HE never stopped … Caring

As I considered today’s recharge, the disciples infamous inquiry came to mind: “Teacher, don’t you care that we’re going to drown?” (Mark 4:38, New Living Translation)  When JESUS is “asleep” on your ship – unresponsive to your concerns – it’s easy to think HE doesn’t care.  We might not admit it, but there are times when we feel like JESUS doesn’t care.  For example, it’s easy to conclude HE doesn’t care when our endurance evaporates, yet HE delays rescuing us.

Imagine how Martha must have felt in this text.  She called JESUS as soon as her brother became ill, but JESUS took HIS time coming to Lazarus’ rescue.  As a matter of fact, HE took so long that Lazarus died.  Imagine Martha’s frustrations in the interim, “But LORD, I thought you cared.  If YOU cared, then how could YOU let YOUR friend die?”  No wonder Martha’s first words were, “LORD, if only you had been here, my brother would not have died,” rather than, “Thank you for coming JESUS; I knew YOU would show up!”  But if Martha had doubts, JESUS proved that HE never stopped caring.  HE cared so much that HE came, cried, and called for death to release Lazarus.

I’ve learned that when GOD delays HIS response, it doesn’t mean HE doesn’t care.  Sometimes, HE waits to give us a new revelation – that nothing is too hard for HIM.  HE cares so much that HE won’t let us be ignorant of HIS power.

JESUS still cares.  Wait on HIM!

HE never stopped … Listening

I devote a lot of my free time to my god-daughter.  When we’re together, we usually talk about school, friends, clothes, GOD, whatever comes to her mind.  Sometimes, while she’s talking, I’ll answer my phone or comment on something I saw.  Immediately, she stops talking because she thinks I’ve stopped listening.  Usually, however, I’ll recite what she said to assure her that I hadn’t stopped listening.

I’m sure the woman in this text felt like my god-daughter, and possibly, someone reading this email.  She came to JESUS with an extremely urgent request – deliverance for her daughter – and HE took HIS time responding.  As a matter of fact, initially, HE didn’t say a word to her.  Have you ever been there – pouring your heart out to GOD only to hear silence on the other end?  At these critical junctions in life, we feel as if our prayers have hit the ceiling, but this text assures us that JESUS always listens.  Once HE beheld the woman’s faith, demonstrated through her persistence, HE answered her prayer.

When GOD doesn’t answer immediately, sometimes we lose heart; we feel like HE’S not listening.  The truth is HE hears us and will answer according to HIS purpose for our lives.  So keep praying, keep trusting, knowing that GOD hasn’t turned a deaf ear toward you.

JESUS still listens.  Are you still talking to HIM?

HE never stopped … Praying

The words of a classic Gospel song say, “Somebody prayed for me, had me on their mind, took some time and prayed for me.”  It’s a joy to know that someone mentions your name in their prayers.  Prayer is like divine mathematics: it can add strength, subtract sorrows, multiply blessings, and divide demonic forces.  No wonder another song notes, “Prayer will change things for you.”  It’s certain – when someone prays for you, they have your best interest in mind.

Isn’t it wonderful to know that CHRIST prays for us?  Peter, the bold and impulsive apostle, discovered this reality in the text cited above.  As JESUS enjoyed the Last Supper with HIS apostles, HE warned Peter of some tough experiences ahead.  HE told Peter that Satan sought his demise; he wanted to abort Peter’s purpose prematurely.  But JESUS assured Peter that HIS prayers were with him.  And JESUS was so confident in HIS prayer that HE told Peter, “When you make it through your trial, come back and encourage your brothers.”

JESUS is definitely the best candidate to pray for us.  HE has a great relationship with GOD the FATHER, and HE knows us better than anyone else.  Plus, HIS track record is unblemished; everything HE does succeeds!

JESUS still prays, and you’re on HIS prayer list …

HE never stopped … Reassuring

I received three emails within a week that reminded me of a seldom discussed reality – spiritual exhaustion.  While the Christian ideal is to endure hardness as a good soldier, some situations make quitting an attractive option.  Seriously, it’s hard to be kind to people who always have a nasty attitude.  It’s a task to pray for people who don’t mind hurting your feelings.  Certain circumstances tempt you to throw up your hands and say, “I’ve had enough; I just can’t do this any longer!”

Elijah, the great prophet of GOD, had had enough in the verse cited above.  He had, with GOD’S assistance, defeated at least 450 false prophets on Mt. Carmel, and almost immediately thereafter, Queen Jezebel sent him a death threat.  What misfortune – it seems like if it’s not one thing, then it’s another.  Elijah grew so weary that death seemed like the only hope for bliss.  But no sooner than he’d reached his limit, GOD sent an angel to reassure and strengthen him for the remainder of his journey.  Isn’t that neat?  GOD has a way of reassuring and recharging us when we’re at our wits end.

I’m thankful that GOD’S reassuring power didn’t end with Elijah.  When JESUS was in Gethsemane, wrestling with HIS pending death, an angel came to give HIM strength (see Luke 22:39-46).  This same power is available to us; no wonder Isaiah said, “But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.  They will soar high on wings like eagles.  They will run and not grow weary.  They will walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31, New Living Translation).

GOD still reassures.  Have you tried HIM?

HE never stopped … Providing

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but food prices increased significantly this year.  Common goods are so expensive that sometimes you have to prioritize your purchases.  Not to mention the gas we use to drive to the grocery store is expensive, the jobs that give us gas money don’t pay well or lay off employees, and the homes to which we transport the groceries are foreclosing.  We’re living in trying and uncertain times.  Is there any relief in sight?

The disciples who participated in the miracle described in Mark 6 were in a similar predicament.  They were in a desert (Bethsaida), and JESUS asked them to feed a massive crowd.  Many of the disciples were unemployed, so they certainly couldn’t feed the crowd.  In their struggle to find resources, JESUS gave them a timeless lesson – HE can provide!  With two fish and five loaves, HE provided an all-you-can-eat dinner for 5,000 men, not including the women and children!

This recharge is a reminder that JESUS can, and will, provide!  No matter how bad the economy gets, HE’LL make a way out of no way.  No wonder Paul wrote, “And this same GOD who takes care of me will supply all your needs from HIS glorious riches, which have been given to us in CHRIST JESUS” (Philippians 4:19, New Living Translation).

JESUS still provides.  Do you trust HIM?

HE never stopped … Empowering

One of my favorite cartoons was He-Man and the Masters of the Universe.  I really enjoyed this cartoon because it illustrated the extraordinary things ordinary people could do when endowed with power.  The main character of the cartoon was Prince Adam, a gentle young man who seldom welcomed conflict.  When danger arose, however, he’d draw his sword and say, “By the power of Grayskull … I have the power!”  Instantly, he’d transform into He-Man, the most powerful man in the universe.

Apart from JESUS and the 120 assembled on the day of Pentecost, I don’t think anyone experienced GOD’S empowerment quite like Samson.  In the scene captured above, Samson, the Bible’s strongest man, was the spokesperson for weakness.  The Philistines had removed his eyes and hair, and they demoted him from a judge to a gladiator.  The Philistines failed miserably, however, by not extracting his tongue, for it allowed Samson to ask GOD for strength.  And GOD delivered!  HE gave Samson so much strength that he destroyed temple and its 3000 occupants.

Isnt’ is amazing how GOD can transform our frailties into fortitude?  Through HIS power – available via the Holy Spirit – we can spread the Gospel, rebuke demons, pray for the sick, love our enemies, control our tongue, and overcome the world.

JESUS still empowers.  Have you tried HIM?

HE never stopped … Comforting

Life has a way of eliminating your enthusiasm and destroying your determination.  Whether it’s worries at work, exasperated economics, fickle family and friends, or spiritual struggles, life can escort you to your wits end.  But just when enduring seems impossible, GOD has a way of dissolving our distress.  HE specializes in soothing our souls when we’ve reached the end of the rope.

John, the disciple whom JESUS loved and author of this text, had an incredible experience with JESUS’ comforting power.  JESUS had given HIS disciples a troubling news flash: one of them would betray HIM soon.  Imagine the alarm that set in their hearts as the pondered who was the culprit.  Thankfully, John knew how to ease his tension; he found rest in JESUS’ bosom.  His actions are an example for us – when we’re stressed, we can find relief in the presence of GOD!

Isn’t it wonderful that our SAVIOR cares enough to console?  Just when we’re in over our heads, HE reminds us, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28, New Living Translation).

JESUS still comforts.  Have you tried HIM?

HE never stopped … Delivering

On July 14, 2008, Major League Baseball fans witnessed an incredible feat.  Josh Hamilton – an outfielder for the Texas Rangers – hit 28 home runs, including 13 in a row, to set the single round record for the Home Run Derby!  That’s impressive, but something more spectacular happened nearly 3 years before this milestone.  After years of substance abuse and failed rehabilitation attempts, Josh Hamilton received deliverance on October 6, 2005.  When asked about his recovery, Hamilton simply said, “It’s a GOD thing.”  In other words, GOD delivered him from a drug addiction that nearly cost him his career and life.

Isn’t it wonderful that GOD’S power can deliver us?  The man featured in this text had a first-hand experience with GOD’S delivering power.  He was in bad shape; he was demon possessed, and every human attempt to restrain him had failed.  But, thankfully, his situation wasn’t beyond JESUS’ power.  JESUS rebuked the demons and delivered the man to life as he had enjoyed it!

The same power that delivered Josh Hamilton and the man from today’s text is available to us now!  No matter your addiction, fleshly struggle, emotional instability, or mental disturbance, GOD can set you free!

JESUS said, “The SPIRIT of the LORD is upon ME, for HE has anointed ME to bring Good News to the poor.  HE has sent ME to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free” (Luke 4:18, New Living Translation).  Have you tried HIM?

HE never stopped … Healing

I heard some awesome praise reports last week that I’d like to share.  On Monday, my uncle received good news: the procedure to remove cancerous tumors from his prostate was completely successful.  On Tuesday, my aunt completed her last chemotherapy treatment, ever.  At first glance, these testimonies seem to highlight advancements in medical technology.  But honestly, these miracles are a reminder that GOD still heals!

The woman in today’s text had a first-hand experience with GOD’S healing power.  She was sick; she had an issue of blood (hemorrhage) and her condition was beyond medical intervention.  For 12 years she wasted time, energy, and resources to find relief from her sickness.  But when she heard about JESUS, she pressed through the crowd, believing HE could heal her.  And she was right:  she received healing the moment she touched HIM!

This recharge is just a reminder that HE never stopped healing!  No matter how great or small your sickness, HE can heal you.  No wonder James wrote, “Are any of you sick?  You should call for the elders of the church to come and pray over you, anointing you with oil in the name of the Lord.  Such a prayer offered in faith will heal the sick, and the Lord will make you well …” (James 5:14-15, New Living Translation).

JESUS still heals.  Have you tried HIM?

HE never stopped … Saving

A scene from Superman Returns came to mind as I received today’s recharge.  I’m referring to the scene where the brakes malfunction on one of Lex Luther’s (Superman’s enemy) associate’s car.  The lady weaves uncontrollably through traffic, endangering everything in her path.  At the climax of the scene, the lady drives onto a plaza, and death seems certain for the crowd.  Just before the catastrophe commenced, however, Superman lifts the car above the crowd and places it safely on a nearby street.

Just as Superman saved the day, so did JESUS in today’s text.  Peter, the co-star of this excerpt, decided to put his faith in action.  Although the sea was turbulent and his close associates were scared, Peter stepped out of the boat to walk toward JESUS.  He lost focus as he approached JESUS, and he began sinking.  When death seemed certain, Peter asked JESUS to help.  And like the SAVIOR HE is, JESUS reached out and grabbed Peter.  What an awesome GOD we serve!

The same power that rescued Peter is available to us today.  No matter how troubled the sea of life is, JESUS can save us.  No wonder the prophet Joel said, “But everyone who calls on the name of the LORD will be saved” (Joel 2:32, New Living Translation).

JESUS still saves.  Have you tried HIM?