Thursday, July 10, 2014

Help, I Need Somebody

Do you know someone who is constantly complaining that no one helps them? Perhaps addictions have taken over their life or mental disorders plague them and they seem to have lost the motivation to do anything for themselves.
I think most of us remember the old song by the Beatles, “Help!”
The lyrics could describe someone in that position:
Help me if you can, I'm feeling down
And I do appreciate you being 'round
Help me get my feet back on the ground
Won't you please, please help me

And now my life has changed in oh so many ways
My independence seems to vanish in the haze
But every now and then I feel so insecure
 I know that I just need you like I've never done before

Help me if you can, I'm feeling down
And I do appreciate you being 'round
Help me get my feet back on the ground
Won't you please, please help me?*
These lyrics remind me of a Bible story. 
 Later on there was a Jewish festival (feast) for which Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
 Now there is in Jerusalem a pool near the Sheep Gate. This pool in the Hebrew is called Bethesda, having five porches (alcoves, colonnades, doorways).
 In these lay a great number of sick folk—some blind, some crippled, and some paralyzed (shriveled up)—[a]waiting for the bubbling up of the water.
For an angel of the Lord went down at appointed seasons into the pool and moved and stirred up the water; whoever then first, after the stirring up of the water, stepped in was cured of whatever disease with which he was afflicted.
There was a certain man there who had suffered with a deep-seated and lingering disorder for thirty-eight years.
 When Jesus noticed him lying there [helpless], knowing that he had already been a long time in that condition, He said to him, Do you want to become well? [Are you really in earnest about getting well?]
The invalid answered, Sir, I have nobody when the water is moving to put me into the pool; but while I am trying to come [into it] myself, somebody else steps down ahead of me.
 Jesus said to him, Get up! Pick up your bed (sleeping pad) and walk!
 Instantly the man became well and recovered his strength and picked up his bed and walked. John 5:1-9 Amplified Bible (AMP)
Sometimes a broken mirror gives a fractured reflection just as a broken heart reflects a distorted image. This man had laid there for 38 years gazing into a distorted image reflected from the pool, an image that confirmed to him that he had no power for living. He needed help! Gazing into that pool heightened the deep-seated thoughts of helplessness within him. The next thing you knew he was battling thoughts of anger and frustration that no one would help him and people were getting in his way.
The first thing I note about these verses is, "No one will help me." On the heels of that is "Someone gets in my way." It is nearly impossible to help someone who is still in the victim mode of behavior. I notice that Jesus didn't let the man get away with excuses, He said, "Get up! Pick up your bed and walk!" He didn't say "Let me help you up, let me do it for you," He put responsibility upon the person that they be a part of the recovery process. Another translation reads, "Rise up!"
The work of the Holy Spirit even before the person is encouraged on a recovery walk can be a powerful thing. Some people may need a miracle and that is where prayer and intercession come in. Blanket that person who you know needs healing in unrelenting, incessant, and non-stop prayer!
This scripture goes along with another of my favorite stories where Peter heals a lame beggar:
One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon.  Now a man who was lame from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts.  When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!”  So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them. Acts 3:1-6  (NIV)
Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” 
The man gave Peter his attention, expecting something from him, perhaps a donation to keep him going and alive one more day. But Peter had the power of the Holy Spirit and knew temporarily "fixing" him or his momentary situation was not what he needed. The man needed healing to walk in wholeness and have purpose for his life. It may have seemed that he got a "quick fix" but really the daily gift of meeting the man's needs instead of looking deeply at the heart of the man and the matter was really hindering him.  We need to remember we can help, but we can’t do the work of recovery for someone else.
“Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk,” is one of my favorite verses and so often I feel like saying it to people. I don't always have money to help everyone, I can't always find the right resources for everyone even those in my family, but I can pray that in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, they can walk. Walk how, you say?
Walk in wholeness of spirit.
Walk with clarity of mind.
Walk with resources that are so readily available when pursued.
Walk with Jesus
Walk with the Holy Spirit's power.
And walk forward in prayer, not looking continually at the past. Just take that next best step even if it is a baby step, walk!
"Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man’s feet and ankles became strong.  He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God.  When all the people saw him walking and praising God, they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him." Acts 3:7-10 (NIV)

We know that we are powerless to change another but sometimes we may need to take them by the hand until their ankles become strong. Strengthened, then they will know who gave the healing and leap about praising His name. Walk, I say in the power of the Holy Spirit. Today, just walk forward!

Instead of “Help me if you can, I'm feeling down
And I do appreciate you being 'round
Help me get my feet back on the ground
Won't you please, please help me?”

Perhaps the song lyrics might be changed to:
“You helped me,
I no longer feel down
I appreciate that you were around,
When I fell on bended knee,
My help was found.”

Support groups show us how to let go and let God do the work that we can’t do. Eventually the person who brought you to this place of need, will be glad that you respected them enough to back off and let them do the work of recovery themselves. If they aren’t pursuing it, they may not be ready. It might just be a part of their journey. Jesus can still take their mess and turn it into a message. They may say, “Thanks for helping put the ball right where it belonged; in my court. You helped me to help myself.”

“You helped me,
I no longer feel down
I appreciate that you were around,
When I fell on bended knee,
My help was found.”

 Donna Collins Tinsley copyright 2014

I thought of this song while writing this; it is talking about the Breath of Heaven, which we need daily.

*Help, by the Beatles:

Friday, July 4, 2014

Happy Fourth of July, y'all! I'm proud to be an American; hope you are, too!

"So if the Son makes you free, you will be free indeed." TGIF and thank God for our many freedoms, some that we take for granted for sure. Celebrate if you can, love the ones you are with, and remember those who have gone ahead of us.

Lord, please go before us and teach us to be grateful for what we have, not dwelling on those things that we don't have. Help us to be joyful for those whose lives seem to be altogether lovely and give us dreams for the future. Let the brightness of the Holy Spirit overtake us today and may we shine with Your love
"'Lighthouses don't go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining." Anne Lamott
Be a lighthouse today.

Don't forget to take the Prayer challenge with Anne Graham Lotz