Monday, August 26, 2013

Interruptions (Mark:1-12, Jeremiah 29:11)

Yesterday the speaker at Church spoke about Mark 2.  It was very good and got me thinking about the day Jesus healed a man loved so much by his friends.  They actually took the roof off a house to lower their paralyzed friend to Jesus with rope and a mat.  By now, you probably realize I love to draw.  I have a 5 year old friend next door that does too.  For the past few months she's been asking me to draw chalk with her on the sidewalk everyday.  I've been having a bit of an Artist's block.  Then I finally gave in and told her, "Sure."

I grabbed my sidewalk chalk and we doodled.  It was very fun and she was delighted.  Bet you can guess what I'm going to say next...  my artist's block disappeared.  All this time the Lord sent a persevering little girl to get me back into my artwork : )  And I just kept dismissing her.  Wonder how many other answers He's provided and I missed out.  We now have a unicorn, rainbows and houses all over the street.  I love it!  It will rain tonight so we'll have to start over tomorrow.

Thankfully Jesus never misses the message.  Jesus was speaking to a crowd in a house in Capernaum.  I can't believe the God of the Universe needed to take notes.  I'm pretty sure He knew what to say.  There's nothing He doesn't know : )

Mark 2:1-12

1 And again He entered Capernaum after some days, and it was heard that He was in the house. 2 Immediately many gathered together, so that there was no longer room to receive them, not even near the door. And He preached the word to them. 3 Then they came to Him, bringing a paralytic who was carried by four men. 4 And when they could not come near Him because of the crowd, they uncovered the roof where He was. So when they had broken through, they let down the bed on which the paralytic was lying.
So, Jesus is speaking and no one is moving.  They are captivated by His Words.  The house was packed.  No one could leave or come in.  Then some dust starts drifting from the ceiling.  I can imagine Jesus smiling because He knew what would come next.  

Those in the room probably coughed and looked around worried, wondering where the dust came from.  Then a shaft of light shone on Jesus.  They begin to stand up, "What is this?"  They know they can't get out (their was no fire department then).  Finally the roof splits open and they can see men's hands pulling away the roof.  One may have apologized and said, "Sorry!  My friend doesn't have much time and He needs healing.  Would You mind?"

He didn't mind at all.  The roof opened and the paralyzed man was lowered into the room.

 5 When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, your sins are forgiven you.”
At this point I'm thinking Jesus is laughing so hard He has tears in His eyes.  These are men after God's own heart.  The others might not have realized but He forgave them too.

6 And some of the scribes were sitting there and reasoning in their hearts, 7 “Why does this Man speak blasphemies like this? Who can forgive sins but God alone?”
Argh those old scribes were there to spoil the moment.  They were always testing Jesus.

8 But immediately, when Jesus perceived in His spirit that they reasoned thus within themselves, He said to them, “Why do you reason about these things in your hearts? 9 Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘ Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise, take up your bed and walk’? 10 But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”— He said to the paralytic, 11 “ I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.” 12 Immediately he arose, took up the bed, and went out in the presence of them all, so that all were amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!"

Even the Scribes were amazed.  But they wanted to please the Pharisees instead of God.  So they went back to their old ways after this.  It's good to think about whom I want to please.

Then I was thinking what about when I need help?  When I'm old or sick, will anyone look after me?  This verse came to mind.

"For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope."  Jeremiah 29:11 NKJV

"I know what I'm doing. I have it all planned out––plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. "  Jeremiah 29:11 The Message  

We are in good hands with Jesus.  He has a future plan in place for us all.  It's probably a good idea to pay more attention to those interruptions though.  It may be Jesus tapping our shoulder.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Faith (Hebrews 11:1-3)

© Karen Kyle Ericson, all rights reserved.

My prayer for Egypt:

Dear Heavenly Father I lift up those in Egypt to You.  I pray for Your mercy and grace on these people.  Please help them to turn from violence and seek Your face.  I pray for Christians who are being persecuted, for those who are in fear and those who are lost.  Let Your amazing light shine upon these people that they may be able to find peace instead of destruction.  Please shelter the innocent under Your wings of love. Encourage their faith.  You have shown me Your light is always brightest in darkness Father.  Nothing is impossible for You.
In Jesus Name, Amen.

Sometimes it's hard to know how to pray...  when others are down, we lift them up.

This was scratched into a wall in Auschwitz during the Holocaust in Germany:

"I believe in the sun when it's not shining, I believe in love even when I feel it not, I believe in God even when he is silent."  Unknown

My heart and prayers are with those in Egypt.  It's hard to understand how human's can make this beautiful world so dark.  Sadly it's been our struggle since the beginning of time.  I've always loved the quote above. It reminded me of Hebrews 11 in the Bible.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen. For by it the elders obtained a good testimony.
 By faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.  
Hebrews 11:1-3 (New King James Version)

The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It's our handle on what we can't see. The act of faith is what distinguished our ancestors, set them above the crowd.
 By faith, we see the world called into existence by God's word, what we see created by what we don't see. 
Hebrews 11:1-3 (The Message)

Our faith is more important than anything on earth.  It's how we can carry on and believe good can happen to anyone, anywhere.

Odds and Ends:
This has been a great summer in New Jersey.  I had so much fun doing my first garden.  The flowers are beautiful : )  Of course, God's a Master Gardener.  He must've thoroughly enjoyed coming up with all the colors and shapes in flowers.  I can see His sense of humor in the snails that carry their homes on their backs.  We also had some giant carpenter bees.  They help the flowers grow of course and tend to freeze in place!!?  I've looked outside a few times to see a frozen bee dangling on a flower...

While I was working in offices, I thought women at home were lucky.  The truth is, they have their own struggles like loneliness and boredom.  I'm having a blast which drives my neighbors crazy at times : )  

As I've been working on these blog posts I've been using PC Study Bible (link) which can be purchased and downloaded online.  It's a great tool, I recommend it.  I can copy Bible verses and paste them into my blog without worrying about messing up Scripture by typing it.  However, I work on a Mac now.  So I was using my Windows laptop to copy Bible verses into the blog, then shutting it down to go back to my Mac and do the artwork or photos.  Doh!  I finally downloaded the OliveTree (link)  software which is available through the Apple App Store for Macs and iPhones. I love it.  I was able to get seven versions of the Bible, study books and maps for a good price.  It will be much easier blogging now 
: )

I'm still trying to decide between reading through Hebrews or studying about Peter in my blog.  Character studies in the Bible are so fun!  Let me know if you'd like something.

God bless and feel free to comment if you like.