Category: Love


Known

I am, the rose
blooming in splendor,
shaken by the breeze,
looking up to heaven,
smaller than the trees.
Stop, and take a whiff,
a gander, if you please.
I will still be,
the rose-
loved,
by the bees.

Scripture

2 Kings 8:1-2 (NIV)

Now Elisha had said to the woman whose son he had restored to life, “Go away with your family and stay for a while wherever you can, because the Lord has decreed a famine in the land that will last seven years.” 2 The woman proceeded to do as the man of God said. She and her family went away and stayed in the land of the Philistines [for] seven years.

Observation

There are a lot of people in the Bible that we can identify by name. People of great faith and wicked people. However, there are far more people in the Bible whose identities are unknown to you and me. In the book of Hebrews, we see quite a list of people known only by their great faith. Those who were tortured, flogged, imprisoned, stoned, sawed in two, and subject to abject poverty because of their faith in God (Hebrews 11:35-37). In the New Testament, we read of thousands of people who attended the sermons of Jesus and were fed by Him, and yet, of all those who heard His message and of those who were healed, only 120 were counted as being faithful believers (Acts 1:15) and we have so few names to place with that 120.

When I read this account of the Shunammite woman, for we don’t know her name, what stands out to me is that she left her home with her family to go to the land of the Philistines for seven years. We have this intelligence through the sentence, “The woman proceeded to do as the man of God said. She and her family went away and stayed in the land of the Philistines seven years.” I wonder about those seven years. I don’t, for a moment, think that those seven years living in a land of gentiles was easy, but all we know is that this woman did it in faith. From a single sentence.

It’s so important to us sometimes to be known. How often, I wonder, do we do the things that we do in the hope that someone will know our name? That we will stand out in the crowd? Blogging comes to mind. I wonder how many people would continue to blog if they rarely got likes or followers? I expect that those relying on it for a living would find something else to do. When I think on that I think back on all years working when there’s sometimes been little or no recognition. I think of all the reasons to do anything that we do and I wonder why? Why do we do the things that we do? It occurs to me that, if we do anything to be known then we’re probably going to be disappointed.

When I think about the desire to be known and to be recognized I’m reminded of the roses that I passed by this morning. A beautiful bunch of yellows knitted together beaming at the sun. As I admired these, so few for this time of the year, I thought of their scent. Breathing it in, intoxicating and sweet, still lingering from yesterday, and I walked on. As I continued, I thought on that act, the choice to not smell the roses and it struck me. They bloom and wilt, freely give. Knowing nothing, but the touch of the wind, the glory of the sun, and the pleasure of God.

Do you know God? God knows you and He loves you. He sees you as significant because you are. Nothing is insignificant to Him. He’s with you today, right now, and He wants you to know Him. Jesus died for your sins and mine so that we could be free of guilt, be freed from death, and live eternally with Him. Eternal salvation is just a prayer away.

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation today:

Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.

Scripture

2 Kings 5:11-14 (NIV)

11 But Naaman went away angry and said, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, wave his hand over the spot and cure me of my leprosy.
12 Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Couldn’t I wash in them and be cleansed?” So he turned and went off in a rage.
13 Naaman’s servants went to him and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do some great thing, would you not have done it? How much more, then, when he tells you, ‘Wash and be cleansed!’” 14 So he went down and dipped himself in the Jordan seven times, as the man of God had told him, and his flesh was restored and became clean like that of a young boy.

Observation

It’s funny how our minds work. We know that God created all things but often when we think of Him we think of the very big and the very small. Although we might think that we consider all that He has made, and stand in awe, we may forget that he created the ordinary, commonplace things that we see every day, and take for granted. Just as we walk through life not paying much attention to the ordinary, we do the same, I believe, in our thought life.

God is always speaking to us but we just don’t realize it (Job 33:14). We all have thoughts, throughout our day, that are basically the same from day-to-day. When there’s something that is out of place then we’ll take note of it. Perhaps, just for a moment, and then we’ll move on. We respond to our thoughts in the same way that we respond to anything outside of us that happens. That’s to say that we are so accustomed to how we respond to the things we encounter every day that they become ordinary.

There’s something that takes place in our minds when we think of God as ordinary. He’s not, right? He. Is. God. His thoughts are not my thoughts and His ways are not my ways (Isaiah 55:8). God doesn’t put His shirt on one arm at a time. He wills it to be on and it’s on. We can imagine God in all sorts of ways except ordinary. We don’t like ordinary. There’s so much ordinary around us every day that we want something special. We want something big and we expect big things from God. What does the Bible tell us? If we are faithful with little things then we can be trusted to be faithful with bigger things (Luke 16:10).

How is God described in the Bible? When He comes to Elijah, he’s not in the mighty rushing wind or the great earthquake or flashy fire. No, God spoke in a gentle whisper (1 Kings 19:11-13). Like a thought that tells you something very ordinary like, “Good morning.” When God came down as the man, Jesus, He wasn’t a handsome man, He didn’t stand out in a crowd. “There was nothing beautiful or majestic about his appearance, nothing to attract us to him” (Isaiah 53:2). Jesus looked like an ordinary guy.

When Jesus speaks of being great in the Kingdom of God, how does He describe this greatness? “The greatest among you will be your servant” (Matthew 23:11). Jesus never tells us that we have to do great and mighty works to serve Him. All of us want to heal the sick, raise the dead and bring deliverance to those in bondage. There’s nothing wrong with that, but what about doing the ordinary things that we don’t do every day because, well, we can blow them off because they don’t mean anything. Right?

We have all trained ourselves to respond to our daily thoughts in the same way. However, what’s ordinary for you might not be ordinary for me and vice versa. I believe that we all have a little bit of Naaman in us. The belief that to do something great we need to do something great, but God just doesn’t work that way, and if you’re waiting for God to put enormous challenges in front of you that will test your faith… Well, you may be waiting a long time. However, allow me to encourage you that every time you do something tiny and seemingly ordinary, in faith, that you are demonstrating that you have the means to do the bigger things that God will ask you to do later on. So, let’s go do something, ordinary.

Do you know God? God knows you and He loves you. He sees you as significant because you are. He’s with you today, right now and He wants you to know Him. Jesus died for your sins and mine so that we could be free of guilt, be freed from death, and live eternally with Him. Eternal salvation is just a prayer away.

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation today:

Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.

Scripture

1 Timothy 1:3-4 (NIV)

3 As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain people not to teach false doctrines any longer 4 or to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. Such things promote controversial speculations rather than advancing God’s work—which is by faith.

I wonder if Paul knew, when he wrote this letter to Timothy, that people were taking items, such as his handkerchief, that had touched him and using them as a means to be healed? (Acts 19:12) I think he would have been appalled if he knew, but I don’t think he’d have been surprised. What I wonder though, is where is the line drawn between idolatry and faith? Were the people healed because the items touched Paul or by their belief in the holiness of Paul or their faith in God?

The Second Commandment states, “not [to] make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below” (Exodus 20:4). For thousands of years, people made idols from the things around them to worship the other things around them such as the sun, moon, and stars. If the object of worship couldn’t be seen then an object was made that represented that thing and it was worshipped. It’s easier to believe in something when you can see it with your own eyes.

When the Israelites had sinned against God they were punished by poisonous snakes. When they had confessed their sin to Moses, God had Moses craft a bronze snake that would heal anyone who had been bitten by a snake when they looked at it (Numbers 21:4-9). God knew that the people didn’t have the faith to be healed by believing in Him alone, who they could not see, which is why He had Moses craft the bronze snake. However, this same bronze snake later became a false idol to the people that King Hezekiah destroys (2 Kings 18:4).

The story of the woman who had been bleeding for twelve years and couldn’t be healed by any doctors (Matthew 9:20-22) is one that shows great faith. The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke all tell this story and each concludes with Jesus’ declaration to the woman that it was “her faith” that healed her. However, when we read Matthew’s account it’s slightly different:

21 She said to herself, “If I only touch his cloak, I will be healed.”
22 Jesus turned and saw her. “Take heart, daughter,” he said, “your faith has healed you.” And the woman was healed at that moment. (Matthew 9:20-22 NIV)

The woman, in Matthew, was not healed when she touched the cloak. She was healed after she touched the cloak and when Jesus told her that her faith had healed her. In any case, the faith of the woman was not faith that the cloak, itself, could present any healing but that Jesus, the Son of God, could heal her.

In Acts 5:15 we see that “people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by” (NIV). Let’s note that the text doesn’t say that anyone was healed by the shadow. I don’t believe that they were. What stands out here, though, is that the people recognized that Peter was an instrument of healing and thought he was also the source of the healing. Hence, their belief that his shadow could heal people. I don’t know if those people got healed. I know that they would have been healed if they had stopped Peter as he walked by and asked him for healing. We can see proof of that in Acts 5:16, “Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by impure spirits, and all of them were healed” (NIV).

This is where we can so easily stumble as Believers. When we stop seeing God as the source of power and start seeing His instruments as the source. No one is going to applaud a guitar or a piano for producing beautiful music but we, too often, will credit a teacher of the Gospel as the “power” of God. When we look to determine the line between idolatry and faith I think the key to it is in the source. Whenever we look to anything else as the means to satisfy us and forgetting that it came from God, we are not relying on Him. This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy a cold refreshing ice tea on a hot day or relax to beautiful music. God is our source for all things good. When we “seek first his kingdom and his righteousness” (Matthew 6:33 NIV) for all of our needs then we are living in faith in God.

Do you know God? He loves you. He wants you to know Him. He already knows you and He would rather die than not have you in His family. Jesus died for your sins and mine so that we could be free of guilt, be freed from death, and live eternally with Him.

Pray this prayer with me to accept the gift of salvation today:

Dear Lord Jesus, I know that I am a sinner, and I ask for Your forgiveness. I believe You died for my sins and rose from the dead. I turn from my sins and invite You to come into my heart and life. I want to trust and follow You as my Lord and Savior. Amen.

If you prayed that prayer then congratulations! You are on the first step of a brand new life. Allow me to be the first to welcome you to my family, the family of God. There are abundant resources available online for new Christians. You can visit here for more information on what to do next. You can also leave me a comment and I’ll do my best to help you on the next step of this incredible journey.