“For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving, because it is consecrated by the word of God and prayer.” – 1 Timothy 4:4 (NIV)

May we create a spirit of thankfulness in our hearts for what God has given us.

I have a hard time waiting. In our instant culture, minutes seem like hours. A five minute wait at a fast food place seems like an eternity. That concept of minutes seeming like hours makes it hard for me to grasp God’s perspective on time.

2 Peter 3:9 tells us, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” This makes me glad the Lord isn’t as impatient as I am. It’s humbling to think because he was patient with me, I had time to accept Christ into my life. As Peter adds in verse 15, the “Lord’s patience means salvation.”

Yet that doesn’t mean we should be complacent about our faith, thinking we have lots of time. Peter warns us, “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything done in it will be laid bare.” We should have a sense of urgency about living out our faith, about ministering to others. Judgement will come when we least expect it.

However, we also need a balanced perspective like God. As Peter tells us in verse 8, “With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day.” We should have a sense of urgency about living our life for Christ — like a thousand years passing in a day — but we should also be patient with those who don’t know Christ — like a thousand years in a day.

Likewise, we should not be panicked about judgement, to the point of behaving irrational. Instead it should make us serious and intentional about our faith in Christ. In verse 11, Peter asks the question, “Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be?” To which he answers, “You ought to live holy and godly lives.” Peter adds in verse 18, “But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

© 2019 CGThelen

Help me dear Lord to discern your truth in a world that bombards me with false hope. Give me the wisdom to see with your eyes, to choose your way. Let me not lose my first love, your love dear Jesus filling my life; the joy of your presence in my life. Show me Lord when I’ve fallen and help me get back on my feet. May your Spirit be evident in my life. Thank you for your love and grace.

“Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken the love you had at first. Consider how far you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.” – Revelation 2:4-5 (NIV)

“Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God.” – Revelation 2:7

© 2019 CGThelen

My wounds are deep, yet I pray to you dear Lord to heal these wounds. I am weak, with no strength left, yet I pray to you to revive me, to restore me. The cold overtakes me, it chills me to the bone, yet I praise you for your promise of spring and new life. Despite the crushing weight of this world, I will press on and praise you. You are my hope, my life dear Lord.

“Come, let us return to the Lord. He has torn us to pieces but he will heal us; he has injured us but he will bind up our wounds. After two days he will revive us; on the third day he will restore us, that we may live in his presence. Let us acknowledge the Lord; let us press on to acknowledge him. As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth. ” – Hosea 6:1-3 (NIV)

© 2019 CGThelen

How willing are you to leave the safety and security of your home or church or work to go where the Lord leads you? How inclined would you be to go if you were also told, “By the way, there’s this group of people waiting to devour you.” I’m not so sure I would be anxious to follow the Lord’s instruction to, “Go!”

In Luke 10:1, Jesus “appointed seventy-two others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go (NIV).” Among the things he told them was that they would face opposition. “Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves (10:3). This brings the image to mind of a bunch of lambs safe in a pen and the Lord selecting 72 to leave the security of the farm to go to a bunch of hungry wolves waiting outside the fence.

Yet Jesus instructs then on how to handle opposition. He told them, “If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you ((10:6).”

Whoever listens to you listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects me; but whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me.” To towns that reject them, he instructed them to say, “Even the dust of your town we wipe from our feet as a warning to you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God has come near (10:11).”

Jesus wants them to make it clear that if they reject them, they are also rejecting God. He told them, “Whoever listens to you listens to me; whoever rejects you rejects me; but whoever rejects me rejects him who sent me.” I am humbled, yet encouraged by this passage. Humbled in contemplating if I am living out my faith in a such a way that others can see Christ. Encouraged in that despite facing opposition, the 72 returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name (10:17).”

We are called to go out into a hostile world to tell others about salvation through Christ Jesus. Indeed, as Jesus said, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few (10:2).” Yet we should not just run out on our own trying to collect that harvest. Jesus also told them to, “Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field (10:2).” We should follow the Lord’s lead in our life and express to others that it is not our own efforts, but Christ in us.

The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.” He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven. – Luke 10:17-20

Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. – John 14:12

© 2019 CGThelen

Some days the pain was too much to bear, yet I could find no one who could give me relief. Some told me of this man, this prophet named Jesus, who was healing people. Word was out that he was coming to shore from across the lake. I hurried to meet this man, but I was disappointed when I arrived and saw a large crowd pressing in around him. I knew that must be Jesus.

I tried to get closer, but too many people were in front of me. I strained to see above the crowd to get a glimpse of this man. That’s when I saw Jairus, one of the synagogue leaders, standing by Jesus. I was amazed when I saw Jairus fall at the feet of Jesus. I could see the tears in his eyes as he spoke: “My little daughter is dying. Please come and put your hands on her so that she will be healed and live.”

A woman next to me had a wide-eyed stare. I recognized her as the woman from town who suffered for years from bleeding. I met her a couple times when I visited the doctor. She had spent all she had on doctors, seeking a cure, but her condition only worsened. “Are you okay?” I asked her.

“Jairus said if Jesus just put his hands on his little girl, she would be healed.”

“Yes,” I nodded. “That’s what he said.”

“Maybe if I just touch his robe,” she said as she continued to stare at Jesus.

“Just touch him? But how could that heal you?” I questioned her.

She didn’t respond. She just pressed into the crowd and disappeared from my sight. I looked at Jesus and saw him following Jairus as they walked. “He must be going to Jairus’ house,” I thought. I moved with the crowd as we followed Jesus. I wanted to see if his touch could really heal.

A moment later I saw Jairus and Jesus stop. “Who touched my clothes?” Jesus asked.

One of his disciples said what I thought, “You see the people crowding against you and yet you can ask, ‘Who touched me?’”

But Jesus persisted and kept looking in the crowd for who had touched him. I pushed my way into the mass of people surrounding Jesus for a closer look. That’s when I spotted the woman, who I saw just moments ago, fall at his feet. She was trembling as she told him what she did.

“Daughter, your faith has healed you,” Jesus said to her. “Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.”

“Had she really been healed by just touching him?” I wondered. “Could I also be healed by just touching him?”

I tried to get closer to Jesus and Jairus, but some people pushed past me and stopped in front of Jairus. “Your daughter is dead,” they said. “Why bother the teacher anymore?”

I could see Jairus’ face sink as tears began to stream down his face. That’s when I heard Jesus say to him, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”

I wanted to follow them to Jairus’ house, but he only let a few of his disciples go with him. I watched as they disappeared from sight. I was amazed as I stared at the woman who had suffered for years. The pain she always wore on her face was gone, replaced by joy. Could he bring Jairus’ daughter back to life?” I thought. His words echoed in my mind, “Don’t be afraid; just believe.”

#WednesdayWalk Through the Bible — an exploration of what unknown people might have seen or felt when they witnessed the events in the Bible. This post is from the perspective of someone who encountered the woman healed from years of bleeding as told in Mark 5:21-36 (NIV)

© 2019 CGThelen

There is a knock at the door

The hour is late

The house is quiet inside

A bare bulb lights the room

I am not expecting anyone

Who could it be at this hour

I carefully approach the door

Peer through the peep hole

I can only see darkness

I immediately know who it is

A familiar visitor from my past

I reluctantly touch the door knob

Clench my teeth, close my eyes

“No!” I whisper. “I can’t.”

I’ve come too far without it

Come too far to let it return

There’s another knock at the door

The pounding is harder

Memories and emotions resurface

Darkness wants to return

It seeks to immobilize me

Filling my life with sorrow

I release my hand from the knob

Step away from the door

The knocking persists, then stops

Silence returns to the house

Yet I know they will return

Old acquaintances testing me

I’m learning not to let them in

Learning how to deal

With the familiar knocks

Learning when to answer

And when not to answer the door

© 2019 CGThelen

I am worn out. My body is weak. I can barely breathe. It is difficult to find the words to speak to you dear Lord. In the midst of my fatigue, you strengthen me Lord. You reassure me in spite of my fear. Fill me with your courage dear Lord to face the unknown. May I find peace in knowing everything is in your hands.

“How can I, your servant, talk with you, my lord? My strength is gone and I can hardly breathe. Again the one who looked like a man touched me and gave me strength. ‘Do not be afraid, you who are highly esteemed,’ he said. ‘Peace! Be strong now; be strong.’ When he spoke to me, I was strengthened and said, ‘Speak, my lord, since you have given me strength.’” – Daniel 10:17-19 (NIV)

© 2019 CGThelen

In you dear God I find my hope. In Jesus Christ I find my salvation. Without you in my life dear Lord, I would be lost. I do not understand why you would spare a sinner like me, yet you constantly shower me with your grace. You patiently nurture me, deepening my faith. It causes me to praise you even more for what you have done in my life. Thank you God for sending your son Jesus. I praise you for your Word. I praise you dear Lord. All praise to you our Heavenly Father.

“To him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you before his glorious presence without fault and with great joy— to the only God our Savior be glory, majesty, power and authority, through Jesus Christ our Lord, before all ages, now and forevermore! Amen.” – Jude 1:24-25 (NIV)

© 2019 CGThelen

In Daniel 2, King Nebubakenezer challenges his wizards to interpret his dreams, but he insists that they tell him what the dream was about first. Instead, the wizards insist that the king tell them what the dream was about.

“What the king asks is too difficult. No one can reveal it to the king except the gods, and they do not live among humans (verse 11, NIV),” they reply. Verse 12 tells us, “This made the king so angry and furious that he ordered the execution of all the wise men of Babylon.”

The king doesn’t want what others feel he wants to hear, he wants truth. To me the king is saying he is tired of earthly wisdom and just getting mere opinions. The king is hungry for a word from the Lord and is seeking someone to give him truth. It makes me wonder if sometimes I misread people’s desire to hear about Christ and miss an opportunity to share the gospel.

Daniel’s response to the king’s desire for a true interpretation of his dream is instructive for us. There are three things I note in this passage:

Listening Before Responding

Verse 2:14 tells us that when Daniel learned about the decree to execute the wise men of Babylon, he spoke to the king’s commander “with wisdom and tact.” Daniel sought to understand the situation first. I believe He recognized the king’s desire for truth when the matter was explained to him. Daniel then scheduled a time to meet with the king.

It is the same response we should consider — seeking to understand the situation of the people God places in our life and scheduling time to meet with them for further dialogue instead of a quick response. This also allows time to seek God’s counsel.

Praying for Guidance

Daniel does not go it alone. He immediately seeks others to pray for the situation: Verse 17-18 tell us that “Daniel returned to his house and explained the matter to his friends Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah. He urged them to plead for mercy from the God of heaven concerning this mystery, so that he and his friends might not be executed with the rest of the wise men of Babylon.”

They lift up the situation in prayer, asking God to reveal the dream and its meaning. Daniel seeks God’s word and the wisdom to fill the desire for truth that God placed in the king’s heart. We too should seek others to pray with us about opportunities God gives us. We should seek God’s wisdom, his words to provide what others seek and not our own response.

Crediting God

Daniel makes clear that God is the source of the dream and its meaning in verse 27-28: “No wise man, enchanter, magician or diviner can explain to the king the mystery he has asked about, but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries.” He wants the king to understand he is only the messenger, that he is not wiser than anyone (verse 30).

Likewise, we should communicate that it is the word of God that gives us wisdom, not our own ability. We want to point others to God as the source of truth. Because Daniel credited God with his words, the king gives God credit: “Surely your God is the God of gods and the Lord of kings and a revealer of mysteries, for you were able to reveal this mystery (47).”

© 2019 CGThelen

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