Sunday, July 20, 2014

Didn't I Heal Ten Men? God's Hand in Medicine

Today's Reading:
  • Luke 17:11 - 17:37
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Luke 17:11 - 17:37
Jesus entered a village where ten lepers awaited him for healing.  Jesus told the lepers to go see the priests.  They did as he said, and all were healed.  One of the men came back to praise Jesus for healing him.  Jesus asked where they other nine men were?  Why did only one come back to give praise and thanks for healing? 

Those ten men received a miraculous healing - all they had to do was go show themselves to the priests.  Yet even then only one came back to praise Jesus.  I wonder how that translates to today, when so many are healed through medicine, doctors, treatments, and hospitals?

How many of us consistently return our praise to the Lord for being healed, even amongst those who firmly believe in Jesus Christ?  I think it's too easy to attribute healing to some medicine or some doctor, or simply time.  And, truthfully, a lot of time it is a medicine or doctor who is able to help us to manifest a healing.  But I ask you, who created the doctors and the people who make such great advances with medicine?  When was the last time that you visited a hospital that did NOT have a strong religious affiliation?  I am a firm believer that God's hand is in the natural - medicines, doctors, treatments, hospitals - that we so eagerly seek out.  These things are wonderful blessings given to us, but we need to remember that they are, indeed, a gift.

God is all around us, healing us and helping us.  If we pray to the Lord for healing, relief, etc., and we receive it, then we should ALWAYS return thanks and praise to the Lord.  These passages are a simple reminder.  We should be the one who remembers and gives thanks to the Lord -- not part of the nine who go off and forget the things that the Lord has so graciously done for us. 

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Sun and Moon Stand Still; Seek the Lord Lest Ye Be Deceived

Today's Reading:
  • Joshua 9:3 - 10:43
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Joshua 9:3 - 10:43
Joshua and his men continued to conquer all the lands that the Lord had instructed them too.  The kings of five lands were afraid, so they banded together to come at Joshua and his army.  They stationed together at Gideon and the Israelites went out to meet them.  There the enemy was defeated both by sword and by a terrible hailstorm.  This hailstorm, sent by the Lord, killed more people than the Israelites did.  I can't imagine a storm so powerful -- but it must have been terrifying for the enemy.

Verse 4:12 mentions one other supernatural thing that occurred.  Joshua declared that the sun and the moon should stand still until the enemy was completely defeated.  We are then told that the sun did not set that day because the Lord answered his prayer, and that there has never been a day before or since like that (10:13-14).

Joshua called to the Lord to stop the sun and the moon in the sky.  The Lord answered him as he requested.  This made me think of Mark 11:22, where Jesus tells us that if we had the faith, we could tell the mountain to jump into the sea and it would listen.  Can you imagine the faith it would take to request the sun and the moon to stand still, and believe without a doubt in your heart that it will be done?  The faith Joshua had was immeasurable.  

There was one more part of today's reading that really caught my attention.  In chapter 9 we learn that the people of Gideon decided to deceive the Israelites into creating a peace treaty with their people.  They knew that Joshua had the Lord on his side, and the people were rightly terrified.  Some people of Gideon dressed up in old, worn clothes and sandals.  They packed old wineskins and moldy, dry bread.  They then road up to Joshua's camp and pretended as if they had been on a very long journey.  They asked Joshua for a peace treaty with their people, and Joshua granted it to them. 

Verse 9:14 says something very important -- that the people did NOT consult the Lord before making this decision.  How often do we let ourselves be deceived?  And not just by things that you need divine guidance to discern?  For example, how many people get hooked into phony or misleading social media stories and pictures?  We have the resources to validate these things at our fingertips, yet too many choose to stay in ignorance and be deceived. 

There are many people in this world who try to deceive others.  It might not be as easy to find out about the person who appears to be suffering -- usually with some financial matter.  It is the Christian thing to do to help these people out, is it not?  But just because we are Christians does not mean that we have to accept deception.  So what can we do about it?  Well, verse 9:14 tells us precisely what to do -- we must seek the Lord about those situations.  Seek the Lord, read His word, and listen for His answer.  He is there and He WILL guide us.