Aug 31, 2011

Extraordinary Measures

Normal...socially everybody else...Consider how safe these phrases sound.
But I am a Disciple of Christ, safety is not my priority. Neither is my reputation, my comfort, my pleasure, or other people's opinions of me. My priority is the will of God. First. Always. Only.
If I strive to be a socially acceptable Christian with a message that is easy on the ears of those around me, whose Gospel am I really preaching?

The words Jesus spoke challenged the mindset of every person. "Love your enemies" to a people daily oppressed and enslaved by their enemies. "Go and sin no more" to a woman whose lifestyle consisted of sin. "Sell all you have" to a wealthy man. "Come follow Me" or, in other words, "Leave your profession to come follow a stranger".

Jesus required that those who followed Him leave their pet peeves, their safety lines, their comfort zones, their back-door options, their default reactions, their family characteristics, their old habits, and their excuses behind to follow Him with great abandon.  I can't obey God and still fit in with the world. I can't become a Disciple and still be the person I was before.  The two are mutually exclusive.

The way of a Disciple has never been "socially acceptable", it is always a daring road that few can stomach.

Shadrach, Mesach, and Abednego were not status quo when they refused to bow to the king's idol.
(Will you be willing to stand when everyone else knelt to a popular image?)
For that matter, Daniel wasn't normal when he refused to eat the king's food.
(Will you be willing to resist indulgence in a society driven by lust?)
Esther was not average when she stood before the king without being invited in order to plead for her people.
(If it was dangerous to be a child of God, would you stand for truth?....Alone?)
Mary was not socially acceptable when she became an unwed mother of the Son of God.
(Would you be willing to let God use you ANY way He wanted?)
Joshua & Caleb were not the norm when they proclaimed that the Promised Land could be conquered.
(Will you be willing to resist popular opinion if it denies the power of your God. Would you trust God if no one else did?)

Ezekiel was far from mediocre when he spoke an army into existence from a bunch of dead bones.
Elijah was alone when he called fire down from heaven. Noah was the only righteous man on earth (take a minute to think about that if you want to consider courage). Moses had his life threatened. David was forced into hiding. Paul was stoned. Joseph was thrown in jail.

All of these faced loss of reputation at best. Most faced loneliness, ridicule, persecution, and death.

But, Nehemiah raised a city, Josiah sparked a revival, Gideon and his army of 300 conquered a nation, Barnabas discipled the greatest Apostle in history, and 12 men turned the world upside down.

No, God doesn't ask for normalcy or neutrality. He calls us forward to dare mighty deeds.
"Since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight..." (Heb. 12:1)
I dare you to find a hero that was fact, I dare you to find someone who God used that was average, comfortable, or like everyone else. When God reaches down grab a tool, His hand always grasps the one that's standing out.

To be an extraordinary Christian requires [unfailing] faith, [instant] obedience, [deep] humility, [great] boldness, [unswerving] courage, [unending] trust, and [unapologetic] holiness.


Aug 16, 2011


where is one
           with faith like a child
                     one who will hear like a child
                              and bring what they have
                                       the little they have
                                               but all that they have
                                                      into the hands of the master

where is the one with faith to move mountains
            just a small bit of faith is enough to move mountains
                   if it's put into motion
                         and walked into action
                                 even a child's faith is enough to move mountains

where is one
                     just one who will dare
                                                         to go hungry for once
to dare, even this once
                      and offer their lunch 
                                                        for the use of the master

he doesn't want much
     just a small child's lunch
             but a willing child's lunch
                                              and he will multiply 
                                                       ...and multiply
                                                       ...and multiply
                                                       ...and multiply
                                                       ...and multiply
                                                       ...and multiply

until he's made enough
                                   of that little child's lunch
                                                                         enough to feed a multitude

what would it take for me
         for GOD to do that much in me
               for a miracle to begin in me
                      and for GOD to touch so many
would it take great works
                     great money
                      great words
                               great talent perhaps? if that's what he asks
                                                                          i'll have to decline
                                                                    for i haven't that much

but if GOD can use what i have
       the little i have
             but all that i have
                    then i'll bring what i have 
                             i'll bring all that i have
                                   though it's little i have
                                          and let him touch multitudes

the ingredients for miracles
is so very small
you don't have to bring much
so long as it's all

Aug 11, 2011

The Hem

The crowd was thick that day. I looked out my window and my courage almost failed me. There were so many people, and they would all know my problem…most already did, and I would have to watch them draw back from me as I passed. My affliction had been with me so long that it seemed a part of me. I could not even dream of life without it, yet life without it seemed a dream.

I knew my problem, it lived with me every day, I could never forget. Sleep was my only refuge, but at times I dreaded even that, for morning always followed night and with it the remembrance of hopelessness.

I had a flow of blood that had persisted for twelve years. Twelve horrible, painful years, each one draining more and more strength from me until I could barely summon the strength to walk. I had no friends to come and help.
Even the Temple was closed to me, I was unclean after all. The House of God had no place for one such as me as long as I was so afflicted. I could come near…near enough to hear what went on inside, but never could I enter. Oh, but to be in the House of God for just a little while, to bring my sacrifice and be where the glory of the Lord had dwelt so strong in days of old. THAT would be the joy of my life. But, no, I had no place there.

“What about the doctors?” You ask. You think I didn’t try them? I spent every penny I owned and more on physicians. I went to everyone that I could find. I met caravans at the gate inquiring after foreign physicians that might have some wisdom on my problem. I listened to gossip and stories and rumors and concocted my own medicines at home when my money ran out, but to no avail, it only made it worse. No remedy changed anything, no one could help. I was still what I was.
Now I was to the end of my strength. If this didn’t work, I may as well give up and die.

Yet, here I was afraid to leave my house to find the One that might help. I told myself I was silly to hesitate, then I pulled my veil over my face and walked out into the daylight.
I cut down a side street to where the main crowd was and I waited leaning against the corner of a building, catching my breath and drawing comfort from the sun-warmed stones.

Soon I saw him. He was in the very thick of the crowd, surrounded by His friends and they seemed in a hurry. I gathered my courage and dove into the crowd. I pushed and was pushed, once I nearly lost my balance, but I pushed closer until I was right next to one of His fisherman friends. I hoped beyond hope that He would see me. If He would just turn His head and look, just once look at me. If He would see my desperation in my eyes, if He could only know how much I needed Him.
I couldn’t keep up, the crowd was pushing in again, and my legs threatened to fail me. This was not a good time to talk to Him. He was probably busy, and so many people needed Him. It was not the situation I had pictured, it was not a good time. But I was losing my opportunity. If I could just touch Him, even, I could be made well I was sure. I must not lose my last chance!

I gathered my remaining strength and made one more desperate push until I was right behind Him once more. I reached out and my fingers brushed just the very hem of His robe. That was all it took.
I never knew the meaning of power until that moment. It was as if I could feel the strength flow through my body in an instant. I stopped, stunned, astonished, almost unable to believe that it had actually happened. I could feel it all over in my body and I knew beyond doubt my dream had come true!

The world seemed hushed around me. Then I realized that it was hushed. The crowd had stopped, the noise had dimmed. Then a voice queried from throng, “Who touched Me?”
I couldn’t breathe. What had I done?! I had dared to touch Him, the Master, the Holy One, and while I was still so unclean. And….was my healing to be so short lived? Would He take the gift back?
Thoughts swirled in my head and crowded my brain as I heard Him say again, “I felt the virtue flow out, someone touched Me.”
I knew that He knew, so I stepped forward…no, I ran forward, I fell at His feet, “It was me, Lord, I touched You. But, I was so desperate! I thought that if I just could touch Your clothes perhaps that little bit would be enough. You see, I had nowhere else to look for help, but to You.” My excitement lent boldness to my voice, I had never spoken so before…but neither had I ever been healed before.

I waited there at His feet, my heart beating wildly, scared to even look in His face. Then a hand on my shoulder, and He spoke.
“Daughter” He called me, “your faith has made you well. Go in peace, you are healed.”

My faith…healed…whole…go in peace. Oh, and what peace it was!
I don’t know quite what happened after that, I was in a daze. Someone came forward to speak to the Master and He left with them, the crowd following and I was left still kneeling in the soft dust of the street as the shadows lengthened into the gray of evening. My only words to express my heart were, “Thank You, Lord, thank You, thank You…thank You…”

The next Sabbath I went into the Temple, clean.

Aug 9, 2011

Vignettes of a Journey: Purifying Fire

Image copyright 2011 Lisa Fox

There are times we find the will of God takes us through fiery trials, hardship, and great challenges. All this is to transform us into who we were meant to be...purified, encouraged, and softened by each instance of God's love shown to us in our desperation.