Friday, April 30, 2010

Network problems... with a Luncatic on the loose! Quick! Somebody Call Somebody!

In Genesis 18 we find Abraham praying for Sodom and Gomorrah. Interestingly, Abraham prayed for the righteous instead of the unrighteous. Isn't that odd? Because when it gets down to eternity, it's the unrighteous that needs it the most.

Just as Abraham was, in essence, called to intercede. We, too, are called to intercede also.

But who exactly is it that we're to pray for? Other than ourselves? Other than a brother? Other than the easy? Other than those that ask for us to? We're told to love our enemies! To pray for those that despitefully use us, that falsely accuse, that treat us abusively (Matt 5:43-48). We're told to pray for the brother that sins (1 John 5:16). We're "called" to "bless" those that have insulted and done evil against us. ("Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult, but with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing." - 1 Pet 3:9)

Did you notice that? We're called to! It's part of our calling! We're called to! So that we may inherit a blessing.

Sometimes (most times, maybe?), it's easier first said than done. In the heat of the moment when we've been offended, been abused, been persecuted, been 'despitefully used,' been insulted, had evil done against you... what's your first reaction? What do you find that you want to do most? Hit back? Insult in return? Run to tell another what your "Mean" has just done? It's in that moment that you can imagine the phone ringing. We're called! An insult or an evil is our 'call'ed immediate moment to bless! It's usually when I say, "Yes, Lord. Please bless the mean!"

Back to Sodom and Gomorrah. Let's parallel them to our "Mean." The Lord asked the two angels with him on their way to Sodom and Gomorrah, "Shall I hide from Abraham what I am about to do?" (vs 17).

God is always up to something (John 5:17) and it's His desire and design that we would be a part. And yet. Do we find that we concentrate more on our own business... than about our Father's business who is always at work?

God seeks to send someone to stand in the gap (Eze 22:30). IF He has given you eyes to see a need, then why wouldn't He expect us to pray.... for a brother, for a fallen, for the wanderer, for the robbed and beaten and left for dead,... for the mean?

IF the one you know is stuck in their own "Sodom and Gomorrah," then why would we not pray for them??? IF it were you, wouldn't you wish that somebody would? And why is physical sickness (which won't send to hell or keep captive in sin) eaiser to pray for then someone stuck in some habitual sin that you don't like and so makes you dislike them?

Pain always has a purpose. Cannot one of pain's purposes be a reason to pray? In that moment, can we ever be more like Jesus than to follow His lead and say as He said, "Father, forgive them. They know not what they do.".... because in all honestly, they really don't! Could it not be that God put him or her in your life on purpose.... so that someone would see the need and get on their knees to stand in the gap for them? To pray for help, conviction, repentance, change, transformation? Do we totally miss our "call," and thus, miss the reward that was meant for us once we answered?

Could the purpose for this moment be to bring to death something in me, so that Jesus can live again and be seen in my reaction? (2 Cor 4:7-12)

If I am at the bottom of a pit... or if I am blind to my own sin.... then I need someone praying for me! Could we not do what we wish another would do if the roles were reversed and we were the insulter, the evil, the mean. the persecuter?

But dare we instead fall into the scheme of the devil's trap when our enemy does something to hurt, offend, abuse, or persecute us! Our struggle is NOT against flesh and blood, right (Eph 6:10-18)?!.... but instead, our struggle is against rulers, authorities, powers of this dark world, and spiritual forces of evil that wants to rule and overpower us! Shall we fall for it???

Let me share one more profound example that has so impacted me in such a way as to stick! Here's how I see the "Mean".... though, not necessarily "demon possessed"... but 'under the influence' of an evil of some kind nonetheless.

Matthew 17:14-18 tells about Jesus healing a boy with a demon. We're told that a man came to Jesus and said, "Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water. And I brought him to Thy disciples, and they could not cure him...."

Here's what we do. We're often offended, pierced, abused, hurt, or persecuted by what we'd call a "lunatic." And in our hurt or mad, our first reaction is to want to either say something to him or tell on him to another. We're sayers at heart! We're gonna "say"! From out of the overflow our mouth speaks! The fullness of our heart can't help it, it spews! We're supposed to say! We're made to say! We're gonna say! How sad it is, though, when we forget who it is that we're to be saying to. My suggestion is to reconsider who it is that's hearing our saying! Tell on the person, sure. But not to another. Take the "lunatic" to Jesus!

When we don't take our "lunatics" to Jesus, then we become another "lunatic," too, that needs to be taken to Him! Verse 16 said, "I brought him to Thy disciples, and they could not cure him!" And again, that's what we often do. Take the person to all these other people, talk about him to everybody else that we know, but fail to take Him to the Healer! When nobody else can heal him but our Savior that came to!

My husband works in long-distance phone services. As I got into his vehicle to go to church on Sunday he told me, "We've got network problems in Birmingham." I turned to him and said, "Oh my goodness, that's perfect! Can't you just imagine Jesus talking to God in our failure to talk to Him as we're talking about a person to everybody else... can't you just hear them say to each other, "We've got network problems at 8467 Huckleberry Court."".... And YOU being the network problem He's talking about! For Jesus' response in that 17th chapter of Matthew is this, ""O unbelieving and perverse generation," Jesus replied, "how long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to Me." Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed from that moment."

We're often "networking" in the wrong network. We're taking our offender to everybody else, when we're only to carry him in prayers to our Savior! Can we commit right here and now to "bring" the sick, the wrong, the evil, the broken, to Jesus and plead for his healing? It's simple really. We get all caught up in a tangled mess of anger.... when we can simply let go and let God... and avoid getting all caught up in sin of our own without even seeing it, because we've focused our eyes on the sin of another.

"Let he who is without sin cast the first stone".........

Father, forgive them. They know not what they do. Father, forgive me, for I need it too!

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