Christianity 201

April 17, 2013

Tell it to Jesus

This appeared at the blog associated with the Blue Letter Bible online Bible platform under the title F. E. Marsh: What is Prayer.

The following is taking from the mini-commentaries of F.E. Marsh, now available at the Blue Letter Bible. Marsh’s text commentaries were released with the new beta version of the Blue Letter Bible.


“But Simon’s wife’s mother lay sick with a fever, and they told Him about her at once.”
(Mark 1:30 NKJV)

What is prayer? It is illustrated in this verse. Speaking to Christ is prayer. Prayer is not getting on to the stilts of word-ism, nor floating in the balloon of honeyed phrases by the aid of the gas of human eloquence, inflating the mind with self-conceit; but it is simply telling the Lord the heart’s need, or speaking to Him in a natural manner as we ask favors for others.

It is…

  • Telling Him the trouble, as the disciples of John, when they went and informed Christ that their teacher was beheaded (Matthew 14:12).
  • Telling Him the sorrow, as when Mary went to Christ about her dead brother Lazarus (John 11:32).
  • Telling Him the pain, as when Paul prayed about the thorn in the flesh (2 Corinthians 12:8).
  • Telling Him the grief, as when the Syrophenician woman cried to Christ about her daughter (Matthew 15:22).
  • Telling Him the joy, as when the disciples spoke of the demons they had cast out in His name (Luke 10:17).
  • Telling Him the difficulty, as when the disciples asked to be taught how to pray (Luke 11:1).
  • Telling Him the sickness, as in the present case.

“They told Him about her…” Jesus has made it possible for us to tell Him, for He has died for us; hence we can come boldly to the throne of grace through the consecrated way of His atonement, and speak to Him face to face. He has told us to come to Him, for He has said “Whatsoever we shall ask in prayer, believing, we shall receive” (Matthew 21:22). His promise is our plea and introduction in speaking to Him. We remember who He is, and as we do so we are drawn towards Him, as the needle is drawn to the loadstone.

He is the Shepherd who tends us, and ever looks after our interests.
He is the Priest who represents us, and succors us in the hour of temptation.
He is the Friend who thinks of us, and always sympathizes with us.
He is the Brother who cares for us, and is ever ready to aid us.
He is the Savior who delivered us, and will always keep us.
He is the God who has blessed us, and will never leave us.
He is the Lover who loves us, and will never be unfaithful.

Tell Him, for He cares. Tell Him, for He knows. Tell Him, for He loves. Tell Him, for He is listening. Tell Him all. Tell Him often. Tell Him always. Tell Him now.

“They told Him about her...” They were very definite in their petition and pointed in their plea. They did not vacillate or hesitate, but they went right to the mark and hit it. And methinks as they saw the once fevered patient calm and cool, as she waited upon them, they rejoiced; and if they had wanted a new name for Simon’s wife’s mother, they might have called her Answered-Prayer.

May 9, 2012

Where is God When Chaos is Happening?

Today’s blog post was sourced after the anonymous author left a comment at my other blog. 

I hope this works…we’re going to break the rules today and include a testimony here, but it’s one that’s really worth the reading all the way to the end.  As usual, we’ll post it in full here because statistically many of you don’t click, but please, do the author a favor and read it on her site, okay?

Jack-in-the-Box Moments
 
One Friday morning in 2009, my life was drastically changed. The week before had been filled with Jack-in-the Box moments. These are moments where life jumps out at you and scares you silly. I never did like that toy and can’t even imagine working at a factory that makes them. The song it plays – “Pop Goes the Weasel”- warns you that Jack is about to pop out so you try to prepare yourself for his sudden appearance. Being prepared doesn’t help. I always jump. That Friday morning I was weary from jumping.

On Monday we were a family of four; by Friday we were down to three. On Monday I was a minister’s wife; by Friday he had been fired. On Monday, we were upper middle class; by Friday I could qualify for food stamps. On Monday we had a three bedroom house complete with two kids, two dogs and a fenced in back yard. By Friday we were preparing to move. “Pop Goes the Weasel” became our family song.

Thankfully the scary free-fall we were experiencing was broken by a gracious, loving church and a Sunday School class full of friends. They took the shame and embarrassment we were experiencing and lessened it with graceful love. Our church provided my sons, dogs and me with a house until we could get back on our feet. When we moved in, there were groceries already in the cabinets from my Sunday School class. Meals, cards and monetary gifts came. God provided through his people.

It was during this time that I sat on the edge of my bed asking, “God, HOW do I DO this? How do I DO life?” God drew me to Proverbs over and over again each night. It became my guide for “doing life” as it was at that moment. In Proverbs it shows that there are really only two ways to do life – you do it “with God’ or you do it “without God.” I had a choice to make. Did I want to live with bitterness, revenge, and fear or did I want to be free from those things building up and choking my life? I wanted to be free, so I chose God.

That may sound like a proud bragging proclamation, to say “I chose God.” But it is not. God cries out to be chosen with His arm raised over the worldly crowd. He waves it wildly in the air, hoping to catch our eye. “Pick Me, Pick Me” is His chant. Our eyes scan the crowd of choices and in our brokenness and neediness we point to Him and shout –” I choose Him”. He steps forward and makes the weasel’s song fade and replaces it with a new melody…fresh, clear, compelling, pure and free. It is God, and He is singing.

Zephaniah 3: 17
“The LORD your God is with you, he is mighty to save. He will take great delight in you, He will quiet you with his love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”

After November of 2009, Jack kept jumping. Our lives had been drastically changed in one week and our lives would change even more as the New Year introduced itself. Thanksgiving and Christmas with family passed and became dear memories…really dear memories.

I started off the New Year by going with my sister to chemo. I had never been in that situation before and seeing the young and old waiting for their turn in treatment was eye opening. When my sister stated that her doctor was the leading specialist in the type of cancer she had and that he only accepted “special” cases, I knew we were heading into a place in life I did not want to go.

As January ended I prepared to budget for February. I pulled up my recent paycheck stub online and noticed that my paycheck had decreased significantly. A phone call informed me that the IRS was garnishing my wages for taxes my husband and I owed. Since he was fired and we were separated, I was the only one with a job…so they came after me. Now my two boys and I had to live for five months on $800.00 a month. This surprise almost put me under, but God held my nose above the water.

Not long after that my son’s car blew up, and then he wrecked mine. My tri-focals broke and had to be replaced. February was the month of broken things that just settled in along side our broken emotions. It was at this time that I noticed laughter…the weird kind of laughter that breaks out when the Jack-in-the-Box toy pops out at a baby. It is a laughter mixed with fear and amazement. I had the laugh, my friends had the laugh and my children had the laugh…what else could go wrong? Well, a phone call can go wrong. My Mother was sick. The day she got out of the hospital was the day she went back in the hospital. The news was not good. We lost her here, but she gained heaven with her Christ-bought soul.

On my birthday in March, we buried Mom and that evening we were told that my sister had three months to live. We lost her in two…May was her date to go home.

Where was God when all this was happening? He was where He has always been..on the throne. I don’t see the throne room of God as a cruel place where He flings out sorrow to earth. There is not a jester standing by Him who is playing around with my life to entertain. Why? Because Death, Decay, and Sorrow are products of this world that I have to wade through. Their flow of muck originated in Eden, but will end with Heaven. It will be clear one day…until then I will by faith see LIFE in death, I will see Hope in decay and I will see Joy in sorrow.

Jack is in his box…eternally confined. God is on His throne….powerfully free.