Saturday, May 10, 2014

The Greenhouse

For all my adult years, I've wanted a greenhouse. Although I am an avid gardener and have spent a significant portion of the last quarter-century growing most of my own food, it seemed like an unnecessary indulgence. I had a son to raise and livestock to feed. There was always something higher on my priority list. 

About a year ago, I began to seriously consider a greenhouse, and, for the first time, I began to pray about a greenhouse. I found exactly what I wanted. I'm ashamed to tell you how expensive it was. "Lord, I could feed a village in Africa for a long time. I can't buy that," I prayed. I just couldn't justify that kind of expense. 

A few days after Christmas 2013, I found a sale paper from a "man store".  They had a greenhouse kit that was just about the size I wanted, with the doors I wanted, and at a price much less than I was willing to pay. I was pretty surprised, but I went to look. It was my greenhouse. I pulled out my debit card and they rang it up. I was a greenhouse owner!

The problem was that I was the owner of a greenhouse kit, not an assembled greenhouse. Not to be deterred, I pulled out the instructions and prepared to build a greenhouse. The first step said to dig a hole a little larger than 10 x 10 feet and 5 inches deep, then fill it with gravel. You may not be surprised to hear that I got my shovel out, convinced my son (home on Christmas break) to help, and started digging. We had a fair-sized hole before we finally admitted defeat and called for heavy machinery. 

Andrew had just the equipment I needed and was happy to handle the hole. We arranged a time, and he said three words I did not want to hear. "Unless it rains."  Of course, at the appointed time, it was raining like crazy. I called Andrew anyway. "Miss Leanna, I can't dig that hole with it raining. It's just gonna fill in and I'm gonna make a bad mess in your yard.  You don't really want me to do it now."  Really, I did. We agreed that he would come when it dried up. But it didn't. Next, the ground froze solid, thanks to the single-digit temperatures. Andrew kept promising me he would dig my foundation and the weather kept messing me up. I despaired of having a greenhouse. 

At last, the weather cleared, the foundation was laid, and we began assembling the greenhouse. It was more tedious than I expected, and required a bit more height than I have. I enlisted Bill the Magnificent to help. He much prefers cows and scooping pooh to building greenhouses, but he tried hard to help. At last, the end was in sight, but the front of my greenhouse wasn't square. 

That didn't matter at first. I had no idea what was wrong, but there was plenty to do. I finally reached the end of what I could do without help from a tall man. Since my nephew is well over six feet tall, I recruited him. For four hours, we worked side by side. He assembled the vent windows, installed the roof, and worked on the front. He fretted about the "square" problrm the entire time. 

Not being square didn't matter too much until time to insert the front wall panels and assemble and hang the doors. Then, it was a disaster. We tried hanging the doors. I can't even described how lopsided those doors were hanging. We didn't know what to do, so I started praying. "Lord, I've waited a long time for a greenhouse, and this isn't really the greenhouse I wanted, but I can be happy with it. In fact, thank you for this greenhouse. I believe I can be happy with these messed up doors, too."  Just about the time I got up the part about being happy with my messed up doors, Sam said, "I see it!"  

It turned out that, in the early stages, Bill and I had put one bolt on each side in the wrong place. It had everything off kilter. Sam rearranged the bolts and the entire front of the greenhouse instantly squared up. I was amazed that one mistake early on could make such a mess in the end, but it did. I shouldn't have been surprised, I've had that problem in life more than once. It just goes to show... Every little thing really does matter. 

I'm a greenhouse owner at last.  As I looked at my newly finished greenhouse with its square front and the perfectly hung doors, one verse came to mind. "For I know the plans I have for you, declares The Lord, plans for welfare and not for calamity, to give you a future and a hope." ( Jer 29:11) it turns out, a calamitous greenhouse wasn't in the plan at all! 

This is Sam, my nephew who saved the day and finished the greenhouse. 

Life Meets Death (Luke 7:11,12)

Soon afterwards He went to a city called Nain; and His disciples were going along with Him, accompanied by a large crowd. Now as He approached the gate of the city, a dead man was being carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow; and a sizeable crowd from the city was with her. (Luke 7:11, 12 NASB)

Get this image in your mind. Jesus and a large crowd of people, likely still excited about how He healed the servant of the Roman centurion ( aka the occupying enemy army officer) with just a word, were approaching the city gates of the beautiful city of Nain. They were in high spirits. About that same time, a brokenhearted widow was leaving the beautiful city of Nain with a large crowd of weeping people enroute to bury her only son, who had died.  They were in low spirits. 

There were no retirement funds in those days, and no Social Security checks. Widows did not have the option to work in the corner factory to make extra money. They might sew or do some sort of handwork to sell, but that was not usually their full income. Women were provided for by their father until they married, then by their husband, then, as a widow, by their sons (in addition to whatever provision their husband had set aside). This grieving widow was not just burying her son, she was burying her security. It likely felt that she was burying her future and her hope, as well. 

This is where a breathtaking picture of grace unfolds. The grieving widow, enroute to the burial ground, ran right in to the One who spoke these words, "for I know the plans I have for you, declares The Lord. Plans for welfare and not for calamity, to give you a future and a hope." (Jeremiah 29:11). He would soon demonstrate the reality of that verse for the sad mother. 

How beautiful is that?  It was not an accident that Jesus arrived at just the right time. When all hope was gone, Jesus was on His way to intervene. Of course, He does not always provide resuscitation for dead loved ones. He does, however, always provide some sort of help for the one who grieves, some sort of hope, some sort of future. 

When life and death collide, Jesus always brings victory back into the situation, if we are willing for Him to do so. The problem arises when we are only willing to receive the kind of victory we want, rather than what Jesus offers. 

Is there fear of the future, loss of hope, overwhelming grief in your life right now? Turn to the only One who promises to restore both hope and future. Our Lord can, and will, meet every need. 

Pray today that those who have lost so much in our area will find their future and hope in Christ alone. Pray, too, that our loved ones will recognize the faithfulness of God and want it for themselves. 
Link for last night's post is here:

Friday, May 9, 2014

Friday Night with Friends:

Our Friday Night with Friends guest blogger is Lynn Freeman Richardson. 
I love buttercups. They're my favorite blooming thing. They remind me Of growing up on Robins St in Tupelo. This morning I spent some time sitting on my back side, hair in a pitiful pony tail, digging thru clumps of over grown monkey grass that Tinker had uprooted in order to save as many of the buttercup bulbs as I could.
For my new Bolivar family you may ask what the big deal is? For my Tupelo family, some of you just passed out or died laughing. Let me elaborate for you: I hate dirt. I hate to sweat. I despise bugs that bite. I will do whatever I must to avoid these atrocities. However, this morning I faced my demons and sat in the grass pulling buttercup bulbs from a wad of dirt and roots. All the while I was asking God what he had to show me. Had I completely lost my mind? Had moving 90 minutes north caused a shift in my inner being?
The Lord showed me this: He is willing to go through filth and sin and dreaded conditions to save me (and you) from the dirt of Earth. Just a tiny part of the reason He's willing is because He knows that, on the other side of this earth, we will be a beautiful, fragrant bloom in Heaven. His very favorite blooming thing.

Death Instead of Beauty (Luke 7:11)

Soon afterwards He went to a city called Nain; and His disciples were going along with Him, accompanied by a large crowd. (Luke 7:11 NASB)

This is the only passage in Scripture in which the city of Nain is mentioned. Still present today, Nain (located in Northern Israel at the foot of a mountain) has decreased in population over the years and is now only a small village. At the time of Jesus, it was a thriving city. We can assume from the name that it was also a beautiful city, because the word Nain is translated as "beauty". 

Jesus headed to Nain, accompanied by quite an entourage. In addition to his apostles (the twelve) and many disciples (those who were disciples but not in the inner circle), there was  also a "large crowd".  The word used for large crowd is also translated as "multitude", so we can presume that this was, at the least, a crowd of hundreds. 

Understanding their arrival in Nain, this city called "Beauty", will help us to understand what comes next. When I think of a beautiful city, I imagine Paris in springtime. It is absolutely breathtaking in its beauty. Although the construction in Nain was admittedly different, it was as pleasing to the eye as Paris in the spring. 

Jesus had healed the centurion's servant remotely with a word. That was an amazing demonstration of faith and power, so the crowds must have been eager for more. Jesus and the apostles headed out on the road to Nain, about 20 miles away. As they went, more and more people joined and, by the time they reached the city of beauty, Nain, there was a large crowd, eager to see what Jesus would do next. 

As they approached the city gates, they met a funeral procession. Jesus came to "Beauty" and was greeted by death. How often that is true in our lives! In our beauty-obsessed culture, it is all too common to focus on being outwardly beautiful, but put no focus at all on inward beauty. Peter addressed this very topic in his first letter. 

"What matters is not your outer appearance—the styling of your hair, the jewelry you wear, the cut of your clothes—but your inner disposition. Cultivate inner beauty, the gentle, gracious kind that God delights in." (1 Peter 3:3-4 MSG)

Peter was writing to the women of faith, but the same truth applies to men. What matters most is not found on the outside of us. When Jesus looks at us, with all our outward beauty, does He see that same beauty of spirit on the inside? It is a critical question, and one to which we should give first attention. 

Today, ask God to reveal (both to us and to our loved ones) our hearts as He sees them, and pray that we will allow Him to create in us a clean, beautiful heart that will be pleasing to Him. 

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Bringing the kidnapped Nigerian Girls Home

Our area was hard hit by the recent tornados, and we are still reeling from the destruction. In the midst of gathering stories, comforting victims, and volunteering in the rescue effort, I have not had time to think about the rest of the world. That is unfortunate, because the world has needed our prayers, too. 

Many days, I know the topic for the evening blog by mid-afternoon. This evening, I was eating supper and still praying for a topic. "Lord, I have no idea what to write about. What's on Your mind?" The answer was immediate and clear. "Check the news." I laughed out loud, and clicked on my WTVA app. I read all the local news, the Mississippi news, the Alabama news. Nothing caught my eye. I was almost to the end of the national news when I saw it. First, Hillary Clinton and then Michelle Obama had weighed in on the kidnapping of school girls in Nigeria. Now THAT seems like the kind of news that would be on God's mind.   

Boko Haram is an Islamic militant extremist group in Nigeria. This is a band of terrorist thugs who have been creating havoc in the region for years. Recently, they have been kidnapping Nigerian schoolgirls and are threatening to sell them. In a few short weeks, they have kidnapped nearly 300 girls and are holding them captive. I cannot imagine how they are treating those girls, but I am outraged. How cowardly they are to kidnap school girls rather than take their battle to someone with guns and rockets who might be able to defend themselves. I am surprised by their extreme evil. I would like to go to Nigeria, find those maniacs, and rescue those frightened girls, then deal with those hoodlums. I recognize that I would be no help in Nigeria, of course, and the Nigerians are already working to rescue their girls. They don't need that kind of help from me. 

There is outrage around the world. More than one million hashtag tweets (#bringbackourgirls) have been sent in support of the girls. Our country has sent a team to help rescue the girls. A serious effort is underway, but a serious effort was already underway, and they are still missing. 

A quick scan through the first twenty-seven articles about "Kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls" revealed not one request for prayer. Dear ones, we need to get with it here, and get on our knees. I was a schoolgirl myself once, and I would be beyond terrified. I hope you will stop whatever you are doing and pray for these precious missing schoolgirls. 

First of all, we know that fear (though certainly expected in this frightful situation) does not come from God. Pray that those girls will not have a spirit of fear, but of power, love, and a clear mind. Pray for perfect peace that passes all understanding and for the wisdom to recognize a chance to escape and the courage to take that chance. Also pray that not one escaping girl will leave another behind, but that EVERY girl can get away. 

Kidnapped girls must be in some sort of confining place. I'm calling it a prison of sorts. Pray that God will send an angel to open the prison doors, wake the girls, and lead them out tonight. Let's don't ask for soon. Let's ask for now! The time in Nigeria is six hours ahead of my local time. It's the middle of their night and a perfect time to escape. 

Kidnapped girls have captors and guards. Those guards must be incapacitated in some way so that the girls can get away without intervention on the part of the guards. God has good experience with incapacitating guards throughout Scripture and I, for one, am asking Him to be creative in disabling the guards. 

It would be a travesty if human hands got credit for rescuing girls for which God has intervened. Let's pray that no one gets credit except God, and that He gets the credit He so richly deserves. 

That brings us to the captors. They are the enemies of the girls and of our brothers and sisters in Nigeria. Scripture is clear on this. We have to love our enemies and pray for those who spitefully use us. I am praying for a spirit of conviction to fall on those captors, that they will repent of their crimes, and be burdened to make restitution to all they have harmed. Let's pray that the spirit of conviction breaks their hearts over their sin and that they never go back to terrorism again Pray, too, that their reign of terror will come to an end immediately. 

While we are praying big things, we should also pray that the escape of the girls is so remarkable that it causes an amazing revival in Nigeria that brings many people to Christ. 

While the world is busy trying to save the girls with hashtags, someone needs to do the one thing that can make a difference. That someone is you. It is me. Dear ones, start praying now and do not stop until those young girls are reunited with their parents and the reign of terror is at an end!

Healing, God's Way (Luke 7:10)

When those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the slave in good health. (Luke 7:10 NASB)

As Jesus headed out with the elders to see the slave, He was planning to heal him. When those friends arrived and asked Him to heal Him with a word, Jesus was amazed by the centurion's faith. Those who knew Jesus surely knew that the servant would be healed. After the friends returned to the centurion's house, that is exactly what they found. The servant was not recovering in his bed, he was up serving, his good health restored. 

Can you imagine Jesus saying to the friends, in response to the centurion's great faith, "No, I don't feel like walking over there.  I'm not doing any healing today"? Of course not. When a prayer of faith is uttered, He hears and answers. 

The problem we have is two-fold, and includes both impatience and arrogance. We not only want our prayers answered immediately, we want them answered our way. It's incredibly bold and foolish to think, much less tell the God of the Universe, that our way is better than His. His Word tells us that His ways are not ours and that they are better. He knows that it is hard to receive what we do not understand, but He expects us to trust Him anyway. 

Do you need an intervention from Jesus? Ask Him to do what only He can do, and invite Him to do it His way.  Don't dare to tell Him how to do His job. Trust Him to do what is best. You may be surprised to see that His best is far to superior your best. 

Pray today that God will move in the lives of our loved ones to bring healing and wholeness and do to it His way, not ours. 
Link to last might's post:

Saved to serve

When those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the slave in good health. (Luke 7:10 NASB)

After the servant was healed, he was still a servant, and he was still expected to serve. He was a walking, talking miracle, but he remained a servant in the house of a Roman officer. In that same way, the miraculous intervention of God may render us a trophy of grace and healing, but it does not promise us an easy, carefree life, nor a better job. 

We are saved to serve, and we are healed to serve. Understanding that truth makes a huge difference, doesn't it? No matter what age or what overall condition, when Jesus intervenes in our life, He does it in a way that we can still be useful in the Kingdom of God. Even when we cannot go, we can pray. We can make a difference, if we will. 

The recently kidnapped Nigerian schoolgirls are a perfect example of a need in which we all can make a difference. Soldiers and detectives have failed in their attempts to find them, and the hunt continues. We, frail and weak though we be, can become actively involved in the search through our prayers. Do not be deceived into thinking that your prayers will not be worth much. Scripture tells us that our prayers can accomplish more than we think. 

"...The effective prayer of a righteous man can accomplish much." (James 5:16b NASB)

Saved to serve. Healed to serve. Are you serving in the way God intended?

Pray today for servant hearts (for us and our loved ones) that begin to serve with prayer and continue to serve by reaching out to those in need. 

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Tupelo Tornado: Battered but blessed, part 2

Last night, I wrote about an elderly woman and her son who requires custodial care. She has spent a lifetime caring for others with a heart full of love and hands open with generosity.  Her losses in the recent tornado were devastating. She and her son have been making do in the two rooms of her home that are still standing, daylight visible through one of the remaining walls. Her church family had been providing meals, water, clothing. They had secured a tarp on her roof and provided dry mattresses.

There was one other thing they had been doing. Although the elderly woman and her son had no idea, church leaders had quickly realized that the needs were far greater than their small congregation could meet. They decided to do the only thing that made any sense at all. They asked God to send help, and lots of it. In fact, they asked God to send enough help to meet all the needs. 

This morning, I learned about their prayers and today, I watched with joy as the answer began to unfold. The director of the brotherhood ministry for their county and the pastor from another church went to assess the situation at the request of someone unrelated to her church. The house is a total loss. The man from the brotherhood "just happened" to have blueprints for a small house that meets all the codes in our state. They contacted the woman's praying pastor, who was thrilled to hear from them. A member of his congregation had offered to provide concrete for the foundation as well as the plumbing. One part of the project after another came together. 

By early afternoon, there was amazing news!  I was told that, if volunteers will do the work, a new home can be built for them and likely completed in thirty days! A work crew has already been making plans for finishing touches, interior design, and landscaping. 

How's that for answered prayer?  

Friends have helped her gather what could be salvaged and the bulldozer work has begun. She and her son will live in a small apartment until their new home is ready. I can't wait to see their faces when they see inside their finished home for the first time. I hope they are as thrilled as those who are a part of making it happen. 

This answered prayer has not come because of government intervention or FEMA provision (both of which are very helpful to those in need). It appears, at this point, that their home will be built without any disaster relief funding at all. It has come directly from the hand of God through the body of Christ working together as Jesus intended. How do you like that? 

People with hearts full of compassion have looked around, seen her and her son's need, and embraced their suffering. They are giving from their hearts, and making a difference for those who are hurting. They are not waiting around. Instead, they have set to work and are accomplishing great things in a very short time. 

These volunteers understand what we all need to realize. None of us can meet every need, but all of use can meet some need. When we work together, and all do our part, no need should be left unmet. The question we all should answer is, "What need will be unmet without my help?" Dear ones, how can we turn aside from the one depending on us? Let's step up and do what only we can do. 

Don't hesitate. Look for a need you can meet and get started. When it gets too big, ask God for help, but don't stop until all the need is met and the rejoicing is done. 

Worth the wait (Luke 7:6)

Now Jesus started on His way with them; and when He was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to Him, "Lord, do not trouble Yourself further, for I am not worthy for You to come under my roof; (Luke 7:6 NASB)

We are retreating a few verses today to catch something we missed the first time though. 

When the centurion first sent the elders to get help for his slave, he sent them to Jesus. Just Jesus. The man with power. The waiting, however, was used to yield a wonderful result. When he sent the second group, his friends, to Jesus, the term of address he used was kyrios, or Lord. 

It is one of the most common terms of address used for Jesus in the New Testament. It is used by servants for their master and can be used to signify respect toward one who owns something, especially a slave for an owner. As he waited, this powerful slave owner had become enslaved by Christ and he acknowledged that by the word he chose to use.  

We live in an instant gratification society. No one likes to wait, and we disparage the waiting. It is not always a sign of inefficiency or lack of caring, however. In this instance, Jesus was already enroute to the servant. What the centurion had requested was underway, and his prayer was in the process of being answered. The waiting, however, provided the time the centurion needed to move from master of many to mastered by the One. 

Waiting can be, perhaps should be, a precious time of growth in our faith and in intimacy with our Lord. When God allows waiting in our lives, especially that hardest of all waiting, the waiting for answered prayer, we must choose to embrace the wait and allow it to have its perfect result in us. 

How patiently are we waiting? Are we enslaved by the Master, willing to wait for His perfect timing to accomplish His perfect result?

Today, pray that we will persevere in waiting and in prayer until the healing we so desire for our loved ones is fully accomplished. 
Here's the link to last might's post:

Monday, May 5, 2014

Tupelo Tornado: Battered but blessed

An elderly lady who has spent a lifetime providing custodial care for her very sweet son had just returned home from a visit to his doctor when the tornado roared through their area. In seconds, it ravaged their home. When the raging stopped, they were imprisoned in their simple house, trapped by the trees that usually provided summertime shade. Not only did their home sustain major damage, but also their older model car, which was flattened by a falling tree. 

Part of the roof was gone but the doors were held tight by the trees. It was not until the next day that this frail woman managed to use a crowbar to pry open a door so they could escape. Surveying the damage, she found that, although she had lost almost all her worldly possessions, there were two rooms that were still somewhat inhabitable. Daylight was visible along one wall, but the roof and other walls were relatively intact. 

With no way to drive for help, all she could do was pray and ask God to send the things they so desperately needed, and that is exactly what He did.  Friends from her church came to check on them. Teams of men helped cut trees, clear debris, and secure a tarp to cover the damaged roof. Church members brought food and fresh water, as well as new clothing. Someone brought dry mattresses. Over the last few days, her electricity has been restored and, though non-potable, they have running water again.  

She has worked hard all her life, and, at more than 80 years old, still manages to provide everything they need. Until now. She has no debt, but her resources are nearly non-existent. Her homeowners insurance was cancelled, she said, because her house is heated by an old space heater. She has no idea what the future holds, but she has anchored her hope in the One who has provided for every need for the better part of a century.  

When asked how they've been doing, both she and her son give the same quick answer. "We are so blessed. You can't believe how good God has been to us!" They are incredibly grateful to have two inhabitable rooms. There is not one complaint about the rooms that are not inhabitable. There is not one complaint about all she has lost. 

Listening to her, I wanted to weep in shame. I, who have so much, have not been grateful enough nor concerned enough about those who have lost so much. I recognize that life's storms, if allowed, will be used to make us stronger, more resilient, more Christlike. I have no doubt that this storm will work such a result in this dear woman's life. Already, she has seen God's hand at work. Teams are being assembled to assess the damage at her home and, if I'm not sadly mistaken, a safer, more secure home will be built to replace the one she has lost. I don't yet know how that will happen, but I plan to see it does. 

The question for those of us who were not affected by recent tornados is what difference will this storm make in my life? In our lives? Will we be more giving, more Christlike, more passionate about being the hands and feet of Christ? Oh dear ones, we must not allow the suffering of our friends and neighbors to be wasted. It can be like a seed planted by streams of water, growing a tree of fruitfulness in our hearts that yields results for years to come. It can be, if we let it. 

Look around you, see the need, and embrace the suffering. Give from your heart, and make a difference for those who are hurting. Don't wait, dear ones, do good now. 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Recognizing Our Unworthiness (Luke 7:6-8)

Now Jesus started on His way with them; and when He was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to Him, "Lord, do not trouble Yourself further, for I am not worthy for You to come under my roof; for this reason I did not even consider myself worthy to come to You, but just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I also am a man placed under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to this one, 'Go!' and he goes, and to another, 'Come!' and he comes, and to my slave, 'Do this!' and he does it." (Luke 7:6-8 NASB)

This centurion was an officer in the Roman army. He commanded at least 80 men, and, if he was a high ranking, or senior, centurion, he would have had 480 men under his command. (Because he built the synagogue, he almost certainly had the authority of a senior centurion, thus a larger command.) In Roman-occupied Israel, he was "important" by almost anyone's standards. 

What is truly amazing is that this professional soldier saw himself as unworthy to make a request of Jesus in person. Eventually, it would be Roman soldiers who carried out the crucifixion of Jesus, but this soldier would not even approach Him because of his own unworthiness. 

His attitude is more than just humility. He had a clear sense of his own unholiness in contrast to the absolute holiness of Christ. He saw his unrighteousness in comparison to Christ's righteousness and found himself sadly lacking.  He saw himself as a sinner in need of the sinless lamb of God. 

I'm not sure how it has happened in our culture, but there has been a diminution of the understanding of our position before a holy and righteous God. It seems that sin is not viewed with the same abhorrence with which God views it. Ours has become a culture that demands instant gratification and indulges in the disposable, ranging from plates and cups to relationships and lives. The problem is one of values and priorities. Our desires have become more important than God's, and it has changed the priorities of our lives. We are the worse for it, and the problem is not just one of those outside the church. 

The question for us today is how do we see ourselves in comparison to Almighty God? Do we "just want what we want" or do we most desire what God wants? 

Pray today that God would allow us and our loved ones to see our hearts, our desires, our priorities in comparison to His own. Pray that we, like the centurion, would recognize our own worthiness and approach Christ with the humility that comes from an understand of who we are not and who Jesus is. 
Here's the link for last might's post:

When Knowing becomes Trusting (Luke 7:9)

Now when Jesus heard this, He marveled at him, and turned and said to the crowd that was following Him, "I say to you, not even in Israel have I found such great faith." (Luke 7:9 NASB)

In the previous lesson, we read that the centurion recognized he was unworthy to approach Jesus. The more he thought about it, the more he realized that he was not even worthy to ask Jesus to enter his home. He knew Jesus could heal his servant, though, so he initially asked that the Jewish elders in Capernaum make the request of Jesus instead. 

After the elders headed out to speak with Jesus, the centurion considered the situation further. All he could think about was Jesus. He began to ponder his own authority over the soldiers under Him. Jesus seemed to have authority, too. His authority was not over soldiers, though. It seemed to be over demons and illness. That was exactly the kind of authority needed to heal his servant. It was his "ah ha" moment, when he finally understood Who Jesus was. 

Immediately, he took a giant leap of faith. Jesus could just say the word, he thought, and healing would happen. He was sure of it, and he immediately acted on his faith. That's when he sent his friends to Jesus. 

When Jesus heard what the centurion had said, He marveled at his faith. He turned to the crowd and said, "I haven't even seen this kind of faith in all of Israel!" Because theirs was a religion that "walked by faith and not by sight", worshipping an unseen God, it should have been easier for them. Their Scriptures were filled with prayers and the recorded conversations between their unseen God and man. If they had understood Who Jesus was, they should have understood the power He had, but they didn't. It was a Roman soldier who finally made the leap of faith that incorporated all Jesus had taught with all that He did. 

Even for the centurion, the unfolding of his faith was a process, just like it is for us. He didn't arrive at great faith that very first moment, nor do we. When he finally understood Who Jesus was and what that meant for him, it changed everything! That centurion knew he could trust Jesus with the life of his servant, even when he did not see Jesus. He could trust Jesus, no matter where He was. 

Our faith should change everything for us, too.  It should bring us to the point of trusting Jesus with our loved ones without reservation. He can handle it. He can handle their problems and their bad decisions. He can handle their doubts and their questions. The question for us is not whether Jesus can take care of our loved ones, the question is whether or not we trust Him to do so. 

Today, pray that our faith would be so increased that we would be filled with faith to trust Him with every need of our loved ones. Pray, too, for peace as we wait for Him to move.