Friday, June 26, 2009

Day 26: Good News

Good stuff happens today as we finish Luke's account of the Jesus adventure. Just when all hope was lost...Hope shows up on the road and walks a few miles with two guys, then pops into a dinner party to see if anyone will recognize Him. Jesus, recently killed, is now alive.


Here's what amazes me about this: These guys--the apostles--witness this miracle. Spiritually, everything has changed. Because of Jesus' death, now anyone can approach God freely, without an intermediary, without fear. That's rather astounding.

But yet on some level, it wasn't like the circumstances of the daily lives of these guys looked all that different. They'd witnessed something supernatural, but not everyone saw it, or would believe them. What do you do with that?

I think this is a tension many of us live with, this sense that something big is going on, that God is working in our lives, but we don't have any outward evidence to point to, and often our best guess at how things will play out ends up being totally off-base. We search for signs, for proof, for evidence we can point to to prove that Jesus is working, changing us and how things will go from this point on. But proof is elusive.

It seems important that the main thing Jesus told his followers at this juncture was WAIT: "I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high." His resurrection was the beginning of the story, Jesus suggested, not the end. God had more in store for His people, power they'd need to take the journey God had planned for them.

This power, you might recall from our look at Acts last year, was God's Holy Spirit. Not only could we now communicate directly with God, but God would come and live inside of us, guiding us, interceding for us, and being with us every day.

At the beginning of our 40 Days, I shared about how I've been singing Ryanhood's AROUND THE SUN all spring. I have this sense that God is taking me somewhere I can't get on my own. But I'll need to stay closely in touch with Him, I'll need all the help I can get. And I'll need to remember that Jesus is alive, and that Jesus=hope.

Anyone else get that same feeling?

"Ready to go? Honey let's begin...we'll try to see by the light of the sun and tell it like it is."


Myowne said...

I am so there. There is a place that while I can't really explain where it is, I know that God is doing something in my life that is built upon concrete change. And I can't get there on my own or alone. And I'm glad I'm not responsible for the journey.

kim said...

Yes, I totally get this sense too. I've often felt like Peter on the lake, when he had to keep his eyes on Jesus. I love how God wants us to depend on him and I'm so relieved it's not all up to me. I used to live like it was all up to me and it isn't very satisfying and I felt so lost and alone. I'm amazed how much God loves us and wants us to do everything with and through him. Yeah God! That said, now I pray for patience, obedience and faithfulness.

Stella said...

Honestly? Most days I believe so, some days its not so easy and I just feel lost. I have the sense that the clock is ticking on my dreams which takes me to an uncomfortable place. (It "occurred" to me as I wrote this that I should take some quiet time and ask Him what to do with the uncomfortable-ness.)

Myowne - I hope someday I reach the level of faith maturity you've achieved. You express yourself beautifully.

Kim - Peter on the lake ... I SOOOO get that!!! Thank you!


Breeza said...

I echo what Myowne said. I know that God is doing something in my life and He will reveal it in time. I'm also so thankful that I'm not doing it myself or alone!

lak0838 said...

Love the title of today, "Good News!" God had gave me a date to stand on and as I type this I am reluctant to admit it as it feels crazy to say outloud. He has never given me a date before but I believe since He knows how long I have been believing on this one (over 20 years), maybe He felt bad for me:) God gave me June 26th as the day to stand in faith that He will move on my behalf, and that next year the same date it will be manifested. There I said it and I feel good admitting it. As I meditated and was excited about today, my prayer became "Lord even if you don't want to show me exactly how you worked on my behalf today, I am going to continue to be excited and meditate on your goodness knowing that you did something great today for me." Those who have been given a date - maybe that was the point. Just to reflect and be excited even if you don't get to see the manifestation yet. Just believe today He is placing your order:)

My daughter gave me this story that she got in her youth group night at church. She knows what I am standing in faith on and has been my biggest cheerleader (thank the Lord for those). She said she thought it was for me. And the night she gave it to me, it was. I was so tired and discouraged and after reading it, it was straight from the Lord. God placed it on my heart today to post it for everyone. It is long and I apologize for taking up so much space today, but I think you will be as encouraged by it as I was. Some good news for you all!

Pushing Against The Rock
Author Unknown

There once was a man who was asleep one night in his cabin when suddenly his room filled with light and the Saviour appeared to him.

The Lord told him He had a work for him to do, and showed him a large rock explaining that he was to push against the rock with all his might. This the man did, and for many days he toiled from sunup to sundown; his shoulder set squarely against the cold massive surface of the rock, pushing with all his might. Each night the man returned to his cabin sore and worn out, feeling his whole day had been spent in vain.

Seeing that the man showed signs of discouragement, Satan decided to enter the picture - placing thoughts in the mind such as "Why kill yourself over this?, you’re never going to move it!" or "’Boy, you’ve been at it a long time and you haven’t even scratched the surface!" etc. giving the man the impression the task was impossible and the man was an unworthy servant because he wasn’t moving the massive stone.

These thoughts discouraged and disheartened the man and he started to ease up in his efforts. "’Why kill myself?." he thought. "’I’ll just put in my time putting forth just the minimum of effort and that will be good enough." And this he did or at least planned on doing until, one day, he decided to take his troubles to the Lord.

"’Lord," he said, "I have labored hard and long in Your service, putting forth all my strength to do that which You have asked of me. Yet after all this time, I have not even budged that rock even half a millimeter. What is wrong? Why am I failing?"

To this the Lord responded compassionately, "My friend, when long ago I asked you to serve Me and you accepted, ! told you to push against the rock with all your strength and that you have done. But never once did I mention to you that I expected you to move it. At least not by yourself. Your task was ,to push. And now you come to Me, your strength spent, thinking that you have failed, ready to quit. But is this really so? Look at yourself. Your areas are strong and muscled; your back sinewed and brown. Your hands are calloused from constant pressure and your legs have become massive and hard. Through opposition you have grown much and your ability now far surpasses that which you used to have. Yet still, you haven’t succeeded in moving the rock; and you come to Me now with a heavy heart and your strength spent. I, my friend will move the rock. Your calling was to be obedient and push, and to exercise your faith and trust in My wisdom, and this you have done."

himmiefan said...

Hello! I've have been meaning to leave a comment for some time. I've been lurking and doing the 40 days along with everyone. My plan was to read everyday and to practice listening to God more and to fast from religious books and articles and focus on the Bible (I'm really good at reading about faith, reading about forgiveness, but as some point, you actually have to start doing those things...and read the Bible!). Anyway, that was the plan. Weeeellll, I had several business trips, family came in town, etc., so the plan went out the window. One thing that I really wanted to practice during these 40 days was believing that God has big things in store for me - great husband, healthy baby, etc. But, for quite some time, all I felt was nothing. No despair, but no hope either. It's only been in the last few days that hope has come back. I've been reminding myself about the time a few months ago when I felt God saying that no good thing would he withhold from me. Strange wording, right? Well, I looked it up, and it's part of a Psalm that says that no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless (um, what if your walk is pretty good or not so bad?). So, I've been reminding myself of that plus telling myself that God will make a way, God has a great husband for me, etc. - trying to believe big.

Stella, I so understand about the ticking clock. I just have to tell myself over and over that God is in charge and can do anything.

himmiefan said...

lak0838 - what a great story!

Suzanne said...

Oh I hope so, I keep repeating Jeremiah 29:11 and expecting (hoping) for the best.

heiress said...

I believe that there is an important principle about confirming to us when we have heard Gods voice. In 2 Cor. 13:1 “Every matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. It has been my experience that whenever I believed I had been told the who or when in regards to the desires of my heart, Jesus would send me confirmation not only from Him to me, but also through other trusted counsel around me, and that in turn would be the confirmation I needed to be certain that I heard from God, and not from my own mind.

In Genesis 17:21 God told Abraham “But my covenant will be confirmed with Isaac, who will be born to you and Sarah about this time next year.” Then in Genesis 18:14 the Lord appeared to Abraham again in the form of three men, they confirmed what God had told Abraham to his wife Sarah as well and said, “Is anything too hard for the LORD? I will return about this time next year, and Sarah will have a son.” Jesus also did the same thing for Mary & Joseph and Zechariah & Elizabeth. The Holy Spirit came over Elizabeth and she knew when Mary arrived that she was going to be the mother of Jesus, which confirmed exactly what the angel Gabriel had told Mary.

For me I do believe that in the Bible as well as in the natural there are times when God reveals the who and the when parts of answered prayers.

To lak0838 and all of us, Luke 1:45 says “Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished.”

lak0838 said...

Heiress - thank you for the encouraging words and scriptures. I did get confirmation by two other sources on my situation! Cause Lord knows we can (and I did) think well maybe it is just me and not God. I needed to be reminded of all God has done to confirm things to me.

kim said...

This is all so great! I love this thread. So often I sense God is stretching my faith, trust, obedience in this time of waiting -- like your story lak0838. Today I heard several times "to delight in the Lord and he'll give you the desires of your heart". I sense the Lord is wanting me to still push in, but now with the playfulness and simplicity of a child. It's ironic, because I also sense he is working on maturing me. I also find it interesting how along the journey, it seems he wants us pushing in in different ways.

himmiefan said...

I totally agree with the confirmation part, which I've received....