Love Challenge: Day 5

Day Five. Today’s Challenge is to bless someone you do not get along with…now it’s getting really challenging!

Oh it’s easy enough to love those who love you, but to bless those who curse you, to love your enemy, that is drawing from the love of Christ (Luke 6:32). It seems easy to hold onto unforgiveness, bitterness, anger, jealousy, but to let these things go will also bless us as it removes us from our sin and bondage towards that person. When you hold on to wounds you remain damaged, preventing you from knowing love in freedom and wholeness, so today (even if  for your own sake), or simply out of knowing the Lords forgiveness and grace for you (1 John 4:19), choose today to be the day to move past it, draw from God and stand a healed person. You do not have to become this person’s best friend, but allow yourself the chance to receive all the blessings from God available when you live in the freedom of love for Christ. Be the one to make the move toward reconciliation today.

Listen to me!

In desperation the man cried out. Unable to move closer to Jesus he simply exerted from every bit of breath within him a cry that would sound out over the crowd “Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me.” No reply. That would not stop him, with every last ounce of him he would continue to call… “Jesus, son of David, Have mercy on me.” People were getting frustrated. All around him there were looks of disgust cast in his direction. Oh he knew how they felt about him, they were embarrassed, angered, and just wanted him to disappear, so they began telling him off. He would not give up. “Jesus, son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus stopped. He called for the man to be brought to him. Jesus listened, and then he healed. (Luke 18:35-42)

Frustration, exasperation, is there anything worse than that shout within you “you are not listening to me!” This story about the blind man receiving his sight pulls me back to the reality that being heard and being listened to are two very different things. This blind man was crying out in desperate need for help and while people heard noise, Jesus, unlike the others, stopped and listened to what he had to say. For communication to be effective it needs to have two parties involved but unfortunately, through busyness, disinterest, pride or absent-mindedness we are all guilty of not listening to someone at some point; whether it be to your parents, your spouse, your children, a person crying out for help, or to God. Whether or not you agree with what someone has to say it is worthwhile taking the time to properly hear them out; not only because we all have a need to be heard, but also because you never know through whom God is speaking. God can use a child to speak to you, he can use a non-Christian, a mature Christian or somebody you don’t even like, the question is, are you listening?

When was the last time you consciously put down what you were doing and truly listened with all your attention when someone was speaking to you? (without thinking about what you are going to say next)

When was the last time you sought out someone who felt they needed to be heard and made the effort?

When was the last time you listened to God with all your attention, with the intention to obey?

Take the challenge today. Don’t just hear, but stop and listen.

Jesus said “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me—  just as the Father knows me and I know the Father—and I lay down my life for the sheep.  I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.” John 10:14-16

“Why doesnt God heal people anymore?”

Why doesnt God heal people anymore? Its a question that Ive been asked by many new Christians. Unfortunately God is a work in both natural and supernatural ways around us all the time and we often fail to see either. So, let me give praise to God for His supernatural work in my life this weekend, and I hope it breathes fresh faith into you to seek more of God.

Now I’m not saying God will always heal, He hasnt always healed me, and I dont always know why this is the case but I have learned to trust His better judgement when His answer is ‘no.’ However Saturday and the majority of Sunday I was flat out on my back with pain. All I had done was put conditioner in my hair but the muscles spasmed from my neck and down half my back and I couldnt move well at all. By the time I was at church Dave was making best of the situation and making fun of my inability to turn my head. We began the service by sharing what God had been doing in our worlds (which was amazing!) and thankfully we took a few minutes to pray for healing for me.

The prayers weren’t anything out of the ordinary, there was no magic formula used, in fact nobody even laid hands on me, but God answered and in a matter of minutes I could move my head arms and back freely without restriction! It was relieveing and exciting and beautiful. The funny thing about it was that we had asked God to heal my back a number of times before this, but with only a little relief each time. It was almost as though God was waiting for a room full of people to see, and be a part of the miracle. It is proper when God recieves glory for who He is and the work He does. Remember the lame man in Acts 3? After his healing he praised God for all to see! Let’s take a leaf out of his book and with gratitude be joyous about the things God has done.

What Miraculous work has God done in your life? Tell somebody about it today to give God the glory for it. Let somebody know that Jesus is still at work in the world today and in your life. It doesnt have to be wierd or creepy, but if  you are genuinely excited about something, you will be bringing it up in conversation without even thinking about it. (Just like a footy fan always bringing up the latest game). May the joy of God fill your heart today.

 Acts 3:9 “When all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.”