We often think of God's miracles in terms of instantaneous answers to sudden problems. For example, Peter walks on the water, sinks, cries out and Jesus saves him. Or the people get hungry and Jesus feeds them. Or someone dies and Jesus raises them. But in our text today we find a guy who's been sick for thirty-eight years! And Jesus shows His concern, even for the long-term struggle.
That give me hope! Just because I've struggled with something for awhile doesn't mean I'll have to struggle with it forever. God cares! And he wants to intervene in my life, in my struggle.
Today is my study day for Sunday and I'm contemplating our next sermon in our "21 Days of Consecration" series. I've been talking about the ABC's of Consecration and last week we talked about Spiritual Alignment while this week we'll be studying Breaking the Yokes. There may be some yoke (bondages, habits, sins, sicknesses, etc) that we've struggled with a long time. And I'm convinced that God Cares - and wants to set us free. I hope you'll have that anticipation for our Sunday service!
Last week when I was talking about Spiritual Alignment the final key I gave you was to Learn to Live from Heaven's Initiative. We talked about how the binding and loosing commands in Matthew 16 and 18 were to be the things that were already bound and loosed in heaven. We also talked about how Jesus said "Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing; for whatever the Father does, these things the Son also does in like manner." (John 5:19 NASB) Well as I read further in John 5 I came across this statement of Jesus:
"I can do nothing of My own initiative." (John 5:30a NASB)He spells is out so plainly! Jesus lived from heaven's initiative and we must also. It's easy to come up with good ideas and ask God to bless them. But how about seeking God about what HE'S blessing and doing that? Hmmmm.
The final thing I want to share with you today is from verse 42 where Jesus was talking to the religious leaders who were upset that He was "doing these things [healing] on the Sabbath" according to verse 16. He recognized that they were very religious, but they lacked one thing:
"But I know you, that you do not have the love of God in yourselves." (John 5:42 NASB)It doesn't matter how religious you are, how outwardly aligned your life is with standards of righteousness and how much you go to church. If you don't have the love of God in you, you've missed the whole point. Jesus came to teach us how to love as the Father loved. John later wrote "We love, because He first loved us." (1 John 4:19 NASB). Let's get the love-factor down right and everything else will fall into place.
Well, that's it. No poem - just three points from today's reading. What is God telling you on this journey of consecration? I'm really enjoying your feedback. Keep those emails and phone calls coming (although I probably won't answer on Thursday! [G]).