Present to Help

I love to teach children’s classes at church. I would not say I am all that talented for it, but it is a pleasure of mine. I did not regularly go to church until I was 10, but  I had a Beginner’s Bible when I was just learning to read. I remember the stories coming alive. I remember dreaming, hoping and praying that God would call me special like He did Hannah, Samuel and Mary, but especially like Elijah and Jonah with whom I identify with most. Sharing those stories is so much fun for me.

A few stories stuck out to me most, Elijah with the prophets of Baal, Hannah and her encounter with Eli, Jonah and his fish-belly repentance, and a man of palsy who had faithful friends bring him to Jesus through a roof. The last one always baffled me, how those friends were so decisive that they interrupted the teachings of Jesus and opened up the tiles on a roof to lower a lame man down in front of large group of followers, literally putting themselves in the center of attention.

But as I prepared this week’s Sunday School lesson, something entirely new about that last story came to life to me. In Luke 5:17 the story is just beginning, “And it came to pass on a certain day, as  {Jesus} was teaching, that there were Pharisees and doctors of the law sitting by, which were come out of every town of Galilee, and Judaea, and Jerusalem: and the power of the Lord was present to heal them.”

The stage is set for this miracle to occur, and the scene is full of wealthy, well educated, able-bodied people. And the Power of the Lord was present to heal them. These men must have been intimidating in their proper religious robes and meticulous manners. And God Himself came, able to heal them.

What an incredible missed opportunity when they did not seek Him. When the humbled, uninvited lame man and his faithful friends arrived, they stopped Jesus with their act of faith. These men found more than the physical healing they were searching for, but also the forgiveness of their sins over their act of faith.

I found myself in awe over this story from my childhood all over again. God is so merciful, gracious, and kind. He was right there, able and willing to heal those in attendance, but so few sought what God had to offer. I wonder how often Jesus had something for me, but I was too busy, prideful or afraid to seek the possibilities.

 

Life with a Purpose

Ever start something and have no real purpose in it? Maybe you walked into your kitchen this afternoon and had no needs to meet; you probably walked right back out without accomplishing anything.  There are many small things I could mention that we do everyday that really have no purpose, things we do without a desired result. I do not wish to dwell on the insignificant matters of our day-to-day life, but the life changing events like marriage and parenting.

Not everyone, but most every adult is in a place in their life where they are either preparing for marriage or are already married.  But why?

There are the Biblical reasons, emotional reasons and family reasons for marriage that apply to everyone. Whatever the reason that leads people to get married, my question is: What is your day-to-day purpose of your marriage?

In my missions and church planting classes I learned that before beginning any new ministry it is important to first write a purpose statement. After realizing your purpose and intentions, then, every action and decision should aim to fulfill that purpose. What is your purpose statement for your marriage, or for raising your children, or for waking up in the morning?

When my husband and I were dating we had a discussion before we began considering marriage. We both had goals of going to the mission field and had to ask if God could use us better single or married. There are advantages to both kinds of missionaries, but even this kind of purpose statement is not what I am referring to. Every morning you wake up, what would you like your marriage, or parenting, to accomplish that day?

I have my own ideas of what I want to fulfill in my marriage commitment, and I am not even going to begin to tell you what is a good idea to strive for. The truth that has been running through my mind is that we can handle things as they come, or we can filter our actions and reactions through a purpose. The sad reality is that if we just take things as they come then life will just happen to us. My desire, as an individual is to live my life ON PURPOSE.

Do you have any specific parenting or marriage goals? What are ways you bring your family closer to meeting them?

Every word, and action should bring me closer to my marriage or parenting goals. It is a lofty ambition and I often fail, but I have come to realize that a good marriage, and raising God honoring children does not happen on accident!