Monday, January 12, 2015


"He grew a root out of dry ground."  Isaiah 53:2

Isaiah points out that Jesus sprang up "like a root out of dry ground."  Talk about tough circumstances!  God dressed up in a man's body, living among those who wanted to kill him simply because He wanted to save them.  He left Heaven - which we are hard-pressed to even imagine - to enter earth, a hostile environment filled with betrayers and religious stiff-necks, to go toe-to-toe with the devil.  So, He pulled away a lot. What a consecrated, set-apart life He had to live in order to survive among His own who despised, rejected and finally crucified Him.  He spent much time in prayer and came back from those visits with His Father encouraged and empowered.  Jesus always kept one thing in mind: He came to do His Father's will.  Just that!  And He said that as the Father had sent Him, "So send I you" [John 20:21].  So, we too should keep God's will in mind at all times as we endeavor to survive our struggles. 

We need to remember that He sent us, and that we have a job to do.  When we know that we are not our own, that our well-being and identity are not dependent upon the recognition of others, we can experience a level of peace, joy and contentment even in the toughest circumstances.  When we know that God appreciates us we can have a healthy self-esteem, not a weak dependent ego that constantly needs propping up like a loose character brings God's blessing. "For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance" [Matthew 25:29].

Sunday, January 4, 2015


"Laying his hands on each one, he healed them."  Luke 4:40

When someone interrupts your task at hand for the sake of conversation, how do you react?  If you relax and converse until the chat has natural closure, you are people oriented.  If you squirm your way out with a bombardment of verbal and nonverbal clues, you are task oriented.

Jesus spent more time with people than in any other action.  Though He did only 3-1/2 years to train 12 men to change the world, He spent most of His time meeting needs, helping people amid the unbearable pressure to perform tasks - and that is the model He left us.  At the end of one of His busiest days it is recorded that, "When the sun was setting, the people brought to Jesus all who had various kinds of sickness, and laying His hands on each one, he healed them."  What is ministry all about?  People or production? 

Obviously much of our paperwork and production is aimed at helping people.  But often there is precious little time or energy left for the people - because we are exhausted accomplishing all those tasks!  Whether we like to admit it or not, paperwork, deadlines and crowded day-timers often preoccupy us and create a barrier between us and the opportunity of connecting with people and meeting their needs.