Christianity 201

September 25, 2014

The Connection Between Miracles and Humility

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Naaman in the Jordan River

We didn’t intend to run two back-to-back devotionals on pride, but maybe God orchestrated that for a reason. We wanted to share with you the ministry of Andy Elmes who is better known in the UK, Australia and New Zealand than in North America. His organization is called Great Big Life and he hosts a weekday radio feature called Breakfast of Champions (hence the reference to ‘this morning’ in what follows). You can also get the Breakfast devos by subscription (click the above link) which is where we borrowed this one, which originally ran over two days.

Pride ain’t no friend of yours

Proverbs 16:18 (The Message)

First pride, then the crash – the bigger the ego, the harder the fall.

A real sobering thought this morning is that pride can actually keep you from the miracles that God has for you!

 2 Kings 5:11-12 (NKJV)

But Naaman became furious, and went away and said, “Indeed, I said to myself, ‘He will surely come out to me, and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, and wave his hand over the place, and heal the leprosy.’ Are not the Abanah and the Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? Could I not wash in them and be clean?” So he turned and went away in a rage.

 We read here of the pride-filled response of the Commander of the Syrian armies, a man by the name of Naaman. Yes, a very important man but one with a big problem: he had leprosy!

 He may have been a high-ranking army commander but he was also a man dying on his feet with an incurable, body-eating disease which meant, just like anyone else with leprosy, he needed a miracle from God.

 This much-needed miracle was not a problem. He sent for Elisha to come help and Elisha sent a note (prescription) for him from God concerning what to do to get healed. When he read the prescription he got offended instead of excited! Why? Simple: because of his pride.

 • He was offended that Elisha did not come but sent a note.

 • He was offended at what God expected him to do.

 • He was offended at where he was expected to do it, and felt he knew better.

 Read it again and listen to the tone of pride that may have made him feel important but sadly left him separated from the God-intended miracle for his life. Pride always has a distinctive sound and a tone to it, always be careful when you hear it and be sure to deal quickly with it when you do.

  He turned away in a rage – why? Because he felt what God had asked him to do violated him in some way. Can you see how pride can keep you from things that God has for you? God did not want to violate him but make him better. But God also had a plan to heal him of his unhealthy pride at the same time which, like leprosy, was not doing him any good.

2 Kings 5:13-14 (NKJV)

And his servants came near and spoke to him, and said, “My father, if the prophet had told you to do something great, would you not have done it? How much more then, when he says to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?” So he went down and dipped seven times in the Jordan, according to the saying of the man of God; and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.

Humility always wins!

 After storming off in a huff a servant helped him to reason what his pride would equal in his life, which was basically a very painful and embarrassing death. Naaman responds this time with a humble heart and does what was prescribed, and the result was exactly what had been originally promised.

 Notice that God did not play or barter with Naaman’s pride, but simply waited for his response to change. As soon as it did, the promised miracle was released.

 What was the problem with the Jordan? The problem was that it was a public place, which meant this great commander had to de-robe himself to get what God had promised. When he took his robes and armour off a couple of things would happen:

1. He would be the same as everybody else. There would be no uniform to separate him. But that is how we are isn’t it? We all stand before God the same, needing Him to do something for us?

2. He had leprosy which meant people would have seen he had a need, but maybe he did not want people to know he was needy?

 We need to understand that we are all the same and God does not regard the uniforms or titles of men. Secondly, we all have needs and everyone of us are depending on God for something.

 I am so glad he dealt with his pride and did not leave and die, but rather humbled himself and lived. He learned that day that his pride may have made him feel important but it could not get him what he needed from God.

August 21, 2013

One Foot in Front of the Other

Filed under: Uncategorized — paulthinkingoutloud @ 5:32 pm
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Our guest today is Rick Apperson who, with his wife Sarah are missionaries in British Columbia, Canada. This appeared at his blog Just a Thought recently; to read at source click here.

ESV II King 5:13 But his servants came near and said to him, “My father, it is a great word the prophet has spoken to you; will you not do it? Has he actually said to you, ‘Wash, and be clean’?” 14 So he went down and dipped himself seven times in the Jordan, according to the word of the man of God, and his flesh was restored like the flesh of a little child, and he was clean.

Perseverance.

I see that word and it brings up a lot of different thoughts.

Hard work.
Two steps forward, one step back.
Falling down…a lot!
Blood, sweat and tears.
Failure…more than once.
Christianity!

The Bible talks about perseverance and endurance often but there is a story I was reading in 2 Kings 5:1-19 that really resonated with me. Maybe it was because I am in a place where the idea of perseverance has become a reality.  We live in a world filled with pain and hardship.  In this world, we get glimmers of grace and hope that can only be found in Jesus Christ.

perseveranceRecently I have had to persevere through some pretty significant issues.  Like the man in the picture…it feels like a slog up a long path, one foot in front of the other.

It is how I have been living lately.

I won’t lie, I wish our problems had instant solutions.  In this fast-paced, answers now society, we don’t like waiting for anything.  Waiting for answers, healing, guidance, etc does not fit that plan.  Yet that is what God calls us to do.  To wait, to persevere.

So getting back to 2 Kings.  Naaman was a mighty warrior of some renown.  He was also a leper.  Eventually he heard about a prophet who may be able to heal him.  He traveled with many gifts and finally came face to face with Elisha.  He wanted instant answers but was told that he had to dip seven times in the Jordan River.  He got angry, not liking what he heard, and left.

Cooler heads prevailed and encouraged him to listen to Elisha.  He went to the Jordan,  dipped in seven times and came out healed!

I can so relate.

When I come to God, I don’t want delayed answers.  Like Naaman, I have sometimes gotten angry with the answers I did receive. I especially don’t like it when the answer is to persevere.

Yet God’s ways are higher than ours.  He has a plan.

I can obey or kick against it.

I want to obey.

Which means I have to persevere at times.  Times like now.  I don’t know how long it will be before we see the other side of this challenging time, but it doesn’t matter.  God is in control.

In the meantime, I will keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep my eyes on Him!

~Rick Apperson

This is the 7th time (!) we’ve used Rick’s material or provided links to his writing. For more click here. To visit Just a Thought click here.