Lent Day 39: “What else can I do?”

IMG_3760

I have just finished the remarkable true life story of Chinese-born Christian Pastor Liu Zhenying or “Brother Yun” as he is more widely known. It’s a story of a life totally surrendered and dedicated to lifting up Jesus no matter what the cost, and the cost was great. It was prison time, it was torture, and days without food, years without his family. But even more than that, it was a story of victory and joy and how God is still very much a God of miracles as displayed by many events in the book.

As I walked back into work after my break, my soul felt buoyant, lighter somehow.  I was remembering a special time in my life when I was a new believer and faith was very simple. I was 14 and I knew my parents couldn’t afford the refrigerator they needed so I told Mom I thought she should tithe her money and we would pray for a new fridge at the same time. She ended up finding one like new for $25.00. I can still see it if I close my eyes, it was big and it was beige and it was a humming miracle.

That refrigerator lasted for years.

There are so many other things to put our trust in here in our modern society. Everything we need is at our fingertips, but when you have great need there is little option but to trust God for your needs. The one thing that impressed me most about Brother Yun was that even under extreme duress and pain, he forgave those even while they were beating him. And he had what I call the “what else can I do” attitude. He was always looking for another opportunity to help those in need, even though his own needs were insurmountable.

Most of us are not under such extreme circumstances and most of us, at least those of us here in America have pretty much all we need and much more. But when we give God our open heart, He will always find plenty of ways we can bless the others around us. 

I’ll use my best friend as an example as I do so many times in this blog. She has one of those “what else can I do” hearts. Always looking to make things better for others. Yesterday, she came home from working and doing errands and I knew she was exhausted. She has been trying to recover from an illness for a month. Even so, she knew that our Canadian neighbors would soon be home and she wanted to do something for them. She went out and trimmed their trees, swept the walk, and drug all their patio furniture out so they could relax in their patio as soon as they got home.

She amazes me.

Now as we come to the 39th day in the desert with Jesus, He is hungry…….and tired……. and at the end of His strength. Satan comes at the very worst time. (Doesn’t he always?) But Jesus is thinking of you and me. And He doesn’t cave in. The angels come to minister to Him. And then He lifts His eyes to the Heavens and asks His Father.

“What else can I do?”

Lent Day #38: The heart opens from the inside

 

 images coffee

“To the angel of the church inLaodicea write:

The Amen, the faithful and true Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God, says this:

‘I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth. Because you say, “I am rich, and have become wealthy, and have need of nothing,” and you do not know that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked, I advise you to buy from Me gold refined by fire so that you may become rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself, and that the shame of your nakedness will not be revealed; and eye salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline; therefore be zealous and repent. Revelation 3:15-19

I am just finishing up the book, “Heavenly Man” by Brother Yun and I feel the kind of awe and stillness that comes as a result of seeing a people, a church, fully yielded and committed to their Lord and the miraculous things He does through them as a result. When you finish a book like that there is really nothing you can say, except that I felt like I got a glimpse of the real church in action.

Right now, the world is watching real Christianity as its marched across the global stage in its purest and most self-sacrificing form, by following the example that Jesus Himself set. All my life I have been taught that Jesus is standing at the door knoocking on the heart of the unsaved sinner. Brother Yun reminded me in his book that the door that Jesus is standing in front of is none other than the church door. And hearts, like doors, open from the inside. Sobering thoughts on this 38th day of Lent.

Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and will dine with him, and he with Me. He who overcomes, I will grant to him to sit down with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’” Revelation 3:20-22

All I can do is watch in awe as my brothers and sisters all over the world, and many right here on our own soil, are stepping up one by one and saying, “We won’t turn back, no matter how hard it gets, even if we have to pay with our very own lives.”

Sometimes the sacrifices others make seem all but impossible to me, settled as I am in my comfortable corner of life. Other times, the sacrifices are played out in the smaller, more ordinary ways; the everyday choices to do the right thing over and over again, even in extremely challenging circumstances. I guess it’s easy for me to think of Jesus being really impressed with the “Big” ones and chide me for my pithy offerings, but the truth is, He notices things like cold cups of water given in love.

All I can do is peer into my own heart in humble gratitude that He still loves me, regardless of how far too often, my hands still clutch at the world and my eyes are still dazzled by all it has to offer.

Even so, come Lord Jesus.