Saturday, March 17, 2018

This Is Why

Are you struggling with something right now? Maybe it's an illness or a physical disability. Do you think Jesus actually cares? I'm sure He does. But do you think his main interest is in healing you? You might be surprised by the answer to that question.

On my way home from work one night this week I was listening to the keynote speech from the 2013 National Religious Broadcasters Convention. It was given by Joni Eareckson Tada - a Christian author, speaker, radio host . . . and quadriplegic.

She spoke about what it was like when, as a 13-year-old, she dove into a t00-shallow portion of Chesapeake Bay and severed her spinal cord between the fourth and fifth vertebrae. During her therapy, and subsequent decades of paralysis, she experienced anger, depression and suicidal thoughts and religious doubts. Understandable.

She prayed yet it seemed as if her prayers went unanswered. She began to question her faith. But God had something in mind for her BECAUSE of her paralysis. He wanted to use her to inspire others and she has done just that.

As I listened to her speaking she caused me to hear a Bible story from a totally new perspective - that of a paralytic. The Book of Mark.

"32 That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed. 33 The whole town gathered at the door, 34 and Jesus healed many who had various diseases. He also drove out many demons, but he would not let the demons speak because they knew who he was.

35 Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went off to a solitary place, where he prayed. 36 Simon and his companions went to look for him, 37 and when they found him, they exclaimed: “Everyone is looking for you!”

Why was everyone looking for Jesus? Well, it was because He was healing them. Wouldn't you bring a sick or dying relative to someone who could heal them? Of course!

But Jesus did something unexpected. He refused to heal any more. He left town. He left the sick and hurting and crippled in their infermeties.

Then came the verse that changed Joni's outlook on her paralyzed life.

"38 Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.” - Mark 1:38

He came to preach the good news. The healing was more of a way to get people to listen to the gospel. Jesus knew His time was short. He had to be about His Father's business.

The reason He didn't heal all of those who wanted to be cured or made whole was that, if they received the Gospel, if they believed in Him, they would be getting brand new glorified bodies in heaven. For all eternity. Why spend time healing Earth's failing physical bodies when He could offer someone the opportunity of eternal life with perfect bodies . . .    forever.

Which would YOU rather have?

Joni Eareckson Tada Speaks at The 2013 NRB Convention

Oh, and the photo at the top of the page . . . it was painted by Joni . . . with her mouth.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018


Each year in the spring my wife and I hire some people to come clean our windows. We really enjoy looking out the spotless windows. We don't like looking through dust, dirt and cob webs. That stuff spoils everything.

In the Book of John there is a story about Jesus restoring the sight of a man born blind. The Pharisees were upset because Jesus healed the blind man on the Sabbath and therefore must not be from God. The formerly blind man did not change his story however, proclaiming that Jesus WAS from God.

"30 The man answered, “Now that is remarkable! You don’t know where he comes from, yet he opened my eyes. 31 We know that God does not listen to sinners. He listens to the godly person who does his will. 32 Nobody has ever heard of opening the eyes of a man born blind. 33 If this man were not from God, he could do nothing.” - John 9:30-33

There are a few interesting things to remember in that passage of scripture. The first one is that God only hears the prayers of His children. Those of us who have not surrendered our hearts to God's will . . . will receive nothing.

The other piece of scripture worth noting here is that Jesus did indeed open his eyes. Does that mean that this man was born without sin? Well, it doesn't say THAT specifically that the man was not born blind BECAUSE of sin. But it DOES say WHY the man was born blind. Read verses 1-3.

"As he went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”
Neither this man nor his parents sinned, said Jesus, “but this happened so that the works of God might be displayed in him." - John 9:1-3

This blind man had his "windows cleaned" by God. So have all of us who believe in Him. And now that OUR eyes have been opened we can see clearly see the truth in God's word. We are no longer blind to the ways of this world. We are aliens here. But we are aliens with perfect eyesight. Clean windows.

22 “The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eyes are healthy, your whole body will be full of light. 23 But if your eyes are unhealthy, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!" - Matthew 6:22-23

"You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness." - 1 Thessalonians 5:5

We are children of The Light. Our eyes have been opened. Our windows cleaned. We need to keep them clean, and our hearts pure, by filtering what we allow to penetrate and find a home. We are to honor God in all things. If the things that come in through our "windows" are clean to begin with, the things that enter our minds and go out through our mouths will be as well.

Open Up Your Eyes - Jeremy Camp

Monday, March 12, 2018


The overarching theme from this past weekend seemed to be time. From days gone by to dreams and hope for the future. It all began Friday, experiencing tastes of past present and future. All at the same time.

My wife spent the day watching our granddaughter Emma. What better representation of hope for the future than a young child being held by her grandmother.

While my wife was doing that I was at a home show as part of a ministry group I'm in, offering "wholeness and hope for the future."

Saturday my wife and I traveled to Milwaukee to celebrate her dad's 91st birthday. All three of his daughters were there. Grandchildren were present as well. Then, while we were eating, an older grey-haired man kept walking by our table wearing a Pink Floyd tee shirt - probably a fan since his teens. Another representation of "time."

Then my wife and I met with a former pastor of mine to discuss future plans for a present ministry. Past, present and future all sitting at a table together.

Then, before we went to bed Saturday night, my wife and I set all of the clocks ahead an hour - a daylight savings time thing. It's more of a sleep deprivation thing if you ask me. Man thinking he can control time. Pfft.

Sunday morning my wife and I woke up, deprived of 60-minutes of our sleep. And why? Does it really matter? Then, as I dressed, I looked out the window. Our apple tree was shaking. Why? Because there was a partridge sitting in it, looking back at me.

My wife said, "I've never, ever seen that before and probably never will see it again. Yet another indicator of time.

We humans act like we are masters of time, yet we never seem to have enough of it. As I get ready to retire in three weeks the general perception is that I will have time to do whatever I want, but the vast majority of retirees say they are so busy they wonder how they ever got things done before they retired.

There is only one master of time and that is God. Time means nothing to Him.

"But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day." - 2 Peter 3:8

As we watch the news tonight we might find ourselves thinking about the past and how much better things were back then. We might also wonder about the future. Is there any hope in the future if the news of today is a representation of the present? Scary. Yet there IS hope.

There is tremendous hope for those who have placed their faith and trust in Jesus. God has promised that by doing that one thing we may have eternal life. Time will no longer matter to us. And if that is the case, and God cannot lie, then sign me up. Oh, wait. I already made my reservations. Have you?

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." - John 3:16

The future begins right now! Grab hold of it.

"The tolling of the iron bell, calls the faithful to their knees." - Pink Floyd

Time - Pink Floyd

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Pick Up Your Cross

"6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all." - Isaiah 53:6

That verse really bothers me. It bothers me because I am one of the straying sheep and it was my iniquity, partially, that nailed Jesus to the cross - dying - paying for MY sins with His very life.

Does that make you feel guilty at all? That someone died in your place so that you might live? It eats at me constantly. And what's REALLY frustrating is that no matter how hard I try, no matter what good deed I might do, it will never, EVER, be good enough to balance out the scales. I will never be able to pay Him back.

But that's just it. Jesus doesn't WANT to be paid back. He wants us to live. And to love.

Here's another verse that's been eating at me this week.

"24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me." - Matthew 16:24

What does He mean, "MY cross?" What IS my cross? I think we can figure out what our cross is by examining what HIS cross was. Yes, Jesus died on His cross but what did that cross represent?

Jesus was obedient to His Father. He asked that God "take this cup from me" yet He willing died  - following Hid Father's wishes. How do WE do that? Are we that obedient? No. Yet we have been commanded to be obedient.

I have heard people grudgingly say, "Well, that's my cross to bear." It's always about something they have been forced to do like "I lost my leg in the was. I guess it's my cross to bear."

I think what "pick up your cross" is supposed to mean is to sacrifice OUR lives for God. As Jesus said when He asked God to "take this cup from me", "Not MY will but YOURS." Sacrifice our sin-filled life for Jesus. We are to pick up OUR cross, sacrifice OUR lives, in submission to the Father.

What is God's will then, that we might walk in it and thereby please our Heavenly Father?


What's the first a greatest commandment according to Jesus?

"'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" - Luke 10:27

Love one another.

"As I have loved you, so you must love one another." - John 13:34

How do we demonstrate our love for God? 

If you love me, you will keep my commandments. - John14:15

I fail at that. I never seem to be able to follow ALL of God's commands. So what do we do?

We try. When we fail, repent. Then we try again. Jesus said follow me, not catch up to me and pass me. Let us follow God's example. Let us sacrifice our sinful lives for The One who sacrificed His. Not by our hanging on the cross but my following Him to that cross and laying everything down at His feet.

Jesus died once for all so that we might have life. Let us surrender our lives to Him, not ON a cross but AT the cross.

At The Cross - Chris Tomlin

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Who Done It?

What does a late 50's black and white television show about a private detective have to do with a 21st century example of a successful marriage? Plenty!

Before I give you the answer to that opening question I'd like you to read a portion of Ephesians 5 for me and keep it in mind as you continue to read.

"Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God. 21 Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ." - Ephesians 5:1-2 & 21

Some read those verses and think about a husband and wife submitting to one another in the bedroom. It goes much deeper than that. When I read that verse about submitting to one another it's about sacrifice. Sacrificing our personal desires for the sake of something bigger. Enter Peter Gunn.

When my wife and I eat dinner it is usually in the living room watching television. Television and I don't play well together. Most of the shows my wife watches I'd just as soon pass by. Cooking shows, Good Morning America, Hallmark movies - you get the picture.

One thing I have discovered though is this: My wife and I both enjoy a good mystery. That's one type of TV show we can sit down and watch together. This past fall we were watching Perry Mason. Now it's Peter Gunn. Before those shows it was Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Homes. See the pattern?

We have found something we like to do together and we do it. Intentionally. I personally would rather turn off he television while my wife would love to sit and watch The Sound of Music all night long. But we have found some common ground . . . in Peter Gunn.

The theme song for the show is now sung around the house - a reminder of us doing something . . . together. As relationships age people can sometimes grow apart. Successful marriages are those that find a way to stay together even though interests change. Often, by sacrificing and submitting to the other's desires, we can actually grow closer to one another. Pretty good advice from Paul!

How is your relationship with Jesus going? Is it thriving? Or are you and Jesus growing apart? If you are feeling distant from Him, take some steps to get closer. We are always the ones who stray, not Him. Relationships take work!

Do you like to read? Read the Bible! Do you like to sing? Sing hymns of praise! How high can your love for Jesus grow if you nurture it and feed it and water it and care for it? Well, how high is the moon?

How High The Moon - Lola Albright (from the Peter Gunn TV show)
Peter Gunn Theme - Henry Mancini

Monday, March 5, 2018

Beneath The Surface

I have heard it said that nine tenths of an iceberg is actually hidden beneath the surface. From what I have observed in life, the same thing can be said for us humans as well.

Life is full of "situations" and "drama", lessons learned and things best forgotten. What we must do is remember one thing. Just like the iceberg, God has given US the ability to "float" as well.

Reality check - ice is heavy. So why doesn't it sink? It is its nature to float. Ice simply cannot sink. Why? Because that's the way God made it. He designed it that way.

We humans are slightly different.  Although we desire to float above life's struggles, our heads above water, sometimes we feel like we're going to sink. And sadly, sometimes we do.

Did you know it is actually easier to float in salt water than fresh water? I should have taken swimming lessons in the ocean rather the ole swimmin' hole. I would have had a better shot at learning.

We all have things hidden under the surface. They can weigh us down tremendously. We have  the desire to float - our heads raised above the surface of it all - but how do we do that?

I think God had our survival in mind when He gave us earthly friends to talk to. God places people in our lives to support os and encourage us . . . to help us keep our heads above water. Do you have friends that do that for you? I do. They are a gift from God! Treasure them. Cherish them. God has given them to you! Why? Because He loves you!

God wishes that none of us would perish (2 Peter 3:9). He has made it possible for us to have eternal life with Him (John 3:16). All we have to do is surrender our hearts and will to Him and we will float higher than any iceberg ever could.

Seek out your trusted friends when it feels like you're going to sink. That's why they are there! God has given them to you. Use them. Lean on them! When we're drowning, don't we always reach out in some way?

"9 Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor: 10 If either of them falls down, one can help the other up. But pity anyone who falls and has no one to help them up. 11 Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone? 12 Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves. A cord of three strands is not quickly broken." - Ecclesiastes 5:9-12

God has created us, in His love, to be in relationship with Him. AND to be in relationship FOR Him. We all have scars, we all are just glued together pieces, many of which are beneath the surface. Let us go to God with our broken pieces and let us let Him make us whole once again.

Pieces - Red

Saturday, March 3, 2018

So Who Are You?

Until yesterday I didn't even knew her name. Come to think of it, I have never actually seen her face either. She was always wearing a mask. Yet she seemed familiar to me, like we had met before, but we hadn't. Like we knew each other all our lives, but we didn't. Like we were . . . family.

This old body of mine was in the shop for some repair work this month. Physical therapy for my aching shoulder. As I sat in the waiting room for my first appointment a grey-haired woman came towards me wearing a mask. The per-registration lady for my physical therapist.

"What are you reading?" she asked.

"The Bible. The Book of Revelation," I replied.

"Ooooooh! That's wonderful . . . . Brother."

It says in The Book of Ephesians that all believers in Jesus Christ will be sealed. Hmm. I wonder. What if "the seal" was in our brains or our hearts? And what if we would just KNOW who other believers were.

Well, I can tell you with 100% certainty that my masked friend and I knew that the other was a believer just by having a two minute conversation.

"And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit," - Ephesians 1:13

Does God's Holy Spirit allow us to recognize other believers? I think He does! Are all brothers and sisters linked in some subconscious way, joined together in one eternal family through the Holy Spirit? I think we are!

Before I left my new-found sister yesterday we had a brief conversation.

 "What church do you go to?" she asked.

"Calvary Chapel - Waupaca"

"What!?! We go to Calvary Chapel - Appleton!"

"What's your pastor's name?"

"Pastor Dave."

"Yes! I heard his wife speak at a women's conference in Green Lake. Wonderful woman ."



I suppose we could have talked all day but it was time to get back to work. I gave her a hug and said, "Your name. I don't even know your name."


"Well, see you later Sherry (in heaven). It was nice to meet you."

I will most likely never see my "sister" again - in this life. That's okay. I will see her again in heaven. I will get to meet her husband and hear about their kids. And we all can sit around, talking about our amazing God who provides for our every need and protects us from the evil one. And the fact that He has adopted us into His family, in love.

Oh, and how will those people who do NOT believe in Jesus. How will they know we are Christians? That one's easy. By our love. Our love for one another - believers and non-believers alike.  "They will KNOW that we are Christians by our love."

By Our Love - For King And Country

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

The Dangling Carrot

Do you find it difficult to concentrate when something exciting is coming your way? I sure do. Maybe it's a vacation you're looking forward to. For me it might be retirement. Maybe for you it's wanting your spouse to be something they're not. What should we do? The carrot is right there!

That person or thing is dangling out there in front of us and we can't wait to get to it. Distractions and temptations come at us every day. Television advertising, a restaurant menu, a shopping trip. "Dangling carrots" are everywhere.

Do YOU have a carrot in your life? What is it? I've seen people whose "carrot" is money. They never have enough. They never get the carrot. For some people it's fame. Fame is fleeting. No carrot their either.

Here's a question. Who do you think is holding that string?

The carrot, dangling at the end of a stick, is often used to entice a stubborn mule to do something it really doesn't want to do. In our case, perhaps it's an adulterous relationship. "She's nicer and more beautiful than our current spouse." Or maybe it's alcohol. "Just one more drink to deaden the pain."

It never works. In the end, it is never as fulfilling as doing what is right. Satan loves to distract us and tempt us to do something we shouldn't be doing by offering us something we really want.

"Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”
But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’” - Matthew 4:1-4

Jesus refused to stray from His obedience to God, even though He was really hungry and wanted to eat bread. Then why should we allow ourselves to stray? To be tempted by something we want that will lead us someplace we really shouldn't be going? Because we are really selfish and we REALLY want that carrot.

"9 Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction." - 1 Timothy 6:9

"25 Do not let your heart turn to her ways or stray into her paths. 26 Many are the victims she has brought down; her slain are a mighty throng." - Proverbs 7:25-26

Let us not be distracted by the things we "want" in life. May we follow the only thing we need - Jesus Christ, our Lord.

Temptation Eyes - Grass Roots

Monday, February 26, 2018


I will not miss too many things about my morning commute when I retire. Driving into the sun for example. That, coupled with deer herd movement in spring and fall, can make for an interesting drive to the salt mine. The only thing I WILL miss while driving through the early morning darkness is my friend Chuck.

I listen to Christian radio, both to and from work. Chuck Swindoll preaches each morning from 5:00 - 5:30 AM. Many of the stories in this blog have been inspired by his messages. Like this one for example.

Chuck just ended a message series on Abraham. His last message about this man of faith contained four things to remember in our relationship with God. Here they are.
  • Where God leads, follow.
  • When God promises, believe.
  • When we experience doubt, trust.
  • When God blesses, share.
For the past few weeks I had been experiencing doubt in a particular ministry in my life. Should I continue in it? Is it something God wants me to do? Should I leave the ministry all together or simply wait for things to get better?

I think we Christians all want to follow wherever God leads, but what if we're unsure? What is we doubt? That's when we pray. That's when we must trust.

Hearing Chuck's message this week was a good reminder. Ultimately I decided to continue on in the ministry, trusting that it is what God wanted. A handful of days later I was blessed by meeting with two members of the same ministry. I left that meeting feeling renewed and refreshed, confident that we are walking in God's will.

Is there something in YOUR life that you are experiencing doubt about? Are you having trouble trusting God with something? Are you reading God's Word? Are you praying? Have you sought the advice of other Godly believers?

Believe, follow, trust and share. Good advice from my friend Chuck and from the example of Abraham.

The Sacrifice of Isaac

Saturday, February 24, 2018

A Spirit of Fear

There are lots of people living in fear these days. And with good reason. Shootings in schools, police officers being gunned down, terrorism across the globe and just plain death itself. Why are we so afraid? Fear is all part of a grand plan and it is NOT a plan from God.

We are a fearful people, and by that I mean we scare easily. There are so many phobias logged in scientific journals we need computers to keep track of them all.

I am reminded of Charlie Brown talking with Lucy about his fears. He had them all!

Reading the Bible confirms our fear of the unknown. When the angels came to earth announcing the birth of Jesus to the shepherds for example, what were the first words out of their mouths?

"Fear not for I bring tidings of great joy" - Luke 2:10

Here's a few more verses worthy of remembrance:

"7 For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” - 2 Timothy 1:7

"Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." - Joshua 1:9

Why are we always so afraid? What kind of faith do we exhibit if we Christians show fear? Should Christians ever be afraid with God on our side? Another verse comes to mind.

"If God is for us who can stand against us?" - Romans 8:23

Have you heard the story of Hezekiah? He and his men were surrounded by thousands of enemy soldiers. Hezekiah had every right to be afraid but he wasn't. He prayed to God for help. And what happened?

"35 That night the angel of the Lord went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand in the Assyrian camp." - 2 Kings 19:35

Fear is a tactic of the enemy. Satan loves it when he can frighten us because we lose our focus. We think about only ourselves and our safety. We forget about God. I heard someone say once that "fear is believing God can't handle it." I think that's true. Where is our faith in God? And how strong is it?

When we are deep in fear, why do we let it consume us? Why does our fear cripple us and take away our confidence in God? Because it is all part of Satan's plan and his trap of fear is SO easy to fall into.

Why don't we pray? We have a great God who is mighty in His power and His love. We should pray!! And let us not just pray a quick little prayer like "God, help me." God desires more than that. May we lose ourselves, and our fear, in prayers to God. May we immerse ourselves in His "still waters" and feel that "peace that surpasses all understanding."

God did not give us a spirit of fear. We were made to worship! The next time we are afraid let us praise God for that fear. Why? Because it is drawing us closer to Him. Have you played fervently lately? Why? Because God is God, not Satan. And God loves fervent prayer. So mush so that He answers those prayers in amazing ways.

"The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much." - James 5:16

Fear not!

Charlie Brown - Phobias
Our God - Chris Tomlin

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

The Unlocked Door

There is something inviting about a door that has been left open or unlocked. It's almost like we are being invited in. It can also be like some event in life that hasn't quite finished yet because the door hasn't been shut. But it can also be a sign of hope, like there's still a chance for us.

This past Saturday was Ruby's Pantry - a local food distribution center for those who are in need. I volunteer there each month, pre-registering those who wait in line. I get to know the people who come there. What a blessing that is to me.

Hundreds of people go through the line the third Saturday of each month. Some are regulars, others are coming there for the first time. The door is always open. Well, until 10:30 when it's time to close the doors for the day.

So, as 10:30 rolled around this past Saturday, I found myself heading down the long, long hallway towards the front door. Time to go home and get some rest for us weary volunteers. That's when I saw a black pickup pull into the parking lot.

I watched as a woman opened the passenger side door and got out. I smiled and began to unlock the door I has just locked and opened the door for the lady.

"Is there someone I can talk to?" she asked.

"Sure," I replied. "What do you need?"

"The IRS took all of my husband's paycheck and we don't have any money for food or gas for the truck. We were hoping you might have some food."

"Sure. Come on in," I smiled again.

You see, I knew something this lady didn't.

Earlier that day as I was getting ready to leave home for Ruby's, I put $20 in my pocket for my friend Tom - a Vietnam veteran who had also been experiencing money problems. He usually shows up at Ruby's via taxi because he has trouble walking. I was planning on paying for his share of food that day (Although the food is always free, the diesel fuel for the trucks that haul it is not). The interesting thing was, my friend didn't show up.

I was smiling that day because I still had Tom's $20 in my pocket when this lady showed up. I smiled because, once again, I was allowed to witness God at work in someone's life. Providing for their needs. Opening doors. What an amazing God we serve. :)

There was an offer of prayer in the hallway. The lady accepted. As I said Amen and she continued on her way down the hallway, I smiled yet again as I remembered this verse that Jesus delivered to us all in the Book of Revelation.

"20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me." - Revelation 3:20

I got to open the door that day when somebody knocked. They were hungry - wanting to eat. Did Jesus meet this lady at Ruby's Pantry that day? Did He dine with her? I don't know. But it made me smile to think that He promised us He would do just that if we let Him. If we hear His voice.

There is always an open door with God but He has also told us that one day the door will be shut and locked. The question is which side of the door will we be on? Inside, where all the food is? Or outside in the cold, looking in.

Someone's At The Door - Nathaniel Bassey

Monday, February 19, 2018

Touch My Scars

Have you ever had to bury one of your children, been addicted to drugs, battled cancer, spent time in jail, gone through a messy divorce or had to deal with a loved one's suicide? There's a job waiting for you if you want it. And only you can do it.

After Jesus died, he re-appeared in front of His disciples. Not as a ghost, but as actual flesh and bone. Jesus taught Thomas something and He taught US something well. Keep your attention on His scars and what they did to those He showed them to.

"19 On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jewish leaders, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” 20 After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord." - John 20:19-20

Jesus showed them His scars. His disciples were overjoyed. Now watch what happened when His disciples tried telling Thomas that they had seen The Lord.

"24 Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”

But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” - John 20:24-25

Thomas didn't believe them. Even though they had seen Jesus and were excited about it. Thomas hadn't seen the physical evidence for himself. He refused to believe. But then . . .

"26 A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!”

"27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

28 Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” - John 20:26:28

Thomas saw the scars and he believed. You and I can tell people about Jesus but they won't believe us unless they encounter Him for themselves. Another thing they need to see in the scars. OUR scars.

We NEED those scars. If we try telling someone what it's like to battle cancer but haven't gone through the chemo and radiation ourselves, it's hard for someone to believe us when we tell them they can do it. But if a cancer survivor speaks to a cancer patient in the hospital, suddenly there is hope in the new patient for getting through the trial because he or she is listening to someone tell them it IS possible. They see "the scars."

We can tell people about Jesus but unless people see evidence of Him in our lives they won't believe. People need to see our scars. And to really have a lasting, permanent effect on someone, let them "touch" your scars. Let them feel the pain you went through. Let them see your tears, your emotions.

I got saved when a friend showed me HER scars. She was crying as she told me how her husband didn't go with her to church. I felt convicted as I saw her weeping over it because not going to church with MY wife was something I was guilty of too. I went to church with my wife the very next Sunday and met Jesus there while sitting with her in a pew.

People seek honesty and truth. We can tell people something honestly yet they still won't believe us. We can give them books to read. We can give them a Bible, but unless they see the truth lived out in our lives . . . until they touch the scars . . . they simply will not believe.

Do we have what it takes to let a stranger touch us in such a way? We have the scars. Let us use them for God's glory. Doing so will help US heal at the same time.

Why Jesus Kept His Scars