What We Think We Know, We Don’t Know. We Are Not All Doctors.

by Dan Behrens on July 28, 2021 | Evergreen Foursquare Church

All of us are doctors. All of us give our diagnoses. All of us recommend effective treatment. And all of us are right. Let’s be honest; as well-intentioned Christians, aren’t we pretty much experts in our field? –knowing with utmost certainty everyone else’s sin, suffering, and pain, any precursing causes, accompanying symptoms, what scans or tests should be ordered, what environmental or experiential factors can be ruled out, and where persons ought to begin educating themselves for the rough road of recovery? Yes. Here’s the point where we’re most practiced–here’s what’s wrong with so and so and here’s what they should do. We even weigh in on the most complicated cases from time to time. On this point, I tell you I’m far from being extreme.

Only a day ago, perhaps even today, perhaps everyday, you and I share with someone a complicated instance or intimate experience that weighs heavy on our heart–a struggling marriage, an estranged child, a sick friend, a tensious interaction, a hidden sin, a buried distrust of God and his goodness. We are no more than a few words or a few tears into our confession and someone is already dialing up a wholistic remedy that will surely take away our pain and mitigate any lasting effects. The feeling is emptying. We can hardly escape. And now I can hardly escape this paragraph without committing the very offense I aim to expose. I am (perhaps we both are) just as easily either party in my example. I have been worked over by friends, family, and well-intentioned Christians without having been truly heard, understood, accepted and loved. In turn, I have done the same–sought answers, considered solutions, offered counsel, and maintained confidence, all without engaging any sense of bedside manner.

In fact, we do not have license to practice spiritual medicine. Not on others. Not on ourselves. For one thing, whether pastor, leader, prayer warrior, or long time Christian, we are not so good as we suppose at identifying underlying issues. Christ Jesus, who sees his patients not under a microscope of judgment but through a lens of compassion, has adequately dealt with what really ails us. And besides, so much of our heavenly Father’s care plan for this world is intimately tethered to time, patience, rest, surrender, and perhaps eventually, a few feeble steps with the aid of crutches. The immediacy of Jesus’ miraculous wonders here on earth were not a prescription for how healing occurs but that healing does occur. This is what we truly fail to see.

So we’re not doctors after all. Our situational and relational diagnoses are nearly bankrupt. We’re not always right about those around us. Even less so about ourselves. Still, in light of these realities and the even more severe realities of sin, sickness, hurt and pain, we are not rendered helpless or hopeless. We are the body of Christ the bible says. We are the hands and feet, the head and heart of Him who heals all wounds. For each of us who has any measure of faith, we know the Great Physician will be along shortly. In the meantime, we have tremendous charge to attend the long-term care of those whose lives are dropping out from under them. What an underestimated privilege it is to listen, to truly hear unbelief, to remain without seeing notable progress, to hope when no real change is detected, to rest when awkward silence is deafening, to endure when the Healer himself is seemingly delayed. As I said previous, we can hardly escape. And we are not as good as we suppose at seeing what God sees, including how incredibly grieved He is over those harsh, misguided judgments we rail, above all else, against ourselves. We are not dumb sheep. We beloved lambs. Oh what the Son of God has left to come find us.

“Come to Me” Jesus says, “all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11.

Justice to Victory. Matthew 12:15-21 — Breakfast With Dad

by Cliff Bursch on April 26, 2021 | Breakfast With Dad Devotional

Matthew 12:15:21 Aware of this (that the Pharisees plotted to kill him), Jesus withdrew from that place. A large crowd followed him, and he healed all who were ill. He warned them not to tell others about him. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: “Here is my servant whom I have chosen, the one I love, in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations. He will not quarrel or cry out; no one will hear his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out, till he has brought justice through to victory. In his name the nations will put their hope.”

Jesus came to the planet Earth powerless, as a baby without any promise of physical inheritance, for his Father was God, not Joseph. He was not born out of royalty within a protective, clean environment; He was born in a stable. He lived the early part of his adult life as a carpenter. After his baptism, He became an ember of fire for God, touching people through his teachings and actions [read more… ]

Breakfast With Dad is a collection of devotions on books of the Bible that I send out to over 150 friends and family. I hope you will take time to read the most recent blog and maybe one of two from past offerings. If you have an interest in studying the Bible or have been thinking about starting a daily devotion, this would be a good place to start. I hope these “breakfasts” encourage you. — Cliff Bursch

Easter Sunday Meditation

by Dan Behrens on April, 4, 2021 | Evergreen Foursquare Church

Jesus Christ is Risen! Praise God! Today is Easter Sunday, and all over the world Christians are celebrating our resurrected Lord and King, Jesus Christ, and his victory over sin and death.

The recognition of Jesus as Lord and his being raised to life by the Spirit of God is imperative to our salvation and witness of righteousness. It is an outright confession (both verbal and behavioral) of obedient faith in the free gift of God’s perfect love in the sacrifice of his son. The scriptures themselves say it this way: “If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth one confesses unto salvation. For whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame” (Romans 10:6-11).

As we did on Palm Sunday, we’ve included here a list of scriptures as a kind of meditation devotional – a celebration of the life-giving hope found in God’s word. These scriptures are only a hint of the “priceless inheritance found in Jesus, kept pure and undefiled in heaven, ready to be revealed in the last day” (1 Peter 3:4-5). I encourage you to read these passages with open eyes and ears, open minds and hearts. For God is alive and present, and He will speak.

Matthew 28:5-7 5 Then the angel answered and said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know you seek Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here; for He is risen as He said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay. 7 Now go quickly and tell His disciples that Jesus of Nazareth is risen from the dead, and indeed He is going before you into Galilee; there you will see Him.

Luke 24:1-9 1 On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came to the tomb bringing spices which they had prepared. 2 There they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. 3 But when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed by these things, suddenly two men stood in front of them in shining garments. 5 Just then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, one of them said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? 6 He is not here but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was in Galilee, 7 saying, ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.’” 8 And they remembered His words.

John 11:23-27 23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 But Martha said to Him, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” 25 Yet Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, yet shall he live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” 27 Martha said to Him, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.”

Acts 3:13-15 13 The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus, whom you delivered over and disowned in the presence of Pilate, when he had decided to release him. 14 You denied the Holy and Righteous One and asked for a murderer be granted you instead. 15 You killed the Author of life, whom God raised from the dead. To all this we are witnesses.

Romans 10:5-11 5 Now Moses writes about the righteousness which is of the law, saying “The man who does these things shall live by the law.” 6 But the righteousness of faith speaks in this way, saying “The word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach) saying 9 if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth one confesses unto salvation. 11 For the Scriptures say, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”

1 Peter 3:3-5 3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead; 4 and into an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, 5 who are being protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

1 Corinthians 15:3-4, 12-13, 17-18, 20-26, 54-57 3 For I delivered to you first of all that which I received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, 12 Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how is it that so many among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. 17 And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! 18 And those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 20 But as it is, Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 23 And each one in his own order: first Christ, then those who belong to Christ at His coming. 24 Then comes the end, when Christ delivers the kingdom to God the Father, putting an end to all rule and all authority and power. 25 For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death itself. 54 Then the saying that is written will take place: Death has been swallowed up in victory. 55 Oh death, where is your victory? Oh death, where is your sting? 56 For the sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ!

Christ alone is our victory. Christ alone is our hope. And like I said before, these few scriptures are only a hint of all that is offered concerning the victory and hope we have in Christ. Yet to that point, the bible also tells us “the victory that overcomes the world is our faith” (1 John 5:5a). For the aging apostle John, who himself is nearing the end of life, victory is inseparably tethered to belief and vitally important in bringing our hope into proper focus. For in saying “the one who overcomes the world is one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God” (1 John 5:5b), it follows that resurrection victory is held only in the eyes of faith.

Now over a year into global pandemic, I should think we all can agree on two things. First, these present days have, at least to some degree, tested our overall faith in the goodness of God. And second, so much in the world right now aims to steal our joy, deflate our hope, and destroy our resolve. Still, if Easter is to remind us of anything, it ought to remind us that we are seeing only in part while in this life. God is still perfecting us into the likeness of his Son that we might one day see clearly as he does. Was it not Christ alone who endured the horrors of this life for a joy no one else could see except he be born of God? Here we are again with belief.

On Easter Sunday we confess with our lips that Jesus Christ is risen. But we only know this miracle to be fully realized when we allow Jesus Christ to arise in our hearts everyday we live in breathe. This is the miracle of the resurrection. Let us make room for this miracle.