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Friday, August 7, 2009

Not Prayerless Before Being Stentless

My ENT surgeon removed the stent from my nose yesterday, and I am breathing much better today. The excision lasted more than an hour, and the pain was intense. No pain, no gain was certainly a valid maxim. This Sunday, when I preach at Falcon Baptist Church, I will breathe better than I have in more than two years. I won’t be longwinded though.

Before visiting the surgeon on the third floor of Colorado Springs’ Premier Health Plaza and accompanied by my wife Gloria, I stopped at the Surgery Center on the second floor to visit a former member of a church I served as an interim pastor. He was about to have rotor cuff surgery. After I prayed with him, a nurse wheeled him into the operating room. Gloria and the patient’s wife went to the waiting room, and I walked to the Exit.

Just as I was about to leave the Surgery Center, a young woman approached me. She explained that she had heard me pray in the curtained cubicle next to her mother’s cubicle. “Would you be willing to visit my mother and pray for her?” she asked. I gladly accompanied her to her mother’s cubicle and prayed for her.

Opportunities to show the Lord’s love and calm anxious hearts abound everywhere, don’t they?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

From Ordinary to Extraordinary

When Jesus assembled His team of disciples in the first century, He selected ordinary men from a variety of occupations. They lacked notoriety, seminary diplomas, political clout, social status, and discipling experience. They were a rag-tag crew, a bunch of hybrid peas from different pods, a collection of loose cannons, and a disorderly dozen. At times they showed an appalling lust for personal prestige, a tendency to shoot from the lip, and unwillingness to accept Jesus’ teachings. Nevertheless, under Jesus’ patient mentoring, all but one of these men became an obedient and productive follower of Jesus. They learned slowly, but when they finally grasped the lessons Jesus taught, they turned the world upside down.

• They had learned to love Jesus.
• They had learned to obey Jesus.
• They had learn to submit their wills to Jesus.
• They had learned to overcome temptation.
• They had learned to surmount trials.
• They had learned to triumph over persecution.
• They had learned to serve others.
• They had learned to exercise their spiritual gifts faithfully.
• They had learned to value the eternal more highly than the temporal.
• They had learned to focus on the goal of winning others to Jesus.

How far along in these lessons are we?

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Cellophane Wrappers

As a teen working in a golf course’s pro shop, I was impressed with the colorful appearance of the golf balls in our glass showcase. Penfolds, Titleists, Spaldings, U.S. Royals, and Dunlops came colorfully wrapped in cellophane, and each one sold for less than a dollar. Today, the price might be $25, $30, or more. Even an empty box that once held a dozen cellophane-wrapped golf balls may fetch nearly $100 today.

The bright wrapping certainly enhanced a golf ball’s appearance, but it added nothing to its performance. Each ball’s true value was determined by what it was after the wrapping came off.

God’s Word instructs us not to judge a person’s worth by outward appearance. When Israel demanded her first king, the people selected Saul strictly on the basis of his good looks. He was tall and handsome. If they had selected their first king on the basis of how he looked to God, they would have selected David, a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 8:19-20; 13:13-14; 16:6-13).

James 2:1-5 rebukes those who judge others by their outward appearance, and insists God places the highest value on faith and faithfulness—spiritual qualities.

If people could gain God’s approval by outward appearance, the Pharisees would have earned a triple-A rating in His sight. But God’s gaze penetrated the Pharisees’ robes and phylacteries and revealed their corrupt hearts. He accepted only those who believed on His Son—even beggars in tattered garments and lepers with ugly sores.

When God measures a person’s worth, He puts His measuring tape around the heart and not around a designer dress or tailored suit.

Read 1 Samuel 16:1-13.

© 2009, James T. Dyet