Tuesday, November 10, 2015
In just two short weeks Americans will gather with friends and family for Thanksgiving Day. I began to wonder how many actually meditate on what they are thankful for on this day. Our focus tends to shift to the gobs of food, the guest list, and the Black Friday sale papers. This year, will you commit that day to truly be a day of Thanksgiving? Will you be intentional about taking time to thank God for all the blessings he has given to you?
I am interested in hearing how your family focuses on thanksgiving on this special day? Leave a comment and share your ideas...you never know, you might inspire someone else to be intentionally grateful (or should I say grapeful?).
Friday, October 23, 2015
This semester I have been teaching a psychology class on illness, death and healing. In the course of the semester, I have spoken with friends who are nearing the end as they face their own mortality, and with others who have recently lost someone they love. What surprised me is the desire by those who are dying to talk about their impending death.
We often talk about everything except this elephant in the room when we are with someone who is dying. We make small talk about trivial things for fear of upsetting the other person. What I have learned is that the other person is already thinking about the road ahead...as a matter of fact, for many it is what they think about most.
Many long for someone to share their fears and their hopes with only to find that no one wants to listen; no one wants to talk about what the process of death will be like...what life will be like after our loved one is gone. Because many of us are uncomfortable with death, we avoid the subject when that may be the very thing our loved ones need to discuss.
Sometimes we avoid the person for fear of saying the wrong thing. Several have told me that when their friends or family avoid them, it either makes them believe the other person doesn't care or they feel stigmatized and unloved. Don't avoid people you love; make amends if needed and give the gift of your presence. Sometimes words are not needed -- just your presence and a willingness to listen.
I want to be sensitive to this in others and allow them the opportunity to speak freely. If you know someone who is dying, don't dance around the subject but don't force it either. Be a friend...be willing to meet your loved one where they are and listen no matter what they want to discuss.
Monday, September 28, 2015
Monday, September 7, 2015
Monday, August 17, 2015
Between writing lesson plans and researching for my dissertation, I have found little time to blog recently. However, I want to share with you about an experience I had in Africa.
I was going hut-to-hut sharing the gospel with my friend, Robert. It was time for lunch and we were walking back to the church to meet the rest of the team for lunch. On the way, a lady sitting by the path stopped us. She began sharing about her uncle who was paralyzed and begged us to go and visit him. She had heard that missionaries were in the area and she believed that her uncle would be healed if only we would visit him.
Robert began to share with her about the centurion in the Bible who came to Jesus on behalf of his servant. Robert explained that just as Jesus did not have to go and visit the man to heal him, we did not have to visit her uncle in order for God to bring healing. We then shared the good news of the gospel with her and her children, and they all prayed to receive Christ.
In response to her request, we agreed to go and visit her uncle. When we arrived, we saw a thin man lying in the bed. His legs looked literally like skin and bones, brittle and without muscle. My heart hurt for this family. The niece explained that doctors had told them he was paralyzed and that there was nothing they could do to help him.
One of our translators, Christopher, told the man, "Your niece has faith that if we pray over you, God will heal you. Her faith is not enough. You must believe in the Lord Jesus." He explained to the man his need for salvation and the man surrendered his life to Christ, experiencing spiritual healing. Christopher then asked the man if he believed that God could heal him. The man answered, "Yes!" Christopher then said, "In the name of Jesus, get up and walk."
At this point I had a crisis of belief. Would God heal this man? Could this man whose legs had no visible muscles possibly walk again? I remember thinking, "OK, God. Your name is on the line. What are you going to do?"
Again Christopher said, "In the name of Jesus, get up and walk!" The man began to sit up and his family rushed to the bed to help him. Christopher told the family to let him be. "In the name of Jesus, get up and walk." Slowly the man slid off the bed into a standing position. With Christopher continuing to command in Jesus' name, the man took one, two, three steps.
My eyes had to be huge at this point! He did it! He took 3 steps!
Christopher then said, "Walk outside. In the power of Jesus' name, walk." The man walked outside and turned around and walked back to his home. He then began raising his hands and dancing before the Lord. I watched with tears pouring down my face as his family raced to embrace him. God had healed the lame -- not only physically but spiritually as well. God Did It!!!!
Before we left, I encouraged the man to go and tell everyone he knew that Jesus Christ had healed him. I was in awe as we left his home...there really are no words to explain what it felt like to experience this miracle. Even now as I type, my eyes well up with tears.
What a mighty God we serve!