Tag Archives: disease

August 14; What’s Fair?

Ezekiel 17:1-19:14, 20:1-29

When bad things happen, the temptation is there to think, “That’s not fair,” “Why that person?” “Why me?” People have been known to shake their fists at God when they think they don’t deserve whatever hardship has come their way, when they think He’s not being fair.

Ezekiel will tell us things in this life aren’t fair – because WE are not fair. In reality, God is the only fair one around.

Let me ask you this: What would your requirements be for someone to be able to live a trouble-free life? Think about it. Maybe jot down the things a person would have to believe or do in order to get a free pass on problems.

Ask a friend or your spouse to make their own list. Put that challenge out to your co-workers, your Sunday School class, your HOA:

“Everybody, write down what you believe should be required for a person to be able to avoid disease, heartache, and tragedy. What are the things that ought to result in happiness?”

I would venture to say the odds of getting the exact same list from the majority are pretty slim. I’d be surprised if two people had the exact same requirements listed. How fair would it be for any one of you to determine how a person should live in order to escape hardship? We all have different ideas of what is fair.

Now, let’s ask people in a remote African village what they think about your list. Would it be fair to expect them, or a homeless person, or a Guatemalan refugee to follow your rules? How likely are they to go to church regularly, or give generously to charities, or volunteer at soup kitchens? You would be unfair to expect them to adopt a rescue puppy, or to coach their kid’s soccer team in order to escape hardship.

Here are God’s requirements for living a trouble-free life: THERE ARE NONE. He makes it clear that as long as there is sin in the world, bad things happen. So God defined sin for us so that we would know that all of us have sinned.  He set forth a plan that is the same for you as it is for me or the people in that African tribe.  He provided one way of cleansing sin, through the blood of the Savior Jesus Christ. And He promises to be with His children and help us navigate through this life until we get home. Where, by the way, we will live that trouble-free life we’re looking for.

God’s plan is fair because it has nothing to do with our middle class American values, or a world-view of tolerance and acceptance. It has nothing to do with church attendance, or cash flow. God’s plan is fair because it has everything to do with HIM.

I don’t think it’s a sin necessarily to ask God, “Why?” when bad things happen. I just think it’s a waste of time. The answer is pretty clear. If we think God owes us a good life just because we are good people, we are in for a world of hurt. Because none of us are all that good.

So, what’s fair? There is only one answer to that question. God is fair. Period.

January 21; Something Amazing

Genesis 22-24

I’m going out on a limb here. Scripture doesn’t tell us what Abraham was thinking as he and Isaac made their way up the mountain where God had ordered Abraham to sacrifice his son. Was Abraham sad, resentful, confused, panicked? We don’t know for sure.

Except there is a bit of a hint into Abraham’s heart. At some point, Abraham told his servants to stay put, that he and Isaac were going ahead to make the sacrifice, then “we will come back to you.” (21:5) It sounds like Abraham fully intended to sacrifice his son, then return with his son.

So here’s the limb I’m speaking from today. I wonder, as Abraham and Isaac were heading for the mountain, with all the emotions flooding Abraham’s soul, was there a bit of excitement and anticipation?

Here’s what we know: 1) God promised Isaac would be the father of a great many people, 2) At this point Isaac had zero children, 3) Abraham believed God.

I’m sure Abraham had no idea how God was going to accomplish this. But I think Abraham might have been excited to see God do His thing. Would God raise a dead Isaac to life right in front of his eyes? Would Isaac be sacrificed and somehow not die? Abraham couldn’t be sure about the details. But Abraham was sure he’d be taking a living Isaac home with him when all was said and done. (my thoughts only. Scripture does not say)

Sometimes God asks us to do the impossible. Some of you are going through very tough, impossible circumstances, and God is asking you to trust Him. God might be nudging some of you to change careers, teach a Sunday School class, report a crime, take a stand, and you think it’s too much. He might as well be asking you to sacrifice your only son.

Here’s what I think God would have us consider today: be excited, knowing you are about to see God do something amazing. You can’t see how. But, doesn’t Scripture tell us ALL things work together for the good of those who love God? (Romans 8:28)

ALL things?

What about the debilitating stroke the husband of my friend had last summer? What about the cancer diagnosis another friend has received the second year in a row? What about an unfaithful spouse, or a wayward child, or the loss of income, or the death of a loved one? How can any of that come out for the good?

I don’t know.

But God said it, and if you are His child you can trust it. ALL things.

If you are going through a difficult situation, I’m not going to tell you how to feel. Well, maybe I am. Go ahead and feel afraid, or angry, or hurt, or whatever you have to feel. That’s between you and God.

But here’s my challenge: in the midst of it all, allow yourself to be excited, too. Because you are in a position to see God do something truly amazing.

Heavenly Father, I want to pray for any who are reading this today who are facing those tough situations. I pray for hurting people, people who are mourning the loss of a loved one, people who are sick, weary, alone, afraid. I pray that they will look to You, look forward to whatever it is You are going to do in their trial, because Your Word tells us You work out everything for the good of those who love You. I pray that, even while carrying their burden, they will look forward with excitement, knowing You are going to do something amazing in their lives.

Leviticus 15&16; We Are Healed

It’s tempting to pass over the chapters that talk about diseases. I certainly don’t like reading them when I’m eating. But I sit here today and consider why God included these instructions to us in His Word.

What do you think? Should we read them, thank God for antibiotics, and move on? Or can there be a lesson we need to learn in 2017 in these verses?

All Scripture is given for inspiration, reproof, correction, instruction. So I’m thinking there’s a lesson here.

It occurs to me that we are all born with a terminal blood disease called sin. Left unchecked, that disease will kill us. But when we get a blood transfusion, so to speak, and have Jesus’ precious blood flowing through our veins, we are miraculously healed! No longer a disgusting disease. Clean!

Sin is not only terminal, but that disease is highly contagious.

So God, through Moses, is telling us to stay away from the disease (sin). Don’t touch it. Don’t take it lightly. Cleanse yourselves and your surroundings to prevent contamination. In other words, don’t put yourself in situations or have things around you that would compromise your spiritual health, that would tempt you to sin.  It’s clear that we live with, and love people who are diseased. But we need to be careful that their disease does not cause us to sin, too.

Isaiah 53:5 came to mind as I was thinking about disease. I have often heard that verse quoted as people claim the promise of healing from cancer, or some other sickness. After all, it says “… by His stripes we are HEALED.”

But when I read the whole verse, Isiah is referring to the sickness of sin:

He was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities, the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. (NIV, emphasis mine)

Healed of what? The disease of sin. Our transgressions refer to our terminal heart condition, our iniquities our incurable blood disease. But through Christ, we are healed!

So that’s what I’m taking from reading this chapter this morning. Moses’ instructions help me understand that there are some things I need to do to prevent being contaminated by the world. And it’s pretty consistent with what Paul tells us to do as well. Flee. Resist. Strive. Turn.

I am clean through the blood of Jesus. No longer carrying a terminal disease. I am healed!