Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Spiritual Bath

This week, I read a story about an Iranian man who hasn’t taken a bath in sixty years. The last time Amou Haji washed was in 1954. The article said that Haji “has become almost the same colour as the earth around him and he totally blends in with his environment.” Haji is so dirty, his skin looks like the dirt in his desert home.

You would think that this is a problem. Haji lives alone. People report that he smells bad. He wants to find someone to love, but has no prospects.

Despite those challenges, Haji seems to be proud of the accomplishment. He is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the person who has gone the longest amount of time without a bath. He is quite famous for the grime and does not plan on bathing any time soon.

Haji’s story is a great illustration of the human spiritual condition. We know that our souls need a spiritual bath. But, we neglect it. We neglect it for so long, it becomes a source of pride. We win awards and celebrate the dirt caked on our spiritual lives. After years of broken relationships, we’ll say, “People know not to mess with me!” After years of addiction, we wear it like a badge: “Nobody can put ‘em back like me!” We never pause to think that our greatest ills are rooted in the things we celebrate as accomplishments.

As you go through the coming week, ask the Lord to give you a spiritual bath. Seek the Lord earnestly, asking Jesus to reveal areas of your life that need to be washed clean. Then, ask Jesus to do His cleansing work. As you do, you will find victory in ways you didn’t think possible. You will be cleansed in a ways far better than the longest of world records.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

There is Power in the Blood

When I was kid, my church family loved to sing a song called “Power in the Blo
od.” I remember the lyrics clearly: “Would you be free from your burden of sin? There is power in the blood! Power in the blood!” I bet we sang that song once a week.

If you think about it, Jesus’ blood is a weird place to find power. Jesus shed his blood on a cross. Jesus’ blood is the blood of injury and suffering. Few associate that type of blood with power. But, Jesus’ people do.

Jesus finds and creates power in a lot of weird ways. He uses things associated with the powerless and makes them a source for empowerment. Jesus exalts the lowly, puts the last in first place, gives the earth to the meek, and conquers death through a humiliating execution. For some reason, the Son of God chooses to take the weakest areas of life and make them the seedbed for eternal power.

If you are experiencing challenges, pray that the Lord will use them to do something powerful.  Ask the Lord to make his power perfect in the weakest areas of life. As you do, you will find strength that does not play by the rules of this world. You will find power in the blood.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Incredible Worth of Jesus

My friend’s dad gave him a collection of silver dollar coins when he was a kid. The coins had been handed down in the family. Some were very old. Being young at the time, my friend didn’t fully understand the value of the gift.

One day, that friend wanted to go shopping, but didn’t have the money. So, he took a few of the old silver dollars to the bank to cash them in. Because banks are not coin collectors, the bank honored the face value of the coins. Each silver dollar was exchanged for a dollar bill.

I cringed when my friend told me that story. I cringed because I knew that those coins were worth a lot more than a dollar. My friend learned that some things are worth way more than we give them credit for.

Much of the Christian life is spent learning similar lessons about the incredible worth of Jesus. God graciously reveals His Son to His people.  Early on, we recognize he is important, but don’t fully understand how precious he is. God graciously keeps after us, stressing how valuable His Son is. As we grow in our belief, we learn that Jesus is the most precious thing in our lives.

The Bible describes this process like building a house on a stone foundation. Our lives are a spiritual house that is built on the foundational rock of Jesus Christ. As we grow in the Lord, we learn how important the foundational stone is. 1 Peter 2:7 says, “Now to you who believe, this stone is precious…” The house God builds values Jesus beyond measure.

As you go through the coming week, ask God to reveal the value of His Son to you. Pray and read and think about how precious our Lord is. As you do, you will find a growing desire to serve Him.  You will find joy in His service simply because He is worth it.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Prayer and Presidents

Years ago, I read an article in the Washington Post about a woman named Emma Daniel Gray. Emma Daniel Gray cleaned the President’s offices in the White House for 24 years. That means she picked up after six different Presidents. Evidently, Mrs. Gray was a faithful follower of Jesus too. Every night, when she cleaned the President’s chair, she would pause for a moment of prayer. She would ask the Lord for wisdom, blessings and safety for each one of the Presidents she served. For 24 years, the faithful prayers of Emma Daniel Gray covered six different Presidents and their decisions.

Who knows the world shaping decisions that were made in that room during that time? Wars were fought, economies were managed, and laws were signed from that chair. All the while a faithful cleaning lady lifted them up to God. She may not have had the influence of the people who sat in that chair, but she knew even the President needs God’s help.

In our lives, we may not have power and resources or Presidents to solve problems. Few have the influence of the commander-in-chief. But, we do have access to the same God who answers the prayers of Presidents. We can call on that Commander-in-chief just like Emma Daniel Gray. Prayer allows us to seek and petition the one who is ultimately in control of everything. 

As you begin the New Year, make prayer a larger part of your life. Though much of life is out of our control, we can call on the One who is in control. Lift all the details of your life to Him in prayer. If the President needs it, so do we.