Archive for July, 2012

                  (Nisa- Miracle)



We have prayed for this day for 9 years.  We have ached for the losses and doubted our faith.  We refused to give up even when we were labeled as a “Chronic Miscarriage” case.  When the entire world (and even God himself from a purely worldly standpoint) seemed to be saying emphatically NO, the Holy Spirit whispered in our ears to leave it in the Father’s hands.  So we did.  Don’t get me wrong we cried, we wailed, we begged over and over again.  We wanted at times to throw in the towel and act out of our own understanding.  We still do not completely understand, but understand this:  We have a mighty heavenly Father who cares for us in ways that I cannot begin to fathom.  He loves us in a way that is so far beyond my understanding that I only touch the edges of what AGAPE really means!

Several weeks ago while in prayer God gave me the name Nisa Faith.  Indeed she is a miracle of faith, not the simple faith of a single prayer or even the cry for healing but the faith of a 9 year journey.  She represents to us the faith of Abraham as he led his entire family to Canaan.  She represents the faith of Joseph as he waited in slavery, in prison for God to act.  She is even now, yet in the womb that miracle, an incredible act of God.

The difficult part to grasp is that my statement about our Father’s love for us is not just true because Nisa is healthy and strong.  It is an eternal truth that is expressed in both the tragic and the joyful.  He does not love us more now than he did on the very days that we miscarried our other seven precious babies.  The reality is that our journey to the fulfillment of the call that He had placed on our lives led us directly through David’s “Valley of the Shadow of Death”.  While we might prefer a detour around the Valley, God does not promise that.  He does promise that he will be with us, standing by us with His rod and staff and even more importantly for New Testament believers dwelling in us.  Many times it is not until after we are through the Valley that we are able to look back and see that God wielded His rod and staff on our behalf as we walked that  difficult road.

Even more than she represents the miracle of life to us, she is the miracle of faith itself.  Perhaps a better way to say it is that she is an expression of miraculous faith.  Faith inspired by the ongoing presence of God in our lives.  It is the faith that kept Abraham going on his 400 mile journey.  It is the faith that kept him in relationship with God even when he arrived only to face famine.  It is the faith that saw the birth of Isaac and the substitution of a ram for his only child on the mountain before God.  It is not a faith of the perfect life or of perfect people. It is a faith that traverses pitfalls and carries us through our own mistakes; faith that originates not with us but in the very heart of God and comes to us as a gift from the hands of our heavenly Father.  It is Nisa Faith.

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.  He makes me to lied down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters.  He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.  Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.  You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You have anointed my head with oil; My cup overflows.  Surely goodness and lovingkindness will follow me all the days of my life, And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.


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She stood by her seat watching Allana lead the children in dancing to the praises of our savior.  Just her toes wriggled to the music.  She had already been asked several times if she would like to join the children up front and dance but had said,” N0.”  Still she stood there staring and wriggling.  I walked over and asked her again, “Would you like to go up and dance with the other kids?”  She shook her head no but kept staring and wriggling.  “You don’t have to belong or have to know the songs you can watch Miss Allana”, I tried.  Still no, but then I could see her gather her will together and she looked straight at me and said, “I’m afraid.”  Her face turned red with this moment of pure honesty.  “Tell you what, why don’t I walk up there with you and put you right between Miss Allana and Sami so you can follow right along with them.”  Her eyes got big and she slowly shook her head yes and whispered, “OK”.  I walked her up, placed her between Sami and Allana and then watched her blossom to life dancing with all her heart for the next 30 minutes.

Sometimes people will respond to tracts, tv shows, invitations to church services, revivals or even altar calls.  But sometimes they are waiting for someone to take that long walk to our Savior with them.  It seems like just a short and easy stroll to us but they are afraid.  They can see the joy, the fun but for whatever reason that walk is terrifying.  They are waiting for someone to walk with them, hand in hand; to introduce them personally to Jesus and then to tuck them in right between the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  Maybe they should grow up and get over it.  Maybe they should not be so stubborn and afraid.  Or just maybe we just need  to be ready to walk that walk with them.

There was a man who lived in Jericho, a wealthy and powerful man.  He could have easily summoned Jesus to him or approached Jesus through the crowd using his many servants to clear the way.  But he didn’t.  He ran ahead and climbed a tree.  I think that perhaps he had listened to the greatest lie that Satan ever came up with, “You are not the sort of person that Jesus could love.”  Still he wanted to see Jesus.  How surprised he must have been when Jesus stopped at that tree and said, ” ‘Zaccheus, hurry and come down, for today I must stay at your house.’ And he hurried and came down and received him gladly.  When they saw it, they all began to grumble, saying, ‘He has gone to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.’  Zaccheus stopped and said to the Lord, ‘Behold, Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much.’ And Jesus said to him, ‘Today salvation has come to this house, because he, too, is a son of Abraham.  for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.”  (Luke 19:5b-10)

“Zaccheus stopped…”  After the invitation there was the long walk back to Zaccheus’ house.  For Zaccheus it was a walk of shame, a walk that reinforced the lie of Satan.  It is a walk that so many are unable to take alone.  Jesus took that walk with Zaccheus.  It was not in the safety of his home that Zaccheus found salvation.  It was not kneeling at the altar or standing in the revival.  It was walking with Jesus.  “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.”  (Ephesians 5:1-2:  bold  lettering is mine)

Maybe it is time for all of us to take a little walk, to pray that the Holy Spirit will point out those Zaccheuses waiting up in a tree to walk with us;  those little girls wriggling their toes waiting by their chairs to dance, giving us the opportunity to be imitators of God Himself and walk in love.

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I recently participated in a discussion of Galatians 2. While the discussion narrowed in on 2:20, it was 2:18 that caught my eye.

15 We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; 16 yet we know that a person is not justified[b] by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.1But if, in our endeavor to be justified in Christ, we too were found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not! 1For if I rebuild what I tore down, I prove myself to be a transgressor. 19 For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness[c] were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.  

This chapter cycles through some of Paul’s relationship with the other Apostles and the leadership of the Jerusalem church.  It begins with their acceptance of the Gospel message that God had commissioned Paul to deliver but then moves into a point of contention between Paul and Peter.  As I read through the chapter and came to verse 18 I was reminded of a TV show that I watched as a child, The Six Million Dollar Man.  The main character had been physically destroyed in a horrible accident, those of you who are old enough will remember the tag line, “We can rebuild him, we have the technology.”

Paul called Peter out for being a bionic Christian.  When we commit our lives to Christ our human nature, our sinful nature is destroyed.  In this process we hand over everything that we are, will be and hope to be over to God.  But our nature strongly opposes this process.  Just as the scientists were driven to use their technology to rebuild Steve Austin physically, we are tempted to rely on our own abilities to justify ourselves before God.  The corollary is that we often believe that we have arrived and need to hold others accountable to this standard also.  Instead of allowing the Holy Spirit to transform us into the likeness of Christ we rely on ourselves to rebuild us; hoping to achieve an improved model.  We become bionic Christians and so end up mired in sin so subtle that we believe we are headed in the right direction.  When we rely on our own understanding and abilities we negate the very core of the Gospel. We rebuild the very thing that separated humanity from God in the first place, our will over His.


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