(Reading List Theme 3.3)

Luke 9 is such an amazing chapter of the Bible. I could probably blog or preach on it for a month. If you want to know what Jesus is like, this is a great place to find out. From just this chapter (and all these things are confirmed elsewhere in the gospels, too) we find out:

> Jesus isn’t power-hungry, but he trains and sends out other leaders also, giving them chances to preach and the power to heal sickness through the power of the Holy Spirit. Anyone who had faith to use his name to ask for a person’s healing or deliverance was okay by Jesus (9:1-6, 10, 49-50)

> Jesus asks us to walk by faith, trusting that God will meet our needs, instead of being anxious about material things. Following Jesus is an awesome privilege, and he will care for us as we do it, but there is also a personal cost, and we must be willing to embrace that as well. (9:3-4, 23-27, 57-62)

> Our job as Jesus’ emissaries is to present truth, but we are not responsible for whether or not people receive it. If they don’t receive it, don’t make a fuss, just quietly move along. (9:5, 51-56)

>  Jesus is unique in that he was the only begotten son of God, and salvation only comes through him, but the ministry he did and his teachings were not brand new. His is a timeless message from God throughout history. Though it is truth, truth is not always well-received, because not everyone wants to face the truth. Jesus was rejected and persecuted for his message, as were those before him, and we shouldn’t really expect anything diffferent. (9:7-9, 18-22, also 28-36)

> Jesus has power over nature and all the resources that may be available to humans. Jesus asked for something HUGE, and because he asked in faith and knew the Father’s will, he received it! (9:10-17)

> Jesus also has power over spiritual forces, and is stronger than they. If we ask in faith for healing or deliverance, we can expect it! It may not come immediately, but it can and will come, I believe, if we diligently ask and fully surrender to God in our lives. (9:37-43)

> Crazy things happen when we follow Jesus! We will see and experience things we won’t fully understand. But as we continue to walk with Jesus, we will see patterns of his activity in our lives that make sense in a way we couldn’t grasp earlier. (9:28-36, 43-45)

> Jesus embraces those who are not embraced by society, and he does not measure a person’s worth in the way people do. Much more than the average person, Jesus is generous, open, and welcoming to all. (9:46-48)

Through all these stories and glimpses into the character of Jesus, the overall message is faith. What are you willing to expect from God? What are you able to receive from him? If you give your all to him, and really lay down your own desires and life to his will and in his service, we can expect great things. Not an easy life, per se, but a great life. We can expect our needs to be met, we can expect physical and emotional healing, spiritual transformation, full acceptance by God, and to experience a share in his power if we are willing to also offer that to others.

Thinking about my own life, I am on the verge of a minor miracle. I am praying for it, it is within reach and I can almost grasp it, but not quite. I am afraid I will be terribly disappointed if it does not come to pass.

I mentioned in an earlier blog that we have been living with my parents. We are in a financial position now to move out, and are really READY, personally. My parents are great, but we are ready to have our OWN space and our own stuff back. That seems shallow to say it – I know in many countries people live happily with multi-generational living as the norm, and I see the advantages, but we just feel it is time to be on our own again (and let my parents have some peace and quiet!). It’s just getting a little wearing to cram our three kids and the things we need and use each day into the space we have… and with one more on the way, we feel the urgency and peace from God that it is time to be on our own again.

We have been praying for a house in our same school district (we are right on the border of two districts), with three bedrooms, two baths, a decent size kitchen and living space big enough to hold a church small group. We are praying for an attached garage because it rains a lot here and we have bicycles and babies who sometimes fall asleep in the car, and it is so much nicer to lug stuff and kids inside and not get soaked doing it. We’re also praying for a yard so the kids can dig in the dirt and maybe we can try a vegetable garden next year. We want a safe neighborhood. And we want it all for a certain price, so we aren’t too tight on our budget, especially since our income month to month is not always the same, depending on how the construction business is going.

We have our long, specific list, and we have been looking and not finding, and I find myself guarding against bitterness as I look at the beautiful neighborhood we live in right now, and realize that most of the houses for rent there are $3-400 over what we feel we can afford each month.

Over the last several weeks as we have been looking, I keep reminding myself, “God has a place for us. He knows who He wants our neighbors to be, and where He wants our kids to attend school, and what we can responsibly agree to pay each month. God has a place for us, and He will always take care of us.” It is my mantra as we drive around and comb listings online. After several weeks of looking, and checking out a couple of places that didn’t feel quite right and didn’t quite fit the list, we think we have found a place!

We have seen the house, and it is everything on our list, and is even right in our neighborhood, just over half a mile from where my parents live. Miracle! And yet we don’t have it yet. We have our application in, but we don’t have it yet. I am praying, and reminding myself, “If this isn’t it, God has something for us that will meet our needs.”

Looking beyond my own life, there are so many other “minor” miracles I have seen God do, and some pretty major ones too, in lives transformed. And there are so many miracles we are praying for – things that only God can bring about. For me, the challenge most occupying my mind is this need for a home, and I am trying to stand in faith for my prayers to be met. There are plenty of other areas we need Jesus to guide and model and direct and heal and transform our lives. My challenge, as I read Luke 9, is to lay it all at his feet, and daily say,

“God, I surrender. I give up my life to follow you. I trust you with my daily needs, and I seek you for wisdom. Let my life reflect yours. Let my love be as yours to those around me. Help me to have faith for every challenge I face. Thank you for always being faithful, and for trusting a little of your power and goodness and grace to this undeserving servant. Thanks for loving me no matter what, and always taking care of me.”