Doctor’s Orders

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And hearing this, Jesus said to them, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Mark 2:17

I am convinced that as strugglers who just happen to be believers, there is a deep truth we need to know.  Simply that we are the ‘audio-visual’ (AV) department of the Church.

We display for all who can see with seeing eyes, the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. We can be mixed up, and very confused at times. But in contrast, He is everything, our all in All. As the AV people, we show and declare (out of our very lives) the profound kindnesses of God.

We are meant to be see and heard, because that is what the AV department does best. But that is really not our natural tendency or inclination. Jesus spoke of a “candle on a lampstand,” that gives light into the house. Frightening as this must seem, this is our certain place.

We stand (only because He makes us) and proclaim the solid mercy and kindness of God, for awful sinners. Maybe in this short life– that is all we can really do. Fair enough. But still we hear that compelling call to become visible for Him– His fantastic glory.

We may become quite intimidated. It seems we know far more about sin than we do about holiness. Quite a few of us are expert sinners. Some of us have our  Ph.D in evil. We have taken training in sin, and are quite proficient in it.

“This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners”—and I am the worst of them all.”

1 Timothy 1:15, NLT

When it comes to holiness or purity, we discover that we are totally out of our league. We will often try to “fake” it, but we are surprised when the Holy Spirit resists us. He will not let us deceive ourselves in this way. We have no claim to self-righteousness.

Our sins and weaknesses, depressions and sicknesses become even more evident in time. We are the ones who walk with a definite limp. We will falter, and we will stumble. But we continue to turn to Jesus. And in this action, others will see mercy that is poured out on rascals such as us.

But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’”

Luke 18:13

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On a Wing and a Prayer

 

B-29

6 “And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.”

Philippians 1:6

When I saw this photo of a B-29 it seemed perfect to open up this post. Sometimes we return from combat ‘on a wing and a prayer’

I have been ill for a long time.  My hepatitis has been aggravated the last three months.  The Bipolar depression has been a bit better, but it seems to linger like an unwelcome guest.  Recovery from the effects from my brain tumor has stalled.  And I suppose I could go on, but I won’t.

I’m mindful that I was aware of hypochondriacs before this recent spate with a medical issues.  I was pretty much annoyed by these complainers, they seemed to always be talking about themselves.  Their self-absorption with problems and complaints was an irritant for me.

Until it happens to you.  Lots of times there is a domino effect, with illness following illness.  The doctors call this “kindling.”  There can be an overwhelming co-occurrence.  Things can move down hill fairly fast.  And many conditions can overlap. Things cascade into another crisis. But there can be a right way to handle things.

“The moment an ill can be patiently handled, it is disarmed of its poison, though not of its pain.”

Henry Ward Beecher

Maintaining a spiritual discipleship is an obvious challenge.  Having something even resembling a living faith is pretty hard.  Three things have helped me.  These three doesn’t mean that there aren’t others, its just these are the boiled-down essentials.

1) Prayer–

Things will often turn from bitter to sweet in just a moment. I think of Jesus turning plain, basic water into a delicious and succulent wine.  When He shows up, everything changes– I change.  I need him, His presence isn’t an option.

2)  The Word–

Sometimes a just a phrase, a perceived inflection on the words.  Simple verses, rolling through my heart and thinking create hope, and recharges me through one more day. I realize that these are our promises, for me to call my own.  My enemy who hates me, is afraid when I start reading it. I need to read the Word.

3)  Serving Others–

I can easily paralyze myself with the awful venom of selfishness.  Self-absorbed faith will kill me.  Actually, “brokenbelievers.com” has been a way for me to recover. (I’m sitting here writing from the cozy confines of my loft in Alaska— on a beat-up old laptop.)  It has been a necessary thing.

Each of the three listed above work better when you mix and match them.  Take prayer and combine with the Word and they will strengthen each other.  Sort of a synergy happens, and things will come together for you, for one more day.  And that is just how it seems to work. It’s a pretty good start, anyway.

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