Why Leadings?

Not to lead, but to be led            -- by the Holy Spirit.

See Leader, Servant, or Slave? in the section below, "Walking the Walk".

Jack in Denali National Park, 2012.

God's Wrath

Why was Sodom destroyed? Ezekiel tells us in chapter 16, verse 49: "This was the sin of your sister, Sodom: Pride, full-ness of bread, and abundance of idleness. Neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy."

That's also why Jerusalem was destroyed.

And now, with greed as our national virtue, what hope is there for the United States of America? We are afflicted by imperialistic pride, obesity, and entertainment addiction, and we are all called to do our part to "strengthen the hand of the poor and needy".

"Strengthen the hand" is the King James wording. Modern translations say "help the poor and needy." And there's a world of difference between the two. Helping the poor = as little as throwing some cash in the Salvation Army bucket at Christmas time. That's charity. It's doing for, not doing with.

My Grandmother was right about charity. On a below-zero day, she went out on the back porch with a skillet to throw hot grease on the back-yard snow. She shivered as she re-entered the kitchen and said, "Wooooh, colder than charity."

Strengthening the hand is much different. We get personally involved with another person who needs help, and we work with her or him to get the needed help. That's risky. You're vulnerable. It takes prayer, time and patience. You need knowledge and wisdom from the LORD. There are great rewards, however. You get a brother or sister.

Strengthening the hand is great work for our churches -- which we ignore far more often than we perform. Why? Because we're afflicted with the Ameri-can curse of individualism. Christians are to be a tribe -- a tribe that takes care of each other. In Galatians 6:16, Paul calls us "the Israel of God" -- the new 13th tribe.

Jesus said, "The poor you shall always have with you." He didn't mean that as a curse -- the notion that the poor are an inevi-table nuisance and expense, to be hidden in the slums. Rather, He was saying, "You shall always be among the poor."

When you strengthen hands, you fulfill Deuteronomy 15:4-5: "However, there need be no poor people among you, for in the land the LORD your God is giving you to possess as your inheritance, he will richly bless you, if only you fully obey the LORD your God . . ." It's a glorious responsibility and promise.

And how do prosperous Americans fulfill that promise? Generally, by making sure they have no contact with people who are poor -- and we have been that way from our beginnings in the 17th century. Early villages in Massachusetts solved the problem by out-lawing poor people. Today, we deal with the same problem by confining the poor in urban reservations, our slums.

As the Supreme Court Bailiff says at the beginning of each session, "God save the United States of America..." 

Thursday
May222014

JESUS AND MAYONNAISE

On a summer day in 1994, Baby Lee Jones came into the Sign of the Cross Housing office to pay her rent. She was in her 40's, a large woman. She and her husband have two sons in their late teens.

In the office, she complained about her back and her legs. She lived at 64 East McMicken, only a block and a half away, but she had to rest twice in making the walk. The office manager, Jeanne Loreaux, and I asked about her ailments, but Baby Lee didn't give us any specifics.

As we talked, Jeanne asked if Baby Lee wanted us to pray for her healing. She said yes, but we couldn't find the little bottle of olive oil we used for healing prayers to comply with James 5.

Of course, any kind of oil will work, so I went to the refrigerator and brought out a jar of mayonnaise.

I took a dab of mayo and made the sign of the cross on Baby Lee's forehead. We prayed for her healing in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. She thanked us and left.

Talk About Results!

Four days later, Baby Lee returned. She had been to the doctor's office and wanted to tell us the results. A month earlier, she had been scheduled for an operation. Her current visit to the doctor had been the final check-up before the operation.

The doctor had examined her. Thoroughly. He seemed troubled and told Baby Lee, "I don't understand it. The operation is scheduled for Wednesday, so you'll be admitted to Good Samaritan Hospital on Tuesday afternoon."

"But doctor, if I'm OK, why have the operation?" she asked. He repeated the instructions about her going into the hospital on Tuesday. She repeated her question about why operate if it's not necessary. The doctor said, "Wait here." He was gone for ten minutes. When the doctor returned, he said, "We've decided to postpone the operation, but we'll keep you under observation.

That was great news. We rejoiced with Baby Lee.

Her Testimony

Two weeks later Baby Lee came to worship with us at Prince of Peace Lutheran Church. We had a time for testimonies. Baby Lee stood and told about prayers for her healing at Sign of the Cross Housing. She also told how the doctor had postponed her operation. "Jesus has healed me. I don't have any more pain in my back and legs. My slipped disc just doesn't bother me anymore.

A slipped disc? That caught my attention. Baby Lee hadn't told Jeanne and me anything about a slipped disc, and it was good she didn't. I didn't know whether I would have trusted Jesus enough to pray for a slipped disc. But I thanked Him and thanked Him for answering our prayers.

After worship, I gave Baby Lee a slipped disc test. I bounced up on my tiptoes and asked her, "Can you do this?" "Sure," she replied and also went on tiptoe. "Could you do that a month ago?" I asked. "No way. Back then, I couldn't even raise my heel from the floor. It was pain just to lift my foot when I had to take a step." I was astonished.

Next day at work, I made a sandwich for lunch and checked the mayo jar. It was Miracle Whip.

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Purpose of this blog is to compile books for my grandchildren to read in 25 years.

Copyright © 2014 by Jack Towe

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