I have been thinking a lot about time lately, about how in many ways time is complex and yet in others, very simple. It passes without any input from us and yet we spend so much of the time we have in trying to control it. Sometimes it seems to fly and at others, to crawl. We have scientists telling us that our very perception of time actually causes it to change. We live in interesting times and sometimes we think that ours is the most important time that there is. As if nothing of importance happened before we came along. As if God Himself has forgotten about us and abandoned us because in our minds things are so very bad that He must not care.
I was reminded of the story of Lazarus this morning. I was listening to music and one of my favorites began playing. It is one that is sometimes sung by my friend and church sister, Keva, who has a beautiful voice. It is about the sorrow of Lazarus’ sisters, Mary and Martha, when Jesus didn’t arrive while Lazarus was still alive. How sad they must have felt. Perhaps they even felt anger and betrayal, knowing that Jesus could have saved him.
And yet Jesus used this time to teach all the rest of us a story that was so much bigger that the death of a beloved brother and friend. He taught of the resurrection from physical death, but He also taught of the irrelevance of time in His actions. The time in the tomb meant nothing to Lazarus. It meant a great deal and a wonderful lesson to the rest of us.
Whatever we want is limited by our time, but time has no limits on God. And He isn’t bound by our rules or desires. We may look at the story of Lazarus and question if Jesus didn’t care enough to get there sooner, perhaps some may even question if He was cold in His use of this as a lesson to all of those present, as well as the rest of us who believe in Him. And yet this was perhaps one of His greatest lessons and gifts to the world. With the resurrection of Lazarus He not only gave us a foretelling of His own death and resurrection, He gave us confirmation of the reality of resurrection and the knowledge that we too, could have the opportunity that Lazarus had.
If Jesus had come earlier, while Lazarus was still alive, no one would have had the reassurance that He too would be resurrected. Our time is not God’s time! His plan is working along just fine and each of us is playing our part. We make the choices everyday on what to do with our time, perhaps we spend too much time worrying about whether God is listening or whether He even hears us. Whether Jesus is going to hurry and save us from ourselves. Perhaps in this time of celebrating His birth, we should spend our time giving thanks for the sacrifice that He gave. He keeps His promise and Jesus will return at the time that His Father wishes.
King James Version (KJV)
11 Now a certain man was sick, named Lazarus, of Bethany, the town of Mary and her sister Martha.
2 (It was that Mary which anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped his feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.)
3 Therefore his sisters sent unto him, saying, Lord, behold, he whom thou lovest is sick.
4 When Jesus heard that, he said, This sickness is not unto death, but for the glory of God, that the Son of God might be glorified thereby.
5 Now Jesus loved Martha, and her sister, and Lazarus.
6 When he had heard therefore that he was sick, he abode two days still in the same place where he was.
7 Then after that saith he to his disciples, Let us go into Judaea again.
8 His disciples say unto him, Master, the Jews of late sought to stone thee; and goest thou thither again?
9 Jesus answered, Are there not twelve hours in the day? If any man walk in the day, he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world.
10 But if a man walk in the night, he stumbleth, because there is no light in him.
11 These things said he: and after that he saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go, that I may awake him out of sleep.
12 Then said his disciples, Lord, if he sleep, he shall do well.
13 Howbeit Jesus spake of his death: but they thought that he had spoken of taking of rest in sleep.
14 Then said Jesus unto them plainly, Lazarus is dead.
15 And I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent ye may believe; nevertheless let us go unto him.
16 Then said Thomas, which is called Didymus, unto his fellowdisciples, Let us also go, that we may die with him.
17 Then when Jesus came, he found that he had lain in the grave four days already.
18 Now Bethany was nigh unto Jerusalem, about fifteen furlongs off:
19 And many of the Jews came to Martha and Mary, to comfort them concerning their brother.
20 Then Martha, as soon as she heard that Jesus was coming, went and met him: but Mary sat still in the house.
21 Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.
22 But I know, that even now, whatsoever thou wilt ask of God, God will give it thee.
23 Jesus saith unto her, Thy brother shall rise again.
24 Martha saith unto him, I know that he shall rise again in the resurrection at the last day.
25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:
26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?
27 She saith unto him, Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God, which should come into the world.
28 And when she had so said, she went her way, and called Mary her sister secretly, saying, The Master is come, and calleth for thee.
29 As soon as she heard that, she arose quickly, and came unto him.
30 Now Jesus was not yet come into the town, but was in that place where Martha met him.
31 The Jews then which were with her in the house, and comforted her, when they saw Mary, that she rose up hastily and went out, followed her, saying, She goeth unto the grave to weep there.
32 Then when Mary was come where Jesus was, and saw him, she fell down at his feet, saying unto him, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.
33 When Jesus therefore saw her weeping, and the Jews also weeping which came with her, he groaned in the spirit, and was troubled.
34 And said, Where have ye laid him? They said unto him, Lord, come and see.
35 Jesus wept.
36 Then said the Jews, Behold how he loved him!
37 And some of them said, Could not this man, which opened the eyes of the blind, have caused that even this man should not have died?
38 Jesus therefore again groaning in himself cometh to the grave. It was a cave, and a stone lay upon it.
39 Jesus said, Take ye away the stone. Martha, the sister of him that was dead, saith unto him, Lord, by this time he stinketh: for he hath been dead four days.
40 Jesus saith unto her, Said I not unto thee, that, if thou wouldest believe, thou shouldest see the glory of God?
41 Then they took away the stone from the place where the dead was laid. And Jesus lifted up his eyes, and said, Father, I thank thee that thou hast heard me.
42 And I knew that thou hearest me always: but because of the people which stand by I said it, that they may believe that thou hast sent me.
43 And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.
44 And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.
Our Guest Pastor today was Bro. Bill Casey out of Russlleville, Ar. His message was on the question of “Are You Tired In The Faith?” but while he was preaching and teaching on this message, I was hearing another message too. I am not sure if it was his intention or if it is just something that came through as well.
The additional message I got was on the promise’s of God. He started with the Psalm 80:3 “Restore us, O God; Cause Your face to shine, And we shall be saved.” We are beginning to pray for revival and restoration of faith, and this was a very uplifting call for renewal, both in Bro. Casey’s message as well as the songs picked by the worship leader.
A short way into Bro. Casey’s message he reintroduced the resurrection from a slightly different perspective that he had been using previously. This was how quickly the world intruded on those closest to Jesus after He was crucified. He pointed out how Mary and the other women who went to the tomb, didn’t expect to find that He had risen, even though this was what he had told them would happen. They were going to the tomb with spices in order to prepare the body. The same with the Apostles, they were told by Jesus Himself and yet they expected to see the body where it had been left. The world intruded and as much as they believed when He told them, it was still not what they expected.
Beyond this message that the world intrudes and we forget momentarily, is the fact that Jesus stood on His promise. There was another promise that was made as well that we do well to remember and cry out with praise at His glory and His gift that He left with us.
That is the Holy Spirit. Anyone who has ever attended a church where the Holy Spirit is going through, knows what I am talking about. And for all of those of you that doubt the power, I suggest to you that you are doubting the promise of God. And in doing so you are closing your heart on the possibilities and the promises that Jesus left with us.
So, how is your faith? Is it strong enough to accept the Holy Spirit into it? Is your faith the faith of a mustard seed? Or perhaps you have forgotten your faith totally and are just going through the motions. I wonder if you are happy then? Is this world in the shape it is in, really what you want? Are you searching for something more.
God moves my friends. He stands on His promises, and the promises are there for you if you but ask. That is all you have to do, ask and it shall be answered. God is there for anyone who truly is looking for Him. Knock and it shall be opened, ask and it shall be given.
Father, please listen to those who are asking for Your love, You gave Your love to us when You gave Your Son. Open hearts and minds Lord God, most Holy. Let the Holy Spirit come in to those who desire it, Lord. In Your Son Jesus name, I ask Father. Amen and amen.
This is an important story about a young man named Gabriel who is in the fight of his life. Please keep him in your prayers and pass this story along via twitter, FB and everywhere else. If you would like to repost I would consider it a blessing, but most important is to pray for this young man and his family. When I asked if I could repost this, Rebecca responded “Loopy, Thank you. Yes, that would be good of you. Gabriel fights daily to be well and to do the things he does. He’s a brilliant little one with a heart of gold already. We worry about the many issues he has, to include CHD (congenital heart disease) and CHF (congestive heart failure). He also has already had chest surgery to remove a precancerous mass from behind his heart. So now, to top all off, we are on very high alert for Leukemia. If we were ever denied help because of his medical history (IE Down Syndrome), I don’t know what I’d do. I’d probably turn into the equivalent of the father on the movie in which his child needed a heart transplant?, he no longer had money, and the insurance was gone, as well. He held up the hospital staff (John Q with Denzel Washington)…and forced them to operate. Noone can ever say what they would feel in their heart when their child is facing a life threatening situation. You are great for offering up the chance for more prayers. His last surgery, I had five churches and their congregations praying when he had the previous chest surgery in late May. It would be a blessing to him and myself. Thank you. I happily accept whatever help can be given, prayers being the most meaningful and beneficial of any help out there. Blessings, Rebecca”
Here is a part of Gabriel’s story:Although I’m 15 months late starting this, it seems a most critical time to begin journaling about you. At this moment, doctors are deciding when you will have your heart surgery, Gabriel. They say you need to have it done before RSV season hits. Your heart is enlarging and the “shunt” to your lungs is increasing so that means pressure in your lungs is increasing. That isn’t how it’s supposed to go so the doctors want to fix the holes in your heart. You have two. One that is in the lower part of your heart called a VSD and the other is in the upper part of your heart that is called a PFO. They are also planning your immunization against RSV. It’s a monthly shot you will get to keep you from getting this respiratory virus. See, the reason you need it is because of those two holes in your heart. They make you susceptible to severe illness should you get this virus. And we don’t want that! Anything mommy can do to help you get well and stay well, you can count on me to do it. Yes, your surgery is a big deal but it’s a much bigger deal if you don’t do it. You are such a valuable addition to the world. They don’t know how lucky they are to have you in it. It’s my job to give you every opportunity to grow, learn, laugh and play. It’s also my responsibility to protect you and teach you. This surgery will give us years and years longer to accomplish our love crusade. So, surgery will be within the next several weeks to two months. It’s a waiting game for us now. Please read the rest at
When the angel visited Mary and told her she would be the host to carry the Son of God, she showed amazing courage and grace. Both in the way that she accepted the charge that she was given, and the grace in how she handled the situation in which she found herself. She was set to marry Joseph, and a woman that became pregnant could have been stoned to death. At the very least, she must have expected to be put aside. After all, no where in the Bible does it say that the angel told her that Joseph would not only accept her, but then, raise the child as his own.
The courage that Joseph showed was amazing too. When the angel visited him and told him that the woman he intended to marry was carrying the Son of God, he didn’t hesitate. If others knew that it wasn’t his child he probably would have lost a good deal of face. He was an established carpenter, but even a well liked and respected carpenter could have lost business because of the loss of respect. But he chose to do so anyway.
Modern day courage comes in many forms. You only have to look and the men and women who ran toward and into the twin towers, knowing that they may die, and many of them did. Look also, at the men and women who lingered to help others get out, some of them suffered terrific injuries, and some lost their lives trying to help others. Even the ones that came after to help clean the site, showed a courage above and beyond the ordinary. They came from all over to help. They didn’t do it for fame or recognition, but simply because they felt the need to do something, and this was something they could do.
Then you have the men and women who join the military. Whether you agree with them or not is immaterial, the courage they show in doing so, and knowing that they may have to give their life is amazing. The ones who make this choice deserve all the respect that we can give them. They leave their homes, go to far away places, face problems at home, and lots of times never get the respect they so richly deserve.
Then there are the men and women who make the choice to raise children. Take the men who either lose their wives, or the mother of their child simply doesn’t want the responsibility. We often recognize that it is difficult for a single mother, but how much harder is it for the single father? At least for the single mother there are often support groups out there. If the man is a Christian, at the very least he has the support of his Church, but in many cases, he doesn’t. If you think raising a child by yourself doesn’t take courage, all I can say is you haven’t raised a child.
Even harder is raising a child with special needs. For the men and women who choose to do this, I wish that people would have a little respect. I have seen at times, the mockery of people that have no idea of the cause of the problems the children have, and sometimes the irrational blame of the parents for the problems. Not only do the children suffer from this attitude, but so do the parents. It is something that everyone who has a special needs child has to deal with almost everyday. It takes courage to keep a special needs child when some of those around you encourage you to give it up, all for your own benefit of course. I have worked in a pediatric nursing home where some of the children were abandoned because of their problems. An some of them were abused because they were considered less than human.
Another type of courage, is the courage to not abort a baby that you know will be special needs. Simply saying, God it is in your hands, is probably one of the greatest acts of courage there is. It is something that is often hard to do. It is often when we have no other option, that we decide to give everything to God, and it’s fairly easy then. After all what else is there to do? But knowing there are other options, and still making that choice, that takes an amazing amount of courage and a great love of God. It takes an tremendous faith and belief in the Almighty Father. That is one of the many reasons we have so much respect for Sarah Palin. It is also one of the reasons we understand why it is so important for some to take her down.
When Jesus was born, and taken to the temple, eight days after his birth, Simeon was there, and Mary must have known that he was born to die. If she didn’t before, she knew after hearing Simeon speak. That take a great deal of courage, knowing your child will not live the full life that we all hope our children will have. We never want to outlive our children.
But the courage that Jesus had, that is the greatest courage of all, being born to take the sins for all of us on him. It was not something he had to do. He could have taken all the power he desired. He was the Son of God. But he became a man for us.For everyone that has courage I have so much respect, but is there any greater courage that that. Not to die for a loved one or a friend, but to die for all of us. Knowing that many would mock him, not just his birth or his death, but to mock his life itself. It is the kind of courage we envy, but know that it is probably something we would not do. I give thanks that I know he came to save me, along with everyone else. And although I don’t know the exact time and day that He was born, I do know that he was. And while some say the that is not important, I believe that it is. And in this day and age when being a believer in the US is hard for some, it is not anything like being a believer in China, Iraq, Iran or many other countries. That is a great act of courage today!