There are two great choices every Christian must make. The first is a choice to be free; the second is a choice to surrender that freedom.
I am eager to share a very powerful vision with you today, one that isn’t mine, but comes from a father in the faith during the "Latter Rain" movement who has now gone home to Jesus. Before I do, let me retell a story.
Some of you might remember the 1998 movie entitled “The Horse Whisperer.” In it, a very young Scarlett Johansson (think: Avengers star and now the world’s highest-paid actress) plays the role of Grace, a horse-loving 12-year-old. A traumatic winter accident injures Grace and her horse, and kills her childhood girlfriend. After this, Grace and “Pilgrim” (her horse) seem broken beyond repair.
Enter the Horse Whisperer. (Played by Robert Redford).
What is your first response to pain?
In the span of just one week, several of my close friends experienced heavy losses. One friend was betrayed by someone close to her. Another dear friend was faced with the emotional pain of feeling unloved in primary relationships. When a third friend broke her foot in a roadside accident on vacation, I spent a number of hours with her in the ER, hoping to relieve her physical pain.
In each case, my first response was compassionate action: I reached out as best I could with prayers and practical help.
I know for a fact, though, that when I am the one in pain, my first response is very different. When hurt increases, compassion vanishes. I have a new goal: avoid that pain at all costs!
Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow.
Isaiah 1:17, NIV
Roughly 6 months ago, I had lunch with a dear friend, a writer, who is also a member of the His Inscriptions community. As we talked, she asked if I knew of any local ministries that rescued women from human trafficking. She wanted to invest personally in freeing women from this type of captivity.
I didn't at the time, and I promised to pray that God would connect her to a ministry in the near future.
There is a deception in the church today that concerns me. Like all deception, it is based on a measure of truth. But taken too far, it changes from a helpful tool for understanding spiritual seasons, to a prison in which we lock fellow believers and throw away the key.
Because prayer is a work done mostly in secret, it is rare for an intercessor to immediately know whether his prayers are effective. It is rarer still for someone to realize they are being prayed for, since humility constrains us from boasting about our praying!
Yet from time to time, we do hear of amazing answers to prayer, and have the joy of knowing that there is indeed power released when we pray. In the midst of a very difficult week, God allowed both me and my pastor to see the power of prayer. I want to use this story as a "case study" on prayer.
The crucifixion of Christ is a reminder that all of us have to deal with times of death in our lives. We may have to face the death of a loved one, or the death of a dream, or the death of a hope we hold dear. At some point, we all come to our tombs, as Mary did in the resurrection story, and we have to confront the harsh realities of our mortality.
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A severe hearing loss from childhood caused Deborah Perkins to develop what she now calls her secret weapon: tuning in to God's voice. A Wellesley College graduate and an award-winning writer, Deborah is now a wife and mother of 3 boys. Deborah has devoted over 25 years to professional and lay Christian ministry in New England and beyond. Her passion is inspiring people to cultivate greater intimacy with God.