Leb Blog

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Power in the Testimony

 Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.” Acts 2:13

As the true-story of the Day of Pentecost unfolds in the book of Acts, a statement is made that causes Peter to place the foolish talk of men in its proper place.  Jesus spoke to the disciples before his departure and said, "Wait for the gift my Father will send".  So as the gift arrives, men of no faith can not understand it.  They begin to say that the manifestation of the Spirit of God, this gift that has been sent to empower the believers, that somehow what the crowd was "hearing" was invoked by wine.  That's pretty funny.  If anyone was to believe that "they" were drunk, it would have been the crowds who had too much wine; the ones "hearing" the Galileans proclaiming the Glory and Goodness of God in "their" language! 

Whenever the Lord appears, men of no faith, men whose hearts are like stone are unable to receive what the are trying to understand with their mind alone.  Somebody of faith, a representative of the Kingdom must speak out and testify what the Lord is doing.  So, Peter begins to speak, reminds them of the prophecies spoken long ago,  "I will pour out my Spirit on all people".  (Acts 2:17)  As he begins to explain what is happening, the Spirit of God is at work drawing men to himself via the testimony being shared. A work of the Spirit of God drawing men to himself, we see this unfold; "When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”.  That day, the Bible says that 3000 were saved!  In the Book of Revelations we read about overcoming; triumphing over the enemy of our soul; "they overcame by the blood of the Lamb and the word of their testimony".  There is power unleashed from God in the spoken testimony; a demonstration of the reality and authority that is and comes from God!

"The priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to Peter and John while they were speaking to the people.  They were greatly disturbed because the apostles were teaching the people, proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection of the dead". (Acts 4:1-2)  Here it is again.  Men threaten and unable to grasp the truth.  We read, Peter filled with the Spirit begins to testify again about Jesus. The lame man is healed but the heart of flesh can not understand it. In the midst of Peter being jailed and released, more men are drawn to the Father and the number of believers increases  Glory!

As Peter addresses the rulers and elders, he begins to share again about the authority of Jesus; are you upset because this cripple man is now walking?  It's like saying, what is your problem--do you prefer that he stay sick; is it that your heart of flesh can not perceive the things of the Spirit? 
 
"Jesus is
“‘the stone you builders rejected,
    which has become the cornerstone.’

Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:11-12)

Look at the Stone that is being rejected.  It is and has become the model, the template and order by which man must conform.  He will hold this structure together. On him will rest and is all Truth.  He is building a spiritual house, the Living Stone, drawing men who are willing to come under his authority.  "As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him— you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ".(1 Peter 2:4-5)  His yoke is easy and his burden is light (Matthew 11:30)  He takes the broken and fixes us!  He takes confusion and dispels it!  He takes the heart of flesh and makes it pliable so that the Master Builder can work with is and assimilate it to this Spiritual House he is erecting.

The testimony, a tool used  to proclaim the truth and cause the arrogance, pride and unbelief of men to be challenged. It's a struggle between belief and unbelief; pride and humility; darkness and light.   He is gentle and meek. He chases after us with his love and truth.


God bless you!~Liz
www.lizrod.com

Friday, July 11, 2014

Fireflies

“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:14-16

Fireflies; it's the adventure of Summer days as a child.  Taking a hold of any empty  jar, whether it was a glass baby food jar or an old jelly or mayonnaise jar, we'd empty them and we'd go around the neighborhood catching fireflies.  It's their bright little abdomen lighting up and begging us to capture them; once caught we couldn't wait to show them off;  it's our prize!

Today, are we shinning bright; so illuminated that those around us want to "catch" what has been put into these jars of clay? When our lives are touched by the Lord; when our lives are changed and we experience forgiveness and newness of life, we shout it out to all who want to listen.  We experience this transformation like a butterfly bursting out of it's cocoon; we are free, liberated and forgiven. Whooo...fly...fly....a freedom that's new and a weight that is gone. As time goes by, sometimes our light or joy becomes diminished.

Fireflies light up as a way to attract, to call out for mate; a perfect design by God.  We go around catching them because their light is intriguing and interesting.  We marvel at the glow and have even discovered that the darker it gets as night falls, the brighter our little prize in the jar becomes!

I want my life to reflect such a light that those that are looking want to "catch" it.  In a world where hope seems gone, pain seems to be common and despair wants to rob and turn off our light; I want to shine even brighter, don't you?  Life is an experience with trials but with Christ he has enabled us to overcome.   May not always be easy, but yes, overcome! 

While catching these fireflies as a little child, I inevitably would accidentally hurt the firefly.  I got to close and  touched it's little belly and my harsh hand would cause it's demise.  It's like us, often in the midst of our walk, people say the wrong thing causing us pain; false accusation, jealousy, bitterness, anger all manifesting in actions that hurt one another.

Interestingly, I remember that even when I accidentally, in my curiosity brought this little creature to it's end, it's LIGHT continued to glow.  Even in death, this creature continued to shine.  It reminds me of Stephen; while his accusers stoned him he continued to glorify God, letting his light shine until the end. "When the members of the Sanhedrin heard this, they were furious and gnashed their teeth at him. But Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. “Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” At this they covered their ears and, yelling at the top of their voices, they all rushed at him, dragged him out of the city and began to stone him. Meanwhile, the witnesses laid their coats at the feet of a young man named Saul. While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” Then he fell on his knees and cried out, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” When he had said this, he fell asleep". (Acts 7:54-60)

There is plenty of darkness in this world we live.  The smallest flicker shines bright in darkness. Find us faithful Lord and help us to overcome.  “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven" (Matthew 5:14-16)

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.2 Corinthians 4:7


God bless you!~Liz
www.lizrod.com


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Swapping Appointments

Luke 5:3 (NIV)
Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.
A typical doctor's office; many needing to see the doctor and I hear a conversation that moved my heart to action.  This morning I had an "emergency appointment" with my dermatologist.  I've been struggling with an unusual area of skin that needed attention.  I've visited the doctor twice and spoke to them just a few days ago. I'm still not convinced of what is attacking my skin, so on to the doctor I go again; an appointment "squeezed in" just for me.

It's an elderly couple at the front desk, checking in but the receptionist says, "your appointment is not for this morning but for 2 PM this afternoon."  A little dialogue goes on, back and forth; each trying to convince the other that they are correct. The elderly lady points to her appointment book/calendar and says, "it's right hear, this is my bible".

Well, whether she really has a Bible and has read it; whether she knows the Lord or not, I do not know. I do know every one  needs the Doctor!

I've often heard that people won't listen to what you say but will surely pay attention to what you do (my translation).

As I looked at this elderly couple, wondering how long they may have had to drive; all the effort it probably took to get to the doctor's office, I found myself getting up from my chair and going to the receptionist and saying, "this couple can have my appointment, I can come back this afternoon." 

I believe when I addressed the receptionist; mentioned that I had something to tell her; she seemed to express, "what now" can't you see I am dealing with this confusion.  She wasn't rude but I could tell her mind was wondering how did the mix-up occur and how was she going to fix it.

As my words of giving up my appointment reached her ear, she smiled.  She said, "oh a
ren't you a sweetheart".  I looked at the elderly couple and said, "you can have my appointment, enjoy your day".

A sweetheart...hmmm......I'm surely a follower of Christ hoping to let my actions speak louder than words.

For a believer who has seen the "Doctor" and whose life has been "healed", this kind of action is what we do.  There are many who are not just sick in their flesh but their spiritual life needs the attention of The Doctor. 

For me these last couple of months have been a world-wind of doctors, ailments without a "full" explanation, visit after visit.  In the midst of this the Lord has ministered to me that in the middle of what seems confusion to everyone including the doctors who are trying to figure out how all my symptoms connect; the Lord ministered peace in the midst of chaos.  Yes, when the wisdom of man fails, I see God in the midst bringing order.

It seemed like a simple gesture to swap appointments.  I see a bigger picture, we all have an appointment with God.  One day we will all stand before his presence and give an account for our lives.  He has offered us his Son; he has given each of us an appointment which we WILL keep.  Are we ready? No swapping appointments; can't say we are not ready; we can't say take the elderly couple first.  When the Doctor calls, the one that offers spiritual healing, we go right into the Office--The Throne Room of his Glorious Presence. Let's be ready, we all need to be healed. Jesus answered them, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. (Luke 5:3)

By the way, the Doctor not only healed me spiritually, He is doing an incredible work in my physical body too!!!!  Glory!!!!

I await the Wisdom of God to be imparted to my physician this afternoon :)

God Bless You!~Liz
www.lizrod.com