Quiet my Questioning heart

My past three ABC posts include: Name above all Names, Offer help Often, and Prince of Peace Please Come. Today, it's Quiet my Questioning heart.

Quiet my Questioning heart? Long ago, Moses led the Israelite nation out of slavery from Egypt. They survived the ten plagues and made a grand exit, straight through the parted Red Sea. These people saw and experienced God's powerful work on their behalf. Three days into their new freedom journey, however, they began to grumble due to lack of water. When they came to Marah, they could not drink its water because it was bitter…So the people grumbled against Moses, saying, "What are we to drink?" Likewise, two weeks later, they grumbled again, "If only we had died by the Lord's hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you (Moses) have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death." The Israelite nation could not trust the faithful goodness of the Lord due to their unquieted questioning hearts. In spite of their grumbling, the Lord provided food and water daily for them during the disciplining forty years in the desert. (see Ex. 15:23-16:1-17)

by Gigi McMurray 
Quiet my Questioning heart! If only these Israelites had remembered the story of their great ancester Joseph. As a young man, he was sold into slavery by his jealous brothers; then later, once in Egypt, he was thrown into prison for a crime he did not commit. For a decade, he had reason to cry out often, "Lord, quiet my questioning heart." In His time and in His way, God did send His peace and provision as Joseph contiued to put his trust in the Lord's direction. He eventually was released from prison and rose to the position of second in command in Egypt. Joseph continued to walk with the Lord; he even gave forgiveness to his brothers, saying to them, "You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish now what is being done…". (see Gen. 37, 39, 50:20)

When I look at these two stories, I see both questioning God. Really, I think God is fine with our questions. Even Jesus questioned His Father on the cross. What God is after is the attitude of our hearts. Do the questions we raise to Him come from a place of angry mistrust, or are they a plea for His help in the midst of our diverse circumstances? He must discipline the former, but He honors the latter. Let's bring our BIG questions to the Lord, and ask Him to quiet us in whatever answer He chooses to give, all the while remembering, He is ALWAYS working for our ultimate good. Can you trust Him?

Out of the depths I cry to You, O Lord; O Lord hear my voice. Let your ears be attentive to my cry for mercy…I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in His word I put my hope. Psalm 130:1-2, 5

Prince of Peace, Please Come

My three previous ABC posts are: Make me, Mold me, Move me; Name above all Names; and Offer help Often. The next phrase is: Prince of Peace, Please Come.

Prince of Peace, Please Come? During Jesus' day, the leading scribes and Pharisees could not accept Jesus as the Son of God. They considered their "father" to Abraham and they strictly followed the rules and regulations from long ago. These religious men did not understand that Jesus was the fulfillment of the law, as well as the new law- full of freedom, peace, and joy! Jesus told these Jews, "Abraham rejoiced to see my day, and he saw and was glad…Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was born, I am." When Jesus claimed to be greater than Abraham, and equal to God, they became enraged. Jesus, the Prince of Peace, had come and He was standing directly in front of them; but sadly, these men did not recognize Him. (see John 8:39-42, 56-59)

Prince of Peace, Please Come! However, there were three other men, many hundreds of years prior, that had an unshakable faith in their God. At this point in history, the Israelites had been taken into captivity. All the people were commanded to bow down before a giant golden statue erected by King Nebuchadnezzar. When Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused, the king ordered them to be bound and thrown into a fiery furnace. The courageous young men said, "The God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O King. But even if He does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up." While the young men were in the midst of the fire, the king saw and spoke with amazement, "Weren't there three men that we tied up and threw into the fire?…Look! I see four men walking around in the fire, unbound and unharmed, and the fourth looks like a son of the gods." Most certainly, the Prince of Peace had come. (see Daniel 3:8-30)

by Gigi McMurray 
When I look at these two stories side by side, the word "believe" comes into my mind. The Jewish scribes and Pharisees simply could not and did not believe Jesus to be the Messiah. They closed their ears to His words and their eyes to His works. Therefore, His presence meant nothing. However, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, although they could not see God, they believed He existed as Savior. Their unshakeble faith gave them courage to step into the fire. There, they recognized the Prince of Peace.

Are you in the midst of a "fiery furnace" right now? Are there flames of anxiety, fear, sadness, or disappoinment waving about?  Believe He is with you. Know that He cares for you. What God did physically for these three faithful men long ago, He will do for your heart and soul today. Call on your Prince of Peace, my friend, and He will come. Recognize Him, trust Him, walk with Him, even in the midst of the fire.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27

ABC: Offer help Often

The previous few ABC posts are as follows: Lord of my Life; Make Me, Mold Me, Move Me; and Name above all Names. Today, it's Offer help Often.

Offer help Often? Jesus spoke a parable to a certain lawyer in order to explain the statement, Love your neighbor as yourself. The parable unfolds: A man was traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho when robbers attacked him, leaving him beaten, stripped, and half dead. A short while later, a priest came upon the dying man, observed him, and chose to walk to the other side of the road. Likewise, another religious man, a Levite, came upon the wounded traveler and he, too, deliberately passed to the other side of the road. Neither of these men chose to offer help at all. (See Luke 10:25-32)

by Gigi McMurray
Offer help Often! However, a Samaratin came upon the beaten man. When he saw him, he bandaged his wounds, pouring his oil and wine on them. He then put him on his donkey and took him to a nearby inn. The whole day the Samaritan offered help often to the wounded traveler. From this point forward, he made sure all the suffering man's needs would be met, and was willing to pay these expenses. The Samaritan portrayed a beautiful picture of what it means to love your neighbor as yourself.  (See Luke 10:25-37)

What a contrast in this one parable. And how convicting it is! When I look at the merciless inaction of the priest and the Levite, both "righteous" individuals, I have to ask myself, "Am I, in any way, disregarding someone in need? Do I think it's 'too much' for me to handle? Am I afraid to get my hands dirty? Am I too busy to offer help?"

Friends, there are people on the "roadside of life" who are wounded and broken. There are people who are crushed in spirit. There are people who are suffering and in need. These people are waiting for someone, a close friend or even a distant stranger, to stop and touch them boldly and mercifully and abundantly.

Lord, please make me like this Samaritan, full of mercy, full of compassion... full of action. Show me who it is You want me to touch with Your love, and give me the ability, the energy, and the obedience to follow through. I want to offer help often. I want to love my neighbor. Amen