Archive for the ‘spiritual’ Category

I was hungry and you formed committees.

I was thirsty and you preached sermons.

I was naked and you said, “That’ not in the budget.”

I was sick and you sang another chorus while internally debating traditional verse contemporary style of worship.

I was lonely and you rushed to the restaurant to get the best booth.

I was in prison an you held another congregational meeting.

I tell you the truth: whatever you did to the least of these, you did unto me.

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Joseph and Mary began the search. They traveled about looking for a room so that baby Jesus could be born in some type of dignity. They arrived in Bethlehem only to find there was no room. The hour was drawing near for the time when our Lord would enter the world, and there was no place for him to be born. Instead of a room at the inn, there was a stable. Instead of a crib, there was a manger. Jesus Christ, the Savior of our souls was born in a stable. There was no room for him.
As I look at the world around me, I find that there is still little room for Jesus. People fill their lives with so many other things that there is no longer room for Jesus. I want to have room for Jesus. I want to stress to those whom God has called me to minister the need to make room for Jesus.
Lord, I’m sorry there was no room for you. I’m sorry there is still no room for you. I want to give you room in my life. I want to empty out all the junk I hold dear and make room for you. May my purpose always be about making room for you. Search deep within me and find room in my heart. Do you see room, Lord? If not, please show me what I need to get rid of in order for you to have room. Fill my life. Be my only desire. Lord, please find room.

Joshua’s leg was red and swollen. He found it difficult to walk and we could tell it was infected. He went to the doctor last Monday. He was prescribed a couple of antibiotics. We came back to the doctor Wednesday, he was given a shot of antibiotics. We checked him into ER on Wednesday night and he was sent home. We took him back to the doctor on Thursday and they immediately admitted him into the hospital. It was scary to Kellie and I.

We sat there at the hospital holding our precious child wanting so badly to protect him. He was given an iv with a steady flow of antibiotics. It broke our hearts to see our 1-year-old child laying there with an iv. We were not sure how bad the situation was until the doctor and nurse began to explain that when we brought him in, it was close to being fatal. That thought still haunts us.

Joshua is a strong kid and he managed a lot of smiles during his hospital stay, but what sticks out most are his screams. He hated to have anyone touch his leg, yet the doctor and nurses had to touch and examine it. They had to see that it was progressively getting better. When he was admitted, his white blood cell count was at 31,000. The normal is 5,000-10,000. He was in bad shape. The lab workers had to prick his finger to get his blood for testing. He screamed. We had to hold him down. There was a time when his iv came loose. He had to have it moved to the other arm. Three nurses and Kellie held him down. I entered the exam room as they were trying to insert the iv. He somehow managed to get a leg loose and kick one of the nurses. I came in to help. It was so hard to look at him. With tears in his eyes, he looked at Kellie and me. Though he was unable to speak verbally, his eyes and tears told us what he was thinking. “Why are you letting them hurt me? Why are you helping them hurt me? Can you pick me up and hold me? Can you tell these people who are hurting me to go away?” It broke our hearts. How do you communicate to a one year old child that we are not hurting him, but helping him? The nurses and Kellie and I knew something he didn’t know. We knew that without this pain, there would be no healing. The pain was a part of the healing process.

I learned something that day. From a father’s perspective, I did want to just pick him up, hold and comfort him, and tell the ladies with the needles to go away and leave my son alone. But had I done that…I don’t want to speculate. I realized that this pain was part of the healing process. I had an image of Jesus as he was being beaten and nailed to the cross. I thought of his prayer in the garden where he asked God if there was any other way. I thought of the pain His heavenly Father must have felt as he saw his son having nails driven through his hands and feet. Jesus words on the cross were “My God, my God why have you forsaken me?” It is as though he is questioning, “Why must this happen?” And I pictured God, the heavenly Father looking down at His Son and answering, “Without pain the people have no true healing.” Without the suffering Savior, I have no healing. Without his pain, I am lost. Without his pain, I am hopeless.

I find myself sometimes looking toward the heavens and begging God, ” Why are you letting this happen? Can you make this pain stop? Can you take the hurt away? Will you make these people who are hurting me go away and leave me alone.” His quiet answer is “Without pain, my son, there is no real healing.” My pain helps me realize my need for God. My pain reminds me that although I may not realize it, my condition is severe – it is fatal. If I do not have the pain, I may not seek the doctor of my soul; the healer of my soul. Without the pain, I have no real healing. What about you? Do you have times of pain? Have they caused you to look toward the heavenly Father who is the healer of your soul? Look to Him – he has the cure for your heart’s condition. He is the healer.

Last Friday I took Joshua to a doctor’s appointment. It was the routine four month check. I am happy to report that he is healthy and growing strong. A part of the four month check up is immunizations. The word immunizations sounds so much nicer than shots. The nurse came in with three syringes of various immunizations to shoot into my four month old son’s legs. My job was to hold his arms and head while the nurse held down his legs and gave him the shots. He screamed a painful cry as the needle penetrated the skin. Big crocodile tears dripped down his face and then he looked at me. I am not sure what his mind is able to comprehend or how he processes his thoughts; but it seemed to be a look of “Why are you letting this happen to me?” It broke my heart. I did not want to see my child hurt. I did not want to see him in pain. I wanted to hold him and tell the nurse to keep those needles away from my baby boy. But I did not. I knew the temporary pain of receiving a shot would help him be stronger and more equipped to fight off sickness in the future.

I began thinking about that and realized it is similar to our spiritual walk with Christ. Sometimes life hurts. We go through trials, persecution, hardships, sickness, and pain. We like Joshua do not understand what is taking place and we look to our heavenly Father with a “why are you letting this happen?” attitude. Nobody enjoys pain (unless there is something deeply wrong with them), yet we all suffer pain. Nobody likes to hurt. We do not like suffering. We do not like persecution, yet we all face it. I believe the trials, persecution, and sufferings we face are making us stronger and more equipped to stand strong in our faith. They serve as a spiritual shot, an immunization, preparing us to fight against the sin that seeks to overtake us.

When the shots were finished, I picked up my son and held him close. I softly talked to him telling I love him. I sang a song to him. I let him know that he was loved. When I make it through a trial, I feel my Lord grab me and hold me close. He whispers that everything is okay. He sings over me. No, I do not hear an audible voice or feel a physical touch from God, yet I experience something much deeper. I experience an amazing renewal and transfromation that moves me closer to God.

Sometimes life hurts. It is during those times that we must learn to listen to what God is seeking to teach us. He loves us and He does not want to see us in pain, but He knows that when we overcome this temporary trial – we will receive something much greater.

Community

Posted: January 30, 2008 in body life, christianity, church, community, spiritual

I believe one of the most important aspects of Christianity is community.I also believe it is the greatest means of outreach. Jesus prayed that His believers would be one. He said the world would know that we are His disciples when we love one another. So why is community so difficult? It is hard to live outside myself. I find it difficult to put others needs above myself. Sometimes I wonder if the reason is because I have been burned by people who claimed they were my friend or ally. We are a fallen people. I think that makes the need for community even greater. As Christians, we are the church and church is the body of Christ. We need each other. I need you and you need me. That is how the body of Christ should function. Let’s learn how to love one another and see that we need each other. That is when the world will look at us and see that we have something to offer that they are missing in life.