Wednesday, February 20, 2013

The Legend of the Circle Maker

A devastating drought threatened to destroy a generation--the generation before Jesus. 
The last of the Jewish prophets had died off nearly four centuries before. 
Miracles were a distant memory. And God was nowhere to be heard. 
But there was one man, an old sage who lived outside the walls of Jerusalem, 
who dared to pray anyway. His name was Honi. 
And even if the people could no longer hear God, 
he believed that God could still hear them.

With a six-foot staff in his hand, Honi drew a circle in the sand. 
Then he dropped to his knees and raised his hands to heaven. 
With the authority of the prophet Elijah who called down fire from heaven, 
Honi called down rain.

Lord of the Universe,
I swear before Your Great Name
that I will not move from this circle
until You have shown mercy upon Your children.

Then it happened.

As his prayer ascended to the heavens, raindrops descended to the earth. 
The people rejoiced over the rain, but Honi wasn't satisfied with a sprinkle. 
Still kneeling within the circle, Honi lifted his voice over the sounds of celebration.

Not for such rain have I prayed,
but for rain that will fill cisterns, pits, and caverns.

The sprinkle turned into such a torrential downpour 
that the people fled to the Temple Mount 
to escape the flash floods. 
Honi stayed and prayed 
inside his protracted circle.

Not for such rain have I prayed,
but for rain of benevolence, 
benediction, and grace.

Then, like a well-proportioned sun shower on a summer afternoon, 
it began to rain in perfect moderation. 
Some within the Sanhedrin threatened excommunication 
because his prayer was too bold for their taste, 
but the miracle couldn't be repudiated.

Eventually, Honi the Circle Maker was honored for 
"the prayer that saved a generation." 
The circle he drew in the sand 
symbolizes the power of a single prayer 
to change the course of history. 
It's also a reminder of this timeless truth: 

God honors bold prayers because
bold prayers honor God.

 (excerpt from The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson)

Are you still in your circle?
Or have you walked away in defeat?

"Keep on asking and it will be given you; 
keep on seeking and you will find; 
keep on knocking and the door will be opened to you."
Matthew 7:7 (amp)

"I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed,
 you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' 
and it will move."
Matthew 17:20 (niv)

Saturday, February 2, 2013

"What Do You Want Me to Do?"

Jesus stopped and called them. 
“What do you want me to do for you?” he asked.
Matthew 20:31 (NIV)

Jesus and His disciples were leaving Jericho one day when they came upon two blind men by the side of the road. The men called out to Jesus, "Have mercy on us." Jesus stopped and, to my way of thinking, asked them an odd question:

"What do you want Me to do for you?"

Hmm.... it seems obvious to me that these two blind men would want to see. Why would Jesus ask them this question?

Another time, Jesus was in Jerusalem by the pool of Bethsaida. There was a man lying there on a pallet who had been paralyzed for thirty-eight years. Again, Jesus asks an odd question:

"Do you want to get well?"

Wait... what? Isn't it obvious that the man would want to be well? Whether we need a physical, emotional, mental or relational healing, our life will be different once we receive it.

Do you want to get well?
What do you want Him to do for you?

I was meditating on these questions this morning and I wondered how many things I haven't received from the Lord because I maybe really didn't want them? The fear of the unknown can prevent many of us from receiving the highest blessings and purposes of God. 

Have you asked yourself any questions like these?

  • What would my life look like if I had that job with more responsibility?
  • What would my life be if I were totally and completely healed?
  • What would it look like if I stepped into that place of ministry to which God has called me?

We have no idea what we are asking for... for each one of these scenarios (and there are many more) would change our lives completely! Are we ready for it? Do we really want it? Sure, we have the faith to believe for God's provision, His healing and His calling, but...what would it look like?

Fear of the unknown... is it holding you back? He is waiting for you to answer His question; and when you do, your life will never be the same.

"Jesus had compassion on them and touched their eyes. 
Immediately they received their sight and followed Him."
Matthew 20:35

"'Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.' 
At once the man was cured; 
he picked up his mat and walked."
John 5:8,9

"For God's gifts and His call are irrevocable. 
[He never withdraws them when once they are given, 
and He does not change His mind about those to whom He gives His grace or to whom He sends His call.]"

Romans 11:29 (AMP)

Are you ready to answer His question: 
"What do you want me to do?"