“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.”
1 Peter 2:24
Seven years ago, I was in a terrible bicycle accident that left my face ruined by road rash. My chin was split open, I had a black eye, and the skin on my shoulder was shaved off. I was black and blue from head to toe but fortunate that I had no broken bones in my face.
I was laid up that following week and couldn’t work. I remember each time I looked in the mirror, I would thank God for healing my face even though at the time it was in bad shape. I was trusting God to heal me because there was nothing anyone could do for the damaged skin.
This took a lot of faith to trust and speak those words over myself in the midst of the situation, because I looked opposite of what I was thanking God for.
What happens when you are faced with the reality of your faith?
You have a choice. To walk it out, scary as it may seem or to turn a deaf ear to prompting in your heart.
Today I’m facing such a dilemma… and yet what will I choose?
I’ve been in Chicago for a few days. I love this city. It is like a second home to me. Even on a work trip, I find the time to do the things I enjoy. I frequent my favorite restaurants, I run the lakeshore trails breathing in the beautiful skyline. I do touristy stuff like visit the Art Museum or Shedd’s Aquarium. And I’ve even taken a selfie under the Bean in Millenium Park. For me, it is a fun escape… even in the cold windy month of March.
Yet this time, I am faced with the issue of homelessness. I’ve seen it before, it’s part of big city life, but this time it is like a vice gripping and squeezing my heart. A man stopped me the other day asking me to buy him a sandwich, to which I refused because I was scared to interact with him as he was clearly intoxicated and I was alone.
But what kills me, is that I spent $40 on my own dinner that night and didn’t think twice.
It’s early, it’s dark, coffee’s on…I love early mornings, it’s my favorite part of the day—before the world is awake.
However, today is different, today is special—today is Christmas.
I hope that the world pauses for a moment at some interval to reflect on the reason why we’ve set aside this day. Today is the day to celebrate Jesus and His dramatic and miraculous entrance into the world.
If you’re like me, then you’ve heard, studied, taught and wrote about the incarnation from just about every angle. And yet, this year a friend showed me a new element about Jesus’ birth that I had NEVER heard before. So I spent a few days looking into it and what I found was overwhelming in that it takes my breath away and brings me into a place where worship comes easily.
About a year ago, I took my first ever spiritual gifts assessment. Has anyone ever taken one? It is kind of fun—The particular one I filled out consisted of around 100 questions and in return you get back a list of your spiritual gifts (Download Assessment to find out your spiritual gifts). Like I said, I had never taken one before—the top two things on the list were not surprising, but the third one completely took me by surprise. It was the spiritual gift of evangelism. It floored me that this was a spiritual gift of mine—I had no idea!
Now, when I say evangelism, what image come to mind?
Let me tell you what images come to my mind…
I’ve been struggling lately with disappointment, and discouragement. I hate when I’m in this place. It’s hard, it’s lonely and it is beyond frustrating.
Have you ever been here?
Yesterday, like most lunch hours, I spent my time at a local coffee shop studying. During this time, a friend who I haven’t seen for years, walked in. We chatted and when time came for me to leave, she wanted to pray for me. I hadn’t shared much of anything prior to this.
She started to pray, but not just any prayer, rather hands-on prayer ministry, the kind that’s deep, invasive and brings healing. It has been years since I’ve experienced this type of Holy Spirit saturated prayer ministry and I knew I desperately needed it in that moment.