Saturday, February 25, 2017

carrying friends are caring friends

Our church hosts a weekly prayer gathering in the student chapel. The same group of brothers and sisters keep showing up to pray together. Upon arrival we receive a list of requests that have been compiled by the church office staff. Then we pray.

We're seen God move mountains, save souls, heal the sick, restore relationships, comfort the mourning -- you name it -- God has been pleased to answer wildly and inspires "us to not neglect the gathering together."

Louis Chau is a faithful prayer warrior and each week we hear his heart cry out on behalf of others. Louis quietly fasts and prays -- alone at his home -- for everyone on the long list of requests. Then he meets the rest of us on Wednesday nights and prays with us all.

Louis has to walk with a cane due to a debilitating bout with polio many years ago. He has to lean on his left leg and hold a cane in his right hand to get around.  He is able to drive a car and his small scooter is suitable for indoors and sidewalks.

Several days ago Louis sent a urgent text message asking my husband Don and me to pray for him. It was already dark outside and he was backing up his scooter after taking out his trash. The scooter tipped, fell on top of him and crushed his knee: it was the leg affected by polio. We began praying. An hour or so passed and we heard from him again. The pain was so extreme, Don drove to his home and took him to the ER.

The text messages multiplied as the church family learned of the fall. The diagnosis was a fractured femur. Doctors made a special cast and gave him medications for the pain and sent him home for complete rest.
Louis Chau

Wednesday morning rolled around and I was reading my daily Bible plan. I read the passage of Mark 2 where the friends of a paralyzed man carried him to Jesus and the man was healed. 

With that thought, Don and I asked Louis if we could pick him up and take him to the prayer gathering and pray for his healing. He graciously declined because he was in too much pain and needed to be physically still.

Then the thought came to my heart and mind from the Mark 2 passage. We won't have to take him to the prayer gathering to help him! No! We can carry Him to Jesus with our prayers! Yes!  Just like the faithful friends of the paralyzed man in Scripture, since he couldn't walk, his friends carried him to Jesus.

The church family is carrying Louis to Jesus through prayers for him, visiting him, texting him, praying with him, and bringing him food.

Another church friend carried Louis to an appointment with his own orthopedic surgeon. Louis had asked us all for prayer that surgery would not be necessary in his healing process. He was praising God after his visit that the doctor said he did not need surgery!

Wow. We are living this thing! Glory to God!

"And they came, bringing to Him a paralytic carried by four men...and when Jesus saw their faith...He said to the paralytic, 'Son your sins are forgiven.'...but that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins -- He said to the paralytic --'I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.'...And he rose, and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, 'We never saw anything like this!'" -- Mark 2:3-12
Glory to God.

Saturday, February 18, 2017

radically radiant

Sisters, why oh why do we keep believing the lies of this culture that insist a woman must be flawless to have value? 

Magazine covers, TV commercials, billboards, reality TV shows, are selling outward beauty. Their product will help us become flawless beauties. Just think about it.  

The truth is there is only One who is Flawless. Jesus is Flawless. Sinless. Perfection. No one else. Never a People Pleaser. Never sinned. Never jealous of others. Always kind. Always loving. Always faithful. Yep. The Savior of the world. 

The Holy Flawless One came to earth to save His flawed people so they could turn their backs on the lies of this world and live and think like He does. 

He isn't concerned about what the world frets over. Nope. He knows "people look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart." (1 Samuel 16:7). 

Even His Word, the Bible, is "flawless" (Psalm 18:30). He uses it to teach His flawed children the truth and how to live and walk in the truth. His Word is an unstoppable weapon against the lies of the dark world. 

The truth is everyone on this planet is flawed. "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Romans 3:23) We need the Flawless One to save us.

If we will first go to His flawless Word instead of asking, "What about me?" we'll find treasures. "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear...for the pagans run after all these things, and your Heavenly Father knows that you need them" (Matthew 6:25, 32).

Maybe, Sisters, just maybe we're so stressed and insecure about our looks and our lives, because we're reading and watching the kind of worldly stuff that feeds that discontentment. You know, those magazines we love to pour over that are subtly transforming our minds into constantly comparing our looks and lives to other women. It's exhausting to try to be someone else! It is not God's desire for us! That's why we're anxious! 

Hmmmm. "What? I never thought of that!" 

What if we finally come to the place in our lives where we're ready to "throw off everything that so easily entangles" (Hebrews 12:1)? What if we decide we want to live Counter Culture lives and become radically radiant for the glory of God? 

What if we choose to throw off the comparison trap magnified in social media and beauty magazines and start reading the pure gold of Scripture?  What if then we start living joy-filled lives because we finally believe the truth of God's Word and we learn to stand on it and "let our light shine" (Matthew 5:16). 

That will be the day we've finally realized "God loves us with our flaws, quirks, talents, gifts and hearts broken toward Him" and we move on past thinking about ourselves? Our focus is on our Flawless God alone.

Sisters, we can be flawed AND radically radiant. Yep. And this is how we do it. 

We are the body of Christ.
We are sisterhood.
We are the light of the world.
For the glory of God.

copyright 2017 by Polly Balint

 upcoming totally devoted 4

Monday, February 13, 2017

soul starving...anorexic faith

If I don't take a few brief moments to talk to God before my feet hit the floor in the morning, then I'll be starving my own soul of the strength and nourishment I'm going to need for the new day. I'll be hungry listening to my own voice, focusing on my own circumstances, and coming to my own conclusions about life. Yikes. Huge mistake. Why? God created me, saved me, unconditionally loves me and generously cares for me and I would ignore Him? "He is not served by human hands, as if He needed anything, because He himself gives all men life and breath and everything else" (Acts 17:25). BOOM! So if I chew on this truth for a while -- that all things come from Him and He controls everything -- why wouldn't I be hungry to know more of this Magnificent Savior?

Frankly when I'm really physically hungry I do not like to wait to eat. I don't normally put off eating when I'm famished. Nope. I want to be fed good food, real food, nutritional, life-giving food. Organic. Real. Healthy stuff. I know I will be strengthened after eating such a meal.

So if God brings us to a place in our lives where we finally believe we need Him every moment of our lives, for strength, guidance, protection, love, help, healing...why don't we "seek Him first" (Matthew 6:33)? If we believe He is the source of satisfying nourishment for our souls giving us the power to help and serve others, why wait to seek His face? If we know we need His presence in our lives and we're dependent on Him to meet our needs for everyday living why do we often put time with God on the back burner?

Do we answer, "Ain't nobody got time for that?" Well, that's the worldly chatter in our heads saying, "I'm too busy." Guess what, Sisters? We always seem to find the time to do what we want to do! Yes, we do. Yep. It's amazing how we can manipulate circumstances to do what we want to do! We really have no excuse for not daily, intentionally spending more time alone with God.

In this generation God's Word is served countless ways for hungry patrons: the Bible (with actual paper pages!), smart phones, podcasts, online video sermons, blogs by pastors, the Bible recorded on DVDs, and CDs. We can even feed our souls the truth of God's word in a take out menu of a podcast during a morning run!

"The one who feeds on Me will live because of Me" 
(John 6:57).

Early mornings in our home have the inviting aroma of fresh brewed organic coffee. A cup of that comforting beverage is my companion piece to meeting with my Savior. God has made me hungry for Him...because I know Him. I need Him to talk to me and I always have something to say to Him.

I know without getting equipped with the Word of God each day I don't battle the enemy of my soul like a warrior...I behave more like a wimp. Yep. I confess it's weakness on my part even though He has given me a spiritual suit of armor to wear to protect myself. He calls His Word the "sword of the Spirit" as part of our weapons of warfare. He's always at our side, Sister!

If I didn't read His Word -- through the help of the Holy Spirit -- I wouldn't know about the magnificent ways He has equipped each one of His children for each day. He wants us to spend time with Him. In fact, He invites us to dine with Him and says, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me will never go hungry, and He who believes in Me will never be thirsty" (John 6:35).

 Amen. 💖

Psalm 34:3 
Isaiah 62:1