the law was to show sinners their dreadful condition without the Savior. No one can keep the law well enough to be right with God (Galatians 3:11; Romans 3:10-12).

But it’s important to remember: The law was meant to be a servant, not a cruel taskmaster.

So the scriptures teach us, the law was put in charge of us to lead us to Christ. The Holy Spirit used the law to convict sinners and illustrate the need for Redeemer and the mercy of God. But after faith in Jesus comes – when we receive Him as our Savior and Lord – we are no longer in need of this special “guardian” (Galatians 3:25-26).

Harrell wrote: “… The Levitical month ended up not being about our ability to obey enough, but about our ability to trust God enough to live the life He’s determined to be the best life to live.”

How do we live a life “set apart” to God so it shows up every day? What in our lives points people to the Lord?

It is Christ in His resurrection power living in us, not the power of the law, that makes the difference (Galatians 2:19-20).

The conclusion of Harold’s book?

“By His grace we are saved. By His grace we obey. It’s the only way to be perfect.”

Being perfect is all about God’s grace. It’s about his gracious work in us …

  • giving us a Savior,
  • changing our hearts,
  • encouraging us to live righteous lives, and ultimately,
  • making us like His Son in Heaven.

Are you resting in the wonderful grace of God today? It’s the only way to become “perfect.”

– Dawn

God’s ‘Leftovers’ are Makeovers!

9 May

Three wives were bemoaning their husbands’ attitudes towards leftovers:StillLeftovers

“It gets rough,” one said. “My husband is a movie producer and he calls them reruns.”

“You think you have it bad,” was the reply. “Mine is a quality control engineer and he calls them rejects!”

“That’s nothing compared to me,” said the third lady. “My husband is a mortician. He calls them remains!” *

Much has been written about not serving God the leftovers in our lives when He desires our best. I like – OK, truth be known, I was convicted by – what Francis Chan wrote in “Serving Leftovers to a Holy God.”

“God gets a scrap or two only because we feel guilty giving Him nothing … Leftovers are not merely inadequate; from God’s point of view (and lest we forget, His is the only one that matters), they’re evil.”

But that’s not what this post is about. One night, my husband Bob and I discussed this question: Does God have any leftovers?

A New Testament miracle came to mind. Jesus ministered to people whether their need was for truth, healing or food. Mixed within the multitude of people who followed Jesus were some who came because of His message and miracles, but most came simply for the meals. When they didn’t understand His message or the source of power behind His miracles, they still knew they could count on some chow. The Bread of Life provided well.

At least in one case (John 6:12-13, the feeding of the 5,000), there were “fragments” of food – 12 baskets full – that remained after the mass feeding. After the disciples saw Jesus turn the two barley loaves and fish into dinner for a crowd, they heard him say, “… gather up the fragments that remain, so that nothing is lost.” I’ve always wondered about those leftovers.

ChristBlessingTheFiveLoaves_2

“Christ Blessing the Five Loaves,” a print at Holy Transfiguration Monastery

The multitude may not have felt the 12 baskets of “fragments” were that important, but apparently Jesus did. Perhaps they represented God’s blessings. Maybe they represented the Father’s good grace.

Sometimes I’m guilty of considering only the big evidences of God’s work in my life as important, but the truth is, even the small blessings can point me back to the goodness and grace of God. Without Him, I can do nothing. He gives me strength; He is my Provider, my Sustainer.

So I try to gather up all these little fragments of blessing in my life and remember them, especially for the tough times. I believe there are no “worthless leftovers” in God’s plan.

God redeems everything in the believer’s life; He makes or will make all things new (2 Corinthians 5:17; Revelation 21:5). So instead of complaining or wallowing in discouragement when facing life’s trials and problems, I can choose to rejoice and count (rehearse) my blessings. I pick up all my “fragments” and praise Him for the work He’s about to do.

Consider some of the Bible’s lowly “leftovers”:

  • The lowly slave boy, Joseph, became Egypt’s second in command. (He not only collected the small fragments of his life and trusted God, he showed the Egyptians how to survive in famine – Genesis 47:13-31.)
  • God chose a lowly shepherd boy to be Israel’s king.
  • Jesus  chose 12 simple men to be His disciples.

So don’t get discouraged if you feel like a “leftover” in the Kingdom of God. Instead, meditate on 1 Corinthians 1:27-29:

“But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.”

God chose me … an unworthy servant … to speak and write about His love and holiness to this generation; and knowing that God uses what others might reject encourages me to reach out with the Gospel. Sometimes He invites people to His banquet-table that others might never consider (Luke 14:15-24). Learn to see people from God’s perspective:  He transforms lowly leftovers into miraculous makeovers! In God’s economy, every “fragment” is precious.

How have you seen God radically change an area of your life? How is He transforming you for His glory?

* Cybersalt Digest, Issue #3934, 12-31-12

– Dawn

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