Friends I am excited to write to you today. I feel like I have been learning so much!
The verse for today is in Mark 6:1-6:
Jesus left there and went to his hometown, accompanied by his disciples. When the Sabbath came, he began to teach in the synagogue, and many who heard him were amazed.
“Where did this man get these things?” they asked. “What’s this wisdom that has been given him? What are these remarkable miracles he is performing? Isn’t this the carpenter? Isn’t this Mary’s son and the brother of James, Joseph, Judas and Simon? Aren’t his sisters here with us?” And they took offense at him.
Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and in his own home.” He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. He was amazed at their lack of faith
This verse really got me to thinking. At first I didn’t feel like I could relate, but then I was reading Facebook and I saw a post from a good friend who used to be a neighbor of mine. She has a very sweet teen daughter who used to come over to my house and just talk to me . That was so endearing, so special. But anyway, this girl has sickle cell anemia, and my friend posted that her daughter is in the hospital, and asked everyone to please pray for her.
Of course I said I would pray for this sweet young teen. But I realized, when I started to pray, that I was kind of just going through the motions, because I didn’t think that Jesus was going to answer this in a dynamic way. I have so many individuals I pray for and I’m just praying for them and thinking something good might happen, but not really thinking that Jesus is going to perform a miracle.
And it struck me that I’m just like the people in Jesus’s hometown. I don’t see him as the Son of God. I don’t realize that’s who I’m talking to.
So I decided I’m going to change, and since then I’ve started praying and really thinking about who I’m talking to and what he’s capable of. And I’ve begun to see that it’s not so much a problem of not believing that God has the power. Because I do. The problem is that I’m not sure that God wants to heal people, or that he wants to answer the prayers that I’m praying. And so this morning when I was praying about this, this verse came to mind: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35) Jesus said this and I know it is true! God loves to give. He shown that all through the Bible. Of course he wants to answer prayer! Of course he wants to help people!
And even without all that, I should be also looking at the evidence of the miracles all around me. Last night is the perfect example. We went out and we celebrated my friend Markeya passing the boards to be a dental hygienist. How cool is this? It’s the best story.
I remember about five years ago when I met Markeya and she told me she had a white board and on it she wrote her goals and her dreams. One of those dreams was to be a dental hygienist. She also dreamed that she would be close to God and get her relationship right with God . We help that dream come true very quickly.
But she had to work hard to achieve her second dream. She had to spend the money and go to dental assistant school. And then after she finished the school, she couldn’t find work in her field. It took about a year but she finally did get a job and she was hired from among many applicants to work in Valley, Alabama. To do so she had to wake up early every morning, because it was in a different time zone. After a long time, the authorities at her job said they would sponsor her to go to dental hygienist school. And Markeya drove up once a month to Birmingham and and took classes and studied. It was very hard for her to work and then go to school, but now she’s passed her boards and she’s just a few short steps away from being a dental hygienist and achieving her dreams! It truly is amazing, and I believe 100% that God is behind this miracle. It shows me that he loves to give good gifts to us .
It’s all about changing our perspective. Yesterday I was totally struggling with a couple things and I thought, “God, why am I in this situation?” And I was feeling frustrated, until I remembered one thing I learned from this great book called “Soul Work” by Randy Harris. Harris wrote that he likes to envision that each day he is taking a road trip with God. I’ve started doing the same thing. I get up in the morning and say, “God, what shall we do today, where shall we go?” And then it’s like I have an adventure with God every day.
So when I remembered this, I said, “Okay God, here I am in this situation. This is like an obstacle we’ve come to on our road trip. What should I do?” I said that knowing that he was right there with me, ready to help me, involved in what I was doing. It wasn’t like I was a victim. It wasn’t like I had to pressured by all of these expectations of what I should do and be. It helped me take a deep breath and get a different perspective, that I could handle it.
So that brings me to one other thing I want to share with you that’s really help me lately to be more secure and deal with challenges It’s the verse in John 15 where Jesus says, “I am the vine and you are the branches.” (John 15:5) This verse has really made a difference to me because I’ve started envisioning myself as a branch that goes out from this strong tree trunk. My status is as solid as that branch and tree. I am in Christ. I’m saved.
Before, I had been feeling somehow like I wasn’t good enough. Even though I knew I was saved, sometimes I just felt like I wasn’t where I needed to be. But it really helped me to realize and picture that I am that branch, and I am connected to the tree, and there’s nothing that’s going to change that unless I just conscientiously cut myself off.
So that’s what I want to leave with you today. Build your faith by remembering that God loves to give. Build your relationship with God by taking a road trip with him today, and knowing that, together with him, you can deal with whatever comes your way. Build your security by realizing that you are a branch connected to the firm trunk, which is him.
Now let’s go out and have an adventure!