Monday, March 19, 2012

Crisis is a Catalyst

There was a certain nobleman whose son was sick...he went to Him [Jesus] and implored Him to come down and heal his son, for he was at the point of death. John 4:46-47 (NKJV)

Imagine you're the nobleman in this passage. Your beloved son is seriously sick; in fact, he's on the brink of dying. Helplessness and hopelessness begin to overwhelm you. But then you hear that there's a Man about twenty miles away who has a reputation for miraculously healing people. His name is Jesus, and you pursue Him in hopes of convincing Him to come heal your son.

The clock is ticking, and after an anxious journey you finally find yourself face to face with Jesus. You share your need and ask Him to return with you to your son's bedside. But Jesus' answer catches you off guard, "Go on back home. Your son is OK."

This father takes Jesus at His word, turns around, and makes the return trip home. Along the way, some of his servants intercept him with good news, "Your son has been healed!" He asks when this happened, and it becomes clear the healing occurred at the same time Jesus pronounced his son to be well, over twenty miles away! In response, the nobleman and his entire household believe in Jesus, recognizing He's much more than a mere man (John 4:53).

Now notice the progression. The crisis of the son's sickness became the catalyst for spiritual salvation. If the son had never gotten sick, then the nobleman and his household would not have placed their faith in Jesus. But because the son was so close to death, a chain reaction was set off that eventually led not only to the physical blessing of physical healing, but the eternal blessing of eternal salvation through faith in Christ.

Crisis is often the catalyst God uses to accomplish His good-and greater works in our lives. It comes to us as an unwelcome guest but fulfills a key role as the Lord uses it to work all things together for our good.

Think About It…

Answai T. White, B.S., M.Div.

Monday, March 12, 2012

He Can

With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26 (NKJV)

As we come to a principle as profound as the one presented to us in Romans 8:28, we need to begin with a basic understanding about something: God's ability to make good on the claim to work all things together for the ultimate good of His people. If we don't believe God is actually able to do this, then we'll have a hard time believing He actually will.

That's an uncertainty we don't need to be held captive by because the Bible tells us two things about God that prove His ability to fulfill Romans 8:28.

First, the Bible tells us that God is omniscient. "Omni" means all, and "science" means to know. There is nothing that can be known that is not known by God. He's fully aware of every event and happening that has ever taken place from one end of the universe to the other. He has absolute awareness of every fact and factor. The atomic number of hydrogen, the height of the Empire State Building , the way your co-worker looks at you, the crack in the driveway six doors down, the thoughts you're thinking as you read this...God knows it all.

Secondly, Scripture also assures us that God is omnipotent. Again, "omni" means all, and "potence" means power. God is all-powerful. When He determines to do something, there is no question about it being done because His power knows no limitations. The earth needs the sun to sustain life, and God is able to provide it according to His power. Mankind requires redemption, and God's power provides it. No matter how massive or monumental the task, God's power is always sufficient.

Now, put these two attributes together and you can see how God is able to work all things together for our good. He knows every detail about everything happening in our lives, and His limitless power allows Him to control them in a way that always benefits us in the end. Regardless of how impossible things might seem, all things are possible with the God who is able to use them for our good.

Think About It…

Answai T. White, B.S., M.Div.

Friday, March 9, 2012

How's Your Vision?

How’s your vision?

The next day, as they went on their journey and drew near the city, Peter went up on the housetop to pray, about the sixth hour. Then he became very hungry and wanted to eat; but while they made ready, he fell into a trance Acts 10:9-10 (NKJV)

Yesterday, we discussed how Paul received a vision of a man begging for his help in Macedonia . This vision was instrumental in Paul discerning a door that God had opened for him. But this isn't the only instance where God used a vision to reveal His will.

In Acts Chapter 10, Peter went to the top of a house to pray, where he suddenly fell into a trance and was given a vision by God. Up to that point, Peter had assumed Jesus came to save Jews but not Gentiles. The vision God gave Peter showed him it was just as much God's will for Gentiles to be saved through faith in Christ as it was Jews (Acts 10:11-16).

It was an important step forward in God's will for both Peter and the Church.

"So, should I expect my life to be filled with visions?" Let's go back to that word trance, which is "a condition where a person's normal state of mind is temporarily suspended." While we see that a vision can be biblical, we also need to see that by very definition it's not normal.

Here's the balance we need to strike when it comes to visions: We need to be open to the possibility that God may use them in our lives, but we need to temper this with the understanding that they are unusual.

It's a big red flag if someone is constantly talking about a "vision" or "revelation" God gave him or her. Again, it's not the norm. However, if someone with the reputation of being stable-minded receives something similar to what Peter and Paul experienced, and if it doesn't contradict anything we see in scripture, then it's quite possible God gave it to them.

Visions should never be the primary or only means of discerning God's will, but they can be used to get us to see things God's way.

Think about it…

Answai T. White, B.S., M.Div.