DayBreaks for 04/18/12 – What We Have Going for Us

DayBreaks for 04/18/12 – What We Having Going For Us

John 20:26 (NLT)
Eight days later the disciples were together again, and this time Thomas was with them. The doors were locked; but suddenly, as before, Jesus was standing among them. “Peace be with you,” he said.

I must say that “church” in the south is very much different than where we used to live in California.  We lived in the second least-churched county in the United States.  It was a county were people were into fine foods, dining, wine, leisure activities, etc.  Generally speaking, they weren’t into “church” or religion at all.

Not so here in the South.  Here we find big churches on nearly every corner.  It is the exception to see a small church building.  There are many churches around us that are large enough that it requires a police presence on Sunday mornings in order to direct traffic so people can get in and out of the parking lots.  The large churches here appear to have it all. I’m not judging them in any way.

Other churches, however, appear to have absolutely nothing. Look for example, at the church we see immediately after the resurrection of Jesus.  It is a small handful of disciples, hunkered down in an locked-door room  It is not a pretty picture.  Jesus, prior to his death, tried to prepare them to be a fellowship of faith, of profound love with the doors open and the welcome mat always out, but that’s not how we see them on Easter morning.  They were to be the people who would head out boldly into the world to bear fruit, people full of the Holy Spirit performing even greater works than Jesus himself (John 14:12).  But that’s not how they were on resurrection morning.  We find the early church cowering in fear, hoping nobody will find out where they are. We are seeing the church at its worst – afraid, discouraged and on the defensive.  If this group of Christians were to place a church ad in the paper, what could it say? “The friendly church where all are welcome”? No, not unless you think locked doors are a sign of hospitality. “The church with a warm heart and a bold mission”? I doubt it.  It’s more like the church with sweaty palms and a timid spirit.

John’s gospel shows us a church with nothing – no 1-, 3—or 5-year plan, no promise, no program, no flashy youth group, no preaching, nothing. In the final analysis, this scared band huddled in the corner of a room with a chair braced against the door had only one thing going for it: the risen Christ. And that seems to be the main point of the story. This is ultimately a story about how the risen Christ pushed open the bolted door of a church with nothing, how the risen Christ enters the fearful chambers of every church and fills the place with his own life – a life that changed everyone inside – and out.

PRAYER: Appear to us, Lord, as to your church in those early days, stir us to boldness and action, and may we never settle for anything less or anything more than Jesus!  In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.

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1 thought on “DayBreaks for 04/18/12 – What We Have Going for Us

  1. COME BOLDLY BEFORE THE THRONE

    We find written in the book of James not only a promise but instruction as to how to pray. James is often referred to in the history of the early church as ‘James the Just’ or ‘James the Greater’ and was the half brother of Jesus and a leader of the early church. In early church history we learn that James was such a devoted man of prayer that he had large knees with thick calluses that looked like the knees of a camel. He was martyred in Jerusalem by being beaten to death while praying for his attackers.

    James teaches us that we are able to ask God for anything we lack; indeed God is the only one who can meet our needs and only waits for us to come to Him in faith to do so. He not only wants to give us the things we need but wants to give them liberally. But let us ask in faith; our request for wisdom must be made like all other requests we make of God – IN FAITH, without doubting His desire or ability to give us His wisdom. By asking in faith, without doubt, we are showing the kind of heart we need in seeking God’s wisdom, a heart that believes God’s word, and believes it speaks to us today and is relevant to our lives.

    “And upbraideth not,” James adds this to assure us that God does not despise our requests but receives them without reproach, for He is ever ready to pour His blessings upon us without any limitation. Those looking for true wisdom will always ask of God then turn to the source of all wisdom. True wisdom will always be consistent with God’s word. I have found that as I grow closer and stronger in my walk by faith the scriptures open up to me and I find myself gaining understanding where once there were only words. As I learn to let go of self the Holy Spirit leads to understanding.

    Let us consider how express and particular the promise: “It shall be given him.” James shows this is not a promise we can take lightly. Consider then the plight of those foolish enough to perish in their foolishness if wisdom can be had for the asking and they will not pray to God for it.

    The human condition lends itself to a constant doubt. We doubt ourselves, we doubt God, we doubt His word and therefore faith comes slow and with difficulty. But, God requires that we gain the faith to know without doubt that His promises are true and faithful. As we grow in the word and give ourselves over to the Holy Spirit He teaches us how to leave our doubts behind and walk by faith.

    Hebrews 4:16 Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

    Let us not forsake the honor and privilege we have today to come boldly before the throne of grace, to be able to meet with Jesus like the disciple’s did. Have a question? Ask and He shall answer! Have a need? Ask and He shall provide according to His grace! How important is prayer to the believer? You are asked, no, commanded, to boldly come to the throne of God, your Creator and Savior. When Jesus shed His blood on the cross He opened the doors of heaven and only waits for you to walk boldly up to His throne and make your request known. But doesn’t He already know my needs? Yes, but it’s by approaching His throne in prayer and faith that we see His hand move and learn to give Him the glory. Let us never take for granted the privilege we have each day to sit at the feet of Jesus and learn His will for our lives. It is a privilege to give Him all our cares and worries and know He will meet all of our needs.

    I leave you today with a prayer that you will take hold of the great promises and privileges afforded by the sacrifice of Christ for you and take the time to boldly go to His throne today!

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