That may be my favorite song of all time; expressing my deepest desire, greatest prayer, and most fervent ambition.
I want to live a wholly holy life for Him in praise and thanks for the gift that's especially celebrated/noticed around this time of the year.
Of course, it's hard.
That's why we celebrate the reason for this season.
He bridges the distance between desire/prayer/ambition and reality.
Desire/prayer/ambition: David Crowder's Wholly Yours.
Reality: Willie Nelson's There's Nothing I Can Do About It Now.
Or as I explained to a brother about someone who doesn't get it/Him in the spirit of Titus 1:16: "The difference between authentic believers and posers like her/him is authentic believers know they're hypocrites who can't save themselves."
1 John 1.
Near the Sheep Gate entrance to Jerusalem which is not too far from the Golden Gate entrance to the Temple where I visited many times when I was a really important high steeple preacher, Jesus saw an invalid of 38 years hanging out with the blind, lame, paralyzed, and otherwise disabled people who gathered at the Bethesda pool just inside the old city because, well, uh, it was where they, uh, hung out together while hoping for something/Someone to come along to, uh, heal 'em.
Seeing the man had been hanging around at the pool for a long time in such a seemingly hopeless state, Jesus asked eyeball-to-eyeball with disarming directness, "Do you want to get well?"
That is the question; and the question itself indicates emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and physical health have more to do with volition than hyper-determinists/fatalists, uh, think.
Do you want to get well?
Do you want to improve?
Do you want to get better?
Jesus is more than suggesting a direct connection between desire/prayer/ambition and reality.
Maybe that's why He also said, "Ask, and you will receive. Seek, and you will find. Knock, and the door will be opened for you."
Do you want to get well?
Maybe that's why Franklin's daddy always talked about decision.
It's a decision to get well.
A decision to get well is the first step to healing.
What we decide goes a long way in determining our destinies.
Puuuuuuuhleaaaaaaase don't get caught up in those sophomoric debates on free will versus predestination.
Even Calvin talked about volition in determining outcome (read his commentaries more than his commentators).
Yeah, I believe we're predestined.
The Bible says so.
Yeah, I believe I have the free will to choose.
The Bible says so.
So thank God for His ultimately gracious control (predestination) while never forgetting personal responsibility (choice).
Enough on that last rabbit trail.
Let's just get back to Jesus; which is always the best thing to do now before then.
He asked, "Do you want to get well?"
Two blind men shouted out to Jesus as He was leaving Jericho, "Lord, Son of David, have mercy on us!"
Jesus stopped and asked, "What do you want me to do for you?"
They said, "We want to be well. We want to see."
Immediately, Jesus healed them.
Oswald Chambers: "A simple statement of Jesus is always a puzzle to us if we are not simple."
Have we made trusting Jesus too complicated?
Again, OC: "Every time we have gone back in spiritual communion, it has been because we have impertinently known better than Jesus Christ."
Are we too smart for God?
OC: "If we are not experiencing the 'much more,' it is because we are not obeying the life God has given us, we are taken up with confusing considerations."
Is it/He really that simple?
Jesus: "Seek first...[Him]...and all these things will be given to you as well."
It can't be that easy!
There's a prerequisite.
Jesus: "If you had faith as small as a mustard seed, you could..."
Regularly, people ask me to heal them.
You know what I mean.
Sooner than later, I always say, "Silver and gold I do not have; but what I have, I give you. Jesus!"
Jesus is the answer to every question.
Only Jesus has divine answers to our human challenges.
Only Jesus has the divine ability and affection to help/heal.
Nobody but Jesus has more than Band-aids for what ails us.
Only Jesus saves.
She was there at His first advent as the Babe of Bethlehem.
Luke: "She was very old...She never left the Temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to Joseph and Mary, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem."
Peterson: "The Temple in Jesus' day, like the church in ours, was full of those who had their minds on business and gossip. But Anna was there to worship. Her single-mindedness was rewarded when she recognized Jesus as God's redemption."
Psalmist: "God inhabits the praises of His people."
Simply, God works spectacular/supernatural/saving graces in the lives of those who worship Him really/authentically.
Are you a poser or an authentic?
Good trees (authentics) bear good fruit.
Bad trees (posers) don't.
Getting closer and closer and closer to Jesus yields...fruit.
Conversely, moving away from Jesus yields...nothing.
Samuel: "Those who honor Him are honored by Him."
Hebrews: "God is a rewarder of those who diligently/earnestly seek Him."
Really, it's not that hard to figure out.
Posers never get it/Him; and act like it less than more.
Authentics get it/Him; and act like it more than less.
It's a choice.
It's a no-brainer.
It's soooooo simple.
Just answer the question honestly.
"Do you want to get well?"
Emmanuel comes when Emmanuel is asked: "O Come, O Come..."
Blessings and Love!
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